Monthly Archives: May 2013

A Search for the Texas Vernacular: Episode 11

Frisco, Texas: Youth Center Park

Here’s another set of “reject photos”:

Way out past suburbia is a small town called Frisco. While the town does look like it is quickly shedding its skin to become a big ol’ city, it doesn’t take long to get from one side of town to the other and then out to the middle of no-where. In a lot of ways Frisco reminds me of my hometown. There’s a historic main street area, and several schools and parks scattered among the homes of various age and size. Hidden within the neighborhoods of Frisco is a small park called Youth Center Park, that actually has a rather interesting back-story.


In a nut-shell, the firm I’m working for took this historic building and gutted everything but the shell and designed a park around it. I’m told it cost quite a bit more money compared to the alternative of demolishing the area and starting from scratch, but I’m so sure it saved so many materials that it makes me smile. Unfortunately on my field trip out to Frisco, the sky decided to be flat grey. Meaning no shadows and no blue skies. Also, since this project is so small, only one photo was selected for use. Here are some of the runner-ups:

I personally liked this perspective because it showed the shell of the building while also showing the tree canopy and playground.

shell 2

The head-on elevation was strong in my opinion because you could clearly see the former building. The doors became a massive opening and the windows remained as frames to the outside world.

Shell 1

This next one was very close to winning, but didn’t quite make the cut. A different shot (not shown) that was very similar will forever represent this project.

shell 3

A couple detail shots that will live on in the firm’s archives but will likely not see infamy in print or cyber-space (excluding this blog of course).

detail 1

This last shot was soooooo close to making it in. IF… those dang dumpsters in the background weren’t chained to the wall so I could move them out of the way for the photo. But, I’m not mad at the dumpsters. I know it isn’t their fault..

detail 2

Lastly, a photo that has nothing to do with the architecture or design of the park. It’s really just an interesting way to turn a dead tree into something functional.

stump chair

Stump Chair. 

Pretty brilliant, right?

texas vernacular

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Banana Hammock

Banana hammock

Ummm… yeah…

I really don’t know what to say. Sorry…?

Design Work

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

A Search for the Texas Vernacular: Episode 10

Arlington, Texas: GHLA Office

I was recently hired by an architecture firm in Arlington to do lots of graphics work and architectural photography to help them get their website up and running, as well as to design a sort of brochure/book. While I mostly just Photoshop existing photos to immaculate perfection, I have also had to take several day-trips to document buildings they didn’t already have photos of. While I am no pro, I think I’ve been doing a rather good job. So I thought I’d take a moment to share some of the photos I took that I thought were cool, but didn’t necessarily represent the building efficiently.

For a website, you probably don’t want to have 10 shots of the same project, but rather 3 or so “money shots”, Ya Dig? So I have quite a few photos that I think are nice but didn’t make the cut.

AKA “reject photos”

GHLA window detail

Though there were quite a few good pictures of the office during the daytime, I was surprised to find they had no nighttime photos. While I do admire the building during the daytime, it really is magnificent at night. Those tall, narrow windows cast gentle light on the white walls of the building. Very elegant. Very Modern.

GHLA night perspective

This picture is a tad blurry, but it gives a sense of the surroundings of the building. Under the cover of a handful of  intensely green, old trees, this white, boxy building shines yellow in the blue night.

Who knew I could be so poetic?

This last shot may receive some limelight on the website or company brochure, but I love it too much not to include it in the collection:

GHLA best detail/perspective

Hopefully I’ll find time to post other “reject” photos from my other trips. I’ll likely also share the company’s website and book as they are completed.

Until then, I believe there is a pesky fire lane that is in dire need of removal from an otherwise lovely photo.

texas vernacular

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

The [Formerly] Great White Buffalo

I thought I might share some of my Saturday afternoon Photoshop fun:

The Formerly Great White Buffalo

During my trip to Portland, I dropped by the art museum and saw a painting called “How to Make Jackson Pollock’s Dog” by David Gilhooly, which inspired me to make the OH! design blog version of the same thing. I guess the buffalo has become the un-official, official mascot of the blog.

With Photoshop fun like this, who needs friends?

Design Work

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

The Design Graveyard: Environmental Sculpture


In most of the studio courses I’ve taken, the professor assigns a smaller preliminary assignment as sort of a warm-up for the main event. In my fourth and final undergraduate studio we were assigned the task of designing environmental sculpture on the site we would later use for the design of an Olympic training center. While the Olympic training center now has a prominent place in my portfolio, the environmental sculpture has been gathering virtual dust on my hard drive. So I thought I’d share:

Since I had spent nearly 4 years studying architecture at the time I was taking on this project, the architectural design process had become hard-wired into my brain. I found creating things simply for artistic value somewhat difficult and ended up treating this sculpture more like architecture (sketches, diagrams, renderings… the whole nine yards!).

day diagrams

1a: The site we were assigned had two main paths that bordered it. One path ran directly adjacent to the Boulder Creek and was covered in trees. The other was pushed right up against a rather busy road which was very loud. Creek=Good. Road=Bad.

1b: The tree-cover of the creek path was abstracted into rings.

1c: These rings were then applied to the busy street to provide shade and sound insulation.

day renders

While the rings were of a standard size, the spacing was determined by the path’s distance from the noisy road. When the sidewalk neared the road, the rings became more dense to eliminate undesirable views and decrease traffic related sound. As the sidewalk moved away from the street the rings opened up to allow travelers to enjoy the surrounding nature.

dark diagrams

2a: The other problem identified with the site was the lack of night lighting. While the majority of the paths along the creek were lit by street lights, this site was pitch black and became a frightening place to be at night. Especially because I’m still afraid of the dark…

2b: To combat the frightful night, the rings were designed to illuminate the path and the nearby surroundings. This little tunnel of light created a sense of safety.


To transform this project from sculpture to attraction, the lights in the rings were designed to react to the passing cars by sending waves of changing colors alongside the nearby automobiles.

site night

Eventually this project would evolve into the fiber-optic infused trees that littered the site of the Olympic training center.

tree grove idea 1

While both incarnations of this project were included in my Studio 4 book: Internal Conversation, I still would love to see the real-world manifestation of these rings in the landscape. Could you imagine the sounds passing cars would make as their rumbling engines are diffused by a dense screen? Or how fun it would be to ride your bike through the light tunnel at night?

Or how expensive it would be to construct such a silly little project…

Design Work

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,