Update: Cool Spaces!


Steven Chung, AIA, interviewing Frank Geary, FAIA.  Photo courtesy of Cool Spaces!

Steven Chung, AIA, interviewing Frank Geary, FAIA. Photo courtesy of Cool Spaces!

Earlier this spring I wrote about a PBS program called Cool Spaces!, which aims to show viewers what’s new and exciting in the world of architecture and design.  At the time there were no air dates schedule in Nebraska, but I’m pleased to share that the program is currently airing on Wednesdays at 10:00pm on NET1.

If you’re curious, you can watch the trailer here.

And, you can visit the Cool Spaces! website here.

It’s always exciting to see architecture and architects featured on television.  Tune in and check it out.

2014 Architects’ Home Tour in Lincoln, NE



As a graphic designer, I sometimes think I understand architecture better than the average person, but after speaking to an architect, I realize how little I actually know.

I guess that’s part of the reason some of my favorite projects I have had the opportunity to work on are for architects, and the 2014 Architects’ Home Tour promotional materials are no exception. The learning process is eye-opening, and the ability to see first-hand what an architect can envision a livable space to be like, is inspiring.

This is actually the 5th home tour I have had the opportunity to do design for, and I think this one is extra special – or maybe that’s just because it’s landing on my fortieth birthday.


This years’ tour website. The Lincoln home tour is held every other year, and is co-sponsored by AIA Lincoln and the Architectural Foundation of Nebraska. There are six homes on the tour, and as usual, it looks like there is a wide variety of styles to view.


The program booklet cover, which also serves as the ticket into the homes. These can be purchased at any of the homes the day of the tour.

1408_architects-home-tour-posterDownload the tour poster. And I look forward to seeing you on September 21st. The tour runs from 1:00 – 4:30PM.

Measuring Green – The Next Innovation in Building Information Modeling


Architects are well aware that designs have a significant impact on the environment.  Understanding that impact with analytical data has been a challenge.  Building performance is complex and the tools and information required to make informed, timely decisions has typically not been readily available.  Architects have relied on rules of thumb, industry standards, rudimentary analysis and calculations, and prescriptive requirements to attempt to achieve “green design.”  Although well intentioned, these methods often fall well short of significantly improving building performance. 

Residential and commercial buildings account for over 30% of the total energy and 70% of all electricity consumed in the United States.  The requirements for improving on building performance and efficiency are becoming stricter and will require a shift in the paradigm for how projects are delivered in the future.  The rules of thumb and prescriptive methods of green design will simply not be adequate to achieve these greater performance standards.  Typically building performance is analyzed by the engineers in a process somewhat isolated from the architects and occurring after the design is essentially complete.  Feedback to the architect is limited and provided too late in the process to have meaningful effect on the design.  Earlier analytics in the design process is becoming necessary to achieve the higher performance standards required.

The advent of Building Information Modeling (BIM) in the design industry approximately a decade ago has continued to transform the entire design process.  What started as a platform to allow for greater coordination, consistency, and visualization has evolved into a platform that provides levels of information far beyond what was previously available.  This evolution now includes building performance analysis tools for the architect.  Models and design concepts generated very early in the process can be analyzed for their performance and efficiency.  Feedback is immediate and the data can be used as a basis for decision making.

Virtually all aspects of the building envelope can be evaluated and optimized for maximum efficiency, including: building orientation; thermal values of walls, roofs, and openings; glazing types and amounts; shading devices; day lighting effectiveness, etc.  The goal is to maximize the efficiency of the building envelope and minimize the energy load on the building.  The following outlines some of the design data that can be generated from performance modeling.

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The Guiding Lights


Architecture Hall, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Architecture Hall, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

We are in the season of graduations.  I know this because preparations are in the works to review LPS Architectural Design students’ nine weeks of work at the College of Architecture on May 13.  College graduations happen the week before, and graduation for High School students are the two weeks after.  I know the magnolia tree adjacent to the Architecture Hall Link will be in bloom and the students, after much effort and angst, will do a great job presenting. This is as has happened so many springs before. Sometimes when you get in such a cyclical routine, you overlook or undervalue those who have set the stage for you.  Last week contained National Teacher Appreciation Day so I would like to share just two of the many who have inspired me through this path of life and career in Architecture.

In Appreciation of Quiet Dedication and Leadership



Robert Ripley, AIA

Bryce Hastings photo

Bryce Hastings, AIA

All too often when significant accomplishments are achieved we have no idea of how much quiet dedication and leadership was required in the effort. A number of years ago Bryce Hastings, AIA, instead of quietly retiring, took on the challenge of serving as the President of the Nebraska Architectural Foundation. He has done an exceptional job of reviving and accomplishing the Foundation’s mission and goals. His quiet dedication and leadership began with the identification of critical topics and assuring that each activity was accomplished.

One of the most monumentally significant has been his leadership and partnership with Bob Ripley, AIA, the Director of the Office of the Capitol Commission, in securing content, resources and the filming of the NET production of Nebraska’s Capitol Masterpiece, which unfolds the complex history and cultural value of the Capitol for all Nebraskans. (The documentary is now available for streaming online.)

Bob Ripley in his own quiet manner has dedicated his career to the conservation and preservation of this masterpiece in every detail on a daily basis. This invaluable story could not have been developed without Bob’s exceptional knowledge and would not have been told if it had not been for the vision, dedication and persistent quiet leadership of both individuals. Although all of us are always very busy with our professional and personal lives we all owe our deepest appreciation to their quiet dedication and leadership.