New Marlins Stadium…Trendy and Smart (AIA Ft Lauderdale seminar 2011)

AIA Ft Lauderdale seminar on New Marlins Ballpark
April 2011

Earl Santee, AIA, Senior Principal of POPULOUS gave one of the most “WOW” presentations ever of AIA Ft Lauderdale’s seminars! AMAZING! Huge “WOW” factor! The presentation’s background music of playing on the field made us FEEL like we were having a great time with hotdogs, frozen drinks, basking in lots of sunshine and rooting for the Marlins way up in the stands! LET’s GO!

The show was briefly organized and right to the point via keywording.

Mr. Santee began the lecture on portraying the new Stadium as an “artful environment about place, game and experience.” He emphasized architectural concepts of region, figure/ground relationship, site location and re-introduction of city, streets, and blocks. Via color coded graphic images, he graphically showed the ballpark’s connection to major bodies of water while capturing the downtown feel, sustainably, so no alienation will be whatsoever.

Santee also portrayed the Stadium as an “urban gallery” between the Everglades and Atlantic Ocean. Dramatically, images were shown of the overhead expansive glass roof which would allow 3 different planes to retract from each other as “merging forms”. The function of the roof would amazingly extend out to create an “exterior” shelter for pre and post “gathering” events of the game. The “exterior” environment of tropical lushness would be “pushed in” towards the Stadium, originated as an “outfield”. Multi-functionality plays a dominant role in this project.

The floor plan was cleverly devised and diligently construed as a “means of wayfinding” via colored signage, tinted glazing and other interior elements. Four main colors, blue, red, green, yellow, control the layout of architectural elements built within the ballpark.

Kudos to Earl Santee and to his firm, Populous on an excellent job in creating a “fast-forward” concept of ballparks while considering traditional, long-term effects of ballpark design in the world of sporting venues.

I agree with Mr. Santee on the comment: “Baseball is trendy yet smart.” YES, IT IS!!


The wizardry of Steve Jobs Possibly Taking Over the Way We Fly Airplanes

-iPads IN. computers, manuals, paper charts OUT.-

Imagine what the original pioneers of aviation, Orville and Wilbur Wright, would say about allowing mechanical and electrical engineers transform the computer system in the cockpit into a revolutionized display. Flat screen monitors and built-in apps dictating weather conditions and traffic signals from the controllers would be the norm.

Of course, consumers, buyers, and sellers are into instant gratification when they see something new in the market that could benefit them personally as well as professionally. Once the novelty wears off, longevity will be the next keyword to consider. Will these latest, hot inventions stick around long term? Will they benefit all generations of age, all professions, and all sorts of culture? These are some of the issues to consider when purchasing something that could transform the way people do things, the way consumers purchase goods, and the way professionals earn profit and generate revenue.

While these latest advancements in technology have its enormous advantages, limitations are necessitated enough to manage the novelty of the equipment. Perhaps until these inventions are more stabilized, the longevity of consistency in the market will be able to suffice. Once momentum is established for these new gadgets, trademarking, patenting, and the ability to see stable consequences, a fit can be fitted.

What will be next? iPads as the next wizard, built into your car, programmed to act as a GPS navigator, turn ignition on, play music, turn off windshield wipers, and to generate voice-to-text messages. After this invention, wait until the next iPad saves billions of dollars in traffic violation tickets for texting and driving, by delegating everything without a smartphone.

The turn of the century will be turned again when Steve Jobs invents an iPad as a mega-sized robotic-programmed automobile.

Eventually, these phenomenal inventions will be taking over all technological advances as one of the strongest movers and shakers in the New York Stock Exchange.

Amazing ideas. Never-ending, but of course it would be nice to have stability with no end. Just like how a skyscraper hotel is built on a foundation and structural system, new inventions need to have a foundation as well. A concrete and solid basis for monitoring airplanes, automobiles and other mass transportation systems is necessitated for long-term benefits.

Feel free to view attached supplemental article from the USA Today, Nation section, Friday, March 18, 2011, page 3A.

Temporary Additions for Superbowl XLV,_Super_Bowl_a_perfect_fit

Ever walk into one of those super-massive sized sculptural, 30 centuries jet-setted ahead, more contemporary than the term contemporary, the most popped of pop art, the most deco of art deco, and you were just speechless? The Dallas Cowboys Stadium, is not a typical cookie-cutter stadium that fits in like the Big Ten Schools or the Big 12….

First of all, their owner, their king, the one and only Jerry Jones, who has starred in HBO’s Entourage and other top box rated shows, has turned the meaning of the word “supersize” around 360 degrees, clockwise and counterclockwise.  He is the mastermind, a tycoon, behind all sports franchises.  Every game played at the Stadium, whether it be the Superbowl XLV or a Cowboys game… every coin toss, every commercial, every scoreboard, every halftime show, and everything else in between, self-produces more and more business, revenue and even mega-supersized real estate opportunities.

It is like a self-functioning metamorphosis.  A paradigm shift in sports culture.  The elements are retractable, everything is 5 star as you walk through the massive space.

This domed structure has a retractable roof, has earned the title as the world’s largest structure with no column, as well as the world’s largest high def video screen. It was all done strategically, scientifically and detailed under the eyes and minds of HKS Architects, Inc.  No other “Stadium” could top this, not even the traditional Ohio State University’s “Horseshoe” shaped stadium which is listed in the National Registry of Historic Places. Although the Buckeyes stadium is very intimidating but…

Since the Superbowl XLV is approaching faster than the minutes and seconds around the clock, major challenges are at stake in trying to temporarily squeeze in an additional 20,000 more seats.  While the Stadium holds for 80,000, the programmatic requirements for the structure allows for temporary configurations of expanding the seating.

The “smart-planned” program has famously created a paradigm shift in traditional, old-school style of seats built-in into the concrete grounds.  The “Stadium” seats were fastened onto aluminum rails bolted into the concrete which allows for flexibility in squeezing the seats closer for additional capacity.

This “smart planning” approach calls for a quick, short “version” of Integrated Project Delivery.  It is the scientific project delivery method where architects, engineers and builders become one team and brainstorm to create better solutions using technology when reaching roadblocks during construction, build-out or other phases.

While February 6, 2011 is accelerating faster than the speed of light, plans for removing armrests of seats and adding temporary seating in the end-zone plazas are taking effect now.  Since the end-zones are fire hazards, the quantity of building codes to consider far exceeds the number of billions of dollars the super size structure is worth.

A major challenge at the last minute.  After all the last minute construction work, everyone, just about 99.99% of everyone will end up paying  just to stand the entire time, because this “Stadium” is just so surreal.

Amazing, to see the intensity and phenomenal immensity of sports culture as a major contributor in causing cultural shifts in today’s society, just as fast as the speed of iPhones and iPads adding more apps everyday.

That is why today’s architects and builders are using IPD and building information modeling approaches as if their lives depended on it… and to foresee the future.

LET’S GO STEELERS!!!!!!!!!!!!

Incinerator Plants as Trendy, Electric Art

As social media acts as the so-called answer to our American Dream, the Huffington Post app on your iPhone has been making shockwaves in the next best thing of what is “trending” today:  incinerator plants as art in European countries.  Subconsciously, you are probably thinking “have we gone crazy with this Sustainable Revolution?”  Wasn’t the 60s counter-culture revolution enough to take over our societal norms? Can anything exist long-term?

These new inventions are attracting architects and other creative thinkers internationally into absorbing links, networks, and cobwebs of solutions and answers in bettering our environments and infrastructures that are suffering.

The modernized incinerator plants are meant to burn waste by converting it into a new means of energy resource, called electrical energy or electricity.  Electricity can creatively be produced from waste and cause less carbon footprint in dense areas.  Transporting trash would result in shorter distances.

Modernism has predominately shifted the concept and look of these plants.  For instance, these plants now have sophisticated devices for filtering away particles due to emission.  The chemicals can be even recycled as well.

The more recycling, the percentage of toxins reduces to less than that of a cigarette butt.

These days, architects believe, that “these waste-to-energy plants are to have the same architectural treatment as any other building”, says Kirsten Lees, partner at Grimshaw in Europe.

For instance, The Sita UK plant in Suffolk County of England has an aesthetic approach and a better fit within the community.  Louvers were to be designed to provide shading.  A transparent skin wall cladding was construed to allow visitors to imagine how energy really can be transformed from wasteful products, an educational bonus point.  Topographical contours of the brownfield area were manipulated onto the walls as a way to fit into the land as a sensible piece of work.

This is very interesting to envision “sustainable” plants as an advantage in helping control our environment and our natural “leftovers”, as opposed to existing as an “unpleasant factory” setback behind landfills.  All buildings and structures, no matter what function or purpose, serve a purpose in acting as a significant factor in designing society, for the betterment as well as aesthetics.

For more info:

ARCHITECT The Magazine of the American Institute of Architects, Trash As Treasure

Let’s Start A Revolution

Let’s Start a Revolution

Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson and other Baby Boomers born between 1945 and 1964, without a doubt, were the greatest revolutionaries for social change. No other generation could be so young to live through the assassination of JFK, watch the first man walk on the moon, walk like a hippie at Woodstock, follow Beatlemania, and risk being drafted into Vietnam War. Just like Billy Joel’s song, We Didn’t Start the Fire, it is the perfect description of events that shaped the “Baby Boom”. “Buddy Holly, Ben Hur, Space Monkey, Mafia, Hula Hoops, Castro and Edsel…” They were all brave enough to reject conventional social norms of the 50’s by protesting for women’s rights, freedom of speech, peace and love. “Einstein, James Dean, Brooklyn’s got a winning team, Davy Crockett, Peter Pan, Elvis Presley, Disneyland…”

While Baby Boomers were the first to rebel against their parents’ values, they created a tsunami sensation for self-created, counterculture beliefs. Year 2011, today, while they are almost approaching retirement, they refuse to age and still hold their stoicism. These Baby Boomers want to dive into the anti-aging and sustainably incorporate younger lifestyles. They may adjust, but they will not change who they are because of their established identity and foundation.

Just like a house is built on a foundation with a footing three feet below the soil, an established foundation for a generation is to be accomplished in order to gain the ability of living longer, mentally and emotionally. Kudos to Baby Boomers for who they still are today.

Baby Boomer Designers

World-renowned, internationally recognized designers, Ian Schrager and Philippe Starck, the kings of boutique hotels in Miami, Manhattan and London, like the Delano and Starwood, are two Baby Boomers that established a cross-over of two generations.

Designing a boutique hotel with a trendy nightclub as the main lobby to check in, is not as idealistic and accommodating for those approaching retirement. While these famous designers have already claimed their fame back in the 60’s, it would be great if they could balance their young clientele needs with older client needs. Their projects would even have more of an effective impact for establishing the grounds for any age.

Generation X, Y, Z

That generational age, those Facebooking trendsetters, Twittering and looking like full-bodied electric fuse boxes ready to get back in line at the Apple store, are the ones dominating all culture shifts in today’s society. Baby Boomers are just starting to keep up and hope to feel accepted with today’s scene.

The Silent Generation, a different story. This is a perfect example in why cutting edge designers need to consider a broad range of audience they are targeting, with no gap in between. A balanced momentum would sustain in the building boom benefitting clients and designers, no matter what is trending.

Aging of Generation X, Y, Z

Once Generation X ages, long-term stability benefits are next on the plate. As science and innovation keep up, anti-aging lifestyles will keep expanding at different angles and affect future generations.

These ideas support the fact that as innovative, edgy artists and designers, of any age, come in to transform our society, they need to generalize their specified audience to cater.

Smart, Good Architecture

There is a fine line where all culture changes need to achieve an equilibrium with incoming and outgoing generations. That is the true definition of smart, good architecture.

A great piece of artwork or architecture is best defined as when achieved with good results. The structural elements, supports, beams, studs and foundation are crucial to withstand any generation.

We can watch Google, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg change the way we live, but incorporating all ages, is the other card to be played in the game, after growing up with black and white television and no social media.

How to Efficiently Go Home After Work


After reading all the columns, all the commentaries, all the sections of the Sun Sentinel, twice while holding a grande-sized ice coffee, with melted ice in one hand and in the other hand, an iPhone with 1% battery left, and going southbound on  in Broward County is pretty much normal for a typical 5:45 PM Friday. Watching those pick-up trucks with teenagers sitting in the open cargo bed driving ahead of you is a great example of live entertainment to pass the time, if no newspaper in handy.

A typical commuter trip on 95 involves strikingly high numbers of accidents, over-congestion, black smog and wasteful BP premium gasoline. An unbelievable, unwanted number of dollars is gone in a split-second. All these ridiculous costs, road rage, and unsafe traffic patterns are telling us Floridians that something is missing.

Florida’s geographical longitude, latitude and its position on the Earth has so much significant natural resources that could be so advantageous and efficient. Its subtropical climate and its geological foundation, created after tropical storms and hurricanes are other unique, amazing advantages not all other states have. This is giving us a silent opportunity for a paradigm shift in enhanced, efficient transportation and land use in Florida.

Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and the Intra Coastal would be some of the most crucial natural resources for creating better cities and towns for the East Coast as well as the West Coast of Florida. Reviving water transportation is the key to improvement. For example, when staying at the Contemporary Hotel in Disney, the water taxi should be considered as the better method instead of standing in line with twenty other families waiting for the shuttle bus. At this particular hotel, riding the Monorail is the most lucrative, popular mode of transportation, above ground. While it reduces on-foot traffic impediments, water transportation still struggles to be the most beneficial in incorporating transit with natural resources.

Just imagine Broward County’s rush hour on 95 southbound on a Friday afternoon, knowing that a mysterious percentage of commuters and locals recently decided to hop on a water taxi at the intersection of Las Olas on A1A. After going for a nice long walk to burn off the calories from that heavy pasta dish at Timpano and soaking in some Vitamin D from the sun after a long day at work makes a young professional happy to be living in South Florida.

Life as an Archi-Torture Survivor

Once upon a time, a group of young women graduated in 1997 from Orange High School in Pepper Pike, Ohio. They were involved in many extracurricular activities, played Junior Varsity tennis and volunteered for many non-profit events such as face painting at children’s hospitals and entering holiday window painting contests. Also, they could not find anything better to do than taking the Rapid downtown to watch Jim Thome and Manny Ramirez play ball at the Jake and have kosher hot dogs during those hot summer days.

They then hailed to The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor as Wolverines, despite the fact that their parents were the original Ohio State Buckeyes. FYI: The Wolverines went all the way to the Rose Bowl during the women’s freshman and senior years. These young women lived in the dorms, rushed sorority row, and experienced living life on their own. They started out as freshmen in The School of Art & Design. After going through the fundamental classes of Wire Framing, Metal Sculptures, Painting, and Graphic Design, their siblings convinced them that transferring into Architecture would be a wise choice for their future.

Year 1999, their Architectural days began. These young women from Pepper Pike dropped out of their sororities, shared apartments with roommates, and walked into studio the first day of class. Their professor said… “YOUR LIVES WILL BE CHANGED AFTER THIS SEMESTER.” The women were “advised” to re-arrange their lifestyles. They had to break out their savings account to buy tool boxes filled with exacto blades of all thicknesses, knives of every size and weight, and sandpaper of all coarses… Their social lives were automatically confined within the studios. The classmates became their best friends. The dating scene was very limited. Every student had no choice but to date only the “CHOSEN FEW”.

While these young women were going through withdrawal, they also had to endure a grueling week before final reviews. The assignment was to design a firehouse with a glass lobby. A typical day would be spent listening to Billy Joel all day and staring at their plexi glass designs for five days with no sleep. They spent all week trying to figure out why the plexi would not stay glued onto the basswood structural posts. These women just assumed the million dollar lottery ticket answer would just flash while staring at their models all night.

They would walk around and think they hear Billy Joel singing his Greatest Hits everywhere, in the restrooms, by the computer stations, and outside in the dark parking lot. Whenever they found time to take a break, they would go downstairs to their “KITCHEN”, which was a long, dark hallway with perfectly aligned rows of candy and soda vending machines. Upholstered, cheap fabric couches were lined up against every vending machine. They knew the exact dimensions, material selections and specifications of every single couch… it was their “second” home. This was the case when they did not have time to go home at 5 am to eat dinner and then sleep for 30 minutes while their roommates were just getting ready to start a new day after a full night of sleep.

Week of final reviews began. World-renowned, famous professors and fellowship applicants from all over Europe were invited to conduct the reviews. They were those really cool architects that had the look and the walk. The architects would grab their STARBUCKS lattes, their dark-rimmed, geometrical glasses, tiny sketchbooks and take their seats and just stare at the students drawings. Though the women were thrilled to meet them and get their autographs, this was not the time to act on a papparazzi level with these really cool people. They just scribbled notes in different languages and started to bluntly critique everything that the women did wrong. The women were shocked to hear of the “things they could have done differently“. There was no praise for all of the hard work they sacrificed their social lives for… and missed their Saturday night Date Party with Beta Theta Pi…

Welcome to the world of “Archi-Torture“. This is how architects make it out alive. Professors toughen up their students and expect them to learn things on their own.

Their most unforgettable experience was when a professor grabbed a thick, red Sharpie marker and drew a 180 degree horizontal line, so perfectly still and straight as if it was “flat-lined” on an EKG monitor screen, across their 36×42 inch floor plans.

These women from Pepper Pike just FROZE. Clocks stopped TICKING. All computer monitors SIGNED OFF. Billy Joel stopped SINGING. The sound of a pin needle dropping could not even be heard. It was like the scene from the movie Vanilla Sky, where Tom Cruise had the power to run through Times Square as if it were a ghost town. No NASDAQ trading flashing on the billboards. No cab drivers yelling all over Broadway as if they were trying to reach the finish line of NASCAR’s Daytona 500 race. It was as if this moment, for one nano-second, actually had manifestation powers greater enough to make the Earth stop rotating on its axis.

Back to reality, the women picked up their oversized DKNY purses, filled with sand and mechanical pencils, slowly tiptoed onto each stair and tread, snuck outside into the dark parking lot and drove away, as if they were in the Twilight Zone.

They went home to their Alpha Chi Omega house that they missed so much and started planning their outfits for the tailgate at Alpha Delta Phi’s fraternity the next morning. Nothing else mattered except for this critically acclaimed house on State Street with the famous volleyball court out front. It was the one with the uneven MAIZE and BLUE color painted wood planks. Since the furnishings inside had no function and no purpose, but only as just places to crash, the couches acted as the rafters for the roof, all perfectly aligned to the slope. They were upholstered with Michigan fleece blankets to bring in the spirit. (Freshmen rushing the house were historically known to act as the “Frank Lloyd Wright” of architecture, not by choice. Long story.)

At last, Saturday at 6 AM arrived, the women climbed up onto the roof with their fraternity friends and had a grand old time with cheap, foamy beer. Life was just fabulous (or at least for one day).

Living a few blocks away from the Stadium on State, these women still managed to make it to the football games every Saturday and never missed a tailgate, despite their sleep-deprived personalities.

Archi-Torture” or whatever it may be perceived as, would never take the Wolverine out of these young, insomniac women.

Sadly, football season had to end… Reality kicked in, again. As the cold winter started rolling in, more studio deadlines were coming in faster than the speed of light. With more mayhem in the evenings, the bus transportation eventually took the students off their route. The women had more sleepless nights of staring, gluing, and sanding all night. They were so used to super gluing everything that they did not realize that they glued their fingers onto their designer jeans from Nordstrom’s Savvy department. They had to wait hours of sitting still for the glue to dry so they can dissolve the molecules with epoxy solution during those dark, quiet, 3 am mornings.

Wearing eye goggles and t-shirts with jeans and flat shoes became the norm when they had to drill holes into their basswood models with band saws. Before their lives were flipped 180 degrees, these women had never heard of or would ever have set foot in public with flat shoes. They could not believe what they have gotten themselves into. Those old, glory days of wearing French manicures, sheer MAC lip gloss, black skinny Miss Sixty jeans, 3 inch high heel Steve Madden platforms, and black Prada purses were no longer the proper dress attire… Talk about sacrifice.

They crashed and burned, big time.

Fast forward into December 2001, they all graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Architecture with flying colors, wearing a fake smile as they were handed the diploma, but really they knew they were heading into many years of recovery, mentally, physically, and emotionally.

After spending a summer of letting loose, having fun and living it up in a high rise in downtown Chicago, these young women gathered their strength and were ready to evolve professionally. It all started when they hand carried one of their studio models and walked down Michigan Avenue, on one of the windiest days and entered the offices of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill on the 9th floor, with zero architecture experience.

These girls from Pepper Pike that crashed and burned were offered their first internship with the firm. Best experience ever.

Following that internship, their resumes led them to work for the kings and queens of architects. A few more internships along the way, they eventually settled in with firms and found their own niche.

These established, super-business-savvy women from Pepper Pike, Ohio successfully walked up the ladder and walked back down and reflected on their “Archi-Torture” days finally with a smile.