Wednesday, April 6, 2016

2016 - 4 - Three Euros - All Around the World, Same Song

Before we get into this, if you like the podcast, please find it on Soundcloud, follow it, and share it with others. Much Appreciated.

- Nathan 

Georgia Tech enjoys an international reputation. It sends students out into the world to study and it attracts students from around the world to Atlanta. Associate Professor Mark Cottle curated the Three Euros Symposium at Georgia Tech earlier this year, in which three international alumni of Georgia Tech, Daniel Cavelti ('97) of Switzerland, Thorsten Kock ('95) of Germany, and Xavier Wrona ('02) of France, gave an audience of Tech students and local architects an inside look at European practice. Nathan Koskovich, AIA sat down with them just before they left for home to discuss European practice, how it differs from American practice, and what you learn about your own country when you travel abroad.

Daniel Cavelti

The work of Daniel's r office is based on the interaction of theoretical interests and designing practice. He looks for a realistic attitude, whose characteristics are relevance, immediacy, complexity and suitability for life. The work includes all areas - from urban planning issues to concrete implementations into built substance.

He is dedicated to challenging projects of public, institutional and private developers. As a  generalist, he likes to maximize responsibility and scope to construct sustainable buildings.

His architecture projects aim at an intense dialogue with the context. He implements objects that operate in a multilayered manner within their surroundings. In this way, he achieves a self-evidence, that plays back pleasantly and inspiringly to the environment.

He is interested in a variety of construction projects and in different scales. His projects vary from small interventions into existing substance to the design of entire city districts.

Participation in various competitions has allowed him to sharpen the discipline of design in order to use it again in the realization of buildings. A careful treatment of the natural and built environment is for him self-evident.

Thorsten Kock

Thorsten Kock is carpenter, practicing architect and teacher.

He studied architecture at Stuttgart University under Boris Podrecca and Juergen Joedicke, and – as Fulbright Fellow - at GA Tech.

He received a number of national and international awards, including “best architects” and “BDA”-award.

He runs a practice together with Martin Bez, with 40 employees and a focus on public buildings

He has taught at Stuttgart University and HfT Stuttgart – University of applied sciences and.
Currently he serves as part time faculty at HfT and teaches studios and courses on design and detail.
He was a member of several competition juries and participated in more than 300 architectural competitions.

(he turned 50 but feels better)

Xavier Wrona

Xavier Wrona is the founder of the architecture office Est-ce ainsi, a structure working to refocus the architectural practice on its political consequences and its possible participation in the reform of “vivre ensemble.” Est-ce ainsi articulates a critical reading of the figure of the architect throughout history to the production of inordinately minimum architectures with a particular attention to the means of production of the built environment. 

Architect DPLG, Xavier Wrona is a graduate of the Ecole Nationale SupĂ©rieure d’Architecture de Paris La Villette and of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, GA. He taught from 2002-2010 for the Franco-American studio for the Georgia Tech Paris Program at the ENSAPLV in Paris, at the ENSAPBX in Bordeaux and is now associate professor at the Ecole Nationale SupĂ©rieure d’Architecture de Saint-Etienne, France. Est-ce ainsi was awarded the Young Architects and Landscape Architects prize by the french Ministry of Culture in 2010

Thursday, March 10, 2016

2016 - 3 - Charles Rudolph, What Minimal Art Tells Us About Architecture

One of the interesting things that happens when you are designing a building, or anything else, is that you start to see connections that you never new existed. You find meaning in things that you thought were meaningless. While a college course tittled "Minimal Art and Architecture" may at first appear to be one of those useless college courses educational reformers complain about, Georgia Tech's Charles Rudolph reveals in this conversation with Nathan Koskvich, AIA, that minimal art can teach architects many practical, as well as esoteric, lessons.

I'm putting some personal photographs of two Mies van der Rhoe projects in the post because he's great, but also because Mies, like a good minimal artist, thought about every aspect of a material when he included it in a design. 

First the Barcelona Pavilion, officially known as the German Pavilion at the 1929 Worlds Fair. The building is full of these strange symmetries which are doubled by Mies' use of the reflective properties of stone, glass and water. Glass is translucent or dull and opaque depending on its relationship to the roof overhang. Built up on a plinth, the whole building gave me a strange feeling of floating. 

 Look how flat and opaque the glass is in this picture
A cruciform column, characteristic of Mies' European phase, before he came to America 
 Notice the book matched stone
 In this picture and the next you can see how Mies uses stone and glass to similar effect

Next, the Farnsworth House just outside of Chicago. Typical of his American work, this project is even more limited in its use of materials. Mies moved away from cruciform columns and began to explore the possibilities of American standard steel shapes. Its most evident in his use of wide flange, and "C" channel steel pieces in the buildings frame, but he also built up the smaller elements, such as the window frames, from standard steel shapes.

This ones a word fest, but that's what happens when you link art and architecture

Donald Judd
Dan Flavin
Sol LeWitt
Frank Stella
Carl Andre
Robert Smithson
Richard Serra

Mies van der Rhoe
Peter Zumthor
Alvar Aalto
Aldo Rossi
Herzog and De Meuron
Tado Ando
Luis Barragan
Sigurd Lewerentz

Houston Museum of Fine Art, Brown Pavilion
Menil Collection
Marfa, Texas
Therme Vals
Church of Light
Church on the Water
Rail Switching Station
Saynatsalo Town Hall
Malmo Eastern Cemetary

Mies van der Rhoe Theoretical Projects
While Mies van der Rhoe's practice continued to be more traditional, he managed to build a reputation for innovation through theoretical projects.

Charles Rudolph is an architect and associate professor who began teaching at Georgia Tech in 1993. He moved to Atlanta from New York City, where he worked in the offices of Peter M. Wheelwright and Pei, Cobb, Freed and Partners. Rudolph's experience at Pei, Cobb, Freed included working with partner Michael Flynn, the firm's curtain wall specialist.  Rudolph received a MS in Building Design from Columbia in 1989 (studying under Kenneth Frampton) and teaches courses in construction technology and seminars that focus on the current status of tectonics in contemporary architecture and building culture.  Currently, his research explores materiality and tectonics in the context of design studios focused on integrating alternative energy technology (bio-fuel from harvested algae / waste stream management) in the design of high-density urban housing. 

During his undergraduate years at Rice University, Rudolph studied painting and art history, and continues to explore relationships between architecture, the visual arts, and contemporary aesthetic theory.  He has taught a seminar titled "Minimal Art and Architecture" and has written on minimal art's 'phenomenological practice' –specifically its influence on the making and perceiving of place in the contemporary city and landscape.  Other research interests are in the area of design-for-communities and adaptive reuse in the transitioning neighborhoods of Atlanta. Since the Olympic year of 1996, Rudolph has conducted several studios that engage community groups and design centers in the visioning of empty schools, abandoned lots and underused parks in historic communities bordering downtown Atlanta

Sunday, February 7, 2016

2016 - 2 - Synechdoche, Design Make

Adam Smith and Lisa Sauve are founders and principals of Synechdoche, a design firm in Ann Arbor Michigan. They describe their practice as "design/make". One of their earlier projects was a temporary installation in Atlanta. Nathan Koskovich, AIA called them up to find out what they've been up to recently, what's behind the name "Synechdoche", and exactly what they mean by "design/Make"

After meeting in undergraduate design studios and collaborating on projects, Synecdoche was launched in 2009 while graduating from LTU. Throughout grad school, teaching, and working with other designers, Synecdoche slowly tooled up. In 2015 Synecdoche found roots north of Downtown Ann Arbor and has a growing team of designers and makers.

Synecdoche (pronounced si-nek-duh-kee) is imagined as a make/work architecture studio exploring material constructions, their narratives, and the resulting environments they create. As a small practice we work in a fast and nimble environment as an effective production technique. Architecture creates opportunities to work in multiple scales within the same discipline. Our belief is that tangibles and experience are simultaneous design problems. We work to invent a design office model that works for personalities, lifestyle and play.

Lisa and Adam both hold Master’s degrees in Architecture from Taubman College at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI, and Bachelor’s degrees in Architecture from Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, MI. Lisa also holds a Master of Science in Architecture with a concentration in Conservation from the University of Michigan. Both have also taught design and architecture courses at surrounding midwest universities: University of Michigan, Lawrence Technological University and University of Detroit Mercy.


Friday, January 8, 2016

2016 - 01 - Scott Marble, Designing Design

Scott Marble is the new Chair of Georgia Tech's College of Architecture. He doesn't just think about architecture as space making and form giving, though he certainly doesn't ignore that. A lot of his current thought has been focused on the industry architects operate within and how emerging technologies give architects and other designers the opportunity to reshape how the design and construction industry work, and thus bring better design into a wider world. Between Georgia Tech's robust research efforts and Atlanta's strong tradition of reshaping the architecture profession, counting such architects as George Heery and John Portman among its members, Scott seems to have found a good fit.

Sorry for the sound quality over the first ten minutes. I tried to clean it up as much as I can, but hopefully you enjoy the content. 

The Links

Scott Marble is a founding partner of Marble Fairbanks Architects in New York and was recently appointed Professor and William H. Harrison Chair of the School of Architecture at Georgia Institute of Technology. He was previously Associate Adjunct Professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation where he was Director of Fabrication Research from 2004 – 2008 and Director of Integrated Design from 2009-2015. Scott is a frequent lecturer in the area of digital technologies and industry and recently completed the book Digital Workflows in Architecture: Design, Assembly, Industry published by Birkhauser.

His firm, Marble Fairbanks based in New York has received numerous local, national, and international design awards including AIA Design Awards, Architect magazine’s R+D award, pa (Progressive Architecture) award and Chicago Athenaeum American Architecture Awards. In 2008, the Museum of Modern Art commissioned their project, Flatform for the exhibition Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling.  The work of Marble Fairbanks is published regularly in books, journals and news media and has been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world including the Architectural Association in London, the Nara Prefectural Museum of Art in Japan and the Museum of Modern Art in New York where their drawings are part of the museum’s permanent collection.

Scott received his Master of Architecture degree from Columbia University and his Bachelor of Environmental Design degree from Texas A&M University. In 2012 he was a recipient of the Outstanding Alumni Award from Texas A&M University.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Switchyards: The Podcast, Brings You The Future of Atlanta...As Recorded In Front of A Live Studio Audience!

One more time, we are blown away by the response this event got. The first two hundred seats were gone almost before we posted the event. We found a second venue that was twice as big and it sold out even faster, and we had a waiting list of 1,000 people who just wanted to hear people talk about design. 

Our partner, MODA, coordinated this recording with Switchyards. If you weren't there, its a great listen. If you, were, kick back and just groove on the good ideas again.

Thanks To MODA who did most of the heavy lifting.

Thanks to our Moderator - Thomas Wheatley

Thanks to the Panel, Tim Keane, Ryan Gravel, Lisa Gordon, Jim Irwin, and Greg Burbidge.

Thanks to all the volunteers and staff at all the organizations. Fantastic.


Monday, November 9, 2015

Help the Architecture and Design Center Do What it Does, Only Better.

This is your chance to become a philanthropist at an affordable price. We'll be rolling out a full blown fundraising campaign in the new year, but you can give us a big head start by polishing up that monocle and clicking the "Donate" button bellow. Any $25 donation up through the end of the year will get you a shout-out in our next news letter and on Facebook. (Its also tax deductible)

You can see what we're all about and some of the things we've done by reading below.

Anyone interested in sponsoring ADC in a more intensive manner, you can reach us at

And thanks to our board, our 2015 Sponsor, HL Strategy

Thank you,
Nathan Koskovich, Chair of ADC.


Atlanta needs great urban design to attract the best and brightest, remain a global business center, and grow as a center for culture and innovation. With great design, we can develop buildings, infrastructure and communities for better place to work and live. The Architecture and Design Center (ADC) is working to be Atlanta’s design champion.

ADC believes that the practice of design is a fundamental part of creating a healthy world. Before we can make anything, we first have design it. We can design well and make our cities and towns healthy, convenient, and beautiful, or we can design poorly and make them, inefficient, ugly, even sickly. I know many of you share this belief in design. I know that your belief is based in your understanding of the power of design.

ADC is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to bringing an understanding of design and its impact on the world to the general public. Our board and volunteers are drawn from the wide range of individuals who care about and understand the power of design. We are Architects, Landscape Architects, City Planners, Engineers, Community Leaders, Design Fans, and Business Leaders contribute to our efforts.

In just under two years of full operations ADC has launched several impactful programs:

Georgia Design Archive Partnership
ADC, the Georgia and Atlanta chapters of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and Georgia Tech have initiated the Georgia Archive Partnership. Together we have recognized the pressing need to create an expanded archive of significant architecture and other design documents and objects in order to record the culture and history of architecture and related fields in Georgia. The archive will afford opportunity for research and for the organization of exhibits, lectures and other activities centered around the collection.

Shoptalk Podcast
The ADC conducts a series of interviews with local design professionals and advocates that are released regularly through our blog, Facebook and newsletters. The purpose of the program is to raise awareness of Atlanta’s design heritage and to provide an insider look at how designers see the world and their role in shaping it.

A new joint program of ADC and AIA Atlanta creates fun and educational events that provide opportunities a venue to celebrate Atlanta’s thriving and nationally significant restaurant scene while exploring the role of design played in creating those environments.

Bridgescape Competition
In order to help raise the quality of design in Atlanta, ADC, Central Atlanta Progress, the Midtown Alliance, and AIA Atlanta partnered to create and manage a design competition that will result in a real improvement to the built environment. It is well known that freeways divide major parts of our city. ADC and its partners created a design competition in which entrants were asked to design pedestrian environments over this highway system. The winning entries will be built.

Turning Point: Atlanta on the Verge Public Panel
The Architecture and Design Center (ADC) and the Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA)co-hosted Commissioner Tim Keane and other members of Atlanta's design and development community for a public conversation on the future of Atlanta; its design needs, challenges, strengths and goals.

We've had great success in a short period of time. Now we aim to build on this success by cultivating a progressive design movement in the Atlanta region. We need your help to engage people from all walks of life who demand better design and better communities. Please join us in our efforts to promote higher standards of design for our communities.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

#028 - Tony Rizzuto - First You Must Observe

Dr. Tony Rizzuto never had any intention of becoming an academic. He grew up wanting to be a practicing architect, but his professors noticed "he talked a lot" in class, and evidently liking what they heard, encouraged him to become a teacher.

As Chair of Kennesaw State University's Department of Architecture, Tony has an unique ability to connect architectural history and theory to the challenges of modern architectural practice in a way that helps students understand the value of architecture education.

One of the challenges of training architects that Tony and the rest of the faculty face is making students awareness of architecture. It's not  that students have no experience with buildings, but that they have so much experience and have thought so very little about them.

That's why Kennesaw State students begin their education by simply observing and recording public spaces: how people move and react to space, how spaces change over time, the latent potential of space, and the physical characteristics of spaces.

For anyone interested in impacting and changing the buildings, neighborhoods, cities, and communities we live in, a good place to start is simply observing how people and spaces actually interact. 

Lots of names, lots of links this time. Peruse and I think it will be worth your wild. You'll learn a little about high theory, and a little about all the work it takes to become an architect. 


Architecture Schools

Becoming an Architect

People to Know


Architecture Firms
Cooper Carry 

Dr. Tony Rizzuto is Chair and Associate Professor of the Department of Architecture at KSU. He has taught architecture and urbanism for over 20 years, written numerous articles on architecture and organized international symposia on the Bauhaus and Le Corbusier. He is currently a member of the KSU Livable Communities Initiative and a member of the Board of Directors of the Midtown Alliance, where he also serves on the Sidewalk Activation and Public Art Committee and the Midtown Comprehensive Transportation Plan Steering Committee. In 2015, he was the Competition Manager for the Atlanta Bridgescape Competition a joint venture between the Midtown Alliance, Central Atlanta Progress, ADID and the Atlanta Design Center. For the past ten years Dr. Rizzuto has served on the City of Atlanta’s Development Review Committee for SPI-16 & 17 and Chaired the Midtown Neighbor’s Association Land Use Committee. He is also the Georgia Regional Coordinator for Future City, a national STEM competition for middle school students.
Before turning to academia, Dr. Rizzuto was Principal of the design firm Metastasis and had previously worked for Cooper Carry & Associates in Atlanta. He earned a B.S.ARCH from the University of Florida, an M.ARCH from the University of Illinois Chicago and a Ph.D. in architectural history and theory from Georgia Tech.

New Lego House (Cir Sept 2015) by my Nephew Owen.