Hello world!

29 03 2011

I am writing this blog as a way to create a dialogue that will join my interests in architecture, urban design, business, and digital design, however before that I feel the necessity to explain to you the reader who I am, the lens through which I view many of upcoming discussions, and how they will be framed.

My History:

It has been about 15 months since I have moved back to my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio upon the completion of my graduate studies at Washington University in St. Louis.  While in St. Louis, I earned my Master’s in Business Administration with a focus in finance and marketing while simultaneously earning my Master’s in Architecture as well as my Master’s in Urban Design.

As a young designer, I quickly realized that there was more to what was designed aside from what was being put on the paper.  I focused the next few years of my life to investigate this seemingly unwritten influence.  Thorough my studies in finance and marketing, I was able to understand certain market influences and how those influences affected the built environment.  The way in which a metropolitan area could incentivize the growth of a neighborhood, a market sector, or a piece of infrastructure became much clearer to me when viewed with certain political and economic levers.  I chose to focus my business education in both finance and marketing because of the direct impacts that those two area have on our buildings, developments, neighborhoods, and metropolitan regions.

Growing up in Cleveland in the 1980’s and 90’s was a great influence on me because during that time period, the city was struggling to re-identify itself as many similar cities that had based its economy on the shrinking US steel industry.  The city was in search of a new basis on which it could sustain growth and prosperity not only for its citizens, but also for its own survival.  I, as most Clevelanders, have an enormous sense of pride for the city and the region of which I was raised and couldn’t sit idly by as the city labored to revitalize itself.  Upon the completion of my graduate studies, I felt a duty to move back to the city I had always called home to help in the area’s rejuvenation!

My studies in urban design have also allowed me to understand the way planning and place making can help motivate growth of the urban environment.  Through studying the existing conditions, the history, and the urban fabric of the area in conjunction with the economic incentives and demands, we as designers have the ability to work with developers, municipalities, and the citizens to create a redevelopment of our urban cores.

My Design Process:

As a designer, with a strong focus in 3 dimensional computer modeling and the visualization that arise out of that genre I hold a firm belief in the computer as a design tool as well as a representational tool.  I have studied and helped teach others how to look beyond the purely representational aspects of what the computer can output, but instead allow the advanced processing power of the machine work as a design tool.  The creation of algorithms, scripting, and other confusing sounding words have been the result, but the intent has always been to experiment!  Experimentation with various computer programs, various representational techniques, and various ways of looking at a problem have helped to form my design principles.  I don’t see the computer as the solution to design problems, but I see it as another tool in the arsenal of the designer.  It’s often been said, “If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem appears to be a nail.”  I have often thought of this metaphor when it comes to the way that designers look at potential solutions.  The more skills a designer posses and the wider the array of those skills, the more accurately the designer will be able to both take in and later represent that of which they are studying.  The important thing is to understand the various media and techniques at one’s disposal and fully understand the advantages and disadvantages of that tool.  There will always be times that a napkin sketch is a better tool than a finished photo-realistic rendering,as the ambiguity of the napkin sketch, with the disheveled lines allows the viewer to use their imagination for details that have yet to be worked out.  Rarely would the first comment to that type of drawing be, “I don’t like the color of that carpet”, as is often the case with initial photo realistic renderings.  By understanding the advantages of the various medium, a well-rounded designer is able to appropriately tell the story that they intend, leaving little confusion for other to interpret.

I use analysis of existing conditions to influence the design for new forms, designs, and ideas that might otherwise be overlooked.  Through the use of digital representation and experimentation, I simulate many variations all dependent on the first observations, supplementing the existing conditions with the new ideas.  By utilizing this level of analysis, my work focuses on a certain idea which I study for the duration of the design, allowing the design to remain consistent at a fundamental and theoretical level.  The time to properly analyze a site and its context allows me to understand the subtle influences that my design will have on the larger context, be it a street, neighborhood, or region.  The analysis allows my preconceived notions to fall by the wayside as I grasp a deeper understanding of the urban environment for which I design.  The use of the computer is simply another tool of which we as designers have to produce models, analysis and convey ideas.  In further discussions, this technique will become less ambiguous as I show examples of how this idea is put to practice.

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17 04 2011
TEDxCLE conference 2011 « macdesignstudio

[…] great to see, especially in an region that is a former rustbelt.  As I mentioned a few weeks ago, the economy of Cleveland is changing.  Thogus is the type of company that our new economy needs to embrace and support.  We are no […]

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