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Happy Friday!

3 Aug

HAPPY FRIDAY from those of us at ToastingDesign!

Happy Friday! Quote for Innovation

29 Jun

When it comes to moving our world forward through innovation, I love this quote from Donald Sadoway, spoken during a TED Talk about the liquid metal battery:

“We can’t CONSERVE our way out, We can’t DRILL our way out, We can’t BOMB our way out. We’re going to do it the OLD-FASHIONED AMERICAN WAY:

We’re going to INVENT our way out, WORKING TOGETHER!”

Check him out on TED Talks:


The [arch] Office Part 4: NURTURE

31 May

As young architects/interns, we know how it goes: task, deadline, do this, do that, lots of overtime, nose-to-the-grindstone, workaholic employment. For many of us, it’s been hard to find work. For others, like myself, I am blessed to have work, but am frustrated by the office culture of the old-school, hierachial, corporate-style firm. I feel stuck on a sort-of plateau where I don’t feel like I’m going anywhere. Isn’t it time for AE firms to change their style?

In this, Part 4 of “The [arch] Office” series, we will see some great advancements ARCHITECT Magazine found in forward-thinking AE firms…as well as the challenges firms face in attracting and holding their talent. Since the 2008 start of the recession, design fields have seen a decline in new talent entering the industry. People have left the profession and schools are seeing a decline in new students. Now, firms exercising the old, hierarchial, sweatshop-style office are discovering problems staying ahead because they can’t hold on to talent.

Peace out old-school! Say hello to “the employee-centered workplace.”

NURTURE - copyright ARCHITECT Magazine


Thank You For Your Service (Happy Memorial Day!)

28 May

Memorial Day is a day of barbeques, family/friend gatherings, and a day off from work. But it is much more…it is also a day to remember all those heroes that have fought/still fight to keep our great nation free and safe.

To all those wonderful men and women out there…


God bless you all, and Happy Memorial Day everyone!

“The thing about remembering is that you don’t forget”

The [arch] Office Part 3: FOCUS

21 May

Turn on Pandora, throw on a movie, get a cup of coffee, take a walk outside, go stretch in the file room…there are varieties of methods people use to get focused. I know for me, the occasional stretch or change of music is a great way to refocus. Even more so, for me, is the occasional conversation or “Friday Tang Break” (yes, Tang is a great drink!) with an office coworker. Getting up an away from my desk and computer screen is a positive refresher. For some people, though, staying hyper-focused in front of their computer with headphones blaring is the only way to work on most days…

Architectural practice is becoming increasingly more collaborative. For people like me, that kind of environment is exciting and energizing. For others, it can be suffocating and distracting for work. Achieving a balance is important. As designers, we have told our clients about the great benefits of good office design in terms of productivity and innovation. That said…it’s time for us to apply those principles for ourselves!

In this, Part 3 of “The [arch] Offce” series, we will find out what ARCHITECT magazine is saying about the architecture office and how design will impact our focus. With people that dig interaction and others liking seclusion, it will certainly be a challenge. Simply stated:

“Welcome to the World of ‘Incubator Spaces’ “

R1 Reactor Creative Room - Youth Republic Office, Istanbul, Turkey

The [arch] Office: FOCUS …copyright ARCHITECT Magazine”

You Have the Right to Remain…

20 May

AWESOME … have a great week everyone!

The [arch] Office Part 2: RESEARCH

14 May

Research – I don’t know about you, but I dreaded research growing up. I enjoyed writing school papers, but tracking the research was a drag. In contrast, college made me respect the valuable knowledge and neat information that one can discover through research. And now, I wish I had more time in the day so that I could actually do some research!

In this, Part 2 of “The [arch] Offce” series, we are going to briefly discuss what ARCHITECT magazine found as to how some firms have made research an integral part of their practices.

Part 2: RESEARCH - Copyright ARCHITECT Magazine

In The Fountainhead Ayn Rand portrays the Howard Roark version of the architect: an unchallenged creative visionary that proved that an architect was to pursue individualism more intently than collectivism. Well, peace out Mr. Roark! ARCHITECT has found that “the firms that will succeed will do so in part because they can effectively capture data from their projects and demonstrate the value of design using hard numbers.” The two phrases in bold seem to be the biggest challenges facing our industry. However, research, in many ways, holds the answers.

“Building on an ever-increasing knowledge base will ensure that [a firm’s] architecture remains cutting-edge.”


Architect Pay on the UP AND UP!

7 May

On this gloomy, rainy Chicago monday, I thought I would pick up your mood with some promising news…architect pay is on it’s way up!

According to the DesignIntelligence Compensation and Benefits Survey 2012, architect salaries and bonuses are rising among architecture and design firms. While I can’t reveal much information because, well, the report costs $90, here is a finding they did reveal:

“An architect with 20-plus years of professional experience is likely to earn $101,101 in salary plus a 5.6 percent bonus, for total annual compensation of $106,769.”

Excellent!  Although we have to wait 20 years to see that income, that figure shows the potential for steady growth as we gain experience in the design field. Not too shabby if you ask me!

Have a great week!

The [arch] Office Part 1: MEET

30 Apr

I don’t know about you, but I love face-to-face interaction. Talking with people and getting the full spectrum of emotion, voice inflection, and overall personal presence greatly affects how we percieve and understand conversation. Meeting with clients, convening with consultants, and collaborating with team members is an essential part of architecture business. However, times are changing, and we are finding a wide variety of communication tools at our finger tips. Social media sites and collaboration technology is engulfing our world (and profession) like a dense morning fog.

Part 1: Meet (copyright Architect Magazine)

In this, Part 1 of “The [arch] Offce” series, we are going to see what ARCHITECT magazine discovered regarding these many options. How have we navigated the fog, and what have some of the results been so far? More importantly…where are we going?

The [arch] Office: A ToastingDesign 6 Part Series

24 Apr

What’s next?  Great question, one that many people have thought about for the office of architects and architecture firms. This is the same question that Architect Magazine asked in their January edition of ARCHITECT. So, what did they discover?

Quite simply, there has been no better time to reinvent how we think about our practices. While many look at the recession as a deterrent to progress, many firms have started to rethink, even in small ways, the future of their practice and the industry at large.  Some of the ideas might sound a bit far fetched and absurd: “Your firm should cultivate a vegetable garden. Employees shouldn’t have to work fixed hours. Your next client will find you via Twitter. Five percent of the bottom line should be dedicated to research.”