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Life of an Architect: The Latest Architecture and News

Playhouses For Charity: How One Architect's Design Competition Raises Money For Neglected Children

Have you ever thought of designing a house that is 8-foot cubed? It's unlikely, unless you've been involved in Dallas CASA’s event “Parade of Playhouses.” For 25 years, the association has asked architects, designers and builders to conceive, construct, and donate playhouses to raise funds for abused and neglected children. Each year, the playhouses are displayed in Northpark Mall – Dallas’ main “cultural centre” – where people can buy $5 raffle tickets to win one of the playhouses exhibited.

Architect Bob Borson conceived his first two playhouses for Dallas CASA in 2009, before starting his popular blog Life of an Architect and subsequently launching “The Life of An Architect Design Competition.” The idea came in 2010 when a great number of architects suffered from the economic crisis. As Borson explains: “I could have a playhouse design competition open to other architects so that they could remain connected to the architectural profession.” This also required Borson to raise money and find builders to construct the designs. “I have always covered all the expenses so that the competition would remain free to enter – the playhouses were for charity and it seemed like the right thing to do,” reflected Borson.

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Register Now for Life of an Architect's 4th Annual Playhouse Competition

Bob Borson of Life of an Architect has announced the 2015 Architect Playhouse Competition, now in its fourth year. The competition is free to join, open to everyone, and assists the Dallas CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), an organization that helps abused and neglected children. Organized and funded by Borson, it asks participants to design a playhouse that embodies originality, creativity, and can be constructed for $5000 or less. The winners (between two and five entries) will have their designs built and displayed at the Dallas CASA Parade of Playhouses, where they will be raffled to benefit the nonprofit organization. Registration is open now and designs must be submitted by April 20th. Winners will be announced May 4th. Check out last year's winners after the break, and visit here to register.

Life of an Architect Launches 3rd Annual Playhouse Competition

Life of an Architect’s Bob Borson has launched the 3rd annual Architect Playhouse Design Competition - a (free) competition open to all that benefits the abused children of Dallas CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates). Entirely funded by Borson, the competition challenges participants to design a creative playhouse under $4,000 USD. The top two winning entries will be constructed then displayed and raffled at the nonprofit organization; All proceeds will be donated to Dallas CASA. Registration is now open and all submissions are due by May 12th. See last year’s winners, after the break, and register here to participate.

Christmas Cards From Famous Architects

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via Le Corbusier, it’s one of his five points of Christmas

Happy holidays from the architects! We made you a card.

To celebrate, here’s a few Christmas Cards from famous architects from the popular architecture blogs Life of an Architect and Coffee with an Architect.

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It’s all about the narrative

It’s all about the narrative - Featured Image

In approximately 3 1/2 months I will be standing on a stage in Washington D.C. at the American Institute of Architects 2012 National Convention talking about blogging and social media for architects. Most of the people who swing through here probably don’t much care about that – and I don’t blame you (you already know that I’m making it up as I go). However, what struck me this morning as I was standing in the shower (where I do some of my best problem solving), was how blogging, my presentation for the convention, and architecture in general, all have something really important in common …

the narrative.

Design Studio: Top 10 Things you should know

Editor’s note: We welcome Bob Borson to ArchDaily. We will be presenting periodic updates from his popular blog Life of an Architect, generating a space for conversation among architects.

So school started a few weeks ago and architecture students are back in the studio environment – Aaahhhhh (breathing deeply) the familiar smell of despair, B.O. and basswood. There are a few things that I thought I would share with all you new studio rats. These are things you will probably have to figure out for yourself but I wish someone had told me some of these things when I was still spending 35 bazillion hours a week up at studio. There are many different experiences people might value from their time spent with other future architects but I would like to expose some commonly held urban legends associated with architecture and design studios.

How to name your design firm

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One the first things you must consider when starting your new architectural firm, is what to name it. The choices are varied and the ramifications staggering. If the personality of the firm is going to be projected by the name, you had better take it seriously – every one else will. That’s where Life of an Architect can help (not really) - because I am a creative and critical thinker and somebody has to think about these things.

Originally, before architects were licensed professionals and to add some credibility to the profession to help distinguish themselves from the other trade crafts (like carpenters and contractors), architecture firms turned to law firms as an example and starting stringing together the last names of the founding individuals or partners (i.e. McKim, Mead & White) . This method is still wildly used simply because it is the easiest albeit least creative method. It doesn’t take much to recognize that some of the older more established firms have chosen this method:


What’s in a name?

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Peter Bohlin Glenn Murcutt Renzo Piano Samuel Mockbee Michael Graves Fay Jones Philip Johnson Richard Neutra Alvar Aalto Walter Gropius

What do these people have in common? Yes they have all been awarded the AIA Gold Medal “in recognition of a significant body of work of lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture” – but I’m not interested in that and it’s not what I am talking about. No, the correct answer is that none of them are named ‘Bob’.

Should I be worried? No disrespect to all the other Bob’s that are out there but can you really be that good of an architect when your first name is Bob? A certain amount of evidence exists that is not in our favor. Dating back to 1907, there has never been a Gold Medal winner whose name was Bob. What about the architectural equivalent to the Nobel Prize, The Pritzker? Nope – not a Bob to be found. We did get Robert Venturi in 1991 but he’s a Robert and not a Bob. From what I understand, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe used to call him Bob but they didn’t like each other and I think it might have been meant as an insult. (I’d ask Mies if he were alive and I could …. but he probably wouldn’t have accepted a phone call from a ‘Bob’)

Architects and their signatures

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Editor’s note: We welcome Bob Borson to ArchDaily. We will be presenting periodic updates from his popular blog Life of an Architect, generating a space for conversation among architects.

What does your signature say about you? The way you leave your name behind on a piece a paper tells more about you than just saying “sorry I hit your car but I don’t have insurance“. It should come as no surprise but I don’t subscribe to mystical thinking like being an Aries and that my horoscope tells me to “prepare for an exciting trip” … yeah, right. Getting pushed down the stairs should hardly qualify as an exciting trip. According to those people in the mystical know – how you sign your signature actually does mean something and does provide some insight into the mind behind the name.

Your first name relates to your individual ego – If your first name is larger than your family name, it suggests that you are proud of YOUR OWN accomplishments. However, the larger the first name, the larger the desire to APPEAR important. This can also indicate a low self-esteem.

The Family name projects social status – If your family name is larger than your first name, you take great pride in family achievements and reputation, rather than in your own accomplishments.

Legible signature – If the signature is legible and simple, the writer is unpretentious, honest and straightforward. This person will follow the rules and do as they are told… just the same as when they were in school.

Illegible Signature – If the signature is illegible, the writer may be in such a hurry that they can’t take the time to shape the letters properly… doctors, executives, movie stars. An illegible signature is often a sign of a big ego… someone who expects others to KNOW who they are. This person also wants to keep their personal lives private and shielded from the outside world.

Check out some of the world’s most famous architects’ signatures after the break.