Keeping Up With The Kreative Kardashians

*This article best relates to the dynamically-challenged Generation XYZ in bonding fashion with science, under environmental concerns. From a visionary designer’s point of view, its long-term benefits for any generation, new or old is to be questioned.

kardashianJust because the Kardashian sisters have their own fashion label named Dash, they are immediately inducted into the hall of fame as glamorous fashionistas, within less than half of a second, no matter what other talents they may or not have, not affecting future generations that much.

PINK! FUN! PINK! The super-theatrical Betsey Johnson as the original WILD child of the 60s who painted the town pink… has always kept up with the times while designing for the last 45 years.  As a dancer since childhood with a love for dress-up and costumes, she brings out the whimsical dreamy mindset, which is a bit much when you enter her new location at Town Center Mall in Boca.  But she is a smart business woman.  As she ages, though she looks younger everyday, she watches the transcending demands of each incoming generation.  This super lady knows how to “keep up with the Kreative Kardashians”.

Let’s not forget the world famous, powerful magnet lady causing EXPLOSIVE fireworks in social media: the one and only Lady Gaga. She is one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of Year 2010. This powerful business woman, as the Creative Director of Haus of Gaga, founded this fashion house that smartly combines performance with fashion, music and art. Like Betsey Johnson, although much younger, this Lady is another example of “keeping up with the Kreatives” as she eventually catches up with older generations.

Trends and more trends trending all over the fashion world… are these able to withstand a foundation as aging activates itself? After watching the annual NEW YORK FASHION WEEK, the “in the now” thing to do is to watch those waifish supermodels walk the catwalk with radically spray-painted hair matching their wardrobe and accessories.  Dressing up with gaudy, oversized necklaces as if they were in a casting call for next season’s Real Housewives of New York was part of the opening act of the show.  I am sure it was major ground-breaking news Twittering all over Madison Avenue, but just for that particular second of that minute of that hour of that day only.

While some of us Baby Boomers and Generation Xers can accept some trends, there are still others that cannot even comprehend why, today, a twenty-something Italian-Catholic prep school girl from Manhattan’s Upper West Side, under the stage name of Lady G, would dare “dress like she does”.

C’est la vie.  With Steve Jobs (past tense) as the Thomas Edison of the 20th century and Mark Zuckerberg as the new Steve Jobs of the 21st century… anything is possible. Right?

While these dynamically-challenged designers are climbing up the ladder of fashion capitals all over the world, it is interesting to see what could happen with today’s engineering advances in allowing us to foresee the future. I bet the PINK empire of Betsey Johnson would “keep up” with the younger populations.  As far as Lady G, she is and always is going to be the first to set all trends no matter what age.  Wonder if spray painting your hair and mimicking reality stars will benefit older ages?

Sometimes, mystery is a good thing.  Inquiring minds are curiously fascinated to see what’s up with those young, up-and-coming thinkers.  These new kids probably do not even know who the Kardashians are, are way too cool to use On Demand LCD high definition TV, and only communicate with their family via text only, if they are less than 10 feet away, under the same roof!!

Just like the young, strong-willed, female musician Adele, “Rumor has it” that this month’s European edition of WIRED magazine has something brewing with electricity and fashion…

As a Baby Boomer or a Generation Xer, I am assuming that the first thing that comes to your mind is, how is it remotely possible to combine fashion with positive protons attracting negative ions?  I am thinking way back to my 5th grade Science class, where we were split into teams trying to figure out how to conduct positive and negative electricity in order to light up a bulb… and were we even wondering what jeans designer we were promoting?  Jordache maybe?

Now, on the other side of the planetary solar system, where time and all mankind is still scientifically unknown, electronic couture has become the next best thing powerful enough to blow away our sketchbooks, charcoal, 2B, 3B, HB and F pencils, and carbon out of here and into the appropriate recycling bins.  Wouldn’t this be the coolest thing to ever make it into the Guiness Book of Records?

Back to reality.  According, to this month’s European WIRED, a London-based designer, 27 year old Amy Winters is featured as one of the ground-breaking designers using electricity with fashion.  She creatively uses multi-sensory experiences, while considering its environmental impact.

Of course, she agrees that wearable electronics have issues with bulkiness of power supplies, etc.  Her innovation was focused on being smart as a forward-thinker, just like others previously mentioned.  She used fabrics that respond chemically to their environment, via sound and touch.  In the article, she exhibits a dress with water resource.  As the dress gets wet, the white part turns to pink and green.   Another dress shows how sound triggers animation on electro-lumniscent sculptured panels.   Ms. Winters has proved biomimicry, by simulating nature, via fashion. Feel free to check out:


is probably the first word anyone can say after being speechless, with eyes-popping and jaws-dropping.

See attached article:

In conclusion, for those of you who want to make a small change to your wardrobe, maybe because the seasons are changing or?  Let’s “keep up with the Kreative Kardashians”.


City Formally Launches Ambitious ‘Lighting Framework Plan’

International Design Competition: The City of Chicago Searches for a Design Team for the Ambitious ‘Lighting Framework Plan’ aka the next “City of Lights” following the principles of Paris, France.

City-wide Lighting Framework Plan: pre-submittal conference: Friday June 13, 2014 at City Hall

chi1 Screen%20Shot%202014-06-04%20at%209_52_26%20AM

The chief procurement officer for the City of Chicago at DOB (Department of Buildings) briefly introduced the number of volumes, phases per volume, requirements, and deadlines for the project submittal. Three representatives of the LFP (Lighting Framework Plan) team and architects from Gensler presented the goals, design intent and concepts behind the lighting framework plan.

Part 1 presented the goals for a global destination, increase Chicago’s visibility as the main objective, and enrich resident and tourist experience as the vision. The design strategy will include iconic structures, light needing darkness, synaptic network, sustainability, energy innovations, bird migration, and the Chicago network.

Specifically, the strategy would incorporate usage of the Merchandise Mart as an iconic structure.  Light would complement darkness as a cohesive function in connecting tourist attractions. Synaptic network would include interconnected neurons which define a recognizable linear pathway for lighting.

The 2030 Sustainable Action Agenda and energy innovations would be incorporated as well.

Strategy part two would include the scope of work focusing on more city opportunities for land, water, and air. These opportunities presented are in reference to the lake, the sky, the city grid, and below grade elements of the tunnel and the water.

The next part of the strategy presentation depicted design elements connecting major infrastructures. The river, iconic structure, bridge, el, and lower wacker drive would guide a path for tourist attractions and residential experiences. These represent a vehicle for the lighting framework plan.

The presentation gave examples pertaining to the elements including the reversal of the river and city-wide future initiatives for the Riverwalk.

Iconic structures such as the Pritzker Pavilion, still standing after the fire of 1871 and the modern Aqua Tower are other elements defining the Plan.

There are 180 working bridges in the city. The trunnion basule rotates on the shore. The Wells Street bridge was the first steel bridge after the fire, then it was a swing bridge, then steam powered and now it runs on electricity. This bridge now carries trains and ties the Loop into the city.

The El has 8 routes. Lower Wacker Drive was part of the double deck roadway plan of the Burnham Plan 1909. This element was meant to decrease traffic congestion. Famous movie scenes were staged at Lower Wacker including Blues Brothers with John Belushi and the Dark Knight with Christian Bale.

For further updates:

chi 2

Do’s and Don’ts of Successful Alternative Energy Projects (American Planning Assoc. Chicago 2014)


May 2014

This afternoon panel discussion presented how three different industry “mover and shakers” of the Chicago metro area developed success in alternative energy projects. Success implied cost effectiveness and energy efficiency for residents, commerce, and industry. Emerging alternatives and innovative strategies were challenged with case studies presented per panel speaker. Challenges targeted lessons to learn in finding available funding from federal and local governments.

Presenter one: Rosa Y. Ortiz, AICP, LEED AP, Program Officer, Enterprise Community Partners: Her firm oversees initiatives and projects directed at bringing natural resources to the Chicago metro area, via affordable housing. In the presentation, she emphasized the “people” side of sustainability.

This perspective emphasizes the behavior approach to energy conservation. A case study presented was CNEC: Chicago Neighborhood Energy Challenge sponsored by the City of Chicago. This project involves 7 residential properties, 14 buildings, 503 units, and over 700 people.

Workshops, interactive websites were forms of community involvement that programmed the project together. Data was gathered on gas, electric, and water usage per building. Results were drawn out.

Lessons learned were certain buildings were engaged and some were not. Some had a polite relationship and others had a camaraderie relationship. (Statistics given) Font size, literacy levels and language were to be of concern. 

Focus to be exerted on connecting with natural resources and securing a budget. 

Interests to be concerned with gatherings, special needs, cheat sheets, literacy rates, first language, child friendly meetings, and the ability to connect with resources due to limited upbringing. Length of activity to accommodate all was another concern. 

Organizing this project according to scale of the neighborhood or buildings was to be of concern as well. Green charrettes and grants were conducted. A Green community certificate according to the Enterprise criteria was established. Other engagement resources were carried out. 

Presenter two: Craig Schuttenberg, PE MBA, Vice President, Energy Choices, PC:  He founded his own consulting firm which helps large commercial customers in the metro area to be more conscious with energy use. The firm expanded to support social justice while balancing with energy and economic incentives.

Municipal aggregation supersedes energy savings. Statistics were presented of energy savings for ComEd from year 2013 to present. The result per his consulting firm concluded in introducing the usage of CFL’s (light bulbs).  The idea of CFL’s represents an analogy of 275 cars taken off the road for 7 years. The expected life of CFL’s is much lower. However, due to the short life expectancy, the challenge is when disposing since the product contains mercury.

According to the consultant, food pantry programs can accept disposed CFL’s.

A case study presented led to a result of zero sum game, meaning no net savings for residents of a community. Aggregate community savings came from ComEd’s residential customers in non-aggregate communities.  Wealth transfer went from non to aggregate.

There was pervasive incentive for customers using more electricity than ComEd supply in larger homes. The more affluent used more aggregated. Basically, no savings from aggregated. No benefit to local economy for those who are paid customers. The aggregation was a public policy failure. The question still stands: How to even the score to help power communities that spend all aggregated savings? 

Presenter three: Kevin Dick, LEED AP, Project Manager, Delta Institute: This presenter manages the firm’s green building portfolio including LEED certified projects. He introduces his presentation by using the state of Illinois as a case study. Kevin asks the question, how does energy status quo impact residents? Our status quo includes nuclear energy, solar generation, and the fact that our state is #36 ranked in cheap energy.  To answer the question, we have missed opportunities in financial, environmental, and home value benefits. Social fabric of community energy is included as well.

Comparing Chicago to Philly and Boston, our city has challenges in comfort, savings and code compliances (federal). History compliances, safety, and utility incentives.

Via Delta workings, since their mission is disrupt, catalyze, and transform, Kevin collaborated research results and brought to us the benefits of alternative methods. An EV car would involve no maintenance, a 3 year lease would cost 354$, 200$/monthly for gas, a 50% state rebate, 1000$ federal credit, and codes would comply a garage connector to charge the vehicle.

Another alternative for energy savings would be solar PV. Clean. increase value for MLS listings, and reduce grid stress on the smart grid.  The challenge would be to teach politicians about alternative retrofitting methods, as well as fire and building policies. Proactive measures would create a revenue model for other cities to follow as well as more code compliance allowability for green methods.

He can be found on




“Namaste.” Do you ever hear that word as if someone was speaking a different language? Maybe at Exhale or at the end of vinyasa yoga at Equinox? Perhaps you hope to hear this word over the loudspeaker when you are in the “express” lane of Whole Foods, which you know never steps up to its true name.

“R E L A X”…. If someone utters each letter to you, this could make you sleepy. Perhaps counting backwards from 10,000 to 1, like when you were a child, may be the best way to relax and brainstorm new bedroom design ideas.

Reclining in an ergonomic (or as they say) chair and dreaming as if you were at the Beach Club at the Breakers, but really you just can’t. You have a deadline at 3pm and you must upload the new iOS version, but you have to backup your iPhone for 120 minutes. Then you have to pick up your dry cleaning before they close at 5pm and then you need to take your puppy out for a walk and have her gluten-free dinner delivered because your dog sitter was just way too booked for the “season”.

Ah ha, “Namaste” or “R E L A X”… For those of you living in a mid or high rise with a balcony, you could turn your traditional lifestyle of sleeping into a five-star experience by hanging a woven hammock on your balcony. Assuming the load bearing walls can withstand certain depths of drilling of anchor rods and the openings not absorb too much moisture if location overlooks the water. Despite the penalty charges your leasing office may fine you for drilling in the property’s walls, there is always the portable version. Falling asleep outside at home is just fabulous.

When daylight savings forces us to have to re-adjust our lives, this period gives our “caffeineated” society a silent cry to just chill out. Darkness, indoor environmental quality and decor are other key sizes that help us find the best bedroom design you have ever seen.

Throwing in a day bed in your home office would amazingly “soften” the stress-induced wall of Apple goodies. With WiFi overload, you can always downplay a headache and use your R E L A X keys.

Carrying out the sleek white color throughout the room and blending in a warm blue-brownish hue to soften the white from screaming everywhere would be so relaxing. Lining up mono-chrome photos in black frames against a wall and extending them out into the hallway are great key ideas. This will create a captivating entry.

Natural stone, slate, faux terrazzo wall coverings, refurbished woven pillows, and Zen-like elements all can help fixate a R E L A X atmosphere.

Just like watching “Love it or List it” show on HGTV, exploring all bedroom ideas as if you just moved in is just fabulous. Choose a print motif matching all furnishings. Drag it over a headboard and around lampshades, for a monotonous, sleepy feel.

Perhaps, a floating bed is of another interest. A mirrored covered bed frame could be a creative way to give an “uplift” look of waking up at R E L A X E D. It is amazing to see how materials can really mentally help transition your mind into peace, or at least for 7 to 8 hours.

One final key that can finalize the gold mine of bedroom design ideas would be battery-operated flickering candles, 12″, 18″, or 24″ from Restoration Hardware.

“Namaste” … You will just totally relax next time you hear someone saying this to you.


Starbucks and a New York on Any Given Sunday

Florida Designer Homes Magazine Sunday Stories September-October 2013, Page 28 – 29 Latest cutting edge design trends in turning a traditional space into multi-functional and energizing. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


On a Sunday morning in July, with an iced café Americano and a 6 dollar New York Times at Starbucks, enjoying the aroma of a brand new day is just grand. The day begins by reading a 4 page full disclosure on Naomi Campbell’s wedding gift in the Fashion and Style Section. Your eyes are racing so fast to find the big, bold keywords on what exactly is the gift, who bought it, and how much was the value worth. Of course, who would not have thought of this?  Glamorous lady architect Zaha Hadid was commissioned to build Naomi a spaceship-like, extravagant “city” home, all suspended on two 72 feet towers.  This blatantly wacky and – more surreal than Salvador Dali’s collection in St Pete – gift has left Houzz, Dwell, Huffington Post, and the Times all flabbergasted, bedazzled, and what-not.  It looks like something out of a Mel Brook’s Spaceballs movie or maybe the future look of an improved United Airlines air control tower.

The next Sunday afternoon, after getting lost in stardom, taking your iPad to Barnes and Noble seems like a much more mellow way to spend the day in sunny Florida, until you see stars again.  A constant flashing is blinking on and off of Curbed Miami’s blog. For Sale! For Sale! With a decaf iced tea, you frantically scroll down the blog.  All other apps freeze.  All battery bars stop.  The entire screen goes blank except for this headline: A Palm Island in Miami Beach is on the market, originally owned by a name you must whisper… Al Capone. $6.43 million? $7.43 million? Going once. Going twice. Sold! This Mediterranean mega-monster home has been taken off the market.  Now his bootlegging days will turn into a walking hall of art work, entitled “Call me Al.”

Inside his silver platter, even bigger than Tiffany’s, was his two-story swimming pool. This was not just a pool to jump in, it was the most electrifying selling point. A high load-bearing concrete wall enclosed the pool and kept all sunlight out from “his dark world”. Way back in the ‘40s, this wall allowed night time to work the clock 24 hours of gambling, gin and the man himself, Scarface.

Maybe it was best to stay away from the iPad, the Times, and the iTimes. However, the following Sunday, your subscribed Dwell had been hand-delivered to you, on a gold platter.  It is obvious why you always see these magazines saved as coffee magazines, such great viewing pleasure for anyone of any generation.  Perhaps, this magazine will be less star-struck.  The featured article was on sustainable improvements of the Cocoon House, a defined “Sarasota Modernism” project that dazzled Florida back in the 50s.  Multi-level exterior courtyards developed natural north, south, east and west views of the Gulf, the bay, and other reasons why people move to Florida. Imagine waking up on tranquility, while accepting reality that rent and utilities are part of the less star-struck package.

As we bedazzle our weekly Sundays with local, state, global news as well as entertainment and other aesthetics, we are extremely aware of what is conventional. Also, we aware of what is the “norm”, unless you need the “WOW” factor if you are auditioning for next season’s Real World or MTV Cribs.

Wouldn’t it be interesting to see more articles in how to update “less-gossipy” spaces of your home? Perhaps advanced, yet cost-effective appliances for the laundry room may be of more common interest, as opposed to throwing in a spiral staircase with Swarovski crystals wrapped around the curved railing in the middle of your living room, as the latest breaking news.

Let’s keep an eye out for a powerhouse e-magazine that showcases black and white images of Baby Boomers reviving their teenager days of socializing in the “Laundromat”. The generation only needed a dime to spare, and this was just absolutely the coolest thing to brag about.  Let’s brainstorm how to dazzle up the boring laundry room way in the back of your home, behind your kids coat racks and behind your dogs dinner dishes.

Grab some books and update all wall openings with a catalog of Anderson windows.  If possible, throw in a low-table base and cover it with pillows for a charming window seat. Check the walls for additional wire-sharing for a built-in flat screen, add jazz sounds of Miles Davis and Norah Jones, and suspend a row of halogen lamps from Lightology above a clear glass diffuser.  Elegant yet modern. Enjoy your Sunday Funday and invite family friends to the “laundry room”, as the place everyone is raving about.

See you next Sunday.   

Luxury Interior Bath Rooms

Florida Designer Homes Magazine Designer Bathrooms February 2013 Volume 2 No. 6, Page 23 – 25 Creative ways to give character and a theme to a traditional bathroom.

Hamptons-StyleLuxury. Relax. Peace. Imagine repeating these words to yourself in a remote interior space with no mobile reception.

You may enter the “unknown” with a cup of chocolate espresso and absorb all touches of dark mahogany hardwood.  Textures would be free of voids, just as smooth as perfect snow-capped peaks out west in Utah.  You would start collecting photos of espresso mahogany vanities and accents from Pottery Barn.  Digging for dark chocolate fabrics so rich that you would be craving a Hershey’s bar!  This collaborative effort would help bring your perfect space to reality.

But if you grew up on the island of Palm Beach and just returned from Fourth of July fireworks in Southampton, you would imagine bringing back French Country.  Opulent white sandy curtains would overlap with preppy plaid walls.  Ralph Lauren and Martha Stewart would tie in sail boat anchors, a vintage Victorian tub, coral reef sculptures, and wicker furnishings.

Then there is the other generation of us waiting to check out of express line of a grocery store. After browsing Hollywood gossip or spa retreat magazines in line, you would close your eyes and just dream.  Envisions of a timber cabin with a fireplace warming up a rustic stone wall, as high as it sits on tall redwood tree barks, would be just fabulous living.  This space would overlook mineral hot springs and deep cliffs in western Montana.  Bamboo renewable flooring, Feng Shui, and Zen elements would most likely define your interiors.

Finally, you may just want to skip all this and jump into “king” throne French velvet armchairs with matching footstools.  Sparkling crystal chandeliers, antique oil lanterns and wind chimes would accentuate a restful space.  Venetian bronze faucets, mosaics, Oscar de la Renta-inspired Grecian velvet shower curtains and matching monogrammed bathrobes would make the perfect space for regal living.

Imagine any of this in your own “room with the bathtub, sink and other services”.

Luxury defines great comfort, not just high prices. A traditional room or service space can be transformed into your own Pièce de résistance, under time and cost effectiveness.

If you have the passion or a vivid memory of your travels, sharing a clearly defined scope for your luxury bathroom would dramatically help an architect or interior designer achieve your dreams.

Nathalie J Siegel, AAIA, LEED AP BD+C, CPTED
Project Manager
CCS Architecture and Interior Design

Rock Star Seats to your Favorite Show

Florida Designer Homes Magazine Home Entertainment and Automation September 2012, Volume 2, Number 2 Rock Star Seats to Your Favorite Show Our movie culture ranging from drive-in theatres based on the 1970′s movie Grease to black and white VCRs to cinema theatres… our timeline has finally reached the point of becoming more aware of society needs in cost efficiency, acoustical comfort, environmental concerns and customizing needs to watch an entertaining movie in the comfort of your own home.

Poodle skirts, leather jackets, motorcycles, and beauty school dropouts from 1950’s Rydell High School… The movie Grease surely made drive-in theatres as the place to kick back and enjoy the weekend even if you had to sneak out of your parents’ house!

Along with the Pink Ladies and the T-Birds, the rest of their generation eventually had to climb up the ladder of transient changes in movie theatre culture.  From watching black and white reruns on antenna-controlled tv sets to our parents recording our birthday parties on those big, geeky VCR recorder cameras clearly defined our “home entertainment” of the day.

The smell of 500-calorie infused, hydrogenated butter oil, salted popcorn and discounted 16 ounce, large Pepsi to go with your front-row plush seats to the movies on a Saturday night was next best thing in kicking back and enjoying the weekend.  This transition from filmstrips and drive-ins to cinema movie theatres was a major highlight on the timeline of movie culture…  until Generation XYZ took over and brought in the Twitter kids, tree-huggers, and eco-entrepreneurs wanting to improve long term benefits of home interiors, all magically and wirelessly.

Those Baby Boomers as teenagers really emphasized home-owners needs for accessing motion picture entertainment in the comfort of their homes on their own couches at their own expense.

Our movie culture has finally become more aware of today’s high standard needs for environmental awareness, cost-efficiency, habitable accessibility and customized controlled environments for the home.

New trendy-generation Apple developers with a green mindset have now opened the market or at least brainstormed ideas for iPad integration systems and iPhone apps that allow us to save gas mileage and carbon footprint from driving to the movies and paying extra to get good seats, all just by one fingerprint tap.

Home automation enthusiasts nowadays are setting a perfect example as to how far our engineering society has reached demands for improved occupant efficiency, cost-effectiveness as well as less HVAC consumption.  For example, DVD players and stereo systems with Energy Star label are retrofitted in reducing gashouse emissions. While advanced products appear to be most costly, Energy Star purchases offer U.S. governmental rebates and sales tax exemptions, so it is a good deal.

Sensor-based, with a human touch or voice, can control LED (low-voltage) light dimming and other power features in a smart way.

Acoustic panels are now a very exciting topic since green-minded junkies are inventing alternative ways in controlling sound reverberation.  For instance, some former rock star members are helping home automation companies set up beta testing in enhancing sound while safely protecting noise pollution in the comfort of a home.  One band manager from Phish decided to use special acoustic fabric of recycled denim hiding all electrical wiring.

Recycled denim is zero-waste material, has excellent thermal performance and is non-flammable in home theatres.

Looks like those who saved those good ol’ vintage 50’s Levi Strauss, hip-hugging, patched, bell bottoms from our disco days were true contributors to the industry of environmental engineers in improving long term benefits in home entertainment lifestyles.

The Breakfast Club

 When you were in grade school, do you remember the very first time you were given your first library card? This prized possession was as if it were your first passport upon entering a new world with “grownups”. You were on cloud nine and it was your birthday.  This special day you were on a free shopping spree at your favorite candy store full of sweet-smelling scents of chocolate fudge, sugar cookies and every color of M&Ms everywhere. Rainbow-colored balloons with your name written all over. S*p*a*r*k*l*e*s of gold and glitter congratulating you and sharing in the joys of your special gift!

Being granted a library card was like being the final Torchbearer in lighting the Cauldron at the ceremony of London 2012 Olympics.

The traditional term “library” was such a special word that you had to utter it softly. Entering a magnificient space like this was so extraordinary that the experience you feel, see and touch is so speechless. The walls would reach so high into an awe-struck captivating form of closure in a dome so high as if it was taller than the blue skies.

This mystery often complexed many of us as young kinder. We always wondered how is it possible that this grandeur was built by a human being. How tall would a man or women have to be to reach out and draw intricately detailed paintings of religious, theologically inspired detailed images all around?

As pages were turned into the next chapter, we would spend our free time reading books, learning and finding new knowledge to share since before the world tilted on its axis prior to the evolution era of “smart machines” do what you are supposed to be doing (and saving us the energy of walking up and down the long, narrow library stacks, grabbing the ladder to find everything yourself, and being hushed by the librarian.

Not only learning in public libraries but also these libraries were where those John Hughes 80s Brat Pack movies claimed their fame. Those teenagers were after their high school crushes, but not always. These were the times were misfits would fit in with others in a library. For example, bad boy Judd Nelson, princess Molly Ringwald, quarterback jock Emilio Estevez, quirky Ally Sheedy and nerdy Anthony Michael Hall were all forced to sit in detention all day on a Saturday… The Breakfast Club.

Libraries were everything in those days. A young female teen would sink inside a tall tower of books toppling over like the Tower of Pisa, trying to achieve balance, while daydreaming of holding hands with the most popular boy leaning against the library stack row 5 of aisle A. Perhaps another way for matchmaking (before internet dating) was surely inspired by the 1980s teenagers all time favorite scene of Pretty in Pink where Andrew McCarthy sends a message to Molly Ringwald while she is researching the library catalog on those heavy and bulky “machines” where you scroll up and down on filmstrips and inside of books.

Those older, grandeur structures built in the 15th, 16th centuries to the early 1980s were dignified for inspiration and learning. Their original foundation of detailed material, art work, and its ethereal aura have been blessed religiously and spiritually as eternal. Having your grandparents take you to the library on a rainy, cold afternoon and sneaking in a candy bar with you was just priceless.

Until Barnes and Noble changed our lives. Barnes and Noble, Borders and those artsy coffee joints with tons of shelves filling up all walls of books and magazines were just “copycats” of the reason why we went to the library. The days of that special library card opening up a treasure of gold were just so passe’.

Now with Starbucks following us so fast like Twitter, our original “Breakfast Club” had bid farewell.  “People are crazy and times are strange. I’m locked in tight… but things have changed…” Bob Dylan knew what was going on.

Now, as people swear their lives on Kindles and e-book publishing, they subconsciously still exhibit a sign of being young, free-spirited and checking out books with their special card, at no cost.

It is possible that some libraries could survive the long trenches, fatigue, and headaches of our “wizards” and robots dominating our “Breakfast Clubs”.  Perhaps after our solar system tilts on its axis again.

It ain’t over til the fat lady sings, until it is time for detention with your future best friends.

The New Healthcare: Mi Casa es Su Casa

When you were a child, do you remember walking into a hospital hallway as the   scariest thing ever?  You could not get over those strange smells and wondered why everything was so white and shiny everywhere. The ceiling lights were so bright that the light reflected and bounced right off of the linoleum floors. This is exactly the unknown that wanders the minds of young children or anyone experiencing hospital entry for the first time.

Fast forward to the first decade of the 21st century, with a metamorphosis of global forces changing the way we live, eat, breathe and walk in hospitals, we are turning the corner. We need to rotate that corner 180 degrees clockwise, inverse the reverse, concave the convex, and recess the projection.

The healthcare sector is now shifting towards higher standards of more efficiency and longevity via exchanging of new sciences, engineering advances, estimated guesses and experiments with other fields.

We want our patients, doctors, nurses, sales reps, directors and visitors to observe our healthcare environment as “sunrooms for healing”.  These spaces would incorporate nature and safety for the patient as opposed to having their health and personal life controlled by a lab coat and a stethoscope.  Hospitals should not make a patient feel “lost in a mass-produced operation house”, where all personal information could be plastered all over the hospital’s communication database.

When you hear someone say, “Mi Casa es su Casa”, you feel welcomed. The term “welcoming” describes the origin of the word “hospitality”. The root “hos” means “help”.  Thus, the connection between hospitality, hospitals, hospice is clarified.

In this day and age, a patient wants to personally, socially and professionally stay connected to our ever-changing society.  Having, hopefully unlimited, access to Wi-Fi, light and remote controls, as well as a dock station for their own playlists would be great amenities to feel more at home, just like at a hotel.

If these “sunrooms” could push the limits on healthcare architects and planners, its environments would expedite the natural healing process to a certain level.

Another approach to point out is incorporating amenities using Eastern and Western influences. Centuries ago, European cities built hospitals where all patient beds would face eastward to promote healing towards the Sun.  Evidence proved faster results, shorter stays and lower prescription dosages.

We want our patients to see the light at the end of the tunnel and to live a healthier lifestyle. Due to the high-speed of Baby Boomers populating every day, we want to set an example in living longer with a healthier lifestyle. The chances of hospital visits for intensive care could be lowered and visiting a doctor for healthy reasons could be much higher.

The entire capacity of healthcare as a whole is probably the most significant global struggle, whether the economy is improvising or not.

Bringing in a dog trained as a therapy volunteer to a young cancer patient before entering chemotherapy is priceless.  After a patient has dialysis treatments 3 times a week, why not fill up his room with balloons and posters of his favorite sports team with a DVD playing the biggest touchdown ever scored? Volunteering to wheel a handicapped child outside to hear the birds singing and smell the fresh aromas of a floral garden would be spiritually uplifting.

These are some simple examples that do not endure high medical expenses or major impediments between staff workers, patients and their doctors.  Anything to make the patient feel his or herself, even just for five minutes is just enough to help them mentally “heal” faster and head into the future.

Our natural environment, while at stake, is still there for us to connect. The more improved our natural connections are, the less debilitating hospital-inflicted situations would occur and malpractice issues would dwindle due to a more improvised healthcare system.

Again, these patients’ lives are in our hands. We want to mentally push, stretch and extend the lifespan of people that need our help and keep the expanding generations more controlled and healthier.

We want to keep on presevering though we are still aware that natural disasters happen, like earthquakes or hurricanes, which are out of our control. Chemical spills and dropped glass test tubes are accidents that just have to allow us to alternatively design fast solutions.

As we go along on this fast-paced journey of life, we are now more aware of setbacks and major impediments that add mega-wattage impacts as high as a Pacific Coast earthquake. Making better decision-making choices, under time and budget is the recommended approach in re-engineering the way we perceive healthcare.

Let’s put ourselves into the shoes of patients, nurses and staff and think more as humanitarians. Also, let’s re-engineer our hospitals as “sunrooms for healing” and help keep our generations more sustained and allow future ones to follow suit.

Rebuilding Green

Florida Designer Homes Magazine Renovating & Building “Green” January 2012, Page 44 – 45 Using “green” benchmarking practices in renovating an existing home, via LEED, EnergyStar, REGREEN, and many other innovative words our updated society has breathed our options on.

Call me a hipster with the smart car and reusable bags from Whole Foods or call me a smart homeowner that is thinking ahead for the future. Depending on the condition of the owner’s home, the ability of withholding long-term benefits in comfort, safety and indoor air quality for the family, canines and felines is crucial.

Retrofitting an existing home using “green” benchmarking practices is actually more cost-effective than building a new home. While a newer “green” home is healthier and more efficient, an existing home can go “green” as well. No carbon footprint is added and tax incentives are more efficient.

Due to comprehensive decisions involving sustainable construction planning, there are many local, state and national organizations and government agencies available in advising homeowners or contractors based on their individual goals. Here are some examples of collaborations using one of the highest benchmarking practices on the market for sustainability.

ENERGY STAR, LEED, REGREEN, USGBC all set examples for homes with long-term environmental and energy saving benefits.

ENERGY STAR is a certification for houses and household products supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. Conscious decisions supporting these guidelines would save about a third on energy bills. Greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced without disrupting major household comfort and space.

LEED for Homes allows a professional LEED AP in implementing the highest green standards. This national benchmark for performance can also have a positive impact in future considerations in selling a home the smart way.

The REGREEN program is a residential green remodeling program with training, certification and self-study guides that collaborate with American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Foundation and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

USGBC, which governs all LEED certifications, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in educating the community on transforming the way buildings are built and how they can improve environmentally for the well-being of our future, our society and our children.

The USGBC of South Florida Chapter encompasses at least 1,000 socially-conscious individuals as volunteers. The Chapter consists of five branches from the southern-most point of the Florida Keys to the northern-most point of the Treasure Coast. This group invites top-notch speakers to their educational programs as well as expanding outreach initiatives throughout the East Coast of South Florida.

The act of sustainability is increasing locally and nationally, day by day, all for the betterment of our homes, our community and our environment. There is always help, whether it is setting an example for homes but also in helping enhance the comfort zone of a family in an older home.

Financially and time-wisely, rehabbing a home can be implemented as a positive asset with an improved return on investment. There are professional consultants, online resources and volunteer programs involved in decision-making strategies.  Hiring a LEED-certified architect or contractor and registering your home with USGBC are other alternatives with  tax incentives and long-term benefits.

Please click on above links to resources that will assist in making environmental and energy-conscious decisions in your next renovation or building project.

The “New” Silent Generation Has A Plan With A Good Heart

The “New” Silent Generation Has A Plan With A Good Heart

Not only are today’s kids already living the new “Silent” Generation as if no one spoke, no one hears people talking, but we are living in an unknown universe where we read and know what everyone is saying or doing.  Just like back in the old days in the Kodak camera commercial, where taking pictures are priceless… Looks like that most priceless moment for a young couple with a little toddler would be learning how to touch the apps on an iPad 4G, as opposed to learning how to speak the words, for the very first time, “Mommy and Daddy”.

Times really have changed.

What will happen to this eye-popping generation after the Apple store becomes the next endangered species to be registered under protection by the United States government?

With our communications going global like wildfire, oscillating, radiating and zigzagging in all different degrees, these kids have something planned behind the scenes.  They know that they are here on this planet for a purpose.  While this Generation XYZ may commute millions of useless news daily, they are the first to get all breaking news affecting our zip codes, our cities, our States of America as well as our countries because they are the first to know everything ASAP- and they want to take action faster than Amber Alert.

Their fast-paced lifestyles and their forward thinking define their statement for our future. They started young in being exposed to major global warming issues.  They are very aware that sustainability, a cultural renaissance, needs to push its limits more than anything else. This generation is smart enough to realize that with the major influx of consumer warfare, it is not 100% feasible across our oceans and hemispheres especially in third world countries.

Students at our universities are constantly stirring buzz-worthy news for our thirsty-culture, with a smart purpose.  Sustainability Without Borders, a non-profit that gathers like-minded students and professionals to travel to selective countries in hopes of changing their label from “unbuilt” to “built”.  For instance, a team of University of Michigan students recently set up a commitment to work with villagers in Liberia. They constructed three projects to help improve energy and water resources.  One project that absolutely strikes our audience is where they connected a generator onto a Merry-Go-Round on a local playground.  Amazing and simple, as the children run and play on the platform, they are adding natural energy to the generator.  This could happen anywhere and has been happening forever since the Merry-Go-Round was invented.

According to this article linked here, it is a valid statement that sustainable projects should focus more on undeveloped countries, since their natural resources are already nearing depletion.

With social media, can you imagine how fast buzz-worthy news travels?  A mega-billion fraction of a second is much greater than the meters per second of light traveling. This mega-fraction would be the appropriate measurement tool in evaluating how to get breaking news to spread like a wild brushfire on the countryside of Southern California. 

Another example of realizing how unimaginable the need for speed of significant information can travel would be via European countries.  Statistics from a HSBC Bank advertisement show that such an extremely small fraction of 0.3% of solar energy in the Saharan Desert of Africa could power the entire country of Europe.  

Lastly, in terms of humanitarian efforts where all activity is volunteer-based physical and emotional, the human heart is the main source of all energy.  According to a Health magazine statistic, the heart is one overachieving organ.  The statistic also explains that in one minute, it will have pushed 1.5 gallons of blood through 60,000 miles of blood vessels- that’s more than 2x the circumference of earth.  I am sure this could be a perfect example in wanting to spread this information to your friends and family, since it is such an amazing and important thing in bringing awareness and health concern to this topic, via social media. 

In conclusion, it is just unbelievably amazing to accept the existence that something so small like a quick spin on a Merry-Go-Round, a 10 minute jog, or a small percentage of solar energy could power up anything, even an entire country.  A human-powered or nature-powered activity could impact the lives of its people so beneficial for long-term, sustainable results.  Via a young professional’s Facebook Fan Page in saving our Earth, “A small act of kindness can make the biggest difference in the world- and yes, we have biological and scientific evidence to prove this.”   

Again, reference to the Kodak camera commercial, “the most simple things are just priceless”. Sustainability is the way to go.

Urban Design Forum New York Competition


What will these new habits and technologies mean for the shape of the city? Will ridesharing reduce the need for parking and unlock new opportunities for development? How will autonomous vehicles affect the design of our streets? Could our dense city become a bicycle boomtown? And will new transportation options pull support away from our historic transit network? Help us craft a vision for the future of mobility in New York City. How would you build a more accessible, equitable, and sustainable city? How would you improve New York’s streets, transportation networks, and built fabric in order to create a more accessible, sustainable, and equitable city?
Urban Design Forum Competition Link
onward-callforideas (PDF)

Imagine one of the most walk able streets where all dynamics are naturally controlled by pedestrians, tourists and local natives of the island of New York. No dependence on mass transportation necessary. All energy is reflected off of humans by walking and creating carbon footprint. Human-powered energy can definitely be the next best thing in powering the City. This streetscape would accompany several types of lanes for all kinds of people from all walks of life. This would be an excellent example of multi-functional infrastructure for the street of the future.

Lane number one: “Athletic, Anti-Aging Activists”: This lane would only be reserved for athletes training for the New York Marathon, triathlons, or other races. This route would include transition points in Central Park. Quick “down time” on the benches, watching dogs, and nature, while drenched from head to toe in buckets of ice water and Gatorade would be a runner’s dream come true.

Lane number two: “Low-Key Activists”: This lane would be developed for joggers and walkers, working up the ladder of success. During winter, the activists would still be inspired to jog under multiple-layers of North face and Under Armoire track suits. Already active during winters increases their mentality into maintaining consistent energy levels, mentally and physically, during any season.

These streets would accommodate all multi-generational groups of New Yorkers wanting to empower their soul and heart for long-term living, which would lead to another “Central Park” for living sustainably.

Lane number three: “The Dog Whisperers”: A lane embedded in natural grass or Kentucky bluegrass with permeable cooling layers for protecting the paws of all metropolitan city dogs would very accommodating. This lane would be the most trend-setting for the huge startup industry in NYC of dog-walking companies. These city dogs would be examples of long-term companions in utilizing natural resources.

Lane number four: “The Green Bikers Gang”: This lane does exist partially in random parts on Broadway and on old streets of NYC. Not only would these bikers reduce carbon footprint and gas emissions, but they also would use this lane as a natural energy source to charge their own gadgets. The energy of vibrations from its wheels would bounce off so quickly and bring Wi-Fi to all local Starbucks, commercial and retail all around.

This future “Central Park” could balance and offset the power of underground subway cars much more than the heavy impact of millions of streetwalkers energizing the City.
Trees could finally have less stress factors and have a longer lifespan outlining the City and in preserving our future.

These ideas bring in examples of multi-functional ways in strongly utilizing an existing streetscape, for long term benefits for our environment. The idea of customizing different lanes to all walks of life could possibly strengthen connections of goods and transport to the outer boroughs and cities outside of NYC. This would set an example for other cities to follow.

Headline Image Illustrated by Nathalie J Siegel



ORIGINAL, UNEDITED VERSION________________________________________

  Another Central Park in the City

Imagine one of the most walkable streets of Manhattan where all dynamics are controlled by pedestrians, tourists and local natives of the  island.  No dependence on mass transportation.  All energy reflected off  all human beings by walking the sidewalks can finally set a groundbreaking record in alerting the United Nations that global warming has finally surrendered.  Human-powered energy can definitely be the next best thing in powering the City.  This streetscape would accompany at least 5 types of lanes of all kinds of people of all sorts of culture and lifestyles.  An excellent example of multi-functional infrastructure.  The author of the Guinness World Records would record this nuclear reaction from electrifying to tranquil.

  1. The Super-Fit, Anti-Aging Activists:  This primary lane would only be reserved for athletes training for the ING New York City Marathon.  This route would lead towards transition points at Central Park.  Quick “down time” on the benches watching dogs and nature swing by, while drenched from head to toe in buckets of ice water and Gatorade would be a runner’s dream come true.

2. The Intermediate: Aligned to the most competitive, die-hard runners, this lane would only allow for runners at intermediate level, inspired to shadow the more advanced, and then calibrating their pace results with GPS tracking on the RunKeeper app.

3. Low-Key Activists: This lane would be developed for joggers and walkers, working up the ladder of success.  During winter, the activists would still be inspired to jog under multiple-layers of Northface and Under Armoire track suits.  Since New Yorkers are die-hard dedicators to their city, their mentality has trained them into maintaining consistent energy levels, mentally and or physical, during any season.

These streets would accommodate all multi-generational groups of New Yorkers wanting to empower their soul and heart for long-term living, which would lead to another “Central Park” for living sustainably.

  4.  The Dog Whisperers:  A lane embedded in natural grass or Kentucky bluegrass with permeable cooling layers for protecting the paws of all metropolitan city dogs would be just fantastic.  Artsy kids in tattoos and more Apple than the explosion of its consumers, would start their mornings with their dogs in European messenger bags or in those oversized hobo Gucci purses, and then off to let them reign the lane.  This lane would be the most trend-setting of the hottest self-startups of dog-walking companies.  The “show” would signal out those pink-dyed, pom-pom-groomed poodles walking the catwalk with Isaac Mizrahi’s models during New York’s Fashion week.  Those furry fashionistas love to steal the show, whether it is during Fashion Week or on 5th Avenue in the middle of Midtown’s high-powered lunch hour.  What a brilliant idea to showcase these city dogs as examples of long-term companions with a good heart and soul for incorporating nature at its finest.

5. The Green Bikers Gang: This lane, which does exist partially in random parts on Broadway and other old streets of NYC, would be ideal to complete the “Perfect Streetscape”. These kids would not only reduce carbon footprint and vehicle gas emission, but would also be considered as another “up and coming” energy source to use for charging their own gadgets. This energy source would travel so fast that it could reflect the vibrations of its wheels and bounce off into the atmosphere. This energy would improve WiFi and other e-communications hitting all Starbucks joints.

The 5 lanes of this new “Central Park”  could balance and offset the power of underground subway cars so much more than the heavy impact of millions of streetwalkers energizing the City.

Perhaps, this “perfect” streetscape could also allow additional “Central Parks” to bring in more green spaces. Trees could finally have less stress factors and have a longer lifespan outlining the City and in preserving our nature for the future.

Illustrated by Nathalie J Siegel

The NASDAQ would be absolutely speechless that there would be no Bull and Bear market to report and Mayor Michael Bloomberg can finally give a thumbs up to his dream in creating a “walkable” life for Manhattan.

“…But I can dream, Can’t I? “ ~The Carpenters