What is the Thinking Hand in Architecture (and why we, as architects, must defend the natural slowness and diversity of experience) #ilmaBlog #Discourse #Theory #Architecture #Design

ILMA The Thinking Hand 01

2009 Book, The Thinking Hand written byArchitect Juhani Pallasmaa

In The Thinking Hand, Architect Juhani Pallasmaa reveals the miraculous potential of the human hand. He shows how the pencil in the hand of the artist or architect becomes the bridge between the imagining mind and the emerging image. The book surveys the multiple essences of the hand, its biological evolution and its role in the shaping of culture, highlighting how the hand–tool union and eye–hand–mind fusion are essential for dexterity and how ultimately the body and the senses play a crucial role in memory and creative work. Pallasmaa here continues the exploration begun in his classic work The Eyes of the Skin by further investigating the interplay of emotion and imagination, intelligence and making, theory and life, once again redefining the task of art and architecture through well-grounded human truths.

Pallasmaa notes that, “…architecture provides our most important existential icons by which we can understand both our culture and ourselves. Architecture is an art form of the eye, the hand, the head and the heart. The practice of architecture calls for the eye in the sense of requiring precise and perceptive observation. It requires the skills of the hand, which must be understood as an active instrument of processing ideas in the Heideggeran sense. As architecture is an art of constructing and physical making, its processes and origins are essential ingredients of its very expression…”

Linking art and architecture he continues, “…as today’s consumer, media and information culture increasingly manipulate the human mind through thematized environments, commercial conditioning and benumbing entertainment, art has the mission to defend the autonomy of individual experience and provide an existential ground for the human condition. One of the primary tasks of art is to safeguard the authenticity and independence of human experience.”

Pallasmaa asserts that,

“Confidence in future architecture must be based on the knowledge of its specific task; architects need to set themselves tasks that no one else knows how to imagine. Existential meanings of inhabiting space can be articulated by the art of architecture alone. Thus architecture continues to have a great human task in mediating between the world and ourselves and in providing a horizon of understanding in the human existential condition.

The task of architecture is to maintain the differentiation and hierarchical and qualitative articulation of existential space. Instead of participating in the process of further speeding up the experience of the world, architecture has to slow down experience, halt time, and defend the natural slowness and diversity of experience. Architecture must defend us against excessive exposure, noise and communication. Finally, the task of architecture is to maintain and defend silence. The duty of architecture and art is to survey ideals and new modes of perception and experience, and thus open up and widen the boundaries of our lived world.”

(Source: https://www.wiley.com/en-us/The+Thinking+Hand%3A+Existential+and+Embodied+Wisdom+in+Architecture-p-9780470779293)

We would love to hear from you about what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends.

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


Architecture of Hope #ilmaBlog

Everyone loves when new project is conceived.  The designs that are imagined in collaboration with an Architect and an Owner is magical – it is one of the rare opportunities in life when we have some control about creating something meaningful.  An architecture project offers hope and meaning to a world filled with complexity, anxiety and chaos. 

When a project is developed there is a sense of hope that the world will be a better place.  Great architecture allows people’s lives to change for the better addressing the programmatic needs of the client while offering beautiful, harmonic spaces for the occupants.

When an Architect envisions a space for a client, they are taking a wish and making it a reality.  The new spaces that make up the built work will become treasured by those who are able to experience it.  The building itself will shape the lives of the occupants and allow them to do the things they could not before.  Great architecture is more than just a shelter or a place that addresses the client’s need.  Great architecture transcends time and space and connects us in various ways: literally connects us in real time when using the space but also interacts with the occupants as experiences are etched into the memory of the building.  There is a feeling you get when you are in a great building.  It is difficult to describe but the space itself is more than the sum of its parts.  It is a spiritual experience.  An example of such a building for me is the Guggenheim Museum by Frank Lloyd Wright or the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts by Frank Furness.

Experiencing these buildings on various occasions exemplifies how Architects can design buildings in a way that epitomizes hope.  There are two definitions for hope: (1) a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen and (2) a feeling of trust.  Indeed, experiencing these spaces and many others the occupant does have a strong desire for something to happen and there is a feeling of trust that something will happen.  When visiting these special places, it is easy to see that designing architecture of hope allows the visitor a chance to experience a space that otherwise would be unexciting and humdrum.

When starting out on a project it is important to address this inherent desire to create someplace distinctive and extraordinary by thinking about how we as great Architects can live up to the desires and hope of our clients, even when they may not clearly see or sense the hope in the vision they are trying to construct.  Our jobs as Architects is to offer hope to our clients through our exceptional and distractive skills, blending art and science and craft when practicing Architecture.   If we can do this then we can create an Architecture filled with hope.

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

Suggested Reading:

My Architecture Manifesto: “Architecture Shall Live On” by Architect @FrankCunhaIII #Architect #Design #Theory #AvantGarde #ilmaBlog #DesignTheory #Architecture

Architects Vs. “Sculptor” Architects based on a conversation btw @WJMArchitect and @FrankCunhaIII

Ophiuchus: The Serpent Bearer (Playing With Numbers)


The 10,000 Year Clock #ilmaBlog

I want to build a clock that ticks once a year. The century hand advances once every 100 years, and the cuckoo comes out on the millennium. I want the cuckoo to come out every millennium for the next 10,000 years.

(Danny Hillis, a polymath inventor, computer engineer, and designer, inventor and prime genius of the Clock. He and Stewart Brand, a cultural pioneer and trained biologist)

The full scale 10,000 Year Clock is now under construction. While there is no completion date scheduled, we do plan to open it to the public once it is ready. The essay below by Long Now board member Kevin Kelly discusses what we hope the Clock will be once complete. This is one of several projects by Long Now to foster long-term thinking in the context of the next 10,000 years. Click here to read the rest of the story.

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


Architect’s Follow Up on the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris and Creating Safer Work Environments #UnderConstruction #Safety #Design #Architecture #LessonsLearned #SafetyFirst #Design #Build #Architect #ilmaBlog

Follow Up on the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris and Creating Safer Work Environments

A few weeks ago on April 15th, 2019, a fire destroyed the roof and wooden spire of the Notre-Dame de Paris.

One of the most famous timber frame fires started just after midnight on the 2nd September 1666 in Pudding Lane. After burning for three days it destroyed nearly 90 percent of the inhabitants of London’s homes.

Getty Images

Possible Causes For Blaze

Although officials say that the investigation could last several weeks and nothing can be ruled out at this time, there is much suspicion that the blaze may have been started by a short-circuit near the spire.

The short circuit may have been possibly caused by electrified bells, or negligence by construction workers carrying out the ongoing renovations, a theory fueled by the discovery of cigarette butts.

Typical Sources of Ignition

Not related to the fire, but for a matter of reference, sources of ignition during construction may generally include: (1) Hot works – cutting, grinding, soldering, hot pitching; (2) Faulty electrical equipment – damaged sockets and equipment, service strikes, temporary supplies and halogen lighting; (3) Arson – works in high crime rate areas, protests and objections to the scheme, disgruntled employees or contractors; (4) Reactive chemicals; (5) Fire Loading; (6) Fire Spread – The Offsite Risks; (7) and Constrained sites.   It will be interesting to see what the investigators are able to uncover in the following weeks.

André Finot, the cathedral’s spokesman, pointed out traces of damage. “Everywhere the stone is eroded, and the more the wind blows, the more all of these little pieces keep falling,” he said. (Photo Credit: Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times)

Ongoing Renovations

Fallen stones on the cathedral’s roof. Experts say that the building has reached a tipping point and that routine maintenance is no longer enough to prevent rain, wind and pollution from causing lasting damage. (Photo Credit: Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times)
Masonry that has broken away or that was taken down as a precautionary measure has been piled up on a small lawn at the back of the cathedral. (Photo Credit: Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times)

According to the New York Times, the biggest renovation at the cathedral took place between 1844 and 1864 when the spire and the flying buttresses were rebuilt.  The most recent overhaul, however, was meant to be understated. “The idea isn’t to replace every single stone. I don’t want to give this cathedral a face-lift,” said Philippe Villeneuve, the chief architect behind the project.  The renovations, which are estimated to cost $150 million euro ($169 million) were still ongoing when the cathedral caught fire.  Most likely something to do with the renovations of the cathedral led to its temporary demise.

Design Input

The event, which occurred during holy week sparked an intense national debate on how the 856-year-old cathedral should be rebuilt.  The French public will get a say on how the fire-ravaged Notre Dame cathedral will be rebuilt, officials say. 

FYI: In a separate blog post, ILMA plans to do a write up on the current designs that are being suggested by Architects and designers around the world.

Construction Workers – Risk Management

As a matter of course, this heartbreaking occurrence give us pause to consider the threats that can occur during construction.  Some risks to workers that need to be managed during construction and renovations include the following: (1) Working at Height; (2) Slips, Trips and Falls; (3) Moving Objects; (4) Noise; (5) Manual Handling; (6) Vibrations; (7) Collapses; (8) Asbestos; (9) Electricity; (9) Respiratory diseases. (Sources: Top 10 construction health and safety risks) and OSHA’s Top Four Construction Hazards); From the perspective of keeping the building safe during renovations and/or construction and saving lives, the following should be considered:

Building Safety – Risk Management

  1. Installation of sprinkler systems and fire detection systems early on in construction
  2. Availability of standpipes
  3. Commissioning the sprinkler system
  4. Access to fire extinguishers
  5. Make sure your fire detection and warning systems work
  6. Maintaining means of egress; Building compartmentation and protected fire routes in as the building is constructed
  7. Protect emergency escape routes
  8. Secure the site against arson
  9. Protect temporary buildings and accommodation
  10. Store equipment safely
  11. Design out hot works
  12. Keep the site tidy
  13. Keep project site and equipment safe
  14. No smoking
  15. Increase security for the site – CCTV, Full height hoarding, signage
  16. Engagement of local fire departments – to assess water pressure and accessibility
  17. Proper fire risk assessment that considers fire loading and fire separation distances

Learning From the Tragedy of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris

As timber is becoming increasingly more popular in high rises it is important to consider the past when managing the risks of projects utilizing wood framing.  Although there are many studies and test on modern day timber/wood designs, it is still important to consider the risks that are present on any jobsite.  Spending the money to do construction the right way will help reduce the inherent risks with construction – both to safeguard people as well as the buildings that we cherish.

For more information on my take on what happened at Notre Dame, please consider checking out the original articles: Personal Reflection on the Tragedy of April 15, 2019 at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and What Makes Notre Dame Cathedral So Important as a Work of Architecture?.

Additional Reading:

We would love to hear from you about 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


Our Exclusive ILMA Interview with Matthew B. Jarmel, AIA, MBA of @JarmelKizel

Mr. Jarmel is an Architect, Real Estate Developer, Renewable Energy Enthusiast, Entrepreneur and Owner of Jarmel Kizel Architects and Engineers Inc.

He received a Bachelors of Architecture from NJIT in 1990 and an MBA from Rutgers University in 1994. He can be found online at the following social media sites: LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

About the Firm

Since the firm’s founding in 1975, Jarmel Kizel has worked its way from the inside out; originally concentrating on the interior design of corporate offices and since has grown into a full-service Architectural, Engineering, and Interior Design firm that provides a single point of accountability for all aspects of design services. The firm’s size and abilities enable it to handle a broad spectrum of projects while allowing the principals to put their seal on every one. With in-house Civil, Structural, Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing and Fire Protection Engineering, clients can look to Jarmel Kizel to have all aspects of their projects designed and managed by one firm.

Today the firm provides a unique service platform that provides a single point of accountability for architectural and engineering services formatted to assist clients with managing their project’s design needs from site design and land entitlements to building design through construction oversight.

ILMA INTERVIEW

When and why did you decide to become an Architect?     

I knew when I was in Junior High School that I wanted to become an architect.  I grew up in the industry in that my father is a commercial interior designer, he actually founded our firm in 1975, and I was exposed to design and construction at a very early age.  My dad totally remodeled our home and he had my brother Richard, who is a civil engineer and partner in our firm, and myself helping and working with tools. 

What were some of the challenges of achieving your dream?  

The architectural and engineering industry can be very rewarding.  There is tremendous emotional fulfillment to see your ideas first take shape on paper and then through construction.  I take great pride driving by a building our firm has designed and saying we did that.  Despite the rewards the business of architecture can be very difficult.  Our industry is first hit by a recession, hardest hit and usually the last to recover.   One of the greatest challenges of working in the profession is learning how to batten down the hatches and weather the economic storms when they come. 

Any memorable clients or project highlights?  

I have many projects I am proud of many clients that I respect and that have become good friends and even partners over the years.  Some of the more notable projects I have worked on include designing the Bear Stearns Campus in Whippany, NJ.  This project was developed over years and ultimately included approximately 700,000 sf of office and data center space in five buildings, two of which we designed and the rest we designed major renovations to.  Unfortunately Bear Stearns does not exist anymore but the campus is still there.  We also were fortunate to design the first major redevelopment project in Plainfield, NJ where we designed four buildings for the Union County Improvement Authority that included a 100,000 sf office building, two retail buildings totaling 40,000 sf and a parking structure.   This project acted as a catalyst for new development in the city.   Over the last several years the firm has been very active in NYC designing many mixed use large scale projects, we have a 17 story building under construction in Queens right now.   One of my most memorable clients is The Learning Experience.   The Learning Experience is a national and soon to be international brand of child development centers.  We designed their first center 16 years ago and have since completed over 200 projects throughout the country for them.  Because of the volume of projects we have completed for them, about 70 in NJ alone, I gained tremendous experience in land entitlements and have become an expert in land entitlement strategy.

How does your family support what you do?    

The creative process can be very time consuming, running a business and being creative magnifies the time required to be an architect.  Some days I leave the house at 7 and if I have a hearing don’t get home until midnight.   Other times I am hopping on an airplane and away overnight.   My family is supportive in that they understand the taxing requirements of the job.   With that said everything I do is for my family.  So I make sure my wife and children get the attention they need from me and we plan as much quality time as possible.

How do Architects measure success?     

Some might say you measure the success of an architect by the quality and aesthetic of the buildings he or she designs, or by how much wealth and fame they have obtained.  To me a successful architect you have to be a strong leader, a strong communicator and be able to balance the aesthetic and technical issues of a building’s design all while understanding the functional and economical goals of your client.  The architect that can achieve this can become successful.  Ultimately success is measured by obtaining the respect of your peers, clients and even contractors in the industry.  

What matters most to you in design?      

Achieving my clients goals of function and budget while creating a building that is safe and attractive.   

What do you hope to achieve over the next 2 years? 5 years?  

Our firm has developed strong skills in real estate development which include land entitlements and real estate economics.   Many times we set the strategy for how to present a project to planning and zoning boards, explain the process to our clients and even their attorneys, advise on PILOT and other incentives, building valuation and assist in making introduction to equity investors and lenders.   These skills make us stand out from our competitors but not necessarily obtain higher fees.  Our goal for the next 2 to 5 years is to expand our Real Estate Advisory services to create additional revenue as a “Fee Developer” and on our own development account.

Who is your favorite Architect? Why?     

I respect the design styles of many current and historic architects.  I am a big fan of the Chicago School and of those architects Louis Sullivan is probably my favorite.  I like this style for the buildings of the time were the first commercial buildings and first to break away from using ancient detailing by employing and emphasizing technology in design.

Do you have a coach or mentor?

I do not have a specific coach or mentor but I like to bounce ideas off of my team, clients and friends.  

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

My favorite historic building is the Roman Pantheon.  It was built around 113 AD and has the largest unreinforced concrete dome ever made which has a giant hole in the center that allows the sun and the moon to shine in along with the rain.  It still stands 2000 years later.  The Romans were great builders, they invented concrete, experimented with reinforcing concrete with brass chains and even developed zoning rules and regulations.   As far as contemporary buildings there are so many that I love.   I lean towards high rise sky scrapers

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

Although new technologies are implemented in the profession and we go through these stages where we preach design build vs a separation between design and construction professionals the industry has not changed much in my career.  I find it interesting that Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead” which was written in the 40’s and takes place in the 20’s and uses the architectural industry as a back story to promoting her political views speaks to many of the same type of players and issues in the industry today.  There are developers, contractors, politicians and architects.  There are residential, public and commercial buildings and she even tackles issues such as affordable housing.  All the same issues we deal with today.   I do not see major changes in the business of the profession.  Although I do see major technical influences which will affect the way we design and build buildings.  There is a robot that lays brick now.  I think as the world gets smaller through technology building codes and licensing laws will become more standardized.

What type of technology do you see in the design and construction industries?

The use of BIM is becoming the most prevalent tool used in the design of buildings.  It allows architects and engineers to work in 3 dimensions, quickly and efficiently to improve coordination and actually see the building take shape on the screen.  Despite my comment about the brick laying robot above most construction is still done with heavy machinery and by hand.  However, technology has taken over the management of projects from creating schedules, to tracking financing and creating a database of information.  

Who / what has been your greatest influence in design?      

This answer may seem odd to most architects but my great influence in design arrives from an understanding of real estate economics tied to a building’s function and economics.   When a student at NJIT I took an elective in real estate development.  It was taught by a gentleman who ran the development arm of a now defunct savings and loan so we will allow him to remain nameless.  However, he was very influential in that he said he hated architects and found them to be a necessary evil in the process because the law forced them on him to use.  Obviously, this got most of the students in the class upset but I wanted to know why he felt that way.  He thought that architects only cared about what the building looked like and had no understanding or really care for what it might cost to build, what’s its function was to be or how it generated revenue for its owners.  He introduced me to the business side of why clients build in the first place.  This motivated me to go on and obtain an MBA with a concentration in real estate development and urban land use after architectural school.  I feel that the business education in conjunction with my architectural education make me a stronger architect and have been the most influential on my design.

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

I have been fortunate to work on almost any type of commercial project.  I would like to be exposed to more hospitality projects.

How do you hope to inspire / mentor the next generation of Architects?   

I hope to mentor the next generation of architects in a way that they can understand the business goals of the client and why they are building so that they can better respond to the client’s needs I also want to mentor them to be strong leaders and great communicators.

What advice would you give aspiring architects (K-12)? College students? Graduates?

I would advise them to not only pursue their dream of designing buildings but to learn about the profession as a whole, to learn about the process of becoming an architect and career choices in the industry.  When I was in school no one told me how to become a licensed architect I had to figure it out on my own.

What does Architecture mean to you?     

It is my profession, it is my life!

What is your design process?     

First understand the client’s program goals and budget, then study the site and zoning constraints, roll up my sleeves and dive in.

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

A civil engineer and or real estate developer.

What is your dream project?     

A really tall building in a major city that becomes a landmark for years to come.  If I can be a partner in its ownership even better.

What advice do you have for a future Executive leader?     

Respect and care about the people you are leading, be kind but stern.

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

All challenges revolve around people.  First finding qualified people, there is a tremendous shortage of qualified architects and engineers, second finding people that can see the big picture first before the crawl into the details and finally finding people that can communicate effectively.   As far as trends see my answer to where I see the industry going above

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

I am optimistic that we are at the beginning of a sustainable economic growth period.  This will provide many of us with significant projects to choose from and an even more challenging labor shortage.  An executive leader will need to be able to recruit talent and keep them motivated to stay.

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?     

I do not know if I am any smarter today at 50 then I was when I got out of school in my early 20’s what I have gained is life experience.  The most important lesson is that people will surprise you. Some will impress you, some will disappoint you, some will be loyal and others not.  I have seen some crazy things happen some good and some bad.   Just when I think I have seen everything someone surprises me. 

Final Thoughts on How to Be Successful?      

Learn your trade, be good at and then learn to be a good communication and leader and business person.

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


“From Now To How: Social, Virtual and Cross Generational Leadership” by Exec Coach & Trainer @JustCoachIt

by Guest Blogger, Irene Becker
First woman CEO of a steel company in Canada, Irene Becker has a track record of trailblazing accomplishments in business and in the community at large. Irene is an inspiring executive coach, speaker and writer whose R-E-A-C-H methodology and 3Q focus has helped clients achieve breakthrough results in their careers, communication, leadership and lives. Passionate about the integrity of her work, Irene is dedicated to helping change-makers LEAD forward at the speed of change.

Leadership Balance

You can criticize, condemn and complain or imagine, inspire and innovate. Your choice will determine your destiny. – Deepak Chopra

The need to go from NOW to HOW is critical. Leadership starts with our ability to imagine, inspire, innovate and communicate forward.

Hope lies in not simply playing to strengths, but to seizing every challenge, change, stressor and failure as an opportunity to grow, evolve and expand the power of our minds, the strength of our brains and the capacity of our hearts.

Courage lies in our ability develop a whole new mind set, skill set and heart set that optimizes the unbridled passion, purpose and potential of humans to do better, rather than simply living or working faster than ever before.

Strength lies in finding a common language, a common message that touches the heads, hearts and mind of many. A message that transcends social, ethnic, virtual and cross generational lines because it speaks to the purpose that unites us all.

Leadership starts with our ability to imagine, inspire, innovate and communicate forward.

Leaders must be purpose driven because purpose equals profit on a multiplicity of levels. If your employees, your team, your constituents do not feel that the work they do, the contribution they make, is purposeful they will never optimize or maximize their potential.

If they do not feel that they are an integral part of a bigger picture, a larger goal or a greater team, the engagement, loyalty, transparency of communication and collaboration optimization of engagement and potential will not be achieved.

Similarly, if they do not have access to resources that help them learn new ways of thinking doing and communicating that enable their greatest potential in the face of change, challenges, complexity and opportunities they cannot lead forward.

Leaders must embrace their ability to go from NOW to HOW by not simply playing to strengths but also to using change, challenges, stressors, even failures to optimize all 3Q’s: IQ (intelligence-focus-ability to learn and re-learn faster and better); EQ (emotional intelligence; self awareness, self management, relationship management, social management, communication); and SQ (values, purpose, integrity).

3Q Leadership strengths are not for the faint of heart. They are instead for those who want to negotiate dark corners, build new bridges among diverse groups and develop communities of purpose and practice that survive and thrive by using strengths, changes and challenges to communicate and lead forward.

Leaders must be excellent listeners, learners and communicators who build bridges across diverse groups, internal and external constituencies. They must build and empower Communities of Purpose where shared objectives, values, purpose and language empowers, engages and sustains actual, social/digital/virtual communication and collaboration.

They must have the courage to negotiate dark unknown corners with courage, hope, faith, integrity and humanity knowing that the differences that separate us are inconsequential in relation to the common human bond and purpose that unites us.

They must have the communication skills to find the message, the sound bite that opens the ears, heads, hearts and minds of all, irrespective of race, creed, gender or generational age. They must be leaders who learn, re-learn and fail forward faster and better than ever before by developing real and virtual/social communities of purpose.

Leaders must be excellent listeners, learners and communicators who build bridges across diverse groups, internal and external constituencies.

The need to go from NOW to HOW is critical. Leadership starts with our ability to imagine, inspire, innovate and communicate forward. It means embracing our ability to learn, re-learn, imagine, inspire and innovate by championing the mental, emotional agility and consistency of united purpose and integrity that can help us use what is to create what can be in ourselves, our people, our organizations…our world.

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,
I.LM.A. Team
I Love My Architect – Facebook

FC3 ARCHITECTURE+DESIGN, LLC
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Exclusive ILMA Interview with Tara Imani, AIA @Parthenon1 (Part 2)

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).

The Parthenon ruins in Athens. "For complex visual and psychological reasons, it's an extremely powerful building."

The Parthenon ruins in Athens. “For complex visual and psychological reasons, it’s an extremely powerful building.”

Architect Q&A:

11)   Who / what has been your greatest influence in design?

This is a very interesting question because I try not to be defined by a certain style- I consider myself eclectic.  In thinking more deeply about this, I have to say it was my formal education at Ohio State that has by far been the greatest influence on me.  Sub-consciously when I sit down to design, I think about how we would go about solving various design studio problems and what would Professors Doug Graf, John Regan, Ben Gianni or Mas Kinoshita say about “that idea!”  It is incredible to think what an indelible imprint our design professors make on our creative thought processes.  Not to mention the influence of seeing how other students handle certain design problems.  We learn from each other.

Aside from my background, I draw inspiration and learn new ways of doing things by reading various architecture magazines.  But each client and project is different and it is important to respond to the immediate context, specific program needs, and design based on those parameters while addressing the required jurisdictional planning, building, and ADA codes (which are baseline requirements and should be exceeded).

“Every new project is essentially a blank canvas.”
~ Tara Imani, AIA

ILMA-001

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

There are so many building types I have not yet worked on.  I would like to take existing programs and improve them such as Student housing at universities, solving urban and suburban decay, revitalizing neighborhoods, redesigning and adapting existing facilities to new uses.  All of these projects excite me.

I would love to be part of a think tank team that tackles big problems.  I like a challenge and to work with people who want to make a difference and aren’t afraid to try something new.

I’m very entrepreneurial and loved being part of my family’s start-up, creating everything from marketing materials, the company logo, branding our image, hiring new people, determining our core services, implementing new software systems and setting up the daily operations.  Every day was an opportunity to wear many hats.

13)   How do you hope to inspire / mentor the next generation of Architects?

I was asked to co-author a book on how to become an architect for emerging architects.  This was in August 2011 and I have yet to complete it.  I was gung-ho about the project and had actually been waiting for an opportunity to write such a book.  However, it has proved more difficult than originally anticipated—due to the rapidly changing A/E/C industry (with Revit, a move to BIM, IPD, and changes to LEED including a new International Green Building Code, etc.).  I was concerned that my lack of certain credentials would impede the book from being read.

The industry has changed so much due to technological advances that “seasoned architects” are in a reverse position of needing to be mentored and re-trained ourselves.

It is impossible to lead others without leading one’s self.”
~ Tara Imani, AIA

I get my inspiration and compass directions from architectural thought leaders such as James Cramer, founder of The Design Futures Council and Design Intelligence whose website and publications offer cutting edge information: www.di.net.  And staying active in social media also helps stay current on what other firms are doing- such as Tweet chats hosted by the AIA or reading posts on www.aia.org ‘s Knowledge Net forum—a place where mostly architects go to ask questions and share hard-won wisdom with one another.

And I look to outside sources in other arenas such Twitter where you can interact with such innovative leaders as Tom Peters, Vala Afshar, Lolly Daskal, and Frank Stephens whose thoughts and ideas can inform architecture in ways our otherwise insular profession has not had in the past.

The Louve Museum in Paris featuring IM Pei's glass pyramid at night

The Louve Museum in Paris featuring IM Pei’s glass pyramid at night

14)   What does Architecture mean to you?

This question reminds me of an ongoing conversation/debate we had on AIA’s Knowledge Net site a few years ago where we all tried to define “What is good design?”  Many of us easily fell back on Vitruvius’s Firmness, Commodity, and Delight (my favorite definition to date) while others said “modern” and still others wanted to focus solely on sustainability which, to me, is an underlying aspect that runs through all areas of design and is a pre-requisite consideration in the earliest stages of the design process.

When I hear the world ‘architecture’, I think of beautiful buildings like the Louvre museum in Paris or the Pantheon in Rome.  Architecture is synonymous with Aesthetics and cannot exist without a parti (French word for concept/diagram); a unifying concept/idea that makes sense of the project’s many parts.  This is what sets mere functional buildings with true architecture—that unspoken feeling of sublime awe when you experience a Gothic Cathedral (or so I’m told… I haven’t been to one- yet).

15)   What is your design process?

My design process is iterative.  It starts with meeting with the client and listening to their needs.  Vetting clients is very important and sometimes (even though as they say “beggars can’t be choosers”) it is best to turn down a project if the client refuses to understand the legal requirements of certain tasks or doesn’t have an adequate budget—unless you can assist with a creative solution to help them find a way to build it for less cost or come up with a way to assist them in raising the necessary funds.

“The client needs to respect the design capabilities and experience of the Architect.”
~ Tara Imani, AIA

Once the project goals, budget, scope of services (what I will do), and the fee (most important) is determined and agreed upon, the next step is to get a signed contract and a retainer fee.  Then, it is appropriate to begin to solve the design problem.

Sometimes, it is not possible to accomplish what I just wrote in the above paragraph as clients might be trying to decide if a particular site or lease space will work—in those cases, I can provide the client with a feasibility study for an agreed upon fee.

A lot of factors come into play that some clients might not be aware of—building codes differ by jurisdiction, fire codes are critical to comply with, occupancy loads are determined by square footages and use, construction budgets will be stretched.  It’s not a matter of merely “drawing up a set of floor plans”.  It’s a matter of orchestrating a confluence of design factors and meeting client expectations.

photo 2

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

This is another intriguing question.  For years I was driven by a need to make others around me happy.  This led to being at everyone else’s beck and caw while ignoring my own needs.  It’s a delicate balance to pursue worthy goals without being selfish.

To answer your question more directly: I would like to be a writer or an actor.  I also enjoy dancing and the performing arts, so being an entertainer or speaker would be fun.

I feel I can do anything I set my mind to.

I’ve already mentioned some of my pursuits in play as a child; some of the other interests I had were creative writing, espionage, and organizing messy rooms/drawers/closets (even if it was someone else’s house).

Funny fact about me: At age 34 or so- when I was having a moment of frustration in the family business- I decided I would pursue my hidden desire to be a spy, so I called the FBI and asked them if they were hiring. LOL!  I really did that.  They said yes, they were but that the maximum age to train a new agent was 36.  I did the math and thought that it was too late to do that.  Naturally, I thought of the next thing: being a private detective.  So I opened the Yellow Pages and called a few (there are only a few listed anyway) and got an interview with one.  He was an older, handsome man much like the TV character Matlock.  Without looking at my resume or discussing anything, he looked directly at me across his big wooden brown desk and simply got right to the point and said, “Miss, you don’t want to want to be a Private Detective.” Insert uncomfortable pause. “Trust me.”

Of course, I was not satisfied with his answer. I needed to know specifically why:  Would I have to carry a gun?  Was he ever shot at? I think I asked him if the job required having to sneak around dark alleys at 3:00 a.m.

Well, he wasn’t specific in his responses other than to shake his head yes to all of the above and more.  I could tell his mind was made up so I took his advice and forsook any notions of suburban espionage.

17)   What is your dream project?

I would love to work on a Hollywood set although I’ve heard the pace is maddening.  My dream project is actually writing a book about Julia Morgan and having it made into a screenplay that I would get to co-direct.  I envision it as an epic period piece along the lines of ‘Titanic’ spanning her whole life- like a series- and showing to the finest detail what life was like for women in 1893 Paris when Julia was accepted on her third attempt into the L’Ecole des Beaux Arts.  I’ve envisioned various actresses playing her role from Julia Roberts to Angelina Jolie.  I think John Goodman or Brad Pitt would make a great William Randolph Hearst (Julia’s lifelong client).  So, it sounds like a match made in Heaven!

Click here to read Part 1 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

The Villa Almerico-Capra (The Rotunda) by Palladio

The Villa Almerico-Capra (The Rotunda) 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.


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.


@2BFitLori – Motivation Exposé #Fitness #WeightLoss #Motivation #Inspiration

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing one of my Instagram friends, Lori Ross, who has inspired countless of men and women to start losing the weight, stay in shape, and begin a healthy lifestyle. I Love My Architect is primarily about Art & Architecture and sometimes we take a side trip to document some cool photo gear, poetry, or other interests. Once I read Lori’s posts on Instagram and saw her transformation I wanted to share her journey with you all. Over the past 12 months I have lost 20 or so pounds and recently started working out. It isn’t easy but once you start and see the results it’s hard to stop. Looking back at old photos or checking the waist line on your old pants is a great way to stay motivated. I hope this expose inspires you to Start or Keep Going.

1) Lori, thanks for agreeing to do this. I know it must be difficult to talk about at times, but I wanted to share your success story with the world. Can you tell us about your journey?

LR: My journey started long before I ever even knew it existed. It started in my mind. Food became my drug of choice to silence all the thoughts and feelings I couldn’t handle throughout my life. This journey has been about finding myself and who I really am. I let myself finally feel what I had been supressing all my life through food. I decided to take back the control over my own mind, left my job of 14 years to finally make myself a priority. I reached out, hired a trainer, started eating right, laughed, cried, fought my way back, and here I am, not even a full year later….down 100 pounds!

2) Wow, that is amazing! At what point did you realize that you HAD to make a change in your life and how did you find the WILL and DESIRE to change your habits?
LR: I’ve yoyo’d my entire life, once weighing in at 289 pounds. Tried many many times to lose the weight, dropping about 50 pounds and putting it right back on. Never knowing why, until finally, I reached the deepest darkest place that was consuming my life, consuming my mind and my health. Depression was taking over. I wasn’t living, I was merely existing, slowly killing myself with food. I remember just wanting the pain to end, the pain in my mind. Finally realizing that no one could make the change except me. I, myself, had to become MY priority, or I would live in this pain forever. The WILL and DESIRE have to come from within. I finally gave myself permission to Love ME!

3) What do you want to tell people when they see these 10-minute abs videos, diet books and fad diets ads online and on television?
LR: If you don’t love yourself and have the right mindset, it won’t matter what FAD you accept into your life, it won’t take hold and last. You have to be willing to put yourself first. Believe me, I’ve tried almost everything, thinking that I was willing to try anything just to be thin, when in fact, I first needed to love myself. There’s no easy fix, if you aren’t willing to make a permanent change in your mind and how you see yourself, nothing will become consistent. I’ve always said, consistency is key, and it is, consistently loving yourself, consistently checking your mindset, consistently feeding your mind with positive thinking.

4) How do you stay motivated to keep going?
LR: My motivation has finally come from knowing my own self-worth. Believing in my strength and ability to love myself unconditionally. There can be no other motivation as powerful as that. Once you know you are worth more, you will have more. Nothing will be greater than keeping the balance in your life that allows yourself to become free and self determined to keep that feeling internally. I often look back at where I was, just to remember where I don’t want to return to. This is what keeps me going! I AM WORTH IT!

5) Since you like to pause and look back to see where you don’t want to be again, have you considered starting a blog to help motivate others by sharing how you have overcome your greatest challenges. How has this reflection helped you.
LR: I have considered starting a blog, or facebook page in order to help others. I am currently writing a book to detail my own journey. I have much knowledge and information I want to share with the world. My passion now lies in passing along this information and motivating others to make the change. I know it’s difficult, I’ve been there and I intend to help others any way I can. Reflecting on all of this brings me to tears. It’s actually a very emotional subject for me, but that’s what makes me so passionate about it. It’s a personal journey that I understand, and can bring to people. Reflecting on the past makes me stay the course, focused, determined to be the best me I can be. Reflecting on the present, I am confident, strong and self determined now and nothing will get in my way.

6) Where can our readers find out more about you and see your transformation?
How has social media impacted your life?
LR: I currently am on the Instagram App and Path App as the user name, Lori Pic. I am on Twitter as LoriMom, yes, I have 3 kids. Since Instagram and posting my journey on there, it has shown me what an impact the social media can make on others and helping to bring others to health/fitness and happiness. That’s why now, I intend to start a Blog, possibly a facebook page, and as I stated earlier I’m writing a book I hope to publish. The Social Media has given me a certain amount of strength as well. When people are motivated by your accomplishments, it drives you to want to do your best. All of my followers have been nothing short of wonderful and part of my journey. You would be surprised how some of them have helped me.

7) What’s the next stop on your journey?
LR: The next step for me right now at this very moment is to stay focused! Always Love myself! I’m currently training for a photoshoot once I hit my goal; (which is very soon). I am also studying to become a personal trainer. I am going to keep working on my book and getting it published. This journey will never be over for me, but I’m in control now, not the food. Fitness will forever be a part of my life. I’ve never felt this good….not ever!
Thank you Frank for being a part of my journey and for this opportunity to ‘Detour’ on your Blog! I hope I can help anyone out there who is struggling as I once was…..
Thanks again,
Much Love,
Lori

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Sincerely,
Frank Cunha III
I Love My Architect – Facebook


Sustainable Cities

written by Cathe Reams

The challenges presented by sustainable urban development are immense. Today, more than half of the world’s population already lives in cities and the numbers are rising. Cities are responsible for around 75 percent of all energy used, 60 percent of all water consumed and 80 percent of all greenhouse gases produced worldwide. To face the multitude of challenges arising from urbanization and demographic change, cities are looking at ways to improve the efficiency of their infrastructures. With the right technology cities can become more environmentally friendly, increase the quality of life for their residents, and cut costs all at the same time.

For a real-world look at how our solutions can be implemented today, please download “Smarter Neighborhoods, Smarter City”. This report contains detailed recommendations on how to help America’s largest urban area – the City of New York – plan for more sustainable growth.

Sustainable development & urban infrastructure

Cities continue to grow as more and more people move into urban areas and with this shift towards urbanization, cities are experiencing an increasing strain on their current infrastructure systems. Roadways, power grids, telecommunications lines and public transportation are all systems which rely on a strong infrastructure to handle demand. Optimizing these infrastructural networks is an immense task which requires public and private cooperation.

Power generation and distribution

To meet the growing demand for power, an intelligent and flexible grid infrastructure, is essential. An overloaded power grid can cause the kind of blackout which swept through New York City and much of the Northeast corridor in the US in 2003. Blackouts like these can be prevented with a modern, reliable, environmentally friendly, and affordable energy grid system which works to match the supply and demand balance of our energy systems.

Siemens offers components and solutions for the entire energy conversion chain. This starts with power generation in highly efficient combined gas and steam turbines, solar power plants and wind turbines. The electrical power generated there can be transported to cities with little loss via high-voltage direct current lines which help maintain and efficient transmission on energy through the country.

Sustainable transportation

How do we get from point A to point B in the most efficient manner possible? How do we get people out of gridlock and on the move again? For starters, intelligent traffic control systems contribute to helping traffic flow. They reduce fuel consumption, air pollution, and noise by allowing cars to stop less frequently. Additionally, particularly in cities where space is limited, public transportation systems become increasingly important network for connecting people. Trains in particular are an environmentally friendly alternative to cars and airlines. The Siemens Velaro is a good example. This fourth generation high-speed train consumes only 0.14 gallons of fuel per seat per 100 miles.

Sustainable healthcare infrastructure

In healthcare, too, a shift in thinking about the use of energy and raw materials has set in. Both ecological and economical requirements must be considered when faced with the challenge of creating sustainable infrastructure solutions. Siemens helps hospitals to pave the way for the future – with green hospitals. With its modular Green+ Hospitals concept, Siemens is firmly gearing its healthcare portfolio towards environmental care and sustainability.
The most decisive factor for protecting the environment and minimizing costs in hospitals is power consumption. Energy costs can be reduced through energy optimization, building automation, and the use of energy-saving equipment. A smooth and safe workflow with structured clinical pathways, short examination times, and the comprehensive use of IT is also key to the economic efficiency of a hospital. And with more comfort and gentle treatment for patients, Green+ Hospitals can attain greater competitive appeal and also ensure a better quality of life. 

Read the rest of the article by clicking here.

What’s a green city to you, how is your city green, how can it be more sustainable?
Include the hashtags #GreenCity and #AIANJ & share your thoughts on Twitter.


[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

default-luke-russert

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

Timeless Architecture – Saying Good Bye to a Teacher/Mentor is Never Easy

A Project called “Soul City” dedicated to the memory of Stephen Perrella: Click Here.

Stephen’s friends came together to write Letters to Destin, his son earlier this year.   Here is an excerpt of my submission: Click Here.

The following was published on March 19, 2008 by Daniel Pavlovits in the Architects Newspaper:

Stephen Perrella, 1956-2008

As a tireless advocate for the possibility and necessity of the radical in architecture, Stephen Perrella seized a moment at the dawn of the digital avant-garde in the 1990s to argue for a typology of architectural production that he coined HyperSurface architecture.

Born on Staten Island, Stephen Perrella first studied applied art and graphic design at Iowa State University, only to later return to his boyhood dream of becoming an architect and completing his architecture studies at the Pratt Institute School of Architecture in 1991. He later went on to informally study philosophy at the New School as a means to deepen his understanding of the relationship between culture and architecture, and to develop a theoretical voice.

During the years of his architectural studies at Pratt, he sensed the movement in debate surrounding critical architecture practice and theory, editing two volumes of the Pratt Journal of Architecture, publishing the work and ideas of theorists, artists, and architects, among them John Hejduk, Mark Wigley, and Peter Eisenman, who would later become central figures in the late-20th century architectural avant-garde.

It was through his work on these journals at Pratt that Bernard Tschumi, Dean of Columbia GSAPP, invited him to become editor of the GSAPP Office of Publications. Last week, Tschumi said, “He came along right when architectural practice was changing from hand-drawing to generating images by computer, and he was a front-row witness and promoter of that incredible time.” It was during his tenure at Columbia that he became known as a fervent advocate of the possibilities of and necessity for the radical in architecture, while editing both the GSAPP faculty newsletter Newsline as well as the faculty’s journal Columbia Documents.

Columbia in the 1990s was the seminal school of emergent avant-garde thought and practice, and Perrella became a champion of those he deemed to embody the radical in architecture; years later, many of these became established as the elite thinkers of our generation.

Perrella was not satisfied with merely publishing and advocating the radical in architecture, but went on to develop and coin a production typology he termed HyperSurface architecture. The theory of HyperSurface architecture went beyond the possibility of not only topological forms that emerged as a result of computer applications. It also argued for a practice that seized on the immateriality of capitalism, namely the media image. Perella wanted to think through the infusion of form with media and media with form to work between the two, or as he argued, from “the middle-out.” His belief was that formal and spatial possibilities in architecture cannot be understood apart from the immateriality and destiny of capitalism in the form of the image. This was the genesis of his attempts in theoretical writings and in a series of speculative projects to find an architectural language that had its origin between the two, privileging neither one or the other, but rather fusing them in one stance.

I got to know Perrella in 1999 after inviting him out to Sydney to speak at a student conference. From that series of email exchanges and subsequent week together in Sydney, a working relationship developed between us, as well as with two other colleagues from Ljubljana, Slovenia, for the dissemination of the HyperSurface project, both in lectures around Europe and the United States. Over the years and through several speculative projects, Perrella became both a teacher and mentor, as well as a close friend. His contribution to rethinking the possibility of radical architecture will perhaps one day find a new lease on life in a future generation.

DANIEL PAVLOVITS IS THE EDITOR OF HAECCEITY INC, AN ONLINE JOURNAL OF CRITICAL AND RADICAL THEORY IN ARCHITECTURE.

Daniel Pavlovits


Santa Filomena Chapel by Architect Pedro Maurício Borges

[reposted] In Architecture We Trust!

published in: Architecture By Tina Komninou, 16 March 2011 | Original Article

photo © Fernando Guerra, FG+SG Architectural Photography

Project Title: Capela  de Santa Filomena
Location: Lugar de Netos, Ferreira-a-Nova, Figueira da Foz
Client: Câmara Municipal da Figueira da Foz
Arquitect: Pedro Maurício Borges
Assistants: Rita Curica, Tiago Hespanha, Vitor Canas, Filipe Ferreira
Structural Engineer: ARA – Alves Rodrigues & Associado, Lda (Eng. Fernando Rodrigues)
Watering Engineer: Rita Martins
Electrical Engineer: Camâra Municipal da Figueira da Foz (Eng. Antonino)
Construction: Andrade & Teles, Lda.
Project: 2004 – 2005
Construction: 2005 – 2008
photographer: Fernando Guerra, FG+SG Architectural Photography

photo © Fernando Guerra, FG+SG Architectural Photography

In 2008 a spiritual modernity opened its doors in Portugal’s Figueira da Foz.  The chapel ‘Capela de Santa Filomena’was designed by architect Pedro Maurício Borges and it did not go unnoticed.  A bold, sexy, angular and dominant structure in the middle of a suburbia type area were everything else stands still and pay their respects to this holy place of architecture.

photo © Fernando Guerra, FG+SG Architectural Photography

Looking at this chapel from afar you cant help but say ‘ What is it and What is it doing here?’.  It is as though you have  spotted a ‘CHANEL’ store in the meat packing district. You are gloriously happy to have found it but keep thinking that you are hallucinating. This glorious feeling is instantly projected in this case by two factors. Firstly, the protruded angular shape of the building leading to the sky and secondly the simplistic façade finish which stands out from its surroundings. The actual structure is built on a sloping pavement, as if it has been dropped from the sky. A sloping surface towards either the underground or the holy over world.

photo © Fernando Guerra, FG+SG Architectural Photography

photo © Fernando Guerra, FG+SG Architectural Photography

photo © Fernando Guerra, FG+SG Architectural Photography

Consisting of just three openings (entrance and 2 windows) the main attraction is what we would call the rectangular display window. Clear cut protruding opening with a visible depth and one single powerful display that is understood worldwide. The window is perceived as a picture frame placed on the façade to attract and symbolise what this architectural brand stands for. This idea is made even stronger with the second window acting as a complete reverse. Here the frame is punched inwards from the exterior shell, bringing it levelled with the interior walls. A clear and contrasting approach between a protrusion of ‘In God we Trust’ to invite you in and an inset detail to express the respect and focus of the subject at hand.

photo © Fernando Guerra, FG+SG Architectural Photography

photo © Fernando Guerra, FG+SG Architectural Photography

photo © Fernando Guerra, FG+SG Architectural Photography

Once inside, the simplistic and light essence is of prime importance. Clean cute, pure white, natural daylight directly form the nave with a black framed office desk and monasterial seating benches. Everything is discreet with a language of subtleness and openness. In an all white interior The Crucified Christ brings deeper meaning and certainly a more meaningful one. You know what you are here for you don’t need tassels, murals, and vitros to remind you that you are on holly ground. After all we are all here for the man in the window. The recherché that has invited you in and now will rotate around to face you and you will open your heart and soul to him without the feeling of judgement or betray. This comes easily in a chapel such as this. In a chapel were the divine light is entering from either sides of the holy figure in the window and you are left to admire and feel. The dramatic angular lines pointing towards the heavenly clouds through the upper window is a dynamic element filed with symbolism.  One main attraction, one man show with many hidden meanings and a world of magic that you have never seen.  What else can we ask for in order to enter.

photo © Fernando Guerra, FG+SG Architectural Photography

photo © Fernando Guerra, FG+SG Architectural Photography

This monument is a true factor in all that it stands for. No excess, no frills no pretend. A strong architectural approach to a strong belief.  At the end of the day this is our equivalent religious hierarchy to that of a CHANEL store and we are ready to buy whatever is for sale. However what we want to buy comes with a powerful question ‘‘Is the man in the window for sale?”.

photo © Fernando Guerra, FG+SG Architectural Photography

photo © Pedro Maurício Borges

sources: Pedro Maurício Borges


Architectural Photographer Fernando Guerra

Fernando’s work is inspiring. Here are a few examples from his online portfolio.

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