Monthly Archives: December 2012

A Search for the Texas Vernacular: Episode 8

Dallas, Texas: The Dallas Arboretum

On December 25th I witnessed what can only be described as a Christmas miracle: SNOW IN TEXAS.

If someone told me that I would see snow anywhere near Dallas, I’d have called them a big, dumb, liar and would have proceeded to ignore them forever. Alas, a trip to the Dallas Arboretum with a focus on detail shots proves that there was in fact snow.

Snow-related Details:

ice grass

ice boots

ice leaves

There was more to the garden than just plants. There were many colorful birds (who moved too quickly for me to take pictures of), a temporary Chihuly exhibit, beautiful sculptures, a miniature town, and a beautiful old home (In which photography was prohibited).

Architectural Details:

Tipi detail

Stained Glass

Chihuly Details:

chihuly 5

chihuly 3

Chihuly 2

Chihuly 1

chihuly 4

I thought the arboretum was beautiful. I would very much like to visit again when the flowers are in bloom an the trees are green. Though I will likely change my mind when the weather goes back to being blisteringly hot.

boats on the water

Now, I leave you with a photo of a ladybug I found in my bathroom. Enjoy:

lady bug mirror

texas vernacular

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Seasons Greetings

Happy Holidays, whatever it is you celebrate. Here’s to a happy new year!

happy holidays 2

Design Work

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European Photographic Journal

Because I am forgetful, I made a book…

In the spring of 2011, I participated in a study abroad program for one semester. Through the Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS), I lived in Copenhagen, Denmark and traveled all over Europe with a sketch book and a camera. This is a book I plan on printing that contains some of my favorite photos from that experience. It was impossibly difficult to narrow down the selection of photos because all the images tell a story and remind me of the things I did and saw (which is crucial for me because I don’t remember what I had for dinner last night…).

You can see the whole book by clicking here.

Here are the first few spreads:



hungary cover

hungary 1

I’ll be sure to update once I receive a printed version of the book.

Design Work

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Happy Thoughts in a Jar

Happy Thoughts

This is a quick post to share a unique situation I found myself in the other day. I was faced with a series of problems that ended in a strange project.


1: Rain. Really cold rain. Basically ice falling from the sky. Freezing rain.

2: No recycling program at my apartment complex.

3: Nearest public recycling bin I know of is at the Whole Foods Market across town.


To combat weather induced depression and save the planet one piece of landfill, I placed a happy thought in a jar:

A sunny day under a tree with a pretty girl. That should help me through winter.


I got the idea from seeing some of what are called “Small World Terrariums” and altered it to be forgetful-bachelor friendly. The difference is that those terrariums use live plants like mosses and ferns instead of leftover architectural scale people and trees. I’d like to try and make a real terrarium one day, but I think a plant is too much responsibility for me.

Once I learn to take care of myself, then maybe I’ll consider a plant.


Design Work just thinking

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On the Nightstand, 007: Prefab


“Ideally, prefabrication combines traditional materials with contemporary aesthetics to create innovative housing solutions.”


The idea of prefabrication often times has some troubling consequences associated with it in the minds of many architects and designers. The main argument against prefabrication of architecture goes something like this:

“If I design a building once that is then sent to a factory and mass-produced, I’ll only get paid once and the design will be used and re-used until I’ve starved to death.”

^This book does a good job of explaining why that statement is stupid.^

The most valuable portion of the book, in my mind, is the concise history of architectural prefabrication. It discusses the first prefabricated ventures in architecture, successes, failures, and many of the bi-products of prefabricated design. The book then has a selection of case studies that are categorized as production, custom, and concept. These sections cover prefabricated and mass-produced projects, prefabricated projects with an interest in economic and sustainable practices rather than mass-production, and work that has not been or is yet to be realized, respectively.

Verdict: Check it out.

The book is by no means mandatory reading for practicing or aspiring architects, and is in a lot of ways a compilation of material you will have learned about in college. However, seeing how pieces of architectural history were informed by experiments in prefabrication is rather interesting and has made for an easy read. The case studies all have wonderful photographs, while only some have plans, sections, diagrams, construction drawings, or any combination thereof.

I believe it is important to note that one of the authors of the book is (or was at the time of publication) the Editor-in-Chief of Dwell magazine, Allison Arieff. Needless to say, the text and project selection is excellent. 

On the nightstand

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The Design Graveyard: Zipper Tags

While re-finishing my portfolio, it occurred to me that I have a significant amount of work that did not receive it’s due amount of time in the spotlight. This is either because they were warm-up projects or because they do not necessarily reflect the type of work I typically do. In my mind, they are still good projects, so I thought I’d share them whenever I got the chance:

Zipper Tags

Zipper Tags OH!

This project was for a course I took called “Green Tech” that stressed reclaimed and recycled design. I always thought the un-official, official motto for the course was, “Take something old/used and make it better than it was in its prime.” The idea really came from three places:

1. I am constantly losing zippers from my sweaters and backpacks. So, rather than use a paper clip, I thought I’d make my own customized zipper.

2. In our school we have a bin of used, laser-cut pieces of acrylic that normally have odd shaped portions of usable material left. The zipper tags can be cut out of most scrap pieces.

3. My professor really pushed me to integrate reclaimed design with digital fabrication (an idea for which I have yet to thank her…).

Tag Details

The batch I produced for class was made in 22 different styles, each available in 4 colors. However, laser-cutting is just like printing on paper. So the zipper tags were only limited to what you could draw on the computer and what pieces of scrap you could get your hands on (which is to say that it is nearly unlimited).

pile of zipper tags

Later in the semester, I went on to make the “Butt Bench” which is featured in my current portfolio. However, the Zipper Tags will always have a place in my heart…

And now, a place in my blog.

Design Work

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On the Screen: December 2012

Waking Sleeping Beauty

sleeping beauty cover

I have an unashamed love and admiration for Disney films and theme parks, so this documentary started with an advantage. The film covers Disney’s “comeback” in the animation department throughout the 90’s and really dives into the business aspect of the films. I was looking forward to learning more about the animation and movie making process that Disney has perfected throughout the years, and there is some of that in this film. What it comes down to is opinion: There are things I love and things I hate about this documentary.


I love the idea of Disney studio culture. The home movies that show the group dynamic present in the artist’s studios are brilliant and entertaining. It is very reminiscent of the studio culture present throughout my undergrad experience studying architecture. I love hearing the story behind some of my favorite films. It is interesting to hear the artists talk about their own work and refer to certain things as successes or failures in their eyes (There is a part in the film where the artists express that the Lion King was sort of written off as destined to be mediocre, which ends up being my most favorite Disney film of all time and a grand success).


I hate hearing about the office politics associated with the company. Hearing what a pressure cooker the studio becomes and watching everyone’s struggle for power, credit, and money is rather disheartening. I suppose children from my generation have been conditioned to associate Disney with wholesome, family fun and love and imagination and other magical feelings. I have often times been accused of being oblivious to the nature of the Disney company, and to see the business end of such a corporation is very depressing for me.

Verdict: If you are a Disney fan, give it a shot.

It is a success story that leaves you with a bitter taste. The film seems to desperately try to end on a high note after burning down Toontown. It does give a bit of insight into the work that goes into the films and some of the animation techniques that have developed over the years, but be warned:

If you blindly love Disney, I suggest you take the blue pill and remain in bliss.

If you are after a fun film that is informative and will make you happy, may I suggest The Pixar Story?

On the Screen

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1000 Icons, Symbols + Pictograms


1000 Icons, Symbols + Pictograms

I’ve had this book for a while now, and, while flipping through it, I was inspired to make my own icons for the topics I blog about most often. The book is an image library that is similar to thousands of other books about the same subject, which is to say that there is no particular reason why I feel anyone would need to buy this book in particular. It serves a purpose and fills an interest I had, though it would be very easy to choose any other book about symbols to replace it.

It isn’t a bad book. If you like icons, symbols, or pictograms then you should know that this book has them. As far as reading goes… well… there isn’t really any. 

But the point of this post isn’t to review this book. The point is to get inspired and to share said inspiration:

blog ICONS

Now I’ll be able to graphically label my blog posts!


Design Work On the nightstand

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