Day 0: Catalyst 2019 – Boat Cultures

Teaching  Catalyst 2019: Extended Communities of Practice with colleagues in the School of Architecture at the University of Minnesota. My focus is on teaching related to Boat Cultures and the intersection that emerges from rural Minnesota – small town of Milan which has a large Micronesian population, on an area settled by Norwegian/Scandinavians on what…

Creative Writing – At the Fair

Last Fall, two university colleagues and I reconnected reminiscing of some creative projects we’d done together that involved writing and design. Those memories of creative productivity sparked an idea for another collaboration. What if, we chose an art one of us had created and then all three would do creative writing in response to that…

The Tiny

Perhaps because I spent many hours at the Minnesota State Fair yesterday, a wonderful 10 day event attended by a few million people that embodies excess (people, animals, food, toys, waste, you name it) the notion of ‘the tiny’ is on my mind today. Minimalism has been in on my mind for a while now…

Eating the ‘Doughnut’ of Economics

Every once a while an idea or a set of ideas comes along, usually in the form of a book, that changes everything for me.  It’s an exhilarating and unsettling feeling of things deeply shifting  in the brain as a reconfiguration of past knowledge occurs in reference to the new set of ideas.   Status…

For the Future of Rural Communities

In my work, leading the Design for Community Resilience program in the University of Minnesota’s Center for Sustainable Building Research. I work with communities across Minnesota in assisting the design and implementation of their sustainable futures.  It is very rewarding work on many levels, not the least of which is the connection to the work…

Exploring Portraiture

I’ve been fascinated by faces ever since I can remember, seeing beauty in every face including in those that are not considered conventionally beautiful by a culture.  My first memories of drawing portraits are from eighth grade in a summer hobby art class in India where I was born and raised. Since then, I’ve been…

Empathy

I can’t say that I recall hearing the word empathy often while studying and practicing architecture in India or the United States. That said, any design project from my experience started with an immersion in understanding a client’s needs. For the design of a home the focus was on who was going to live there,…

“What could we accomplish if we knew we could not fail?”

Today, on the topic of communication and blogposts, a respected client-colleague mentioned Eleanor Roosevelt’s practice of writing a newspaper column everyday. It made me pause and think that for phenomenon that seems so contemporary –  of writing and ‘posting’ everyday – Eleanor Roosevelt had it covered back in the 1930s. Roosevelt has always inspired –…

Firmly delightful ‘Architecture’

After a long time, browsing through the Francis D. K. Ching’s classic, ‘A Visual Dictionary of Architecture.’ Fun to reminded of the many concepts/ideas and disciplines that architecture is connected to – art, aesthetics, beauty, taste, environmental design, urban design, city planning, landscape architecture, interior design, space planning, technology, technics, tectonics, architectonics, engineering, behavioral science,…