November 21, 2016

Pruitt Igoe

Pruitt–Igoe was a large urban housing project first occupied in 1954 in St. Louis, Missouri. Living conditions in Pruitt–Igoe soon began to decline after its completion in 1956. By the late 1960s, the complex had become internationally infamous for its poverty, crime, and racial segregation. Its 33 buildings were demolished with explosives in the mid-1970s, and the project has become an icon of failure of urban renewal and of public-policy planning.

September 25, 2016

Books: Starting your Architecture Library

Every architectural reference library has to start somewhere. Here is a list of the best architecture books to start your collection with.

Introduction to Architecture

Francis D. K. Ching

Introduction to Architecture presents the essential texts and drawings of Francis D. K. Ching for those new to architecture and design. With his typical highly graphic approach, this Ching text surveys the design of spaces, buildings, and cities in an easy to understand graphic format. Readers will explore the histories and theories of architecture, design elements and process, and the technical aspects of the contemporary profession of architecture.

May 29, 2016

Must See Architecture Films

Louis Kahn

My Architect: A Son's Journey is a documentary film by Nathaniel Kahn on his father, Louis Kahn (1901-1974), detailing the architect's extraordinary career and his family legacy after his death. Click here for a detailed look.

December 2, 2015

Gift Ideas for Architecture Students

Given the holidays are coming and people have been asking what I want for the Holidays, I figured I should post some gift ideas for your favorite architect.

Architecture Mug by The Unemployed Philosopher's Guild

The Great Architecture Mug

Perfect for the architect in your life. Architectural drawings of 10 famous buildings from classical to classic. Holds 10 oz. Microwave and dishwasher safe. 

Trust Me I'm an Architect

Trust Me I'm and Architect T-Shirt

What can I say, we architects are an odd bunch but we always like a good laugh. This T-shirt by ThisWear is designed and printed in the U.S. on 100% preshrunk cotton shirts by printer and heat treated to ensure the color-fastness and lasting durability.

A Moleskin

Moleskin Classic Large Plain Notebook (5" x 8.25")

This basic, yet classic Large Plain notebook is one of the best-selling Moleskine notebooks. This reliable travel companion, perfect for sketches, thoughts and passing notes, has a cardboard bound cover with rounded corners, acid free paper, a bookmark, an elastic closure and an expandable inner pocket that contains the Moleskine history. There are also many more Moleskin Notebooks to choose from.

Aluminum Scale

Alvin 2200M Series 12-Inch Triangular Architect Scale

Every architect needs a scale or 10. Aluminum scales are very cool and will be used quite often when creating drawings. A must for any architect.

Everything an Architect Need to Know Every Day

The Architecture Reference + Specification Book by Julia McMorrough

Most architectural standards references contain thousands of pages of details overwhelming architects since they need to know to know a great deal on any given day. The Architecture Reference & Specification Book contains vital information that's essential to planning and executing architectural projects of all shapes and sizes, in a format that is small enough to carry anywhere. It distills the data provided in standard architectural volumes and is an easy-to-use reference for the most indispensable and most requested types of architectural information.

rOtring Technical Pens with Mechanical Pencil

rOtring Tikki Fineliners (0.35, .5, .7), Pencil, Eraser and Lead Set

This set includes some of the best disposable technical pens on the market. Usually, an architect or artist will always start in pencil before anything is inked, so the mechanical pencil, leads and eraser rounds out this great gift. Pens have free ink technology for a constant, consistent line, and a metal-jacketed fibre-tip nib for superior template and straightedge drawing. They also use long-lasting, lightfast, water-resistant pigmented inks (not refillable). The pencil has a brass mechanism for precise lead advancement of the included high-quality hi-polymer lead. Lightweight plastic bodies with rubberized grips and triangular barrels offer superior comfort and won't slide on tilted tables. You can also buy the pens in 2-packs or as a set without the pencil. These are my favorite pens by far.

Architect's Reference Notebook

Archnotes Reference Notebook for Architects (6.5" x 8")

A notebook designed specifically for architects by architects and includes reference information inside the front and back covers. The bright white paper has a light gray 1/8" grid that is "barely there" so you have it when you need it, but it doesn't get in the way. The spiral binding allows it to lay flat so you don't have to hold the book open. Important reference information is printed on the inside covers - paper sizes, 8" modules, slope percentages, drawing set order, Masterformat divisions, and much more. Never forget your scale at the office - includes architectural scales - 1/16", 1/8", 1/4", 1/2". Made in the USA.

rOtring Rapidograph Refillable Technical 3-Pen Set

rOtring Radidograph Technical 3-Pen Set

3-pen set of high-precision technical pens with refillable ink reservoirs is perfect for College-level students or Professionals. Wear-resistant, hard chrome-plated thin tip allows exquisite detail work. Nib is crafted from stainless steel. Push-on sleeve provides easy access to ink helix and fast cleaning. Color coded barrel indicates line width. Refillable ink reservoir is ideal for frequent drawers. Fill from ink bottles available in multiple colors. Wear-resistant, hard chrome-plated thin tip allows exquisite detail work.

November 8, 2015

Tutorial: Drafting Necessities

Drafting Leads

Since everyone uses leads with varying amounts of pressure and the need for depth in architectural plans and renderings resulted in the needs for many different types of leads. B Leads are darker and as you get to 9B they become more and more charcoal like. When starting to draft, always use an H, generally 4H to 9H. They are lighter in shade, with a harder lead that erases the easiest. Just be careful not to write/draw too hard, it will indent the paper resulting in issues with paper texture and eraser. You can also get a ghosting affect when shading.

September 26, 2015

Tutorial: Indesign Tips for Architecture Boards


Over the many years of creating architectural boards for school there are a few main issues I noticed while learning to create them. Scale was always the biggest issues with students showing a section, plan or rendering too small to be legible during their presentation. This is also true for vignettes or renderings outlining the building's concept. Being Consistent in the creation of your presentation is also important. When the boards come together they need to belong. Font sizes should also be consistent and drawings should be close to the same saturation. Being subtle is the best approach so watch your picture opacity. This will start to create Visual Interest within your boards. Using large Text with your concept words is a good way to reinforce them during your presentation and help tie things together. Knowing what software to use and how to use it is also important in order to create successful drawings and renderings. 

August 5, 2015

Tutorial: Software for Architects

The creation of architecture drawings, renderings, portfolios and boards can involve many different types of software and there is software than can can meet all your needs. This tutorial outlines the most prevalent ones and how they might be used. Software is generally broken down into vector linework and image processing. Scale linework is important as a basis of any rendering or drawing. Then diagramming, context, habitation, and its environment can be added.

Cultural Community Hub
by KenepaStudio

There are many different software you can use, different add-ons and software versions and possible ways to use them together to create successful designs. The most prevalent software used for architectural design is AutoCAD, Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, Revit, Rhino, and SketchUp. Designs typically start to scale, either 2D or 3D and then imported via pdf into another program for tweaking/diagramming/processing, then placed in InDesign for printing.

December 28, 2014

Film: Design Trilogy - Objectified

Objectified is a feature-length documentary film on industrial design, directed by Gary Hustwit. It examines the role of everyday non-living objects in our daily lives and the people who design them. According to Swiss Dots Production, the film is the second part in a 3-film series Design Trilogy, the first film being Helvetica which is about the famous typeface and the third film being the documentary Urbanized which discusses city design.

August 9, 2014

Solar Decathalon 2002: Trojan Goat

Trojan Goat - by Pakesh Patel
From 2000 to 2002, architecture and engineering students at the University of Virgina worked on the first Solar Decathlon held on the National Mall in Washington D.C. sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. Fourteen team designed and built homes powered entirely by the sun. The house won 1st place for architecture (by judges that included Glenn Murcutt) and 2nd place overall. The team also tied for 1st Place in the Energy Balance category, and received several other awards.

August 7, 2014

BIQ House

BIQ House Rendering - src
Hamburg, Germany - The 15 unit Bio intelligent Quotient (BIQ) House, part of the 2013 International Building Exhibition, was built to test the world's first "bio-adaptive" facade, which uses micro-algae to shade the building as well as generate energy, designed by Arup, SSC Strategic Science Consultants and Splitterwerk Architects. As the world's first building powered by algae, the facade's bioreactors use photosynthesis to grow the algae, which is then harvested and converted to biomass for energy generation. This process for generating sustainable, renewable energy creates a shimmering, dynamic green facade for the building. The micro-algae, about the size of bacteria, are generated in reactor panels that are supplied with nutrients and carbon dioxide in order to grow. These panels are the secondary skin of the building envelope covering 2,150 square feet of the southeast and southwest facades.

August 5, 2014

P.F.1 (Public Farm 1) by WORK Architecture Company

Designers: Amale Andraos, Dan Wood
P.F.1 - © Elizabeth Felicella
Public Farm One, by WORK Architecture Company, was the winner of the Young Architects Program, run by the New York Museum of Modern Art and the PS1 Contempoary Art Center, to design a temporary installation in the courtyards of PS1 in Queens, NY in 2008. This temporary installation was a shift from the previous 40 years concept of the Urban Beach into a new leisure revolution, one that created a new symbol of liberation, knowledge, power and fun for the city. The Urban Farm became the symbol for their "generations' preoccupations and hopes for a better and different future." Since cities have become accepted as having superior benefits to the suburbs, including quality of life and environmental impacts, they now have become the place of experimentation. Public Farm 1 (P.F.1) "is an architectural and urban manifesto to engage play and reinvent our cities, and our world, once again." 

June 15, 2014

Design Help: Kitchen Cabinet Dimensions

Kitchen with Standard Cabinets - Source

Kitchen cabinet sizes are largely standardized. Unless you are dealing with custom kitchen cabinetry, which can build cabinets with any dimensions, you will find lower prices and predictable sizing in stock or semi-custom kitchen cabinets. Because kitchen cabinets come in hundreds of sizes, below is a guide to a few of the more common kitchen cabinet sizes.

May 29, 2014

Film: My Architect

My Architect: A Son's Journey is a documentary film by Nathaniel Kahn on his father, Louis Kahn (1901-1974), detailing the architect's extraordinary career and his family legacy after his death.

December 29, 2013

Architectural Sketching: Streetscape

Streetscape by Jigsketch
Architectural sketches come in many types though the street can be considered a very important aspect of any built environment. The threshold between a building and the street has always been an important aspect to any design which is why architects have been concerned with facades for centuries.

December 28, 2013

Tutorial: Pencils and Leads

Pencil Grading Chart
Pencil cores are generally made of graphite mixed with a clay binder which creates easily erased grey or black marks. Graphite pencils are used for both writing and drawing which provides a durable mark, resistant to moisture, ultraviolet radiation, and aging.

Pencils come with either numbers or letters on them. From the image right, we can see that the letter B signifies the blackness of the pencil, the letter H signifies the hardness, and the letter F stands for 'fine.' In the United States, we use a different system using numbers to identify pencil hardness, ranging from #1 to #4. A #2 pencil, all to familiar to those that grew up in the US is the equivalent to the European HB.

August 10, 2013

Tutorial: Setting up AutoCAD Lineweights

Lineweights in CAD can be a bit difficult until you learn the tricks. At my school they taught us that you can set up lineweights in two ways; by layer and by color. You can also use both to setup lineweights, though sometimes they can cause issues when printing. This tutorial goes through the basics of setting up your lineweights in AutoCAD using these two methods.

August 3, 2013

Tutorial: Hand Rendering Elevations

Hand Rendered Elevation
Elevations are an important part of architectural design. There are many ways to create elevations. You can use Sketchup, AutoCAD, Revit or one of the many other rendering programs out there. Creating a three dimensional model for elevations is very time consuming and creating a two dimensional elevations in AutoCAD also requires a lot of time and effort to get the right textures and line weights, much less taking the time to render them in Photoshop. Thus, the quickest way to create an elevation is to complete them by hand. This way you can also choose the detail of the rendering depending on the amount of time you have as well as work through elevation iterations to define your ideas without the hassle of computer rendering.

February 18, 2013

Jane Jacobs: The Life and Death of Great American Cities

5th Avenue New York City

In Jane Jacobs’ book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, she discusses the particular nature of cities. The introduction focuses on how City Beautiful and the Radiant City differs from how cities truly work and how cities have suffered as a result of these ideals.