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CONNECTION LOCUS May 2013 Volume 11 Issue 03

ON THE COVER: Rue, Paris France Original Photograph by Wyatt Frantom

2013 ISSUES OF CONNECTION 11 01 11 02 11 03 11 04 11 05 11 06



Editor-In-Chief and Creative Director Assistant Editor, Content Assistant Editor, Graphics Assistant Editor, Articles Assistant Editor, News Assistant Editor, Reviews Researcher, News and Reviews

Wyatt Frantom, AIA James Cornetet, AIA Nathan Stolarz, AIA Jeff Pastva, AIA Beth Mosenthal, Associate AIA Nicole Martin, AIA Marcus Monroe


Chair Bradley Benjamin, AIA Vice Chair Jonathan Penndorf, AIA Past Chair Jennifer Workman, AIA Communications Director Wyatt Frantom, AIA Community Director Virginia E. Marquardt, AIA Knowledge Director Joshua Flowers, AIA Public Relations Director Joseph R. Benesh, AIA Advocacy Advisor Lawrence J. Fabbroni, AIA AIA Board Representative Wendy Ornelas, FAIA College of Fellows Representative John Sorrenti, FAIA AIA Staff Liaison Erin Murphy, AIA

THE AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF ARCHITECTS 1735 New York Ave, NW Washington, DC 20006-5292 P 800-AIA-3837

CONNECTION is a the official bimonthly publication of the Young Architects Forum of the AIA. This publication is created through the volunteer efforts of dedicated Young Architect Forum members. Views expressed in this publication are solely those of the authors and not those of the American Institute of Architects. Copyright Š of individual articles belongs to the Author. All image permissions are obtained by or copyright of the Author.


04 editor’s note

On Location Wyatt Frantom, AIA

QUICK 06 and resources relevant to young architects CONNECT News ALASKA

12 feature


Connecting the Dots Jeff Yrazabal, AIA





14 article An American in (a Different) Paris Beth Mosenthal, Assoc. AIA


Mixed(Up)-Use Darren Hand


20 article Where East Meets West Yu-Ngok Lo

FRPO An Emerging Firm Profile


Transtectonica: Caribbean Resiliency Ramirez Mendez

The Lost Wall Yu-Ngok Lo

36 DESIGN Hironaka Ogawa

An Emerging Firm Profile

42 leadership profile Say ‘Yes’ Derek Webb, AIA

44 Coffee with an architect Jody Brown, AIA

CONNECTION is sponsored through the generous support of The AIA Trust. The AIA Trust is a free risk management resource for AIA members that offers valuable benefits to protect you, your firm, and your family. For more information on all AIA Trust programs, visit


On. Location Wyatt Frantom, AIA Wyatt is the 2012-2013 Communications Advisor of the YAF National Advisory Committee of the AIA, the YAF CONNECTION Editor-inChief, and an Architectural Designer and Associate with Gensler Los Angeles

Ubiquity is the very nature of pop culture. It is the mass media-induced mainstream, the global brand export and expatriated influence, the ‘averaging-out’ of the entirety of ideas, perspectives, attitudes, images and phenomena into a slip-streamed and pre-packaged “relevance”; whether consumerist, sensationalist, or superficial, pop culture is who we are … at least collectively and outwardly. Even within our own relatively insular profession, we are not only influenced by popular culture, we create it. While not nearly as entertaining as the Kardashians, our Starchitects, for instance, serve as a way to commodify what we do, making our profession accessible to a general public looking for … well, generality; not unlike the predisposition to imagine our ilk thoughtfully hunched over “blueprints” on a drafting board. The problem with ubiquity and generalization is the ensuing identity complex. We can leaf through any recent Architect magazine, architectural blog, even this issue of Connection and wonder if our profession is more Mike Brady than Howard Roark; begging the question whether we architects truly practice authenticity or merely create authentic spin-offs to the collective architectural pop culture? If we look at the inception of the internet in the context of our popular culture, we can all agree that it redefined our notions of place by creating a portal for accessing other locales, both physical and virtually-created. More recently, mobile technologies (i.e. notebooks, smartphones, tablets) have un-tethered us from a single place while simultaneously connecting us to every place. Now, through cloud computing, we have the computing power of the largest machines on the planet accessible to anyone with a smartphone in their pocket; allowing for greater data exchange, the streaming of movies, even live-action social gaming … a true sea change in the very way that people access and share information. Yet these means of connecting-to and embeddingin social networks were effectively absent from our collective imaginations until they arrived and altered almost every aspect of our daily lives. And at the center of those digital lives, our personal apps, content and preferences will be synched across multiple

devices and points-of-interface; bouncing between data centers a world away and awakening us further to the notion that data and information and, specifically, ideas are truly transient things. The combination of location-tracking, social media and instantaneous information through cloud-based analytics has made our lives into a short attention span theater of global culture compressed along satellite bandwidth. With the amount of data streaming through the cloud, we control our consumption through the newsfeeds of “citizen journalist” friends and hasty, emoticon-heavy texts, from the skimmed intake of Twitter to the bite-sized content of Pinterest, from the Zagat-replacing restaurant rating system Foursquare with reviews from the likes of “Mayor” Larry1027 to Yelp’s interactive ‘Yellow Pages’, from the social orchestrations of Living Social to communal-shopping with Groupon, and enough intellectual tapas from Flipboard to satiate without the need to ever read a full article. After all, who can afford the benefit of a depth-of-understanding in the fast-paced world in which we live? Steadily, with the ubiquity of data, we ourselves are becoming generalists in how we interact with information.

On The Changing Face of Place As of last month, April 2013, the online forum that we fondly know as Facebook hosted 1.06-billion users. With 1/7th of the total global population and a user base that would make Facebook the third largest nation by population on Earth (behind India and China), it’s hard to deny that this nexus, virtual or not, is in fact its own community … it is a place. On Facebook alone, 17-billion locations have been tagged. We are progressively, increasingly stitching our world together. Quite uniquely in this way, Facebook has become our modern ‘method of loci’, that mnemonic system that positions us, by place, in the world and in the presence of time, history, and even in the constant change of the environments that we occupy at any given moment.

And with an interface built on Shakespeare’s premise

that “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players …”, Facebook’s timeline is positioned to serve literally as the recordation and cataloguing of our lives, documenting an existence in play-by-play fashion through posting of status updates, photos and videos to capture moment and location as event. Through Truman Show-esque depictions, users mold identities, in some cases, brands, individuality and authenticity.

As critical or snarky as we’d like to be about this Orwellian

platform that we submit ourselves to, there is no denying the added meaning that events take in our lives once they are shared with those on our Friends list. So, in an eye-rolling, shoulder-shrugging act akin to accepting the likes of Gangnam Style, Jersey Shore or Paris Hilton’s not-brief-enough music career, I will pose that it doesn’t happen unless it happens on Facebook. Similarly, it’s not a location unless it shows up on Google Maps ... and it’s not a ‘place’ unless someone has ‘checked-in’.

At the end of this year, Google will up-the-ante on virtual

“place-making” by further casting our physical world into 0s-and1s with the release of ‘Google Glass’, a platform as “visionware” that will allow the wearer to access the internet via voice command and retina display; now taking the smartphone from your pocket and putting it on your bright and smiling face.


The ‘Google Glass’ could be seen as the next technological leap towards a hive-based data knowledge from some fantastical science fiction movie … that, or something from the empiricallyresearched playbook of American urban planner Kevin Lynch on how individuals perceive and navigate the urban landscape, as detailed in his book The Image of the City (1960). While the commercial success of Google Glass is questionable at best, it reinforces that the movement towards non-intrusive, invisible tech will redefine how we interface with “the cloud” (or computing, as we’ve known it) as well as how we interface with our world. So what do these technologies mean for architecture? Perhaps it means that our cities will become real-time, personallycurated exhibitions of our built environment; that visitors to a locale and locals alike will take a keener interest in those surroundings, thus a greater pride in those communities and, hopefully, a greater appreciation. In this scenario, these ubiquitous technologies

could be the means by which we, as architects, educate the general public to the necessity and value of these places … and the necessity of architects in delivering that value. Whatever the speculation, all of this sums up to something that is pretty extraordinary. This is not the pop culture that we are familiar with. This is not the flat-lining of taste. This is the new authenticity … it’s data-enabled, it’s everywhere and it’s going viral. ■





POLISBLOG.ORG: A blog about cities around the world by people around the world.

In a press release issued on April 17th, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and National Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) shared an optimistic report based on a recently issued Internship and Career Survey. Results from the survey demonstrated an increase in employment for intern architects, as well as a shared sense of renewed optimism regarding employment opportunities for architects.

It’s only appropriate that a blog about “cities across the globe” would also be curated by writers from across the globe. With a core team of 16 international bloggers hailing from Romania, America, France, Spain, China, Peru, and Sweden, as well as the review/inclusion of stories from external contributors, Polis’s strategy of populating content about global issues and trends from a cross-section of global authors gives makes this blog hugely successful in its efforts to create a “a virtual gathering place where anyone can address an international community.. on diverse, urbanrelated themes.”

by Beth Mosenthal

Some important findings from the report illustrated an 8% rise in employment for individuals employed in professional architecture work, an 11% decrease from 2010 in unemployment, and 70% of respondents stating they would “remain in the architecture profession after having been laid off.” For more info, CLICK HERE to read the full report.


image of London by Beth Mosenthal

AIA Advocacy | @AIA_Advocacy President Obama released his fiscal year 2014 budget proposal yesterday. How does it affect architects? Find out:

Emily Grandstaff-R | @egraia @AIAYAF’s common voice for #EPs is by reaching out regularly with high-value content that inspires--encouraging networking and discussion


Koolhaas “Houselife” by Ila Beka and Louise Lemione

With an aim to facilitate dialogue and collaboration regarding improving the quality of life in cities, Polis’s many stories addressing macro and micro urban trends, issues, and events provides the reader with a sense of “real-time urbanism,” in which one visit to the home page provides a quick snapshot into many global themes that illustrate the striking similarities and differences that are occurring in vastly different cities throughout the world. Strictly volunteer-based and open to different types of content including “theory, practice, observation and engagement, research and development, critique and creativity,” the wealth of different content related to life in cities gives the reader a “choose your own adventure” type feeling. Depending on your interests or motivations, the diversity of discussions, topics, and voices well represents the shifts that continue to happen in our society as the world continues to shrink and our collective voice as an international community continues to grow.

koolhaas houselife


What’s it like to maintain a work of art(chitecture) that people call “home?” This gem of a film documents a day in the life of Guadalupe Acedo, the housekeeper of OMA/Koolhaas’s critically-acclaimed Maison à Bordeaux. This rare glimpse into the post-occupancy phase of a critically-acclaimed residence is both funny and almost painfully-honest in illustrating the successes and failures of a functional work of “art.”

In need of inspiration? My co-worker and environmental graphics-design guru recently sent this TED talk to me, and I found it worth sharing. Harry’s summary is as follows: “Massimo Banzi helped invent the Arduino, a tiny, easy-to-use opensource microcontroller that’s inspired thousands of people around the world to make the coolest things they can imagine -- from toys to satellite gear. Because, as he says, ‘You don’t need anyone’s permission to make something great.” 3d Printed Open Source Toy Kits from

Locate the TED talk here: #TED

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featured This month, Adam Harding, AIA tells us a little bit about his involvement in the YAF ... Harding is the AIA Colorado Young Architect’s Forum Chair. He is also a licensed architect, LEED AP, and the Colorado AIA10 Chair.


It’s probably a fair assumption that most readers haven’t had to literally build a bridge in order to access buy food, seek healthcare, or visit their place of employment. This is where Bridges to Prosperity comes into play. The nonprofit has successfully identified the need for and successfully built 105 footbridges to date in 14 countries around the world, providing communities access to important resources and opportunities they would not otherwise be able to utilize. Founded by Avery Bang, an amibitous emerging professional in the field of engineering and Bridges to Prosperity Executive Director since 2008, Bang recalls having her “aha” moment during a study abroad trip in Fiji. After witnessing the power of a simple infrastructure project in which the building of a bridge transformed the lives of the local community, she realized the need for simple, low cost structures. Given the organizations’ success to date, Bang sees strengthening the connection between young architects and the non-profit as a major area of opportunity. Bridges to Prosperity greatly benefits from architects’ knowledge of regional materials and building methods, which are considered during the design phase of each unique bridge project. Furthermore, Bridges to Prosperity actively engages local government and organizations to determine the best approach on building the pedestrian bridge. The results speak for themselves, as each project allows local communities access to school, economic opportunities, and health care. If you’re interested in learning more, CLICK HERE to visit BTP’s website.

A bridge built by Bridges to Prosperity volunteers in El salvador. Image provided by Avery Bang/Bridges to Prosperity.


01. How did you get involved with the YAF? It really just popped up in my inbox one day. I was looking to get more involved with the AIA, I had just run for a AIA Board position and did not get elected. A friend of mine knew that I wanted to still take on some sort of position and knew the previous YAF Chair was stepping down in 2013 and was looking for someone to take over. I got an email from her one day asking if I was interested and I thought it would be a great opportunity to get involved. 02. What are some of the important issues that Young Architects face in today’s industry? Professional development is big for me, I think it is valuable for all Young Architects to ask themselves what they really want to do once they are licensed. Is it taking more of a leadership role in the firm they are in? Is it starting a firm of their own? Whatever it is, sitting down and writing out the goals you have and the steps to reach them is key. 03. What changes do you see happening in our industry that young architects should be aware of? Technology is rapidly changing the way we work in the office and the job site. I think staying on top of what is new will give you a leg up and be more efficient. It seems that project schedules and fees are dwindling while expectations are rising. Being able to adapt and react positively to change is how one will continually improve and grow.

I think it is valuable for all Young Architects to ask themselves what they really want to do once they are licensed... writing out the goals you have and the steps to reach them is key..

Raise your hand if you’ve ever built a bridge?




ODE TO GRASSHOPPER: CREATING COMPLEX FORMS USING SIMPLE CODE. Cellular Study is a light filtering screen that was developed by a team of Gensler employees for an annual charity event in Chicago hosted by the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA) called Dining by Design. The screen is made up of over one hundred file folders cut with a pattern that represents the millions of people affected by HIV throughout the world. The file folders are a reference to Allsteel, a manufacturer of filing cabinets that donated the raw materials for construction. The pattern was generated using a process that combined 3D modeling and custom algorithms developed in Grasshopper, a visual scripting environment. First, a base image was selected; in this case, a visualization of the HIV virus at molecular scale. Next, this image was analyzed and populated with points arranged in varying densities, similar to a grayscale Georges Seurat painting. The points were then used as center points for a network of cells that were projected onto a 3D model. The model was finally unfolded, flattened, and prepared into AutoCAD files in preparation for laser cutting. -As told to Beth by David Tracy, architectural designer and grasshopper extraordinnaire


2013 Selected Works sampling, as shown on the AIA Porfessional’s website

What progressive, thought-provoking work are emerging architectural professionals across North America creating? For a glimpse at a wide cross-section of architectural work, art, and designs from emerging professionals across North America, the Emerging Professional’s 2013 exhibition at the American Center for Architecture in DC is not to be missed. Sponsored by the AIA, Center for Emerging Professionals, the exhibition is on display from February through the AIA Grassroots Leadership and Legislative Conference. For more information, CLICK HERE!

Get IDP Credit with the Emerging Professional’s Companion Looking to gain IDP Credit or are you interested in delving deeper into the experience categories and areas of NCARB’s Intern Development Program? The Emerging Professional’s Companion is now available in interactive PDF format. Visit to download the entire PDF document, indiviidual chapters with activities, and updated resources. Utilizing the EPC can help you earn up to 1,624 IDP hours; each activitiy is worth 8 hours. Completing the EPC can earn you up to 40 core hours in each experience area. Above: Image of Grasshopper script Above 2: Image of grasshopper script being applied to pattern in Rhinoceros Below: Image of Gensler | Chicago’s Dining by Design built design, phot credit, John Ruzich, 2013.

For more information, CLICK HERE to visit the contest website.

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involved AIA WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP SUMMIT WHEN October 24-26, 2013 WHERE Phoenix, AZ

Connect, Transform, Persuade... ABOUT The 2013 Women’s Leadership Summit is a 2-day national ocnversation among people in all different stages in their career. Whether you’re a student, intern, practicing architect, emerging professional, or Fellow of the Institute, the Women’s Leadership Summit is an opportunity to engage and network with women architects and designers from across the country at this dynamic and inspirational event. The Summit will focus on supporting women on their path toward and within leadership by providing a forum to recognize, inform, and champion the work being created by women in the design profession. For more information, CLICK HERE to visit the website.

connected AIA’s Young Architects Forum YAF's official website CLICK HERE YAF KnowledgeNet A knowledge resource for awards, announcements, podcasts, blogs, YAF Connection and other valuable YAF legacy content ... this resource has it all! CLICK HERE Architect’s Knowledge Resource The Architect's Knowledge Resource connects AIA members and others to the most current information on architecture, including research, best practices, product reviews, ratings, image banks, trends, and more. It's your place to find solutions, share your expertise, and connect with colleagues. CLICK HERE AIA Trust Access the AIA Trust as a free risk management resource for AIA members. YAF on LinkedIn Stay connected with the YAF leadership and all the young architects you meet at the convention, and get involved in group discussions. CLICK HERE YAF on Twitter ... follow @AIAYAF YAF on Facebook Become a Fan of AIA Young Architects Forum on Facebook Know Someone Who’s Not Getting The YAF Connection? Don’t let them be out of the loop any longer. It’s easy for AIA members to sign up. Update your AIA member profile and add the Young Architects Forum under “Your Knowledge Communities.”


• Go to and sign in • Click on “For Members” link next to the AIA logo on top • Click on “Edit your personal information” on the left side under AIA members tab • Click “Your knowledge communities” under Your Account on the left • Add YAF

The AIA National Convention is coming to Denver June 20-22, 2013. With the theme of the 2013 conference titled ‘BUILDING LEADERS: leadership for architecture, leadership beyond architecture’, keynote speakers are Blake Mycoskie (TOMS Founder and Chief Shoe Giver,) Cameron Sinclair (cofounder of Architecture for Humanity,) and General Colin Powell (former Secretary-of-State.) Don’t miss it! To register, visit the AIA Convention Home page

YAF CONNECTION 11.01 11.03

Call for ‘QUICK CONNECT’ News, Reviews, Events Do you have newsworthy content that you’d like to share with our readers? Contact the News Editor, Beth Mosenthal, on twitter @archiadventures Call for ‘CONNECTION’ Articles, Projects, Photography Would you like to submit content for inclusion in an upcoming issue? Contact the Editor, Wyatt Frantom at



depicting locations of article contributors for this issue

Portland, OR Beijing, China Tokyo, Japan Madrid, Spain Busan, South Korea Shanghai, China

AIA National Washington D.C.

Denver, CO

Macau, China Raleigh-Durham, NC

Los Angeles, CA

Puerto Rico Houston, TX

This month’s Leadership Profile Derek Webb


GET CONNECTED by contributing to our next issue!


CONNECTING THE DOTS An Exemplar Mentorship Program Jeff Yrazabal, AIA Yrazabal is a Principal with SRG Partnership in Portland Oregon, a graduate of Washington State University, the AIA Portland President and the Young Architect Regional Director of the AIA Northwest & Pacific Region.

Our Region is geographically huge. With several states spanning thousands of miles and crossing the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii, Guam/Micronesia, and maintained connections to AIA Hong Kong and AIA Japan, our first challenge in implementing a Region-wide mentorship program was how to reach everyone effectively.



outside of their offices and established professional circles so that they may continue to strive to develop as well-rounded, successful Architects and community leaders. The AIA NWP Mentorship Program has been set-up to build leadership skills and foster career development through crossgenerational interaction between Emerging Professionals (EPs) and members of the College of Fellows; allowing participants to tailor their experience to meet personal goals, build skills and find reliable guidance in a casual yet structured environment. The NWP Mentorship Program offers opportunities to mentor both up and down, and assists EPs on their path toward licensure and beyond. The goals for this program are to:


- Connect our Region’s Fellows with emerging professionals - Enhance the careers of the next generation of Architects.



- Encourage Architects at every stage of their career to develop strong leadership skills.



To ensure an initial success, and recognizing that the program would grow and develop over time, we decided to focus the launch year in a few key states where we had the highest numbers of members (Washington, Oregon and Hawaii).

GOALS A main goal of the AIA College of Fellows (COF) is to advance the profession of architecture and to mentor young architects. The purpose of the Young Architects Forum (YAF) and the National Associates Committee (NAC) is to address important issues on the minds of emerging professionals (EP’s). The AIA NW&P Region developed this Mentoring Program to bridge the gap between these groups and by doing so, the program advances the missions of all involved. Through participation in this program, our Region’s EP’s will be exposed to meaningful learning opportunities

- Inspire participation and new leadership within the AIA at the local, regional and national levels.

HOW DOES IT WORK The idea is a simple one: pair AIA Fellows with young architects and associate members by identifying twenty Fellow’s who will serve as mentors for the program. Each of these Fellows will then be assigned four emerging professionals composed of two architects and two interns. This mentorship group will then meet at a minimum of six times throughout the year. As a part of the application process for the program, architects and interns will highlight specific areas of interest that will help the Region match them with Fellow mentors that share in those interests. After pairing the groups together based on locale, similar interests and expectations, each group is provided with a “toolkit” of suggested activities such as building tours, sketching trips, round table discussions and more informal social activities. The activities

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” -William Arthur Ward

that the pairs ultimately undertake throughout the year are entirely up to them. Since reaching out to our members about this exciting new mentorship program in late January, we already have a large number of participants lined up and are looking forward to working with each group and our Region’s leadership to evolve this program over time. At the conclusion of the mentoring program, each group will be asked to provide the Region with information about their experiences that will be shared at the Region Board meetings held at the AIA National Convention in Denver and the AIA NWP Conference in Vancouver BC.

NEW PERSPECTIVES ON MENTORSHIP Today mentoring happens in many ways, from multiple sources and from all directions. Whether a mentor is a seasoned professional, peer, student, supervisor, or simply an acquaintance, the goal remains the same: to assist in the growth and development of quality architects and positive contributors to their community. The benefit of the NWP Mentorship Program for both the younger AIA members and the participating Fellows, then, is to gain a new perspective in order to better understand their respective roles in the future of the profession. ■

Street Level Shanghai. Mosenthal

For additional information, contact Jeff Yrazabal at jyrazabal@ Street Level Shanghai. Mosenthal





AN AMERICAN IN (A DIFFERENT) PARIS Beth Mosenthal, Associate AIA Mosenthal is an Architectural Designer at Gensler in Denver, CO. She is also a passionate writer and critic that currently blogs on behalf of the AIA Colorado Emerging Professional’s while serving as News Editor of YAF Connection.

I spent the last summer of architecture school living, working, and researching in Shanghai. While I was admittedly ready to return to the United States after a few short months, I still get a little nostalgic and disappointed each time I walk out of my apartment in Denver and no one is waiting with a basket of hot bao to sell me. Even more disappointing is that I find myself riding my bike in a leisurely, recreational fashion. In Shanghai, as soon as I hopped on my non-descript Trek I was launched into a video game that could only be described as real-life Mario Kart. As I pedaled harder and faster, it seems the man with 10 chicken coops tied to a rickety platform attached to the back of his bike always managed to pass me; a defeat I accepted with the justification that perhaps he’d been doing the same commute a lot longer than I had. I went to Shanghai for a few reasons. The first was academic; I was interested in witnessing the rapid urbanization of a globalizing city. Having grown up in Upstate New York and spending many years traveling to visit relatives in

I felt like I had seen a lot of old (pre-War), a lot of new (track homes), and a lot of travesties (strip malls, big malls, auto malls-basically all malls). What I had not seen was a city essentially built from scratch, which was the Vermont and New York City,

world that I didn’t know or understand. While I have “it’s a small world” moments almost daily after watching the news or perusing the travel section of my favorite bookstore, I am reminded how big the world really is. Traveling has helped me recognize commonalities (and to be fair, big differences) that help me contextualize and expand my perspectives and lenses with which I interpret culture as well as the built and natural worlds. In the end, my four months as an American in Shanghai were liberating and, once or twice, completely terrifying. I felt isolated and connected, often inspired, and constantly stimulated. While I eventually moved even farther West rather than East after graduate school, I still marvel at China’s approach to rapid urbanization in contrast with America’s “add another lane on the highway” piecemeal approach to development and infrastructure. Rather than look at its neighboring cities as a baselines for comparison, China continues to consider what is being built, produced, or invented across the world, thus treating our entire planet as both its competition and its muse. ■

case for Pudong New Area—now a 5,000,000+ person city across the river from Shanghai’s Historic Bund area, clad in grand art deco architecture and famed as what is perhaps now the archaic term, “Paris of the East.”

The second was professional; as a graduate architecture student with one semester left under the academic bubble, job prospects were slim in the States but abundant in China. Upon graduation, did I want to compete with every young architect seeking employment in New York, Chicago, or LA or move to China, learn Mandarin, and see in what exotic land (and firm) I might land? The third was personal; I was curious. Having been fortunate to study in Europe, I wanted my next trip to insert me into a chaotic

Street Level Shanghai. Mosenthal

Street view near the French Quarter, Mosenthal




In Transit, Mosenthal

The photographs included in this piece document Shanghai as a city experiencing rapid transition. Many images were taken while riding my bicycle, often stopped at a traffic light, contemplating the frenetic environment around me. When considered as a body of work, the content of the photographs juxtapose my observations of the existing Shanghai’s rich, organic street life (a reality and inherent part of Chinese culture,) with the stark contrast of glossy curtain walls, pristine-but-empty parks, and a new skyline that served as an omnipresent reminder of a city rising.


The First Kiss, Mosenthal

All the World’s A Stage, Mosenthal

Blue Skies, Mosenthal

Streetscape, Lujiazui, Mosenthal

If You Build It, They Might Come, Mosenthal




MIXED(UP)-USE Darren Hand, AIA Hand is a former Project Manager at PQ Architects in Honolulu and a licensed Architect now wondering around Australia; working to become a better architect and sustainable designer.

In thinking of location specific projects, my first thoughts were of my college professors speaking about genius loci, the spirit of a place. As an architect, I believe that the buildings in urban Korea and Japan most personify this notion of location, of programs specific to locale and of place. The ultra-dense nature of major East Asian cities such as Tokyo, Seoul, Osaka and Busan prompt one to consider how a building is viewed externally as well as used by its occupants in context of those cities. Almost universally, these buildings have limited views to the streets, little in the way of breezes and natural light. We are all familiar with the pictures of the neon signs and the tall buildings that all seem to look alike (Fig.1). The one key difference, however, is in the programming: these are small floor-plate multistory structures typically with an odd assortment of programs and tenants stacked in no seeming rationale; what would be considered a cost prohibitive development investment in the US.

As I was discussing the nature of mixed-use development with a coworker of mine in Japan, I tried to explain how this type of development differs in the sprawling US cities. I concluded that the size and combinations of spaces in East Asian mixed-use would leave a American planning department officials dazed and confused. The beauty of successful location specific programs is that they simply address a need. The projects in East Asia are designed for the needs of that area in their context; reflecting the social, cultural, economic and physical aspects of the sites. Many of these buildings wouldn’t be considered award-winning designs, but they are the essence of architectural design. â–

One such building that I visited, for instance, was 8-stories, served by one small elevator and stairs that went largely unused. Despite this, all the floors were very busy individual restaurants serving a variety of food. The building was essentially a standalone verticallystacked food court. The streets, in this analogy are the outdoor mall: with colorful and competing signs for each bar, restaurant, office, and business, the streets functions as an outdoor tenant directory for the buildings area (Fig.2) Other buildings may have two or three-stories underground that are occupied by small shops selling electronics or any variety of other goods. Yet, in their own seemingly alien way, the programs work together. The commercial areas are dense and all of the spaces seem not only to be leased, but leased at very high rents. Another very location-specific building type is one that is very tall and narrow (perhaps as wide as a single room), clad in metal with no windows; functioning as elevator parking garages for 10 or more cars. These structures are very common due to their relatively inexpensive construction and ability to quickly accommodate the growing personal vehicle markets within these already heavilytrafficked streets.

(Fig. 1) High rise building near the beach in Busan, Korea. Hand

(Fig. 2) Alley in Central Busan, Korea. Hand





WHERE EAST MEETS WEST The Architectural Preservation of Macau Yu-Ngok Lo, AIA Lo is a project architect in the Los Angeles Office of the Tate Snyder Kimsey Architect, serves on the AIA LB/SB Board of Directors and the AIACC COTE committee. His personal works has been recognized and published by the AIA Inland Chapter, Archdaily and AIArchitect.

Macau is located on the southern coast of China, approximately 60km southwest of Hong Kong. With an area of 29.7 km2 and a population of about 552,300, it is best known to the world for its casino and is regarded as the “Monte Carlo of the Orient”; attracting more than 1.4-million visitors from China last year. The gaming revenue generated in the year 2011 far exceeded Las Vegas. Background Macau was the first European settlement established by the Portuguese more than 450 years ago. It was originally a fishing village and later developed into a trading port. Macanese shared both Eastern and Western culture in a very unique way. The Neoclassical style of the Portuguese mixed with traditional Chinese architecture has been one of the major attractions to many foreign tourists. Macau was turned over to the Chinese government in 1999 and the gambling monopoly ended in 2002; attracting many big enterprise investments such as Wynn, Sands and MGM. The scale of development is enormous and it took Macau’s tourism industry to a whole new level. Despite this, Macau has been relatively successful in historic preservation (compared to other cities such as Beijing). Historic structures like the Ruin of St. Paul’s and the Cathedral of the Nativity of Our Lady are well preserved and maintained. But if so much development occurred in a short time, how did Macau manage to find the balance between historic preservation and the maintenance of the city’s growth? Ideologically and Economically One of the reasons that led to the mass destruction of Beijing’s historic assets was the Cultural Revolution, which attempted to eradicate traditional Chinese elements from society. The movement was wide spread and even penetrated the education system. The effect was so catastrophic that many of the traditional buildings fell victim as a result. Although Macau is connected both physically and economically with China, the level of influence is far less severe. Macau’s educational system was relatively

“protected” under the Portuguese government. Western culture, as well as Chinese language and philosophical ideas, were taught in schools due to the majority of local Chinese population. It is arguable that the spirit of historical appreciation later contributed to the general public’s support in preserving Macau. Macau was transformed from a trading port to a city that relied primarily on tourism. The gaming, tourism and hospitality industry is estimated to contribute more than 50% of Macau’s GDP, and 70% of government revenue. Macau’s interesting mix between European and Chinese architecture has been one of the city’s major tourist attractions and the government realized that it is necessary to preserve that characteristic in order to maintain a sustainable tourism future. Before 1999 In 1987, the process and conditions of Macau’s transfer from Portuguese rule to China was established. The Portuguese’s greatest achievement in Macau was to create a very vibrant city with both Eastern and Western culture and they were determined to maintain that legacy. The first step was to inventory and document existing historic buildings in the City. In December 1992, a list of 128 historically significant buildings was created. The list included both European style architecture and traditional Chinese architecture. The Portuguese government then conceived of two innovative ideas to preserve these historic buildings. The first was aimed at maintaining the growth of the city while not disturbing the city’s historic elements. In order to accomplish this, land reclamation was proposed on the waterfront of the islands. The reclaimed grounds were zoned for high density commercial and residential uses, which would, in turn, take the pressure for development off of the highly congested and largely historic city center.

(Fig. 1) Architect Bruno Soares’ response to preservation of Macau’s BNU bank building. Lo

The second idea was invented by a Macanese architect, Bruno Soares. Maintaining the Neo-Classical façade of the original BNU bank building constructed in 1926, Soares elegantly designed a 23-story office complex behind the existing intact façade (Fig.1). The design solution cleverly readapted the existing structure with new functions while protecting the existing streetscape. The idea was then quickly adapted throughout the city. Almost all of the buildings in the vicinity of Senado Square (Fig.2) had been spatially reconfigured for office and retail use and the facades were kept to maintain the area’s visual characteristics.

new casinos between Coloane and Taipa Island. The development not only completely filled the “water” between the two islands, eliminating most of the water front features along the edges, it also disturbed many bird and animal habitats near Taipa lake. In short, the preservation plan should be more comprehensive and include the old “neighborhoods”. Furthermore, the city’s preservation effort should be parallel to the city’s master plan and a more environmental sustainable strategy is needed. ■

After the 1999 Chinese turnover After the Turnover in 1999, the Chinese government continued to see Macau as a tourist city. Opening the gambling industry to foreign investment, a heavily tourism income driven Macau is inevitable. In 2005, the “Historic Center of Macau” was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The list consists of two zones. Zone 1 is located between Mount Hill and Barra Hill, which includes history buildings such as the A-Ma Temple, Senado Square, Ruins of St. Paul’s, etc. Zone 2 includes Guia Fortress, Chapel and Lighthouse. The UNESCO inscription not only promoted Macau as a tourist destination, it also sparked the community awareness of heritage conservation to a point that now even the Guia Lighthouse has its own blog.

Potential problems and Macau’s preservation future Although many of the historic buildings in the heart of Macau have been well maintained, many old residential neighborhoods are still being regarded as “dirty” or in “lack of maintenance”. They are clusters of 5 to 6-story buildings constructed decades ago. The architectural styles of these buildings are neither 100% Chinese nor Portuguese and they are a symbolic representation of the Portuguese’s colonization. Land Reclamation comes with an environmental cost. Taking the reclamation development of the Cotai area for example, the land is reclaimed from the sea and developed almost exclusively for the (Fig. 2) Senado Square, Macau China. Lo





LOCUS. MADRID SPAIN Pablo Oriol Educated at Higher Technical School of Architecture in Madrid and College of Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago (95-05). Curator of architecture for the Ministry of Public Works (9902). Member of Arquitectura Viva editorial staf Associate Professor of Design Studio at the ETSA-Madrid, and at the IE School of Architecture. Founding Partner at FRPO. Fernando Rodríguez Educated at Higher Technical School of Architecture of Madrid and Technische Universität of Berlin (95-03). Invited Critic for Kees Cristiaanse at TU Berlin (01). Collaborator at MVRD Rotterdam (02). Project Architect for Abalos & Herreros (04-05). Associate Professor of Design Studio at the ETSA-Madrid, and at the IE School of Architecture. Founding Partner at FRPO. FRPO has been awarded Architectural Record Design Vanguard 2012, Europe 40 UNDER 40 Awards 2009, Bauwelt Preis 2007 (Berlin), IX Spanish Biennial of Architecture and Planning 2007, Wallpaper Design Awards 2007 (London), Ortega-Alloza Awards of Architecture 2007 (Santander), 9a Young Spanish Architects Exhibition 2006, VM Zinc Awards 2006 (Paris), and V Iberoamerican Biennial of Architecture and Planning 2006 (Montevideo). Their prizes in international architecture competitions include WTO Head Quarters Extension in Geneva (2009), Campus de la Justicia Access and Service Building (2008), Chicago Burnham Prize Union Station 2020 (2008) and Europan 8 (2005).

EPFL Pavilions

University Facilities for the EPFL International Restricted Competition 2012 Lausanne, Switzerland


“Action thinking: turn your intuition into physical prototypes and let your intellect look it over”



DESIGN Systematic freedom The MO House project belongs to a family of projects developed in the office beginning in 2005. These projects explore the possibilities of generating architectural complexity out of the combination of simple elements. Throughout this process of projects, conditioned by a large number of program specifications settled by the clients, we have been forced to systematize every design decision in order to simplify the process to its full capacity. The results produced a nice surprise: the combination of a number of extremely simple spaces offered an extremely rich spatial experience. We had found a new tool to work with. Thus we could transfer this system to other situations, the combinations would be multiple. A compact figure could become many different figures in the future, regarding new and specific project requirements. Some very simple basic rules and a series of pieces with adequate proportions would allow an endless range of solutions. In 2010 we received a commission to design a single family house in a forest in the outskirts of Madrid. The opportunity y to implement this design system was there, again: although the programmatic requirements were more conventional, the site would demand a complex geometry. The powerful presence of the trees and the wish to have a house integrated in the woods led to a disaggregated solution. The program was transferred in a very direct and natural way to a number of simple rectangular pieces. The different topological relations between the pieces determined a series of useful solutions, 24 in the end. The optimal version was selected and the plan of the MO House was this way defined.

MO HOUSE Private Commission 2012 Madrid, Spain

Wood in the woods The final arrangement of the plan opened two technical issues that put the solution into question: the high variety of angles in the joints between pieces and a penalized shape factor that would result in a negative impact on the energetic performance of the house (an elevated façade-volume ratio). In addition to that, another key issue aroused: proximity of trees required a little aggressive foundation system. The technical solution adopted in a first approach –steel skeleton with concrete slabs- did not seem viable. We needed a lighter system that could be assembled in a more accurate way. It had to be simple –like the plan- and thermally favourable. On a visit to his studio, a friend showed us a cross-laminated wood panel by KLH. The product met all the requirements: a solid structural material with high insulating performance and CNC manufactured at their Austrian factory. MO house would be solid wood. Wood in the woods. 72 mm thick walls. Slabs from 95 to 182 mm. The total weight of the structure would not reach one third of a conventional system. The foundations could therefore be made of galvanized steel micropiles only 2 meters long. The panels would be manufactured by numerical control cutting, ensuring accuracy at all angles. The structure would be insulating, continuous, lightweight, precise and extremely thin. The floor of the house could be a direct transposition of the work scheme. The installation process would be fast and accurate. The nature of the project remained intact and its technical requirements had led us to the discovery of a new project matter.

“Playfulness and precision: search for a fertile place between surprise and control and find the unexpected”



DESIGN An optimistic building The competition site requires a responsible intervention answering three basic conditions: the needs of a new work and relation space for both WTO officers and visitors, the undeniable representative character of the building itself, and a respectful attitude towards the existing building and the magnificient park in which it lies. From de decision of understanding the full Parc Barton complex, it comes the powerful reality of the whole Parc des Nations in Geneva: a complex of worldwide institutional buildings spread along parks and forests, lying in their sites almost as sculptures, surrounded by greenery and amazing centennial trees. The precise study of the program required claims to condense the whole new working and administrative areas in a sole volume, convex, clear, complete but that slightly vanishes within the park. Every time, every institution, must leave a remarkable architectonic footprint. The proposed extension building, a transparent bubble, global and slightly reflecting, must become the new WTO, the WTO of our days. A transparente building which reflects the whole world it represents, the surrounding natural environment and its reality. Flexible but elegant, smart. Maybe another piece of those you can find when wandering across the lakeshore, among the trees. The park and the former building reflections merge within the new faรงade, regarding the genevoises the colourful trees and the lake. A building for everyone around the world coming to Geneva to work. A building that can be rounded through walking, talking. A building made up from the main sustainability principles, where technology serves echology. Efficient, Flexible, Transparent The project is organized as a green platform that takes the park surface to the very faรงade of the existing building, spreading this way the park beyond the WTO limits. A symbolic element, this slight bubble, lies on this platform, respecting this way the historic values of the old building and those of the park. The transition between both buildings, the new one and the current WTO seat, flows under the new green surface in front of the south old faรงade. Thus, the relationship between both buildings talks about respect, independence and contemporaneity.

WTO Geneva

World Trade Organization Extension in Geneva International Competition 2009. Geneva, Switzerland Second Prize

“Think outside the box: invite the world inside, bring nature, ask, listen, read, analyze and score.”

OS House Private Commission 2005 Loredo Cantabria, Spain With Marcos González

The experience of simple complexity OS House allowed us to put an architectural experiment into practice. The owners challenged us with a program of unusual complexity for this typology that reflected very differing needs. Firstly, a possible variation in the number of users of the house, from 2 to 30 or more, and all the possibilities between. Secondly, the usual seasonal variations in a second home were exacerbated by the number of users. A final factor that was introduced into this array of possibilities was the uncertain future of this program. The owners’ age, the future growth of their children’s families and a possible change from second to first home were the final factors in a situation to which we had to respond with clockwork precision and, at the same time, with sufficient slack to accommodate changes in the programme that cannot be identified in advance. We quickly realised that the experiment should centre on the search for a model of floor plan that would absorb the contemporary time flows expressed in the demands of the program and we were able to recite our working hypothesis: to explore the possibility of organizing a complex domestic space by means of the simple addition of basic spaces. We defined the limits of a work plan, addressing decisions of scale and relation with the setting, and the stipulations of planning regulations. We came up with several models, adjusting surface areas, wall thicknesses, systems of spatial relation and conditions of use, till the process gelled at a point from which we extracted the definitive solution. YAF CONNECTION 11.03

Let’s take a recount: the floor plan of the dwelling is made up of 30 basic spaces associated in 48 simple pairs and 132 complex relations. The basic spaces represent a fragment of the program and a degree of uncertainty. For example, we have the ‘kitchen’ space that will probably continue to be the ‘kitchen’ space for a long time. The uncertainty in this case is nil. But then we have spaces such as the ‘large south living room’, which has a high level of uncertainty because it could be a dormitory, a children’s playroom or a winter living room. The most extreme case of uncertainty centres in the north and south hallways, because as yet no one knows what they will be used for, through various proposals have been made. The simple pairs comprise two basic spaces joined by an empty floor-to-ceiling space. The complex relations are those that include an itinerary between two basic spaces via a third. The system of addition has had some comforting effects on the spatial complexity of the dwelling. The floor plan of OS House is defined as a field of multiple possibilities.





Emmanuel Ramirez, AIA President at Ramirez González Studio in Caguas, Puerto Rico. Mr. Ramirez is also president of the AIA Puerto Rico chapter.

Wilfredo Mendez, AIA Designer and biomicry consultant at Ramirez González Studio in Caguas, Puerto Rico. Mr. Mendez is also professor in the Biomicry Studio at the School of Architecture of thePontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico. The Caribbean is one of a kind environment on Earth due to its diverse but hazardous weather conditions. It is a zone subjected to floods, hurricanes and it is an active seismic zone. This conditions have embodied the natural resources within many microclimates in such a small territory. Each one of this microclimates have different taxonomies of life forms which have evolved constantly congruently with the hazardous weather. Inspired by Mother Nature’s design, we propose Transtectonica as the upgrading of current architecture to a whole new level based on evolutive systems and responsive materials. Beyond tectonic paradigms, our research fosters important relationships between the Caribbean environment and the resilient capabilities of their natural components in order to maintain their structural integrity and the ecosystems balance after any hazardous event who affect their environment. This concept help us to generate some prototype’s parameters to explore the resilient capabilities of man-made materials and architecture in order to define regenerative design, holistic sustainability and energy reduction design models. We’re searching innovative solutions to ecology thru biology-based resiliency. Hence, from nature perspective, talk about resiliency is being talking about regenerative designs. A regenerative design implies some living features such as environmental adaptation thru tectonic optimization. Growth, healing, energy production and movement are some features that help organisms to achieve resiliency for their environmental adaptation. Our firm aims to produce singularity-driven prototypes with such kind of transfeatures. What would happen if those biological parameters were attributed to architecture?

Ramirez Gonzalez Studio is currently researching on regenerative architecture-based resiliency using the parameters of the Caribbean particular ecosystem. Prototypes inspired by the bone’s morphology for example, shows the adaptive qualities of the material to force. That way a reinforced concrete structure becomes truly sustainable using half the material whilst more efficient to withstand common earthquakes in the Caribbean. It is no longer a common structure but a building’s skeleton. What would become this concrete skeleton if could heal its cracks? What if while aging it could grow and become stronger? Currently, limestone is a commonly used aggregate for concrete structures in the Caribbean. A fascinating fact is that limestone is a sedimentary rock that can be considered biological because it can actually grow. As a bone, limestone is composed mainly by calcium and, as a stalactite, grows due to organic debris accumulated within the rock. This biological behavior is often revealed by the presence of fossils. What if we replace concrete with limestone for future resilient architecture? Another dimension on such resiliency relies on ecosystem behavior itself. What would happen if architecture behaves like an ecosystem? Let’s take for example a Healthcare facility, one of the most dynamic building type. The interaction of a great amount of patients, services and administrative personnel makes this building a complex organization of spaces and utilities. Historically, designs like this building have been made by the approach of creating profitable business in medical real states. However, some strategic mistakes of this model results in the construction of huge monolithic buildings with lots of lost space, based on the paradigm, “more space, means more money”. The complex nature of these buildings requires an integrated and efficient design for its optimum operation. The program and medical interventions help us to understand the built environment of care as a living organism. These analogues are defined by transtectonica, which develop a series of models, systems and processes in co-relation with nature.

CARIBBEAN RESILIENCY We see this building design as a body structure capable to adapt to the conditions and functions needed for the services and environmental parameters. Contemporary building design is not contemplating the rapid evolution of the services housed by these structures. A good example is the constant change of biomedical equipment. This changes, sometimes needs infrastructure improvements, space requirements and service re-organization. Not designing for the nature of the space will affect the improvements delivery and their budget. Various biology studies present the powerful design strategies of living forms to adapt, communicate and interact with the environment. The adaptability of the building to the complexity of healthcare could be compared to Charles Darwing’s theory of evolution: “it is not the strongest or the biggest of the species that survives, but the one most adaptable to change”.




Our healthcare center project has been architecturally designed to proportionally expand and adapt to determined further needs of this kind of structures. This becomes possible by a series of modular space-frames volumes which basically acts as the framework or the building skeletal structure. The volumes arrangement is determined by the building function and its context. Hence, instead of a free plan, we have contemplated a free volume space with endless configurations, whilst integrated to both environment and performance. These articulated modules would have the ability to communicate between them as a body communicate and interact with their organs. Utility connections essentially needed like water, electricity, data and also medical gases and oxygen could have proper space to interconnect the needs of various spaces as a nervous or vascular system. This flexibility foster many and different building layouts. All this analogues interact with their business counterparts. Like an organism shall relate with the environment to survive, our concept is no exception. Because the design is based in holistic efficiency, the modular construction and structural resiliency will result in feasible construction cost and less invasive effects when changes and expansions are needed.

“We see this building design as a body structure capable to adapt to the conditions and functions needed for the services and environmental parameters.�

This entire design concept shall be detailed to have spaces with an identity and spirit. In fact, the design qualities of adaptation with the environment could be made in such way to promote the cultural and climate parameters within the site. Understanding the analogy between architecture and biology should serve to understand the user psychological approach to this built environment. Providing a closer look to the details and finishes will be the opportunity to make a celebration of the life and culture with spaces worthy for quality of care. Optimal resiliency for the future of the built environment must be based on biological resiliency. Such transtectonic structures would be considered more alive than sterile. Furthermore, modular design and construction scope would be also considered within such transtectonic paradigm. In synthesis, the creative process would be focused in the design of “colossal organismsâ€? specially related to ecosystems but also informed by the social dynamics as an ever-changing environment. â–





THE LOST WALL Yu-Ngok Lo, AIA Lo is a project architect in the Los Angeles Office of the Tate Snyder Kimsey Architect. He currently serves on the AIA LB/SB Board of Directors and the AIACC COTE committee. His personal works has been recognized and published by the AIA Inland Chapter, Archdaily and AIArchitect.



With the 1949 communist revolution, the social and cultural values of China were cataclysmically shaken and altered to such an extent that even the long-practiced building methods that had defined urban living in China’s capital city were viewed as outdated and no longer relevant. Chinese communists sought to create a fresh, new socialist utopia, and any cultural icon of China’s past became suspect. In a race to build up China’s industrial capacity, many historic structures were destroyed. They are the victims of the city’s concentric circled ring road highway construction and various infrastructure projects. However, the worst enemy against Beijing’s historic assets would definitely be the city’s huge growing population. During the 1950s, a city redevelopment master plan and the “Weigai” system created in 1980s have been transforming old “Hutongs” (neighborhoods) into new high-density residential neighborhoods to satisfy the city’s housing needs. The promotion of the benefits (modern plumbing fixtures, electricity, HVAC, etc.) of these new residential towers overshadowed the values of Beijing’s historic buildings. The eagerness to build by the government and the lack of Historic Preservation knowledge of the general public dramatically changed the city’s architectural fabric and here are the facts:

The selected site to experiment with is situated within the inner city boundary located immediate adjacent to the city’s 2nd ring highway, where the ancient inner city wall once stood. It is currently a park (green barrier) separating the highway from the adjacent residential neighborhood.

• A major earthquake struck the city of Beijing. More than 28,000 buildings collapsed and 100,000 buildings were classified as dangerous (majority of them are old Beijing Courtyard houses). • More than 200,000 families were relocated and their courtyard houses were demolished during the “Weigai” system era. • Almost the entire inner city wall was demolished in 1965 for the 2nd ring road construction. • The eastern, southern and western sections of the inner city wall moats were covered over and became a part of the city’s sewage system during 1960s. • More than 150.7 million square feet of courtyard houses have been destroyed since the early 1950s.

The program of the design shall align with the interest of the city’s development and at the same time capture the characteristics of both the site’s history and its existing condition. Therefore, mid density housing along with a public park has been proposed for this study experiment. The long and narrow form of the building, on the other hand, is derived from the shape of the demolished inner city wall. The aggressiveness of the structural is a symbolic disruption against the city’s poor historic preservation practice. The solid thick wall on the north side of the building isolates the adjacent neighborhood from the 2nd ring road traffic in a way similar to the protective function that the demolished city wall once offered. Immediately behind the barrier wall is the atrium space where the identity of the existing park is preserved. It is allocated to be a public green space serving the surrounding communities. The idea of the central atrium space also connects to the courtyard of Beijing’s old houses. Functionally, it invites natural light into the dwelling units. Individual units are organized vertically with entrances on the first floor. Such organization eliminates the “Motel” style walkway and maximizes the amount of natural light by enabling windows on both ends of the units. It also helps facilitate air circulations combining with the stairwell central to the unit. Balconies are traditionally ideal to be placed on the south side of the building. With the help of overhangs, these balconies shall minimize the heat gain during summer time while keeping the unit warm during Beijing’s long and cold winters.




The green and vegetated area on the roof is an effort to maintain the amount of green area (equal or greater than what the previous park provided) to avoid any heat island effect contribution this proposal might trigger. It also expresses concerns about Beijing’s dire needs of a sustainable living environment. Beijing’s development into a contemporary city is inevitable and the proposed study project is never meant to be a physical revival of what’s lost, but rather an ideological intervention through the use of controversial architectural intrusion. It redefines the project site by sharply contrasting with the surrounding environment, an allegory of modern China and its destructive treatment of Beijing’s historic buildings in the past century. The project’s intention is to serve as a symbol in creating an architectural dialogue among different communities and government officials. ■





Hironaka Ogawa & Assoc.

Forest Chapel

Hironaka Ogawa Ogawa is an Architect at Hironaka Ogawa & Associates in Tokyo, Japan. Ogawa is also teaching at Toyo University, Kagawa University, Nihon University in Japan There are two distinctions I use for works of Hironaka Ogawa & Associates. One is to weave time into architecture. This is not limited to phenomenal changes of architectural appearance by time. I try to create new environments by considering the site’s landscape, history, and memories of the people into the architecture. Another distinction is to unite structure and design. My technique is not to design structure, but to handle design as structure. Architecture should not be limited to just structural design. First, I consider a design needed for the site, and then I weave the structure into the design. By implementing the two distinctions, I believe designsustainable architecture would be possible which involves not just focusing on the facilities and structures but adapting to the surrounding environments.

wall + glass

steel beam


tree-shape columns





“...rigid angle irons created the silence and tense that is appropriate for a place like a wedding chapel ...”

Gunma, Japan 2011

LOCUS This is a new chapel built in the garden of an existing wedding facility which is surrounded by trees.

The building looks like a simple white box floating in the air to be in harmony with the existing facility. On the other hand, I took in the trees in the garden as a design motif and proposed a chapel with randomly placed, tree-shape columns using angle irons. In detail, I gathered eight angle irons composed of four 90 x 90 x 7mm L-angle irons and four 75 x 75 x 6mm L-angle irons to create a cross-shape column. I intended to create a column that branch out up above depicting gentle curves of a tree. I applied two different curves for both size L-angle irons and created two types of tree-shape columns. I intended to create various looks by rotating the columns and placing them throughout the space. The tree-shape columns serve as decorations as well as important structural elements that receive the building’s vertical load and wind pressure. Each tree-shape column is placed a decent distance from each other by their branched out, angled irons. It is also rational for the building structure. The forest in the nature also consists of trees that keep certain distances from each other under different conditions. The distances and shapes of the columns’ branches made by rigid angle irons created the silence and tense that is appropriate for a place like a wedding chapel where people make their vows.


photos: Daici Ano



“By folding walls and sheets, it has become a functional and beautiful architecture.”

Pleats M

Saitama, Japan 2012

The site is triangulate. The solution to the irregular site was to introduce the pleated walls. These walls expand or contract to fit the site and express gorgeousness. Also these work as structural members and sound reflector. The walls consist of steel frame with 1.6mm thick steel sheets and stucco finish. The shade and shadow, that the pleats wall creates, gradationally changes throughout the day and season. The walls also adopt several different personas inside out. The idea of the pleats wall is threading even through the furniture and fixtures as well as the fabrics. The design rule is simple. By folding walls and sheets, it has become a functional and beautiful architecture. 1. entrance piloti 2. entrance 3. foyer 4. waiting room 1 5. cloak 6. closet 7. staff room 8. kitchen 9. meeting room 10. storage 1 11. toilet 1 12. corridor 13. locker room 14. toilet 2 15. banquet room 16. storage 2 17. toilet (men) 18. multipurpose toilet 19. toilet (woman) 20. nursing room 21. kitchen 2 22. kitchen entrance 23. storage 3 24. ELV

20 19 18




22 15 21





14 13 9


8 7







0 1 2





photos: Daici Ano



Sundial House Kagawa , Japan 2009

“...the client can feel the seasons’ change from winter, spring, summer and fall as a farmer.” This house stands in the middle of the fields in the country. The client does firming on the side. The site draws attention from the street; however it is not a place from which one can enjoy beautiful scenery in particular. Yet the client desired to live openly in this home. Modern housing lacks the feelings of seasonal and time changes by the artificial environment. My goal was to build a home where the client can feel the seasons’ change from winter, spring, summer and fall as a farmer. In order to accomplish this, I proposed this courtyard house with a two-storied unit in the middle of the site, surrounded by a one-storied unit. I purposefully placed the two-storied unit on the south part of the site to block the sun. As a result, the shadow of the tower moves slowly though out the day. In addition, the shadows of objects and places to stay within the home move accordingly. In the summer, there would be a summer shadow. In the winter, there would be a winter shadow. The house shows different appearances in each of the four seasons. There would be a rhythm in the home’s atmosphere created by the shadow of the tower, intentionally constructed on the south part of the site. Also, the client can feel the sense of privacy at the same time as the indication of the each room by placing a small courtyard in the one-storied unit to maintain the distances in the house. This house is like a sundial where one can feel the change of the seasons along with the surrounding fields.


photos: Daici Ano



SAY “YES” Derek C. Webb, AIA Webb is a Principal at m ARCHITECTS in Houston Texas and currently serves as chair of the AIA National Membership Committee.

In 2008, a movie entitled ‘Yes Man’ starring Jim Carrey opened in theaters. And while neither I nor the American Film Institute would regard it as a classic piece of American cinema, I will confess that I feel a certain affinity with it. Allow me to explain. I can actually pinpoint the day ... check that, the minute that my journey within the AIA began. I was sitting at my desk at about a quarter-to-noon on a Wednesday. My boss at the time was walking out the office door on his way to a YAF meeting and, for the eighth and last time, asked if I’d like to join him. Needing a break from whatever I was doing, I decided to along. Historically, our local YAF group had lagged in attendance and programming suffered due to lack of ample participation so I didn’t have a lot of expectations going in. Despite that, I met some great people (including a certain current YAF Connection Editor who was the YAF Houston Chair at the time). I quickly became involved with initiatives that would take this fledging group and supercharge ultimately into a motivated and effective committee; an energy that continues to this day. In fact, after having attended just two meetings, I was asked to serve as Chair-Elect; to which, of course, I said ‘yes’ (because, quite frankly, I really didn’t know better at the time). It turned out to be a great decision and an even better experience. Of course all good things must come to an end, as did my own Chairmanship of the local YAF, and I found myself needing something to transition to. At about that time I saw the call for applicants from the national YAF for Regional Liaisons and the Advisory Committee members. A good friend of mine suggested that I apply for the Public Relations Advisor position; and before I could even decide, he sent over a recommendation letter on my behalf. I’ve often joked with myself that I must have been the only candidate who applied because I somehow managed to be selected. The initiative that I was tasked with by our committee was to develop a social media strategy and campaign. I found it incredibly ironic actually, since I was one of the handful of GenXers that had never had a Facebook account or really knew what it meant to ‘tweet’. ‘On the job training’ was how I would define my first year on the Advisory Committee; and the reality is that nearly all of my responsibilities during those two years of service came as a completely new experience. Whether it was writing press releases about the YAF’s activities, developing and maintaining

our KnowledgeNet page (or practically anything else for that matter), I had to learn it before I could do it. During the closing months of my term, I concluded that I had taken it as far as I could and decided that the only alternative to continue was to apply for the Vice-Chair position, which automatically rolls into the Chair position after. But I just didn’t think that I wanted to be the Chair of a national level committee. So two months later when I received a call asking if I would chair the national Membership Committee, I of course said ‘yes’. So now here I am, well into year two of a three year commitment that is dealing with some very weighty issues pertaining to AIA membership and the very future of our profession. I must reiterate at this point

that never was I comfortable in taking on any of these roles, but then that was the point. I’ve learned that you can’t grow if you’re always in your comfort zone. And thanks to these experiences, I can honestly say that I have an enhanced skill set that directly benefits the way I practice. One of the many things that the YAF and the AIA offers to a small firm guy like myself is the experience and ability to work in larger teams. In our practice, I operate much of the time as the ‘Lone Ranger’, fighting for truth, justice, and the proper execution of a finely drawn detail. Committee work however, is different. It’s communal. It’s cooperative. It can also be challenging when leading and working with individuals who may not have the same motivations or agendas, with limited or no resources to achieve the committee’s goals. Much like I envision working at one of those super large firms with three letters on the door. These are experiences I wouldn’t have had if I stayed within my little bubble. I would have missed out on some great friendships as well. So if you’ve been mulling over the idea of getting more involved, or even if you haven’t, just say ‘yes’. ■

I’ve learned that you can’t grow if you’re always in your comfort zone.



architecture + angst


Postcards from the Architect by Jody Brown – as first published at, March 5 and 19, 2012 I know It’s only been 2 weeks since my Architectural world tour, but, I was still emptying my suitcases this morning. Sorry, I got caught up in the pressure at the office and just had not gotten around to unpacking. Mainly, because I’m awesome. And,wouldn’t you know it?, right in the bottom of the suitcase, were 6 more postcards that I totally forgot to mail. No wonder Herzog was so pissed at me ... It’s really hard to be back at the office this morning. - Jody [Coffee with an Architect]

Jody Brown, AIA, Leed AP BD+C Brown is an Architect running his own firm (Jody Brown Architecture, pllc.) in Durham, NC. His work focuses on urban infill projects, mixed-use, urban design, and urban renewal. Over the last 18 years, he has built on his passion for planning and urban design, and has worked on enhancing, adding-to, reusing, renovating, and sometimes creating-from-scratch the places where people meet, learn, play, and become inspired. His work is grounded in the belief that Architecture can save cities. When he’s not doing that, he can be found making fun of himself and his profession, and blogging about his ideals at – Coffee with an Architect. Or, you can find him sipping coffee with someone at a cafe near you, blathering on-and-on about Le Corbusier, while looking aloof and interesting at the same time somewhere over in the corner. In other words, he’s just an Architect, standing in front of an ideology, asking it to love him.


CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS We are currently soliciting articles for the JULY 2013 issue focused on the subject of PROCESS

CONNECTION welcomes the submission of ARTICLES, PROJECTS, PHOTOGRAPHY and other design content. Submitted materials are subject to editorial review and selected for publication in eMagazine format based on relevance to the theme of a particular issue. If you are interested in contributing, please contact the CONNECTION Editor-In-Chief Wyatt Frantom at

PROCESS ARE YOU AN EMERGING VOICE? THEN BE HEARD! SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS All submissions are required to have the attachments noted below. Text Submit the body of your text in a single, separate Word document with a total word count between 500-1000 words. Format the file name as such: [ yourlastname_ article title.doc ] Images Submit all images in JPEG format at a minimum resolution of 300 dpi RGB mode. Include captions to all images in the body of your e-mail transmittal. All images must be authentic to the person submitting. Do not submit images with which you do not hold the rights. Format the file name(s), sequentially, as such: [ yourlastname_image1.jpg ]


Author Bio Submit a brief, two-sentence bio in the following format: [ yourlastname ] [ AIA or Associate AIA or RA ] is a [ your title ] at [ your company ] in [ city, state ]. [ yourlastname ] is also [ one sentence describing primary credentials or recent accomplishments ]. Format the file name as such: [ yourlastname_ article title.doc ] Author Photo Submit a recent headshot in JPEG format at a minimum resolution of 300 dpi Grayscale in RGB mode. Format the file name as such: [ yourlastname_ portrait.doc ] CLICK HERE to reference past issues of CONNECTION

WHAT IS THE YOUNG ARCHITECTS FORUM? The Young Architects Forum is the voice of architects in the early stages of their career and the catalyst for change within the profession and our communities. Working closely with the AIA College of Fellows and the American Institute of Architects as a whole, the YAF is leading the future of the profession with a focus on architects licensed less than 10 years. The national YAF Advisory Committee is charged with encouraging the development of national and regional programs of interest to young architects and supporting the creation of YAF groups within local chapters. Approximately 23,000 AIA members are represented by the YAF. YAF programs, activities, and resources serve young architects by providing information and leadership; promoting excellence through fellowship with other professionals; and encouraging mentoring to enhance individual, community, and professional development. GOALS OF THE YOUNG ARCHITECTS FORUM To encourage professional growth and leadership development among recently licensed architects through interaction and collaboration within the AIA and allied groups. To build a national network and serve as a collective voice for young architects by working to ensure that issues of particular relevance to young architects are appropriately addressed by the Institute. To make AIA membership valuable to young architects and to develop the future leadership of the profession.




celebrating years of advancing the careers of young architects

The American Institute of Architects Young Architects Forum 1735 New York Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20006 49


YAF Connection 11.03  

Connection is the official bi-monthly publication of the Young Architects Forum of the AIA

YAF Connection 11.03  

Connection is the official bi-monthly publication of the Young Architects Forum of the AIA