Tag Archives: Texas

Photomerge the Missing Years

It has been close to two years since I posted anything of recent relevance. 

Since I went on that epic trip overseas I have sort of rested on my laurels and continued to post images from a trip I took two years ago. Since then life has continued to roll on. I finished school and got a big boy job. And other important life things happened (wink wink). So what happened during those missing two years??? Well… here they are in photomerge form. 

Salt Lake City, Utah;


Chicago, Illinois;


Washington D.C.;


Shoshone Falls, Idaho:


Heber Valley, Utah;


Houston, Texas;


This is only showing places where I remembered to take photomerge style photos… much much more happened. But I don’t have time to talk about that now.

When one challenge is overcome, its time to face the next one… Wish me luck.


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A Search for the Texas Vernacular: Episode 16

Fort Worth, Texas: The Kimbell Art Museum (Addition)

Kimbell Art Museum Addition_Glulam detail 3

The original Kimbell Art Museum is a tough act to follow.

It was designed by a world renowned architect and is consistently praised as a victory for modern architecture. The quality of day-light the building provides  is legendary and has helped this specific Louis Kahn project find a place in most every architectural history course.

I cannot imagine any project that could sit adjacent to the original Kimbell Art Museum and receive a parallel amount of respect and praise in the architectural community. With that said, I think the Kimbell Art Museum addition by Renzo Piano is a respectful and delicately crafted addition to the campus that is worth a visit.

Kimbell Art Museum Addition_Exterior 1

It is, like its predecessor and neighbor, a sort of  faceless building. The building is present, but by no means screams for attention or detracts/competes with the art it houses.

Kimbell Art Museum Addition_Glulam Detail 2

Massive glulam beams rest lightly on concrete columns. If buildings could be in gangs that required a certain material palette for admission, this neighborhood architecture gang would certainly be known for concrete (See A Search for the Texas Vernacular: Episode 3, Episode 4, and Episode 14).

Kimbell Art Museum Addition_Glulam Detail 1

This building, like its neighbor, uses a day-lighting strategy I’ve heard described as “Structural Light”, a name I think fits incredibly well.

Kimbell Art Museum Addition_Main Volume

Between each of the glulam beams, diffused light enters the building and illuminates everything evenly.

Kimbell Art Museum Addition_Gallery 2

The beams are lined with track lighting for nighttime illumination.

Kimbell Art Museum Addition_Gallery 1

This portion of the museum links to a sort-of subterranean chunk via a glass stitch lined with outdoor seating.

Kimbell Art Museum Addition_Courtyard

The roof of this “Subterranean Chunk” is a habitable, grass covered roof.

I first thought the grass roof was pointless since it seemed it would constantly be uninhabited due to the Texas heat. I was quickly proven wrong when I stepped in dog poop, which by deductive reasoning signified that it is in fact inhabited at times (though my “Sherlock Holmes” type investigation leads me to believe that this roof is used as a dog toilet…).

Kimbell Art Museum Addition_Green Roof

Under the grass roof is an interesting set of stairs. Crowds of people passed through this space as I waited to take the “perfect picture”, and they each exclaimed, “Oh look! That is interesting.”

Kimbell Art Museum Addition_Stairs

But, more interesting than the slanted concrete wall of the stairs everyone stops to take a picture of is the incision through the grass-covered roof, manifested as a private bench area.

Kimbell Art Museum Addition_bench spot

Which from the outside looks like…

Kimbell Art Museum Addition_Bench spot exterior

Nice, right?

This may just be my personal opinion (which I think is okay to share since this is MY blog), but I think this building doesn’t pop like the original Kimbell Art Museum. If this were an art museum in any other part of the country, it would be a stunning work of architecture that I would not shut up about forever. You’ve seen the pictures now, it is obviously a beautifully detailed place. But still… Not as good as the original…

That is all from my Texas trip I took months ago… Lets play a bit of catch-up!

Hopefully some more recent things will make a blog appearance… Unless… Is there anything new on Netflix right now?

texas vernacular

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A Search for the Texas Vernacular: Episode 15 (Kahn… With a Vengeance)

I like to think that I post whatever I want without worrying about the approval or admiration of family, friends, and internet strangers that access my blog however infrequently. I like to think that I have no interest in increasing my blog’s number of visitors and that all I care for is the creative process.

I like to think all of that. My thoughts are lies.

The truth is, I have a very good idea of what people are interested in seeing when visiting my blog. For example, one of the most frequently visited posts I’ve ever done was one of my very first:

A Search for the Texas Vernacular: Episode 3

I’m not sure if it is because it has been floating on the internet for over two years now, or if it is because the subject matter is a highly referenced work of architecture (in the history of the profession and in the career of Louis Kahn). Regardless, I’d be a fool not to give the people what they want. Also, as an architecture student, I’ve spent countless hours scouring the internet for images of a “famous” work of architecture other than the same shot that every tourist and their mother has. Consider this my version of paying it forward to people who have not had a chance to visit the Kimbell in person. Without further ado, an uninterrupted, full resolution, second pass at Louis Kahn’s Kimbell Art Museum.

Fort Worth, Texas: The Kimbell Art Museum

Kimbell Art Museum Cover

Kimbell Art Museum_Interior_Gift Shop

Kimbell Art Museum_Interior_Main Volume

Kimbell Art Museum_Interior_Gallery 1

Kimbell Art Museum_Interior_Gallery 2

Kimbell Art Museum_Interior_Gallery 3

Kimbell Art Museum_Interior_Daylighting Detail

Kimbell Art Museum_Interior_Gallery 9

Kimbell Art Museum_Interior_Gallery 7

Kimbell Art Museum_Interior_Gallery 8

Kimbell Art Museum_Interior_Gallery 5

Kimbell Art Museum_Interior_Main volume 2

Kimbell Art Museum_Interior_Gallery 6

Kimbell Art Museum_Exertior_Courtyard

Kimbell Art Museum_Exertior_Arch and Water

Kimbell Art Museum_Exertior_1

Kimbell Art Museum_Exertior_Detail

So. What do you think? A pretty exhaustive documentation of the Kimbell Art Museum, right? There were some significant portions of the building that went un-documented due to roof restoration/construction, but I think you get the idea. Even the second time around, the Kimbell Art Museum is an architectural gem.

Stay tuned for part 2!

Assuming I am not reduced to a human puddle during summer studio…

texas vernacular

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A Search for the Texas Vernacular: Episode 14

Mansfield, Texas: Elmer W. Oliver Nature Park

Elmer W Oliver Nature Park 2

Who would have ever thought I’d be able to continue the Texas Vernacular series from Oregon? I think I’ve got a few good episodes left in me. Lets start with this surprisingly beautiful park in Mansfield.

Elmer W Oliver Nature Park_Picnic Table

Parks tend to be a “one-and-done” kind of deal in my mind. If you’ve seen one park, you’ve kinda seen them all.

This park is an exception.

Elmer W Oliver Nature Park_Pond 1

Even though Texas was hot enough to make a man of my size and age cry, I still spent hours wandering around this park admiring the natural beauty I did not know existed in this part of Texas.

Elmer W Oliver Nature Park_Pond Bench

I don’t want to write too much about the experience, but it was surprising how varied the trail was. I have seen forests, and plains, and lakes, and rivers separately, but here you journey through them one by one.

Just stop reading this and scroll down to see what I’m talking about.

Elmer W Oliver Nature Park_Bench on trail

Elmer W Oliver Nature Park_Log and Trail

Elmer W Oliver Nature Park_Trail

Elmer W Oliver Nature Park_Bridge

All along the trail you stumble across little moments of interest. Sometimes its nothing more than a bench in a clearing, other times it is an overlook to the river below.

Elmer W Oliver Nature Park_Shelter

Elmer W Oliver Nature Park_Rocky Ford 1

Elmer W Oliver Nature Park_Rocky Ford 2

Elmer W Oliver Nature Park_Windmill

Sometimes you stumble across a tiny frog and you spend 20 minutes trying to photograph it as it attempts to escape to the forest.

Elmer W Oliver Nature Park_Frog

A few of my favorite things/places within the nature trail include this Treehouse Overlook that rises out of the landscape.

Elmer W Oliver Nature Park_Tree house 1

Elmer W Oliver Nature Park 4

Another is this Boardwalk, beautifully located and detailed to respond to the local flood plane.

Elmer W Oliver Nature Park_Boardwalk 1

Elmer W Oliver Nature Park_Boardwalk 3

Elmer W Oliver Nature Park_Boardwalk 4

But my most favorite thing….


Elmer W Oliver Nature Park_Wildflowers 1

Elmer W Oliver Nature Park_Wildflowers 2

Elmer W Oliver Nature Park_Wildflowers 3

If you live in the DFW area, go see this park. Sometimes it is easy to forget there is such beauty in a place that relies so heavily on cars for transportation, this park is a friendly reminder of the natural beauty of Texas.

More Texas trip stuff shortly. 

Also, Happy 2nd Birthday to the OH! design blog. Hopefully a second blog book is on the way!

texas vernacular


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I have just recently finished the GHLA book/brochure, which you may view by clicking here.

It was a lot of fun designing the book and developing a strict format that dictated the design of the book but also helped it read more clearly. Like I mentioned earlier, I did all of the photo editing for all of the images featured in the publication and also did a little bit of architectural photography.

Here are a few select spreads from the book that I did some significant work on:


This first spread is the table of contents, highlighting the different project types the firm specializes in as well as the “about” section at the end. Each section then opened with a title page that depicted one of the Founder/CEO’s original sketches depicting that specific project type. Unlike the majority of architects currently practicing, he still continues to make beautiful hand drawings of every project he designs before moving to the computer. So we attempted to highlight this as best we could.

Point of Grace

This is a good example of a project page. We set up some rules for the design of the book that help it read more clearly. The first page of every project began like the left side of the above image. The opening image or “money shot” was always restricted to the same dimensions with the block of information below. The right side of the image was then free from any rules and was arranged depending on the various image numbers and sizes. We tried to include any plans, sketches, or construction drawings wherever applicable.

I also happened to take the above two photographs…

select parks

After the title page, the following pages were all free from rule and again varied depending on the quantity and size of the images.

Again, I happened to take all of the above photos… 

People who say that you should learn by doing aren’t wrong as I feel I have learned so much over the past few months. I am very thankful for the opportunity to work with GHLA in designing this book and look forward to working with them in the future!

Between you and me, you wanna know the best part? GHLA chose a photo that I took to be on the cover! AHHH! I’m like published now! I’m like famous now! Anyone want my autograph?

Design Work

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A Search for the Texas Vernacular: Episode 13

Dallas, Texas: The Perot Museum

Perot Museum Entry

I have been DYING to visit this Thom Mayne designed museum ever since its completion, and I finally got a chance to do so. This funky cube is visible from the highway upon entering or leaving downtown Dallas and is incredibly popular, for good reason. It is likely one of the best museums I’ve ever visited in terms of interactivity and content. But, like most museums, I spent little time enjoying the exhibits and mostly admired the architecture.

Perot Museum entry atrium

While the museum was very crowded, it was still a very pleasant experience. I know that I am often very critical of architecture that is without a grid or regulatory system, but I did find this museum to be a fun place to be in.

Perot Museum Ticket Counter

From what I could tell, the building is mostly made of concrete and glass. The whole first floor’s ceiling is clad in a perforated metal screen that filters little strips of light. Very fun. It reminded me of something from out of Star Wars.

Perot Museum Lobby

One confusing thing about the building is that there are rarely any orthogonal lines present. This isn’t really a problem when enjoying the building in person, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t get a little dizzy while Photoshopping some of the pictures I took. Here are a few that weren’t confusing in real life, but give me a headache now:

Perot Museum confusing 1

All of the intersecting planes mixed with curved walls, mixed with perforated guardrails kind of get to me.

Perot Museum confusing 3

The building is full of little moments like ^this^, most of which go unnoticed by most people.

Perot Museum confusing 2

I know my camera wasn’t level when I took this photo, but you can see how things seem to be arranged sort of “willy-nilly”. Again, not too much of a problem in person (though it did cause some issues) but very disorientating in photo-form.

Perot Museum confusing 5

^Looking up from the main entry atrium^

Perot Museum confusing 4

See the above picture? Are you at all confused about what is going on? I know I am. What are all of those intersecting angles? Why does the escalator go one way, but the stairs go another, while the third set of stairs goes a third way? Things are angled and curved at the same time. Things change orientation seemingly at random.

Excuse me. Barf break.

Perot Museum cafe

Just because the photos I took confuse me doesn’t mean that this is a bad building. On the contrary, I had tons of fun here and was mostly in constant awe from the architecture and exhibits. If I had to be critical for a moment I would have a few things to say. The building did seem to have quite a few poorly finished details, which was distracting to me but probably unnoticed by the other patrons. I was often unsure of where to go. The entry was difficult to find. Once inside, you must way-find through a maze to get anywhere. I’m certain we missed parts of exhibits because we did not know they were there. On the other hand, we saw several parts of exhibits twice because we reached what seemed to be a dead end.

Here are some detail shots:

Perot Museum detail 2

Perot museum detail 3

And my favorite, the elevator (I always love big labels):

Perot Museum favorite detail

All this criticism should be taken lightly. The Perot Museum was the most fun I’ve had in a while, due to a combination of architectural and educational enjoyment. If you live in or are vacationing to the DFW area, it is definitely worth a visit. 

One more exterior:

Perot Museum Entry

texas vernacular

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A Search for the Texas Vernacular: Episode 12

Grand Prairie, Texas: Dubiski Career High School, Police Safety Building, & The Summit

Occasionally I’ll drive past a building or area that I think looks interesting and I make a mental note to one day go back there and photograph it. Usually the building or area is actually rather interesting, but upon attempting to photograph it I am sometimes disappointed with the results. I know I could have picked a better time of day or perhaps used some more advanced photographic techniques, but for some reason these three pieces of architecture were not acting very photogenically. I should blame myself, but I won’t.

It is the fault of the buildings for being so… so… not good at posing for pictures.

Dubiski Career High School:

dubiski detail

I don’t know what a career high school is, nor do I care. I just want to know how these kids got to go to such a beautiful building instead of the jail full of lockers and corridors most people go to. The exterior was rich in materials and incredibly simple in design, but was so massive that I did not get a single picture I felt did it justice.

Dubiski Interior Atrium

The interior of the building could have very well been more spectacular than the exterior. Unfortunately, I was asked to leave before I could get a decent photograph. Haha!

Dubiski Stair Detail

Police Safety Building:

Police Department

This was the main reason I noted this area as photo trip worthy. Even from on the highway it is apparent that this isn’t an ordinary building. Green Copper, grey steel, brown stone, and red(ish) brick make up both the Police Safety Building and The Summit, and both are a unique combination of intersecting planes and masses. I use words like interesting and unique because… Well… I don’t really like them. Speaking strictly from an aesthetic standpoint, I thought the green mixed with grey, brown, brown, and brown water was a bit much. The entire building came across as sort of… muddy.

Police Department detail

In the front of the building there is a fountain that I thought was beautiful. I enjoyed the charcoal stone significantly more than the brown-brown-brown color palette used everywhere else.

The Summit:

Summit Hanging Art

The Summit seems to be a very nice recreation center with exercise and swimming areas as well as a pool hall, movie theater, garden, and cafe. However, the best picture I took was of a statue against a brick wall…

The Summit Sculpture

While I did enjoy seeing these buildings in person, they served as an example of something that is pleasant in real life but does not photograph well.

Again, totally not my fault. Stupid buildings…

texas vernacular

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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

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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

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A Search for the Texas Vernacular: Episode 9

Grapevine, Texas: The Gaylord Texan’s Ice Exhibit

I’ve had these pictures since Christmas time, but, because of some kind of flu, their journey to fame within the blog has been delayed. So, I’ll share them now. Out of season. Out of place. Out of boredom.

Dreamworks Kid

If you’ve never heard of the Gaylord Texan then you should know that it is basically a gigantic hotel and convention center in an otherwise empty part of Texas. It houses several clones of famous landmarks from around Texas and, for all intents and purposes, looks just like a Las Vegas hotel minus the gambling and cigarette smoke. Architecturally… it exists… but the focus of this trip was not to photograph the hotel itself (which likely merits several more trips), but rather to visit the Ice exhibit that is hosted annually around the holiday season.

ice detail 2

After waiting in a small line, you are shuffled through a series of other lines. After waiting in all of the lines, you are handed a parka and are shoved into a gigantic tent that is functioning as a freezer. Having lived in Colorado for most of my life, I’m no stranger to the cold. However, this was the type of cold that makes the moisture leaving your nostrils freeze on your mustache (Ladies? You know what I mean?).

Though the exhibit was impressive, it was obviously for children. The theme was based off of a Madagascar Christmas special, which meant that the majority of the ice sculptures were of cartoon looking penguins and monkeys. The ice was colored to look more realistic, but it ended up looking like frozen Kool-aid. With that said, I fell upon the habit of detail photos:

penny in ice

ice detail 1

My favorite portion of the exhibit was the nativity scene at the end of the tour. I was indifferent to the subject matter, but I loved the lighting and the clear ice. I think I would have liked the entire experience more if all of the ice was clear, though it is worth noting that the rest of my group disagreed.

ice nativity

ice goat

ice lamb

Welp, there’s my blast from the past. I’ll now try to resume regular, punctual blogging.

texas vernacular

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