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Work Experience


Work Experience

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Work Experience


Work Experience

Going from design school to the business world, I began learning the office environment.  It has included working with larger teams of people, different geographical locations and different cultural values, as well as other defined priorities. 

Connections have remained important to me both as a tool for growth and a gauge to measure experiences along the way.  I have learned over the past three years the elastic limit of connections once they reach the global scale. 

After returning to the states and graduating, I was eager to take my Masters in Architecture and internship experience and find a firm which offered me growth professionally. 


Working with Kids - Prior to Graduation Experiences

Throughout my life up to this point I had worked in primarily education and leadership roles with kids in informal learning environments.  I enjoyed each experience along the way as I was able to test out roles I would likely not find myself leading once I began work at a professional office after graduation.  I was am thankful of the opportunities each summer provided for me to discover the personal enjoyment and latent interest I had in helping facilitate the success in others.  

  • Neighborhood Swim Team Coach
  • Lifeguard at the City Pool
  • Private Swim Lesson Consultant
  • Instructor of Design Studio for Duke TIP Summer Studies
 

 

Working in Paris, Experiencing the world

Getting my feet wet before making the full post graduation transition to a professional office via an internship in Paris helped bridge my time working with autonomy in the design studio to working among a network of others.

  • Intern Designer for Odile Decq's Architecture Studio
  • Travel throughout Europe
  • Initial development of incorporating educational, methods based, interconnected, value based design with purpose.
  • Development of personal "agenda" for myself as a designer practicing for the next 30-40 years.
 

 
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Working in an Office - Post Graduation Experiences

RTKL - Dallas, TX

NBBJ - New York, NY

  • Exposure to Support Systems that facilitate design studios
  • Balancing work, life, exploration.
  • Exposure to new cultures, values and priorities
  • Travel to China
  • Development of Design Computation methods
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Paris


An Internship for the Architecture Design Studio of Odile Decq.

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Paris


An Internship for the Architecture Design Studio of Odile Decq.

Paris, France

While finishing my Master’s of Architecture, I completed a five month internship in Paris, France.  I wanted to expose myself to the world and see if my thoughts about the world were real or if I would find a new reality when integrating into the culture. 

I wanted to see what I was made of when I took the opportunity to travel to a new city with a new language. There were times that my intermediate french didn’t have enough depth to communicate on its own.  The limited use of words gave me the opportunity to showcase my ideas in my design and use the strength of my design to communicate.  The challenge forced me to adapt to conditions and helped me develop my non-verbal skills by becoming a better listener and perceiving body language. 


While working in a real design studio grounded in architecture, I found success as a designer.  Good design was valued at Odile Decq.  She was a very demanding leader and expected nothing but the best from her designers. 

Odile Decq, they had the confidence to know that the quality of their design would be measured in their success and could sustain their practice without having to compromise their design values to satisfy clients.  It was rewarding to have my first experience outside of school reflect my own thoughts and values.

The designers working in the studio ultimately were working to help Odile realize her design concept, however the strength from having a stable design leader allowed everyone to have their own thoughts swell to everyone's benefit as the studio remained lively, active and engaged in their a nice atmosphere to be comfortable to take risks to pursuit additional possibilities throughout the design process.  

 

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Design Development 

During the short time as an intern in the studio I quickly gained the trust of the team I worked with to begin to take on independent design tasks on my own.  I enjoyed the dialog Odile Decq and I had when I sat down to talk about my development throughout the development of a design task.  I understood her on an intuitive level and always had the same demands on myself.  The desire was to push beyond merely satisfying requirements and to create something more from the opportunity given.  

As the competition neared completion, I was given the task to design the exterior facade of the houses.  The interior design had taken precedence over the exterior until now.  Odile and I developed the design of the single family house's exterior design and the formal relationships each cluster would create.  The focus was to take the time needed to try many solutions and find the best solution and enhance it.  

 
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Reexamining the design, I met with Odile and each time she would make comments and critique what I had designed and help push me to continue to incorporate thoughts she had as the design was refined.  



View of apartment buildings from the street.

Solving Accessibility in Paris Trash Room

 

Trash room

While interning in the office of Odile Decq in Paris, my task was to design a set of government financed housing.  Because it was a publicly funded building, there were stringent requirements on the minimum sizes for every space.  These tight requirements were often in conflict with the artistic nature of the design studio.  It was especially challenging when given the task of figuring out how three different apartments could stack in any combination and still allow for the vertical shafts to be in alignment.

Every single space in the building had to be handicap accessible.  One exception to the rule was the bike room and trash room.  Given that almost all buildings are elevated above street level, the trash room had to mitigate between the ground floor of the building at 60 cm above grade and street level.  It was impossible to fit a ramp, so the city did not require it to be handicap accessible.

Looking at the problem as one that could be solved rather than avoided. The best solution was found by improving accessibility for everyone.

Looking at the problem as one that could be solved rather than avoided. The best solution was found by improving accessibility for everyone.

The typical situation usually involved stairs which aren't safely navigated by anyone carrying bags of trash, much less a person in a wheel chair.  I figured out a way for it to meet requirements and for it to be handicap accessible.

It was a new solution to an unchallenged problem.  It removed the challenge of lifting a bag over the top of a bin and the barrier of stairs that couldn’t be maneuvered by everyone.  Thinking of it as a loading dock that allows for cargo to be unloaded, the deck height of the truck being the same height as the loading dock, the solution I found allowed the tenants to remain on the higher platform and dump their trash without ever taking the stairs.  

 

 
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Corporate World


Practicing Architecture at the Global Scale

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Corporate World


Practicing Architecture at the Global Scale

 
 

Working 11,000 miles from the client and project site allowed me to understand how far our existing methods of communication begin to strain and break from the pressure of connecting ideas through phone calls and powerpoint presentations.

As a designer, I found it difficult to work without strong connections to the people and places that we were creating buildings for.  My curiosity led me to travel to China to gain firsthand experience and to see what life was like in Shanghai. That trip helped me to have a better understanding of eastern cultures.

 

 

NBBJ

New York

 

 

International Design Partnership

Forward thinking designs and concepts are always a hard sell with clients and even more so when trying to bridge the time, cultural and language differences.  The clients were demanding and always pushing forward so that construction could start as soon as possible; sometimes before we had even started designing.  Our meetings were between the studio team in New York and the client offices in Asia.

The clients throughout Asia valued our knowledge of creating great buildings and forward thinking perspectives.  Working in such a foreign  I was always looking for ways I could connect to the people and accommodate the ways they were going to use it.  Sometimes the client would ask for things that we did not fully understand.  When asked to design to accommodate these differences between the two cultures it was often a challenge.  We did our best to integrate their needs into the overall design but my curiosity lingered with the desire to understand the cultural differences that influenced their design requests.  

 
 

DESIGN DEVELOPMENT THROUGH ITERATIVE DESIGN SCHEMES

 
 

Tools for keeping us connected to China

Technology had allowed general practice of architecture to become global and became the key to keeping the doors open when construction in the US collapsed as the search for work became global.  Firms went to where the cranes were - China and the rest of developing world.

Sometimes just getting a phone connection was a challenge.  There was a desire to improve the communication methods using technology, however it was simply a power point and a conference phone.  

Cultural Challenges

My curiosity led me to traveling to China to gain firsthand experience and to see what life was like in Shanghai.  It was good to observe everyday life there and to study how their culture operated.  As expected, there were plenty of differences in daily life, social interactions and cultural values.


 

Traveling to China helped me make better connections with the clients and understand their design needs.

 

 It was interesting to see the contrast between the many cultural traditions that had been kept alongside the global commercialization and high-end brands that lined the street.  Similarly, it was incredible to see how traditional Chinese building methods had continued while the built environment became heavily representational of western architecture. 

 


 
 

Challenges of Global Collaboration


Clarifying My Focus and Direction Forward

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Challenges of Global Collaboration


Clarifying My Focus and Direction Forward

 
 

As a design professional working in offices at the international and global scale; I have seen the range of opportunity within the architecture discipline doesn't offer enough range and flexibility to be truly innovative with strong, impactful design solutions.

Traditional architecture doesn't match the more ambitious design role I would like to work at.

Design is independent from a specific medium.  

My perspective on design is similarly focused more on solutions than the specific discipline it might need to incorporate to operate within.


 

New Tools for Design

The tradition of architecture had been a world of drawing sketches and geometry and permanence.  With the speed and the scale and the requirements to have such a lean project team, design became more digital.  I continued to adopt technology and digital methods into the practice.   I explored ways to use the computer to design in new ways.   

Design computation allowed our team to shift the focus to solving problems rather than drawing another set of options and to test the validity of designs with their actual performance.

Will the canopy provide shade at the appropriate place and the appropriate time? 

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We could quickly calculate building components quantities easily.  It also allowed for a greater level of complexity by value engineering during the process rather than after the design was completed.  We didn’t have to create custom panels. We began to backup our designs with data to prove or disprove the utility of each design decision which helped with client communication.  We also created automated work flows so we could quickly and easily test design variations during client meetings allowing us to evaluate visually and see how much of an impact it would have on the bottom line.  Being able to design at this finite scale allows for design to adapt to changing conditions which means we can tailor something better for the people who will be using the design.  


 
 
 

Computational Design


A relationship between knowledge and exploration, mind and hand, thinking and doing.

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Computational Design


A relationship between knowledge and exploration, mind and hand, thinking and doing.

How could architecture digital design methods begin to help the design of buildings?

Dedicated to explore new methods, I engaged ideas found in programming to give us more control of our design as the big ideas developed into complex details.  

 
 

Studies that explored design computation and problematically connecting digital and physical design spaces.

  1. Establishing my platform for making connections using Grasshopper 3D.

  2. Incorporating computational design into my professional work.

  3. Unconventional means to control my NYC apartment temperature.

  4. Adding DIY Nest Intelligence.

  5. Physical Interfacing.

  6. Data Management and Analysis using Grasshopper 3D.

 

Learning Grasshopper 3D

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Grasshopper has been a tool for me to learn design computation for projects within the office and outside of the traditional design studio.  It allows the digital design process to remove having to directly manipulate and refine a 3D modeling in Rhino.  The interface allows for a visual based programming to create object oriented type design definitions that allow the control of a design using underlying systems to drive the formal results.  This program opened up the world of object oriented programming to me and helped me build my procedural logic.  It was integral to the design process.


Designing with Logic and Complexity

With experience, it allowed me to have control over finite design elements by creating a system of equations.  Because it could handle flow of so much information, I began to explore the possibility of solving programs outside of 3D modeling.

 


 Design Testing and Simulations

This allows for an explosion of opportunity going beyond synthetic modeling of forms to designing a recipe for making and allows for exploring many options and range.  It turns design into an equation.  It’s about generating the design by organizing data and how it is processed relative to parameters.  Designing how this information is controlled becomes the design component and allows for the design to adapt to changes to the data without returning to the drawing board.  With regard to the building itself, the use of design computation allows for what would be a typically regular, repeated surface and enable each component to be determined by specific needs at its specific context to intelligently choose the most efficient option rather than having to specify only a single homogeneous surface.


Unconventional means to control my NYC Apartment temperature.

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My Temperature Control Setup: I used Grasshopper to interface the Arduino and the sensors and fans and built an equation inside Grasshopper to control things using the same program I used to design buildings at work.  

My Temperature Control Setup: I used Grasshopper to interface the Arduino and the sensors and fans and built an equation inside Grasshopper to control things using the same program I used to design buildings at work.  

 Temperature Sensor Project

Living in an studio apartment in Brooklyn, I constantly battled against the overbearing heat in the winter.  I‘d return from work at night and open the windows to cool the space and would eventually regret doing so at some point in the night as the winter air would overcome the radiator’s heat.

I had just given my parents a Nest for Christmas and longed for a device of my own to intelligently regulate my heating situation.  I began to explore how I might be able to create my own Nest to help gain control of an incredibly well functioning steam radiator with zero user controls.

I set up temperature sensors to record the change in temperature over time in the apartment, on the radiator and outside the window.  I began to build a system with low velocity fans in the window to help regulate the temperature inside.

 


 Studying The Relationship Between Reality And Design Space

As I gained experience over the past four years working with Grasshopper I began to make use of its capabilities to assist any time there was a need to manage large amounts of data.

One of the longer studies was the study of temperature and the variation in temperature throughout the day and overtime.

 
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Database Controlled Flow of Information

I stored the data in the cloud via Pachube (Cosm/ now Xively) and incorporated weather data from weather underground to begun to use changing weather conditions to increase the awareness of the hand built thermostat.  Once summer arrived, I added sensors for the air conditioner to study its affects on the room temperature in a similar way.   Finally, I added a set of logical evaluations with the data to help me determine efficiency between using the window air conditioner or opening the window.


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 Physical Interfaces

 

Kinect 

Firefly

People Printer

LED Facade Window Lattice Test


 Data Visualization

It also helped me connect our digital environments used to design with our realities that we live in.  I used it as a way to visualize a history of modifications to the design of the building as multiple people worked on it simultaneously in New York, China and India.  It helped us see when one part of the world was finished working on it so we could sync any changes at the right time.

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NEXT: MY FUTURE


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NEXT: MY FUTURE