Upscale co-working space in San Francisco

I had the chance to see the Canopy co-working space in the Financial District today – very smart and not a typical office interior. An extensive barista-served coffee bar is right by the entry, along with large open workspaces, and a mix of smaller private offices of varying sizes. Phone rooms, meeting rooms, a pink break room and an outdoor area with black turf complete the space. Yves Behar was involved in the design.

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A Trip to Rhode Island

I haven’t spent much time on the East Coast, and was therefore very grateful for the opportunity to visit Spectrum Lighting, just north of Rhode Island. In addition to learning about a modern lighting company, and how products are designed and built, I had the chance to walk and moped around the town, which is a mix of sailing and water-based activities, with beautiful early colonial houses, and gorgeous countryside. The combination of rolling hills, historical architecture, and the ever-present water made for some beautiful views.

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More hi-fi – a remote controlled preamp

Building and learning about electronics remains one of my favorite pastimes. When I can connect it to music, so much the better.

I’m building a new preamp – this one with a microcontroller and a pile of digital hardware to provide remote control and switching. The best place for this kind of project is www.diyaudio.com – a huge set of forums for people involved in building their own equipment. I’ve been involved in the forum for almost ten years, building speakers and amplifiers.

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How anyone can benefit from religion

This is a great talk from Alain de Botton. It reflects an idea I’ve struggled with for many years: how to make use of and participate in the great religious ideas without subscribing to all the doctrinal mumbo-jumbo.

He insightfully shows the many virtues of religious practice, and suggests that rather than throwing out the baby with the bathwater, we should be learning from the best practices of religion: ritual, symbolism, organization, mutual support and more.

Gensler!

The environment is not great for finding a job, and I was pretty nervous after I graduated. But happily I found a home at Gensler in San Francisco. This is an amazing place, with a mix of architecture, urban planning, interiors, branding, strategy, graphics and more. An incredibly talented group of people, and an enlightened culture that embraces collaboration and social interaction as well as the more traditional forms of work.

I’m working on a large urban project in San Francisco, which has given me the chance to develop my Revit skills for master planning, and do a lot of the basic tasks in architecture: massing, site planning, diagramming, yield calculations, precedent studies, model making and more.

Prior to that I worked on a large project in Bangalore: concept design for a multi-use office park. Rhino, AutoCAD, and a lot of presentation development. Also working out issues around security, circulation, and site organization, and office building core and lobby design.

I’m very grateful to Gensler for the opportunity. It’s not easy, but the rate of learning is high, and the people are great.

Blogging and architecture

In my last studio I worked with an architect Glen Small: he has worked mostly in California and Oregon, with some significant projects in Nicaragua. Glen is an uncompromising character, with clear opinions and no fear of expressing them. I found him to be an excellent teacher, because he not only has a passion for architecture, but is very clear about what’s working and what is not.

He’s publishing a blog (for which I’m acting as webmaster, for my sins), that tells the story of his life. It’s worth reading.

One of his most interesting speculative projects was the “biomorphic biosphere”—an organic megastructure that he developed some years ago. These ideas are beginning to re-emerge as architects and planners consider more vertically-oriented approaches to city design.

The blog is at www.smallatlarge.com (great URL, no?).

Bionic Biosphere
Glen's Bionic Biosphere

Spring is over!

Spring is done, summer is beginning. We’re actually starting to get some sun. I think it’s been the coldest spring I can remember in California.

My last major design studio is now complete: here’s a picture of my project. It’s an experiential art center: art studios, residential and office space, and a theater that seats 1,000 people.

The next step is my thesis: an opera house for the 21st century. In this project I’ll be trying to understand how best to create a new audience for opera, in an environment where fewer and fewer young people are attending. The output will not only be a building design, but also a theory as to how architecture can contribute to the long-term success of opera.