Mohawk Light Lab

Living Building Challenge in Georgia – The Mohawk Light Lab

A few office-mates and I had the recent pleasure of touring the Mohawk Light Lab in Dalton, Georgia. This is the first Living Building Challenge petal-certified project in the state of Georgia, so needless to say, we were pumped! First of all, if you aren’t familiar with the Living Building Challenge, it is a green building rating system start in Seattle  in 2006 and is a rigorous green building rating system administered by the International Living Future Institute.  The rating system is a sort of reaction to LEED that promotes buildings that are regenerative and actually give back to their surroundings. More info on the LBC can be found here. We made our way to Dalton from Atlanta for the CLICK for more


Pine & Clay – empowering foreign artisans in the American design market

I like well-designed products, hand-crafted art, and, very much, a good story. West Elm has become a visionary in the furniture & home decor retail sphere with their business model that brings us stories of beautiful products from far away lands and people, while empowering those very people to have a measurably improved quality of life.


Starchitects, Toilets, and Empowerment

Do you have a job?  Are you educated?  Are you able to use bathroom facilities without the fear of the spread of communicable disease? Not everyone is so fortunate.  Luckily, we all know this, and luckily, the building industry is catching on to the value of social equity and empowerment. We see certain companies such as TOMS (started by Blake Mycoskie) with sustainable business models.  More about that can be found in SUCCESS magazine. And now, while globalization, TED talks, activitsts, humanitarians, and the news show us all of the tragedy and poverty that our country works so hard to avoid ourselves, a few companies within the building industry are seeking this fresh approach of giving back to those in CLICK for more


Youngstown – S [M] L XL – Urban Decay

Youngstown is located in the Rust Belt.  There is an effort by a few to bring vibrancy to the community, some more effort by those seeking to help the hurting here and now.  Much more research can be done on my part to learn what can be done to make it once again a thriving community –  the expectations and identity need to change, then more public space, influence, and advocacy. Here is a taste of the disrepair we have fallen victim to, commonly known as urban blight or urban decay.


So you’re graduating from architecture school…

Many young people do not have a meaning and purpose to their life. They’re looking to say, does my life matter? Do I have a unique contribution to make… when you recognize that you have a real mission, an indispensable contribution to make, then you embrace life, you celebrate life in a completely different way. – Anna Halpine, The Human Experience I was right in the middle of my thesis while obtaining my Master of Architecture degree, at the interstice of theoretical research, experimentation, and real (” “) design. It was wintertime last year that I dedicated a good Saturday afternoon to post-graduate endeavors. A few things I knew were certain: I was about to have substantial debt to deal with. CLICK for more


Youngstown [S] M L XL

Youngstown, Ohio. The Rust Belt. As seen from photographs past and first-hand accounts from one and two generations before my time, the city used to be a happening place, with popular stores, an active downtown, rich folk, popular entertainers, everything one needs for a little gem of a city to call home. The Youngstown I grew up in was littered with tales of political corruption, a failed steel industry, and frankly not much reason do go downtown – so I rarely ever did.  Yes, you could say that makes me a suburbanite. But here we are, in the 21st century, looking at our ‘old’ cities (Europeans may laugh) and reexamining what can be done.  This is from many perspectives and CLICK for more


From Tipi to Skyscraper: A History of Women in Architecture – book review

The point is not that women are more likely than their male counterparts to have found the answers to the difficult issues confronting the profession of architecture, but that perhaps they are raising some new and different questions which are pertinent to its future. -Doris Cole As mentioned in the previous post, I recently completed reading the succinct history of women in America and their role in their built environment in Doris Cole’s From Tipi to Skyscraper.  This book, written in 1973, speaks of a rather linear, yet not progressive, evolving role of women in the public sphere and civil sectors of work, from Native Americans, female pioneers, the age of domesticity, a transition to the public sphere in wartime, CLICK for more


Women, America, & the Architecture Profession

It wasn’t until I spent a year as a Construction Volunteer Lead with Habitat for Humanity that I truly noticed a disparity in the treatment of men and women in the field of built environment.  It was the rare off-hand comment, such as how sexy women look with power tools, or a general disregard for our authority in the given situation that heated my blood and produced a deluge of questions – am I not confident enough? should I voice my feelings of disrespect?  am I being overly sensitive about the situation?  In my graduate studies, this newfound realization led me to understand our gender treatments much more, mostly through a women’s studies class, that disentangled gender roles and expectations, CLICK for more