Our Exclusive ILMA Interview with Felicia Middleton @UrbanAesthetics

Felicia Middleton is an Architecture Design Professional, an Author, an EPA Certified Renovator and an Entrepreneur. She is the principal of Urban Aesthetics, LLC serving the Philadelphia metropolitan area.  She specializes in Residential and Commercial Architecture and Interior Design – both Renovations and New Construction – as well as Commercial and Residential Kitchens and Baths, Quality Assurance, Interior Material Specifications, Interior Commercial Design including Restaurants and Bars, Salons and Spas, Education and Church Facilities and Corporate Design and Retail Planning. She also provides Construction Administration and Construction Management services.

She can be found on social media by following these links: Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and on LinkedIn.

ILMA INTERVIEW

When and why did you decide to become an Architect?

At the young age of 15, while attending the Carver H.S. of Engineering and Science I took a drafting class and decided what I wanted to do as a career. I told a drafting teacher that I wanted to draw on computers. We had a drafting teacher who was very encouraging, named Mr. Avant. The students loved him so much because he would let us eat lunch with him in his drafting class and he had a genuine interest in each one of us. Sadly, he passed last year. I always wanted to thank him for his help and encouragement.

What were some of the challenges of achieving your dream?

College financing often was a challenge for me. My family had difficulties and paying for college became a struggle. I had to work many jobs while in college but I realize now that those jobs helped lay the framework for my future. Thank God for making it possible for me to overcome so many obstacles and pursue and achieve my dream.

Any memorable clients or project highlights?

Earlier in my career, I designed a Commissary Kitchen Warehouse and several cafeterias for the Vineland School District in Vineland, NJ. I learned so much from that project. I learned a lot about the operations of school food facilities. That learning process really reinforced how important the use of a building is in design and planning.

During that same time, I worked on many well-known food facility projects in casinos throughout the country. I found a design niche that I grew to love and still love over a decade later.

How does your family support what you do?

My immediate family supports me 100%. Especially my mother. She has been my biggest fan. My friends and family will often pass my name to others who may need my services. In addition, they support events and projects sponsored by my company, especially the community projects.

How do Architects measure success?

Many architects measure success via projects and achievements and the impact that they have on others. I would also add that success is measured by the way we are able to make a difference in our communities.

What matters most to you in design?

Safety, is extremely important to me, also function and aesthetics. Buildings are where we spend the majority of our time so they should be safe spaces that add to our well-being.

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

Over the next two years I will focus on managing Urban Aesthetics projects while developing my own individual brand. Within 5 years I will have my brand developed in Food Facility Design and operate separately from Urban Aesthetics.

Who is your favorite Architect? Why?

I feel in our profession mentoring and inspiring is very important. Your life, work and values should inspire your followers. My favorite historical architect, Daniel Burnham’s life story is inspiring, his buildings are beautiful and he has written very inspiring quotes. I have used his quote as a motto for my business.

“Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency…”

My favorite current architects are my colleagues.

Do you have a coach or mentor?

I have a Business Coach but unfortunately, I do not currently have a mentor. I have been blessed with many mentors throughout my life and career and I have mentored many.

Mentoring relationships are not permanent. They end or change as we grow. I have desired to find a mentor for a couple of years but I have not been able to create the relationship.

The architect that I share an office with is probably the closest person to a mentor that I currently have. He is a senior on the architecture profession and he offers advice and gives advice when I ask. I have a great deal of respect for him.

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

My favorite historic project is the Colosseum. The Colosseum is a grand structure located in Rome, Italy. It is beautiful and strong, representing the games that were performed for spectators. Amazingly, it has stood robust and tall for almost 2000 years.

My favorite modern building has changed a many ties over the last 20 years, as innovation, design and the environment surrounding me changes. Most recently, the Cira Center, in Philadelphia, has been a favorite. I love it because it stands a jewel above the surrounding buildings and it represented the expansion of our downtown to the other side of the Schuylkill River. An added bonus is that the building is green, LEED Certified.

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

For a while, it seemed as if there was a decline in the profession but I have noticed a recent resurgence. I do believe there needs to be some liberation in the process involved in becoming an architect and function within the profession. I see the profession opening up to multiple careers, interchanging with architecture.

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

Virtual 3d Modeling is a form of technology that I have seen most recently. Virtual reality in design will help us communicate designs to clients who have difficulty understanding plans. In addition, advances in project management software helps to streamline the planning and construction processes.

Who / what has been your greatest influence in design?

The Green Movement has been my greatest influence in design. I became serious about environmental issues while in college and there I decided that it would have a big impact on my work. I worked for an environmental organization for a couple of years while in college and I learned so much. I added a few environment-centered courses while in college and

my senior internship included researching Brownfield’s Redevelopment. When I first entered the design world, eco-friendly design was not a large part of what we did. I was a bit discouraged at first but was reenergized in the early 2000’s when the green movement really started taking shape.

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

A LEED project. My current burning desire is to participate on a LEED project.

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

I will to continue mentoring our young people by explaining to them as many aspects of our work as I can, to help the understand all that is included and let them see that this profession has so much to offer, depending on what direction you wish to go. I will let them see that when you fall in love with your work, it can be very fulfilling. I hope to let them see that you can make a difference in your community and also the world while working in this field but you MUST find your way.

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

Fall in love love with architecture and the profession if you want to succeed and endure the work. You will have to put your time in while working but be sure to learn more than what is expected.

What does Architecture mean to you?

Architecture is art in the form of function and use. We create structures that affect people physically and emotionally. We discover solutions to problems both spatially and creatively. I learned at a young age that I liked seeing how things come together. In architecture, part of your work is to develop the way a building comes together. At times we have to take a building apart to bring the desired project together.

What is your design process?

I follow a basic process:

  • Determining the client’s Gain an understanding of their situation (financial, time constraints and any limitations)
  • Preliminary Research – Code, Zoning, Needs of Use, Property,
  • Pre-Design – Discuss research findings, create
  • Design Development – Develop the concept into a more workable Additional research.
  • Coordinate with project team.
  • Complete

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

If I could not work in this great profession, I would be a writer. I guess I already am a writer. I have always excelled at writing. Writing is my second love, next to architecture. I have published 2 books, written for magazines and published several blogs. I absolutely love to write.

What is your dream project?

I have a strange desire to design a high-end Starbucks, similar to the project in progress in Chicago.

What advice do you have for a future Executive leader?

Take time to let things develop. Relish in the importance of being guided by others, mentors who can help you and your interests. You must share in your success, look to give to your fellow business colleagues. Develop a relationship with fellow business owners and remember that collaboration produces multiple wins. Work with partnerships, strategically develop partners with whom you can develop lasting business relationships.

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

Maintaining Momentum is a challenge that requires constant thought and planning. Moving to the next level while continuing a current pace is very important for success.

Keeping the needs of our community in focus while maintaining momentum is important and also challenging.

One trend I have seen in my industry, especially locally is the explosion of development within the inner city. It is similar to the Mc-Mansion boom we saw years ago.

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

Remain relevant to society, business and your community. Offer a unique service that keeps the client as a focus.

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 have learned that business is difficult and you have to extract emotion from the process or it will wear you out. I work in a creative profession but often the bottom line drives my work. I’ve read about and followed the lives of innovative leaders in business to inspire me, geniuses such as Steve Jobs. Although they are one-in-a million I you can be one, I can make a difference. I strive to learn as much as you can from these leaders, both good and bad and use their tools in my work.

Shark Tank may be entertaining but you can learn a lot watching that show. Learn where you can. Never stop educating yourself. Follow the rules.

A surprise I have encountered is the number of opportunities that are available for current and future business owners.

Final Thoughts on How to Be Successful?

Read as much as you can. Keep learning. Be honest, thankful and give back as much as possible. Follow the rules. To me, true success, being able to use the resources that you’ve been blessed with to bless someone else. Whether it is with your money, labor, knowledge, time, mentoring, etc.

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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

Christmas Gift Ideas from ILMA

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Modern Retreat in Argentina, “Casa BB” by BAK Arquitectos

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The design of this house is a continuation of a ‘building in the forest’ research done by BAK arquitectos, which started in 2004 with the design of their first house in Mar Azul. The architects examine the possibility of building without losing the environmental quality of the site, proposing alternatives to ensure the survival of natural environments. This involves a Minimal Architecture in terms of not only of form but in materials and particularly minimum site intervention. This is achieved by ‘listening to the forest’ and what the site tries to communicate, along with practicing ‘seeing for the first time’ on behalf of the architects.

The low budget along with the no maintenance requirement set the aesthetic and construction limitations of the project. High compact, waterproof, fair faced concrete provided the necessary insulation and covered the no maintenance factor. The use of glass captures natural light and allows views of the landscape in all directions.

Casa JD has two bedrooms with the flexibility to transform part of the large living/dining space into a third one, a kitchen as well as generous outdoor spaces. The design concept is based on two intersecting prisms situated on a naturally inclined site within the trees, in this way hiding part of its volume. The trees seem to penetrate the house as wood, along with concrete, is a predominant feature of its interior. Wooden steps and a deck lead to the living room. Wooden sliding panels provide a seamless continuation of the exterior and the interior. This level of access is a unique space where different uses are defined by height differences caused by the intersection of prisms and cross sections of concrete walls. Except for the beds, couches and chairs the rest of the equipment of this housing is concrete cast.

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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

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  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…

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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!

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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
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Licensed in NJ, NY, PA, DE, CT.


Forget Blueprints, Now You Can Print the Building

Architect to build home using 3-D printer

By Doug Gross, CNN
"Landscape House" will be built from blocks made with a 3-D printer, says its creator, Dutch architect Janjaap Ruijssenaars.
“Landscape House” will be built from blocks made with a 3-D printer, says its creator, Dutch Architect Janjaap Ruijssenaars.

(CNN) — A Dutch architect is thinking a little bigger about 3-D printing than the tiny-to-midsize trinkets we’ve seen so far.

He wants to print a house. And a pretty offbeat and innovative one at that.

“Landscape House” is the brainchild of architect Janjaap Ruijssenaars. He describes it as “one surface folded in an endless Mobius band,” or sort of a giant figure 8. According to its creator, walking through its continuous looping design will seamlessly merge indoors and outdoors in an effort to model nature itself.

The house would cost between $5 million and $6 million, according to the BBC, and there’s already been interest expressed by museums, private individuals and others, according to Ruijssenaars. He told the network that someone in Brazil plans to buy one to display native art he’s found in a nearby national park.

All that would be innovative enough on its own. But to take it a step further, the architect plans to build “Landscape House” using the emerging technology of 3-D printing.

The woman who wants to ‘print’ buildings

Commercially available models like the MakerBot aren’t exactly up to the task. This requires a printer of enormous size. And Ruijssenaars found one in the D-Shape.

Described as a “mega-scale free form printer” by its makers, the massive aluminum structure uses sand, which it forms back into a material that’s like marble.

For “Landscape House,” it will be used to print out blocks that are about 20 feet by 30 feet. Those, along with some fiberglass and concrete reinforcements, will be used to create the building.

“3D printing is amazing,” Ruijssenaars told the BBC. “For me as an architect it’s been a nice way to construct this specific design — it has no beginning and no end, and with the 3-D printer we can make it look like that.”

He says his first “Landscape House” is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.

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Are you ready to buy yours? Click Here And 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!

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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.


Grand Central Station Turns 100

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“Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves. Even when we had Penn Station, we couldn’t afford to keep it clean. We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tinhorn culture. And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed.”
– “Farewell to Penn Station,” New York Times editorial, October 30, 1963

Grand Central Terminal (GCT)—colloquially called Grand Central Station, or shortened to simply Grand Central—is a commuter rail terminal station at 42nd Street and Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan in New York CityUnited States. Built by and named for the New York Central Railroad in the heyday of American long-distance passenger rail travel, it is the largest train station in the world by number of platforms: 44, with 67 tracks along them. They are on two levels, both below ground, with 41 tracks on the upper level and 26 on the lower, though the total number of tracks along platforms and in rail yards exceeds 100. The terminal covers an area of 48 acres.

The terminal serves commuters traveling on the Metro-North Railroad to WestchesterPutnam, and Dutchess counties in New York State, and Fairfieldand New Haven counties in Connecticut. Until 1991 the terminal served Amtrak, which moved to nearby Pennsylvania Station upon completion of the Empire Connection.

Although the terminal has been properly called “Grand Central Terminal” since 1913, many people continue to refer to it as “Grand Central Station”, the name of the previous rail station on the same site, and of the U.S. Post Office station next door, which is not part of the terminal. It is also sometimes used to refer to the Grand Central – 42nd Street subway station, which serves the terminal.

According to the travel magazine Travel + Leisure in its October 2011 survey, Grand Central Terminal is “the world’s number six most visited tourist attraction”, bringing in approximately 21,600,000 visitors annually.

“One hundred years ago, on Feb. 2, 1913, the doors to Grand Central Terminal officially opened to the public, after 10 years of construction and at a cost of more than $2 billion in today’s dollars. The terminal was a product of local politics, bold architecture, brutal flexing of corporate muscle and visionary engineering. No other building embodies New York’s ascent as vividly as Grand Central. Here, the tale of its birth, excerpted from “Grand Central: How a Train Station Transformed America,” by Sam Roberts, the urban affairs correspondent for The New York Times, to be published later this month by Grand Central Publishing.”  Click Here to Read:  100 Years of Grandeur: The Birth of Grand Central Terminal by By .

The following is an excerpt from the following blog: Bird Feed NYC:

Grand Central Station History

  • 1871- The original Grand Central Depot opened.
  • 1898- Grand Central Depot underwent renovations and was renamed “Grand Central Station”.  Three stories, a new roof and a new facade were all added.
  • 1902- Only four years later, after a deadly accident, plans began to redesign all the tracks and rebuild a new station.
  • 1903-1913-  Construction of the new Grand Central Station. In 1910, the old station itself was demolished and the new station was completed in 1913.
  • 1954- A plan was proposed by William Zeckendorf to demolish and replace Grand Central with an 80-story building.  The plan was abondoned.
  • 1962- The Metlife Building, originally called the Pan Am Building, was completed and opened in 1963.
  • 1994-2000- After the MTA signed a long term lease on the building, Grand Central underwent renovations and restorations.
  • 2007-  Construction began for the East Side Access project which will connect the LIRR to Grand Central.

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!

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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.


Why Hire An Architect, 10 Things We Do & 5 We Don’t

10 Things We Do:

1. During design: Architects bring client’s ideas to life
2. We are the professionals responsible for safe-guarding the occupants and public on client’s team
3. A good Architect will work with the client to make modifications as the plans develop to meet the client’s program requirements
4. Architects prepare bid drawings, i.e., Keep contractor quotes fair, Work with client to ensure “apples to apples” quotes (pricing based on same scope of work)
5. Architects develop/Enforce contract documents, ensure design intent is met during construction
6. Architects review contractor payment applications
7. Architects notify the client of any issues that may arise in the field
8. During design & construction: Architects coordinate between trades, team leader, keep client up-to-date with latest industry trends
9. During construction: We act on client’s behalf to ensure project is successfully executed
10. Architects add creativity and beauty to your project by using our imagination and education

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5 Things Architects Can’t Do:

1. See through walls – Although we keep trying
2. Keep our shoes clean – We spend 20-80% of our time in the field
3. Go to bed early – There are specs to write and shop drawings to review
4. Show up on time – We are fashionable (fashionably late), what else can I say?
5. Get home early – Deadlines, RFIs, and design work to be done

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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 NJ, NY, PA, DE, CT.


Balthazar Korab (R.I.P. 1926 – 2013)

Balthazar Korab (born 1926 – died 2013) was a photographer based in Detroit, Michigan specializing in architectural, art and landscape photography. He was born in Budapest, Hungary, and migrated to France after fleeing from Hungary’s communist government in 1949. At the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, France, he completed a diploma of architecture in 1954. For a time, he was a journeyman under the direction of leading European architects, including Le Corbusier.

In 1955, Korab arrived in the United States, and Eero Saarinen employed him to photograph the architectural design process. The architectural community in Detroit has embraced Korab’s career, and many firms have retained him to document their building and private home projects. In 1956 he was awarded fourth place in the international design competition for the Sydney Opera House. In 1994, American President Bill Clinton presented a portfolio of Balthazar Korab’s photography to Árpád Göncz, the president of Hungary.

Korab died on January 15, 2013 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. He is survived by his wife Monica and two children, Christian and Alexandra.

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All images from “Balthazar Korab: Architect of Photography” by John Comazzi; Princeton Architectural Press

Read more at Architizer or http://www.balthazarkorab.com.

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!

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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.