Tuesday, June 26, 2007

My dog ate my Design Concept.....?

When we were in school, we were always taught that before we start designing and trying to solve the program and we had to have at least three approaches. In design school, we call these "approaches" Design Concepts or Parti'.

I have found that in my profession, many architects start thier projects without any design concepts. What blows my mind is that how does a designer go through conceptual design without a design concept. During the phase of conceptual design, we are to set boundaries, rules, and guidlines as to what the design wants to be. These all are established on what the parti' is to be. Once we have a concept, it is really easy to continue the rest of the project, to design it, and make fast and quick decision based on our concept. When designers can make quick decisions and create a "tight" design, it allows for fewer mistakes to happen later on in other phases of the project.

It blows my mind when I see designer so deep into a project, submitting deadlines without clearing the intrensic fundamental of design - the concept. How is that even possible? Did somewhere along the line of fast money and decision making, we deleted the C-O-N-C-E-P-T? It got erased so fast that it became a void. Almost like a null that later when others ask how you came up with the design, there is no cogent reply except a black hole?

A design concept for a designer is equivalent to a scientific thesis. A scientist clearly states his thesis on an experiement and just focuses on that specific experiment. So if the scientist is solely working on a scientific technological break through, like the iPhone, he is not going to discuss Dolly the sheep that was a cloning experiment. This analogy should be articulated for designers as well. Everything that we do should have at least two good reasons behind it. Those decisions should be based on the original concept. That concept is to be so strong, that the outcome is a phenomenally designed space. A visitor is to feel that energy articulated in the design allowing all the pieces to come together as a whole, creating architecture that resonates within the lanscape.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Years ago, when people mentioned the word “green” it was usually related to money. But for the past 5 years “green” is referred to as sustainability and the important issues of global climate change. Now, with the year 2010 just around the corner and many people like Edward Mazria who are pushing for the 2030 challenge to become reality, it made me think – weren’t previous architects trained to be sustainable? What happen to us along this course of training and learning? Isn’t architecture always suppose to be cautious about the environment and aren’t architects always suppose to design for the culture and climate of the specific site? Is money and oil the root of all evil in this world ( okay, that is a whole different topic, one we will discuss later)?
It is so sad to see that the most important issue right now is global climate change. The built environment is responsible for more than one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions. I recently read an article that said most Americans now believe in global warming but don’t believe that they can do anything about it. This might stand true for the general public, but I think that as architects and designers we have the ability and are in a unique position to take action that can help.

Back before I was born, I mean way, way, way back…. We all shared our passion for sustainability. We also practiced sustainable design whether we were asked to or not. Sustainability was ingrained within our souls. The mindset should be not to treat sustainability as a capability we can apply if we wanted too, rather it is more importantly an obligation and a responsibility that we must integrate into our practice.
Granted, not every project is going to be LEED certified, we are to educate our every client about design + sustainability. We are to naturally practice sustainability every day, from what we spec in a building, how we orients the building, design the site, placing windows, natural cooling and heating; to how and what we physically do as architects and as a life being on this planet. We should consider every day what we do: how much we recycle, the clothes that we wear to keep hot or cool, what we eat, and etc.

As an architect and designers, we design, we educate and we make a difference.
check out the website below and tell me how you plan on making a difference:

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Nathaniel Kahn + Louis Kahn

Father's Day : Who's your daddy

if you ever google "father architect" it's funny all the results you come up, here's a compiled list:

My Father, My Architect: Louis Kahn

Father of American Landscape + Design: Fredrick Law Olmstead

Father of Scandinavian Architecture: Alvaro Aalto

Father of International style: Le Corbusier

Father of High Tech Architecture: Norman Foster

Father of Bauhaus Architect: Walter Gropius

Father of 20th century Architect: Bruce Goff

Father of American Skyscrappers: William Le Baron Jenney

Father of Art Nouveau Architecture: Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Father of Enviromentalist Architecture: Glenn Murcutt

Father of Renaissance Architecture: Andrea Palladio

Father of American Modern Architecture: Luis Sullivan

Father of Post Modern Architecture: Robert Venturi

Father of "famous" Architects: Frank Lloyd Wright

Father of Modernism: Mies van der Rohe

Father of Television Architecture: Mike Brady ( the Brady Bunch)


my grandFATHER the Architect: Abdol-Hossien Eskandari

Monday, June 11, 2007

Designers become Designer brand

When do architects become designers for other brand name designer labels like Tiffany and Co., Puma, Targert and etc? Are they still architects or have they gotten so indulged into the role of a designer that they think that they have to design everything?

Designers like Frank O. Gehry, who already have the "brand" label, who have the name on there own. Do they really sell there names or is Tiffany and Co selling Frank's name?

Frank Gehry isn't the only one who has gone this route. Phillip Starke and Michael Graves have also joined Gehry in this venture. Starke designed shoes for Puma and Graves has a whole line of home products at Target. So are these "designers" architects or are they just "designers" that design products and buildings? Which is better, being an designer architect or just an architect. I think that if anyone were to ask me... you would know which is my answer.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Public Relation vs. the Ethical Architect

During lunch today, we had an opportunity to discuss and see what Public relation and marketing is about, especially in a big corporation. There was a list of slides, a whole bunch of numbers and facts that were shown, and polls that were taken; that I can’t quite remember all very clear. However, there was one topic in the presentation that stuck in my mind, all so well. The topic was, getting to know your client really well; meaning, getting to know them on a personal level. That topic made me think, how well do we want to know our clients? Is there a boundary where we have to stop? Okay, it’s good to know there hobbies, families, kids, spouses, activities, favorite dinner and etc. But where does it cross.

I wonder did Frank Lloyd Wright, think that he was PRing with his clients, and then ended up getting so close to them that he had affairs and many relationships. Or Louis Kahn, what was he thinking, when every time he had a client he had an illegitimate child? And Mies, luring in doctor clients and creating “less is more” an architecture legacy. Why is that all male architects have had many relationships with their clients? Is that true one article true, that the sexiest profession ranked # 1 is an Architect?

So, why is it that we are the hottest thing on the market! I thought I should find out, I’m an architect myself and as a female architect there are some things that are quite different than a male architect.

During our education, we were trained to rescue the client. We learned architecture by studying the best buildings of all times. I remember being a student of architecture and talking to people about the St Louis arch , the Seagram, and the Veteran’s Memorial acting as if we personally know them and are in touch with them on a daily basis This gives us confidence, and this confidence is one reason for people to be attracted to us, to fall in love with us.

However, as a female architect we have to let the male still be the hero… We are not only a hero but also a therapist. I find myself listening to clients most intimate details of how they use there particular space and environment.

Then, there is the great misunderstanding about money, that we are loaded, hence the attraction HA! From our fancy cars, to the fabulous glasses, the designer clothes and shoes. Thanks to Hollywood, where any side character who is passionate, wealthy and screwed over is an architect.

Finally, I think the most important factor in how the architect and designers became the most attractive professional is their imagination. We are creators. I start the job with a clean slate and build it with layers of information and ideas that then the engineer can come up with a solution, the estimator can calculate, and the lawyer can write a contract. Where other professionals solve problems, I give them the problem to solve. Other professionals are working with reality, we only do potential.

So I guess I can understand where the attraction exist, however, where do we draw the line? Or should I say, where do my male counterparts draw the line? ( note see how I quickly refer myself to the legends like Wright, Mies and Kahn). Females don’t have it that bad; we can talk to our clients about shoes, and their spouses and where the next Gucci and Prada sale is… Something to think about the next time we all are at a meeting. Okay back to Public Relations.......

Monday, June 04, 2007

DLR Group's Embry-Riddle library

ERAU Udvar Hazy Library

This is the new Udvar Hazy Library that we have been working on for months. We had lots of fun working on the project and we had such a great team. Our team consists of:
Rich Pawelko AIA (Principal in Charge)
Gary Worthy AIA ( Design Leader)
Stan Axthelm AIA ( Project Manager)
Maryam Eskandari Assoc. AIA ( Designer)
Prem Sundhuram Assoc. AIA ( Project Architect)
Ben Talpos Assoc. AIA ( Project Architect)
This was our very first time using Revit/BIM on a project and we had lots of fun. Our new Fine Arts College project will also be in Revit.
It is in the lates Sources + Design magazine. The library is in Prescott, Arizona. The article read:

"Construction has commenced on Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's new Chris and Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Library, designed by DLR Group of Phoenix, Arizona. The library at the Prescott, Arizona university connects to the Academics 1 Building, also designed by DLR Group, and features a design inspired by the metaphor of flight, including a cantilevered second story. General contractor on the project, which is expected to be completed in early 2008, is BartonMalow Companies of Phoenix."

Sunday, June 03, 2007

When it comes to architecture, where do we stop designing? And when years have gone by and future architects look at our work, will they know, what "future" architect of its time designed that?

What is the next step of the future architects? Will be folds, blobs and boxes? What makes this generation so different then the past generations, and what will make us stand differently from the Frank's ( Wright and Gehry) , the Hadid's , Koolhause's, Kahn's and Mies'?

What will it take for a Islamic architecture, to start reforming and be parrallel with the religion itself? What next generation of architects will start creating conteporary and modern Islamic Architecture?

And can we get architecture and space to be constanlty in motion? Just like the way the planet earth is constantly in motion? Can a space be created so that it is always changing with time, and that it is never experience the same?

What is the next generation of architecture; Where is the next modern Mosque and what is architecture in motion?