12 Fun Facts About the US Capital

Ever wonder….

  1. Is there any symbolic significance to the numbers of columns and steps in various locations in the Capitol?
  2. How many women are represented in the National Statuary Hall Collection?
  3. How many statues are there in the National Statuary Hall Collection?
  4. Where and what is the Capitol Rotunda?
  5. Why does the Statue of Freedom face east, away from the Mall?
  6. What is the name of the statue on top of the dome?
  7. How much did it cost to build the Capitol?
  8. What are the dimensions of the Capitol Building?
  9. What material is the U.S. Capitol made of?
  10. When did the Congress first meet in the Capitol Building?
  11. When was the U.S. Capitol built? And Who designed the U.S. Capitol?
  12. What is the function of the U.S. Capitol?

Check out the answers by visiting: Architect of the Capital

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


The TEN “Demandments” of Architecture by @WJMArchitect

Many architects feel like their devotion to the practice of architecture is like worship of a secular religion.

Here’s a little fun with our secular religion…

The TEN Demandments of Architecture
by William J. Martin, Architect

ILMA-Moses-02

  1.  Thou shalt have no clients before thee…
  2.  Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven 3D cadd images.
  3.  Thou shalt not take thy name of thy clients or thy engineers in vain.
  4.  Remember thy project deadline day, and  keep it holy.
  5.  Honor thy computer and thy coffee: that thy days may be long.
  6.  Thou shalt not kill thy design critics…
  7.  Thou shalt not commit building design insultery.
  8.  Thou shalt not steel, unless wood or masonry doesn’t support thy design.
  9.  Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy building inspector official.
  10.  Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s contractors…

ILMA-Moses-01

These are only the TEN Demandments, maybe you can think of a few more.  Leave a comment and let us know !

Also Check Out These Great Posts:

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

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

Sincerely,
Frank Cunha III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

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


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


How Can Architects Produce More Effective Construction Documents? by @FrankCunhaIII

Ask the Architect


by Frank Cunha III

What are some inherent problems with producing Construction Drawings?

  • Some details are not build-able.
  • Budget.
  • Schedule.
  • Inaccurate references and/or dimensions.
  • Missing information.
  • Coordination (or lack of).

How can we make the construction process better?

  • Make better CDs (drawings and specifications) upfront instead of waiting for a problem in the field to solve later.
  • Make drawings sufficient. Do not keep adding drawings, but coordinate the ones you have – in other words know when to say when. The drawings will never be as complete as you would like, but do not compromise the coordination of the drawings.
  • Remember: the drawings have to be sufficient to meet the required “standard of care.”
  • As time goes on the cost of a mistake rises (exponentially). It is important to avoid mistakes early on preferable before bid or construction phase.
  • Quality Control (QC) is too late at the end of CD phase or Construction phase.

What are some goals during the Construction Document phase?

  • Productivity (design with standards for efficiency when ever possible).
  • Thorough, user friendly (for the code officials, general contractor, and subcontractors).
  • Sufficient information.
  • Good coordination.
  • Consistency (look and feel of drawings).

How can Architect, Engineer, or Designer manage information more efficiently?

  • Have standard sheets and details (cover sheets, partition types, toilet details, window details, door schedule and details, finish schedule, millwork/casework schedule and details, sealant schedule, miscellaneous metals schedules, etc.)
  • Focus on “atypical” details.
  • Show dimensions, quantities on a single drawing to avoid conflicts. Do not repeat similar notes. Put all of typical notes on one detail and refer other details back to typical detail.
  • Follow principle of single statement – reduction of redundancy.
  • Be frugal: use time and resources wisely.
  • Avoid using similar scales (i.e., 1/8” and 1/16” OR 1/4” and 1/2”) whenever possible because information will be similar. Jump up or down at least 2 scales to avoid redundancy.
  • How are words and #’s perceived? Reference with words rather than #’s. Keep key notes straightforward and simple.
  • Wall section should be a “road map” like a plan where vertical dimensions and details are referenced. Avoid referencing typical conditions where possible.
  • Think of CDs as a story board (i.e., “defrag” your working drawings like you “defrag” you computer). Begin with the end in mind!
  • Include a schedule and instruction system at the front of the set to make it easier for the contractor to reference. Do not split up details that are related (i.e., keep plan, details, section details together not on ‘standard” sheets 20 drawings away from referenced drawing; keep references close, preferably on the same/next sheet when possible). This will make the subcontractor’s work easier and the construction process more efficient.
  • Save time by creating schedules for sealants and miscellaneous metals so you do not have to include them in every detail.
  • Coordinate, cross-reference, and remove redundancies from construction drawings and specifications.

How can an Architect, Engineer, or Designer save time on Typical Details?

  • Create a default: Select the most common type of door and state that is the typical door unless otherwise noted. Try to minimize the documentation of exceptions by creating different typical conditions. This way you only have to document the exceptions or atypical situations and avoid redundancy.
  • Try to figure out what is different that the default and illustrate those conditions.

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.


SPACE & PROCESS

I was recently asked about my thoughts on the physics of Architecture and the spatial aspects of Architecture.  Below are some of my initial thoughts….
Space is not the “left-overs” of Architecture but rather the space itself is the Architecture. As a
life-long student of Architecture it is my humble opinion that it is the voids created by the solids
that make the experience of Architecture interesting and pleasurable. The only reason I design
and construct walls (and other solids) is to create the space (the negative). Space can be
experienced in various dimensions (as was portrayed in the film Powers of Ten, 1968 American
documentary short film written and directed by Ray Eames and her husband, Charles Eames.
The film, rereleased in 1977 depicts the relative scale of the Universe in factors of ten.)

“The only reason I design and construct walls….is to create the space….”

Robert Irwin, untitled, 1971, synthetic fabric, wood, fluorescent lights, floodlights, 96 x 564" approx., Collection Walker Art Center, Gift of the artist, 1971.

The process of producing Architecture from a monolithic form is to subtract from the solid what
is needed to create the negative space for the occupants to inhabit and enjoy. Then again, my
first memories of Architecture were great massive, heavy cathedrals and medieval castles, so
perhaps I am biased in some ways. The added dimension of a regular, monotonous grid and
violent irregular collisions and penetration of the pure form are yet another layer of interest in
post-modern Architecture (as can be seen in the work of Bernard Tschumi – Parc de la Villette).

Robert Irwin, Untitled, 1980, mixed media: fiberboard, paper, plastic and fabric, 22-3/4 x 22-1/8 x 10", Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the General Services Administration, 1980.49.6.

Finally, as a self-proclaimed photographic-artist/Architect, I use still images in my creation of the
artwork. The capturing of a single moment of time is much like an Architect’s plan. When I create
images from my photographs I am also exploring “the absence” or “the void” or what you call “the
reveal.” What fascinates me is that the process of creativity in and of itself can inform the final
form of what will become the Architectural space, which will be built by the hands of others and
eventually inhabited and experienced by others. This is very different from the assembly of a car,
a computer mouse, or other industrial item. Perhaps a more appropriate comparison is to that
of conductor who leads the orchestra in a certain direction but allows some interpretation by the
band.

Robert Irwin, untitled, 1971, synthetic fabric, wood, fluorescent lights, floodlights, 96 x 564" approx., Collection Walker Art Center, Gift of the artist, 1971.

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Frank Cunha III
I Love My Architect – Facebook


@LuisDurazo (A Glimpse Into How Other Architects See the World Around Them)

Recently I met an aspiring Architect on Instagram who is able to evoke powerful Architectural images through his photographs.

When I asked Luis Alfonso Durazo Ballesteros (AKA @luisdurazo on Instagram) whether he would like to be featured on my blog he humbly accepted.

One of my personal favorites — Twin parking meters on 104th Street. Downtown Edmonton.

The main reason I like to share his work is because it offers my audience a greater understanding about who I am (as an Architect/Artist) and how I see the world.

Although Luis is able to capture his subjects in a different way, there are similarities that probably exist because of our similar educational backgrounds.

The following is a sampling of his work.  The captions were provided by Luis in his own words.

As you can see from this gallery Luis is able to elegantly capture how Architects see the world around them — symmetries, colors, shapes.  He is able to convey emotion of mind and spirit through his unique vision and creativity.

I am honored to be on of Luis’ colleagues and I look forward to seeing more of his work as he continues to explore, design, and construct the world around him and us.

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Frank Cunha III 
I Love My Architect – Facebook


Awesome Modern House by Mima Architects

After a strong finish to 2011 and slow start 2012 (slow only in terms of blogging), I would like to share this really cool project with you.

For those interested in becoming Architects, Architecture Education is offered in an increasing amount of ways. From night school to accredited online degree programs, it is possible to participate in the evolution of structure and design. Design and community inspire learning and technological advancements expand the possibilities for what will stand and what will not. The movement toward a environmentally friendly society also creates a need for students who have fresh ideas and a green thumb, so to speak. In the coming decades, the need for students with the knowledge necessary to convert old buildings into efficient ones will give many a chance at a career that makes an impact on the beauty and function of the world around them.

Designed by Mima Architects, the Mima House has a modular structure and can be divided into rooms with a grid of removable partitions.

This prefabricated house in Portugal costs about the same price to manufacture as a family car (all photographs by José Campos).

Plywood panels transform the windows into walls to create privacy where necessary.

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Click here to read the rest of the story about Mima Architects by “Dezeen

Click here for more stories about Architecture in Portugal by “Dezeen

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Frank Cunha III 
I Love My Architect – Facebook


Innovation in Architecture (Presented by The Architectural Review)

What does it mean to be an innovator in the field of Architecture? AR provides some insight to some of the masters of innovation in the field of Architecture.

 

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This month’s Innovators interview, produced in partnership with Hunter Douglas, features Junya Ishigami.

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The AR discuses coincidence, chance and mastering disorder with Brendan MacFarlane in his Paris studio. MacFarlane will join the international jury for the 2011 ar+d Awards for Emerging Architecture.

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The Architectural Review presents the first in a new monthly series of Innovators interviews, in partnership with Hunter Douglas, in which a group of internationally renowned architects and designers discuss in depth the theoretical and technological ideas behind their recent work.

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The AR speaks to Peter Zumthor in the second Innovators interview, in partnership with Hunter Douglas.

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This month’s Innovators interview, produced in partnership with Hunter Douglas, features an edited version of a discussion between Zaha Hadid and Architectural Association School of Architecture director Brett Steele.

PS Follow my favorite Architecture magazine online @TheARtweets and subscribe by clicking here.

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Frank Cunha III 
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Efficient Architecture

Images courtesy of "Not PC"

The blog, “Not PC”, posted an interesting article on writer Robert Heinlein’s house that he designed based on the ideas of efficiency experts, Frank & Lillian Gilbreth. Heinlein noted that Frank Lloyd Wright and Richard Neutra, while geniuses, could learn something from the Gilbreths.   Click here to read the rest of the story.

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Frank Cunha III 
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The Farm House by Cindy Rendely Architexture

Plan by Cindy Rendely Architexture

Photo © Tom Arban

A Toronto-based couple desired a retreat that would provide a contemporary take on country living. After finding a 100-acre property with rolling cornfields and a barn, they asked architect Cindy Rendely to help them create a comfortable and modern house that would be sensitive to its rural setting.

Design concept and solution: Taking cues from the original barn located at the edge of the property, Rendely designed a new, 3,135-square-foot, rectangular building interrupted along its length by a two-story volume that houses the master bedroom suite above and a second bedroom below. To ensure that the house was truly rural in character, the clients requested a gabled roof, which Rendely exaggerated in pitch and clad with aluminum to complement the neutral tones of the exterior wood. A one-story artist’s studio completes the bar-like volume on the other side of the two-story structure

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Frank Cunha III 
I Love My Architect – Facebook

 

 

 


Kevin Roche: Architecture as Environment

CSI New Jersey is hosting a trip to this wonderful event! Click here for details.

September 27, 2011 – January 7, 2012 Location: Museum of the City of New York · 1220 Fifth Avenue, NY, NY 10029 · 212.534.1672

Pritzker Prize-winner  is one of America’s most influential and prolific architects, acclaimed for his skillful integration of man-made and natural environments. Drawing on material originally presented at the Yale School of Architecture, Kevin Roche: Architecture as Environment, which runs from September 27nd-January 22nd, has been expanded to highlight Roche’s contributions to the fabric of , including the Ford Foundation building and more than four decades of master planning, design, renovations, and new additions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The exhibition features original drawings, models, photographs, and ephemera documenting Roche’s career, along with extensive video presentations of projects and interviews with the architect.

For more information on the event, visit their website here.

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Frank Cunha III 
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Torre Belém (Lisbon, Portugal)

Torre Belém

Floor Plan

Belém Tower (in Portuguese Torre de Belém, or the Tower of St Vincent is a fortified tower located in the civil parish of Santa Maria de Belém in the municipality of LisbonPortugal. It is an UNESCO World Heritage Site (along with the nearby Jerónimos Monastery) because of the significant role it played in the Portuguese maritime discoveries of the era of the Age of Discoveries.  The tower was commissioned by King John II to be part of a defense system at the mouth of the Tagus River and a ceremonial gateway to Lisbon.

The tower was built in the early 16th century and is a prominent example of the Portuguese Manueline style, but it also incorporates hints of other Architectural styles. The structure was built from lioz limestone and is composed of a bastion and the 30 meter (100 foot), four story tower. It has incorrectly been stated that the tower was built in the middle of the Tagus and now sits near the shore because the river was redirected after the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. In fact, the tower was built on a small island in the Tagus River near the Lisbon shore.

Its plan is composed of a rectangular tower and an irregular, hexagonal bastion, with elongated flanks, that projects south into the river. It is basically a large articulated vertical space resting on a horizontal mass/slab, covered by exterior enclosures. On the north-east angle of the structure, protected by a protective wall with bartizans, there is a drawbridge to access the bulwark, decorated in plant motifs, surmounted by the Royal coat of arms and flanked by small columns, complimented with armillary spheres. The Manueline armillary spheres appear at the tower’s entrance, symbolizing Portugal’s nautical explorations, and were used on King Manuel I’s personal banner to represent Portuguese discoveries during his rule. The decorative carved, twisted rope and elegant knots also point to Portugal’s nautical history and are common in the Manueline style.

On the outside of the lower bastion, the walls have spaces for 17 canons with portholes open to the river and an ocular in the north. The upper tier of the bastion is crowned by a small wall with bartizans in strategic places, decorated by rounded shields with the cross of the Order of Christ that circle the platform. King Manuel I was a member of the Order of Christ and the cross of the Order of Christ is repeatedly used numerous times on the parapets. These were a symbol of Manuel’s military power, as the knights of the Order of Christ contributed to numerous military conquests in that era. The bartizans, cylindrical watchtowers in the corners are cover in zoomorphic corbels and domes covered with buds. The corners of this platform have turrets (guerites) topped by Moorish-looking cupolas. The base of the turrets have images of beasts, including a rhinoceros. This rhinoceros is considered to be the first sculpture of such an animal in Western European artand probably depicts the rhinoceros that Manuel I sent to Pope Leo X in 1515 (which was caged in the tower at one time).

While the tower is prominently Manueline, it also incorporates hints of other architectural styles. The tower was built by the military architect Francisco de Arruda, who had already built several fortresses in Portuguese territories in Morocco. The influence of Moorish architecture manifests itself in the delicate decorations, the arched windows, the balconies, and the ribbed cupolas of the watchtowers.

The Tower has four storeys, with fenestrations and battlements, with the ground floor occupied by a vaulted cistern. On the first floor, there is a south-facing rectangular door, with arched windows in the east and north, and bartizans in the north-east and north-west corners. The southern part of the second floor is taken-over by a covered veranda with matacães (or loggia), constituted by an arcade of seven arches, resting on largecorbels with balusters. It is covered by a lace stonework to form a porch, and its sloped roof ends in a sculpted twisted rope. The eastern, northern and western walls are occupied by double-arch enclosures, with the north-east and north-west corners occupied by statutes of Saint Vincent of Saragossa and the archangel Michael in niches. The third floor has twin-windows in the north, east and west façades, with balusters, interspersed by two armillary spheres and large relief with the Royal coat of arms. The final floor is encircled by a terrace with shields of the Order of Christ, and a northern arched door and eastern arched window. The terrace is circled by a low wall with colonnaded pyramidal merlins with bartizans in the four corners. A similar terrace above this floor offers a view of the surrounding landscape.

The interior part of the bastion cave, with a circular staircase in the north, has two contiguous halls with vaulted ceilings supported by masonry arches, with four lockers and sanitary installations. On the ground-floor bunker, the floor is inclined towards the outside, while the ceilings are supported by masonry pilasters and vaulted spines. Gothic rib vaulting is evident in this casemate, the rooms of the tower and the cupolas of the watchtowers on the bastion terrace.  Peripheral compartments on the edges of the bunker, allow the individual canons to occupy their own space, with the ceiling designed with several asymmetrical domes of various heights. The ancillary storerooms were later used as prisons.

Two archways open to the main cloister in the north and south, while six broken arches stretch along the eastern and western parts of the cloister, interspersed with square pillars in the bastion cave, with gargoyle facets. The open cloister above the casemate, although decorative, was designed to dispel cannon smoke. The upper level is connected by a railing decorated with crosses of the Order of Christ, while at the terrace the space is guarded by columns topped by armillary spheres. This space could also be used for light-caliber infantry. This was the first Portuguese fortification with a two-level gun emplacement and it marks a new development in military architecture. Some of the decoration dates from the renovation of the 1840s and is neo-Manueline, like the decoration of the small cloister on the bastion.

On the southern portion of the cloister terrace is an image of Virgin and Child. The statue of the virgin of Belém, also referred to as Nossa Senhora de Bom Successo (Our Lady of Good Success), Nossa Senhora das Uvas (Our Lady of the Grapes) or the Virgem da Boa Viagem (Virgin of Safe Homecoming) is depicted holding a child in her right hand and a bunch of grapes in her left.

The tower is about 12 metres (39 ft) wide and 30 metres (98 ft) tall. On the first floor interior of the Tower is the Sala do Governador (Governors Hall), an octagonal space that opens into the cistern, while in the north-east and north-west corners there are corridors that link to the bartizans. A small door provides access via a spiral staircase to the subsequent floors. On the second floor, the Sala dos Reis (King’s Hall) opens to the loggia (to overlook the river), while a small corner fireplace extends from this floor to the third floor fireplace in the Sala das Audiências (Audience Hall). All three floor ceilings are covered in hollow concrete slabs. The fourth floor chapel is covered in a vaulted rib ceiling with niches emblematic of the Manueline style, supported by carved corbels.


The Whitney That Could Have Been (As Designed by Axis Mundi)

Axis Mundi … remember that firm?  Back when controversy surrounded Jean Nouvel’s proposed tower for the MoMA’s expansion, the firm offered an alternative stacked design highly different from Nouvel’s metallic creation. It seems  Axis Mundi is back for the shock value as the firm has just released images for their version of the new Whitney Museum of American Art.    The current design, led by , utilizes his characteristically light and technical aesthetics (check out his Shard which is under construction) to create an elegant addition critics have challenge may be too “timid” – Axis Mundi’s design is anything but.  Click here for the rest of the article.

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NEW YORK CITY REIMAGINED

City officials and developers have long imagined a dazzling future for the airspace over the gritty, 26-acre West Side Rail Yard, near Pennsylvania Station in Midtown Manhattan. A plan to transform the site into a mixed-use area with glass towers and pockets of green space is finally gaining traction.  Click Here for the rest of the story

Image courtesy Whitney Museum/RPBW

Like every Manhattan resident, the Whitney Museum has long griped about the need for more space. After years of failed proposals to expand its Marcel Breuer-designed home on the Upper East Side, the museum’s board voted in 2010 to build an entirely new facility, by Renzo Piano, in the Meatpacking District. Groundbreaking occurred in May, with an opening planned for 2015.  Click here for the rest of the story.