Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tulip Days 2008

This is a design for a kinetic sculpture on Chicago's Magnificent Mile, Michigan Ave. The theme for the year called for celebrating architecture in the Windy City. I was part of a team from VOA Associates, Inc. that came up with this final design. The concept was that the City is not a static thing. It is always changing, growing, evolving. Our sculptural skyline was built with parts that responded to the wind. Solar powered lighting illuminated the whole from within. Good times.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

All I Want for Christmas is the Empire State Building

In the 9/2009 issue of Architectural Record it suggests, "Ask architects what their favorite toy was growing up, and LEGO will likely rank among their top picks." Well it was true for me. I clearly remember tinkering with LEGOs for endless hours on end in my family's Rogers Park home in Chicago. I was in kindergarten or 1st Grade or so. An immigrant Filipino boy learning the Pledge of Allegiance in Mrs. Sterling's class, learning how to chicken fight on an asphalt playground without cracking my head open and learning how to cross Pratt Blvd with the help of an angel in the form of a yellow raincoated crossing guard, again, without cracking my head open. It was around 1974.

Well, LEGO, sparked by a bright, brilliant and colorful idea by Illinois, USA architect Adam Reed Tucker, has added more models to its year-old architectural line. Now kids and kids in their 40's can build their own Empire State Building, Falling Water and the Chicago John Hancock for starters. Tucker, in the above photo from his website, is an artist in his own right. LEGO is his medium. And he uses it to "Imagine - Invent - Inspire". So much so, his work is displayed in an exhibit in the Museum of Science and Industry of Chicago. Thanks LEGO and thanks Adam.

Oh ...

... Santa?

... in case you're listening ...

I have been a very good boy this year.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Live Forever - The Michael Jackson Monument Design Competition

This is my entry to Live Forever - The Michael Jackson Monument Design Competition. The competition is being hosted by Archinect and Bustler. Two great architecture/design websites. I love these competitions because they help me keep my design-chops limber. My description and photo source credits follow:

Michael Jackson’s “Heal the World”

A single reflective orb centered in a field of grass. The 30 foot sphere represents the world. Visitors at the field’s edge are beckoned to touch the reflective surface. Crossing the field is an act of coming together. Once the surface is touched, the world is healed. Upon seeing their own reflection, people realize that together they are healing themselves.

Gary, IN, USA on reclaimed industrial shoreline.

The location shall be an example of how we can heal the world, a fitting tribute to Michael.

photo sources:
Flickr users “Claudio.AR” and “fakebook” with user “Fish777-ka”.

Another inspiration came from Chicago's Millenium Park "Cloud Gate". But looking on YouTube, Michael Jackson's Superbowl 1993 Performance must have been somewhere in my psyche. As far as Jackson's legacy, I do hope all the controversy rusts away and the message of this song remains.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Art Institute of Chicago's Modern Wing

Chicago has a new glass house ...


I walked around a bit. My mood was delighted by the floating Grand Stair. It appeared weightless in complete contrast to the grounded Grand Stair in the classical original building.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The LORD said, "Nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them."

An artist's concept of the biblical Tower of Babel below:
Athanasius Kircher, Turris Babel 1679
Genesis 11: 1-5

Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.
They said to each other, "Come, let's make bricks and bake them thoroughly." They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth."

But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. The LORD said, "If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.

Ground breaking for the Burj Dubai was 9/4/2004. There is a similarity between the Kircher drawing of 1679 and the under construction photo by photographer Calajava. People have been writing, blogging, taking photos of the new tower being built in Dubai for years now.
And I would think there have been people writing about the Tower's similarity to the Tower in the Bible.

The story of Tower of Babel has always been a stickler for me. Why would God deliberately divide us so that we can not reach our potential? Despite all the answers that I've studied and listened to, such as the Babel Tower was not for God but for Man's Pride, there is still a question in my heart as to why would an infinite God (or a god) be so threatened by the finite Human that this God would deliberately act to put us in our place by messing us up? Even human parents wish and give everything so their children can excel.  Why would a Father in Heaven be any different to his own Children?  Puzzling ...

Well, Bible or not, God or not, messed up or not, the Dubai Tower is almost finished with a delayed opening in 12/2009. Just in time for Christmas! Even before its december opening, the Burj Dubai stands as a 818 meter (2683.73 feet) symbol of what we can accomplish. God went on the record saying, nothing will be impossible for us. And it makes me think ...

What is next on the to-do list?

Friday, July 03, 2009

Chicago: Beanstalk City

02.02.2009: Humanity has grown to not only live off the planet but dictate how it will develop. With our abilities of controlling the environment, lengthening our life spans, our ease at circumnavigating the globe, we have pioneered the earth to find that it has its limits. Our suburbs and farms have taken away earths natural habitats. The wild is becoming increasingly difficult to find. And the wild we find, we cage into preserves. We can not continue on this course.

“Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet …” Agent Smith from The Matrix

We now have a responsibility to give back what we have taken. We need to create a habitat for ourselves. Abandon our suburbs. Contain our sprawl. Concentrate our lives and allow the earth to heal itself. Our cities shall be our habitat, our preserve, as in Chicago above. Our cities will use completely solar, wind, geothermal and other new sources of energy that do not make our atmosphere sick.

Similar in diagram to our own neural cells, our cities will house mega-populations in superstructures interconnected by a vast network of underground tunnels. Through which resources such as food will be transported, information and energy shared. Our concentrated way of living will relieve the earth of its burden to grow our food by constructing our own farms within the mega-structures of our cities. Farm land will be given back. Resources will be more conveniently shared by our proximity to each other. Our cities will be located throughout the world, like outposts, beanstalks to the sky, living among the wild life. We will allow the earth to self-sustain as we sustain ourselves in our cities.

We will use our earth-shaping abilities to save it, saving ourselves. We will be blessed to witness the resurrection of the earth’s natural habitats. By bounding ourselves, nature will grow beyond the fences we have constructed to allow lost ecosystems to replenish and redevelop. The entire earth will be a wildlife preserve. It is our honor to be stewards of how the earth develops. Let us step up the challenge.

When Architecture = Art

These models were being exhibited at MoMA in New York City in December 2008. I like the way they blur the boundaries between architecture and art.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Angels in the Architecture May 2009

I took this photo from the top of the Howard L Platform ...

Friday, May 08, 2009

Bungalow 2006

This is my take on the Chicago bungalow ...

Friday, May 01, 2009

Painting March 2009

Here is a painting I did over the past couple months. Acrylic on canvas 30x40. It is the Chicago Red Line crossing over Montrose looking south. I've always loved while living in Uptown on the northside of Chicago in the late 1990's.

Monday, April 27, 2009

New York December 2008

While visiting the family in Bergen County, NJ in Dec. 08, I was able to take some pics with my camera phone of New York. Magnificent!

Michigan in April 2009

After my most recent lay-off, a couple of friends wisked me away to southwestern Michigan. I was treated to a Grand Tour. Gracias, Jesus and Rolando.

Grand Rapids Arts Museum

Grand Rapids Storefront

Michigan State Building - Dome
Grand Rapids Storefront
Michigan State Building

Monday, January 12, 2009

Back to Architecture and the Circle Interchange

And to get back to business, there this great competition for you architects who have been practicing for 10 years or less. Go to

I have some ideas of my own but I'm too old. It involves my favorite subject of getting rid of our dependence on cars. Let's bury the Circle Interchange!

Go Obama!