Questions, schmestions.

SAMSUNG

A good friend of mine, Bob runs a little blog that focuses on what it’s like to be an architect.  In a recent post he asked various architects to answer the same questions he is most asked in order to provide multiple glimpses into the profession.  Here’s my offering.

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12

07 2014

When You Hand Someone a Gun, Make Sure You Know Where They are Going to Point It

Bethesda Row

As an architect and urban planner, my focus is always, first and foremost, on creating spaces for people.  That focus is filtered though a myriad of lenses, economics, client direction, etc., but the goal is always the same.  As most are aware, the U.S. experienced an explosion of growth after the second world war, and with the automobile as an affordable mode of transit, the nation’s urban structure burgeoned into what we now call the suburbs.  Zoning models followed this, regulating land use in a way that abandoned traditional walkable communities in favor of automobile-centric circulation.  In the last few decades, however, there has been a growing movement of communities embracing Form Based Codes.  Unlike traditional zoning  “Form Based-Codes (FBCs) seek to restore time tested forms of urbanism.  They give unity, efficient organization, social vitality, and walkability to our cities, towns and neighborhoods.” (via the Form-Based Codes Institute) Read the rest of this entry →

27

02 2014

Today We Fight Back

Dear Internet, we’re sick of complaining about the NSA. We want new laws that curtail online surveillance. Today we fight back.

Since the first revelations last summer, hundreds of thousands of Internet users have come together online and offline to protest the NSA’s unconstitutional surveillance programs. These programs attack our basic rights to connect and communicate in private, and strike at the foundations of democracy itself. Only a broad movement of activists, organizations and companies can convince Washington to restore these rights. Read the rest of this entry →

11

02 2014

The Most Impressively Astounding Last Minute Designer’s Shopping Guide 2013

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Ok, Black Friday has come and gone, you’ve scoured all the gift lists for your design minded friends and family, but there’s just nothing that sounds right, and the clock is ticking.  Well, I’m here to help!  Architects, artists, rejoice! That’s right, for the first (and hopefully not last) time I present the The Most Impressively Astounding Last Minute Designer’s Shopping Guide!* Read the rest of this entry →

Let’s Throw Ideas Against The Wall and See What Sticks

Artificial Turf Panels

Almost literally.  This is an image of a parking garage attached to a mixed-use development we did in Austin.  The crux of the problem: you’re replacing a nice parking lot in front of an existing office building such that now the office tenants only get to look at your concrete monolith until the end of their dreary days.  Read the rest of this entry →

22

11 2013

How to Ruin a Good Design By Adding Value

 list

There are as many different types of architecture as there are motivations for building something.  Individuals want their dream home in which is bound up all their hopes and desires for the future.  Corporations want a headquarters that is an iconic embodiment of their industry.  Theater companies what a vibrant and engaging space that is a vehicle for creativity.  With every design there is excitement, hope, and pride.

Mostly. Read the rest of this entry →

19

08 2013

TAXI by Zeppelin

David Baker, one the TAXIs architects

TAXI is a mixed-use development in the RINO [River North], an eclectic arts district of Denver set along the Platte River, just to the north of downtown.  Nestled in the southeast armpit of I-25 and I-70, TAXI reclaims the old Yellow Cab headquarters and maintenance facility.  I enjoyed a tour of the site while at the AIA Convention this year and was happy to have two of the architects involved in the project as guides.  The first was Alan Eban Brown, a local award winning architect who is known for his sustainable residential architecture, and who officially lead the tour for the convention.  The second was David Baker, a San Francisco based designer (who’s work I’ve followed for years, as we both primarily focus of urban infill, mixed-use use projects, with a heavy residential component), and who showed up informally to walk the tour with the crowd.

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15

07 2013

The Big Interview

Portfolio, schmortfolio….

Image via Marjeux link here.

Over the last few months I’ve spent a lot of my time slogging through interviews of prospective talent about to, or having recently graduated from college.  Architecture is an almost unique profession that combines the very creative with the very practical, and navigating the thin edge between the two is difficult for some fresh grads.  I’d like to offer a few tips for those looking. Read the rest of this entry →

02

07 2013

False Conclusions

White Buffalo - The Lancaster

White Buffalo is one of our Micro Unit Projects (Fort Worth)

The news source Mother Jones, whom I enjoy reading a lot, today posted and article “Report: Mansions Getting Bigger, Rental Apartments Getting Smaller” in which Erika Eichelberger notes this is a “metaphor for the lopsided economic recovery” and that “many younger and minority Americans have not experienced any recovery at all, and some are still losing wealth. Hence the need for more shoebox apartments.” Read the rest of this entry →

06

06 2013

And…We’re Back.

NO_CISPA

Not that I contribute to this blog enough to have had any impact yesterday, but I did shut it down in a show of solidarity with the other thousand or so websites protesting CISPA with a blackout of the internet.  It wasn’t a huge impact, but I felt it was important.

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23

04 2013