Tuesday, May 30, 2017

What the...: An Ongoing Series

Thing I just said to my coworker:

If I ever correctly guess what this client is going to decide, remind me to buy a lottery ticket that day.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Monica Ponce de Leon at the Art Institute

The Art Institute of Chicago, with co-sponsorship by Chicago Women in Architecture, recently hosted Monica Ponce de Leon for a lecture to discuss her work and her approach toward architecture, particularly with respect to digital fabrication. Ponce de Leon took us through a sample of her body of work with particular focus on materiality and experimentation. This is an ongoing theme in her work that extends across the built spectrum from art installation to sculpture to building and back again.  What particularly captured my imagination was the idea of digital fabrication as a natural evolution and extension of hand craft, and the notion that architectural design can be an act of discovery through the exploration of materials.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Learning from Experience: Pack a Sandwich

Two weeks ago I visited a window company plant to observe some air and water penetration tests of the assembly we're using on a new project. As with many factories, this one was in the middle of nowhere. I had to take a 7am flight from an airport that is about 20 miles from my house (instead of the one that's only 10 miles from my house), to an airport that was two and a half hours' drive from the plant. I couldn't eat the lunch the company offered (religious reasons), the company had the wrong sill installed in the test assembly, the assembly failed two of the three tests, our long drive back to the airport prevented us from eating anywhere but in the airport, the airport bar where we had dinner only had two things on the menu that I could eat, and as I discovered by biting into it, one of them I actually couldn't eat. If there hadn't been beer, I don't know what I would have done. All told, I was on the clock for almost 17 hours with just an iceberg salad.

Next week, I get to go back for the retest, with the correct sill, and some modifications to the assembly to help it pass. This time, instead of a 7am flight from the airport 20 miles from my house, we're taking a private plane at 7am from an airport 40 miles from my house.

I'm packing a sandwich this time. And probably a flask.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

What the...: An Ongoing Series

New favorite typo (regarding carpet thicknesses):

"Do all of these dimensions include pudding?"

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

What the... : An Ongoing Series

Client: We're very concerned about sound transmission between the bathroom and the office.

 Architect: Okay, we have sound batt in the wall, Quietrock on the walls, and we can add caulk at the framing edges.

Client: Also, we want to recess a television in the wall right at the water closet. Literally, as close as possible to the plumbing stack, without moving the plumbing.

Architect: *facepalm*

Monday, January 23, 2017

Building the Resistance

On Saturday I had the great privilege of marching with 250,000 people in Chicago in solidarity with the Women's March on Washington. It was a tremendous demonstration of the country's (and indeed the world's! All 7 continents were represented - including Antarctica!) opposition to the new administration and a loud and many-voiced criticism of the United States as it stands now. I saw signs against Trump and his cabinet of cronies, heard (and joined in with) cries of "Black Lives Matter!" and "This is what democracy looks like!" and "No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here!", saw signs fighting against threats to women's body autonomy, against transphobia, in defense of sex workers, in defense of public education, in defense of the environment, against the repeal of the ACA, promoting gun control, signs declaring "I can't believe I still have to protest this shit!" and "Nasty Woman" and "This is what a feminist looks like!" I saw tens of thousands of pussy hats, in all different hues of pink and red - some sewn, some knit, some crocheted, but nearly all handmade and distinctive.