Never to Late to Learn Something New

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I was lucky to get an education in Ohio in the ‘70s. We studied Biology, Chemistry and Physics, Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry and Calculus. We learned logic, philosophy, debate, Latin, Spanish and French. We took phys. ed., art, music (choral, band, orchestra) and theatre classes. Why do I write this long list?

I’m writing because I miss it –the mental work to discover, integrate and grow. I want to keep challenging myself to learn and discover more. And I love to see that yearning for understanding in my colleagues, my employees, and my friends. The value of continued education is its ability to expand us both personally and professionally.

One life-altering course I took in 2009 radically altered my art and my career; the Winter Intensive at the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art. That cold January in New York City, I worked night and day to learn about architecture in eye-opening new ways. I learned proportion and theory of forms and spaces.  I studied history and how it influenced architecture. I gained new ways of seeing buildings, and new rendering techniques. As a final project, the class was asked to integrate our new-found knowledge of past precedent into a new design for contemporary use.  The project I chose was a classical approach to a farmer’s market inspired by Findlay Market, a vibrant public place I had loved while a student in Cincinnati.

I’m grateful for all that I learned at the Winter Intensive. I use what I learned in my practice today.  This Autumn, the Southern California Chapter of the ICAA will teach it’s own ICAA Intensive at Greystone Manor in Beverly Hills. Some of the same instructors from the Winter Intensive will  come from New York to teach courses such as Linear Perspective and Theory of Proportion.  Instructors from the Southern California Chapter, including Erik Evens and Domiane Forte, will also join the faculty. The course is open to Architects, Interior Designers, Landscape Architects, Fine Artists, Graphic Designers -  anyone with drawing and drafting skills – who are interested in expanding their horizons. The dates are Sunday, October 15-Sunday, October 22. Applications will be available soon. Stay tuned!

President’s Day Trip to the Grand Canyon

I celebrated President’s Day 2017 at the Grand Canyon. I hiked the trails with young ones and oldsters, citizens and visitors from around the globe. I studied the canyon’s unique geology and learned its history. Surprisingly, it took 3 presidents and 37 years to protect this astonishing place from mining, development and exploitation.

Senator Benjamin Harrison tried to create Grand Canyon National Park in 1882, ’83 and ’85, but Congress declined to act. President Harrison established the Grand Canyon Forest Reserve in 1893. Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed it a National Monument in 1906. Congress defeated proposals again in 1910 and ‘11. Finally in 1919, Woodrow Wilson signed the Grand Canyon National Park into law.

How is it that efforts to protect so wondrous a place could be blocked for 37 years? What commitment and diplomacy empowered our leaders to save the Grand Canyon to be enjoyed by all of us? This struggle proves that we can persevere, and that with encouragement, our government can do the right thing. This year, I salute Presidents Harrison, Roosevelt and Wilson for protecting the Grand Canyon.

Architecture, Will You be Mine?

Happy Valentine’s Day! In honor of this amorous holiday, we decided to send out a love letter to the architects and buildings we admire most. Several of our teammates share their most beloved and inspiring architecture:

I Heart the Eames House - Cori Wodjak, Design Associate

Photograph by John Morse. Courtesy of Wikipedia. 

Photograph by John Morse. Courtesy of Wikipedia

“I am choosing the Eames House (also known as Case Study House No. 8). I love the mid-century modern design that is so classic to the Los Angeles area, the play on shadow and light, the juxtaposition of materials, and the successful blend of architecture and site. The Eames House was well thought out, researched, and constructed, making it a prominent piece of architecture in our backyard.”

To the Senedd with Love - Laura Haymond, Project Manager

Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia. 

Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia

“One of my favorite buildings is the Senedd by Richard Rodgers (one of my favorite architects) and engineered by ARUP (these guys are coolest)
“The Senedd is the National Assembly for Wales and was designed to express an open and transparent democracy as self-government was returned to Wales for the first time in centuries. Built in 2005, it is an excellent example of sustainability strategies integrated into the fabric of the building. The main lobby is completely naturally ventilated, the large fluctuating roof shades the glass façade and is also used to harvest rainwater and finishes were designed to last 120 years!”

You & Me, Salk Institute – Leonardo D’Anconia, Senior Project Manager

Photograph courtesy of the Carol M. Highsmith Archive collection at the Library of Congress

Photograph courtesy of the Carol M. Highsmith Archive collection at the Library of Congress

“The Salk Institute by Louis Kahn is my favorite, because it shows that even within the functional constraints of an environment as cold and sterile as a laboratory, architecture can still create spaces that are timeless, connected to nature and deeply poetic.”

Union Station, UR Mine – Carolina Allen, Project Manager

Photographs by John O'neill. Courtesy of Wikipedia. 

Photographs by John O'neill. Courtesy of Wikipedia

“I love Union Station in Downtown LA. The Spanish – Moderne building is a beautiful gateway into and out of our city. I especially love it, because it’s where Jarod and I chose to get married, inspired by our love of travel and architecture.”

To Julia with Love - Patrick Tennant, Designer

Left: Photograph by King of Hearts. Right: Photograph by Jim G. 

Left: Photograph by King of Hearts. Right: Photograph by Jim G. 

“I love Julia Morgan, a revolutionary female architect who kept historic architecture alive in the very young state of California. Her architecture and interiors brought new life to forgotten and vernacular styles while at the same time brought whimsy to her structures.”

Be Mine, Eastern Columbia Building – Dani Vinokurov, Marketing & Design Associate

Photographs courtesy of Wikipedia. 

Photographs courtesy of Wikipedia

“I find the Eastern Columbia Building in downtown Los Angeles absolutely captivating. With its brilliant turquoise façade and endless Art Deco details, I see something new every time I look this building. She’s a true grand dame of downtown.” 

XOXO Castle Green – Mary Kate Spach, V.P. of Development

"Pasadena’s Castle Green is one of my favorite examples of late Victorian architecture.  Built in 1898, this hotel-turned-apartments calls to mind the grand 19th century apartment buildings of the Upper West Side in my hometown of NYC.  Gazing through floor-to-ceiling windows with their original bowed glass in one of the graceful, grand parlors of an upper apartment, I can take in the view of Pasadena’s Central Park or the rooftops of Old Town. The ornate moldings, detailed ironwork staircases, and mosaic tile floors speak to the unparalleled craftsmanship of a bygone era. Whenever I pass the Castle Green, I am thankful for the essential contribution the preservation movement has made on the cities I love."

In Progress: Renovating a Craftsman Home

This 1910 Craftsman home was designated by the Santa Monica Landmark’s Commission in 2015 for its unique Swiss chalet styling.  

This 1910 Craftsman home was designated by the Santa Monica Landmark’s Commission in 2015 for its unique Swiss chalet styling.  

In March of 2016, we began an extensive renovation and expansion of a 1910 Craftsman home originally designed by famed architect, Sumner Hunt.

We have taken care to make sympathetic alterations to the house without compromising its architectural heritage. Kirk Snyder, Supervising Project Manager, and Katie Peterson, Project Manager, worked closely with the Santa Monica Landmarks Commission to be certain TBL’s restoration and addition to the property are sensitive to the structure’s designation as a historic building.

Whenever we take on a project that requires the renovation of an historic home, it is essential that we become educated in the architectural style and detailing of the existing building.  We are careful to ensure that the scale, proportion and quality of craftsmanship is also in keeping with the original home.

As of November, major progress has been made in the construction of the addition to the property.

The basement concrete walls are poured and the rear of the home is readied for the new addition.

The basement concrete walls are poured and the rear of the home is readied for the new addition.

Lead designer, Kirk Snyder surveys the progress of the restoration.

Lead designer, Kirk Snyder surveys the progress of the restoration.

The addition takes shape, adding new family areas to the first floor, a new bedroom to the second floor, and play areas plus a guest suite to the basement. 

The addition takes shape, adding new family areas to the first floor, a new bedroom to the second floor, and play areas plus a guest suite to the basement. 

The architectural rendering of the rear of the house reflect the Swiss details from the front of the home.