Category Archives: Design Work

Multi-plane Drawing

For a long time I’ve had this idea of a type of architectural rendering that utilized transparency paper to create depth. Its inspiration came from many types of media I had seen in the past:

  • I had seen 3D models that were essentially a series of planes. Each plane was the profile of something like a tree in the foreground, building in the mid, and skyline in the back. Put together like a hollywood set.
  • I once saw a really great section drawing in a portfolio printed on transparency papers. Each layer of transparency had different information (lines, entourage, cut plane, etc) and they merged together to create one 2D section drawing. As you flipped through the portfolio, you flipped through layers of the drawing.



  • I have gotten a reputation as “the graphics guy” and have used Photoshop for many years to put together architectural renderings and diagrams. I’ve developed my own unique style that sort of runs between realistic and dreamy, and have learned that the layers are what makes a rendering rich. What is interesting however is that often times people don’t ever see the individual layers of a rendering and only see the finished product. The mash up of all the layers.

With all of these influences and experiences I decided to experiment. The premise was simple:

Could you de-laminate a perspective into layers and stack them together to create depth?


Mark I:

Each experiment varied slightly and a lot was learned from each. The first, this very lazy mock-up, functioned as a proof of concept but not much more. The major flaw was that there was no continuous frame to contain the image. The transparency paper naturally wanted to bend and break from the two bars sloppily holding it together. Still, the intent was good and was enough to show that what I was proposing was possible.


Mark II:

Version 2 of this same image was significantly more successful (and more expensive). Going to the local craft store I collected a series of matte boards for picture framing. Using this as the frame for each transparency sheet, I used small pieces of foam core to space the planes farther apart. The effect of this is difficult to capture in photos, but below is a series that attempts to do so.


Mark III:

Marks I + II both utilized a fully rendered image, meaning it was entirely computer generated. Mark III was different in that it utilized a landscape photograph with lots of depth. Starting there I was able to split the image into foreground, middle ground and background layers.


Mark IV:

This version very closely resembled the section drawing I described above, but was created using a section perspective drawing. The cut plane, edge lines, entourage, and shading were all separated onto different layers. The result was at times confusing and highly conceptual, but the sense of depth was achieved. This time, rather than using matte boards I used $1 wood frames.


Mark V:

Up until this point the experiments were kept rather small, all around a 4″x6″ framed opening. Mark V was an attempt at an 8″x10″ drawing that very quickly turned messy. At smaller scales the transparency paper maintains rigidity and is easy to work with and glue to the frame. At a larger scale the transparency sheets bow under their own weight making the framing process very difficult and frustrating. From this point on I learned to keep things small (or get a friend or two to help you glue sheets down). Another downfall was my ambitious layering. Though 6 layers doesn’t seem like a lot, the image probably could have handled 2-3 max to keep it legible.


Mark VI:

Mark VI was another challenging idea that in concept was interesting. The idea was instead of framing a perspective, you could frame a layered topographic map, and, if there were enough contours, you could start to perceive space. This was made of 24 layers. I quickly learned that transparency paper isn’t as clear as 4-5 stacked sheets seem. By the time you get to 10 or 15 sheets, the transparency wears away and the very far back sheets become cloudy and obscured.


It is impossible to capture the effect this one has when properly backlit using a camera. But generally the concept worked. If held up to the light in the right way, you can read a hillside form with a series of volumes staggered across the landscape. The main issues with this, aside from the clarity of the transparencies, was the necessity for perfect alignment. The more precise and crisp the lines you draw are, the more imperative it is that the sheets stack perfectly. And when they don’t it is immediately evident and spoils the illusion.


Mark VII:

Mark VII represents a final strategy attempt for the layering of the images. Rather than trimming edges with sharp, straight lines, the layers are separated in a softer way that allows them to bleed together more.


In this way the contrast between printed image and transparency is much less and allows for more movement in the image before the layering fails and reveals blank spots in the image.


In concept, this idea works. It isn’t the best way to portray all buildings and requires a bit of fine-tuning to create the most convincing image. But my next instinct went to pushing the idea further.

What about Shadows? 

I found a portable projector in the office and attempted to create my own overhead projector (the kind your teacher used in high school).


As expected, Mark VI (the topo experiment) was too layered to create any meaningful shadow. However, other simpler experiments were much more successful.




I’ll definitely be experimenting more with this technique. It would be really great to create a large, more immersive version of these, but for now the small pocket versions are really fun to play with. Also, since these are so difficult to understand as still images, I posted some videos on my instagram which you can see here. 

Got any suggestions for what I should try next with this technique? 

Have you seen anything similar to this before that I can reference for future experiments? 

And if you’re wondering, yes I miss school and all the freedom and fun that came with it. 

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Blog Book | year two

I am a little behind schedule. In fact, years behind schedule. But to give you a break from the Helsinki parade that has been happening since January, here is a post about the book OH! design blog | year two.

OH! design blog_ year two Cover

The following are a few random spreads from the publication, which is a selection of my favorite posts from the second year of the OH! design blog. It really isn’t anything too fancy, it just makes me feel fancy to say I’ve made a book (now TWO books).











See the full book on issuu by clicking here.

For those who have been following since day one, thanks for sticking around. Hope to have year three done someday soon.

For those that are just now joining, where have you been? What the heck took you so long? Geez… Some people…

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Communication Breakdown

I like making pretty pictures.

In every good architecture presentation (specifically in an academic setting) there are a few key drawings that help communicate the design of a building/landscape/object/whatever. Site plans, floor plans, sections, elevations, axonometric drawings and diagrams all help to communicate what the building looks like and why it looks like that. But architecture is much more than just looks. Architecture also feels a certain way.

With all of that said, my favorite part of the architecture design process is creating renderings that express how a building should feel. So, I’ve decided to use examples from my summer studio to share three different renderings of (essentially) the same building done in three different styles.

Midterm Rendering

This first  rendering was made for the studio midterm. It is left purposefully abstract because… well… I didn’t know much about the building yet! It is essentially a Sketchup massing model with some light overdrawing and material overlay. Some things are strategically detailed while others are strategically covered by women on horseback or sheep in the pasture. At this point in the design process, the important thing to show was how the building sat in the landscape and the major design moves I was making (a long gabled structure intersected by projecting volumes).

If you think that is abstract, then hang on…

Abstract Exterior

I am a HUGE fan of very abstract renderings, though I will admit I am no where near a master. There is a very fine balance between what should be illustrated and what should be left out that I find very difficult to manage. This illustration is again attempting to show the major design decisions I’ve made while leaving out any design details I have yet to consider. Someday I would love to do an extremely abstract, collage-like rendering and proudly pin it up for my final presentation… but that didn’t happen this summer…

Instead, I went with my go-to rendering style:

Exterior Rendering For Portfolio

The above image has become a pretty typical rendering style for me: a basic Revit rendering for the building followed by a fairly intensive layer of Photoshop love. 

My portfolio is now filled with renderings that look like this, which receives mixed reviews. Some say, “Wow! Look at that chipmunk!” Others exclaim, “Ooh! Nice! That is the kind of meadow I want to be in! It just looks like it feels nice!” Some even say, “That looks pretty goofy…”

The point is, it doesn’t matter really what the image looks like. There are a dozen ways to represent the same project, and everyone will like a different style. What matters is what the image is communicating

In this case: This wool production facility is the most heavenly most over-rendered place on earth. If you are good, when you die you will go here.

Design Work



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Manual Panorama

Manual Panorama_Willamette Hall


adjective; (of a machine or device) worked by hand, not automatically or electronically.


noun; an unbroken view of the whole region surrounding an observer.

Manual Panorama_Franklin Boulevard

In these modern times, there are many ways to create a panoramic image. Many digital cameras have a panorama feature built in, including cell-phone cameras. Photoshop has a “Photomerge” feature that allows you to easily take any series of photos and combine them into a panorama. However, very frequently panoramas are a very wide strip of horizon that show a fair amount of lateral information, but don’t necessarily show “an unbroken view of the whole region surrounding an observer.” So, every once in a while I like to take the time to make a manual panorama.

Manual Panorama_Cave of the Winds

When manually placing and distorting images in Photoshop, you can start to build a suggestion of dimension within a flat image.

Manual Panorama_Orange Sky

Manually creating a panorama requires you to make decisions about what you want to present as important within the image. Photo color and exposure can be adjusted and layered in a certain order to create a hierarchy of elements within the image (ie foreground vs background, shadow vs highlight, etc.).

Manual Panorama_Just outside Portland

The density of placed images can make a sense of importance within the panorama. Also, excluding parts of the panorama can be just as effective.

Manual Panorama_Crater Lake

Distortion is inevitable, but again helps you to illustrate what you think is important (and should not be distorted) and what is unimportant (and can be skewed or covered up).

Manual Panorama_Crescent City

If done very carefully, manual panoramas can give a viewer an idea of what it is like to be in the image.

Manual Panorama_Gold Bluffs Beach

You can even use this technique to illustrate where the viewer is standing within the image.

If you have the patience and the time, try making your own Manual Panorama! (or whatever other name you know this technique by)

Try not to get lost in the pixels though… It is a challenge…

Design Work

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Last term I took an electric lighting course in which we were required to design and fabricate a luminaire. My Professor, Virginia Cartwright, also offered to sponsor students to participate in the Robert Bruce Thompson Annual Student Light Fixture Design Competition. I had never participated in a design competition, so I decided to give a shot:

Lightscape_Omar Hason_Chandelier Design_Mock Up

You can see the entire design brief and requirements by clicking here, but to make a long story short, the design competition required that you make a chandelier for a high-end hotel chain located in the mid-west using LED or OLED technology. The following are the boards I submitted for the competition which quickly summarizes my design and ideas:

The main concept was to use local topography to inspire a form that could be repeated regionally but still be unique/different in every hotel.

Lightscape_Omar Hason_Chandelier Design

Using the geographic form to provide flexible lighting for an inherently flexible space was achieved by using OLED’s and LED tape in tandem to create a variety of lighting experiences and qualities.

Lightscape_Omar Hason_Chandelier Design2

To allow the chandelier to be easily constructed and cleaned the structure was designed as a modular system.

Lightscape_Omar Hason_Chandelier Design3

Lastly, a mock-up was constructed to illustrate ideas about how the light may affect space.

Lightscape_Omar Hason_Chandelier Design4

After countless soldering iron burns and a little sleep deprivation, a little good news came my way:

The Lightscape Chandelier received second place in the design competition!

You can visit the competition’s website and see Lightscape alongside some beautiful entries from other participants.

Very special thanks to Virginia Cartwright for helping me throughout the process and for turning me on to this competition. Also, thanks to the design competition’s panel for selecting my project. Lastly, thanks to my pal Betsy for being the “Vanna White” of the 1/2 scale mock-up. 

I’d also like to thank the academy…

Design Work

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Fire Station 2: The {Un}Finished Product

One of the perils of attending an architecture school that operates on the quarter system is that I never have enough time to refine my studio projects. Even in undergrad, I used to always take time to re-polish my projects after receiving vital feedback during my final reviews. After some refinement, the project I completed this past term will likely find its way into my portfolio. Currently, I have no time to make any adjustments. However, my lack of free-time presents a blogging opportunity:

A moment to share a project in a semi-polished state.

It is raw. It is unresolved. It is a snapshot of the design process that is rarely documented (the “almost done” phase). 

Fire Station 2:

Night Render

The city of Medford has plans to re-design many of their current fire stations, with the exception of Fire Station 2. The site and facilities as they exist are far too small for this station to function properly and serve its civic duty. So, Fire Station 2 is receiving a totally new site and calls for a totally new building.

Exterior 2

For this new site and new building, three design goals were developed and pursued:

Community: Supporting the fire station’s role as a civic building.

Home: A place where fire fighters will spend 1/3 of their lives should provide opportunities for social interaction, work, rest, and solitude.

Light: To avoid re-creating existing conditions, an emphasis should be placed on day-lighting solutions to create a gradient of spaces with different qualities.

Final Boards.indd

After organizing the program into “Public”, “Private-Live”, and “Private-Work”, they are arranged into masses as follows:

Final Boards.indd

This arrangement of masses creates a plan that orients all of the volumes from a central atrium.

Final Boards.indd

Lifting the building upon a civic platform creates a separation between the public parking and the private live/work spaces, creates opportunities for controlling or capturing storm-water run-off, and creates moments of compression and release in the public entry.

North Elevation:


An angled louver wall allows the building to become transparent from the main entrance, but closes off full-direct views of interior spaces when viewed from closer vantage points.

East Elevation:


In section, the various volumes of the building feed off of daylight from the central glass atrium that acts as a stitch between the different masses.

Section 1

The variety of sloped roofs allow opportunities for water collection, natural ventilation, and day-lighting.

Final Boards.indd

Combing the above factors and massing strategies creates quality day-lighting in spaces that would benefit from it and also creates a gradient of volumes conducive to a variety of live/work tasks.

Final Boards.indd

This spatial grain is designed with an idea about “moments of pause” in mind. This simply means that a fire fighter’s daily routine should be filled with opportunities for a kind of meditation or mental/emotional rest.

Work Space/Office:




“The Dock”/Outdoor Circulation:


Laundry Room:

Laundry Room

The entire building’s structure is designed in two parts. One part is structural walls that create space and support sloped roofs. The other part serves as structure and a day-lighting device simultaneously.

structure diagrams

The second structure, or “Fin Structure” occurs in both the apparatus bay and the central atrium. Deep, x-like forms help to diffuse direct light.

Apparatus Bay:

Apparatus Bay

More importantly, the structure has the ability to reach above the surrounding volumes and pull in-direct light down into the space.

sun study

And it helps to create this money-shot rendering:

Central Atrium: 


This project was fun and small scale, but was rushed as usual. I am pleased with what I created, but received a lot of great feedback (praise and criticism) that I think will help me to make a much stronger final product.

Since I do plan on altering a few things, feedback is encouraged and appreciated! Don’t be afraid to hurt my feelings a little bit!

Or a lot if you think I deserve it… *Gulp*

Design Work


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Studio Blues

I was out the door at 3am today because the amount of work I needed to get done called for extreme measures.

You may ask: “Why?”

study model elevation

Well, I need to draw and redraw floor plans until they eventually come full circle to what I originally started with, Photograph a crappy study model that looks nothing like the finished project, and essentially spend hours of my time doing work that no one will ever see or appreciate.

Study model photos

Once more, you may ask: “Why?”

Well… Because I love it.

I had this epiphany this morning while working alone in studio, which made me realize something else:

Love Stinks

Happy Valentine’s Day. 

More UAE photos on the way…

Design Work just thinking

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Happy Holidays

It is the time of year for family, snow, merriment and other terrible things. 

HAH! Only joking.

Holiday Card

This Buff has flown south (technically southeast) for a small piece of this winter and it is good to be home, even if only for a moment. Regardless of what you do or do not celebrate, I hope the season brings you closer to your loved ones and is filled with happiness.

^^I know that sounds cheesy, but I’m being genuine. Zero sarcasm, I promise!^^

I’ll be back in 2014.

Design Work

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I’m still ALIVE

I'm still alive

Studio is over and I am still breathing. I did not die from exhaustion or sleep deprivation, nor did I kill myself from studio related depression or a bad review. Everything went well and I live to fight the good fight. Unfortunately, I’ve accumulated quite a few things to share. Mostly campus candids and travel photos.


It is amazing how quickly time has flown by. What was once covered in green, then turned red/yellow/orange, and is now naked.


My parents and sister visited on/around Thanksgiving and took me to Portland where we had Thanksgiving dinner. It was a nice break from studio and gave me a second to look at something other than a computer screen and nap in the back of my car.


But you’re crazy if you think I’m not going to share my studio project. I’ll do it in small chunks. First Chunk: The Site.


The location of the project, a live+work development, was on a slope that is pinned between an industrial zone and Skinner’s Butte. This means that there is beautiful nature…


and industrial industry…


I think that relationship is clearly visible in the site diagram my friend Red (Who also happens to be a frequent blogger. Check it out!) and I made for our portion of the site analysis. The following is a diagram that focuses on the materiality of the neighboring buildings. From it, I think you can understand the nature of the surroundings and get a feel for the neighborhood. I should warn you, the text on the images may not make any sense. Sleep deprivation destroys my ability to write. 

Site Analysis MATERIALS

Site Analysis MATERIALS2

After a little bit more school work I’ll share the rest of the project. 

Assuming a 10-page paper doesn’t kill me. It shouldn’t, right? 10-pages is not that much. Right? 


Design Work Oregon photos

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Home Sketch

I am now a few weeks into my graduate education and would be a big fat liar if I said I wasn’t feeling challenged. So much to do, yet so little time. I forced myself to take the night off from studio so I could get a haircut and wash laundry, so I thought I’d share a project that was made in the first week of studio.

The challenge was to create a 500 square foot home with a 500 square foot exterior space. The REAL challenge was thinking of a creative way to combine the two. I decided to choose an urban infill site in the alley between two buildings and to create what I liked to call an, “Urban Camping” experience.

infill diagram

The idea of escape from the city, within the city really intrigued me. As with previous projects, I wasn’t shy about making the living conditions a bit more than inconvenient for the clients.

space axon

As the relationships between indoor and outdoor spaces formed “blurred” spaces, opportunities to push the camping side of the project arose. Pivoting walls created zones of both indoor and outdoor spaces.  Below you can see the site plan and building footprint, along with hand drawn section and plans with a little photoshop love.


It may be strange to think that a person living here must go outside to get from the kitchen to the bedroom. Perhaps stranger to think that a person must go outside once again to get from the bedroom to the bathroom. But the idea was to emulate the camping/lodging experience within the urban context. The bathroom is open to the entire house via a wall of glazing, but is screened by a wall of bamboo. This is meant to re-create the feeling of using the restroom in the forest, during which one can never be sure if someone can see what one is doing behind the bushes. Also, the ceiling of the bedroom/flex space was designed to be perforated in a way by which light would enter through the screen and recreate the stars at night. So as not to completely remove one from the city, two opportunities to reconnect with the urban nature of the site are provided in the form of slightly perforated screens that allow people standing immediately adjacent to them to see/hear through the wall without disturbing others in the home. Below is a gently rendered SketchUp model that illustrates these architectural moments.

section perspective

Although I was pleased with the outcome of the project for the time spent on it, during a group review we discussed a MISSED OPPORTUNITY! Where the above image shows a small, man-made fire, there was an opportunity to provide a large outdoor oven that doubled as a fire-pit. That would have really given purpose to the courtyard and would have tied the entire project together.


You live you learn! I’ll get’em next time!

Design Work

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