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Sky City: World’s Tallest in 7 months?

16 May

The above is a promotional video for Sky City, the vision of Broad Sustainable Buildings and if built it will become the World’s Tallest Building at 838m after being completed in just 7 months!


Real Life Color Project

13 May

One of my personal favorite assignments in the first year of studio at IIT was the Color Project. It was a really simple concept: take a piece of mdf, cut it into shapes, paint them colors, present. There was a bit more to it where you had to actually have a concept and make a reason to the colors. When I came across the Sugamo Shinkin Bank, by Emmanuelle Moureaux Architecture + Design, all I could think is that it must have been designed by an IIT student with the color project in mind.

© Nacasa & Partners Inc.

© Nacasa & Partners Inc.


Before The Wizard of Oz

8 May

Wizard of Oz is a childhood classic that I took very seriously, well serious in a fun way! I grew up watching that film far too much to the point where in 8th grade my family took a trip all the way out to Chesterton, Indiana from Massachusetts just to go to a Wizard of Oz Festival where I met the few living cast members from the movie including the Coroner! So I am always interested to see variations on the classic story and went to see prequel Oz the Great and Powerful recently and was sadly disappointed. On the other hand I am a huge fan of the prequel musical Wicked which I have gone to see numerous times and I came to the conclusion that there is a key difference between the two: depth of substance.



BIG Smithsonian

15 Mar

The Smithsonian is getting a BIG upgrade. They announced earlier this week that the Denmark based architectural firm BIG will be in charge of a new master plan for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Smithsonian Castle

Smithsonian Castle


Disappearing Church

27 Feb

When I think church I think a large heavy building, I think stone columns. What doesn’t come to mind is something that nearly disappears when looking at it…

Reading Between the Lines © Filip Dujardin

Reading Between the Lines © Filip Dujardin


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


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”

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.”


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.”