Design

✱ Subtitled by Evan Troxel

In 2014 I had the opportunity to collaborate on a design project that was something out of the ordinary, and I recently went looking to see if I could find it online. Youtube to the rescue! 

Working with my friend and colleague Mark Schoeman, we were given full leeway to design and produce English subtitles for a short film where the actors speak French. You might think that there's no design opportunities in subtitles; they're pretty boring, right? But we came up with what I like to think is a creative approach. Our subtitles really add to the film, help tell the story in a more intimate way, and set it apart. If you have the chance to see it, it's a beautiful film that's worth your time.

Anyway I just thought it would be fun to put this up on my blog. It was interesting work, especially for a couple of architects, and at the same time difficult (working in another language, and the sheer amount of subtitle work that had to be done). In the end we had to do it twice—once in English for the North American release and then again in French for the release in France. 

The film went on the festival circuit and won five awards. You can learn more on its IMDB page.

Here's the trailer that gives a glimpse of the story and what we did:

Universal Language

We Don't Like Your House Either by Evan Troxel

This documentary is about some of Architect Bruce Goff's work and he talks openly about his relationships with his clients and about the work itself. The label 'genius' comes up a lot, and to be truthful I've never been interested in his work but I took some time to watch this and it's fascinating. I love how much his clients trusted him and loved what they were able to accomplish together. 

For some reason it starts at minute 17. Rewind it back to the beginning before you start watching.

Video: Hydro-Fold by Evan Troxel

Hydro-Fold by Christophe Guberan from ECAL

In this movie we see a student from the Product Design bachelors at the University of Art and Design Lausanne showing us how he uses a modified ink-jet printer to print grid-like patterns that fold and contort a piece of paper, transforming it from a 2D paper sheet into a 3D volume.

Simply amazing.

(thx Walter)

Archiculture by Evan Troxel

About the film: 

Archiculture takes a thoughtful, yet critical look at the architectural studio. The film offers a unique glimpse into the world of studio-based, design education through the eyes of a group of students finishing their final design projects. Interviews with leading professionals, historians and educators help create crucial dialog around the key issues faced by this unique teaching methodology.

One of the directors, Ian Harris, is going to be on the next Entrepreneur Architect Podcast and I can't wait to hear about it. With names like Shigeru Ban, David Byrne, Thom Mayne and others, there is bound to be some revealing snips of info behind the normal over-glorified curtains of the starchitect's ivory towers. We also will get to see what architecture students go through in their design studios and what makes us who we are - for better or for worse.

There's an upcoming screening at the Denver AIA convention June 21st if you're going to be there.

Methodcast Quickie #3 - Depth of Field by Evan Troxel

My love of learning new (to me) photographic techniques has blended into my 3d rendering and visualization endeavors. I've posted another short video tutorial showing how to get nice, creamy depth-of-field in your renders using Maxwell and FormZ over on Method. If you're using Maxwell, it really doesn't matter what modeling program you're using - the same information applies. If you're not using Maxwell, check it out and see if it's something you might want to try.

✱ Paying Homage to James Turrell, Who Turns Light Into Art by Evan Troxel

If you have a chance to visit a Turrell Skyspace, do it. There's one in my town and I've enjoyed it many times. The New York Times has an article highlighting some exhibitions that might be within your travel range so you can experience it yourself.

“LIGHT is this thing we usually use to illuminate other things,” said the artist James Turrell, who first considered the presence of a beam of light cast from a slide projector during art history class at Pomona College in the early 1960s. “I’m interested that light has thingness itself, so it’s not something that reveals something about other things you’re looking at, but it becomes a revelation in itself.”

As an architectural designer, paying attention to light and what it can do inside a space is only part of the process of design. The fun part is what you can achieve with it as a design tool. It's one of the most flexible and underused tools in our toolbox. It is one of those things that, along with many other necessary ingredients, can create a moving, human experience which to me is what architecture is all about.

There are some great architects that use(d) light to their advantage - Louis Kahn, for instance, was a master whom I greatly admire.

If you decide to go, let me know. I'd like to go back and experience with you.

Here are some pictures I took on my last visit as the colors shifted and completely changed my perception of the sky behind.:

HMC Receives Three C.A.S.H. Design Awards by Evan Troxel

I worked on two of these projects with some great teams and friends - Middle College High School and Elementary School #9, both for LAUSD. I learned so much working on them. Congratulations to both teams for all of your hard work and for making more decent learning environments and architecture.

HMC Architects/School Advisors received three design awards at the C.A.S.H./AIACC Leroy F. Greene Design and Planning Awards Ceremony on February 26. The firm was honored with an Award of Honor for the Orchard School Library, an Award of Honor for LAUSD’s Middle College High School, and an Award of Merit for LAUSD’s Elementary School #9.

Middle College High School - LAUSD/LACCD

Middle College High School - LAUSD/LACCD

Elementary School #9 - LAUSD

Elementary School #9 - LAUSD

Life of an Architect Playhouse Competition 2013 by Evan Troxel

One of the winners in 2012

One of the winners in 2012

Speaking of competitions, It's on! Head over to Life of an Architect and get your pencils sharpened for this year's Playhouse Competition. It's for a great cause, it's free to enter, and you can go toe-to-toe with me, because I've already signed up.

If you follow Bob, then you already know this is your chance, because it doesn't count if it doesn't get built.

There were 2 winners last year (one is shown above), and there were a ton of other great entries.

The Competition by Evan Troxel

This trailer gives a sense of what it's like to be fully engaged in an architectural competition, but at the highest level. I'm looking forward to seeing it (and the absurdity in which some of us participate).

Jean Nouvel, to the documentary filmmaker:

I hope you captured the mystery and the deepness.

BMW's Design Lead Talks... Design by Evan Troxel

This video makes me think about my red '73 BMW 2002 roundie that I sold a few years ago to buy an '87 911 Targa. Beyond the reminiscing, this is a very nicely done video of Karim Habib, the chief of design at BMW, telling us about his passion.

Karim Habib:

To achieve that extra level... That soul or depth... There is, behind the object, a certain school of thought if you will, and that school of thought is in many ways the combination of function and aesthetics, or the combination of function and emotions, and that... maybe... is what design's all about. 

Two things surprised me in this video:

  1. The International Design Museum Archive uses particle board shelving to support those enormously heavy tube TV's.
  2. Habib sketches with a Bic ballpoint pen. There's just no way. It must have been the only pen around when the director said "Hey Karim, we should get a shot of you doing your "design thing.""

Via @jnack on twitter.

✱ Modern Architecture in Minecraft by Evan Troxel

My son is way into Minecraft. He loves building things and that's his main motivation. We spent some time together the other day and worked on building a piece of architecture in it. We decided to build right over a waterfall and have glass floors.

It's really fun and easy to explore design in, and now he's started to play around in SketchUp. I gave him a few pointers and he's loving it. So I though I'd post a couple of images of our creations for everyone to see.

Leighton's first SketchUp house

early apple computer and tablet designs by Evan Troxel

apple 'baby mac', 1985

apple 'baby mac', 1985

There are some amazing stories coming out of Apple these days, and there are some beautiful early designs (as well as some turds) to see in a new book by Hartmut Esslinger, a past designer at Apple who also founded frog design. It's really interested to see that even when the company was only 6 years into its existence, Jobs felt Apple was in trouble in a design-sense due to its product hierarchy and compartmentalized product design teams, and that they needed to do something drastic with design which ultimately set it on a course that hasn't stopped since.

In the book, Esslinger explains how ‘strategic design’ in business and society can and must bring about positive change through innovative creativity. A key component is the strategically extended definition of design as a convergent and humanistic amalgamation of technology, the environment and the economy.


You can see the prototypes and read a bit about the new book, Esslinger's story, and what it was like working at Apple back in the early 80's on designboom.

(via Daring Fireball)

Apple has named 'Paper' iPad App of the Year by Evan Troxel

Apple has named Paper iPad App of the Year. We’re incredibly honored (and a few of us on the team are still scraping our jaws off the floor). We’re lucky to spend our days working on something we love and believe in, and to see creators around the world using Paper to achieve goals of their own.

I have a metric truck-full of drawing apps on my iPad, and I absolutely love Paper. It's the main one I keep coming back to because of the natural brushes and drawing tools it emulates are beautiful to look at. I'm no digital painting expert, but as long as it makes the creation of drawings on the iPad fun, I'll continue to use it.

The app itself is free and has a bunch on in-app purchases to add on the other tools. All-in, I think it set me back about $10, which if you think about it, is cheap. Yes, I said cheap you cheap-o free or 99 cent-spending-limit app buyer!

Here's a concept sketch I made of my wedding invitation earlier this year when I first started using Paper:

Zion topographic wedding invitation concept

✱ New Project Parti Diagram by Evan Troxel

I thought I'd share a parti diagram (this link is great by the way) for a new project I'm working on. We'll use this as a guide for future design decisions - it's basically the 'big idea'. As we start to get into the campus, referring back to this will keep us in check to make sure we continue along this path of design intent. Unless of course everything changes. In that case, we call that a LGSO - Looks Good, Start Over. It happens more often than you'd think.

As you can see, the diagram covers a lot of area. Here's a closer look at our site:

The Best by Evan Troxel

I completely agree with this piece by Dustin Curtis.

If you’re an unreasonable person, trust me: the time it takes to find the best of something is completely worth it. It’s better to have a few fantastic things designed for you than to have many untrustworthy things poorly designed to please everyone. The result–being able to blindly trust the things you own–is intensely liberating.

Design matters.

You should take a few minutes and read more on his blog too. So great.