"Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men's blood…" Daniel Burnham


Sigh No More

Here on this dreary day in south central Pennsylvania I choose to catch up the, two or three regular, readers that I have not given anything to for the past months.  But no more sighing and waiting on bated breath, I recently met with a friend who is working with a missionary in Nicaragua who was looking for some help designing a retreat for local pastors.  I jumped at the opportunity and will spend the next several months working through this project, and keeping you all up to date with the design.

The ministry’s name, Respo Divino, or Divine Rest.  This project is to be a two story courtyard building on a site that is roughly, 60 x 60 square feet, 7-8 bedrooms, an apartment, a library, a office, a kitchen, a dining room, and, most importantly a courtyard and several other opportunities for outdoor space.  I have initially spent time understanding the societal and environmental importance of the courtyard using the book “Courtyards: Aesthetic,  Social and Thermal Delight” by John Reynolds.  Next to designing.  The building is to be completed in a Spanish Colonial Style and shall be as self-sustaining as possible so it is necessary to think about the use of both passive and active systems including, Grey Water Collection, Passive Heating and Cooling, and Solar and Wind Generation.

I look forward to sharing my process through this project with you.



Post Graduation Deluge

Sometimes it seems that life catches up to you and often gets the better of you.

Since graduation life has been a non-stop affair, from a wedding to teaching at an Architecture Discovery Camp to settling into a job.  It seems as though I do not have time to catch my breath before the next deluge of life pours down over me.  What the next one is I do not yet know but I am considering anticipating it although it is not worth going through life holding your breath so I must move forward.  This blog (musings of architecture) was originally meant to chronicle the journey through my graduate year and my master’s thesis project.  While that has fell behind on the highway of life I think it is important, no essential, to keep writing about architecture, whether articles about buildings, sketches, projects, and photography.

So, here is my pledge to this blog, and possibly the few readers that are out there, to keep you up to date on how architecture and my life are still intertwined.  I have several different trips this summer that I am planning and am always sketching and photographing nature and architecture.


Today, I really want to spend some time talking about a phrase which I am sure goes around in most professions.  “If you cannot do, then teach.”  Frankly, I do not believe that those who choose to become professors within their field cannot do; in fact, they choose not to do, often time making less money and gaining fewer accolades for their work.

This last week I spent time teaching and mentoring a group of eighteen high school students about architectural design.  Needless to say, you may understand why I am bringing up the phrase, “If you cannot do, then teach”.  This week was a challenge and a triumph for me because it allowed me to explore something which I developed a passion for this last year of school.  Mentoring others allows you to have a huge impact on the lives of students (or in this case camp members).

Even more now as I am settling back into the rhythms of life I am, more than usual, realizing how much those that have taught me still impact my decision making, still impact what I think about with a project, still impact what I think about from day to day.   From my design professors who encouraged me to think about the smallest details, to my architectural history professor who, forced me to memorize countless buildings, which, (if I may be honest) thought would never matter, but alas,  I think about them constantly through form and social meaning as I work through any project.

Think about it, think through some of the most influential people in your life, chances are they are a relative or two, then a friend, but chances are there is a teacher somewhere near the top, whether a high school gym teacher or a professor or a mentor.

In my mind, “Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions.”


Final Project Presentation to the Aurora Public Library Board

Last week I was given the opportunity to spend time presenting my project to the Aurora Public Library Board.  I adjusted a presentation that was used for a presentation at school and felt it was important to show my personal world-view, as well as, the understanding of sustainability and how it relates to classical and traditional architecture and building methods.


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Aurora Presentation PDF

Final Presentation Drawings for the South Broadway Development House of Worship in Aurora, Illinois

The following are the final drawings for the house of worship which I designed this past semester.


Final Presentation Drawings for the South Broadway Development Train Station in Aurora, Illinois

The following are the final drawings for the Train station which I designed this past semester.


Final Presentation Drawings for the South Broadway Development in Aurora, Illinois

First of all, I would like to say sorry for the delay to my faithful followers.  In the times of busyness it is easy to just focus on what is at hand.  I am happy to say that I have now graduated with my Masters in Architecture.

Here are the drawings for the final presentation which was presented to a group of professionals, professors, and colleagues.

This first post is pertaining to the master plan development.  There will be two which follow this one to show the drawings for: the train station and the church.


Judson University Charrette

In my Christian Worldview and Architecture class we were asked to conduct a visioning charrette for the university.  One of my group’s goals was to reclaim the quad that was lost with the construction of the new architecture building here at Judson University.  In a space alongside this quad I worked on designing a 100’ x 100’ area that could provide an example of a way to organize the space to best suit the student community in multiple locations around campus.


Changing Urban Space

Throughout the semester I have focused on the way that two buildings, a train station and a church, relate to public space.   Through the development of my buildings I have thought through the optimal way for the urban environment to respond.  This post is an understanding of those musings. 

If you remember back to my earlier urban plan there was a plaza created in front of the train station which extended into the space along the nave of the church.  One of the challenges of this irregular urban plan was correctly defining the square to provide an understanding that the church was, in fact, the primary building on that square but the relation of the train station to the church was flipped in fact so the train station became the primary building.

To achieve this I broke down the large square into pieces, each building, or in a singular case group of buildings, was given its own portion of the urban plan.  Through this understanding it enables the organization of the spaces in relation to each other.  One of the downfalls of the plan below is the void that the street creates in between the square of the church and the train station retail square, also for understanding the plan below is drawn in the style of a nolli diagram, which expresses the public spaces within the buildings, as well as, the public spaces in the urban fabric. 

Through this I looked into the possibility of creating a formal square for the church within the boundaries of the street through the organization of elements on the corners.  This enables the existing space planned for beside the church to become a formal garden entry into the ancillary spaces within the church. 

 Finally you can see three sketch perspectives dealing with the idea of framing along my streets in order to further emphasize the importance of both the church and the train station in my design.  As usual comments and questions are invited. 


Detail Wall Section

Through the process of working on the redesign of my church I spent time working on the structure of both buildings.  In the understanding of this structure several things changed on the way the elevations were composed as well as the interior as a whole.  These drawings are still in progress but I wanted to give an understanding of what I was working on.  The drawings below are 1’ = ¾” which means the drawings are approximately 30 inches tall.  After Critique Friday these drawings will be better detailed and give a clear understanding of the way that the structure will work.

The first drawing is a section cutting through the nave of the church looking toward the east and the apse.  The second image is a in process section of the train station.  Which is taken through the rear train shed. 

Update of the Church Project

I apologize for the amount of time that it has been since my post following the midterm critique two weeks ago.  Since then, one week of spring break and one week of classes have passed.   Spring break I spent working on a redesign of the church which is the primary purpose of this post. 

At the post critique review I sighted several challenges with the past design of my church which included: dealing with the programmatic challenges, and considering the opportunity to fill up the entire depth of the site with my building.  Through these changes it was important to constantly keep a view of the building and the siting of the building as it related to the community.    

Through these changes you can see that I redesigned the way that the church interacts with the streetscape by pulling a portico forward with ionic columns supporting it.  That columnar grid then expresses the opportunity to relate through the entire length of the church in the column center lines which run along the edge of the nave.  I took the opportunity to place side aisles along the church, which as you can see through the section enable the opportunity to light the nave through clerestory windows.