02 September 2014

Torquay House / Wolveridge Architects

The language this architecture speaks is certainly an adaptation of surrounding context. This two story, three bedroom house is situated in coastal area, and uses materials that can stand the coastal environmental  conditions. Local vegetation are also selected carefully to "blend in" with the surrounding context. But most importantly, it is designed for occupants to enjoy their new residence whether permanently or during the weekends, and to be a place worth arriving all season-long. Visit here to learn more about this serene architecture.

28 August 2014

The Wire Staircase | The Runners House by AR Design Studio

It is our responsibility as designers to create not only beautiful architecture, but to integrate safety of the occupants within architecture by any means. In The Runners House by AR Design Studio, the implementation of safety can be noticed in the staircase. The architects integrated safety by designing a minimal stairs that are suspended from the ceiling by series of  wire cables to prevent people from falling. The staircase divides the dining space from the living space, yet the wire cables allows visual transparency between two spaces. Learn more about this wire stairs here, and check out more cool stairs at www.stairporn.org

25 August 2014

Optical Glass House by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP

The optical glass house is designed to create an oasis where busy traffic contaminates the surroundings with unpleasant noises. The glass facade, constructed out of 6,000 pieces of custom glass-bricks, serves as a filterer to block traffic noises, invites natural light into the space, and display an abstracted scene of constantly moving traffic. This serene architecture allows us to boost our senses to fully connect ourselves with natural elements that are lacking on the site. The contrast between nature and  vehicular traffic makes this architecture conceptually strong. Click here to watch a short movie and learn more about this amazing architecture.

21 August 2014

Autofamily House / KWK Promes

Do you live architecture and cars? This project by Polish architecture firm, KWK Promes, certainly combines both interests into a single entity. In suburban area where cars are preferred method of transportation, this architecture eliminates the boundary between the family living space and the garage. Where the main entrance is rarely used, the driveway is transformed into multinational space to create an epic experience upon entry and exit.  Find out more about this amazing architectural achievement here!

18 August 2014

National Parliament Principality of Liechtenstein

This architecture is a masterpiece of a German architect, Hansjoerg Goeritz. The detailed masonry craftsmanship and use of primary geometry creates a serine monumental  architecture. We find the paradigm between the play of  light and mass of bricks influential. Read about this project more in detail here!

21 July 2014

the house of the infinite

One of our favorite sensations is looking out into the ocean and experiencing how infinite it feels. The architects at Alberto Camp Baeza have captured this feeling through a beautiful house in Cadiz, Spain. The perfectly horizontal lines used demonstrate how sometimes, the simplest things can be the most powerful. Read more about the project here!

30 June 2014

the world cup of architecture

This summer, it seems we can't go five minutes without hearing about the World Cup, whether it's about Luis Suarez biting someone or general soccer madness. But for those of us who are interested in something other than sports, Arch Daily has rounded up some of the most beautiful buildings in Brazil, the World Cup host country. See more of beautiful Brazil and it's incredible architecture here.

20 May 2014


How cool are these bus stops in the village of Krumbach in the the Bregenzerwald district of Austria? Seven architects from around the world teamed up with local architecture offices in Bregenzerwald to promote an international exchange of ideas. Each bus stop is a unique and spectacular display of international architecture combined with the know-how and skills of local businesses. Read more about the project here.

06 May 2014

Deconstructing the Restaurant Process

Like a gourmet meal, the design of a restaurant requires vision, planning, agility and technical skill in order to execute beautifully. When a lease is signed, the clock is ticking and it’s important to balance all of these things along with your budget.

Designing a restaurant is different in many ways from designing a house or other project. Often with a house, you have the time and budget to explore many design pathways to arrive at the best solution possible. With a restaurant, where time is of the essence, choices (& their implications) must be communicated clearly and early on, so that decisions can be made quickly.

For us, the design process often starts even before a lease is signed. Clients come to us and want to know if it will meet their needs before they commit. For instance, if the space was not a restaurant before, sometimes converting it to a restaurant triggers costly code upgrades to the building. A potential restaurant owner can avoid a lot of headache later by investing time to assess the feasibility of the space before the lease is finalized in order to make sure it is a good fit. We can hand-draw speculative restaurant plans that help potential restaurateurs really visualize things like how a space could layout, how big the kitchen could be, and how many seats could fit, making sure this aligns with their business plans. 

Envisioning and Refining the Design
As Architects, we are trained to solve a design problem from many directions and many scales at once. On one end, we are thinking about the overarching concept of the restaurant: What is your Big Idea? What is the menu and style of service? How do you want the place to feel? On the other end, we are thinking about your unique process of operating a restaurant: What is your kitchen workflow? What kind of equipment does that require? What are the critical equipment adjacencies? We attack the design from both ends at once to arrive at a solution where all of the parts (hidden or not) work together harmoniously with your vision.

It is also important that necessary drawings are prepared and submitted for permits from the City Building Department, County Health Department and other jurisdictions so that construction can start as soon as possible.  While we are waiting for drawings to be reviewed and permits issued, we develop the rest of the necessary drawings and details (interior views, colors, lighting, cabinetry, furniture, material & finish selections, etc.) to communicate the entire design intent and create the finished space.

Constructing the Design
When all necessary permits are obtained, construction crews are on-site, and it’s time to build! This is a very exciting time in the life of the project, where you start to see intangible pencil lines and computer models transformed into wood, concrete and steel. Sometimes you find some pretty cool things under the surface after the demolitions of old walls and such. When CafĂ© Pettirosso was under construction, we found an entire room that had been boarded up and forgotten!

We also like making things. For Ethan Stowell’s Bar Cotto, we designed and built the light fixtures ourselves, adding a personal touch to the restaurant. We’ve also designed custom chairs and tables for many other restaurants.

In the end we must be agile in order to react quickly to changing site conditions during construction in order to maintain tight project timelines. We must be available and on-site to answer builder questions, problem-solve and respond quickly with drawings and decisions. In the restaurant world, this means doing whatever it takes to get you open on time for the Grand Opening you scheduled months in advance, a challenge that we love.

To learn more about our restaurant design process, check out our featured article in Seattle Weekly’s Voracious Dining Guide!

16 April 2014

Two Projects by Inblum

These two projects by Lithuanian firm Inblum are both great examples of using vaulted attics spaces to your advantage. I really love the bar above, it manages to feel cozy and light filled... The addition of skylights keep the ceiling and walls from feeling two low, while also creating visual interest. The textures are just great.

This apartment (also with vaulted ceilings) uses its soaring height well - The open stair leads to a loft above, which provides some privacy from the main space while still maintaining the connection. One thing I really like about both spaces is that they value and highlight asymmetric vaults, rather than trying to create a perfect centered vault, which while spacious wouldn't feel quite as dynamic.

Love both these projects.