From architecture projects for my 30x30 goal to product designs for my shop, Mars leather Company, this area of the blog focuses on everything related to design. See what it’s like inside the mind of an architect and product designer through these blog posts.
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.
In the 21st century, architects often talk about prefabricated buildings as large assemblies of the final construction that are delivered to the project site, craned into position, and finished on site. However, there are different tiers of prefabrication that start from individual parts that come together into a component and eventually combined into an assembly that becomes the final product. Having a deeper understanding of the term “prefabrication” will allow us to utilize more efficient methods of building and shift the preconceived notion behind the terminology. Let me explain.
An architect that I’ve recently discovered and have been fascinated by is Michelle Kaufmann who wrote a book called prefab green. This book focuses on Kaufmann’s vision to design sustainable modular houses that the middle class can afford. As part of my research for my 28th project of my 30x30 series that focuses on kit houses, Kaufmann’s work is influential in the way that she deconstructed the kit house model and redesigned it based on the standards of the 21st century. Here’s what I’ve learned about the possibilities of a 21st century prefabricated house.
Recently, I borrowed a book called Eames House: Charles and Ray Eames (Architecture in Detail) by James Steele, which gave an overview of the case study house project and the development of case study house 8 (AKA Eames House). My fascination with the Eames House is the simplicity of its design, use of off the shelf products, and the estimated cost per square foot based on a quick Google search. After reading this book, I have some doubts about the cost estimate and some encouraging ideas for the kit house of the next century. Here’s a quick overview of what I’ve learned about the Eames House.
Why were the initial kit houses developed in the world? Where were these kit houses delivered and built? One of the best books that I began to read this week called Prefab Houses by Arnt Cobbers and Oliver Jahn gives a great primer on the evolution of kit houses over time. Starting with the first one that we have documentation for, this research is beginning to reveal more ideas and purposes of the kit house idea. Here’s why the initial kit houses were developed in the world and some interesting facts about one of the first star architect developed kit houses.
Why did the kit houses from the early 1900’s begin to fail in the 1970’s? What happened to the idea of the kit house after the main companies filed for bankruptcy or let go of the idea? These were questions that I developed while researching the timeline of kit house companies. A majority of these companies filed for bankruptcy in the mid to late 1900’s and others switched their business focus. Here’s how the kit houses evolved from that moment onward.
What could architecture products look like for a majority of the population? Why do architects consider duplicating the same house designs at different sites to be bad? These are some of the questions that I’ve been debating as I’ve read through catalogs for kit houses from the early 1900’s to the mid 1900’s. During my initial research of my latest topic “Architecture as Product”, I’ve discovered a lot of very interesting marketing schemes and business models for kit houses of the 20th century. Here’s what I’ve learned.
After spending several months focusing on my newfound leatherworking hobby, I’m starting to find that my passion for designing architecture is growing. One of the big ideas that I had this week that is leading towards my next 30x30 projects is viewing architecture as products. This idea can go in many directions, so I’ll be dedicating the next few weeks to narrow the idea down. Here’s where I’m going with the architecture as product project.
When we hear architects and designers talk about details, we imagine all of the smaller components that were meticulously thought through in order to solve a problem and allow a building to function as designed, maintain a specific aesthetic, or differentiate itself from other buildings. Just like architecture, details for products are similar in the way that a designer will zoom into specific components of the product and figure out how it should be made in relation to the adjacent ones and holistically. Here’s what I learned this week by focusing on the details of my latest leather product, a weekend duffle bag.
About two and a half years ago, I started on my 5 year journey to design 30 projects by the time I turned 30. Over that amount of time, I’m excited that in retrospect, I can see the lineage of all of my completed projects as well as the growth of my life as a designer. From being an architect who focused solely on designing the built environment to now pivoting and exploring the world of product design, I can’t wait to see what else I’ll learn about myself and the world of design. Now that I’m half way through my timeline, I’d like to reflect on the projects that I’ve done so far and take you down memory lane.
No matter how hard we try to design something perfectly, there are always so many factors that will affect the final outcome of our projects. Therefore, it’s important that we take a moment to sketch, talk, and make prototypes of our designs to ensure that it meets its functional and aesthetic requirements. Through this process, we often realize that we forgot an important element and made minor errors that need to be corrected. Here’s what I learned from prototyping my first leather iPad sleeve.
If you’ve been following me over the past 5 weeks, you’ve probably been wondering, “Why is this architect’s blog focusing so much on handmade leather goods?” I know it might be confusing for many of my followers and I’m excited to finally share one of the biggest projects of my life with you in this post; starting my first online retail company whose focus is handmade leather goods. Without further ado, let me take you through my journey of taking my hobby, officially starting a business in New York State, and starting my online shop.
At the beginning of April, I set out on a goal to pursue my latest hobby that is now becoming an official online retail store. My goal was simple; design and hand make 100 leather wallets by the end of April 2018. The moment this goal was set, I started cutting my leather sides into the various pieces that would come together to make each leather wallet. I’m excited to say that I’ve been able to finish all 100 leather wallets before the end of the month. Here’s how they look and what I learned along the way!
Having one goal for the month of April has been a fantastic way for me to stay focused and to continue learning the craft of leather making. Over the past week, I finished stitching all 100 wallets and reached a fork in the road which was whether I would finish the edges by burnishing it or leave it natural and raw. Here’s what I decided and how far these leather wallets have come.
As some of my projects come to an end, others are just beginning including project 20x30 which is designing and making 100 leather wallets. I know this isn’t an architecture project, but my journey so far has helped me realize my passion for design and leather making. After designing and constructing several leather bags late last year, I decided to take my leather making hobby to a new level. To pursue this newfound passion, I’ve set out to design and make 100 leather wallets by the end of April 2018. Here’s where I am after two weeks of hard work!
After months of planning, discussing, and diving head first into the world of podcasting, my good friend, Mike LaValley from Evolving Architect, and I just released the first 3 episodes of our new podcast, Unpacking Design. We came up with the idea to start a podcast together during one of our mastermind sessions and as we talked about what it could be, we narrowed it down to a general idea and turned on the microphones. Here’s what you can expect and where you can find the Unpacking Design Podcast.
Over the past week, I’ve been working hard to finish up project 17x30 the High End Residence project in Buffalo, NY. By focusing at least two hours every day, I was able to take the project from the point of final design to final graphics and complete the project! It’s been a week full of long nights and many moments of wanting to stop and take a break, but I made it through to the end and I can start focusing on my next project! Here’s how the project came together.
Now that my eBook, Starting an Architecture Firm, is complete, I’m now concurrently focusing on four projects; finishing the single family high end residence project, marketing the eBook, developing a podcast with Mike LaValley of Evolving Architect, and refining my leatherworking process on my new laser cutter. Sometimes, I find it hard to believe that I’m juggling all of these amazing projects and making so much progress on each one. This week, I’ve been able to finalize the design of the High End Residence. Here’s an update on the project with some preliminary rendering views!
Over the past week, I’ve been working hard on writing the remainder of my book, revising it on my own, and putting it together for a final editing review. As I got further along in writing the book, I slowly found my passion for writing which encouraged me to continue pushing myself to meet my April launch deadline for Starting an Architecture Firm. I’m excited to say that the draft is complete and is being reviewed and edited by my girlfriend, Andrea, and I over the next week. Here are some screenshots of what the book looks like and how you can be the first to get a sample and purchase a copy!
As one of my 30x30 goals, I’ve decided to take action on writing the Starting an Architecture Firm eBook that will elaborate and add to the list of advice from the seminar and my blog post, Almost 40 Tips for Starting an Architecture Firm. Here’s how the eBook is coming along so far and how you can be the first to know when it’s available!
While reading a book on the architecture projects of one of my favorite architects, Tadao Ando, I was inspired by the simplicity of his designs and materials. As one of the architects who quickly became known in the world of architecture at the end of the modern era, Ando’s works focus on connecting people with their inner being and nature through simple design and use of materials among many other things. After learning more about his inspirational work, I continued designing the high end residence using some of the design ideas from seeing Ando’s projects. Here’s how the high end residence’s design is coming along.
As I continued developing the conceptual design of the residential project, I decided to into Revit and begin the BIM modeling process. There were several strong ideas embedded in the sectional sketch that I developed and I know that the overall design will be refined through the modeling process. Seeing this sketch come to life in 3 dimensions will allow me to continue modifying the design of the residential project. Check out the progress that I made on the model this week.
With several projects underway, I devoted a night to develop some initial design ideas and a sketch for project 17x30, the high end single family residence in Buffalo, NY. For this particular house, the goal is to provide adequate amounts of space that are separated into private areas and gathering areas. This led to the idea of building one level of the house into the ground and partially revealing a portion of the second floor. Here’s an overview of the design concept for project 17x30.
One of the things that I’ve always been interested in starting is an online design shop where I could design and sell products. After a meeting with my good friend Mike LaValley over at Evolving Architect, I learned about several online product companies where artists and designers are able to put their designs on real items. I was so excited after this meeting that I decided to create an account and start an online shop for Journey of an Architect as project 18x30. Here’s my review of two online services and my very own online shop!
For the first 30x30 project of 2018, I’ve decided to design a single family high end residential project in Buffalo, New York as project 17x30. This is different from my previous projects which have been either very large in scale or an exhibition piece. To start this project off, I’ve already located a site and generated some basic design ideas that will evolve in the upcoming weeks. Here’s how I found a project site and some initial design ideas.
During late Autumn of 2017, I thought about various crafts that I’ve always been intrigued by and wanted to try. One of those crafts was leatherworking particularly for making accessories and bags. However, it was difficult for me to get into the trade because I didn’t have the tools nor the space in my family’s New York City apartment that allowed for leatherworking. Now that I have the space and resources to pursue leatherworking, I’ve decided to make my leather products a part of my 30x30 goal. Here’s what I’ve made so far.
After a month and a half of designing the Timber Residential Skyscraper, I’m excited to say that I’ve completed the project ahead of the deadline! Over the past week, I focused on developing the final renderings for the project, which took the most time because I had to set perspectives, materials, and Photoshop each one. Here are the final renderings for the Timber Residential Skyscraper.
This week’s focus was on finalizing the design of the Timber Residential Skyscraper project, which meant figuring out the form and potential programs of the ground floor and first floor of the building. Once these design tasks were complete, I switched my focus to the outdoor space on the second floor of the building, which would be privately used by the residents. Check out how the final design for the Timber Residential Skyscraper came together in this week's post.
As I slowly transition back to working on the Timber Residential Skyscraper from my holiday vacation, I’ve decided to focus on finding a site for the project. Like many of my previous projects, I decided that the Timber Residential Skyscraper should be located in New York City where there are many other skyscrapers. Here’s how I found on a site for this theoretical project.
This week, I’ve been continuing to design the interior of the residential timber skyscraper and I focused on the upper floors. These floors will contain two luxury residential units with three bedrooms, a large kitchen with an island capable of seating six people, an official dining room, and several gathering spaces throughout. Here’s a short update on the residential timber skyscraper project.