Ask the Architect: An Exclusive Interview with Architect @FrankCunhaIII

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Ask the Architect

An Exclusive Interview with Architect Frank Cunha III

by Denise Franklin 

Follow Denise Franklin on Twitter

Frank Cunha III, AIA, NCARB is a Registered Architect licensed in CT, DC, DE, FL, MD, NJ, NY, PA and is currently seeking reciprocity in VA as well.  Mr. Cunha is the founder of FC3 Architecture + Design, established in 2005 to serve its clients in various markets, including commercial and residential projects. He writes / blogs for I Love My Architect and Just Architecture.

You can find him online at:

  What was it about Architecture that helped you decide it was the field for you?

I always loved to draw as a child and I always loved to build.  Give me scraps of cardboards and leftover bricks and sticks in the backyard and my imagination would take over.  I was always fascinated with churches and castles.  They have a very obvious Archetype, and from a very early age I always imagined that I too would be able to one day shape the design of our cities and how people inhabit them.  Even when I travel, it is the Architecture that defines the people and the place (unless you are in the wilderness, where nature rules supreme).  In the city, man (men and women) are able to shape the world we live in.  With this ability comes great responsibility not just freedom to do whatever we want.  The industrial and post-industrial eras have taught us that!

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How long have you been in the profession?

 After 5 years of Architecture school and after 3 years of internship and after passing my NCARB IDP Architecture Exam I “officially” became a Registered Architect in January 2004.  It was not easy but it was worth it.  Going through the arduous process allowed me to learn the different aspects of being an Architect.

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It appears that Architecture incorporates many fields of study, for example; astronomy, meteorology, geography and I am sure there is much more.  Could you explain?

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Throughout history, especially before technology and social media distractions, civilizations, would honor the heavens by building monuments.  Examples of this can be seen all over the world and there are plenty of interesting websites that address this. 

Astronomy is one of the oldest sciences so it is no wonder that early civilizations would use the mathematics from the heavens to orient their buildings and monuments. Many pre-historic cultures left behind astronomical artifacts such as the Egyptian and Nubian monuments, and early civilizations such as Babylonians, Greeks, Chinese, Indians, and Maya performed methodical observations of the night sky. Climatology, the study of atmospheric science, is another extension coming out from Astronomy. In Architecture both the disciplines that is astrology and climatology, leads to a concept known as Vastu.

If you want to learn more about these interdisciplinary studies, you can click here or click here.  

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Today, Architects still consider orientation when placing a building and the building components on the site. The building’s orientation can even help Architects obtain LEED credits from the US Green Building Council, an organization that promotes sustainable design and construction around the world.

 Is there a deciding factor for you when agreeing to take part in projects?

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 One thing I have learned over the past 15 years in the field of Architecture is that there are many components to accepting and working on a project.  While we all need to make money to eat and survive, here are a few things that should be considered before agreeing to take on a project:

  1. Is there a chemistry between the client and the designer, i.e., do you like each other? Can you work well together?
  2. Is the project exciting and challenging?
  3. Can I assemble the right team to complete the project effectively? And do we have the right fee to allow our design team to perform the project effectively?

If the answer to any of these is “no” then I keep looking for another opportunity.  Every time an opportunity passes, two or more new ones appear.  Don’t be hasty just for the sake of getting a project!

 The projects you are sharing today are they based on specific concepts?

 As a young Architect my aesthetic and design concepts are still evolving.

Although we do not force my designs on my clients, we do have some underlying principals we like to maintain on our projects whenever feasible.  

FC3 Architecture takes a Holistic approach to each individual project to meet the client’s specific needs.   We work with our team of expert consultants to bring the most value to the client through rigorous, integrated design practices.  It is our mission to explore and develop the “Architectural Design Aesthetics” & “Building Tectonics  Systems” to engage the following issues on a project-by-project basis, where applicable, to discover and address the project requirements established by the client and the Architect during the Pre-Design phase:

  • Program / Livability / Functional
  • Provide efficient space planning to maximize client’s programmatic needs (don’t over build)
  • Contextual/Site 
  • Determination of most effective use of a given site
  • Optimize access to the site
  • Maximize land, views, lighting, wind, water elements, other natural features, etc.
  • Provide guidance for best use of materials, structure, and form
  • Properly integrate new design into existing contextual surroundings
  • Sustainable / Environmental
  • Coordinate with client’s abatement team when required
  • Coordinate with client’s commissioning team when required
  • Provide guidance and integration on current sustainable trends
  • Sustainable Design
  • Energy Use & Conservation
  • Waste Management
  • Selection of Materials – Reuse, Recycling, Renewable sources, etc.
  • Water Use & Conservation
  • Structural / Tectonic
  • Coordinate with structural team to develop integrated structural design
  • Coordinate with MEP team to develop integrated MEP design
  • Coordinate with other industry experts as needed to meet project goals
  • Historic / Preservation
  • When required, document and research preservation of historic elements
  • Provide design details that are sensitive to preexisting building/site elements
  • Engage our expert consultant team as may be required
  • Economic / Legalization
  • Provide assistance in developing a feasibility study
  • Assist client’s legal counsel with Planning/Zoning Board approvals
  • Constructability / Management
  • Assist client with project schedules and budgets throughout the project
  • Engage our expert construction/project management team as may be required

For anyone in school considering Architecture as a profession, check out this great article by my colleague, William Martin, AIA.

Click here to see some of Frank’s recent featured projects.

Click here to read more “Ask the Architect” articles.


“Art that Everyone Should Know” #2 by @SophiaFine

Friends,

I recently asked my friend Sophia Fine to compile a series of posts of artists and artwork that should be known in every household. 

This is the second in the series…Hope you enjoy it!

Sincerely,
Frank

Read the rest of this entry »


“Art that Everyone Should Know” #1 by @SophiaFine

Friends,

I recently asked my friend Sophia Fine to compile a series of posts of artists and artwork that should be known in every household. 

This is the first in the series…Hope you enjoy it!

Sincerely,
Frank

Read the rest of this entry »


ILMA of the Week: Peter Eisenman

ILMA-EISENMAN

 

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post.

We sincerely appreciate all your comments.If you like this post please share it with friends.

And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,

Frank Cunha III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

FC3 ARCHITECTURE+DESIGN, LLC
P.O. Box 335, Hamburg, NJ 07419
e-mail: fcunha@fc3arch.com
mobile: 201.681.3551
direct: 973.970.3551
fax: 973.718.4641
web: http://fc3arch.com
Licensed in CT, DE, FL, MD NJ, NY, PA


ILMA of the Week: Bruce A. Goff

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Bruce Alonzo Goff (June 8, 1904 – August 4, 1982) was an American Architect distinguished by his organic, eclectic, and often flamboyant designs for houses and other buildings in Oklahoma and elsewhere.

Born in Alton, Kansas, Goff was a child prodigy who apprenticed at the age of twelve to Rush, Endacott and Rush of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Goff became a partner with the firm in 1930. He is credited, along with his high-school art teacher Adah Robinson, with the design of Boston Avenue Methodist Church in Tulsa, one of the finest examples of Art Deco architecture in the United States.

Goff accepted a teaching position with the School of Architecture at the University of Oklahoma in 1942. Despite being largely self-taught, Goff became chair of the school. This was his most productive period. In his private practice, Goff built an impressive number of residences in the American Midwest, developing his singular style of organic architecture that was client- and site-specific.

Goff’s accumulated design portfolio of 500 projects (about one quarter of them built) demonstrates a restless, sped-up evolution through conventional styles and forms at a young age, through the Prairie Style of his heroes and correspondents Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan, then into original design. Finding inspiration in sources as varied as Antoni Gaudi, Balinese music, Claude Debussy, Japanese ukiyo-e prints, and seashells, Goff’s mature work had no precedent and he has few heirs other than his former assistant, New Mexico architect Bart Prince, and former student, Herb Greene. His contemporaries primarily followed tight functional floor plans with flat roofs and no ornament. Goff’s idiosyncratic floorplans, attention to spatial effect, and use of recycled and/or unconventional materials such as gilded zebrawood, cellophane strips, cake pans, glass cullet, Quonset Hut ribs, ashtrays, and white turkey feathers, challenge conventional distinctions between order and disorder. The Bavinger House was awarded the Twenty-five Year Award from the American Institute of Architects in 1987, and Boston Avenue Methodist Church was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1999.

Selected works by Bruce Goff
Goff was active from about 1926 until his death, with several of his projects completed by associates after his death. A number of his works were considered for listing on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
1926: Boston Avenue Methodist Church, Tulsa, Oklahoma
1938: Turzak House, Chicago, Illinois
1947: Ledbetter House, Norman, Oklahoma
1950: Bavinger House, Norman, Oklahoma (featured above)
1955: John Frank House, Sapulpa, Oklahoma
1978: Pavilion for Japanese Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California

Today, Goff’s contributions to the history of 20th-century architecture are widely praised. His extant archive—including architectural drawings, paintings, musical compositions, photographs, project files, and personal and professional papers—is held by the Ryerson & Burnham Libraries at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Some Drawings by Goff:

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Goff died in Tyler, Smith County, TX on August 4, 1982 (TX Death Records). His cremated remains are interred in Graceland Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois, with a marker designed by Grant Gustafson (one of Goff’s students) that incorporates a glass cullet fragment salvaged from the ruins of the Joe D. Price House and Studio.

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We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments.

If you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
Frank Cunha III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

FC3 ARCHITECTURE+DESIGN, LLC
P.O. Box 335, Hamburg, NJ 07419
e-mail: fcunha@fc3arch.com
mobile: 201.681.3551
direct: 973.970.3551
fax: 973.718.4641
web: http://fc3arch.com
Licensed in CT, DE, FL, NJ, NY, PA, VA


HOT & Sensational “Sentosa House” with COOL Design Details by Nicholas Burns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo © Patrick Bingham-Hall

Architects: Nicholas Burns
Location: Sentosa Island,  Year: 2012
All Photographs: Patrick Bingham-Hall
Content/Article/Photo Source: “Sentosa House / Nicholas Burns” 04 Dec 2012. ArchDaily.

A series of open spaces clustered against the core. The core provides, structure, vertical circulation, services and adjacent has all baths and the kitchen maximising efficiency.


Photo © Patrick Bingham-Hall

Adaptable space, these open spaces and freed from pre determined function, the structure is designed to allow reconfiguration to future needs, walls can be erected where required.


Photo © Patrick Bingham-Hall

Materials are chosen for their inherent qualities. Recycled golden teak, fair faced concrete, stone and steel all offer duality of function. Their richness and texture provides the decorative element.


Photo © Patrick Bingham-Hall

Structure, the bones of the house are on display creating clear open space with a sense of seamlessness interconnecting with the gardens and landscape, framing views. The structural grid provides a logic, an order with which every element and detail diminishing in scale relates to and relies on.


Photo © Patrick Bingham-Hall

Detail, details are painstakingly distilled and resolved, nothing is left undone. The intention is the create an ease, a wholeness, a stillness…a sense of timelessness….


Photo © Patrick Bingham-Hall

Experience, the journey through the house is one of wholeness with distinct parts offering a layered and complex series of experiences. Enclosure and compression expands to openness, the contrasts emphasis the feeling of space. Views are framed, and vary in scale, sometimes intimate and close into a court, other times expanding into borrowed landscape of the jungle and out to distant vistas.


Photo © Patrick Bingham-Hall

Environment, the house is designed for the tropical climate. The recycled teak screen and desk fits over the concrete structure and glazing protecting it from the sun allowing the thermal mass of the concrete to stabilise the internal temperature. Cross ventilation, the other critical element of tropical design is maximises, the glass openness allowing even slight breezes to freely flow throughout he house creating a level of comfort. On the mechanical side, the climate control is the energy efficient aided by double glazing. The hot water is heated using a heat pump, utilising the free heat form the air and then circulated so hot water is available at taps with wasting water. Materials are reduced, the structure is exposed. The structural design using flat slabs reduces concrete usage by 25%. All of the timber is recycled. All of the materials are chosen to minimise surface treatments and unnecessary materials.


Photo © Patrick Bingham-Hall

Landscape, the landscape uses species that suit the climate, that thrive with minimal intervention. The rear area merges with the jungle enhancing the element of borrowed landscape

  
 Sentosa House / Nicholas Burns © Patrick Bingham-Hall Sentosa House / Nicholas Burns © Patrick Bingham-Hall
Sentosa House / Nicholas Burns © Patrick Bingham-Hall Sentosa House / Nicholas Burns © Patrick Bingham-Hall Sentosa House / Nicholas Burns © Patrick Bingham-Hall
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Sentosa House / Nicholas Burns © Patrick Bingham-Hall Sentosa House / Nicholas Burns © Patrick Bingham-Hall Sentosa House / Nicholas Burns © Patrick Bingham-Hall
Sentosa House / Nicholas Burns © Patrick Bingham-Hall Sentosa House / Nicholas Burns © Patrick Bingham-Hall Sentosa House / Nicholas Burns © Patrick Bingham-Hall
Sentosa House / Nicholas Burns © Patrick Bingham-Hall Sentosa House / Nicholas Burns © Patrick Bingham-Hall Sentosa House / Nicholas Burns © Patrick Bingham-Hall
Sentosa House / Nicholas Burns © Patrick Bingham-Hall Sentosa House / Nicholas Burns © Patrick Bingham-Hall Sentosa House / Nicholas Burns © Patrick Bingham-Hall
Sentosa House / Nicholas Burns © Patrick Bingham-Hall Sentosa House / Nicholas Burns © Patrick Bingham-Hall Sentosa House / Nicholas Burns © Patrick Bingham-Hall

ILMA of the Week: Frank H. Furness

This week’s ILMA Architect of the Week is one of my favorite Architects of all, Frank Heyling Furness (November 12, 1839 – June 27, 1912), who was an American Architect of the Victorian era. He designed more than 600 buildings, most in the Philadelphia area, and is remembered for his eclectic, muscular, often idiosyncratically scaled buildings, and for his influence on the Chicago architect Louis Sullivan. Furness was also a Medal of Honor recipient for his bravery during the Civil War.

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Toward the end of his life, his bold style fell out of fashion, and many of his significant works were demolished in the 20th century. Among his most important surviving buildings are the University of Pennsylvania Library (now the Fisher Fine Arts Library), the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia, all in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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Over his 45-year career, Furness designed more than 600 buildings, including banks, office buildings, churches, and synagogues. As chief architect of the Reading Railroad, he designed about 130 stations and industrial buildings. For the Pennsylvania Railroad, he designed the great Broad Street Station (demolished 1953) at Broad and Market Streets in Philadelphia, and, for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, the ingenious 24th Street Station (demolished 1963) alongside the Chestnut Street Bridge. He was one of the most highly paid architects of his era, and a founder of the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. His residential buildings included numerous mansions in Philadelphia and its suburbs (especially the Main Line), as well as commissioned houses at the New Jersey seashore, Newport, Rhode Island, Bar Harbor, Maine, Washington, D.C., New York state, and Chicago, Illinois.

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Following decades of neglect, during which many of Furness’s most important buildings were demolished, there was a revival of interest in his work in the mid-20th century. The critic Lewis Mumford, tracing the creative forces that had influenced Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright, wrote in The Brown Decades (1931): “Frank Furness was the designer of a bold, unabashed, ugly, and yet somehow healthily pregnant architecture.”

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Architect and critic Robert Venturi in Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture (1966) wrote, not unadmiringly, of the National Bank of the Republic (later the Philadelphia Clearing House):

“The city street facade can provide a type of juxtaposed contradiction that is essentially two-dimensional. Frank Furness’ Clearing House, now demolished like many of his best works in Philadelphia, contained an array of violent pressures within a rigid frame. The half-segmental arch, blocked by the submerged tower which, in turn, bisects the facade into a near duality, and the violent adjacencies of rectangles, squares, lunettes, and diagonals of contrasting sizes, compose a building seemingly held up by the buildings next door: it is an almost insane short story of a castle on a city street.”

On the occasion of its centennial in 1969, the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects memorialized Furness as its great architect of the past:
“For designing original and bold buildings free of the prevalent Victorian academicism and imitation, buildings of such vigor that the flood of classical traditionalism could not overwhelm them, or him, or his clients …
For shaping iron and concrete with a sensitive understanding of their particular characteristics that was unique for his time …
For his significance as innovator-architect along with his contemporaries John Root, Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright …
For his masterworks, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Provident Trust Company, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Station, and the University of Pennsylvania Library (now renamed the Furness Building) …
For his outstanding abilities as draftsman, teacher and inventor …
For being a founder of the Philadelphia Chapter and of the John Stewardson Memorial Scholarship in Architecture …
And above all, for creating architecture of imagination, decisive self-reliance, courage, and often great beauty, an architecture which to our eyes and spirits still expresses the unusual personal character, spirit and courage for which he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for bravery on a Civil War battlefield.”

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Furness’s independence and modernist Victorian-Gothic style inspired 20th-century architects Louis Kahn and Robert Venturi. Living in Philadelphia and teaching at the University of Pennsylvania, they often visited Furness’s Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts — built for the 1876 Centennial — and his University of Pennsylvania Library.

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The 2012 centennary of Furness’s death is being observed with exhibitions at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, the Library Company of Philadelphia, the Athenaeum of Philadelphia, the Delaware Historical Society, the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia, and elsewhere. On September 14, a Pennsylvania state historical marker was dedicated in front of Furness’s boyhood home at 1426 Pine Street, Philadelphia (now Peirce College Alumni Hall). Opposite the marker is Furness’s 1874-75 dormitory addition to the Pennsylvania Institute for the Deaf and Dumb, now the Furness Residence Hall of the University of the Arts.

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We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments.

If you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
Frank Cunha III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

FC3 ARCHITECTURE+DESIGN, LLC
P.O. Box 335, Hamburg, NJ 07419
e-mail: fcunha@fc3arch.com
mobile: 201.681.3551
direct: 973.970.3551
fax: 973.718.4641
web: http://fc3arch.com
Licensed in CT, DE, FL, MD NJ, NY, PA


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