Journey of an Architect is a blog started by Tim Ung to document his journey to design 30 projects by the age of 30 (May 2020). His posts focus on his design process, thoughts, struggles, and successes throughout his journey.

Newsletter 030

Newsletter 030

After planning out my goals for 2017 and doing some background research into this year’s positive energy design building materials and technologies, I came across a new architecture competition that focuses on affordable housing in New York City. While reading through the project brief, I found so many similarities between the competition’s vision and my very first 30x30 project, the NYC Micro Dwellings, and decided to pursue the competition. Learn more in this post!

Now, without further ado, here is this week’s Friday Four!

1. Lesson of the week – Teaching requires patience and trust

Andrea, my girlfriend, has her driving test coming up in February and she couldn’t find a local driving school that would be available to take her to the testing site. So I offered not only to let her use my car for her driving test, but also to teach her how to drive. Based on her stories of learning how to drive with her family and friends as teachers, I assumed that she knew all of the basics of driving and would only need to drive my car to adjust before the test.

As soon as we began her driving lesson, I realized that we were going to need to start from the very beginning. My reactions to her last minute signaling, wide turns into a narrow street, and sharp turns that almost ended with a crash into a parked car only made her feel worse about her driving ability. So I stopped panicking and went through a simple step by step explanation of each driving skill that she needed to learn. After a few hours, she was doing fantastic!

It’s important for us to remember that we were all beginners at some point in our lives. I often observe architects with years of experience giving tasks the younger architects in the office, seeing a confused and anxious look on their faces, giving them their deadline, and walking away. As the young architects struggle through each task, I can’t help but walk over and explain the steps to efficiently completing them. The next time they received the same tasks, they had a look of confidence and were able to complete each one far in advance of their deadline.

Whenever you find yourself in a position of knowledge over your peer, take a second to explain the ideas and methods, be patient and answer any questions, and let them take the tasks on their own. You’ll build your trust with that person’s ability to accomplish the task and eventually move onto giving them even more difficult tasks in the future.

2. Best moment of the week – Getting an iPhone 7 Plus

For the past few years, I’ve been using a smart phone that I received from a research lab at the University at Buffalo. After I moved on from teaching in the school of architecture & planning, I decided to continue with their phone plan, which came at a very good price point. Last week, the research lab sent an email to all participants notifying us that the program was ending.

Long story short, I decided to go with an iPhone rather than an Android, which is what I’ve been using for the past few years. This switch has been a fantastic experience so far and I’ve found myself using my phone more often. The ability to seamlessly synchronize my iPhone and iPad reduces the amount of time that I used to spend sending files to the cloud or plugging in my device.

I’ve wanted an iPhone for the past year and a half, but I constantly reminded myself that it would be an expensive investment or to wait for the next version. However, with this larger financial investment and great device, I find myself using social media more often and learning about new apps that help my productivity and workflow! It was definitely a great switch.

3. What I’m currently reading – SOM: Architecture of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill 1973-1983 by Albert Bush-Brown

One of the architecture firms that I’ve admired for some time is Skidmore Owings & Merrill because they’ve always pushed the edge of skyscraper designs. Although I believe that many of their buildings could have incorporated more energy efficient systems and elements, their portfolio of work is beyond belief. This week, I read a monograph of SOM’s work from 1973-1983 and learned about how the firm expanded throughout the United States and eventually overseas.

4. 30x30 Project Update – Started a competition for 2x30 and starting a Revit model

After starting a new competition that’s due at the end of February, I’ve come up with the preliminary design schemes and I’ll be developing a Revit model over the next two weeks. I’ll also be asking a few friends of mine who live in New York City if they could make a trip out to the project site and take some high quality photographs of the site for rendering purposes. This will be an exciting month of fast pace design!

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Newsletter 031

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Newsletter 029