Sometimes it’s difficult to sort through all the resources available to design professionals on the internet. We recommend you check out this series of eleven free videos from aecKnowledge, each one an interview with a respected architect in California’s Bay Area.

aecKnowledge Insights video series

Jack McAllister, FAIA

Throughout his long career, Jack McAllister has placed value on understanding how materials were fabricated and buildings constructed, and the importance of working directly with clients, allied design professionals, and the craftspeople building his creations. Above all, Jack learned the value of mentorship, as he describes so poignantly in this in-depth interview curated by Tim Culvahouse, FAIA.

Chuck Davis, FAIA

At age 78, Chuck remains a partner in EHDD, a fabled Bay Area architecture firm with a distinguished international reputation. In this candid interview, Chuck shares his insights about his early years with pioneer Joe Esherick, working with David Packard on the design of the Monterey Aquarium, his post-partum blues, collaborating with clients, the “search and discovery” that makes great architecture, and passing the torch to a new generation of leaders.

Peter Dodge, FAIA

Peter is a founding member of EHDD–one of America’s most distinguished architectural practices. A Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, Peter is the 2008 AIA California Council’s Lifetime Achievement Award. In this interview, he describes his circuitous path to architecture and talked about his contributions to the profession.

Visit the aecKnowledge website to watch these interviews. The following is a list of the rest of the interviewees:

  • George Homsey, FAIA
  • Odile Decq
  • Thom Mayne, FAIA
  • Gwynne Pugh, FAIA, ASCE
  • Steven Ehrlich, FAIA

“A hundred years after we began building with tall buildings, we have yet to understand how the tall, high-rise building becomes a building block in making a city… in creating the public realm,” says legendary architect and teacher Moshe Safdie of Safdie Architects in Boston. This is the driving force behind his TED talk on How to Reinvent the Apartment Building.

Emphasizing the importance of light, permeability, and nature, Safdie demonstrates how breaking the mold of the standard residential skyscraper could transform the urban environment and the experience of those living in high-density housing.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is everywhere these days. From the guy next door to your favorite aunt and uncle to Gwenyth Paltrow, it seems everyone agrees that raising money and awareness to fight “Lou Gehrig’s Disease” is worth a deluge of ice water over their heads and capturing the hilarity on camera. Donations from the campaign have already topped $53 million! Thank you to the Novedge Blog for collecting a few videos of architects taking the challenge and challenging one another, all for a good cause! Here are a couple more good ones we found:

FitzGerald Associates Architects

Continue reading “Architects Taking the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge!”

According to Alison Killing of Killing Architects in Rotterdam, Netherlands, the role of the architect in modern society is undergoing a shift: moving away from the architect as a “master builder”, towards someone who is a specialist in the “built environment”.

New Generations – Killing Architects from New Generations on Vimeo.

Killing Architects recently won first prize in a competition on the future of architecture practice. The contest was put on by the New Generations network of young European architects in late 2013. Watch Ms. Killing’s short interview about the role of architects, and the opportunities for young architects who are willing to take risks and commit to research as a major part of their individual practice.

What if, instead of architects creating buildings only for those who can afford to commission them, regular citizens could design and build their own houses?

This is the concept at the heart of Wikihouse, an open source construction kit. With this tool, just about anyone can build a house, anywhere.

Alastair Parvin: Architecture for the people by the people

In this fascinating TED Talk, Architect Alastair Parvin explains his vision for 21st century architecture and design: With the prevalence of open source software, 3-D printers, and other technological advances, the focus of the design industry may now shift from “thinking big” to “thinking small.” Challenging the effectiveness and affordability of one-size-fits-all.

According to Parvin, the stars have aligned to allow us a new industrial revolution, one founded on the democratization of production. Watch as he gives us a one-day-build house, compares citizen-led urban development to the barn-raising cultures of 19th century societies, and evangelizes for open source pioneer Linus Torvalds‘s philosophy: Be lazy like a fox.

How does this strike you? Is it plausible? Practical? Do you think the IKEA-fication of architecture and construction is a good idea or a bad one? Leave us a comment!

MORE: The 10 Most Inspirational TED Talks for Architects

Tired of reading article after newsletter after white paper after blog post on risk management? (We hope not! But just in case…) Here’s another option:


Longtime a/e ProNet affiliate Kent Holland of ConstructionRisk, LLC has translated his impressive catalog of resources into a series of short videos available on the YouTube Channel.

“If you’re involved in the construction project, whether as a contractor, a designer, or a project owner, you will get real benefit from the practical ideas, suggestions, and law presented in these videos.”

A few of the playlists available now:

J. Kent Holland is a construction lawyer located in Tysons Corner, Virginia, representing design professionals, contractors, and project owners.

Don’t forget the popcorn!

Much has been made in recent years about the low percentage of women in the engineering industry, but comparatively little progress has been made. The question remains: How do we encourage a young girl’s interest in designing, problem-solving, experimenting, developing, and building? Because if we can do that with the current generation of imaginative, technologically-inclined youngsters, there could well be a marked increase in the number of women who choose careers from among the broad range of engineering disciplines.

This new advertisement from GoldieBlox, which has “developed a set of interactive books and games to ‘disrupt the pink aisle and inspire the future generation of female engineers’”, is a fantastic start!



Set to the tune of the Beastie Boys’ famously catchy Girls, we see the execution of a fabulous Rube Goldberg machine as a trio of excited would-be engineers uses their perpetually pink toys to play a new version of house.

There may be many answers to the question of gender disparity in the engineering industry, but this is definitely one of the more fun, optimistic ones. Well done, GoldieBlox! And just in time for Christmas.

Can you hear me now?

“It’s time to start designing for our ears.”

Classrooms, work spaces, restaurants, airplanes. These are just a few of the places we experience every day which should be reevaluated in terms of the audio experience. In this recent TED talk, Sound expert Julian Treasure demonstrates the importance of audio considerations in the design process.


Shout-Out Credit: 

Earleen Thomas
Account Executive/Professional Services Specialist of Cornerstone Specialty Insurance Services – Irvine, CA
Email: / Phone: 714-731-7700

The ABC of Architecture

Couldn’t resist posting this happy, musical video in praise of worldwide architecture!

How many did you recognize?