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Transitions Round Table – July 9th

What: The annual YAF Transitions Round Table

When: Tuesday, July 9, 2013, 5:30 – 7:00pm

Where: 211 N Pennsylvania (Regions Tower), URS Offices on the 21st floor

5:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. – Networking, Dinner, Drinks (free)
6 p.m. – 7 p.m. – Dinner and drinks continue with Round Table Discussion, guests of honor: David Franklin (Domain Architecture), Diana M.H. Brenner FAIA (Brenner Design), and Craig McCormick (Blackline Studio)

This annual event is a chance to meet architects in our community who are a few steps ahead of us in their career progression. We discuss the steps and transitions they’ve gone through to get them where they’re at today. They have a wealth of tips and suggestions on how to best continue with our careers in the architectural profession. It’s often a fun and inspiring event. Along with great conversation, we also provide dinner and drinks. It’s one of our best attended events and could be a great one to attend to see what the YAF is all about.

If you’d like to receive the official invite, send us an email at yafindy@gmail.com and we will get you signed up. You’re also welcome to just show up.

A few more specifics on the location…

Address is 211 N. Pennsylvania. (Regions Bank Building), Indianapolis, IN. The 21st floor (3rd elevator bay from the garage entrance). Use the main door and we are going to be in the main conference room. (URS offices)

Parking is available in the building garage (not free), and access is limited to the Garage entrance at this time of day. However you could find a free or metered spot on one of the nearby streets and walk in from there.

Regions Tower

“Reflexivity” by Martin Summers – Recap

As always, we’re very appreciative of anyone who takes the time to share their experiences of working within the architectural profession. When that person has spent 10 years working at one of the most world recognized architectural firms, Morphosis, we appreciate it even more so. The evening’s discussion was an enlightening and inspiring look into a whole different world of architecture, one where facades are inspired by dark matter, and fire stairs are 3d printed to explain their complexity. If you missed out, here are a few notes from the presentation…

  • Facade designer at Morphosis. Went to school at University of Kentucky, went to UCLA with his wife for their graduate degrees. Had Thom Mayne as a professor. Ended up working there for ten years.
  • The Giant Interactive Group Corporate Headquarters in China was the first project they did that the client came to them, everything else had been competitions.
  • The building facade is to the building as clothing is to a human.
  • They were 26 people doing a billion dollars worth of work.
  • Design process is very iterative. Printed 3D models all the time. Caltrans was a 2 year project, with a million square feet. During schematic they were meeting with the client every other day. At every meeting they had a new model that reflected the conversations had at the previous meeting.
  • Interesting example of working with 3D models. They printed a city context model, one for their client and one for themselves. Every few days they would print two copies of their latest schematic designs. They would mail one set of the models to their client and then have a conference call during which they would both have physical models to look at even though they weren’t physically together.
  • Alan Price at Cal-Tech led the design team to think of things in a different way, very high-level stuff.
  • Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Caltech was all about getting scientists to run into one another. Informal conference spaces. Put bathrooms on one side and coffee-room on the other, forced opposing groups to cross paths/territories to reach areas. Lots of back and forth forced by program.
  • There is no nature anymore, it has all been touched. 
  • Morphosis won the Perot Museum competition, but the economy tanked. They scrapped their original design and showed the client a box of structure, to prove they could meet the halved budget.
  • Morphosis is able to stay competitive because they are so hyper-aware of every detail of their project. If an issue is discovered/created in the field they are rapidly able to adjust the documentation to account for it. This is aided by their heavy use of computer programs.
  • The iterative process leads you to discover where the limits are. You find what isn’t right for the project, you know it so well. It’s like an organism.
  • Marty has now left Morphosis and is teaching at the University of Kentucky. He has also started his own firm, PLUS SUM.

These notes barely do the presentation justice, but it was a great event and I’m sure we can expect to see more from Martin Summers in the future.

Cahill Center

 

Written by Ben McGhee

AIA Indy – “Reflexivity” – Martin Summers – June 13

What: “Reflexivity” a lecture by Martin Summers (founder of PLUS SUM, previously of Morphosis)

When: Thursday, June 13, 2013, 5:00PM – 7:00PM

Where: 201 N Illinois St #1410, Indianapolis (the AIA Indiana office)

5 p.m. – 6 p.m. – Networking, Hors D’oeuvres, Cash Bar
6 p.m. – 7 p.m. – Presentation – “Reflexivity” – Martin Summers, Assistant Professor of Architecture, University of Kentucky College of Design, Director and Founder of Plus SUM studio – Earn 1 AIA/CES Learning Unit

Speaker Information – Martin Summers is the principal and founder of Plus-Sum Design and an Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Kentucky College of Design; where he leads advanced studios focused on urban design and teaches electives in High Performance Building Envelopes and Design/Theory. He has 16 years experience in a variety of project types and scales, from small interior renovations to large-scale master planning.

Previously Mr. Summers spent 10 years at Morphosis Architects in Santa Monica, where he served as project designer on projects across all scales and rose to lead the office’s façade design and construction. In his last project with the office, he drove the design of the atrium and exterior facades for the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas Texas. Prior to the Perot Museum, Martin led the exterior façade team working on the design and execution drawings for the Phare Tower in Paris, France. He also served as the project designer on the Cahill Center for Astrophysics at Caltech in Pasadena, California and as project designer for the Caltrans District 7 Headquarters in Downtown Los Angeles; an entire city block across from City Hall where the urban design issues drove the solution. Other award winning projects include NYC 2012 Olympic Village design and master planning; Hypo Alpe-Adria Bank, Udine Italy; the Wayne L. Morse Federal Courthouse in Eugene, Oregon; and the University of Cincinnati Student Recreation Center among others.

Prior to working at Morphosis, Mr. Summers participated in a diverse range of projects from residential and worship spaces to sound stages for clients such as Warner Bros., Sony, and DreamWorks SKG. He received his Masters of Architecture degree from UCLA, and his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Kentucky College of Architecture, now the College of Design.

Perot Museum

This is Indy

ARE Prep Discussion – Recap

The YAF got together this week to discuss the always complicated process of becoming a registered architect; we covered all topics, including IDP, ARE, and dealing with the state licensing board. We were fortunate enough to have people from all stages of the process, including several recently registered architects and even someone who had just taken the structures test earlier that day.

One of the best takeaways was AREforum.org. If you’re starting to study for the ARE and you haven’t made it on the forum, you need to, it’s one of the best resources for preparing to take the test. We also discussed what order to take the tests in, in the end it’s up to you, but a few comments were: Don’t take PPP first, it’s so broad that you’re better off taking it after you’ve been studying awhile. Take CDs first, more than likely, where you’re most experienced. Save an easy one for last.

It was also interesting to hear the different time periods people took the tests in. One attendee had taken the tests on an every two week schedule. Another had a colleague who had taken them all back to back in one week, they then took the next 6 months to study for the two they had failed. The general consensus was to study for approximately a month before taking each test.

There was also a fair amount of frustration with trying to work through Indiana’s unnecessarily complicated process of receiving licensure. The checklist they offer online doesn’t actually list all of the necessary steps, and everyone in the state office does things differently. Of the three recently registered architects, all of them had been required to submit their reference documentation differently, one digitally, one printed it out and mailed, and one had to have the person giving the referral mail in a secure copy. As a result of these frustrations, we discussed the possibility of creating a new checklist for the state, one that they agreed was correct, so that it wouldn’t be such a hassle. Perhaps a summer project for the YAF Indy.

One attendee, Billy Van Elk, had been waiting on his to be processed since the end of 2012. The day following the event he called the state and found out that he had actually been registered since April, the state had simply forgotten to notify him. What an anti-climatic way to find out you’re a registered architect. Billy also had some great tips and links to share:

A few reminders. Schedule your test if you’re really serious about taking one. You won’t start studying unless you know you have a deadline. Bring a snack and an extra layer of clothing to the test center. Some days the center was freezing cold, some days it was comfortable. The ARE gives you a mandatory 15 minute break between the multiple choice and graphic sections. You cannot skip this break. Get up, have a snack, stretch, go for a walk. Do something that breaks the monotony of the test center environment. Plan an hour after your test time to just relax, treat yourself, etc. Do not rush back to work – you will not enjoy it.

I hope everyone gleaned some great information from the discussion earlier this week. I thought I would leave some links as a reminder for those who are going to start studying.

NCARB “Taking the ARE” – http://ncarb.org/en/ARE/Taking-the-ARE.aspx
(official study guides, practice tests, and practice vignettes)

ARE Forum – areforum.org
(great resource – best location to really understand the graphics portions)

Sbyrktct’s ARE Help – http://arehelp.webs.com/
(detailed descriptions of each study section)

ARE Coach – http://arecoach.com/coachforum/
(vocal and well informed member/user of ARE Forum – created their own repository due to the fact that the ARE Forum website frequently crashes or goes offline)

Lecture from Andres Duany (9 parts toal) – http://youtu.be/rwd4Lq0Xvgc
(great for studying the concepts of urban design and new urbanism – In my personal opinion every architect and city planner should consider this entire lecture to be mandatory.)

Study Materials – Check your current firm or check on the ARE Forum to buy used materials from other young architects

I personally used 2009 Kaplan Study Guides and practice exams for all sections except Structures. I had the flash cards for each section, but I only used them to study for PPP. For each exam I read through the complete Study Guide twice. Once for general understanding, and a second time for true comprehension.

For Structures I bought the 2012 Kaplan Study guide. It is commonly known that the 2009/2010 version of the Kaplan Structures book has errors and wrong answers in the practice tests.

If you have any questions about the ARE, feel free to contact us at yafindy@gmail.com and we’ll try our best to help!

LEED Platinum Home Tour – Recap

A 110-year old formerly abandoned, tax-foreclosed property gets new life as an ultra-green home.  GreenPath Homes is aiming to make the Fountain Square Cottage the first LEED for Homes Platinum renovation in the state.  The project also has broad professional and community education objectives which are detailed at www.takethegreenpath.com.  Follow their progress on their blog.

We had a great turnout for our LEED Platinum home tour. The event was dually attended by both the local chapter of the USGBC and YAF Indy. Home developer William Wagnon (LEED AP Homes) gave a thorough account of the LEED for Homes system and how it has applied to this project in particular. He made it clear that a large majority of the points were achieved simply by the location of the home, the home is an infill development located a 2 minutes walk from Fountain Square (one of the premier cultural hubs in Indianapolis). Other than picking up those “free” points, many points were achieved simply by building a quality product while utilizing an existing historic shell.  One of the areas were they did chose to go all out was in the insulation of the home. The entire home was insulated with spray foam, in the attic they used a full 12 inches. The installers kept telling them that it wasn’t necessary, but William had seen the energy model data, and he assured them he needed those 12 inches.

 

Indy Rezone Focus Group – Recap

It was an evening of lively discussion; from IPS school performance, to abandoned housing, storm water treatment, and even urban chickens!

The Rezone team offered a very good presentation, followed by live polling on specific questions that were used to start discussion.  As young urban professionals with design experience, our input was refreshing to the presenters.  We are design conscious and aware of the important issues, issues we deal with on a regular basis.

We hope that the Indy Rezone team can bring our concerns to Indy’s Zoning, that has not been looked at for sometime.

“Excellent event. I was worried a zoning discussion might be dull, but I really enjoyed it. I was impressed with how smart, progressive, and on top of their game the city’s planners are. It’s good to know we have some talented people working for the city.” – Brandon Farley (event attendee)

Abandoned house on 17th St.