Monday, December 31, 2012

PMQ Possibility

What happens when architecture meets______?

This kind of cross pollination is perfect for discovery and that is what excites me the most.

I've started discussing with Kit and our friend Cindy about the possibility of opening a workshop/gallery, one devoted to further exploring the possibilities that exist between architecture and any other field.

By using Hong Kong's future PMQ (Police Married Quarters) and the artists/community there, we can differ ourselves from similar design offices. The traditional process of "Act"(to do) and "React"(to respond to) can be modified to "Think", "Make", and "Share"*, continuing in loops of Think-Make-Share-Think-Make-Share-Think-Make-Share-...
*(Can also be expressed as Design, Fabricate, and Exhibit)

With Cindy's specialization in exhibition (Think, Share) and Kit and I's in architecture (Think, Make), we hope this new process can generate new ideas.

Following the tangents, finding the new, and fulfilling a deeper desire. Moving ourselves and moving others.

Bye 2012. Here's to the New!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Restart the career.

A lot moved, but little changed. After a rock bottom unemployment period, followed by a two month exile, I'm back in Hong Kong working for the city's archetypal, Business 1.0, architecture firm. A firm, like most here, whose success came not through creating superior products, but through superior connections and a market flooded with mainland money.

There are still things to learn. This firm has created a vast array of employee benefits, and mostly seem like grassroots, bottom-up, programs. Wine night, basketball, team events, and weekly lectures help chase the bitter taste of un-inspired work.

I plan to make the most out of it. Eat all the carrots while ignoring the sticks.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


I had a dream. In the dream I created the opposite of a hamburger, the hambunger. Two patties of meat with one bun between. When I woke up, I knew I must make them. It is about damn time I reach the dreams I've been following.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Friday, April 20, 2012


While spending my free time learning Processing, I decided I wanted to use this new tool to create a piece of irony; a chart on unemployment to help me become employed.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Frank Gehry on an Island

World famous architect Frank Gehry is shipwrecked alone on an island without hope of rescue. He needs to build a dwelling for himself. Does he start throwing crumpled pieces of paper for inspiration as he did at his day job? He probably will not. Instead, he starts building with protection and safety as the priority, like the rest of us would. The functions he expects his building to perform have shuffled. What could cause a designer, known for placing form first, to behave in such a different way? Is Frank on an Island a better designer than Frank in Bilbao, the Spanish city of his world famous art museum?

Mr. Gehry has not changed. He has only reevaluated his situation, something we all do when making decisions. The difference between Frank on an island and Frank in Bilbao is the resources that can be invested. Guggenheim Bilbao costed 1.27 billion USD, construction lasted for 4 years, and hundreds of people were involved in the design and construction. Frank on an island has about one day, found materials, and only himself. When he decides what the building should functionally return to him, he must consider the resources he can invest.

There is a direct relationship in Architecture between the investment and the return.

The resources we can invest include money, time, materials, knowledge, and calories. As all architects know, the amount varies from project to project. The "Frank on an Island" hypothetical uses resources as the variable to present the effects that it causes when it changes.

The return that architecture provides comes in the form of functions, resell value, and sentimental value. Because our values are perceived, they differ from one person to another. Frank on the island is anticipating the returned value from investing in shelter and safety.

When we make good decision we are trying to maximize our returned value. Frank believes investing in shelter and safety will return greater value than if he invested in inspirational forms. In Bilbao, when resources are high, he believes aesthetics are the best way to increase the value of the building. The value of safety and shading can only provide value to a point before it becomes excessive.

Naturally, resources can be divided and invested in different functions. One can have a bathroom and invest in the appearance of it. Functions working together like this can result in a more economical use of resources.

It is important to remember the relationship between investment and return because neither can truly be evaluated without knowledge of the other. One cannot judge the value of shelter, safety, or form without knowledge of the resources required. This is an idea often lost in architectural criticism.

If Frank Gehry designs good architecture, then it will produce the most amount of return for the resources invested. This is true on an island and in Bilbao.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Unemployed Architect, Self-employed Thinker.

I wish I could make enough money experimenting with, and thinking deeply about, architecture. It seems there is a vast area unexplored by the minds of architects. It is an area you can only think about when you are not currently practicing architecture and have nothing to lose by shifting styles, goals, etc. This area asks what is architecture, why are we doing it, and how do we do it well?

While I still claw at firms, who claw at projects that never come, writing about these topics have kept me busy.