#Architects are in it for the long haul, not like startups

Yesterday I tweeted link of the video (http://t.co/nGUXR88) of the AIA National Award winner of 2011, BNIM Architects. I was inspired by the video and really still think architecture is a laudable and really neat profession, despite its woes in the recent years. Those four guys (B, N, I, and M) have been practicing for the past 40 years, honing their skills and designing sustainably from day one.

I think architects are really in for the long haul.. practicing their craft and making tangible, physical spaces to serve and delight people for years to come.

Yes, other fields like social media, technology and medical sciences are moving fast and furious. The mentality of startups is entirely different — come up with something new, push it to the market, and sell the company/technology in 3-5 years to make lots of money, and start up another company again.

I am often amazed by how people can constantly innovate in those areas and wonder why architecture cannot have that kind of speed and innovation. Today I realized that — architecture is like the “anti” startup. It is a century old profession that does not fundamentally change over the years, but has only become more litigious and complex because of market forces. Architects have become more efficient in their production of drawings and communications, but other factors such as economic, legal and the overall inertia of the construction industry has been preventing the architectural profession from innovating.

What are your thoughts? Does the architectural profession need to innovate? What is the end goal of innovation — better buildings, easier and productive work for architects, etc.?


Focus on bigger picture, long term goal

Today I hit a little road bump and was slightly discouraged and depressed. But life is not without its little surprises. In the large scope of things, this little hiccup is nothing. What is more important is focus on the long view — what is important, what I want to ultimately achieve in my life. It is a question I constantly ask myself. The question does not change much over time, but the actions change as my life evolves. As of now this is the list, and of course there are sub-actions under these bullet points.

– Live sustainably and fully

– Do good

– Educate the young

– Take care of loved ones

For those who actually read my blog, what do you think?

“How would you live differently if you knew life could change in an instant?”

… that was the question my friend @LaurenWLarsen asked on her Facebook and Twitter posts.

A very good question for everyone.

For me: enjoy every moment you have with your loved ones. Forgive and forget people who wrong you. Let go of things that are not important.

I think I am doing OK on the items above, but really if I know everything changes tomorrow, I think the only thing I will do NOW is to be with my family and spend every moment with them. Nothing else matters…. not the job, the work (which is different from the job), the what-ifs, self-doubts, the would-haves, the should-haves.

Why can’t we live like that now, even without the life-changing events? Are people too jaded and inundated with their daily routines, desires and needs, and have forgotten what it really means to live? For me, does that mean selling all the material assets that blog us down, let go of unnecessary obligations, and truly serve life in its full purpose? More thinking is required….

I love the fact that there is a lot more space to write here than a mere 140 (Twitter) or 420 (Facebook) characters. More to come….

Monday planning

Monday morning. I always allot a slot of time to do weekly planning for the week. All is done over a cup of coffee and a warm chocolate croissant. While the calendar looks nice and packed, something unexpected usually pops up, causing reshuffling of priorities and compressing schedules.

I do welcome the unexpected… Isn’t this life is all about? It takes you to surprising places and in the process you learn from the experience. For me, going freelance is a sense of liberation. I love the freedom and think I have the discipline to make it work.

Now off the actually sticking to the schedule and get some work done! Happy Monday you all!!

“Tools” for Monday planning.


Mother’s Day Vegan Dishes #Eco #vegan

Ok, we are going to have a family pot luck brunch this Sunday to celebrate Mother’s Day. My mom is a vegan and I am trying to be one (more vegetarian than vegan). Below are the dishes I am planning to make. I thought I would share my ideas with you:

1. Grilled asparagus, zucchini, bell peppers, egg plant with olive oil. Served with thinly sliced fuji apples, candied walnuts and (vegan) cheese.

2. Warm quinoa salad: quinoa, sun-dried tomatoes, sliced olives, lots of fresh lemon juice, olive oil.

3. Baked polenta cakes with soy and mirin sauce.

Please feel free to share your fave vegan recipes!

Learning For the Very Young — Paper or iPad?

I am cleaning out my son’s school stuff this afternoon. Lots and lots of paper to go through and recycle, making me think as humans we consume so much in order to survive and acquire basic skills (such as writing). I thought if it would be beneficial if schools go paperless (like that kindergarten which purchased iPads for all their kids for learning).

But I think there is something missing if one’s learning is all electronic… I cannot imagine the textures of different paper, writing instruments (pens, pencils, crayons, paint brushes, etc), and the tactile experience of “analog” writing on paper can ever replicated on the computer. I am afraid the removal of physical materials in the learning process will further disconnect our kids to nature and sustainability. After all, they should know where everything is coming from.

What do you think? I think the key is to use paper and other resources wisely and efficiently, and of course to make sure the materials always get recycled.