Fear

30 09 2011

Fear is a funny thing. We all suffer from it; some hide it well while others wear it for all to see. We have fears on a macro level; fears regarding the national and world economies or fears regarding terrorism and war or fears regarding world hunger and poverty or fears regarding the deterioration of our environment or…We also have fears on a micro level; fears regarding our job security or fears regarding our financial struggles or fears regarding our health our fears regarding our relationships…All fears, if they remain unchecked, can have an adverse affect on us and even compound that fear into reality, a self-fulfilling prophecy.

But, enough about fear. Today I am remembering a time when I was fearless. A few years ago, as I was approaching my 54th birthday, Judy asked how I wanted to celebrate my birthday; we finally decided we would have a birthday weekend in Ocean City. In the course of planning my birthday weekend, my deep secret (and fear) of having never been on a Ferris wheel came to light; Judy immediately said that it was a right of passage to ride the gigantic amusement ride on the boardwalk in Ocean City. Since we were still early in our relationship and I wanted to impress her, I cheerfully agreed that the ride was a must; all the time hoping that it might be forgotten or it might rain or time would run out…

The weekend arrived and, excited as I was, the Ferris wheel experience was still on the agenda and panic was beginning to set in. However, as Friday evening evolved, I started being caught up in a moment; we, first, went for an evening walk on the beach and were immediately presented the most gorgeous full moon rise over the breaking waves of the ocean (can I just say that the embrace and kiss was magical) and then took the four-legged children for a walk and a Dune Doggie at Aunt Betty’s (best ice cream in Ocean City). The next morning (my actual birthday) I was presented with wonderful gifts and cards and…………All through the day, we wandered the beaches, the shops, restaurants, etc. until (and before I knew it) we arrived at the amusement park…Hhhmmmmmm…Now, the moment of truth. Sure, I could tell you lots of stories of cockiness and boldness but, I think I did something even more profound, I told Judy the truth; I told her of my fears and the fact that I had never been on a Ferris wheel in my life. Did she laugh? Did she mock me? No…Judy took my hand, led me through to our gondola, and put her arm around me as the great wheel began to move.

That night, together, I saw sights that you can only enjoy from that special vantage point; I saw the skyline of Atlantic City, I saw that beautiful full moon casting its light over the waves, I saw the entire boardwalk stretched out before us; but, most of all, I saw a beautiful caring woman sitting beside me and knew that I was truly in love…I was fearless.

Post Script…The following poem was written to commemorate that birthday and I still remember each event as thought it happened a few moments ago…and no, I haven’t been on a Ferris wheel, since that night; but, if Judy asked to go for another ride, I can’t think of a place I’d rather be than in her company enjoying views of the world below.

Forty Nine + Five Fête

I.

Intoxicating, scarlety-orange lunar sphere;

Pronouncement of its resolve over the flourish

Of frothy wave’s enchantment.

Enveloped within euphoric harmony,

Merely pretense heretofore.

II.

Lurid jade and azure communiqué sited discreetly;

Symbolic of passionate phraseology embossed

Within the leaves of the mind.

Evening veiled within wondrous expectancy,

Passionate speculation.

III.

Joyous dawn, light piercing tranquil slumber;

An anniversary renowned in adolescence,

Censured in maturity.

Giddiness flourishes within the inner child,

Inexplicable precedent.

IV.

Colossal tectonic sphere studded with gondolas;

Omen of past anxieties exclaimed

Without contemplation, now released.

Impeded right of passage realized,

Emancipation seized.

V.

Dazzling admirer of celestial and earthly trinkets;

Epitome of love’s perfection

Forever alive, forever realized.

Forty nine + five fête and counting,

World-rocked, world-rocking.





Accessible-Adaptable

27 09 2011

Now that’s a mouthful…But really simple, if you think about the individual definitions, and then combine them…

ac·ces·si·ble [ak-ses-uh-buhl]

adjective

  1. easy to approach, reach, enter, speak with, or use.
  2. that can be used, entered, reached, etc.: and accessible road; accessible ruins. (and accessible dwelling or building).

a·dapt·a·ble [uh-dap-tuh-buhl]

adjective

  1. capable of being adapted.
  2. able to adjust oneself readily to different conditions: an adaptable person.

ac·ces·si·ble – a·dapt·a·ble

adjective?

  1. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse convallis posuere vestibulum. Sed augue sapien, eleifend sed lobortis a, dapibus eleifend nulla.

Yes, I am being a little facetious, one could easily combine the number 1 entries of the two definitions and immediately determine that accessible – adaptable should mean that a building (or system) is capable of being adapted toward accessibility. Yet, when discussed with many, even in the construction field, this idea falls on deaf ears as though you were speaking Latin.

So, let’s digress a little bit and then bring this subject back home…

I’ve noticed, lately, that I am getting a bit older and getting up and down the stairs is becoming more adventurous (particularly with 7 spaniels and 5 cats tumbling down with me); I’ve also noticed that I don’t hear as well as I used to; or that I could use a little balance getting up and down from a seated position (any seated position). Sure, I still exercise and stay active but, what if I live to 70 or 80 or beyond?

Judy’s parents, in their 70’s, are still living very independently; but, her father Rich, has had a knee replacement and, while he enjoys not having to deal with a two-story house, he would surely appreciate more accommodations to assist him in his daily routines. Her mother, Sally, remains very spry but would also probably appreciate more accommodations to assist her to assist him. My 82 year old mother, Louie, gets around great; but, she now lives in a senior apartment complex that has many accessibility features built-in.

I also have friends who have become disabled, due to accident or illness, and now face the many daily challenges of living (and working) in less than accommodating structures. Many times, those that find themselves in the life-changing situation of a disability must look for new homes or spend significantly to adapt their present home.

So, back at the ranch, I am suggesting that all new buildings be built in such a way that they can be adapted to our ever changing lifestyle. You may have a very active lifestyle, currently; and, a change in your health or mobility should not preclude you from maintaining that active lifestyle. You should also not be expected to give up your current home or job due to changing circumstances; that’s what this is all about, adaptability.

I am not suggesting that we all live in single-story homes that are akin to a hospital suite. What I am suggesting though, is that we build in supports and systems that allow a home to be adapted. I am also suggesting that we address pragmatic design issue such as circulation paths and widths, doorway widths, workspace areas, etc. so that mobility is not impaired. As a matter of fact, what would be wrong with having a lower section of kitchen and bathroom counter that might be used as a different purpose now but become wheelchair accessible in the future; I know that many times, a lower counter is nice for working doughs and I often pull up a stool to sit as I prepare meals. And, it’s not just being adaptable for for mobility issues but also for sight and hearing issues that might arise. And, I am not poo-pooing the idea of two-story, just arguing that adaptability must also be considered; as a matter of fact, when Judy and I remodel our two-story home, many feature will be included to allow us to adapt as our lifestyles change and evolve.

In previous blogs, I have talked about the idea of hearth and home; and am a proponent of creating that life-long family home as opposed to the trade-um-up MacMansion lifestyle of many of today’s residential developments; the concept of  adaptable – accessible make that a more plausible reality (in conjunction with other lifestyle decisions). As a board member of the Salem County Habitat for Humanity, I can tell you that all future builds will be adaptable.

So, as I have been saying all along; think, plan, dream…but, just as importantly, talk to a design professional and capitalize on the expertise that will include, not only lifestyle discussions, but also lifestyle adaptability.





Measuring Distance

23 09 2011

As an architect, I am always measuring various distances; I am looking at room sizes, how far away from a property line I may be, how close my project might be to infrastructure, etc. I then take many of those distances and compound them to calculate volumes that have effect on my design solution and may determine what restrictions or benefits building codes, zoning ordinances, deed restrictions, etc. will provide.

Measuring is something that we learned, many years ago, in school; we were given rulers and yardsticks and everything started being given values. We quickly learned the sizes of such things as paper and how a piece might be broken down in order for us to learn to write; remember the great distances between lines, in the first grade, so that we could maneuver that fat pencil in order to make or first letters and numbers (and how the distance shrunk as we became more proficient)?

Then there was the athletic field (which many of us still focus on). We quickly learned, whether wearing a football uniform or band uniform, how many yards comprised a football field and how you might maximize those distances in order to be victorious (yup, won a few band competitions in school as a member of one hell of a marching band). During little league baseball season, it was how much distance to hit a home run; on the golf course, distance determined my club choice; swimming and running races were judged relative to distance; and Judy certainly thought about distances (and jump heights) in all of her equestrian events.

Sure, there are other measures that are relevant in our daily lives but, distance, has been one of those that is paramount in most activities. So, it’s no wonder that, as I tried to quantify my growing love for Judy during the beginning of our relationship, that I took up the topic of measuring distance and attempted to use it metaphorically. The following poem is simplistic in its structure and its phraseology is not complicated; but, I believe its premise is as true today as the day I wrote it, with one exception…as our love has grown, the distance between us has shrunk to an imperceptible distance that no physical tool can measure; its only true measure, HAPPINESS!!!

Enjoy:

Distance

 Distance,

Measured in

Inches, feet, yards, miles,

Appears as immeasurable.

Distance,

Measured in

Seconds, minutes, hours, days,

Appears as unbearable.

Distance,

Measured in

Hopes, dreams, ideas, imaginings,

Appears as love.

The shortest distance between

Two people is love…………





An Interview???

20 09 2011

The creative mind is a beautiful thing, I think…The creative mind is always looking for new and different ways to accomplish the varying daily tasks of its host…My mind is no different…

Therefore, today’s blog is the product of my latest thoughts into how to make a fun and readable entry without falling back on the same old technical styles that we are all so used to seeing. Today, in my mind, I am imagining a new, glossy, trendy magazine called Starving Architect interviewing a trendy, older architect (me) about what has been going on for the last several months.

It might go something like this:

Starving Architect (SA):    So, Hue, we’ve noticed that you’ve been quite, on the social networking scene, for the last three months can you give us a little insight as to what’s been happening in the world of Hue Architecture?

Hue (Hue):    Believe it or not, We’ve been busy working on three exciting projects. The first is a project that has actually been on our books for a couple of years now, it’s the remake of a portion of the 400 block of Market Street in Downtown Wilmington; the second is the interior architecture for a new jewelry store for Carl Doubét Jewelers, in Wilmington; and the third is a conversion of a property, from a commercial country club, into a private residence.

SA:    This sounds exciting, can you give us some more information on the projects; we’ve heard a little bit about the 400 Market project so let’s start there.

Hue:    Sure. As you may recall, this was a project in which our client purchased the entire east side of the 400 block of North Market Street in downtown Wilmington. The properties were the result of a major office building development on the adjacent street which only left full buildings at the block corners book-ending 15′ deep shells and empty lots in the remainder. Our goal was to design, through restoration and new construction, boutique retail and eating venues on the first level with living spaces above.

SA:  Can you share why the project has been delayed and is just now getting underway?

Hue:  Unfortunately, it’s the same story that you may be hearing from many, that of difficulties in finding the right financing package with all of the restrictions that are now being placed on projects by most lenders. All of this was in place, at one time; but, with the ever changing financial landscape, both nationally and globally, more creative approaches had to be developed and that caused more time to be needed for implementation.

SA:    Is the project the same as was originally designed or have there been changes.

Hue:    Essentially, the project is the same, with a couple of notable differences. The most obvious is that the new, infill building in the center of the block is on hold and will be redeveloped in the future, at a smaller scale; Perhaps less obvious is the demolition and reconstruction of a couple of the shells that decomposed more rapidly during the delays; and then there are the value engineering components that were necessary in order to make the budgets work within the new financial parameters.

SA:    When can we expect to see the project completed?

Hue:    The contractors and owner expect to have the project ready for occupancy around mid-spring of 2012. Over the next several months, we will be posting progress photos on our facebook page to give everyone a chance of follow the progress and comment on the executed design.

SA:  Tell us a little bit about the jewelry store project, we’ve heard of Carl Doubét Jewelers and are curious as to what they are up to.

Hue:    Carl, Frank, and Nola Hendry came to me late last year with a plan to relocate their Greenville store into a new and exciting venue that would allow them to grow and address the ever evolving fashion changes that they were also experiencing in the jewelry business. The Greenville store has since closed, they are working in temporary quarters, and construction of the new venue is starting in earnest.

SA:    What can you tell us about the new design.

Hue:    Not much, at the moment; Carl has started ad campaign in which he reveals pieces of the puzzle as we approach the opening of the new store. I can tell you that the new store will be expanded to 4,000 square feet, will offer a warm and exciting shopping experience, and will make a statement (as Carl often does). You can go to the Carl Doubét Jewelers facebook page and glean more information. I, too, will start posting some of the images on the Hue Architecture as they become public.

SA:That sounds very exciting, keep us posted on the project progress. Now, what’s this about a conversion from country club to private residence.

Hue:    This, like the other projects, is also a fun endeavor.  my clients purchased an old, delapidated country club property in the late spring of this year with the goal of reduction, restoration, modernization, and adaptation.

SA:    Now that’s a mouthful, can you elaborate?

Hue:    Sure, over time, the club had expanded the building to keep pace with the evolving private club scene, in order to offer more to their membership; and the charming, original structure had become surrounded by ill fitting additions and modifications that watered down its architectural presence to that of a typical suburban decorated shed, it had no more character or charm. My clients wanted to remove the multitude of additions to the original structure, restore its original charming facade on the golf course, give it a modern twist on the river facade, and adapt it to their desired residential vision of hearth and home.

Unfortunately, during demolition of the additions, we continued to be plagued with too many instances of structural inadequacy or damage due to weather infiltration or just poor workmanship and maintenance. As of this interview, the entire structure has been decomposed so that we can place proper foundations and a stable structural system for the home.

SA:    Is this having a significant effect on your design?

Hue:    Of course, but most of it is very positive; while I would have preferred to restore much of the existing and play off of the original architect’s design, we now have much more flexibility in how I approach  the creation of a new home. The clients and I have had many discussions regarding where the design should go, with the flexibility that has been created with the total decomposition; but, have wholeheartedly, embraced the original idea of paying homage to the existing design while putting that modern spin that will create the fun juxtaposition that we are striving for.  The design is still a work in progress so keep an eye on the Hue Architecture facebook page for updates and images.

SA:    Wow, you certainly have been busy. Of course, we still have to ask the question that all Starving Architect readers want to know; are you making any money?

Hue:    My accountant asks that same question. The answer is a little bit; I’m not setting the world on fire but I am starting to see a little bit of cash flow that is allowing me to keep my head almost above water. More importantly, I am having fun, I am working on exactly the type of projects that I identified when we started our practice that allow me to work closely with clients and place a more personal touch without getting caught in the corporate whirlwind that consumed our profession a few years ago. It’s my hope that similar opportunities continue to evolve and we all see a resurgence in the confidence that it is going to take to get all starving architects back to work.

OK, in a creative mind, such as mine, this is how the interview might have gone. It was fun trying a new approach and I hope it creates some interest. The fact is, I am enjoying my professional life, a bit more, and do see a little brightness on the horizon; stay tuned for more insights into the professional (and sometimes personal) life of this architect.

Enjoy and share!!!





Dusting Off the Poetry

14 09 2011

I woke up, this morning, to a familiar sound, the clicking of spaniel toenails on the wood flooring of our bedroom; it was George hinting that it might be time to get up and start enjoying the day. Of course, any of you that know Judy and I, also know that our crowd usually sleeps in bed with us; however, George has recently decided that he might be more comfortable in a little bed on the floor that is not shared by five other siblings (or Mom and Dad, for that matter). And, as is always the case, one spaniel arising soon has the others clamoring for a quick hug and then an even quicker exodus to the back yard for a little relief.

As a lay there and waited for Shayna to jump onto my pillow to lick my face “good morning”, I allowed the clicking of the toenails to take me back, a bit; back to a time,  a few years ago, when Judy and I were just staring our life together. The pups (only three back then) slept in various places around the room but not in our new little nest; and, each morning we would be called to action by the impatient clicking of our Doberman, Blink, and our Toy Spaniels, Jasmine and Lora Lu, notifying us that the day was already half over (yes, half over at 6 AM).  Unfortunately, Jazzy departed her worldly presence, too soon, and left Lora Lu to sleep with Blink, which lasted about a night until we caved and invited her to spend a night or two in bed with us. Since that time, and in order for Lora Lu to not be lonely, we’ve added to our little Spaniel  kingdom; Lora graciously offered to share her (our???) bed and we now awaken each morning with greetings from Lora, Shayna, Pookie, Dahlila, Charlie, Millie, and Georgie (of course).

But how I digress…I started this reminiscence thinking about the familiar sound of spaniel toenails on the wood floor. The sound that brought back wonderful memories of Lora Lu, Jasmine, and Blink. But, also of a poem that I penned to attempt reflections on how phenomenal my new life, with Judy, was evolving; and, though I don’t write as much, I still marvel at the wonderful life we share.

So, in honor of Lora, Shayna, Pookie, Dahlila, Charlie, Millie, and Georgie (Thanks for the clicking this morning), and also for Jasmine and Blink and NuGuy watching over from above, here’s my little poem to Judy:

Morning Song

The faint luminosity of a new dawn

Lithe tresses tickle my imagination

click, click, click…

Twittering of birds, commencement of their morning sonata

Silken skin, sumptuous against my being

click, click, click…

The scent of love permeates the gentle breeze

A fervent cuddle stirs my fancy

click, click, click…

One more embrace evokes the past

One more kiss rejoices the present

The day unfurls before us

I’ll awaken beside you now and forevermore.





WHERE’S HUE???

14 09 2011

A few weeks ago (OK, it was July 14th), I responded to a facebook comment regarding the absence of blogging and posting on the Hue Architecture sites; I stated, emphatically, that I would have something up by the following week. So, for those that like to do the math, my last post was on June 10, I made my bold promise a month later (July 14th), and it is now September 14th; that’s three months my friends and, entirely too long!

To what do i owe this sudden resurgence of interest and energy? Well, this morning I attended a meeting of the Woodstown-Pilesgrove Business Association (WPBA) and enjoyed a great presentation regarding networking, presented by Kim from DryGuys Basement Systems, and then stayed for another presentation, by Ron from SiteRipe Web Solutions, regarding the re-design of the WPBA website. This unfroze a couple of braincells and I said, “Huh….I go to networking events, I have a website, I have a blog, I have a facebook page…Why the hell have I let them all become stagnant?”

After a brief chat and a little more networking I, enthusiastically, made my way to the office and immediately pried at the rusty hinges to open my sites. As I brushed away the cobwebs to Hue Architecture Thoughts, I was immediately shocked and embarrassed by the discovery of an ignored comment to my blog that was posted on June 12th. The post was from Daniel of Ironstone Sculpture Garden regarding my blog entitled Art and Architecture; his words were generous and timely. I, without hesitation, responded to Daniel, apologizing and thanking him while, in my mind, kicked myself and made excuses for this blunder; again, for those who do the math, my response was posted three months late. This, my friends, is unforgivable and I, again, apologize to Daniel and also thank him for his kind words.

Is there a lesson here? I should think so…

The first is, if you “blow it”, pull your head out of your “a**”, admit your mistake, and move forward.

Second, if you make a commitment to do something, follow-through; often the issue is time management, the blogging and posting, in this instance (in most instances), requires a small block of time and if you schedule that time and follow-through, the task becomes routine.

Third, if someone takes the time to read and respond to your posts, respond in a timely fashion and let them know that you appreciate their efforts; they may not always agree with you but their perspective can often cause debate which almost always results in a great exchange of ideas.

And, lastly, re-read the first lesson and learn from your mistakes.

So, here’s the deal and, in the immortal words of Bob Wills, “I’m back in the saddle again…” I have decided to block out time, on subsequent Monday mornings, and will be writing about all of the things that pique my interest. I have been, somewhat, busy; so, next Monday’s blog will bring you up to speed on a couple of exciting design projects. And, in weeks to come, I feel a rant coming on regarding the economy; also, I think I’ll pop in a poem within a couple of hours just to add a bit of diversity.

Oh yeah, did I mention that I’ve started Real Estate School. Diversity for the starving architect; but, more about that later.

Have a phenomenal week!!!








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