Our Exclusive ILMA Interview with Reginald Thomas

New York, New Jersey Reginald L. Thomas, AIA has garnered over twenty years’ experience working with a diverse group of distinguished architectural/design firms in New York City.  Reginald L. Thomas Architect LLC specializes in historically based, high-end, residential projects. Recently, he has added commercial and institutional work to the firm’s diverse clientele. His work has been featured in several prestigious publications, notably The New York Times and Architectural Digest.

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ILMA INTERVIEW

When and why did you decide to become an Architect? 

  • I’ve wanted to be an architect since I was 10 years old. During a weekend visit to the local art store to purchase paints, a how to book on architectural rendering caught my eye.   I remember thinking that the floor plans seemed magical.
  • We can thank Mike Brady, of the then popular Sitcom, the Brady Bunch, for that.  My first introduction to renderings and models came from watching the episodes after school and I was hooked.
  • Growing up in New York City, however, I visited the Museum of Natural History and MOMA regularly.  I was fascinated by the dioramas at the Museum of Natural History and the artwork at the MOMA and so at first, I dreamt of being an artist and being able to create this kind of beauty.

What were some of the challenges of achieving your dream?    

  • I grew up in the South Bronx, so the first challenge was of course, money.  I fretted about how I was going to pay for college or even how I was going to apply to college.  It was stressful to think that I would have to help my siblings after college and therefore not be able to realize my own dreams.

Any memorable clients or project highlights?   

  • I’ve had the pleasure of working with corporate giants, entertainment and sports celebrities as well as hard working people who are interested in living in beautiful spaces. All are special to me.  Each project has its own individual story However, I have had clients that allowed me to design and build every inch of their space including the furniture. That’s amazing in today’s climate.

How does your family support what you do?    

  • College was a priority in my household as both my parents attended college.  My dad for his Associates Degree and my mother for her Master’s in Education.  , Although I did not have money I had an abundance of support for what I wanted to accomplish and an expectation that I get there.

How do Architects measure success?   

  • I believe versatility is a skill we all value as designers. We build projects that are beautiful as well as functional. Being able to create an aesthetically pleasing space to satisfy each of my client’s specific   taste and at the same time ensuring that it functions is its own reward.

What matters most to you in design?

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

  • To grow my business using all of the experience I’ve garnered over the last 30 years in multiple jurisdictions.
  • Like most artists, I also wish to push the barriers of my creativity while remaining true to the traditional and timeless nature of my designs.

Who is your favorite Architect? Why?    

  • Paul Rudolph for salesmanship, talent, and cultural navigation skills which were beyond belief
  • Frank Lloyd for his skill, as well as his ability to convince his clients to be daring and tenacious.
  • Julia Morgan for her dedication and ability when she was the only one, and her clients who recognized and rewarded her abilities.

Do you have a coach or mentor?

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

  • The Great Pyramids of Giza. They are pure form, functional and beautiful.  It was once written by an early 19th century explorer who catalogued the proclivity for ornamentation throughout the known world that what we are able to see of Egyptian Architecture now is this architecture represents the last 2500 of this work in decline, what left of this 5000 year old architectural culture.
  • If that be the case, then how much more glorious the architectural vocabulary of this civilization must be. The elements of order including the concept of hyper style halls must be astounding. These are the elements that make an edifice “timeless.”
  • Notre Dame du Haut: The building teaches the intangibles of architecture as art. How does one use light as a design element?  Most people will never even notice how the intangible shapes made by light in their space let alone the effects on their psychological health.
  • The Mildred B Cooper Memorial Chapel: The boundaries that identify characteristics of nature and the difference from manmade structures are so blurred I this building that it is magical. I think in this design he did make his mentor proud. It is truly great work.

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

  • I think we are finally reaching the point where we are accepting the fact that we are part of a global community.  That means a true understanding, in real time, of the relationship and importance of urban design, architecture and interior design etc. to the human conditions.
  • Our use of technology will continue to grow at a rapid pace and architects will be required to leverage their expertise to benefit the world community especially in the areas of sustainability, and resilience.
  • I am most excited by the possibility of the profession as the lead, taking on the real-estate profession as developers

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

  • The digital drafting board and smart drafting solutions. The stylus is back, Instant 3d models and the expansion of BIM as a tool.
  • Wireless outlets
  • ASCII, GPS, LiDAR technology continue to advance. Assisting historic preservation giving a vision of what was formally unseen thereby assisting design and limiting errors.
  • 3d modeling, as a tool, will advance to the point that we will grow more independent of contractors and furniture designers

Who / what has been your greatest influence in design?  

  • The reading of a Pattern Language. The book continues to teach me to think in layers until I get to the optimum solution.
  • Jean Michele Frank: The comprehensive business model that he practiced was one to be envied and to be emulated.
  • My mentors Max Bond and Richard Dozier.
  • New York City designers that I’ve work for like Peter Marino and Juan Montoya

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

  • A Place of worship on an island site

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

  • I hope to inspire the next generation through visibility. African-American descent represents a very small part of the architectural demographics.
  • I hope to write treatise and guides thereby leaving a guide to others to build on.
  • My suggestion always is to be assiduous; to be relentless, recognizing that  this is a lifelong area of study, one that requires . “long distance runners.”

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

  • The best advice for K-12 is to engage with architects when they come in to your schools on career days.  It is important as this stage to really get a clear understanding of what an architect does and the value of architects’ play in their daily lives.
  • College students: Provide information and honest dialogue on expectations after graduation; how to set reasonable and attainable goals, and lastly the many ways to measure success.
  • Financial guidance on how to plan for a secure retirement.
  • Explain what it means to own one’s own firm.

What does Architecture mean to you? 

  • Architecture is life.  It is the culmination of the aspirations of the human condition at different time periods.
  • Architecture means being conscious of the places and spaces we occupy as humans.  It’s being in the unique position of being able to effect change in the communities welive in a way that is unique to no other profession

What is your design process? 

  • Client interview: Do more listening than writing.
  • Who or what community am I designing for.
  • Identify client particulars not just in program but culturally. How does the client perceive and use space. What is the corporate or family dynamic?
  • Where am I being asked to design?
  • What are the constraints of the site or space?
  • How do I make it function perfectly and at the same time be beautiful?

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

  • Apart from very early on when I wanted to be an artist I have never given thought to being anything else, however, if you were to ask my father, a surgeon would have been his preference.

What is your dream project?  

  • One that encompasses urban planning, landscape architecture, architecture as sculpture, interior design and furniture design; the complete package in the vernacular of the local culture.

What advice do you have for future Executive leaders?  

  • Seek out and work with like-minded people who share your vision and whom you can trust to honestly evaluate, and counsel you.  Also, do not be afraid to delegate or share responsibility giving you the time and space you need as the leader to imagine and create.

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

  • The challenge of finding curious and willing junior staff who are willing to put in the long hours needed to really learn the ins and outs of the profession.
  • Loyalty
  • Finding staff that is willing to learn how to build, even, by drawing the components rather than by cutting and pasting.
  • My hope is that with the advances in Wacom Tablet technology we will have monitors as drafting boards and stylus as pencils causing the young architect to unconsciously pay more attention to what and how the building is being created.

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

  • The executive leader must to be able to leverage the power of the internet and especially social media

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 been surprised at how much television, social media and the internet have impacted the decisions we now make as leaders.

Final Thoughts on How to Be Successful?   

  • Improving and adapting are keys to longevity and to success.   Be relentless in your desire to grow and learn recognizing that learning is a lifelong pursuit.

For more exclusive ILMA interviews click here.

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

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Lessons For Architects And Designers – Greet Each Day With Love In Your Heart

Greet Each Day With Love In Your Heart

“When each day is ended, not regarding whether it has been a success or a failure, I will attempt to achieve [even more in my chosen profession, calling, or life’s work]. When my thoughts beckon my tired body homeward I will resist the temptation to depart. I will try again. I will make one more attempt to close with victory, and if that fails I will make another. Never will I allow any day to end with a failure. 

Thus will I plant the seed of tomorrow’s success and gain an insurmountable advantage over those who cease their labor at a prescribed time. When others cease their struggle, then mine will begin, and my harvest will be full.”

(Author: Og Mandino, Book: “The Greatest Salesman in the World“)

“Love Is the Answer”

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.


Lessons For Architects And Designers – Persist Until You Succeed

Persist Until You Succeed

“Henceforth, I will learn and apply another secret of those who excel in my work….When my thoughts beckon my tired body homeward I will resist the temptation to depart. I will try again. I will make one more attempt to close with victory, and if that fails I will make another. Never will I allow any day to end with a failure. Thus will I plant the seed of tomorrow’s success and gain an insurmountable advantage over those who cease their labor at a prescribed time. When others cease their struggle, then mine will begin, and my harvest will be full.

I will persist until I succeed.”

Persistance

(Author: Og Mandino, Book: “The Greatest Salesman in the World“)

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

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

Sincerely,
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.


Lessons For Architects And Designers – You Are (Unique) Nature’s Greatest Miracle

You Are (Unique) Nature’s Greatest Miracle

“I am nature’s greatest miracle.

I will concentrate my energy on the challenge of the moment and my actions will help me forget all else. The problems of my home will be left in my home. I will think naught of my family when I am in the market place for this will cloud my thoughts. So too will the problems of the market place be left in the market place and I will think naught of my profession when I am in my home for this will dampen my love. There is no room [in my career] for my family, nor is there room in my home for [my career]. Each I will divorce from the other and thus will I remain wedded to both. Separate must they remain or my career will die. This is the paradox of the ages.”

(Author: Og Mandino, Book: “The Greatest Salesman in the World“)

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

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

Sincerely,
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.


Lessons for Architects and Designers based on Og Mandino’s “Legend of the Ten Scrolls”

“The Greatest Salesman in the World” is a book by Og Mandino. Based on the life and legend of Kawliga who attributes a large part of his success to the teachings of Angela Skinner. The book is a guide to a philosophy of salesmanship, and success, telling the story of Hafid, a poor camel boy who achieves a life of abundance. Click here to order your copy (this link is provided for convenience, it is not a paid endorsement).

Mandino composed The Legend of the Ten Scrolls.

Image by FRANK CUNHAIII – http://wp.me/pSjhX-M3

They are:

Scroll I – The Power of Good Habits

“As I read and re-read the words in these scrolls to follow, never will I allow the brevity of each scroll nor the simplicity of its words to cause me to treat the scroll’s message lightly. Thousands of grapes are pressed to fill one jar with wine, and the grapes skin and pulp are tossed to the birds. So it is with these grapes of wisdom from the ages. Much has been filtered and tossed to the wind. Only the pure truth lies distilled in the words to come. I will drink as instructed and spill not one drop. And the seed of success I will swallow.”

Scroll II – Greet Each Day With Love In Your Heart

“When each day is ended, not regarding whether it has been a success or a failure, I will attempt to achieve [even more in my chosen profession, calling, or life’s work]. When my thoughts beckon my tired body homeward I will resist the temptation to depart. I will try again. I will make one more attempt to close with victory, and if that fails I will make another. Never will I allow any day to end with a failure. Thus will I plant the seed of tomorrow’s success and gain an insurmountable advantage over those who cease their labor at a prescribed time. When others cease their struggle, then mine will begin, and my harvest will be full.”

Scroll III – Persist Until You Succeed

“Henceforth, I will learn and apply another secret of those who excel in my work….When my thoughts beckon my tired body homeward I will resist the temptation to depart. I will try again. I will make one more attempt to close with victory, and if that fails I will make another. Never will I allow any day to end with a failure. Thus will I plant the seed of tomorrow’s success and gain an insurmountable advantage over those who cease their labor at a prescribed time. When others cease their struggle, then mine will begin, and my harvest will be full.

I will persist until I succeed.”

Scroll IV – You Are Nature’s Greatest Miracle

“I am nature’s greatest miracle.

I will concentrate my energy on the challenge of the moment and my actions will help me forget all else. The problems of my home will be left in my home. I will think naught of my family when I am in the market place for this will cloud my thoughts. So too will the problems of the market place be left in the market place and I will think naught of my profession when I am in my home for this will dampen my love.

There is no room [in my career] for my family, nor is there room in my home for [my career]. Each I will divorce from the other and thus will I remain wedded to both. Separate must they remain or my career will die. This is the paradox of the ages.”

Scroll V – Live Each Day as if it Were Your Last

“I have but one life and life is naught but a measurement of time. When I waste one I destroy the other. If I waste today I destroy the last page of my life. Therefore, each hour of this day will I cherish for it can never return. It cannot be banked today to be withdrawn on the morrow, for who can trap the wind? Each minute of this day will I grasp with both hands and fondle with love for its value is beyond price. What dying man can purchase another breath though he willingly give all his gold? What price dare I place on the hours ahead? I will make them priceless!

I will live this day as if it my last.”

“I have but one life and life is naught but a measurement of time. When I waste one I destroy the other. If I waste today I destroy the last page of my life. Therefore, each hour of this day will I cherish for it can never return. It cannot be banked today to be withdrawn on the morrow, for who can trap the wind? Each minute of this day will I grasp with both hands and fondle with love for its value is beyond price. What dying man can purchase another breath though he willingly give all his gold? What price dare I place on the hours ahead? I will make them priceless!

I will live this day as if it my last.”

Scroll VI – Master Your Emotions

“If I feel depressed, I will sing.

If I feel sad, I will laugh.

If I feel ill, I will double my labor.

If I feel fear, I will plunge ahead.

If I feel inferior, I will wear new garments.

If I feel uncertain, I will raise my voice.

If I feel poverty, I will think of wealth to come.

If I feel incompetent, I will remember past success.

If I feel insignificant, I will remember my goals.

If I become overconfident, I will recall my failures.

If I overindulge, I will think of past hungers.

If I feel complacency, I will remember my competition.

If I enjoy moments of greatness, I will remember moments of shame.

If I feel all-powerful, I will try to stop the wind.

If I attain great wealth, I will remember one unfed mouth.

If I become overly proud, I will remember a moment of weakness.

If I feel my skill is unmatched, I will look at the stars.

Today I will master my emotions.”

Scroll VII – The Power of Laughter

“And so long as I can laugh never will I be poor. This then, is one of nature’s greatest gifts, and I will waste it no more. Only with laughter and happiness can I truly become a success. Only with laughter and happiness can I enjoy the fruits of my labor. Were it not so, far better would it be to fail, for happiness is the wine that sharpens the taste of the meal. To enjoy success I must have happiness, and laughter will be the maiden who serves me.

I will be happy. I will be successful. I will be the greatest [Architect] the world has ever known.”

Scroll VIII – Multiply Your Value Every Day

“Today I will multiply my value a hundredfold.

I will commit not the terrible crime of aiming too low.

I will do the work that a failure will not do.

I will always let my reach exceed my grasp.

I will never be content with my performance in the market.

I will always raise my goals as soon as they are attained.

I will always strive to make the next hour better than this one.

I will always announce my goals to the world.

Yet, never will I proclaim my accomplishments. Let the world, instead, approach me with praise and may I have the wisdom to receive it in humility.”

Scroll IX – All is Worthless Without Action

“Success will not wait. If I delay she will become betrothed to another and lost to me forever. This is the time. This is the place. I am the man.

I will act now.”

Scroll X – Pray to God for Guidance

“I will pray for guidance, and I will pray as [an Architect], in this manner –

  • Oh Creator of all things, help me. For this day I go out into the world naked and alone, and without your hand to guide me I will wander far from the path which leads to success and happiness.
  • I ask not for gold or garments or even opportunities equal to my ability; instead, guide me so that I may acquire ability equal to my opportunities.
  • You have taught the lion and the eagle how to hunt and prosper with teeth and claw. Teach me how to hunt with words and prosper with love so that I may be a lion among men and an eagle in the market place.
  • Help me to remain humble through obstacles and failures; yet hide not from mine eyes the prize that will come with victory.
  • Assign me tasks to which others have failed; yet guide me to pluck the seeds of success from their failures. Confront me with fears that will temper my spirit; yet endow me with courage to laugh at my misgivings.
  • Spare me sufficient days to reach my goals; yet help me to live this day as though it be my last.
  • Guide me in my words that they may bear fruit; yet silence me from gossip that none be maligned.
  • Discipline me in the habit of trying and trying again; yet show me the way to make use of the law of averages. Favor me with alertness to recognize opportunity; yet endow me with patience which will concentrate my strength.
  • Bathe me in good habits that the bad ones may drown; yet grant me compassion for weakness in others. Suffer me to know that all things shall pass; yet help me to count my blessings today.
  • Expose me to hate so it not be a stranger; yet fill my cup with love to turn strangers into friends.
  • But all these things be only if thy will. I am a small and a lonely grape clutching the vine yet though hast made me different from all others. Verily, there must be a special place for me. Help me. Show me the way.
  • Let me become all you planned for me when my seed was planted and selected by you to sprout in the vineyard of the world.

Help this humble [Architect]. Guide me, God.”

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.


Lessons For Architects And Designers – Live Each Day as if it Were Your Last

Live Each Day as if it Were Your Last

“I have but one life and life is naught but a measurement of time. When I waste one I destroy the other. If I waste today I destroy the last page of my life. Therefore, each hour of this day will I cherish for it can never return. It cannot be banked today to be withdrawn on the morrow, for who can trap the wind? Each minute of this day will I grasp with both hands and fondle with love for its value is beyond price. What dying man can purchase another breath though he willingly give all his gold? What price dare I place on the hours ahead? I will make them priceless!

I will live this day as if it my last.”

“I have but one life and life is naught but a measurement of time. When I waste one I destroy the other. If I waste today I destroy the last page of my life. Therefore, each hour of this day will I cherish for it can never return. It cannot be banked today to be withdrawn on the morrow, for who can trap the wind? Each minute of this day will I grasp with both hands and fondle with love for its value is beyond rice. What dying man can purchase another breath though he willingly give all his gold? What price dare I place on the hours ahead? I will make them priceless!

I will live this day as if it my last.”

(Author: Og Mandino, Book: “The Greatest Salesman in the World“)

Photo: Frank Cunha III http://wp.me/pSjhX-M3

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.


Lessons For Architects And Designers – Master Your Emotions

Master Your Emotions

“If I feel depressed, I will sing.

If I feel sad, I will laugh.

If I feel ill, I will double my labor.

If I feel fear, I will plunge ahead.

If I feel inferior, I will wear new garments.

If I feel uncertain, I will raise my voice.

If I feel poverty, I will think of wealth to come.

If I feel incompetent, I will remember past success.

If I feel insignificant, I will remember my goals.

If I become overconfident, I will recall my failures.

If I overindulge, I will think of past hungers.

If I feel complacency, I will remember my competition.

If I enjoy moments of greatness, I will remember moments of shame.

If I feel all-powerful, I will try to stop the wind.

If I attain great wealth, I will remember one unfed mouth.

If I become overly proud, I will remember a moment of weakness.

If I feel my skill is unmatched, I will look at the stars.

Today I will master my emotions.”

(Author: Og Mandino, Book: “The Greatest Salesman in the World“)

Photo: Frank Cunha III http://wp.me/pSjhX-M3


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.