Author Archives: Meghana Joshi

Architalks 40: Words

Architalks #40 is all about “words”. What a perfect time for me to pen a “wordless” blog and see if they tell a thousand stories?









It was supposed to be a wordless blog, but it wouldn’t be fair to the professional photographer if I didn’t credit him for the last picture. Please visit to see the album.

This post is part of the ArchiTalks series originally spearheaded by Bob Borson of Life of an Architect. Historically, he has selected a theme and a group of us (architects who also blog) all post on the same day and promote each other’s posts. This year, the themes have been selected by a variety of contributors. This month’s theme was selected by Jeremiah Russell of the Rogue Architecture and is: “Words.” To read how others interpreted the theme, please explore the links below.

Jeff Echols – Architect of the Internet (@jeff_echols) – Does anyone hear your words?

Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC): Visual Words

Eric T. Faulkner – Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome): Words are Simple — Too Simple

Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel): “words”

Meghana Joshi – IRA Consultants, LLC (@MeghanaIRA): Architalks 40: Words

Brian Paletz – The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz): A pictures worth

Drew Paul Bell – Drew Paul Bell (@DrewPaulBell): Mindset for Endless Motivation and Discipline #Architalks

Jeffrey Pelletier – Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum): Use Your Words (Even When You Can’t)

Jim Mehaffey – Yeoman Architect (@jamesmehaffey): Words Are Important

Mark Stephens – Mark Stephens Architects (@architectmark): Words

Leah Alissa Bayer – The Stoytelling LAB (@leahalissa): Architects Are Storytellers




Gold Nugget Grand Award PCBC 2018

This Archimom is getting good at eating the whale!

Two and a half years ago, when I started working on this project, the immediate goal was to prepare a decent set of Construction Documents and get a permit.  Line weights mattered, line types mattered. I stayed on the project after the permit, and details mattered, simpler the better. I worked on Construction Administration responding to the RFIs, reading through Submittals and substitution requests, sometimes standing my ground on code compliance, wrote blogs on the company website to showcase my project, helped marketing department prepare award entries, and here we are, Gold Nugget Grand Award Winner – PCBC 2018 to “Luxaira Best Affordable Senior Housing Community”.

More about the project, and professional pictures:

Here is the journey of the project at my desk…via my Instagram documentation.

  1. At my desk, elevations taped together to visualize the street view…

2. At permit, with the approved design set, and approved color set. How it started, and how it shaped up, every architect all tell you a hundred stories of the journey in between…

#AIACCtakeover continues.. So, what's on my desk? "Just permitted, and ready to be built 157 Unit Senior Affordable Apartment complex in Beacon Park, Irvine. This was our chance to apply our knowledge of geriatric needs, that aren't always covered in accessibility and mobility features. Amenities such as a Yoga Room and a Cardio Room support active lifestyles, while the pool and Pavilion encourage use of outdoor spaces. A Quilting Room and an Art Room keep the seniors engaged in creative activities. The community kitchen, lounge and library with fireplace all provide ample spaces for socialization. In addition to the first floor community spaces, each building has a third floor roof deck enabling the residents to enjoy the California sun throughout the year. The exterior design is heavily influenced by Irving Gill’s style of aesthetic purity, with bold rectangular massing, smooth plastered walls, wood trim elements, and plentiful ground level arches. While it’s distinctly different from Irvine’s now overly used Mediterranean influenced architecture, it blends in with the surroundings." – #whatanarchitectdoes #Luxaira

A post shared by Meghana Joshi (@meghanaira) on

3. Ground breaking and framing, long hours responding to field questions, preparing Bulletins and ASIs to reflect changes requested by client, construction team…

4. Plank walk that turns into shoe safety talk… I usually wear my caterpillar boots, but here it is, a hard soled boot that’s acceptable on site, for those pesky rainy days to keep yourself warm and clean.

5. Rain delays don’t usually happen in California, but when it rains in California, it’s pours! Here it is, an OAC meeting after the rains.


6. Archiparent children will tell you the stories of being dragged to see their parents’ projects. There is no way our families can escape what we do. Here I am, one fine day, after dinner, dragging my husband and kids to the site.

7. One month before substantial completion. That’s the first time I realized this project was a cut above the rest in the senior and affordable category… They say every child is special to mums, but mums know when their children are truly special

8. And here it is, today…winning Golden Nugget at PCBC 2018.


9. And that moment of truth,  the more you do, the more you can do. One item at a time, off the professional bucket list.




Archimoms have it all…

Archimoms have it all…

Recently, Rosa Sheng shared an article on The New Yorker titled “I am the One Woman Who Has it All” by Kimberly Harrington on Twitter. Post reading the very engaging piece, we decided to share our own archimom moments, and discuss whether we have it all. If we have it all, how did we do it, and if we are chasing it all, how are we doing it… or have we accepted that we can’t have it all unless we trade off something somewhere consciously. A thousand experiences, and a million unique paths to have it all, as defined by us – that is the theme of the Archimom Mother’s Day blogs – this is a small effort to gather stories from archimoms to help us know what it takes to balance life as an archimom, and document our experiences. As each generation progresses, and the world around us takes one step closer to an equal opportunity experience for parents of all genders, it is important that we document lives of everyday architects to reflect upon one day, and determine the extent of change our contributions brought to the profession.

My story.

I am an archimom to two wonderful daughters, one a Senior in High School and other a sixth grader. Both are accomplished pianists, which means many of my weekends (as well as my husband’s) are gone in driving them to recitals all over Los Angeles. Both have other interests in schools that they pursue, which means there are concerts/ open houses and other events that they require their parents to attend. One of them plays chess, and secretly I am glad she doesn’t want to attend more than a few tournaments a year. I am enroute licensure. I came very close to finishing all my tests, but after failing Structures recently, transitioned to ARE 5.0 leaving me with two more tests to take. Right now I am on a break, but for the past three years, I have consistently tested at least twice a year, which means many of my weekends have scheduled study time. I am the Chair for the Women in Architecture Committee for AIA Orange County, Communications Committee member for AIAOC/ AIACC, peer reviewer for AIA Conference material which warrants some of my after-hours and weekends worth of attention.

If that’s the “life”, there is an equally strong work part that requires my physical, intellectual and emotional attention. Of late, I have transitioned to a full-time Construction Administration role with two of my projects in Construction. My days are defined as OAC days, conference call days, and redlining days when I help other teams refine their drawings by redlining them with my CA experience. I travel, and I drive a lot, and there are times when I am “unavailable” working in low cellular reception areas, and there are times when I am home on the couch, blanked out and wiped out. But I love every moment of making the renderings a reality. I wouldn’t have it any other way at this moment. “Crestavilla” – the Resort-style Senior Housing project that I am working is my joy, and my pride, and if you follow me on Instagram, you probably know it’s an integral part of my life at this moment.

So, do I have it all?

Absolutely not. I don’t have it all, I don’t aspire to have it all, but I do want to have everything I wish for, and within my reach. There is a quote by Margaret Thatcher (The Iron lady) “One’s life must matter, beyond all the cooking and the cleaning and the children. One’s life must mean more than that. I cannot die washing up a teacup”. I live my life by this quote. My life has to matter. I am Meghana the Architect, Meghana the Archimom, Meghana the Wife, Meghana the Daughter, Meghana the Pekimom, and I am Meghana who has finally rejected the idea of having it all per someone else’s definition and checklist. I am Meghana who has embraced the fine imbalance of work and life, and a thousand things I love between work and life. It’s not easy, but it’s doable. Set a goal, make a plan, and break it into doable steps everyday with a reasonable deadline and timeline. Prioritize life as it comes, and do the best you can.

My advice to new archimoms:

When I was young, and naive, and became a mother before I graduated officially, I was told that I had two options. I could raise my child as a stay-at-home parent and enjoy life as an engineer’s wife, or I could go to work and struggle with childcare and time management while earning just enough to cover my commute and expensive child care. I didn’t know I had a third option until much later, to further my career working part-time, and staying current and well networked by being a member of local AIA chapter. Being a new immigrant without her network, the options I was given were black or white, but there is a whole gray area in between where new archimoms can define their own work-life balance and prioritize as it suits their lives. Chart your own path, and define your own “all”. All work and life decisions become tradeoffs eventually, so make a tradeoff that will matter to you.

While you do what you want to do, develop a thick skin, and a deaf ear to those will be subject you to implicit and explicit mom-bias. Sometimes it’s friends, sometimes it’s family and sometimes it’s complete strangers. Educate them when you can, and walk-away when you don’t have time to engage. Stay focused on what you want…and then have it all…

Read other archimom blogs here:

1. Equity by Design (2014) An Archimom’s Everyday Moments of Truth

Archimom is an alter ego, a new state of mind. You don’t need to literally be an “architect and mother” to identify with the mindset. Despite the challenges of time allocation, implicit bias, and constant guilt, we can learn many valuable lessons of finding satisfaction, meaningful work, prioritizing, and work/life flexibility from these Archimoms. Their “real life” truths are the beginning of storytelling as a means to inspire and motivate underrepresented talent to stay in the profession.


2. Laura Thomas (2018)

However, I do know that through the 38 years since I received my diploma, I have done all that I could.  At the end of the day, I have been married for 36 years, raised two wonderful and independant sons, and weathered a major life changing medical diagnosis with my youngest. And somehow, somehow, I have kept my business open, practiced my profession diligently and with care towards both employees and clients, and given jobs and experience to many young women.  I have many clients that I consider friends and many, many finished projects. I still paint and sketch, and try to run or swim every day.

Link: #Havingitall #archimom

3. Laura Wheaton (2018) architect, wife, mother, history-lover


4. Michele Grace Hottel

Someone asked me recently, “how are you doing it all?”
And i said, “Well,  life is just like any other architecture project, you get the problem statement, you design something, the instructor  or client says that they want it a little different and you work with it, and what you wanted in the beginning isn’t exactly what it turned out to be but it still is a pretty good project, because it works and that is life..
5. Cherise Lakeside
Throw in the guilt about not feeling like you are there enough for everybody, the worry about your employer being upset if a family responsibility takes you away and the stress of trying to get everything done and it can be absolutely overwhelming.


Architalks #36: Project Amplify


Process of understanding and exchanging information that it is understood. Simple enough, but trending hashtags #metoo and the topic of sexual harassment tell a story of extreme communication inability on part of people with power.  Mumbling no ends up meaning yes, where everything is affirmative unless you loudly said a no, and loud no means shut doors on opportunities. Hollywood leading ladies shared the horrors and manipulations that happened behind the scene, but what about other professions?

Architecture is no longer gender defined on the macro level, but microaggressions based on gender, race, ethnicity, immigration status, marital status, caregiving status and sexual orientation still have a long way to go before we level the field. A woman in hardhat and boots is still called beautiful, and a mother in architecture is still assumed to have placed her ambitions on hold while publicly forced to answer questions about her child care arrangements.

Communication is lacking.

Our ambitions, our achievements, and our voices are not heard the way they are expressed by us. If they are heard, they are not acted upon. If they are acted upon, and if they are successful, the limelight conveniently neglects the fact that there is a woman in charge. We are bypassed for promotions, awards and accolades until we demand what’s rightfully ours. Lower wages, less growth opportunities and never a complete credit. This bais and dispratity definitely wasn’t communicated to us when we were struggling to finish the credits for our graduation or working on our AREs for licensure.

Recently I read about amplification strategy that female staffers in the White House used during Obama administration.. “Female staffers in the White House adopted a meeting strategy they called “amplification”: When a woman made a key point, other women would repeat it, giving credit to its author. This forced the men in the room to recognize the contribution — and denied them the chance to claim the idea as their own.”

What if we amplify?

#projectamplify. This Women’s History Month, I started “Project Amplify” to share the achievements of contemporary women in architecture by sharing links to podcasts featuring them and their publications. The aim is to amplify the voice enough to ensure recognition of the talents of the women in architecture around us, managing projects that require time commitments, volunteering at AIA to further the profession, mentoring juniors to help them ease into the profession, leading efforts to bring equity and equality in the profession, and being that everyday role model who someone can aspire to be. They exist, and it’s time everyone knows they exist. 31 contemporary women in architecture that I see as everyday role models the world should know about will be showcased on my Twitter account.

Follow them, know them and share about them. Amplify, because it helps communicate.




Read about “Communications” from #Architalks by other architects:


Architalks #35: Starting a Design

This is the thirty-fifth post in a group series called #ArchiTalks in which Bob Borson of Life of an Architect gives a group of us architects a theme or a set of questions and we all have to post our response… this month’s theme: “Starting a Design”(Topic by Jon Brown)

I am not a Designer.

I do Design Development, Constructions Documents for someone else’s Schematic Design, and sometimes, I provide Construction Administration  for projects that I didn’t do Construction Documents for. Point being, I am not the corner office architect playing with sketch up and photoshop bursting with ideas in perspective views. Not that I haven’t tried. Been there, done that, and haven’t had sustained interest to continue the process. I would rather extensively detail that fire-resistance rated Porte Cochere constructibility and assembly details than vary my line weights in perspective design to showcase my average-brilliant idea. Design is great, but design details matter greatly in saving the design intent.

This Friday, before leaving work, I backed up all RFIs, Submittal reviews, Bulletins and the as-builts for client records and on Saturday “drove by” the now declared complete and ready for occupancy multifamily housing project. It was all about Irving Gill arches on a paper white building rendered with Bougainvilleas – 157 apartments laid out in two buildings facing each other in a horse-shoe shape with a fin. It was supposed to be a fairly easy project (as always). Throw in the wall details while drinking a latte – Window and door details while downing cappuccino, roof and ceiling details while sipping Americano – Cry a river working on Storefront and Door Schedule and Window Schedule double checking each item for fire-resistance rating and down half a bottle of scotch as soon as you are out of the door – When you are back to sanity, in the company of a Macchiato create project specific balcony and special construction details – Get a permit, you are all done until the framer hits you up with questions…

But, the scope changed a little, requirements were revised a little, and as it happens with all the projects, the white building with Bougainvilleas ended up being a Stucco beige building with Le Corbusier inspired openings at one of the entries, and a grand gazebo for Tai Chi and two roof decks modeled after the character traits of Grace and Frankie. The arches went in for a bit of grandeur from simplicity, and the interiors vamped up with additional requirements for a luxury experience for future residents.

Meghana, where are you going with this story? This is an irrelevant story about your  DD, CD and CA, but your blog is to be about SD.

Design. Design Intent. Unintentional design.

Working on this project opened my eyes to the fact that housing had reached such an unaffordable level that average hard-working citizens in parts of my city could no longer afford to rent or buy. Working on this project opened my eyes to the hard work Citizen Architects and politicians put into ensuring that there was affordable housing, especially affordable housing to Seniors to help them live in communities like this with dignity. As I looked up TCAC and CASp requirements to help detail the plans and fine tune them for tax credit qualifications, I opened my eyes to a whole different world, and a whole different “design” to counter the side effects of nationally growing housing market, and gentrification.

On one hand “starting a design” meant working on a set of plans for that newest approved district zoned residential, and on the other hand, “starting a design” meant working on a plan to make sure that new district is not all about million dollar itty-bitty three storied condominiums in beige affordable only by a defined set of residents. Projects get personal to us when we spend our weekends working on them, but this is even more personal to me as I live two blocks away, and I am one of the voting citizens of the City who has a say in deciding what we build, and what we cannot build.

While I am working on the design development of the next building at my desk, I have slowly taken interest into studying homelessness in the nearby cities, and effects of gentrification. I have taken interest into what non-profits do to help stop homelessness and continue to strengthen inclusionary housing. The levels of involvement and the details of this design will probably be limited to sharing articles agreeing with my thought process on Social Media, and researching every available details on Skid Row Housing and Mercy Housing, and understanding how I can involve myself into more than writing a check to support these causes…reading Assembly Bills about Affordable Housing, knowing the amendments…educating myself on housing from the socio-economic perspective than the architecture perspective only, because end of the day architecture is not about how you design a building… or how painstakingly you detail the components of the design to stay close to the original design intent. It’s all about how your building fits into the bigger design of the community, and how it functions in defining the community.

#AIACCtakeover continues.. So, what's on my desk? "Just permitted, and ready to be built 157 Unit Senior Affordable Apartment complex in Beacon Park, Irvine. This was our chance to apply our knowledge of geriatric needs, that aren't always covered in accessibility and mobility features. Amenities such as a Yoga Room and a Cardio Room support active lifestyles, while the pool and Pavilion encourage use of outdoor spaces. A Quilting Room and an Art Room keep the seniors engaged in creative activities. The community kitchen, lounge and library with fireplace all provide ample spaces for socialization. In addition to the first floor community spaces, each building has a third floor roof deck enabling the residents to enjoy the California sun throughout the year. The exterior design is heavily influenced by Irving Gill’s style of aesthetic purity, with bold rectangular massing, smooth plastered walls, wood trim elements, and plentiful ground level arches. While it’s distinctly different from Irvine’s now overly used Mediterranean influenced architecture, it blends in with the surroundings." – #whatanarchitectdoes #Luxaira

A post shared by Meghana Joshi (@meghanaira) on

Here are thoughts of my “Architalks” group about “Starting a Design”… Please stop by, and read articles on the same topic written from different perspectives.

Matthew Stanfield – FiELD9: architecture(@FiELD9arch)
Slow Down. Hold Still.

Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect(@LeeCalisti)
where do we start?

Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC(@L2DesignLLC)
How to Start a Design

Jeremiah Russell, AIA – ROGUE Architecture(@rogue_architect)
Starting a Design: #Architalks

Eric T. Faulkner – Rock Talk(@wishingrockhome)
On Your Mark, Get Set — Start a Design!

Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)
Starting Design

Meghana Joshi – IRA Consultants, LLC(@MeghanaIRA)
Architalks #35: Starting a Design

Jeffrey Pelletier – Board & Vellum(@boardandvellum)
Where do you start when designing a new home?

Keith Palma – Architect’s Trace(@cogitatedesign)
do-re-mi- Design

Jim Mehaffey – Yeoman Architect(@jamesmehaffey)
First Thing’s First

Tim Ung – Journey of an Architect(@timothy_ung)
5 Tips for Starting an Architecture Project

Mark Stephens – Mark Stephens Architects(@architectmark)
How it all begins…

Brian Paletz – The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz)

“Where do we begin?”

Architalks 34: Renewal

This is the thirty-fourth post in a group series called #ArchiTalks in which Bob Borson of Life of an Architect gives a group of us architects a theme or a set of questions and we all have to post our response… this month’s theme: “Renewal”(Topic by Larry Lucas)

Renewal: an instance of resuming an activity or state after an interruption.

Last year, walking in the halls of my office during general coffee breaks in the afternoon, I saw renderings for a Coastal Senior Living Project , and wished and hoped that eventually, someday, one day, I should be a part of a project like this. I was on another team, another project that I really loved, and certainly had no reason to push myself to be on this project. But I wished. They say there are angels granting your wishes randomly, and you should be careful what you wish for. In a surprising turn of events, this happened – that happened, and I happened to this project – the project happened to me.  Before you know it, the project that was already in construction was my pride and joy, reason for the smile with my morning coffee and my sleepless nights.

Fourteen days until I show-case it at the AIA tour with the Project Designer… and I can barely contain my excitement.

Now, why is this under renewal? It’s not like my professional life was ever interrupted other than that little blip of Great Housing Recession.

In a way, this project was a renewal of dreams. Renewal of ideas. Renewal of goals.

Earlier this year, in a closed door carefully crafted meeting of sorts, I was told “not to rock the boat”. What if the boat wants to explore uncharted territories? What if the boat gets restless in calm waters? What if the boat is capable of weathering a storm? What if the boat is capable of discovering new lands? Let the boat rock… I refuse to be that archimom whose dreams are forcefully reduced, and ambitions diminished because she is a woman, she is a mother and a woman of color. I will struggle, but I will not give-up. In “20 seconds of insanity” I walked into the office of that one person who mattered, and shared my intent to  let my boat rock – I haven’t turned to look at the calm waters I left behind ever since.

The last year of my life has shown that the more I do, the more I can do.  Renewal of that little fire in the belly that drives the dreams… that’s something I didn’t think I will light up at this phase in my life, where everything that happens next minute is anyone’s guess. It was one of the worst years of my life, yet one of the best years. There was so much heartache, and there was so much to celebrate, there came a point that I didn’t know how to process anything at all, and felt numb to all kinds of emotions. Series of occurrences, good and bad, triggered existential crisis that went beyond the regular questioning of meaning and purpose of life.

There is a quote by Margaret Thatcher (The Iron lady) “One’s life must matter, beyond all the cooking and the cleaning and the children. One’s life must mean more than that. I cannot die washing up a teacup”. I live my life by this quote. My life has to matter. I (We) have struggled when the children were little to have it all, or to try and balance it all, and eventually found my peace in the fine imbalance of life where we prioritize things by the severity of attention they require, and have embraced the fact that our cape is real, and it’s powered by the people that love and support us. Ideally, no one and nothing should stop you from being who you are, and what you want to be. It’s not easy being a hands on parent and child, and wife and still allot time to yourself for an enriching work life and personal interests. But you have to do it… Mostly because if you don’t, no one else will. You are your own agent, your own fire for your desire… Renew that vow that you gave you to take care of you among all the things you want to do…


What does renewal mean to the Architalks architects? Read here:

Architalks #24 : House or Home

This is the twenty-fourth post in a group series called #ArchiTalks in which Bob Borson of Life of an Architect gives a group of us architects a theme or a set of questions and we all have to post our response… this month’s theme: “House or Home”

House or Home?

“The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”

― Maya Angelou

As architects and designers, we want to design a space that our clients can build memories in. But, what happens when our client is a builder or developer, and the person who will occupy the house and call it home is merely represented by a statistical data on the demographic study we base our design off of? How do we connect the dots and provide a viable solution that appeases multigenerational and multicultural occupants?

Realtors bake cookies when they hold open houses to create a friendly and inviting atmosphere. The only trick up our sleeve to make a person feel at home is good design.

What makes good design?

A casual homeowner poll about “what makes good design” came back with responses like “I really love the retreat in the master suite. It helps me wind down at the end of the day” “My house is like a stair master. It has worked wonders on my memory though- I never forget my keys or glasses in our third floor bedroom” “Our backyard. Even though it’s limited in space, the blooming jasmines transport me to a different world”. “The kitchen island is the soul of our house – it’s the center of all action. I love how our family stays connected throughout the evening” The list goes on.

Everyone responds emotionally to a unique space within their house. If you ask anyone what makes a house a home, they will come up with responses like “scribbling on the wall with a sharpie by the resident artist” “familiarity of items they have owned and used” “emotional connection to people and spaces”, and above all “sense of safety and belonging”.

According to the research conducted by Tom Albright, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, “Architectural design and environments are capable of eliciting an array of emotions, thus the physical, social, and aesthetic qualities of our surroundings can have a deep effect on people”. Tom Albright cites an example of a project in Holland that utilizes recognizable interior design and simple floor plans to mitigate anxiety and discomfort in dementia patients.

Humans respond to built environments.

What they don’t realize is, when they fall in love with a unique space in their house, it is their response to the design elements provided by the architect for human comfort, safety and well being. Your architect worries, so you don’t have to worry. The demographics study does not give us insights into the particular and personal interests of the future home owner to customize a product for them. But, by providing ambient light, careful connection of spaces and planned privacy areas, we can provide a backdrop and blank space for them to make memories.

What makes my house a home?

I live in a California Pacific detached condominium product that wasn’t designed for me, or for my family. This is the house I have lived the longest in my adult life. May be the design elements give a feeling of comfort inside the house. May be the well planned community spaces around the house, and access to amenities make it convenient to live.  Home for me where my family is, where my dog is, and where my friends visit me – and where I belong. But the house enhances that experience by putting our comfort and safety before everything.

Pic : The sunlight filtering through the windows..

Read what other architects say about “House or Home”

Bob Borson – Life of An Architect (@bobborson)
The Designation between House and Home

Marica McKeel – Studio MM (@ArchitectMM)
ArchiTalks: House or Home?

Mark R. LePage – EntreArchitect (@EntreArchitect)
Emotional Marketing for Architects: House or Home?

Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
House or Home? It’s in the story.

Collier Ward – One More Story (@BuildingContent)
House or Home? A Choice of Terms

Jeremiah Russell, AIA – ROGUE Architecture (@rogue_architect)
house or home: #architalks

Eric T. Faulkner – Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
House or Home — Discover the Difference

Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)
“house” or “home”?

Meghana Joshi – IRA Consultants, LLC (@MeghanaIRA)
Architalks #24 : House or Home

Brian Paletz – The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz)
House or Home? – Depends

Michael LaValley – Evolving Architect (@archivalley)
House or Home? Train for One, Design for Another

Jarod Hall – di’velept (@divelept)
A Rose by Any Other Name…

Greg Croft – Sage Leaf Group (@croft_gregory)
House or Home

Jeffrey Pelletier – Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
Designing a House into a Home

Kyu Young Kim – J&K Atelier (@sokokyu)
Making a House a Home

Nisha Kandiah – ArchiDragon (@ArchiDragon)
Dwelling on a Macro scale

Jim Mehaffey – Yeoman Architect (@jamesmehaffey)
House or Home: One’s a Place, the Other a Feeling.

Mark Stephens – Mark Stephens Architects (@architectmark)
#ArchiTalks #24 House or Home? #RefugeeCrisis @GrainneHassett mentioned

Keith Palma – Architect’s Trace (@cogitatedesign)
I don’t design homes


Architalks #23 : Style

This is the twenty-third post in a group series called #ArchiTalks in which Bob Borson of Life of an Architect gives a group of us architects a theme or a set of questions and we all have to post our response… this month’s theme: “Style”

“Your decorating style is Modern, with a hint of Contemporary and a dash of Rustic” said Houzz, and I agree. What’s on my desk right now is Irving Gill inspired with a hint of Le Corbusier and a dash of Spanish, and where I live is Spanish with a hint of Irving Gill and a dash of The Irvine Company’s genius. Which style should I elaborate on? Or should I just push all this aside and share the stylish black-white and grey wardrobe with the geometric patterns under the title “My Style”. Bob wants us to post all at the same time so that we let our creativity run wild and don’t get influenced by each other’s interpretation of the keyword for Architalks. What if I don’t conform to a style.. am I still adhering to Bohemian?

My reading style.

That’s what I want to elaborate on. Not my studying style, even though I want to run in that direction considering I still have an ARE test to take, and still have to figure out how I will fit studying into work-life-parent-volunteer-caregiver life. It’s boring to talk about studying unless you are talking to people who are studying. I will stick to general reading, architectural reading, and of course how I read.

I love paper.

I have a kindle, I have several tablets with kindle app, and I have bought books on kindle. But I love reading books on real paper. They have to stay on my counter, and haunt me to read them, or they have to grace my book case bringing me the happy reading memories. It cannot be virtual, it has to be real, this relationship. My kindle is filled with books I haven’t finished reading. Although, I have to admit, when I read on kindle no one interrupts me to ask how is book, or whether I have read the author’s other book that they have read. Kindle is the introvert’s defense number one.

With coffee, or with Scotch.

Bring on the coffee, and hold the scotch. Drunk reading is as dangerous as drunk driving. If you have the slightest of dyslexia, you know what I mean. You skip a word, you skip a sentence, or sometimes you mix things up. I have had a reading session where I read the same sentence again and again, and wondered what was so important about the sentence that the author felt strong enough to repeat. With coffee, it’s a different story. Bring on the Eames Beautiful Details, and a cup of well made coffee, you have defined heaven to me. I will watch those pictures until they come to life.

Never used, never vintage.

I own Neutra, Eames and a stack of Building Construction books. Frank Lloyd Wright is always welcome. The recent addition to the group is Taliesin Dairies, still in it’s original wrapping. That means no one has touched the book to browse through the pages, and I am the first one. My Eames Beautiful Details came home like that, but I didn’t expect Taliesin Dairies to be packaged so. Owning architecture books makes me happy, and I love books in their original packaging. I have taken over a bookcase in the house to put my collection on display, and if I could, I would take both of our bookcases.

Companion reading.

I promised I won’t bring up the AREs. Here, I break that promise. Thing about AREs is that even if you put your test taking on “hold” to attend to other priorities in life that moment, they are in the back of your mind. They are like that little dot they use to test your peripheral vision. There is no escaping. With only structures remaining, I have cleaned out my desk and just kept a couple of books I use for Structures. But Structures being Structures, I feel the need to have for my companion dog to calm me down..

So, that’s my style. My style of reading.

What’s your style?

Other Architalks “Style” walk here:

Bob Borson – Life of An Architect (@bobborson)

Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect (@LeeCalisti)
style…final words

Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
The AREsketches Style

Collier Ward – One More Story (@BuildingContent)
Good Artists Copy; Great Artists Steal

Eric T. Faulkner – Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
Name That Stile!

Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)

Meghana Joshi – IRA Consultants, LLC (@MeghanaIRA)
Architalks : Style

brady ernst – Soapbox Architect (@bradyernstAIA)
What Style Do You Build In?

Brian Paletz – The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz)
You do you

Michael LaValley – Evolving Architect (@archivalley)
Defining an Architect’s Style

Jarod Hall – di’velept (@divelept)
What’s Your Style?

Greg Croft – Sage Leaf Group (@croft_gregory)
Architectural Style

Jeffrey Pelletier – Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
Should You Pick Your Architect Based on Style or Service?

Samantha R. Markham – The Aspiring Architect (@TheAspiringArch)
5 Styles of an Aspiring Architect

Kyu Young Kim – J&K Architects Atelier (@sokokyu)
Loaded With Style

Nisha Kandiah – ArchiDragon (@ArchiDragon)
Regression or Evolution : Style

Jim Mehaffey – Yeoman Architect (@jamesmehaffey)
What’s in a Style?

Mark Stephens – Mark Stephens Architects (@architectmark)
Architectalks 23 – Style

Keith Palma – Architect’s Trace (@cogitatedesign)
Stylized Hatred

Tagged ,

Architalks #19 : Dear Future Architects

Note: This is the nineteenth post in a group series called #ArchiTalks in which Bob Borson of Life of an Architect gives a group of us architects a theme or a set of questions and we all have to post our response. This month’s theme: “Dear Future Architect”

Dear Future Architect,

Welcome to the brave new world.

You have made a choice- a complicated choice. Architecture is never a job, rarely it’s limited to a career, and almost always a lifestyle. Education will teach you that sleep is for losers, work-life will forever be a fine balance between the brown of the coffee and amber of the Whiskey.  Within the choice are a hundred hurdles- lack of diversity, generalized gender roles, pay and equity discrimination. Thousand rewards await as well -. you are appreciated, you are honored, and you are needed to create a community. Built environment is after all a necessity, not a novelty.

Architecture is all about buildings – but, architecture will never be only about buildings.

A license to sign and stamp the drawings, a good understanding of Building Codes and accessibility requirements to uphold the safety of the occupant, and coordination with the consultants and contractors to ensure that your building will be strong and efficient – this will be a very basic outline of your responsibilities. Sometimes voluntary, and sometimes mandatory will be a step towards sustainability.

You still haven’t noticed, but Architecture has another side also – the ethical side.

There is a Code of Ethics that you will adhere to when you design. It’s your northern light, guiding you while you guide a community with your design. You will adhere to it, but if you make a little effort, you will uphold it, you will support it and you will promote it. You might think it’s something only for the Architect of record to worry about, or for the company you work for to adhere to – I will tell you otherwise. You – the intern, the designer, the project manager.. all of you have the power to propagate it. Just like equity and equality are not issues limited to certain gender, code of ethics is not limited to only people liable for the design.

Read them, understand them, know them and be them.

“Rule 1.401 : Members shall not discriminate in their professional activities on the basis of race, religion, gender, national origin, age, disability, or sexual orientation.”

This one in particular, I want to elaborate on.

Architects are people too- we have our own religious and political affiliations, and cultural influences. But, on a broader and much bigger scale, we have a responsibility that transcends our personal opinions – small informed decisions that we make have the ability to influence a generation’s acceptance of societal changes. It’s activism when led by people – it’s an accepted change when it finds a place in your building. Be that change, bring that change.

Restrooms are a mirror to the social and societal conditions of a community.

Third world is struggling to design safe restrooms for women and children. Developed countries have provided access to public restrooms as a right- in fact plumbing code is a law of the particular jurisdiction that adopts it under the building codes. As we stabilize on a magical formula to decide the perfect number of restrooms needed for a buildings, we realize that there is more to restrooms than what we intended to provide. Gender is no longer limited to male and female, and sexual orientations have evolved. But the restrooms we provide are still male, female and sometimes family depending on the plumbing calculations and code requirements. We, as a society aren’t completely ready and open towards the idea of gender neutral restrooms yet. We are still evolving, and so are our ideas and ideals.

So, dear future architect, realize that future of architecture is not only about video game inspired futuristic design ideas and blending technological advances into built environment. Future of architecture is more than how we draw and how we build – it has been, and will always be about how we design, and how we live- help live. Future will be helping the community blur “separate but equal” treatment of citizens through intelligent and ethical design.  Yesterday it was about erasing “colored only” restrooms and segregated drinking fountains. Today it is about inclusive design for LGBTQIA+ and saving the polar ice cap . Tomorrow is open to your imagination.

Educate ourselves with the physical, mental and emotional requirements of the occupants, identify the areas that need change -some of you will lead, some of you will follow and some of you will abide reluctantly when it becomes a “code”- and some of your ideas will remain ideas forever. So, future architects, educate yourselves- educate yourselves about people, about what people want, about what people need – today, tomorrow and in the future.

Recently I was on the UCLA campus. Restroom signage never brought so much happiness before- this one was special.  A “Unisex” bathroom was rechristened as an “All Gender Restroom”, Braille ADA requirements incorporated. As much as we hate labels, there are labels that help than harm. Unisex is gender neutral, but All-gender is gender inclusive. Little things like this are not something your client will ask for, or your building official will look for, and you probably won’t even get a pat on the back for that extra effort. But, in the long run, your contribution in not only appreciated and valued, it has also helped ease the acceptance of the changes.

In short, eat the whale – by choice.

Building design will be an on-going process where life will imitate architecture sometimes, and architecture will imitate life sometimes. The key is to continue the efforts towards a greater cause – be it within the industry, or within the society, or anywhere in the world that we can hear a cry and respond to. You, the future architect are not limited by walls and ceilings, or building systems – Think beyond what your scope of work is.

Be a catalyst in integration, not isolation.

With love,

Your ever-evolving community

Read what my friends have to share with the future architects:

brady ernst – Soapbox Architect (@bradyernstAIA)
Dear Boy in the Plastic Bubble,

Enoch Sears – Business of Architecture (@businessofarch)
Dear Future Architects: A Confession

Bob Borson – Life of An Architect (@bobborson)
Dear Future Architects: You Need to Hear This

Marica McKeel – Studio MM (@ArchitectMM)
Dear Future Architects: 4 Perspectives

Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect (@LeeCalisti)
dear future architects

Evan Troxel – Archispeak Podcast / TRXL (@etroxel)
Dear Future Architects

Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
Dear Future Architects: 3 letters

Jeremiah Russell, AIA – ROGUE Architecture (@rogue_architect)
future architects: #architalks

Jes Stafford – MODwelling (@modarchitect)
Dear Future Architect, Listen Here

Eric T. Faulkner – Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
Dear Future Architect — Remember Then

Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)
“Dear Future Architects,”

Meghana Joshi – IRA Consultants, LLC (@MeghanaIRA)
Dear Future Architects..

Michael Riscica – Young Architect (@YoungArchitxPDX)
Dear Future Young Architects… Please Quit Screwing Around!?!!

Stephen Ramos – BUILDINGS ARE COOL (@sramos_BAC)
Dear Future Architects: Don’t makes these 4 Mistakes

Brian Paletz – The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz)
Dear Future Architects

Michael LaValley – Evolving Architect (@archivalley)
Dear Future Architects, Be Authentic

Anthony Richardson – That Architecture Student (@anth_rich)
Dear Future Anthony

Greg Croft – Sage Leaf Group (@croft_gregory)
Dear Future Architect,

Jared W. Smith – Architect OWL (@ArchitectOWL)
Dear Future Architects…

Rusty Long – Rusty Long, Architect (@rustylong)
Dear future architects, never lose your optimism

Keith Palma – Architect’s Trace (@cogitatedesign)
Dear future architects, are you credible?

Adam Denais – Defragging Architecture (@DefragArch)
Dear Future Architect, a Letter to My Younger Self

Jim Mehaffey – Yeoman Architect (@jamesmehaffey)
Dear Future Architects…

Ken Saginario – Twelfth Street Studio ()
Dear Future Architects…



Architecture and Mathematics – Architalks #18

Note: This is the eighteenth post in a group series called #ArchiTalks in which Bob Borson of Life of an Architect gives a group of us architects a theme or a set of questions and we all have to post our response. This month’s theme: “Architecture and  _____”.


Geography and culture influence the architectural expression of every civilization, and in turn, the design intent of any building becomes an extension of the beliefs of the culture they represent. If not for this diversity of beliefs and ideas, all buildings in the world would look the same. But, in spite of the diverse materials and methods, there is a force that unifies all architecture in the world under one universal language – Mathematics.

India, the land of diversity – the land of mathematics and architecture. Languages, religions, subcultures dictate Architecture.

Nowhere else in the world will you see temples, mosques and churches along with Buddhist monasteries coexisting peacefully in the same community along with new construction. Growing up an adamant agnostic, I visited these religious edifices with family and friends, but to me the God was in the Architecture-God was in the details of these structures, not in a idol in front of me.  Every religious monument that has survived the brunt of nature and lived to tell the story of a culture has always offered much more insight into the level of their mathematical advancement than the God they chose to believe in.

South Indian Hindu temples have followed the principles of fractals in design, and Trigonometry. Education later explained Fractals as “infinitely complex patterns that are self-similar across different scales”, but fractals were explained to me through architecture much before that. Prime knots and Borromean Triangles adored temple pillars as carvings. The walls and ceilings had elaborate geometrical motifs. It makes you wonder, was there a Design Guideline for Temples on how to incorporate Advanced Mathematics in Architecture to educate the community?

Tessellating polygons were used in motifs along the expanses of the walls of a mosque. Advanced concepts in Geometry were used to form innovative dome shapes like the eight-point star instead of rotating ribs. The monuments also combined acoustics with geometry, incorporating elements like whispering galleries and echo chambers. Were they given algorithms to use in design and construction? What was the intent of mathematical extravaganza at a mausoleum?  Were art and mathematics integral components of Architecture much before the push to make STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) STEAM (STEM +Art and Design)?

The Golden Ratio. Fibonacci Sequences. Symmetry. Alignment. Hyperbolic Paraboloids. Hyperboloids. Arches. Domes. Tetrahedrons. They are not all parts of a Mathematics book, they are design principles and components used in Church Architecture. Construction methods advanced heavily using the mathematical principles. Did mathematics evolve to help execute design ideas? Did design evolve based on mathematical discoveries? Were the pioneer architects mathematicians, architects and masons with extensive work experience?

Architecture is, is a three-dimensional mathematical model that is abstract and absolute at the same time. The proportion and massing of buildings is an abstract idea, but every building detail is an absolute solution to that idea. Under the banner of Architecture, every building is a time capsule to showcase the philosophical, mathematical and artistic developments of that era. All you need to do is look up, and look around to see the relation.

Architecture and Mathematics turned into Religious Architecture and Mathematics. Alright. I will leave you with a smile on your face. Did you know that the Chinese Architects used the “Theory of Geometric Progression” to design Harems so that the Emperor didn’t have scheduling issues for his nightly pleasure?

Want to read what my Architect friends thought about when Bob Borson said “Architecture and ________?” Visit the links, share them on Twitter, and like them on Facebook if you can – According to the Theories and Principles of Statistical Data mining, Architects can benefit from that kind of love:

Bob Borson – Life of An Architect (@bobborson)
Life of an Architect

Jeff Echols – Architect Of The Internet (@Jeff_Echols)
Architecture and a Future Without Architects

Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect (@LeeCalisti)
architecture and __

Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
Architecture and Travel

Jes Stafford – MODwelling (@modarchitect)
Architecture and Gaming

Eric T. Faulkner – Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
architecture and m&ms

Rosa Sheng – EquitybyDesign [EQxD] (@EquityxDesign)
Architecture And the Era of Connection

Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)
#ArchiTalks 18: architecture and… the bigger picture

Meghana Joshi – IRA Consultants, LLC (@MeghanaIRA)
Architalks 18: Architecture and Mathematics

Amy Kalar – ArchiMom (@AmyKalar)
Architalks 18: Architecture and … Parenting

Michael Riscica – Young Architect (@YoungArchitxPDX)
Architecture and Yoga

brady ernst – Soapbox Architect (@bradyernstAIA)
Architecture and Ego

Michael LaValley – Evolving Architect (@archivalley)
Architecture and Ego / The Architect’s Unique Struggle with ‘Good’ Design

Sharon George – Architecture By George (@sharonraigeorge)
Architecture and Kids

Emily Grandstaff-Rice – Emily Grandstaff-Rice FAIA (@egrfaia)
Architecture and More

Jarod Hall – di’velept (@divelept)
Architecture and the Myth of the Master Builder

Jeffrey A Pelletier – Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
Architecture and Interior Design

Samantha Raburn – The Aspiring Architect (@TheAspiringArch)
Architecture and Wrestling

Keith Palma – Architect’s Trace (@cogitatedesign)
Architecture + Memories

Adam Denais – Defragging Architecture (@DefragArch)
[#ArchiTalks 18] Architecture and Strange Travel Etiquette

Jim Mehaffey – Yeoman Architect (@jamesmehaffey)
Architecture and…my Generation.

Marica McKeel – Studio MM (@ArchitectMM)
Architecture and Photography


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