All the way up to the present and through all of this, I have come to see my role in a team as a designer of spatial constructs and essential objects with the expressed intent to be built. Additionally, I do my best, whenever possible, to inquire as to the merit of the design after it has been constructed so that future design can be informed by the experience of the past.
Even as a very young child I spent a lot of my time making things. One of my very first memories was frustration that I did not know how to physically put together something that I envisioned in my mind. The drive to develop my understanding of the built environment came to me long before I understood a definition of design.
College of Architecture had many of the answers. It introduced me to so many incredible tools for designing more sophisticated objects; it demonstrated concepts of design theory; it illustrated the “phenomenon of architecture”; it introduced and fortified the tools of plan, section and elevation; it emphasized the timeless relevance of drawing; it showed various methods on modeling. Architecture school simultaneously broadened and sharpened my perspective by breaking things down and persuading me to put the pieces back together with a more critical vision.
But for me, it was the transition between design and fabrication that became most captivating. My projects were not finished for me until I saw them represented in a tangible form; whether it be a scale model, or Better yet, a one-to-one-scale component of the larger whole. The transition from design to fabrication, for me, yielded the ultimate discovery. It presented the proof, which results only from the intended physical manifestation of ideas.
I had the privilege, after graduation, to work for some of the most talented and accomplished designers, builders and engineers in San Francisco: Sand Studios, South Park Fabricators and Lundberg Design. Many of these architecture and design firms were unique in that they had in-house fabricators. They built and installed many of the elements that they designed right there in the studio. With their guidance I was able to bring my skill and understanding of design and fabrication to a whole new level. Consequent to my experience with in-house fabrication, methods of dialogue between the designer and fabricator became a developed part of my vocabulary.
I made a small line of furniture that I have been living with in my apartment for a few years. I use this furniture every day and I can tell you that it is not perfect. But through designing, building and finally living with my own furniture have only now fully realized the value of inquiry in the context of the design process. It has informed the second rendition of the table, and the third. which is now in client’s dining and conference rooms. Further renditions are on their way and I see no end to the process of refining my furniture designs in the foreseeable future.
Prototyping has become a very important step in my current work. It has allowed for focus and a clarity of detail that otherwise would not be possible. As Tod Williams once said, “It necessitates an understanding of resources and promotes an economy of means” (Hejduk et al., 1980, p. 63). In addition, prototyping leads to the notion of an economy of scale. If I can build one table how much more energy and material would it take to build ten? If there were demand for a thousand, or a hundred thousand?
So, if we design and comprehend an idea, and then if we manifest that idea into a physical object, or a proof. And if we test, whenever possible, to inquire about its merit so that it can be improved for future refinements... If this is what architecture means to me, then it seems that my work is never truly done.
CCY Architects, Aspen, CO, US, Architect, registered in NY & CO
EVANS & PAUL UNLIMITED CORP., New York, NY, US, Project Manager/Programmer
Project manager, design developer and digital programmer/fabricator for high end residential, commercial and healthcare accounts up to $2 million.
Lundberg Design, San Francisco, CA, US, Project manager/LEED Consultant
Architecture and Fabrication: Project Management and LEED Consulting.
GFDS Engineers, San Francisco, CA, US, CAD Manager/Designer
Structural Engineering: San Francisco. Providing aid in design and detailing of structural systems, generating project manuals, assisting construction administration, preparing as-built drawings, site / construction and exploratory demo. observation. Training and managing of the drafting team
Sand Studios, San Francisco, CA, US, Intern-Turned-Employee: Designer/fabricator/errand boy
(Formerly South Park Fabricators): Architectural design and fabrication: San Francisco. Providing aid in architectural design, fabrication & installation.
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, San Luis Obispo, CA, US, BArch, Architecture & Environmental Design