Saturday, January 31, 2009

Your Opinion is Needed

If you ever said that you wanted to be an architect, please take only 2 minutes to answer 10 simple questions at the link to the right that says, "Your opinion is needed."

Monday, January 26, 2009

Ever Wanted to be an Architect?

“Howard Roark laughed.

He stood naked at the edge of a cliff. The lake lay far below him. A frozen explosion of granite burst in flight to the sky over motionless water. The water seemed immovable, the stone – flowing. The stone had the stillness of one brief moment in battle when thrust meets thrust and the currents are held in a pause more dynamic than motion. The stone glowed, wet with sunrays…”

So starts Ann Rand’s novel, “The Fountainhead.” Howard Roark was at one in body, mind, and spirit with the earth and with all of the possibilities man has to shape it. His passion of architecture gave him the ability to view the granite quarry as a palette for his creation.
Ann Rand showed the world how it might be for anyone to embrace their passion. It affected more people than can be counted. Many of those affected went on to become teachers, soldiers, and politicians like our new president. Only a few became architects.

Imagine having so much love of architecture that when you drew your designs, they were “as if the buildings had sprung from the earth and from some living force, complete, unalterably right.” Sketching from your hand was the only way to release the genius already within you.
It is not ever too late in life to pursue your dreams. Never before has an opportunity been given to those that once wanted to design their own home. Be their own architect. Create their own legacy for the world to enjoy for many generations to come.

I am putting together a way for you to live that dream and I need your help.

Can I ask you a quick favor?

I want to learn more about people who may have said that they once wanted to be an architect, and that means I’d like to learn more about YOU!
Please answer 10 simple questions at the link to the right of this post under the title, "Your opinion is needed."

Listen to today's radio show that will be aired at 5:30 PM EST at and then give me some feed back about what type of event you would like to go to. Either call in during the show or email me at or call us at 212-594-2007 or leave a twitter or facebook note.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

How People are Enjoying the Recession

What is your most favorite part of vacations? Usually, it has to do with the “where” you are going as much as the “what” you are doing.

During these financially challenging times, many people are choosing to stay closer to home instead of spending money on trips to Florida or beyond. We all need to be careful to continue our savings. We also need to make sure that we are giving ourselves a lifestyle that reflects our needs and dreams. That’s sometimes easier said than done.

Here is something that some smart home owners are doing during these recession times. Instead of going on a Vacation, they are going on a “Staycation.” They are already planning their summers around their own home by redesigning the family area, bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, and yards. Start planning what you will be doing in and around your home this summer. Then, look around.

Is your kitchen or bathroom outdated? Has your family out grown the kitchen? Would it be nice to have the living area opened up to your kitchen? After all, the kitchen is where the guest seems to congregate. Right?

Some people are renovating their back yards so they will have their own oasis to retreat to after a long day at the office. Who needs to go to Florida when you can invite your friends to a game night in your open family room and a Bar-B-Q in your back yard with Tiki torches for light while listening to the cricket’s summer songs?

Before you begin planning the best summer ever, contact our office for your free copy of “Experience Architecture.” It is a journal that will steer you through seven simple steps to obtain an extraordinary home. Supplies limited so call now at 212-594-2007 or email your request at

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Smartest Dog You Have Ever Seen

This dog, Skidboot (yes, that is his name), is probably the smartest dog you have ever seen. He has paid for two dually pickup trucks for his owner, who himself is a plain and simple cowboy, a good soul you might say. Together they make quite a pair. The clip is from a news report done for Texas Country Reporter.

read more | digg story

Monday, January 19, 2009

What Does a Country and Western Singer Have in Common with Successful Businesses?

As you may know from some of the newsletters (download yours free copy at the link below), I am originally from Ft. Worth, TX. I relocated to NYC in 1986 when the savings and loans needed the federal government to help bail them out. Many of those banks were in TX. The mood around town was very much like it is today with financial intuitions and the federal bailout efforts.

One of the landmarks in my hometown that is nicknamed “Cow Town” is Billy Bob’s. It is billed as the biggest honky tonk in the world. This goes hand-in-hand with the Lone Star state’s motto, “Everything is bigger and better in Texas.”
Although I generally don’t want to go to a tourist trap in my own home town, curiosity got the best of me one weekend. I visited Billy Bob’s. It was not very crowded that night. There was plenty of parking. There were no lines for drinks. They were so slow, that there was not an indoor rodeo event that night. A little known band was performing on their small stage that night. The lead singer wore cowboy boots and hat, played a guitar, and seemed to be rather depressed and not really into his music. He was just going through the motions while singing the country blues.

Fast forward at least two decades, we now know this famous country and western singer as being one of the most flashy and dynamic entertainers in his field. In fact, some of his music crossed over into the pop charts. His concerts remind me of a Madonna concert with fireworks, modern dance steps, while he wears the same head piece microphone as Madonna’s.
Yesterday, you might have seen him while performing for the future first lady and her president-elect husband, Obama at the Lincoln Memorial event. Garth Brooks has really become a diamond out of the rough.

What makes Garth Brooks similar to other successful businesses is that they had a dream, a good plan, and they teamed up with the right people who shared the same goals. Everybody and everything has potential to be and do great things. The clients that we choose to team up with always have an advantage over their competitors. Together, we find solutions that help their business prosper – even during this recession.

Stop singing the blues call or email us to find out how we can help your company gain the advantage over your competitors during these economically challenging times. Together, we can make it happen.

It does not matter if your company is in New York City or Hawaii, our experience based design principals can help:

Fill your vacant office spaces

Keep your customers coming back to do business with you

Create a more prosperous working environment

Save on energy costs

PS - For a limited time, we are offering to our NYC community a onetime free $500 office assessment. Call us now to schedule your appointment at 212-594-2007. This offer will expire soon.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Seven Ways for Offices to Thrive

With businesses struggling during this recession, we are now finding a staggering increase in vacancies in office spaces. In Manhattan, space that tenants have put on the market for sublease more than doubled last year to 8.2 million square feet. According to Reis Inc., a New York-based real estate research firm, there was an increase of 14.4 percent of office vacancies throughout the U.S. during the fourth quarter of 2008. This is the highest in three years.

Two Bloomberg reporters, Peter S. Green and David M. Levitt wrote this quote in one of their most recent articles:
“This quarter was like no other quarter we’ve ever seen before,” said Joseph Harbert, chief operating officer of Cushman’s New York metro region, in an interview. “It’s as if someone let the helium out of the balloon. The downfall of Lehman really changed the real estate consumer’s psychology, and put everyone in a cautious, wait-and-see, don’t-make-a-decision attitude.”

Unemployment continues to rise. It is expected that 175,000 jobs will be lost in Manhattan. Many are from the financial industry.

People are finding that many of their co-workers are now gone. And they are wondering if they are next in line during the next wave of layoffs.

Fear sets in and productivity begins to decrease.

Now is the best time for companies to assess their strengths and challenges in order to come out on top from this recession.

Here are 7 tips for companies to use that will boost their productivity and save them money:

1. Save on the energy costs by subdividing unused areas from active work stations. The heating bills can be reduced by locating open plan work stations near perimeter radiant heating units during the cold seasons.

2. Individual offices are great for privacy. But, they often require their own variable air volume control for the air conditioning. They also require more light fixtures per square foot than open plan office spaces because there is a more efficient distribution of lumens in the open areas. You can save a bit on your energy bill by reducing the number of individual offices.

3. Having vacant desks scattered between occupied desks sends a strong and negative message to the office workers. “That is where my office mate used to sit, will I be next to go?” Get rid of empty office spaces by relocating office workers so they are located closer together.

4. Share common areas such as libraries and file rooms. Sublet the excess and redundant areas.

5. Reduce the number of coffee break rooms by combining their use with other departments. Get rid of excess kitchenettes by subletting them out with the unused office spaces.

6. Digitize old paper documents. Dispose of obsolete documents by storing them off-site or by shredding them.

7. Hire an architect to record where all of your desks, files, chairs, etc. exists. They can draw this on a floor plan that allows you to just click on a space and read who is in that space, the condition of each piece of furniture, and the function of that space. This is the best time to get a clear picture of what should be kept and what needs to be removed or replaced.

It is wise to be cautious during these challenging times. Your competitors will probably remain in the “wait-and-see, don’t-make-a-decision” mode. This is the perfect time to do just the opposite by getting your office to work more efficient than ever before.

Call us at 212-594-2007 to learn more about how your company can thrive in these times.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Real "Iron Man" Remembered

I mentioned that Mr. Bob Bruno was the real “Iron Man” in one of my recent newsletters (June 2008) Click Here to read the newsletter article..

In short, Mr. Bruno was an architectural instructor at Texas Tech University while I was attending architecture school there. Also while I was at Tech, he was just getting started on the construction of his now famous welded steel house.

Unfortunately, the “Iron Man” was not able to fight off cancer and he passed on in December. Below are a couple of articles that tell a little more about him.

You can also learn more from his web site at and from his 5 min. 31 sec YouTube video at .

Robert R. Bruno
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal
December 12, 2008

Robert R. Bruno (born January 30, 1945, Los Angeles, Calif.), internationally recognized sculptor and artist, died Tuesday, December 9 from complications of cancer at Covenant Medical Center in Lubbock.

Robert's 110-ton steel architectural sculpture located in Ransom Canyon is a well known labor of love and artistic expression of 35 years in the making. It has earned international accolades and publicity in art, architecture, and many professional publications, on film and TV events including HGTV's "Extreme Homes" and The Learning Channel. His sculptured home attracts photographers and admirers worldwide. It was the backdrop for the 2007 Fall Neiman Marcus fashion catalog.

Robert taught, guest lectured, and mentored students at Texas Tech's School of Architecture for years and freely shared his philosophy and sculpture with many visitors to the Canyon. He was also recognized for the design and creation of the first solar-powered surge valve and fertigation system for row crops through his Lubbock-based irrigation manufacturing company, P&R Surge Systems. His valve has conserved millions of gallons of water, fuel and fertilizer for row crop irrigators worldwide for over 25 years. "

Here is a great article about his house:

For 33 years, Robert Bruno has meticulously designed and built his welded steel house on the edge of a canyon outside of Lubbock, Tex. But, somehow, he’s not sure how many square feet it is (his guess is 2,700) and he can’t explain the influences that have informed his design over these three decades—despite the fact that the house’s otherworldly shape seems tailor-made for free association. A brief jaunt through any design-oriented mind brings you to: an insect’s carapace, an alien spacecraft, M.C. Escher’s hallucinogenic maze-scapes, and perhaps Deconstruction’s ongoing War on the Rectangle. But Bruno isn’t an entomologist, a science fiction writer, or even a Koolhaas/Gehry acolyte. He’s an artist, and not a conceptual one. “This house doesn’t deal with concept at all,” he says. “I’m not trying to have something re-emerge in the guise of my house.”

The house hitches itself to no stylistic wagons and has been spontaneously designed and revised over the course of its 33-year construction. “What you’re seeing is 33 years of design, not three months of design and 33 years of labor,” Bruno says. If he would have had to design the house in full initially and then build to this exact standard, “I would feel as if I were working for somebody else,” he says. This is a literal distinction for Bruno. He began the house when he was a young man, age 29. Today he’s 62, and the majority of his years have been spent working on the house; an open film exposure documenting his aesthetic development and intent.
Bruno says this type of spontaneous, whimsical design is what creates the aesthetic complexity people crave, missing from most of the built environment around us, and largely absent from the practice of architecture itself. “It isn’t that we’re looking for the silliness of a maze,” he says.

“We’re looking at a higher order of complexity.” The crux of the problem: Market realities demand that architects communicate to clients what a project will be before it exists through imperfect, distorting mediums like models. From this point on, Bruno says the scale is manipulated and details are whitewashed in the transition. “Inadvertently, what ends up happening is that the resolution at the model level is potentially quite different from what you would resolve at full scale. I would venture to say that almost all the large buildings we see around us are the replica and the original is the model,” he says."