Category: - AM Musings
Nothing expresses the personality and human touch like cursive writing.  As I was sorting though old papers of my Dad, I was struck by the simplicity and elegance of his handwriting.  Although he is no longer here, seeing his handwriting evokes his presence as much as a smiling photograph.

The practice of cursive writing is fading.  With electronic transfers, even checks are going by the wayside.    Is a person's written signature doomed as well?      
Last Thursday May 26, 2011 Mock/Wallace partner Ron Wallace appeared before the SF Planning Commission to address the concerns of the neighbors regarding the opening of a Guatamalan restaurant.   A plan to enclose the rear outdoor dining area solved the problem of noise and odor which were the primary objections of the neighbors.  Even some of the neighbors directly adjacent to the project now support the project!

In this photo taken from my television set, Commissioner Antonini voices his support of the project that will bring more than 60 new jobs to San Francisco.  Pollo Campero is one step closer to opening its doors in the Mission.

As officials battle the mighty Mississippi River to keep it from flooding New Orleans, it's really apparent that climate change is having major impacts around the world.  We're not longer talking about the existance of climate change, we talking about what needs to be done in response to climate change.  To minimize the effects of climate change, we need to reduce carbon emission as quickly as possible.  Last year I signed on to the Architecture 2030 Challenge.  It's an organization that encourages the architecture and building community to make all new buildings and major renovations of building carbon neutral by the year 2030.   

Right now, Mock/Wallace Architects is working on Silver LEED certification on the Renovations to the Cambridge Hotel in San Francisco and examining what we can do as new projects come up.  I encourage all who see this to check out the  Architecture 2030 Challenge website and join me by signing up!


White Çhalk on Red Wall

I came across this section of red wall on Folsom Street anonymously "decorated"  with white chalk.  It's structured yet lively and spontaneous.  Funny how chalk continues to be used even though other drawing materials are more convenient and readily available.   

Stylish restaurants sometimes use chalk on blackboards to show the changing menu and perhaps to evoke simpler times and establish a happy mood. Most people have used chalk at some time in their lives -- probably as a child and for most those were happy times.   You can't use chalk without being aware of its sensual and tactile qualities, the way it engages the surface and reveals textures, the sound of chalk grinding on the surface, the way it breaks if you press too hard, and  the way it leaves powder on your hands so you know you have drawn.   

I try to think about architecture and how the design of things and  materials can evoke feeling within ourselves.  My first courses in architecture at UC Berkeley explored just these concepts and although it didn't seem "serious" at the time, those exercises still inform my work at Mock/Wallace.

Yellow Trace used at Mock/Wallace Architects
Becoming an architect requires training, dedication, and love of the profession.  Other professions are probably more lucrative.  Dashing through airports with rolls of drawings may seem glamorous, but the "glamor" of the profession is only a very small portion of the hard work involved. 

At the soul of architecture is the search for perfect solutions to small and large problems.  The rolls of yellow "trace" architects use is a metaphor for that constant search.  We sketch quickly overlaying drawing upon drawing refining and exploring ideas until the solution reveals itself. 

At one time we ordered rolls in quantity and went through it quickly.  Now that  we have moved to electronic drawings, we use less and we conduct the search using computers.  I do believe hand drawings engage the mind in a different way than drawing with a mouse.  Now when I pick up a pen or pencil to draw by hand, the pleasures of hand drawing immediately come back.  Whatever the means, it is only a means.  At Mock/Wallace, we use whatever produces the best results.