The Last Project
As I brainstorm the last project for the 30x30 series that I set out on with Journey of an Architect 3 years ago, there’s a bittersweet feeling that crosses my mind and quite honestly, my soul. When I embarked on this journey, I never thought I would find so many other passions in my life; writing, product design/craft, podcasting, and reading. So what will the last project for the 30x30 series be? Let’s start with what I’ve accomplished and my vision for where I want to be.
What I’ve Accomplished – An Overview
In early 2016, I started this blog with one goal in mind – to design 30 theoretical projects by the time I turned 30. That gave me about 4 years and 5 months from the time I officially started the blog. Before I named the blog Journey of an Architect, it was actually called Designing and Making because I knew that I had a passion for design and I wanted to get into a craft. However, I felt a pull towards a new identity for the blog because all my projects at the time was focused on architecture.
Fast forward to 2019 where I’ve completed 29 of the 30 projects that range from architecture to product design, writing a book, and co-founding a podcast. This expansion of the 30x30 into a variety of areas aside from architecture all came from my pursuit of projects that I’m passionate about. At one point, I was juggling projects from these areas at the same time and completing them by each deadline that I set.
So instead of jumping into each project and explaining each one in more detail, I wanted to share my enthusiasm of being able to find and pursue each of these areas that now define my life as an architect. I still love to write and have two books in mind – one architecture related and one unrelated. I’m working on Unpacking Design with my cohost Mike LaValley from Evolving Architect. I’m designing and making leather products for my shop, Mars Leather Company. And last but not least, I’m still designing lots of architecture!
These are all areas of my life that I couldn’t see myself living without and I’ll continue developing more projects after the 30x30 series is complete.
My Vision for What’s Next
One of the areas that I’ve been thinking about exploring and adding to my skillset is photography and video. More specifically, I’ve wanted to get into making videos either for a potential vlog, making marketing videos for Mars Leather Company, or eventually starting a Kickstarter project for a leather product. These are all rough ideas at the moment and I’ve already begun recording videos (though they’re not worth sharing just yet!) and getting more comfortable with being on camera.
Until I’ve really explored the world of video, I won’t know if this is a skill that I want to learn. However, I’ve started to see a lot of benefits of using video content for sharing my passions with the world. It allows me to show the way that I see the world and to curate a story around something that I’m passionate about.
Aside from video, I’d still like to continue designing lots of architecture and having fun developing competition proposals. At some point, I’ll probably focus 75% of my free time designing architecture projects; especially when I finally decide to start a practice. For now, I’ll continue spreading my time evenly among all the areas I’m interested in pursuing with a little more focus on the things that I’ve always been interested in learning. Eventually, I hope I’ll be able to combine all these passions under one umbrella.
What will the 30x30 be?
At this moment, I’m between several ideas for the last project of the 30x30 series. The one I’ve been leaning towards – without having the necessary skills to pursue – is something related to video content. The initial idea was to launch a Kickstarter project where I would put together a compelling video showcasing one or more leather products that I’d give in return for a sum of money that would help me add more expensive tools to my leather workshop.
After that initial idea, I decided to make it a little more realistic by making the 30th project a series of 5 videos showing my process of leatherworking. So far, I’ve been setting up my camera(s) and trying to film the segments that I had in mind, but honestly, I need to spend a little more time learning camera settings and setting up the workshop which is located in my dark basement. Once I figure out the optimal settings for recording a crisp and good video, I’ll put together story boards for each video and hopefully be able to compile 5 marketing videos for Mars Leather Company.
The last idea that I had was to design an architecture project that takes the evolution of my design process from the architecture 30x30 projects and begin to design the types of architecture that truly interest me the most. This means selecting a typology, scale, program, potential clientele, technology, and so on, and focusing on that particular kind of architecture from here on. My thought is that this would launch the official architecture website for my future firm where I could begin by developing a cohesive portfolio of theoretical projects and competition proposals designed at the highest level possible by me.
In terms of the type of architecture projects I’m leaning towards, I’d like to get into the typology and scale that I’ve always thought I’d get into designing after graduating architecture school and returning to New York City; mixed use skyscrapers – parking, retail, office, residential and so on.
Writing this now is an exciting thought to me and it’s definitely the one that I’m leaning towards with the video idea being one that I also pursue on the side as a potential way of documenting everything I’m working on.
For me, the last project of the 30x30 is the end of the series, but the beginning of something more. It’s a continuation of all the things that have worked throughout the journey and areas of my life that I will continue to develop. At the beginning of this journey, I couldn’t see exactly where it would lead me and where I would end up, but now I know that it was setting me up to find myself. Who I am as an architect, designer, and person are the most important lessons that I’ve learned and continue to learn as I figure out and begin the last project.