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communicatingArchitecture The Richard A. Campbell Traveling Scholarship process and work samples



My interest in architecture is deeply rooted in our ability as human beings to communicate with each other. This portfolio is arranged to showcase work produced with funding from The University of Oregon’s Richard A. Campbell Traveling Scholarship. Its purpose is to articulate my experience and opinions with regard to the communication of architecture through writing, painting and photography. The layout is inspired by Stone and Water Bells, a publication of Hotel Therme Vals.

I seek work with others in the articulation and execution of shared ideas. Ideas that improve our participation and experience of the built and unbuilt environment.


Writing is the most undervalued medium in the architectural education and profession. The pages of this section are taken from a collection of illustrated essays gathered to advance the communication of notable works of architecture using an experiential narrative nonfiction, a combination of words and images arranged to evoke similar emotions in the reader as were evoked in the author during his occupation of such buildings.

The power of writing when expressed to a visual audience is that it acts as a catalyst to our graphic imaginations. As a rendering must choose a particular medium to evoke emotion, words trigger a palette of endless media options inside the viewer’s mind. Words, when chosen correctly, can express ideas and inspire interpretations impossible with our pencils, pens, paints and computers. Most of the critics, reviewers, jurors, and professors who look at our work have the unique ability to graphically interpret ideas better than anyone else in the world. The misunderstanding on our part is that these people are opposed to reading text. For this reason we usually group it together, make it easy to skip over and easy to ignore. Most writing included on a final board does not actually add to the presentation of a building. excerpt from the proposal

Inside the chapel time no longer passes in seconds and minutes. It passes in intervals of silence between the thick sound of wind from two directions and the clink-boom of a large metal door handle. Varying colors of earth soak the walls, dancing and bleeding under the supervision of a small burst of sky struggling to stay confined to the inner edges of the oculus above. At this moment many things are visible; glass bulbs plugged into holes left behind by concrete formwork, a delicate and rugged statue of the peacemaker patron saint upon his strong and thin pedestal, prayer candles that flicker orange from the small, metal sandbox floating just off the wall. These details so familiar to us in photograph are all just tiny distractions muffled by the wind and the coming and going of other visitors. You wait for the silence to shut everything off. Time passes until your gaze is redirected from the sky to the ground, where all you see is a puddle of water left over from last night’s rain resting peacefully in its designated groove. Small yellowed debris slowly swirl together, guided not by the powerful gusts of specific winds but by a silent whisper that gently leads the small pieces of grass and brush through the untroubled water. You are lost in the movement for only a moment, joined by the whisper to all other things around you. Suddenly the gusts pick up again and the door handle clangs to announce a new visitor. Time passes as you stay and wait for the next interval of silence. “intervals of silence� The Bruder Klaus Chapel architect: Peter Zumthor

“optimistic gray� (excerpt)

The grays inside this museum are not bound by anything. They extend endlessly around you, wrapping like a duvet cover in that moment before sleep arrives, when the lights have been extinguished and dreams are inevitable. In some places the grays melt into each other, in others they pop so bright or burrow so dark because of their adjacency to such contrasting hues...

...If not for physical separation between wall and floor, a continuous black edge one quarter of an inch thick that casts a shadow twice its own width against the wall, I would be helpless to determine which gray belongs to what surface. Even with such guidance I am prone to thinking they all belong to some other dimension entirely, holding themselves together familiarly as floor, ceiling and wall so I am not frightened. The minute I turn around I suspect them to relax and return to their natural form in which the only separation between each shade of gray is the next one, no physical surfaces or shapes to help orient my visit through the gallery, distinguishable as thousands of different grays simultaneously experienced as one monochromatic being. “optimistic gray� (excerpt) The Kolumba Art Museum architect: Peter Zumthor

The gray, barely wrinkled wood boards sit next to each other for miles. The space between each plank lines up with its identical neighbor resulting in dozens of black tracks extending all the way to the horizon. Any second now I expect to join their motion, thrust across the desert in an objection-less glide marked for the base of the building. Just before impact, shot like a catapult smack into the fifth story of her floor to ceiling windows. Momentary pause gives way to a soft, slow slide towards the sand. The sound of skin’s friction rubbing against the cool envelope of an unmoved barrier. Finally to rest on the horizon that seemed so far away. “boundless claustrophobia” La Bibliotheque Nationale Francois Mitterrand architect: Dominique Perrault

hand media

Communication by means of drawings, paintings, sketches and scribbles is an immensely satisfying endeavor; one that can never be perfected but can always be cultivated.

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2011 watercolor architect Peter Zumthor

The Standard Hotel from The High Line graphite, ink and watercolor architect of hotel: Polshek Partnership Architects architect of High Line: Diller, Scofidio + Renfro landscape architect of High Line: James Corner Field Operations

The Quai Branly Museum watercolor architect: Ateliers Jean Nouvel landscape architects: Gilles Clement and Patrick Blanc

The Bruder Klaus Chapel watercolor architect: Peter Zumthor

Garden Pavilion at The Walt Disney Concert Hall Pastel architect: Frank O. Gehry and Partners

scan from sketchbook ink on watercolor paper

“Be flexible without losing site of what is important about the project. Learn to separate the essence and the ideas of a project from one of a thousand variations of how it could be. Because every project can be pushed and pulled in different ways without becoming something altogether different. There are certainly lines that if we had crossed them would have taken this project into altogether different territory. And you have to know where those lines are but you also need to not fall in love with one version of your project. Fall in love with the idea. Don’t fall in love with that material or that particular form. Fall in love with the intent of your project.” Michael Arad designer of the 9/11 Memorial in NYC


Photography is increasingly changing the way we learn about architectural design. Exposure and reliance on the internet, a relatively new forum of self education, is exponentially raising the influence of the architectural photograph. This fact, in addition to our ability to produce photorealistic imagery during the design process, is having a dramatic effect on our production of the built environment. The following photographs are misleading. They do not communicate the experience of being present as the photographer inside and around the architecture represented. As photographs, however, they are impressive works of art.

previous pages The Bruder Klaus Chapel, Mechernich, Germany Shelters for Roman Archaeological Site, Chur, Switzerland Hotel Therme Vals, Vals, Switzerland architect: Peter Zumthor this page Quai Branly Museum, Paris, France architect: Ateliers Jean Nouvel

previous pages Hotel Therme Vals, Vals, Switzerland The Kolumba Museum, Cologne, Germany Church San Benedetg, Sumvitg, Switzerland architect: Peter Zumthor this page Church San Benedetg, Sumvitg, Switzerland

previous page Church San Benedetg, Sumvitg, Switzerland this page Quai Branly Museum, Paris, France

previous page Shelters for Roman Archaeological Site, Chur, Switzerland this page The Bruder Klaus Chapel, Mechernich, Germany

contact information nicholas venezia e: ph: 1.732.599.6369 w:

Campbell Traveling Scholarship for Architecture  

The work in this portfolio is a sampling of work produced during trips to Los Angeles, Paris, London, Cologne and Chur. Funding for the trip...

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