Our Blog: The "why" behind the "what", and what we think is really important . . .

Elementary School (Design) Memories . . .

Elementary School (Design) Memories . . . The debate over the demolition of Hopi Elementary School in the Arcadia neighborhood of Phoenix got me thinking about the history of the "finger-plan" school here in Arizona, the history of the design concept in general, and why these things are worth considering as we try to determine what constitutes "progress" in the modern context. My first experience of the classic Arizona finger plan school came in 4th grade, at Wrightstown Elementary School in Tucson. My family had relocated the summer before from Illinois, and I attended with my younger sister for two years. What I remember most about Wrightstown were the windows - one entire side of the classroom was steel sash window (perhaps aluminum, but that sash style window in any event), from 3 feet off the floor, to what seemed like 10 or 11 feet at the roofline. Coming from Illinois, ... Read more

On the Fate of the Jokake Inn

On the Fate of the Jokake Inn On October 4th 2017, the Phoenix City Council voted 7-2 to approve the Planned Use Development (PUD) for the further development of the Phoenician Resort. The approval will allow the previously entitled 321 "residential units" to be constructed, as well as an additional 37 "residential units", not previously entitled. I attended the hearing, and spoke in favor of the City moving to officially protect the Jokake Inn, as part of the agreement with the Owner that the PUD represents. Three other people stood up to speak on behalf of the Jokake Inn - a total of four people, in a city of four and a half million people. While I don't expect that many people would be able to take the afternoon off from work to sit through a 2 hour City Council meeting, I'm surprised that none of the "official preservation people" in ... Read more

Can An Architect Appreciate Project Runway?

Can An Architect Appreciate Project Runway? Outside of my immediate family (who are also fans), my interest in (and enjoyment of) Project Runway isn't something I talk about much, but I thought it might make for an interesting blog post. I started watching midway through the eighth season of the show, which has just started its sixteenth season on Lifetime. My wife and daughter had started watching the show together a few years prior; I’d generally be practicing guitar in my office, occasionally traversing the family room to get a cup of coffee. I soon realized that, with increasing frequency, I was stopping to watch for a few minutes here and there, especially towards the end of the show. Now, the more cynical among you might be tempted to be a bit suspicious of my motives, but allow me to explain a bit further . . . Much of the first half of each ... Read more