Archive for the ‘architecture/planning’ Category

off topic: A Better World by Design ’09

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

The Association for Community Design has posted my article about “A Better World by Design” conference that happened last month! Re-posted below:

The 2nd annual “A Better World by Design conference” hosted by RISD and Brown University from Oct 2-4, 2009 in Providence, RI surpassed expectations, particularly for a first time attendee. The conference was fully organized and run by students, who are already actively engaged with projects that change our world. With a diverse speaker list and panel discussions, conversations ranged from affordable housing and architecture in the developing world to clean energy, emerging markets, and social entrepreneurship. As described on the website, “A Better World by Design brings a global community of innovators to Providence, Rhode Island, to reach across disciplines and unite under a common goal. [The event] is an immersive experience that deepens our understanding of the power of design, technology, and enterprise to reshape our communities and sustain our environment.” Themes of cross-disciplinary collaboration, contextual projects, and the future of community empowerment were apparent.


Michael Graves + [yellowtail]

Thursday, August 6th, 2009


Check out the interview with Michael Graves from DesignVerb. Some good insight into the similarities (and differences) between architecture and product/industrial design! Quite interesting. When I was in highschool I wanted to become an architect… and now, I often find myself comparing the two disciplines of architecture and industrial design. According to Mr. Graves, it’s all problem solving and human or environmental interaction, just on different scales.

What elements and methods in your architectural profession bring value to the product/industrial design discipline?

I don’t really view them as separate, actually. I’ve always fashioned myself a general practitioner, not as a specialist in any one area. I feel that too often, people become too specialized. Just as a lawyer should be well practiced in case law, an architect should have the same fundamental knowledge of their craft. And if your business evolves into an area of specialty, then that’s great – but it shouldn’t define the extent of your expertise.

What differences do you find between an architect and a product designer? Strengths, weaknesses.

Certainly, there’s a difference between the scale and complexity of a building and an artifact. However, we take the design of both equally seriously, and take into consideration their functionality, how people relate to and use them, how they each influence the continuum from the scale of a city to the building to the interior room to the object on the table. When looked at broadly rather than in isolation, buildings and products reflect our core values. If people intuitively understand how to use them and gain joy from their visual appearance, we’ve made a difference.

More insight about the design intent and process of [yellow tail] wine glasses on YouTube.

Read another interview on Architechnophilia

Guggenheim Museum and Frank Lloyd Wright

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009


My very first visit to the Guggenheim Museum in New York City was long overdue. But what a fitting first visit it was this past weekend to see the exhibit “Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward“- about the architect who designed the museum, which is showing until the end of August. In addition to being reminded of the Guggenheim being the last building Wright finished designing, I was also reminded of what a revolutionary thinker he was. The use of radiant heating system in the floor and pushing our preconceived idea of what buildings should be, while truly exploring the relation of scale and space.

The exhibit was a fairly chronological walk through Wright’s works, showing sketches and drawings that we’re not used to seeing since it’s much easier to see the finished building. I found it rather insightful to see his thought process in many of the sketches and doodles alongside the finished architectural plans. I did wish that there was more talk about what influenced Wright’s work, his ideas, and his thought process rather than just a display of his accomplishments and achievements. I came away wanting more discussion about conflict and struggle, since many of his project proposals were never realized. One of my favorite pieces is the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo; distinctly Frank Lloyd Wright, yet also distinctly Japanese. It’s a shame that this building has since been demolished and can only be seen through images.


Snow Castle

Monday, May 11th, 2009

I know we are all excited for the lovely spring weather that has begun to hit us, particularly in New England. And I don’t mean to bring back any bad winter memories with this post!


Nonetheless, the SnowCastle Hotel in Kemi, Finland looks amazing. Recently closed for the season (January to April), there’s a SnowRestaurant and IceBar, Art Gallery, and Chapel in this 18 room Castle that also has 2 group rooms and a Honeymoon Suite. All can be enjoyed in the -5 degree Celcius temperature.

View more photos here.

via CoolHunting

Chinese New Year 2009 in HK

Friday, March 6th, 2009

It’s been almost a month since I came back from Asia and celebrating Chinese New Year (Jan 26) in Hong Kong. Here’s the CNY celebration recap: People, people, people everywhere! (1,330,044,544 people in China from July 2008 estimate)


New Year’s Fair in Victoria Park, Hong Kong is filled with people!! We could barely see or stop to look at all the souvenirs for sale on the side of the aisles. Vendors are screaming for attention at the sidelines and have the wackiest signs as high as possible with balloons and the like so that you have a glimpse of what they’re selling.. buy it only if you can go through the crowd to get there in the first place. Fun vibe!


Taipei: East meets West

Friday, February 13th, 2009


American Pooh and Asian Pooh, ShiLin Night Market


inspiration search: sites, blogs, and links

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

If there’s not enough inspiration from the links above, there’s always the option of hallucinating.. or just freaking yourself out?


Read more at via MedGadget

Boston goes Green

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

Some links in honor of tonight’s last night’s (I’m a flake sometimes!) GreenDrinks gathering:

  • LightsOut, conservation on for city’s tall towers

fake bus stop for Alzheimer’s patients

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

Brilliant use of design problem solving!


The German nursing home, Benrath Senior Centre in Dusseldorf installed an exact replica bus stop outside the facility. Buses never actually stop there, but Alzheimer’s have a good long term memory and know that the bus stop means they can get home (and they think they can escape), until the staff…

“approaches them and says that the bus is coming later today and invite them in to the home for a coffee,” said Mr Neureither. “Five minutes later they have completely forgotten they wanted to leave.”

via BoingBoing


Saturday, May 10th, 2008




San Francisco

via Core77 and BoingBoing

mcmansions continued..

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

In reference to one of my earlier posts:

built communities and McMansions

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

Welcome to the end.


My boyfriend and I drove down to Leesburg, VA back in December and again in February to visit his brother, who just bought a brand new house. This was on the way there. Doesn’t make you want to drive much father does it?

I’ll certainly admit the house was gorgeous inside with tons of space; the thing that urks me is the community that it’s in and all the communities that surround it. Houses are built on old farm land, that’s no longer used. But it seems that now, contractors are just farming houses, not crops.


On the side of the road we constantly pass by signs like this to get visitors in, to see the model homes and neighborhoods.

If there’s really a need for such housing, why not initiate greener buildings? There are so many houses and it doesn’t seem to be slowing. It would be a great opportunity to convert home owners to live in a greener abode…