Matt Huffman grew up in Ruston, Louisiana, and graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a Master of Architecture in 2014. He is an architect who is currently a part of the TBA Architecture firm based in Monroe, Louisiana. The firm he works for has built many projects, including both the Athletics Center and the new press box that is currently under construction at the Joe Aillet stadium. On a daily basis, Matt will interact with many people whether it be his boss, co-workers, partners, or clients. This being the case, all aspects of communication are vital to his success in the field of architecture.
In architecture, written communication is the most important asset in the construction stage of a project. In construction, written communication is not presented in the form of a letter or conversation, but rather in the form of construction documents. Construction Documents (CD’s) are detailed drawings “loaded with information” on how to build each individual component of the project. If a single part is overlooked, it could affect the structural or visual integrity of the design.
When Matt is meeting with a client, it is crucial that he listens intently “to understand the client’s desires, needs, and wants.” If it is not fully understood what the client is asking for, the architect risks building something that dissatisfies the client. Simple gestures like repeating things back to the client or asking them to clarify more specifically what they are trying to explain, will prevent any miscommunication. The next step in this process would be the explanation of Matt’s design to the contractor. It is the Architect’s responsibility to take the design based on the client’s needs and express it clearly to the contractor. If this step is not taken, the final product will not line up with what was designed. This would untimely leave the client unhappy with a product that does not meet their needs.
Throughout a work day, Matt will look through many official documents that express the design of a project. While these documents may be familiar to an architect and easy to understand, a client who is not frequently exposed to these drawings may not be able to visualize what the completed work will look like. It is for this reason that Matt and his co-workers show renderings and precedents. Using these tools closely resembles what the finished product will look like, making it “the easiest way to get the point across” to the client. These renderings make it easy for the clients to perceive the atmosphere of the design.
Advice for student
Matt has been working as an architect for three years now. Because he was in school only three years ago, it is easy for him to recall what those times were like. When asked about his college experience, as well as his experience in the actual work place, Matt had an important piece of advice to give. He emphasizes that in the real world the client is the most important factor. His number one mission is to meet the needs of those clients. Likewise, Matt believes that in school, you should treat your teachers as if they are your actual client. Taking advice and following their direction is how you will be most successful in school.
Joshua Maxfield, Guest Blogger