Friday, January 15, 2016

the year in pictures [2015]

year eleven for the [year in pictures] post.

in the past, i'd have to dig through files on my computer to gather my favorite photos from the last year, now i can simply open up instagram. scrolling through my feed, it was easy to see this year had a defining theme.  thumbing through photos of babies, marriages and engagements, this was a year of [growing up]. i realize that's a very vague theme to some up a year, but it is true. more than any previous year, i saw the people in my life make choices and go through events which added maturity  to their life story, myself included.

instagram had a feature this year where it grouped your best nine photos of the year, however that feature was based only on likes and comments. it didn't take into account the sentiment or personal feeling behind the photograph.

please enjoy ten images i personally chose because of what they meant to me and show this year was all about [growing up].


maybe not the best photo to start off a year of [growing up] as this photograph shows the time i had my girlfriend try an incredibly hot pickle, but i'll explain. my girlfriend and i have very different tastes in most everything.  a phrase we always say to each other when trying something new is "open mind" which is exactly what i said before she sampled the pickle.  remembering to keep an open mind seems to me a very [grown up] attitude, which is why i included this picture. well, that and it still cracks me up. by the way, she wasn't a fan.


memorial day found my girlfriend and i traveling to tulsa for a long weekend.  we enjoyed craft beer, wine, museums and incredible food. we also stopped to visit the blue whale, a route 66 icon. originally a playground and rest stop for the kids of cross country travelers, it now sits as a relic of a time long gone by.  she knows i love visiting places like this and we had a wonderful time checking it out.  what really made this trip memorable though, is that it affirmed a very [grown up] decision i had brewing in my head.


i love my city and one of the ways i try to give back to my community is being an active member of our local aia.  to make that organization more apart of the community i wanted our group to host an art show for the monthly art gallery crawl, but i wanted to do something different, something never before seen here. through a lot of donations, a lot of peoples help and hard work, and through the creativity of friends and countless strangers, we did.  in june we hosted a "pop-up" gallery, a shipping container filled with over 500 napkin sketches. by far one of the greatest things i ever helped organized.  planning an event like that and caring about the community you live in made me feel very [grown up].


back to the future is my all time favorite movie and 2015 is a very big year in the movies trilogy. as most of you know, it's the year marty travels into the future. a small town near wichita hosted a "back to the future" celebration last summer and there was no way i was going to miss it. i ended up having a great time. when i was eight years old i remember wondering what life would be like in 2015 when i was all [grown up].  little did i know then, ironically, i'd be attending a "back to the future" festival.


i think this is the most "norman rockwell-esque" photo i've ever taken.  as a mid-westerner this scene is so typically new england to me, it makes me smile. this photograph gets included because this is the weekend i asked my girlfriends parents for their "blessing" to ask their daughter to marry me. the second most [grown-up] question i would ask in 2015.


as an architect, i had to visit "the national building museum" this summer while in washington d.c. it's a fantastic space and i had the chance to view "the beach".  an installation which allowed [grown-ups] to act like kids having fun in a gigantic ball pit. this was also a wonderful trip spent attending a wedding with my girlfriend. a trip which helped me decide the setting for an event later in the year.


this summer wichita took a vacant and unsightly lot in downtown and turned it into a pop-up park. in the grand scheme of large cities, this is nothing new, but for our little mid-western town it was a very original idea.  with food trucks, seating, artwork and outdoor games, it seems to be filling a "hole" in our cities urban fabric by creating a dynamic community space for the more and more people living and working downtown.  one small way i feel this city is [growing up].


a staple in my yearly schedule is attending the austin city limits festival.  i go to great lengths to make sure this weekend is blocked out every october so i can attend.  i wouldn't miss it for the world. however this year was the first time my concert going friends entertained the idea of doing something else next year. are we [growing up] or simply getting to old for the three day festival in the texas sun? who knows. that being said, this shot does a great job of capturing the feel of the festival and i'm glad i got to experience it for another year.


this is outside the willard hotel in washington d.c. the spot where i asked the most [grown up] question of my life. from this spot forward i knew my life would be different.  from this spot forward i no longer thought about "me" but rather "us." from this spot forward i knew i'd have someone there with me all the time, to laugh with, to cry with, to share good times and bad.  this spot changed everything in my life and i couldn't be happier about it. 


in a year full of [growing up] it seems appropriate to end with this photo from my friends december wedding.  he and i [grew up] together and i was absolutely thrilled to be a part of this moment in his life. we both did a lot of [growing up] the later part of 2015 and i'm glad we were there to talk about it with each other. i love this photograph because there's such a feeling of happiness and pure joy as he and his new wife head into the future. a perfect way to feel as we enter into a new and exciting year.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

new year, new [engagement]

this month the architalk topic assigned to us by bob borson of "life of an architect" was "new year, new _____" a topic perfectly suited for the beginning of a new year filled with fresh ideas, hopes, dreams and projects.

new year, new [engagement]

in the architecture world, we're use to dealing with budgets, sites, appointments, deadlines, details, finish selections and colors.  most of the time we're dealing with these items because a client brought a project to us.  well, for the first time i'm having to deal with these issues for a project i brought on myself.

i went and got engaged last month.

so although all the same issues are there, i'll soon be dealing with bridal details instead of building details, suit sizes instead of structure sizes, cakes instead of codes, and ties much less masonry in their function.  with ten years of project management experience in the profession i feel i have the organizational skills to help plan a wedding, however my fiancee is finding the architect in me is more opinionated about certain details than she may have originally thought or planned.

maybe i'm wrong to be thinking of this as a design project.

for example, my fiancee was slightly confused when the very first thing i asked her is what she though the "parti" of the wedding would be, to which she had no clue what i was talking about. we're also discovering we need to find common ground between our differing visions for the celebration; she keeps using words such as "elegant "and "classy," where as i keep suggesting "modern" and "minimal."  one early idea of mine quickly and completely rejected was my suggestions for the colors. i didn't think the combination of black and dark black was "boring," but apparently it is.  i'm hoping my finish material boards will convince her otherwise.

like most projects early in design, we haven't discussed a budget yet, which is fine because i feel we're still in the "fun" schematic design phase,  however before we roll into design development, i'd like us to have an established budget, site and completion date.  also, just like in a building project, you eventually bring in consultants who can dramatically effect the project. however instead of structural or mechanical engineers, the consultants for this project are called "future in-laws" and i'm sure they'll have their own thoughts and ideas we'll have to factor in.  maybe after the larger parts of the project get more defined....we'll revisit those color selections.

more stories and future blog posts to follow.

sometimes we bring projects into our lives, other times life brings us other personal projects, like that of our architalks friend rusty long.

here's his story.

"The participants of this ArchiTalks blog post series are asking you to help a friend of ours who is dealing with a family tragedy. Rusty Long is an Architect based out of Portsmouth, Virginia, whose son Matthew is fighting for his life. Here is Matthew’s story, as told by his Dad, Rusty:

Matthew Long was born May 29th, 2013, happy, and seemingly healthy. Less than two days later his mother and I found ourselves in an neonatal intensive care unit waiting room, listening to a rushed intensive care doctor explain how our son needed immediate dialysis to save his life. The disease, he briefly explained, was one of a group of disorders called Urea Cycle Disorders, which impact the way the body breaks down protein. We later discovered that Matthew's particular variant is called OTC Deficiency, a particularly severe form of it in fact, which results in a rapid rise of ammonia in the blood, called hyperammonemia, resulting in devastating neurological damage. This form of OTC is so severe, Matthew has virtually no peers who have survived it. Once the immediate crisis was arrested, we came to find out more about the disease and the impact of this initial event.
The disease is inherited, and the damage is permanent. Treatment consists of a combination of medications, low protein medical diet, and ultimately a liver transplant. Matthew was fortunate to experience no additional hyperammonemic events in the following fifteen months of life, and had a liver transplant on August 24th, 2014. The cure for the disease, a transplant, isn't so much a cure as trading one condition for another. While we will never risk the chance of another ammonia spike, Matthew is on a half a dozen or more medications at any given time to avoid rejection. Despite these challenges, intensive daily therapy for cerebral palsy (a result of the initial damage), limited motor function, and various other challenges along the way, our son is remarkably happy and has changed all our lives for the better. He's taught us to be stronger than we ever thought possible, to have faith beyond human understanding, and the immeasurable value of life.

The #ArchiTalks community is hoping to raise $5,500 to help Architect Rusty Long and his family reach their financial goal on If each reader of this post contributes a small amount, our impact will be massive and we can make a difference for Matthew’s family. Click here now and donate $2.00. "

check the other links below to read the rest of the architalks crew and their take on "new year, new______"

Enoch Sears - Business of Architecture (@businessofarch)
New Year, New Community on Business of Architecture

Matthew Stanfield - FiELD9: architecture (@FiELD9arch)
New Year, New CAD

Marica McKeel - Studio MM (@ArchitectMM)
New Year, New Adventures

Lee Calisti, AIA - Think Architect (@LeeCalisti)
new race new year new start

Mark R. LePage - Entrepreneur Architect (@EntreArchitect)
New Year. New Budget.

Lora Teagarden - L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
New Year, New Goals

Collier Ward - One More Story (@BuildingContent)
New Year, New Business

Nicholas Renard - dig Architecture (@dig-arch)
New Year, A New Hope

Jes Stafford - Modus Operandi Design (@modarchitect)
New Year. New Gear.

Cindy Black - Rick & Cindy Black Architects (*)
New Year, New Casita

Eric T. Faulkner - Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
New Year, New Underwear

Meghana Joshi - IRA Consultants, LLC (@MeghanaIRA)
New Year, New Plan

Amy Kalar - ArchiMom (@AmyKalar)
New Year, New Adventures

Michael Riscica - Young Architect (@YoungArchitxPDX)
New Year, New Life!

Stephen Ramos - BUILDINGS ARE COOL (@sramos_BAC)
New Year, New Home

brady ernst - Soapbox Architect (@bradyernstAIA)
New Year, New Adult Architect

Brian Paletz - The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz)
A Little Premature

Sharon George - Architecture By George (@sharonraigeorge)
New Year, New Business

Brinn Miracle - Architangent (@simplybrinn)
New Year, New Perspective

Emily Grandstaff-Rice - Emily Grandstaff-Rice AIA (@egraia)
The New New

Jarod Hall - di'velept (@divelept)
New Year New Reality

Anthony Richardson - That Architecture Student (@anth_rich)
New Year New Desk

Greg Croft - Sage Leaf Group (@croft_gregory)
New Year, New Goals

Jeffrey A Pelletier - Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
New Year New Office

Aaron Bowman - Product & Process (@PP_Podcast)
New Year, More Change

Kyu Young Kim - Palo Alto Design Studio (@sokokyu)
New Year, New Office Space

Jared W. Smith - Architect OWL (@ArchitectOWL)
New Year, New Reflection

Rusty Long - Rusty Long, Architect (@rustylong)
New Year, New Direction