Yesterday I visited this project site
, an apartment complex for over 1200 students on the NC State campus.
We spent the better part of a year discussing, planning, designing, and detailing the eight buildings and complex site on which they sit. Over the course of that time, we created countless drawings, sketches,and study models in order to understand how the facility will look and function. Over that time, one gets used to seeing all the various parts, details, and elements of the design on 8 1/2 x 11 sheets, as little cardboard cut-out models, and ultimately, as details on contract documents. So it's always startling to arrive on site and see these things you know so well as little vignettes now existing in full scale.
That little bracket represented by a dozen lines and a couple notes on a 6" detail? It's now several hundred pounds of steel, hung like a six-foot outrigger and holding up a balcony four stories up.
That screenwall detail you threw onto a left-over corner of the sheet? It's a 20 foot square enclosure 8 feet high, with 2 foot thick walls.
That bay window you studied as a flimsy 10" cardboard model? A two story high Kynar-finished aluminum window-wall, with room for two people to curl up on beanbag chairs on the window sill.
This dichotomy happens to some degee on every project, but the contrast startles me every time.