Architect’s Sketchbook – Montclair State University (Sketches by @FrankCunhaIII, 2017)

College Hall is where the history and the future of Montclair State meet. It’s where every student’s college journey begins with Undergraduate Admissions and ends with the submission of their final audit to the Office of the Registrar for graduation.

College Hall is where it all started. Back in 1903, the New Jersey State Normal School in Trenton could no longer support New Jersey’s growing need for qualified teachers by itself, so the state approved plans for a new normal school to serve northern New Jersey. (A normal school was a post-secondary school devoted to training teachers.) And in 1908, the New Jersey State Normal School at Montclair admitted its first students.

College Hall’s Spanish mission-style architecture, which was adopted for other buildings on campus, was the inspiration of benefactor Edward Russ, a member of the New Jersey State Board of Education who liked buildings he saw on a trip to California. So he integrated the style into plans for College Hall, complete with red-tile roofs—a look that lives on in campus construction today.

In the beginning, College Hall housed almost everything—administrative offices, classrooms, a library and a gym. Today, it is Montclair State’s administrative hub, housing the offices of the President and the Provost, University Advancement, Admissions, the Registrar, the Graduate School and more.

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Dedicated to the first president of Montclair State, Charles S. Chapin, in 1928, it is one of the original buildings of the Montclair State Normal School. This former residence hall was renovated in 1974, and again in 2009, and is now the home of the John J. Cali School of Music. The Leshowitz Recital Hall is also located in Chapin Hall.

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Russ Hall was built in 1915 and served as the first residential facility of the State Normal School at Montclair, now of course known as Montclair State University. Converted at one point to an administrative building and then later renovated back to a residence hall, Russ Hall provides suite-style accommodations for approximately 100 students.

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IMG_2253Dedicated to Allan C. Morehead, an alumnus and former professor, executive vice president and provost at Montclair State. Morehead Hall was used as a demonstration high school from 1929 to 1973. It now houses several student support services offices.

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How to Be a Rock Star Architect by @FrankCunhaIII

Frank Cunha III, AIA, is a licensed architect in 9 states and has been a registered architect since 2003. He has worked on a multitude of project types over the years and offers some tips to aspiring architects getting started working with clients on design projects.

1) Do Your Homework
Even before you start you should do your background research on project location, preexisting conditions. At the very least check on the site on google maps. You have the internet. No excuses!

2) Listen to the Client
Even if the client isn’t always right, they may have some great ideas on how to make the design better. Ultimately, the space you design is for their use and they should feel like part of the process. It is our jobs to guide them to make the best decisions. Base those decisions on the uniqueness of your particular client since their needs will be very specific to them.

3) Be On Time
Your punctuality reflects your attention to detail and defines who you are. If you want to be valued by the client, you in turn should be respectful of their time. Whether it is a meeting or project deadline be sure to manage the client’s expectations.

4) Always Under Promise, Always Over Deliver
Try to work with the client on mutually agreeable deliverables. Whenever possible try to give yourself a bit of breathing room and when the opportunity arises try to beat those expectations. This will built trust between you and the client.

5) Check-In With Client
Be sure to work in periodic check-in points for approvals to avoid getting to far in a design only to find out that there has been some major revisions and you spent time working on design details that will be modified or deleted. Build these milestones into your contract agreement and avoid difficult conversations about extra compensation later on.

Drink Lots of Coffee (Optional)

Please share other ideas you may have with us!

Sincerely,

Frank


Ask the Architect: An Exclusive Interview with Architect @FrankCunhaIII

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Ask the Architect

An Exclusive Interview with Architect Frank Cunha III

by Denise Franklin 

Follow Denise Franklin on Twitter

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

You can find him online at:

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

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

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How long have you been in the profession?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


ILMA of the Week: I. M. Pei

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Ieoh Ming Pei (born April 26, 1917), commonly known as I. M. Pei, is a Chinese American architect often called a master of modern architecture. Born in Canton (Guangzhou) and raised in Hong Kong and Shanghai, Pei drew inspiration at an early age from the gardens at Suzhou. In 1935, he moved to the United States and enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania’s architecture school, but quickly transferred to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was unhappy with the focus at both schools on Beaux-Arts architecture, and spent his free time researching emerging architects, especially Le Corbusier. After graduating, he joined the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) and became friends with the Bauhaus architects Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer. In 1939, he married Eileen Loo, who had introduced him to the GSD community. They have been married for over seventy years, and have four children, including architects Chien Chung “Didi” Pei and Li Chung “Sandi” Pei.

MIT’s architecture faculty was also focused on the Beaux-Arts school, and Pei found himself uninspired by the work. In the library he found three books by the Swiss-French architect Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, better known as Le Corbusier. Pei was inspired by the innovative designs of the new International style, characterized by simplified form and the use of glass and steel materials. Le Corbusier visited MIT in November 1935, an occasion which powerfully affected Pei: “The two days with Le Corbusier, or ‘Corbu’ as we used to call him, were probably the most important days in my architectural education.” Pei was also influenced by the work of US architect Frank Lloyd Wright. In 1938 he drove to Spring Green, Wisconsin, to visit Wright’s famous Taliesin building. After waiting for two hours, however, he left without meeting Wright.

Le Grand Louvre

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Pei was acutely aware, as he said, that “the history of Paris was embedded in the stones of the Louvre.”

When François Mitterrand was elected President of France in 1981, he laid out an ambitious plan for a variety of construction projects. One of these was the renovation of the Louvre Museum. Mitterrand appointed a civil servant named Emile Biasini to oversee it. After visiting museums in Europe and the United States, including the US National Gallery, he asked Pei to join the team. The architect made three secretive trips to Paris, to determine the feasibility of the project; only one museum employee knew why he was there. Pei finally agreed that a reconstruction project was not only possible, but necessary for the future of the museum. He thus became the first foreign architect to work on the Louvre.

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The heart of the new design included not only a renovation of the Cour Napoléon in the midst of the buildings, but also a transformation of the interiors. Pei proposed a central entrance, not unlike the lobby of the National Gallery East Building, which would link the three major buildings. Below would be a complex of additional floors for research, storage, and maintenance purposes. At the center of the courtyard he designed a glass and steel pyramid, first proposed with the Kennedy Library, to serve as entrance and anteroom skylight. It was mirrored by another inverted pyramid underneath, to reflect sunlight into the room. These designs were partly an homage to the fastidious geometry of the famous French landscape architect André Le Nôtre (1613–1700). Pei also found the pyramid shape best suited for stable transparency, and considered it “most compatible with the architecture of the Louvre, especially with the faceted planes of its roofs”.

Biasini and Mitterrand liked the plans, but the scope of the renovation displeased Louvre director André Chabaud. He resigned from his post, complaining that the project was “unfeasible” and posed “architectural risks”. The public also reacted harshly to the design, mostly because of the proposed pyramid. One critic called it a “gigantic, ruinous gadget”; another charged Mitterrand with “despotism” for inflicting Paris with the “atrocity”. Pei estimated that 90 percent of Parisians opposed his design. “I received many angry glances in the streets of Paris,” he said. Some condemnations carried nationalistic overtones. One opponent wrote: “I am surprised that one would go looking for a Chinese architect in America to deal with the historic heart of the capital of France.”

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Pei decided that a pyramid was “most compatible” with the other structures at the Louvre, complementing their roofs’ faceted planes.

Soon, however, Pei and his team won the support of several key cultural icons, including the conductor Pierre Boulez and Claude Pompidou, widow of former French President Georges Pompidou, after whom another controversial museum was named. In an attempt to soothe public ire, Pei took a suggestion from then-mayor of Paris Jacques Chirac and placed a full-sized cable model of the pyramid in the courtyard. During the four days of its exhibition, an estimated 60,000 people visited the site. Some critics eased their opposition after witnessing the proposed scale of the pyramid.

To minimize the impact of the structure, Pei demanded a method of glass production that resulted in clear panes. The pyramid was constructed at the same time as the subterranean levels below, which caused difficulties during the building stages. As they worked, construction teams came upon an abandoned set of rooms containing 25,000 historical items; these were incorporated into the rest of the structure to add a new exhibition zone.

The new Louvre courtyard was opened to the public on October 14, 1988, and the Pyramid entrance was opened the following March. By this time, public opinion had softened on the new installation; a poll found a fifty-six percent approval rating for the pyramid, with twenty-three percent still opposed. The newspaper Le Figaro had vehemently criticized Pei’s design, but later celebrated the tenth anniversary of its magazine supplement at the pyramid. Prince Charles of Britain surveyed the new site with curiosity, and declared it “marvelous, very exciting”. A writer in Le Quotidien de Paris wrote: “The much-feared pyramid has become adorable.”. The experience was exhausting for Pei, but also rewarding. “After the Louvre,” he said later, “I thought no project would be too difficult.”. The Louvre Pyramid has become Pei’s most famous structure.

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

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

Sincerely,
Frank Cunha III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

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


ILMA of the Week: Oscar Niemeyer

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Oscar Ribeiro de Almeida Niemeyer Soares Filho is considered to be a pioneer in creating new possibilities for using the reinforced concrete just for aesthetical reasons. He started with designing the first state-sponsored skyscraper in the world, for the Brazilian government. It was completed in 1943 and after decades it was recognized as the first example of Brazilian modernism.

He was part of the international team that designed the UN headquarters in New York and his conceptual plan was the main source of inspiration for the constructors. His membership in the Brazilian Communist Party limited his chances of working in the United States and got him exiled up until 1985. By the time the exile ended, he designed the main administration buildings in Brasilia, the country’s new capital city.

While in Europe, he created several buildings, including the headquarters of the French Communist Party and the Mondadori Publishing House office near Milan. After returning to his home-country, Niemeyer continued to design impressive structures around Brazil such as: Niterói Contemporary Art Museum, the Catedral Militar Igreja de N. S. da Paz, the Memorial dos Povos Indigenas and many others. At his age (103), he continues to work at his office in Rio de Janiero.

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

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

Sincerely,
Frank Cunha III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

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


Ways to Acquire “Modern Homes” for Less than $150K

by Guest Blogger, Tina Madsen
bio

Tina is a design enthusiast who brings her passion for modern décor and writing to her role as the NowModern.com blogger. She also specializes in turning small living areas into spacious social hubs with bar stools and counter stools

Everybody dreams of having his or her own house, not just couples who are planning to raise families. For most single people, owning a house is an investment which they may be able to reclaim in the future—with interest—through selling. No matter what those reasons are, it stands to reason that aspiring homeowners would want to purchase a house at a minimum price.

That is where the problem usually lies. Considering today’s economy and the way real estate works, it won’t be easy to find a house for sale at a maximum price of $150,000. There’s also the fact that price is not going to be the only consideration for buying a house. Location is a primary concern. Your house has to be on a safe neighborhood where you won’t be afraid to step out of the house at eight in the evening. Speaking of neighborhood, you’ll also have to check out your potential neighbors. If you have young children, you’ll probably want to move in a neighborhood where they can find friends their age. You should also be able to have easy access to various services and establishments.

So, how do you find a house that’s worth under $150,000 and also meets your requirements for an ideal home?

Go to the Bank.

Remember when the real estate market crashed and marked the beginning of the financial crisis in the United States a few years back? So many people lost their homes because of overdue mortgage payments. It was a very depressing period seeing that so many families got foreclosed and had to seek rooms from friends and family with secure residences.

On the other end of the spectrum are people who were looking for houses and could afford to buy them. They pounced on the opportunity to purchase properties at prices way lower than they expected. You see, foreclosed houses tend to be very affordable, at least when compared to brand-new houses or refurbished properties. There is therefore a good chance that you’ll find a good deal if you inquire about properties foreclosed by the bank.

Affordable House Listings

It may seem like $150,000 is too low a price for a good house, but you’ll be surprised to find that there are actually many houses for sale under that price. Many of them are located in metro areas with high foreclosure rates, like Atlanta, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Kansas city, Phoenix, and even in Rochester and Buffalo in New York.

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A 4-bedroom house on sale for $150,000 in Atlanta, Georgia (2013).

It is understandable if you have doubts about the condition of the house, but then that’s what a house visit is for. Search your local real estate listings and take note of the addresses of the houses you want to check out. Schedule a visit together with your real estate agent. To be on the safe side of things, do an impromptu visit to see what it really is like without any prepping by the agent.

Trailer Houses

A trailer house is probably the most affordable abode you can buy today. In fact, a really good double-wide trailer can cost around $75,000. Single wide trailers average at a lower rate of $37,000. With these prices, you will have plenty of money left for custom-made furniture and trailer-friendly appliances.

Design and Build Your Own House.

If you cannot find a house within the $150,000 maximum limit—and assuming that you already have the $150,000 sitting in your bank account—you can always design and build one. The prospect of financing the construction of a house from the ground up may sound daunting, but it should be fine if you have an architect or engineer who is knowledgeable about affordable housing construction.

Work closely with your architect and interior designer in drafting the blueprints of your house. Prioritize important rooms like living area and dining areas, kitchen, bathrooms, and bedrooms. You may want to consider having studio-type, single-floor house or a stacked-box house. Keep the floor area as compact as possible. Go higher up is better than constructing sideways because the wider your house is, the more you will spend for its foundation.

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A $150,000 house designed by architect Borath Ross in 2010.

Be very wise in choosing the building materials. Find the middle point between affordable and high-quality. It will be foolish to be stingy on the materials and later spend a fortune on repairs.

Finally, help out where you can. Even if you only take over painting the interior walls, you can already save money on labor. You can save even more—not to mention learn more about building and construction—if you offer a hand in the other jobs as well.

Even though times are difficult and good houses tend to be expensive, it is still very possible to have one without spending more than $150,000. There are several options for you, as demonstrated in this article. Just find the right agent and the right timing to finalize a purchase or green-light a building project.

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!

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.


Visionary Buckminster Fuller

Richard Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller (July 12, 1895 – July 1, 1983) was an American systems theorist, architect, engineer, author, designer, inventor, and futurist.

Fuller published more than 30 books, inventing and popularizing terms such as “Spaceship Earth“, ephemeralization, and synergetic. He also developed numerous inventions, mainly architectural designs, the best known of which is the geodesic dome. Carbon molecules known as fullerenes were later named by scientists for their resemblance to geodesic spheres.  R. Buckminster Fuller was a renowned 20th century inventor and visionary born in Milton, Massachusetts on July 12, 1895. Dedicating his life to making the world work for all of humanity, Fuller operated as a practical philosopher who demonstrated his ideas as inventions that he called “artifacts.” Fuller did not limit himself to one field but worked as a ‘comprehensive anticipatory design scientist’ to solve global problems surrounding housing, shelter, transportation, education, energy, ecological destruction, and poverty. Throughout the course of his life Fuller held 28 patents, authored 28 books, received 47 honorary degrees. And while his most well know artifact, the geodesic dome, has been produced over 300,000 times worldwide, Fuller’s true impact on the world today can be found in his continued influence upon generations of designers, architects, scientists and artists working to create a more sustainable planet.

The Buckminster Fuller archive has also made transcripts of Everything I Know — “minimally edited and maximally Fuller” — freely available.)

Parts 1-12 on the Internet Archive123456789101112

Parts 1-6 on YouTube: 123456

Click here for more information on Buckminster Fuller and click here.

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Click here for Bucky Quotes (I Love These).

Did Bucky influence Disney’s Epcot? Click here.

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.