...in the bottom drawer
I knew I'd lose it so I put it in a safe place, and now I can't remember where it is.

currently stashed in: Cheshire Street, London
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September 21, 2004 || 5:00 am

In an attempt to get my 6-person team (far too many for the job) into action in time for a crit next Monday, today I morphed into my most bossy-dictatorial self, making 'to do' lists and generally trying to badger everyone into shape. Many friends of mine will read this and sigh, I'm sure. I have even made templates for people to fit their work to in an effort to make it all look vaguely co-ordinated and not like a bunch of people browsed the internet for a week in the name of 'research'.

Getting five non-architects with generally dire drawing skills to design a house plan together is, however, more complicated. So far, intelligent people have drawn rooms with no way to enter them, bathrooms that are bigger than bedrooms, and miraculously thin walls, one pencil line thick. But my usual instincts for basic dimensions also keep going awry. Everything here is so much bigger - standard fridges, cookers and sinks are huge compared to the UK - and having to talk in feet and inches means that my feel for scale is still a bit jet-lagged.

I also realise that I've never before designed a house for a non-urban environment. It feels quite strange to be designing what is effectively a bungalow, yet that is what the brief, the culture and the landscape demand. Here high density is two trailers per acre and makes English suburbia look overcrowded; and the challenge is not just to make something small feel big on the inside, but to make our small dwelling assert more outward dignity than we can afford to give it size.

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