Monday, September 29, 2014

new york state of [marriage]

i attended a great wedding last weekend.

it deserves this title for several reasons. first of all i've known this couple for a long time. he is one of my best friends and over the years his wife has become one as well.  it was intimate. the couple decided on a very small guest list choosing to celebrate this wonderful occasion with those people who had a direct part of their relationship. next, it took place in new york, a city they've come to love, and a place that helped foster their love for each other. finally, the whole weekend perfectly and beautifully reflected the couple. it was personal, elegant, meaningful, minimal and incredibly well designed, placing the importance on the essential. just the way a relationship should be.

congratulations adam and angela, love you both.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

[equinox] girls

for the past few years i've hyped up wichitahenge, a play off manhattanhenge.  which is the phenomenon where the setting sun perfectly aligns with the grid of manhattan, new york.  granted the streets of manhattan are skewed causing this to happen on a very specific date, so wichita's version isn't as unique, falling exactly on the equinox, but it's still really cool to see.  the last few years i've photographed this event and invited other people to do so as well. although after three years of hoping to see crowds of people downtown with cameras in hand, this year i heard regina george's voice in my head saying,

"stop trying to make "wichitahenge" happen, it's not going to happen."

although there aren't mobs of people trying to get the perfect witchtahenge shot, there are a few pics from other photographers out there.

here's one from my friend brad ruder:

another from leslley anne scotte i found online:

maybe in a few years it'll take off.  as for now, this yearly quest, is just a simple reminder, summer is over. it's time for fall.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

[city] love in the time of [young professionals]

young professional organizations are wonderful community groups springing up all over the country.  they’re usually started by local city chambers for a several reasons. first of all, many of the older chamber members, baby boomers, are retiring at a large rate and they need to replace them with new members. starting a young professional organization is a wonderful way to attract younger membership and get them exposed to the chamber.  also having a "yp" group in place is a great asset to have when you’re trying to attract large businesses to your city. these groups also take on service projects which benefit cities in many ways.  wichita has its own young professionals group filled with great people who are passionate about making wichita a better place.  these groups are usually made up of highly educated people who have landed good jobs.  it’s not hard to see why cities, when talking about the future, always mention how important it is to attract this demographic.  highly educated people with disposable income are very attractive as far as city economics are concerned

but what about highly talented people with little income?

there seems to be less attention paid to how important artists, musicians, creatives, freelancers and entrepreneurs are to a city.  a group of people who don’t normally consider themselves “professionals” or lack the free time or money to participate in such a group. this is a huge oversight on a cities part.

in his book “for the love of cities” peter kageyama writes about a lecture he attended where he heard pier giorgio di cicco speak. during his speech, di cicco said,

“arts and culture are what make a city fall in love with itself.’ 

reflecting on this quote gives you a wonderful perspective when visiting other cities. what makes new orleans great? is it the "young professionals" or rather the jazz artists, diverse culture and eclectic cuisine. what about austin with its “keep austin weird” slogan? the tag line for the city is meant to reflect its culture of accepting unique and artistic expression. young people are flocking to nashville because the city is filled with musicians trying to make it. local shops and dive bars are constantly filled with wonderful music. san fransisco has always been a meca for all types of artists and denver's craft beer is world renown.  portland has such a collection of artistic, creative and unique people it spawned the tv show, portlandia.

artists, creatives, freelancers and entrepreneurs are the common factor making these cities unique. young professionals give a city substance, artists give a city its flavor.

young professionals can do a great job populating a city and greasing the economic gears, but as i read and hear about where this group of millennials want to live, it seems they’re attracted to unique and interesting cities; places artists and other creatives have worked hard to make that way.

both groups are important to city development. however living in wichita, a city currently reviving it's downtown, it seems they are increasingly focused on the "young professional" aspect. if they're shopping for a unique city, they need to wheel their "idea cart" out the suit and stiletto aisles and head all the way back to the art supplies and musical instruments.  there they'll find the “unprofessionals.” those individuals brewing coffee in the morning and pouring beer at night. those individuals thriving on artistic expression and creative endeavors with little payment.  they’re the ones who are going to make a city unique. they’re the ones who will make a city attractive and a place worth moving to.  they’re the ones who will make a city “loveable.”  a quality hard to measure economically...but easy to feel emotionally.




Friday, September 12, 2014

designing for a [date movie]

like most architects, i have my own theory on urban planning, based on years and years of research. cities need to be designed as though they are a romantic comedy.

let me explain...

first the reason i got into architecture, meg ryan. i LOVED meg ryan as a teenager. the late 90's found me watching every, single, movie she was in. being that meg was america's sweetheart at the time, this found me viewing many of the decades best rom-com's.  one of the best examples of the genre was "sleepless in seattle" which found meg ryan falling in love with tom hanks who just so happened to be an architect.  this of course peaked my interest to pursue architecture, after all, any profession that helps win the heart of meg must be awesome.  not only did this cause me to fall in love with architecture, but i had also become very fond of the genre.

these two passions, architecture and romantic comedies led me to my theory on urban planning, which i call:

Parallels Between Successful Urban Centers and Romantic Comedies 
Designing for a Date Movie

i'll explain a bit more. in architecture school we studied kevin lynch's book "image of the city" in which he talks about the elements of a city that make it "memorable." he proposed a well planned city includes, paths, edges, districts, nodes and landmarks. however i think kevin forgot one factor, "hooking up." spring boarding off his ideas, i'd like to propose that cities, like good rom-com's, need public spaces, backdrops, walks, destinations and activities.  not only will these five elements make for a better city, they might just help you meet the love of your life.

public spaces

all great rom-com's start with the characters meeting, and a great public space is just the place for that to happen.  here we see scenes from "the notebook" " serendipity" and "the break-up" all showing where the main characters met. cities should have spaces able to hold large groups of people and activities like carnivals, sporting events, and retail centers.


rom-coms require a lot of talking and dialogue is much better with an amazing backdrop.

one example of an excellent backdrop is a skyline. skylines give you the sense of being removed from the chaos. a place to focus your attention. like two characters starting to get to know each other, cities need locations to be admired and reflected upon. below we see examples of l.a. in "500 days of summer" and new york in "annie hall" 

another possible backdrop is a single building or structure. cities should be filled with great architecture, both modern and historic.  below we see the disney concert hall in "celeste and jesse forever" buckingham fountain in "return to me" and the spanish steps in "roman holiday."


simply watching a movie of two people talking doesn't make for much romance, so often times rom-coms will have the characters WALK and talk. cities should provide great places for people to walk, in which there are two kinds.

park walks always provide a great setting. it allows the characters to be a little more personal and intimate while still being in the public realm. here we see park walks in "when harry met sally" "definitely maybe" and "pretty woman"

you can also have an urban walk. this allows for more interaction with the city and other people. here we see examples in "breakfast at tiffany's" "before sunrise" "kissing a fool" and "barefoot in the park." cities must have well defined and enjoyable urban walks to help move people within a cities core. these walks are often a prelude to the next element.


if you're trying to get to know someone you must discover their taste in music, movies, literature or fashion. urban areas should have a variety of retail shops to help aid this.  great examples are record stores as in "500 days of summer" and " before sunrise" or bookstores as seen in "annie hall" or "eternal sunshine of the spotless mind." apparently in these settings, guys should always stand on the left.

another great destination is a restaurant. after all the walking and talking, you're going to be hungry. also there's no better way to get to know someone then having to watch them eat. every urban core should have a wide variety of restaurants, bars and coffee shops.  examples of rom-com restaurants in "serendipity" "sabrina" and "when harry met sally."

not only should there be restaurants, but these restaurants should have patio's. rom-com's love patio's and cities should take note of that fact. patios allow the characters to have the intimacy of their own table while at the same time connecting to the city. below are some patio scenes from "failure to launch" "when harry met sally" and "midnight in paris."

one last destination several rom-coms have and all cities should, are museums.  not only do these provide for witty banter and insight between the characters, they enrich the culture of a city.


when you've had just about as much "talking" as you can handle, it's time for the charters to actually do something. cities and especially downtown's should offer a variety of activities for people to partake in.  activities like ice skating scene in "serendipity," yoga in "what women want" and dancing in "dirty dancing."

while doing research on various activities in rom-com's, one activity stood out....karaoke. i'm not sure if this is an anomaly or not, but let's just assume to be a great city it must include karaoke bars. here we see karaoke scenes from "ps i love you" "my best friends wedding" and "500 days of summer."

if you've followed my theory this far, thank you. as i've said early it's completely based on my complete and total love of the romantic comedy genre. although it might need some fine tuning, before i present it to any urban planning board, i would encourage you to take a look around your city and find the places and settings you think would make for a great rom-com scene. chances are those places are some of the best designed and well planned area's of the city.