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Tuesday, 28 March 2017 11:42

The Value of an Architect, The beginning

 

What is so special about an architect?  Let us begin, as they say… at the beginning - architectural school and the architectural student.  The amount of work that an architectural student puts in is as demanding as any curriculum and features sleepless nights, volumes of reading and writing, complex and sometimes strange architectural concepts, jargon and state of the art computer tools. Add in the nerve wracking design presentations and you have an intense educational experience.Check out some of the quotes and memes created by architectural students.

The architectural student frequently charrettes, a long, focused and often collaborative design session exploring the myriad complexities of any given project. This usually means working many hours, sometimes days in a feverish attempt to finish the design process required by the professors and the curriculum.  Caffeine and the endless search for ways to stay awake, while being creative, accurate, and relatable are all part of the process.See 38 things that all architectural students know only too well.

According to an article published by Dezeen.com,“Architecture students work hardest of all US college majors.”  OMNIA Architects know this well.  The first year of school weeds out the least passionate students.  According to partner, Gene Grimaldi, his class at Temple University began with over 300 students.  By graduation time, an intense five years later, there were fewer than 40 students. 

A graduate from architectural College or University is a professionally trained student who sees the big picture (known as the “Parti”), who is trained to use the latest technological tools and who is coached in the art of communication and public presentation.  Architectural graduates are educated in art history and the history and styles of some of the world's most famous architects. The graduate learns to process raw data  learning how to understand, philosophize, imagine and produce a knowledgeable plan from the broadest grasp down to the smallest and often critical details.  Both the education and the work required teach the students that architecture matters!

Recent graduate and current associate, Nick Grimaldi speaks about life during and after architecture school.  “The hardest part about architecture school is that there is never a set right answer and never enough time to fully explore what a right answer is or could be.” Every design is subjective and critical responses during the always looming and often humiliating Jury presentations vary from person to person.  

This continues as you leave school and enter into the client market. It is like trying to create a harmonious song with the “right” melodies synched with the “right” words. But what does the “right song” look like? And what kind of music does this client like? Music can be a way to understand architecture but architectural solutions are much more complicated because architects are working with real objects that have a direct physical relationship to the real world. So, while naturally there is a broad range of opinions that need to be learned and understood in an overall collaboration, it must be understood that only the Architect is trained to compose the right solution of form and building system combined to construct a design that is not simply pleasing but that is “perfected” for its particular purpose.

The finish of the architecture student's schooling is just the start of an endless pursuit involving stress and gratification; hard work and passion. Oh, and you graduate with an immunity to caffeine!

For further feedback from students, check out the website,Life of an Architecture student.

And Hug your favorite architect today!

 

Tuesday, 28 February 2017 11:20

Becoming an architect ain't easy!

 

What is so special about an architect?  Let us begin at the beginning, architectural school and the architectural student.  The amount of work that an architectural student endures, the sleepless hours, the intense reading and writing, the learning to use strange new architectural jargon and state of the art architectural tools with complex ideas topped off by the nerve wracking design presentations, characterize the intensity of the architectural programs. Check out some of the quotes and memes created by architectural students.

The architectural student frequently charrettes, which means to work many hours, sometimes days in a feverish attempt to finish the design process required by the professors and the curriculum.  Caffeine and the endless search for ways to stay awake, while being creative, are all part of the process. See 38 things that all architectural students know only too well.

According to an article published by Dezeen.com, “Architecture students work hardest of all US college majors.”  OMNIA Architects' know through experience.  The first year of school weeds out the least passionate students.  According to partner, Gene Grimaldi, his class at Temple University began with over 300 students.  By graduation time, an intense five (5) years later, there were less than 40 students. 

Graduation from architectural colleges and universities creates a professionally trained student who sees the “Parti”, the big picture, trains the students to use all the latest technological advances and tools, coaches the students in the art of communication/public presentation and educates the students about art history and the history and styles of some of the world's most famous architects. The graduate learns to process raw data through learning how to understand, philosophize, imagine and produce a knowledgeable plan from the details.  It teaches that architecture matters!

Recent graduate and current associate, Nick Grimaldi speaks about life during and after architecture school.  “The hardest part about architecture school is that there is never a set “right” answer and never enough time to explore what a “right” answer is or could be. Every design is subjective and critique responses will vary from person to personality and by culture to vernacular.  This continues as you leave school and enter into the client market. It is like trying to create a harmonious song with the “right” melodies synched with the “right” words. Then there is the follow up question of what does the “right song” look like? Just as people have their own taste in music and genres, the same is amplified with architecture. We are working with real objects that have a direct physical relationship to the real world. So naturally there are an extremely broad range of opinions that need to be absorbed, interpreted, and constructed in an overall collaboration of form and building systems, all combined to construct a design that is pleasing, or that is “perfected” for a particular purpose.” 

So at the finish of the architecture student's schooling, you seemingly finish the endless pursuit involving stress and gratification, but it takes awhile to destress and enjoy your passion.  But passion and perspective for architecture is what you graduate with in the end.  Oh and you graduate with an immunity to caffeine!

For further feedback from students, check out the website, Life of an Architecture student.

And Hug your favorite architect today!

 

 

 

 

 

Sketching, You Do See More When You Draw!

   Despite the digital age, architectural sketching remains a dynamic and useful skill for both the Architect and his client.  Take note of an article published in ArchDaily.com featuring The Big Draw Campaign, “Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum Bans Cameras to Encourage Sketching”.  Under the tagline 'You See More When You Draw', the Dutch national museum  wants to "help visitors discover and appreciate the beauty of art, architecture and history through drawing" as a counter to what they describe as an often "passive and superficial experience when seen through the lens of a smartphone or a camera".  We know they are on to something!

   Perspective is the added benefit to the sketcher.  The experience of drawing opens up your mind to see more detail and drawing teaches you how to reflect and be attentive to those details. Even if one cannot draw in the artistic way, sketching the simple layout of a home and/or landscape assists the client in visualizing (so much is going on in our sub-conscious) and assists the architect in understanding their client. 

Before ever getting to a finished perspective, it is important to communicate the design concept, called the parti n architectural lingo. These are the BIG ideas of the project. This concept is separate from the details.  And as a project proceeds, the process goes from big ideas to smaller ones; from general to specific or as Partner, Brian Mann likes to put it, “…from 30,000 feet to 3 feet.” This initial focus on the Master Plan saves time by determining if the model fits the client’s desires and needs as well as the physical parameters of the site, the regulatory parameters in Zoning and Building Codes and other aesthetic and practical inputs

Sketch Brian easy

Simple Sketch for Architectural detail on site plan

   The first sketch, or Esquisse, is never usually the end result.  Even a preliminary digital copy represents baby steps towards the Final Architectural Plan. And here is where drawing is the quickest way to reflect the imagination and to create an immediate impression.  Trace paper, an architect's friend, is a translucent roll of paper that allows creative freedom by tracing a picture or drawing over and over again.  Architects can thus quickly entertain multiple concepts, change them and ultimately arrive at the direction which will then be enhanced in the more thorough design process. 

   Architectural hand-drawn sketches and 3-D are important, whether the design represents a custom residential home, renovations or a retail or commercial property, see The Practicality of using a 3D Rendering in Architectural Design.  Sketching represents a vision.  Even with digital modeling, the sketch often represents a valuable start by featuring a comfortable, relatable image. Personal sketching also reflects the artistic temperament of the creative professional. Using the collage of tools available improves and articulates the final design with a different level of insight and clarity for the client. 

   We agree!  You do see more when you draw.  Sketching is Active, Alive and valuable in the dynamic successful architectural office.

Detailed sketch of an OMNIA Architects custom residential home

   An OMNIA architectural creation adds more value to your design and helps to maximize your budget.  Selecting a professional architect/designer produces and inspires the use of the architectural space.  OMNIA Group Architects is committed to creativity and good design.

 

Friday, 29 April 2016 11:46

Play Space Design Competition

 

 

 

OMNIA Architects showcases entry to the Play Space Design Competition 

 

 

   OMNIA’s team of architects and designers answered the call when Infill Philadelphia/Place Space created a design competition “to promote innovative outdoor play spaces for Philadelphia and other cities.”  

http://www.cdesignc.org/playspace/competition


   The OMNIA team reviewed the scope and gathered background knowledge of all three locations offered for the Design competition.  After careful consideration, the Waterloo Recreation Center located at 2502-12 North Howard Street, Philadelphia, PA, interested the team. This center is a mid-block site, cobbled together in 1955 from vacant land and the former Waterloo Street.  Located near Norris Square in West Kensington, the park has closed more than once due to drug-related crimes and vandalism.  The community has bounced back and reclaimed the site through the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation.


   The site brief called for an innovative approach to play and to accommodate all generations, enabling the diverse residents to come together. The current plan displays the existing features on site: two full basketball courts, community pool, tot area, fixed play equipment, and an existing general recreation building with bathrooms.  


Existing 


   Our park design is broken down into thirteen components, each serving a specific age group, while providing areas for blended play and leisure for all ages. Water, sand, and a diversity of materials and color allow for personal sensual experiences throughout. It was our goal to create a melting pot, a hub, all connected by one single, meandering, “Golden Path”. Our inspiration for the golden path came from the chain link fence that is painted gold by the community and is the current entrance.


   “Today’s typical playgrounds are maintenance-free caged areas that emphasize safety more than critical thinking.” –Susan G. Solomon (insert from Ingra Saffron article).  



   Our park is designed to be economically self-maintaining by offering community fundraisers ranging from ticketed special events in the mini city to local artist displays and sales and theatrical shows available during the day or night. The basketball courts and swimming promote local sports.   The Gardens are designed for community churches, schools and social groups.



   Art is integrated into each area to promote cultural recognition and community events and to inspire and encourage thought from a chess area in a garden to chess tables for group competitions.  Different stages introduce drama, musical and artistic theatre as well as gathering places.  Our design process focuses on the encouragement of interaction among people


For a full review of the competition redesign submitted click Waterloo park.


   


   


 

 

 

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