Our Exclusive ILMA Interview with Jeff Venezia, AIA of @DIGroupArch

Who is Jeff Venezia, AIA?

Jeff holds a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Virginia and has practiced in New Brunswick since 1981. He is presently a Principal Owner and President ofDIGroupArchitecture, a 32 person firm specializing in K-12 Education, Higher Ed, Senior Living and Healthcare. He heads the design and marketing efforts of the firm as well as the Academic Studio which includes K-12 and Higher Ed.

About the Firm

DIGroupArchitecture is a process-centric architecture and design firm. We work tirelessly with our clients to understand their priorities, evaluate the physical and budgetary constraints, and communicate potential options. As a result we create distinctive design solutions that help our clients achieve their vision, with unwavering attention to detail at every scale.

It is our unbiased approach to scale that helps us evolve in the changing climate of contemporary architecture. As many of our clients’ priorities have shifted away from ground-up architecture to renovations and adaptive reuse, our interiors studio has flourished and our graphic design studio has developed a diverse portfolio of projects in environmental graphics, signage and wayfinding, and brand identity.

80% of our business comes from repeat clients.They appreciate our “whatever it takes” approach and principal involvement at every level of every project. Our goal is to make every client a “legacy” client doing project after project and improving the experience of those who occupy the facilities we have created together as partners.

         Memorial Elementary School

         Phillipsburg High School

         Remsen Ave. Firehouse

         Jonathan Dayton High School Media Center

 

Click to Follow the DIGroup: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn

ILMA INTERVIEW

When and why did you decide to become an Architect?     

I’ve wanted to be an architect since I was about 12 years old.  I loved model building, drawing and construction and just knew from that time on what I wanted to be.

What were some of the challenges of achieving your dream?

I think the biggest challenge has always been living up to the level of trust your clients place on you to deliver a project that meets or exceeds their expectations.

Any memorable clients or project highlights?  

Most clients are memorable in their own way.  Since a lot of our work is for repeat clients we get to know them extremely well over time, both professionally and personally.  The best highlights of any of our projects is the reaction of the end users as to how we’ve improved the quality of their everyday lives.  That occurs most often in our Healthcare, K-12, Senior Living and Community Rooms projects.  One of our top highlights was having our Memorial Elementary School in East Brunswick receive the 2013 AIA New Jersey Honor Award for Excellence in Design, the first NJ public school to be recognized with that award (see photos above).

How do Architects measure success?     

We measure success by how a project meets the goals established in the very beginning, especially with regard to program, design, budget and schedule.

Good design does not have to cost more – it requires patience and commitment to doing it right.

Grow the business, develop a transition of ownership strategy, continue to focus on improving our architectural, interior and graphic capabilities.

Who is your favorite Architect? Why?  

Unquestionably Alvar Aalto.  I love the way his buildings embrace the landscape and often look to him for inspiration.

What is your favorite historic and modern (contemporary) project? Why?  

My favorite historic building would be the Pantheon in Rome.  Favorite contemporary – the Kimball Art Museum in Texas by Louis Kahn.

Where do you see the profession going over the next few decades?

We need to reverse the trend of being considered by the public as a commodity.  We need to educate the public and our clients on the value added in what we provide in the services we perform.  We are not copy or toilet paper. 

Who / what has been your greatest influence in design?      

The greatest influence on my design work was my 3rd year architecture professor who demanded only the highest quality work from me and forced me out of my comfort zone to continually strive to learn from every project, to grow and become better as an architect.

Which building or project type would you like to work on that you haven’t been part of yet?   

Airport – I love the idea of doing something at that scale.

If you could not be an Architect, what would you be?    

A National Geographic photographer.

 What advice do you have for a future Executive leader?     

Always be true to yourself, treat people fairly and conduct yourself with the highest level of integrity.  Your word should be your bond.

What are three key challenges you face as a leader in business today and one trend you see in your industry?  

Challenges:  the economy, dealing with diversity in the work place and the ever-increasing reliance on technology.  As mentioned above, the competition and lowering of fees continue on a downward spiral.

What one thing must an executive leader be able to do to be successful in the next 3 years?  

Don’t just adapt to change – embrace it.

What are some executive insights you have gained since you have been sitting in the executive leadership seat – or what is one surprise you have encountered as the world of business continues to morph as we speak?     

Take risks and have the commitment to see them through.  Be a good listener.  Show a concern and appreciation for your employees.  Be proactive in solving problems.  Never let anything fester.  Once the attorneys get involved no one is happy with the outcome.

For more exclusive ILMA interviews click here.

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

Gift Ideas from ILMA


ILMA of the Week: Eero Saarinen

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Eero Saarinen (August 20, 1910 – September 1, 1961) was a Finnish American Architect and industrial designer of the 20th century famous for varying his style according to the demands of the project: simple, sweeping, arching structural curves or machine-like rationalism.

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One of Saarinen’s earliest works to receive international acclaim is the Crow Island School in Winnetka, Illinois (1940). The first major work by Saarinen, in collaboration with his father, was the General Motors Technical Center in Warren, Michigan. It follows the rationalist design Miesian style: incorporating steel and glass, but with the added accent of panels in two shades of blue. The GM technical center was constructed in 1956, with Saarinen using models. These models allowed him to share his ideas with others, and gather input from other professionals. With the success of the scheme, Saarinen was then invited by other major American corporations to design their new headquarters: these included John Deere, IBM, and CBS. Despite their rationality, however, the interiors usually contained more dramatic sweeping staircases, as well as furniture designed by Saarinen, such as the Pedestal Series. In the 1950s he began to receive more commissions from American universities for campus designs and individual buildings; these include the Noyes dormitory at Vassar, as well as an ice rink, Ingalls Rink, and Ezra Stiles & Morse Colleges at Yale University.

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He served on the jury for the Sydney Opera House commission and was crucial in the selection of the now internationally known design by Jørn Utzon. A jury which did not include Saarinen had discarded Utzon’s design in the first round. Saarinen reviewed the discarded designs, recognized a quality in Utzon’s design which had eluded the rest of the jury and ultimately assured the commission of Utzon.

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Eero Saarinen and Associates was Saarinen’s architectural firm; he was the principal partner from 1950 until his death in 1961. The firm was initially known as “Saarinen, Swansen and Associates”, headed by Eliel Saarinen and Robert Swansen from the late 1930s until Eliel’s death in 1950. The firm was located in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan until 1961 when the practice was moved to Hamden, Connecticut. Under Eero Saarinen, the firm carried out many of its most important works, including the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (Gateway Arch) in St. Louis, Missouri, the Miller House in Columbus, Indiana, the TWA Flight Center at John F. Kennedy International Airport that he worked on with Charles J. Parise, and the main terminal of Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C.. Many of these projects use catenary curves in their structural designs. One of the best-known thin-shell concrete structures in America is the Kresge Auditorium (MIT), which was designed by Saarinen. Another thin-shell structure that he created is the Ingalls Rink (Yale University), which has suspension cables connected to a single concrete backbone and is nicknamed “the whale.” Undoubtedly, his most famous work is the TWA Flight Center, which represents the culmination of his previous designs and demonstrates his expressionism and the technical marvel in concrete shells.

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Awesome LEED Project in NJ ::: “CENTRA” by @KohnPedersenFox

Situated on more than 19 acres, CENTRA is ideally located within the heart of Metropark, offering close proximity to New Jersey Transit, The Garden State Parkway, New Jersey Turnpike, I-287 and Routes 1 and 27 and Newark International Airport.

“This is an exciting project for our community,” said Woodbridge Township (N.J.) Mayor John E. McCormac. “Woodbridge is one of the few towns in the state experiencing commercial growth and business expansion. The LEED certification of CENTRA is consistent with our commitment as a township to protect our environment. We support this project as well as Hampshire’s vision to bring America’s newest business park to Woodbridge.”

Hampshire is proud to pioneer a new trend in office development with its 110,000 SF Centra Metropark. A LEED certified building re-designed in a strikingly modern style by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates.

CENTRA’s unique structure utilizes an asymmetrical tree-column and truss to support an extended fourth floor, providing a signature element for the project. A rectangular hole is carved in the center of the suspended fourth floor, allowing the sun to shower the ground-level grand entry plaza with light. Surrounding pyramidal landscape forms further distinguish the site“. Glass is the defining element for the design, inspiring openness and dynamics.

As a certified “green building,” CENTRA is a monumental example of sustainable design. Complying with stringent criteria, the building consumes less energy and water than traditional office spaces. As a result, the impact on the environment is significantly lessened. For tenants, however, the benefits are enormous.

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The 10 most unusual things we’ve been asked to design so far, What About You? by @WJMArchitect and @FrankCunhaIII

Hope you are enjoying your day,

Every designer has been given some unusual things to design – Here are some of our favorites.

-Bill & Frank

UpsideDownHome

10) “Man –cave” type room for woman called an “Estro-den”.  Like a home office room for sewing, knitting, wet bar, 3 DVR mega video storage with disappearing TV in sewing cabinet.

9) Elevator that took you straight up to the attic “man-cave” from the first floor family room.

8) Office with an exterior door to a Japanese garden at the end of an airport runway.  So quiet you could hear a plane drop.

7) Powder room with mirrors covering every inch of wall surface including the floor and the ceiling.

6) Complete kitchen inside master suite.  Door to master suite could only be opened with a key from either side.  Second marriage for man, first marriage for woman, He had custody of his previous kids.  Kids were hard on the new wife, thus the locking master suite.

5) Recycling chute to drop recyclables from upstairs bedrooms into the basement.

4) Kids fort in attic space above entrance.

3) Design screened room addition for the family cat, with cat door, grass, window shelves for kitty bird observation activities.

2) Underground tunnel from house to garage

1) Kevlar bulletproof glass at counter with shot-gun slot to shoot “would’be” criminals.

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 NJ, NY, PA, DE, CT.


Exclusive ILMA Interview with Tara Imani, AIA @Parthenon1 (Part 1)

What better way to ring in the new year than to highlight one of our new designer colleagues discovered on social media?

Tara Imani, AIA, CSI, is a registered architect and owner of Tara Imani Designs, LLC, a solo practice in Texas, focusing on residential renovations, commercial space planning, and architecture. She has been blogging for over a year now, beginning with her debut blog post on AIA KnowledgeNet in October, 2010 where she explored what is now a commonplace question in the field of architecture: “Is the Architecture Profession in Need of a Makeover Despite the Upturn in the Economy?” (<—You can click on the highlighted title to link to the blog and join the conversation).

ILMA-Parthenon

Reconstruction of the Acropolis of Athens from NW: The entrance (Propylaia) to the Acropolis is at the bottom right, so that the first side of the Parthenon to be seen is the West side, the rear side.

Architect Q&A:

1)   When and why did you decide to become an Architect?

I discovered my love for architecture, interiors, and fine furnishings at a young age.  I enjoyed going furniture shopping with my mom and would find myself critiquing the various layouts in the showroom, wondering why the designers did it that way and wanting to try different layouts or do something similar in my own way. Maybe you’ve done this yourself, too, when you were growing up: rearrange the furniture in your parents’ home when they were out of the house for a while.  I did that to my mom on a few occasions and it met with much resistance.  That started at an early age, too- as soon as I was strong enough to move stuff around or coax my brother into helping. My passion for architecture started with house plans. After cleaning out the lower level hall closet and finding my parents’ stack of builder house plan books, I was hooked.  I began drawing my own floor plans and elevations, pinning them up on the wall in my bedroom.  My 5th grade bff (as the kids say nowadays) saw them and remarked at how much patience such detailed drawings would take; but to me it was sheer joy.  I never noticed the time. It was my dad who first told me I was going to be an architect.  And since he was an electrical engineer, he kept me well-supplied with proper drawing tools—sketch pads, quadrille paper, charcoals, pens, and pastels for rendering elevations. So I knew since 5th grade that I was going to be an architect.  In 8th grade, I did write in my journal that I wanted to be an interior designer.  So, I today, I am both—with a focus on Interior Architecture and space planning.

2)   What were some of the challenges of achieving your dream?

The biggest challenge has been overcoming fear.  The first fear was the looming board exam that I had heard mentioned whenever I told an inquiring adult what I wanted to be when I grew up.  So, along with my dream, I had a fear attached to it—of this monster test where I mistakenly believed I would need to bring the equivalent of my dad’s metal trunk full of books and reference materials to pass the exam. The other challenge was time management and the constant tension of wanting to spend time with loved ones (my boyfriend who became my husband) versus cranking out the project.  So, self-discipline and deferred gratification are two critical traits any architecture student will need to master early on if they want to be successful.

photo 1Gehry's Disney Concert Hall as captured by Photographer Mathijsvanden Boschhttp://500px.com/MathijsvandenBosch

Left: Tara’s website; Right: Gehry’s Disney Concert Hall as captured by Photographer Mathijsvanden Bosch.

3)   Any memorable clients or project highlights?

Every client and project has been a memorable experience and learning opportunity.  My most favorite firm to work for was Chris Abel Architects, AIA in Laguna Beach, California where we did high-end custom residential design for both new builds and renovations.  It was a beautiful place and location and everything about it was miraculous.  I worked for months helping Chris hand-draft a 5,000 sf beach home and additional guest house for a beachfront site in Kauai (using a now-ancient drafting arm- this was circa 1992).  The other memorable project I did with Chris was a two-story master bedroom suite and first floor pottery studio addition adjoining to an existing living room via an indoor atrium; it was a very eclectic home overlooking both the Pacific Ocean and the Aliso Viejo Canyon- the style can best be described as modern adobe exterior with an oriental interior motif (Chris designed a huge circle-shaped opening leading into the atrium which contrasted with the sloped adobe fireplace and otherwise rustic décor).  The most difficult part was getting the infamously strict Laguna Beach Design Review Board to approve the project and meet the height restrictions while ensuring the uphill next door neighbor’s view would not be blocked.  That was my first project to manage.  The client was very unique; she liked to wear (what we secretly referred to as) “leopard skinned bowling shoes” and during our morning jobsite meetings she preferred to drink her orange juice only after it’d been warmed in the microwave.  She was very astute and noted: “This is your first project, isn’t it?”  I didn’t quite know how to respond, so I simply acknowledged and clarified that no, it wasn’t my first one to work on, but yes, it was my first one to manage.  I knew I had a lot to learn about everything—especially about how to deal with clients and how to manage the bidding and construction process.  The latter point is a story for another day!

4)   How does your family support what you do?

Architecture can be an all-consuming business and few people can succeed while being loyal to their family (time-wise, etc.).  My father encouraged me to apply to architecture school and my mom enabled me to attend The Ohio State University by securing the necessary loans.  Otherwise, I was working as a bank teller for Buckeye Federal bank immediately following high school graduation.  The manager was upset when I left to go to school as they had put us new hires through three weeks of intense professional training at their special facility. So, two types of support are necessary—financial and emotional.  One without the other will not be sufficient. Over the years, family support has been touch and go.  But my dedication to architecture—whether consistent or not—remains my responsibility and no one else’s. In 1992, only five years after graduating from school, my husband and I made a decision to start a home health care and infusion therapy company with his sister, an RN.  It required us to move from southern California to Houston, TX.  My co-workers at Chris Abel’s firm thought I was crazy to move to the “armpit” of the south.  But work had been very slow and I was lucky to be employed at a time when many of my contemporaries were working outside the field.  It was a huge time of change, too, with firms transitioning to AutoCAD. I stayed in the healthcare business until 1998 and returned to architecture 6 months later.  I was able to find work because of the social connections I had made while studying for the licensing exams—so I always kept one foot in architecture while I was helping run the health care company.  And my family supported me by allowing me to take a paid 3-month sabbatical to study and pass the remaining exams.  I passed all except one- the design exam which became two computerized exams that I took and passed a few years later after our daughter was born.

5)   How do Architects measure success?

I can only speak for myself. When I think of a successful architect, I think of someone who has achieved a solid portfolio of built work spanning many years and whose buildings, designs, and/or residences resonate with their end-users.

6)   What matters most to you in design?

Design is a vast subject and covers so much.  I value beauty, good proportions, quality materials, and durability.

7)   What do you hope to achieve over the next 20-30 years?

That’s a long time.  Your question has prompted me to realize I really only think in terms of today and the next year—of course, I envision a great future for my family for many years. Professionally, I would like to continue in the area of tenant build-outs, space planning, and interior design.  I have been begging my husband for years to team up with me to renovate houses and I think he’s about ready to do so.

FLW Guggenheim NYC-Framed-Sml

Photo: Frank Cunha III

8)   Who is your favorite Architect? Why?

I can say that I am not an avid follower/groupie of any particular architect except that I love the designs of Andrea Palladio, the 14th c. Italian architect famous for his beautiful houses, symmetrical designs, and arched windows.  While a student, the theories of Finnish architect Alvar Aalto resonated with me— his inclusive programs (as opposed to Mies van der Rohe’s exclusive, stark plans). I also love many of Frank Lloyd Wright’s homes and especially his Guggenheim Museum and I love Frank Gehry’s Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles—I guess in part because I have been there and experienced it. These days, I’m revisiting various architects’ manifestoes to get fresh ideas and perspectives. There is one architect I admire for her sheer perseverance as much as her work: Julia Morgan who was the first female architect in California who started out as a Civil Engineer and who endured many trials and challenges on her path to becoming a successful Architect.  Ironically, her work was absent from the curriculum at OSU.

9)   What is your favorite historic and modern (contemporary) project? Why?

My favorite historic project is The Parthenon in Athens, Greece (built between 447 – 438 B.C); I admire it because it is such an iconic image exemplifying all that is beautiful and graceful in architecture.  It is the inspiration behind my twitter handle: @Parthenon1. My favorite modern (contemporary) project is the Denver Airport design by Fentress Architects; I love tent structures and am so intrigued at how well-integrated the forms are with the rest of the structure and successfully done despite the harsh climate of wind, snow, and ice.  It, too, is a beautiful iconic image with the white peaks of the tents rhythmically rising, echoing the mountains beyond.

10)   Where do you see the profession going over the next few decades?

This is a particularly challenging question and one that I see many of us in the Architecture/Engineering/Construction industry grappling to answer every day on social media sites- what I call the new agora or Roman forum- such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+.  To read many tweets, posts and forum discussion threads is to realize that we’ve all embarked on a mysterious expedition to define the Next architectural manifesto that will solve the world’s problems through innovative, sustainable design.  It feels very much like we’re on the precipice of a major breakthrough but we haven’t yet been able to put it into concise words or build with new forms and materials. There are many thought leaders I look to such as Rachel Armstrong from Britain with her Architecture 2.0; and Ed Mazria who conceived and developed Architecture+2030 (a program to train architects to systemically address CO2 emissions from buildings). Definitely sustainable design, adaptive reuse and retrofitting existing buildings to be more “green” (yikes, I can’t believe I’m using that word!) and high technologies are going to govern how architects practice for years to come. I recommend reading “Building (In) The Future- Recasting Labor in Architecture” compiled and edited by Phil Bernstein and Peggy Deamer—according to at least some of the essays, the future of architecture is going to be much more fabricated off-site and mechanized like the car industry.  IKEA is one example of this with their new pre-manufactured housing.  I personally don’t like this trend but am keeping an open mind toward it.  I don’t want to see the loss of art and craft and design in the move toward BIM (Building Information Modeling) – another buzzword among many others such as IPD (Integrated Project Delivery- how a project is funded for risk/reward-sharing in profits).

Click here to read Part 2 of this interview.

Tara’s Contact Info:

Tara Imani Designs 10333 Richmond Avenue, Suite 150 Houston, Texas 77042 Ph: (832) 723-1798 Fax: (832) 300-3230 Email: Tara@TaraImaniDesigns.com

San Giorgio Maggiore by Palladio

San Giorgio Maggiore by Palladio

Also Check Out:

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!

2013 is going to be great ~ Sending you lots of love, hope, peace, health, happiness and prosperity! 

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 NJ, NY, PA, DE, CT.


[Repost] Luke Russert: What I Learned From My Dad

I read this book a few years ago and really enjoy the positive message from Tim Russert.  When I saw the Parade yesterday morning I was happy to see his son Luke following in his father’s footsteps.
Big Russ and Me: Father and Son--Lessons of Life

What I Learned From My Dad
by Luke Russert

“Dad”—no title or honor in his life carried more significance to my father, Tim Russert. He once told Oprah Winfrey, “When my life is over, there’s nothing more I’ll be judged on than what kind of father I was.” And he was a wonderful one.
He was not only my best friend, but my compass. While he was alive, he guided me with his actions and advice. Since he’s been gone, those “lessons of life,” as he once called them, have continued to give me counsel and comfort. Here are three of them.

“Believe in yourself.”

If there was one phrase my father never liked to hear, it was “I can’t.” His dad—my grandpa—was a garbage man from South Buffalo, N.Y. He never got to finish high school and held down two jobs to provide for his family, but he never complained. Through education and years of hard work, my dad rose from South Buffalo to become the preeminent political journalist of his generation.When I was a freshman in high school, I had a terrible time with geometry. My dad found me a tutor, but I still struggled. So my teacher suggested I meet with him at 7 each morning before school for extra help. I told my dad, “That’s crazy! I can’t do that!” He replied, “You’re doing it. I’ll bring you.” Every morning at 6:45 a.m., we’d leave the house. Despite working 12-hour days, often with a Todayshow appearance between 7 and 8 a.m., my dad never once missed driving me to school.After months of studying, I was facing the final exam. I was so nervous. If I bombed, I was looking at summer school and—worst of all—failure. On the day of the final, my dad took me to school. He got out of the car and walked with me the first 20 yards. Then he hugged me and said, “Luke, believe in yourself. You can do it. Whatever happens, it’ll be okay. I love you, and I know you can do this.” His words made me realize I needed to trust in my ability and in the hours of work I’d put in. I ended up passing, and it’s still one of my proudest achievements. When I got my grade, the first person I called was Dad. He screamed, “Yes! You worked your butt off, buddy! You earned it, and you believed in yourself!”

Even now, whenever I worry that a task is too much for me or have doubts about performing my job as a Capitol Hill correspondent for NBC News, I think back to that geometry exam. No matter how hard something is, if you’re willing to work, you can succeed. I’m forever grateful to Dad for that lesson.




“It’s okay to be scared.” 

In 2004, my dad and I were on a South Bend, Ind.–to–D.C. flight that hit very bad turbulence. The plane kept lurching, and it seemed to fall hundreds of feet in a few seconds. I was terrified, and I held on to the armrests for what I thought was literally dear life. But Dad, a veteran flier, didn’t flinch. He put his hand on my back, saying it would be okay, and eventually we reached smoother skies. Still, I walked away from that experience with a fear of flying. Even though I dreaded getting on airplanes, I forced myself to travel. But because I wanted to appear tough, I didn’t mention my fear to anybody.One Sunday night, I was due to fly back to Boston after visiting family and friends in Washington, D.C. The sky looked ominous, and I hoped my flight would be canceled. It wasn’t. Dad drove me to the airport, and he could tell I wasn’t myself. I was curt and furiously tapping the door handle. As we pulled up to the terminal, I really started sweating and I blurted out the truth: I was terrified about flying. He said, “I’m coming in with you.” At the counter, to my astonishment, my dad used his airline miles to get himself a ticket to Boston! I asked, “Don’t you have to be on the Today show in the morning?” He responded, “I do, but I’m going through security and walking you to the plane.” I was mortified—I was 21 and I needed an escort. I told him not to worry. My dad said, “It’s okay to be scared. Let’s talk.” We went through security and had a beer at the airport bar. He told me not to be afraid—that airlines only fly under safe conditions, that pilots are very well trained—and he quoted a statistic about air travel being the safest form of travel. He also said to think of turbulence as “rough waves that hit a boat. It might get choppy, but you know you won’t sink.” When boarding was announced, he said, “I love ya, buddy. Call me when you land,” and I got on the plane. Even though the flight was a bit bumpy, my dad’s boat analogy eased my mind.I learned that night it’s okay for a man to show fear and vulnerability. My dad could have said, “Suck it up. It’s only an hour-and-a-half flight.” Instead he went out of his way to support my weakness. To this day, I don’t believe in a “no fear” attitude. All of us have fears, and they’re real. But if you can acknowledge them and understand them—you might need help, like I did—you can overcome them. I’m still not crazy about flying, but whenever I step onto a plane, I think of Dad’s image of a boat in the ocean and it brings me tranquility.

“Remember the little things.”

People are always coming up to me with a “Tim Russert story”: about politics, sports, Buffalo, or just a chance encounter. Often, it’s about a thoughtful thing my father did. Dad was a big believer in random acts of kindness. It was not uncommon for me to come back to my room in college and find a FedEx box containing magazines, a Twix bar (my favorite), and a note from him. The packages brightened my day. It wasn’t so much what they contained—it was that my dad, the busiest man I knew, took the time to show he was thinking about me.

When I started at NBC News, a coworker sought me out and told me a story I’ll never forget. He was working for my dad when his own father became seriously ill, and he needed to take days off. Whenever he asked my father’s permission, my dad always said yes. But he did much more. My coworker talked about the many emails and phone calls he got from Dad, just checking up on him and his sick parent. When his father passed away, my dad sent flowers and gave him all the time off he needed. The man said, “I hadn’t even been at NBC for that long, so to know Tim Russert cared that much about me and my family meant the world to me.”

I’ve tried to continue my dad’s caring ways, whether it’s by making a quick phone call, giving an unexpected gift to a friend, or helping someone who’s a few dollars short at the grocery store. Take it from me and my dad—the little things do matter.

Read more advice from prominent pops like Jeff Bridges, Warren Buffett, Paul Newman, Christopher Reeve, Colin Powell, and Others

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      Luke Russert, an NBC News
      correspondent, is following his
      Dad’s lead on and off the job.

Ezra Stoller Exhibit

TWA Terminal Photograph by Ezra Stoller

Ezra Stoller Exhibit at Yossi Milo Gallery

January 6–February 12, 2011

Yossi Milo Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of photographs by Ezra Stoller (American, 1915–2004). The exhibition will open on January 6 and close on February 12, with a reception on Thursday, January 6, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm.

Ezra Stoller’s gelatin silver prints include images of architectural interiors and iconic landmarks. Based on his background in architecture and industrial design, Stoller used a large-format camera to photograph monumental 20th century buildings, including the Guggenheim Museum, the TWA terminal at Idlewild Airport (now John F. Kennedy International Airport), the Seagram Building, the Salk Institute, Yale Art and Architecture Building and Fallingwater. In addition to well-known photographs of these locations, the exhibition will include lesser-known photographs of small homes and guest houses which provide a fresh look at the masterful eye that established Stoller as the preeminent photographer of modern architecture.

A pioneer in the field of architectural photography, Ezra Stoller was commissioned by architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Paul Rudolph, Eero Saarinen, I.M. Pei, Marcel Breuer and Richard Meier, because of his unique ability to capture the building according to the architect’s vision and to lock it into the architectural canon. His photographs convey a three-dimensional experience of architectural space through a two-dimensional medium, with careful attention to vantage point and lighting conditions, as well as to line, color, form and texture.

Ezra Stoller was born in Chicago in 1915 and graduated from New York University in 1938. He worked briefly with the photographer Paul Strand in the Office for Emergency Management before being drafted in 1942 into the U.S. Army, where he taught photography at the Army Signal Corps Photo Center in Long Island City. During his long career, he also photographed factories and technical facilities as well as residential projects. In 1961, he became the first photographer to be awarded the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal. His photographs have been exhibited internationally and belong to numerous museum collections, including The Whitney Museum of American Art; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Hours:

Tuesday–Saturday 10 am–6 pm

Gallery Location:

525 West 25th Street
New York, NY 10001

phone: 212-414-0370
fax: 212-414-0371

mail@yossimilo.com

Ezra Stoller Slideshow

Click here


Diner

Americana 


City on the Gulf: Urban Experiment in Dubai

Image Courtesy of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture

City on the Gulf: Koolhaas Lays Out a Grand Urban Experiment in Dubai

By NICOLAI OUROUSSOFF

It has been 12 years since the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaasunleashed his concept of “the generic city,” a sprawling metropolis of repetitive buildings centered on an airport and inhabited by a tribe of global nomads with few local loyalties. His argument was that in its profound sameness, the generic city was a more accurate reflection of contemporary urban reality than nostalgic visions of New York or Paris.

Now he may get a chance to create his own version.

Designed for one of the biggest developers in the United Arab Emirates, Nakheel, Mr. Koolhaas’s master plan for the proposed 1.5-billion-square-foot Waterfront City in Dubai would simulate the density of Manhattan on an artificial island just off the Persian Gulf. A mix of nondescript towers and occasional bold architectural statements, it would establish Dubai as a center of urban experimentation as well as one of the world’s fastest growing metropolises.

The mixed-use project, startling in scale, is a carefully considered critique not just of the generic city but of a potentially greater evil: the growing use of high-end architecture as a tool for self-promotion. To Mr. Koolhaas this strategy, which many architects refer to as the Bilbao syndrome, reduces cities to theme parks of architectural tchotchkes that mask an underlying homogeneity.

His strategy is not to reject either trend outright but to locate each one’s hidden, untapped potential, or as he puts it, “to find optimism in the inevitable.”

Click here for the rest of the story.

Do You Love Your Architect?

Copyright © 2010 Frank Cunha III.
Frank Cunha III – Architect & Visual Artist
Registered Architect, NJ, NY, PA, CT, DE
PO Box 335, Hamburg, NJ 07419
E-mail: fc3arch @me.com
Tel: 973.970.3551
Fax: 973.718.4641

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