On a sightseeing tour of a major capital city, on the metro, I struck up a conversation with a man who happened to be the city’s Town Planner. By the end of our train journey, I had been given the honour of being commissioned to design a new hotel on one of the city’s beautiful boulevards. As the train doors closed, I retrieved my leather-bound travel notebook from the side pocket of my rucksack and with my clutch pencil began to design the structure on a clean page.
The site for this hotel was on the corner of Mary Street and was a rather awkward area to work within, with buildings towering over it on two sides. But before I knew it (I think I heard the train doors open four or maybe five times as I was drawing) the hotel had been completely designed and I am happy to say that the whole thing came in under budget and 12 months ahead of time.
I saved a remarkable amount of money by drawing the design using a very slow shutter speed so it was unnecessary to spend time drawing cars and other traffic. This meant all the design time was used on the architectural detail on the building’s facade. I chose an antiquated design (palladian windows, faux arcadian columns, attic windows, belvederes and short balconies) in order to avoid the exorbitant costs of brand new, modern building features (evident in the surrounding buildings). The hotel is ordered around a central courtyard with internal floors illuminated by a 40 square metre skylight which floods the lower floors with natural light. Wooden ladders do away with the need for lifts, another cost saving feature of my design.
I returned my notebook – with the new design safely inside – to my rucksack and got off at the next station to buy a return ticket to where the Town Planner had explained his offices were located. I submitted my design and hurried to another office in that same building to collect my remittance which was soon locked away in the room safe at my pensione.