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As an architecture student in college, I noticed one of the major difference from kids in other majors revolved around text books. As my roommate was cycling through a new physics textbook what seemed like every month, I was using the same architectural theory book required for my first day as a freshmen. I realized that the books I was required to get retained their value throughout my schooling and now into the professional world. Even now I have a shelf full of a variety of books that I use regularly for reference, education, and inspiration. In this post, I’ll point of the types of books I have at my desk while highlighting a few of my favorites. Most if not all of them can be found available at your local bookstore or online new or used through online site like amazon.



Interesting article that summarizes the findings of recent scientific research that correlates wellbeing and street trees:


What is the future of architectural visualization?

Currently the arch viz industry is about hyper realistic renderings. The drive is to achieve perfect photo realism. There are creative style decisions made with color, lighting, camera, mood etc., but photo realism is the theme.

How much further do we need to go with quality of realism? The level of realism that is achievable now is remarkable. There is always room to further perfect it, but why? Is there a need to? Magazines are filled with architectural 3d renders that nobody can tell the difference from a real photo. They say 80% of an IKEA magazine is 3d renders now. Expanding the realism would not accomplish much for the audience at this point. So, what is the next step. How can we offer more to clients in the arch viz field?


The study noted in this article, and published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, is yet another confirmation of how important visual connections to a natural green environment is for us.  Even 40 seconds of visual contact can make a difference!  Oops, i just gave away the answer... but it's too important to hide!

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Drawing By Hand in a Digital World

With the constant and inevitable integration of computers and technology in our lives, we are always looking for ways to streamline and accelerate tasks. Wall calendars and memo pads have been replaced by desktop widgets, apps, add-ons, and plug-ins. The creative and design community has not gone unaffected by this change.

For better or worse, computers and digital media have changed architectural and design firms in countless ways. The advent of computer-aided drafting and products like Autocad and Revit have completely changed the way construction documents are created and shared. Similar to how modern word processing has moved the journalism world away from the days of the printing press, computers have allowed document production in architecture to a new level. For the most part, revising projects electronically is much quicker and safer than having to erase portions of drawings for redrafting by hand.


I have been in the Landscape Architecture profession for over 20 years now (yikes!), but I still find myself tripping up on some industry words and second-guessing what I am saying-or what others are saying.  This just surfaced again for me while looking at a retaining wall condition on a project today.  I am thinking I am not the only one, but if I am, please don’t share this posting!   So, does it really matter? Is a project going to go wrong if I say one word over the other at a job meeting? Probably not because we all know what we are talking about. But being technically-correct matters, so I just had to put this to rest in my own head once and for all!

Below are the (much abbreviated) definitions from the Oxford English Dictionary  Yes, I know the dictionary’s focus isn't technical applications.  But if its definition DOES include what I’m after, that is good enough for me for this exercise.   


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Biophilic Design

Sustainable green design has become commonplace in our culture.  Many people outside of the design and construction industries understand and embrace these principles.  During my architectural career, sustainability has always seemed the responsible practice, but it always left me with a sense of something missing.    


Tagged in: Architecture Biophilia


During our second year, Arkos Design continued to grow our staff and expand our design services.
Landscape architecture was added to complement architecture and interior design and provide a full 
design team for our projects.  This second year was significant in establishing our identity, with many of 
our core staff members joining us at that time.

The additional staff led to the integration of their skills and personality into the Arkos Design culture.  Also at that time, we instituted many of the social traditions that we enjoy together outside of the workplace. We have a 
passion for these events and believe our working relationships are strengthened by these social interactions.  In 2006, we went on our first camping trip, celebrated with our first Halloween party, and held our first Christmas bowling party. 

Our new client relationships and significant projects that year contributed to our growth and our future success. 


Second Year Highlights

  1. The St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series for the 10th time!
  2. Arkos Design continued its growth to 10 employees.
  3. The top song of the year was “Bad Day” by Daniel Powter.
  4. Arkos Design added Landscape Architecture to our services.
  5. “Crash” won the Oscar for Best Picture.
  6. Arkos Design hosted its first corporate retreat.
  7. The world’s population topped 6.5 billion.
  8. Arkos Design provided continuous owner’s representation services.
  9. The Dow Jones hit the 11,000 milestone for the first time since 9/11, five years earlier.
  10. Arkos Design began our first design-build relationship.

More Exciting announcements to come!


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Have you ever wondered what design professionals in the real world think of all those TV design shows?  This article summarizes some of the benefits and detriments of design on television.

ICON - Winter 2014.

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Certification Class was No Picnic

Certification Class was No Picnic



I am fortunate to have found a profession that connects people and nature.  Landscape+Architecture…simple, right?  But that doesn't mean that I actually get to spend a lot of time directly connecting with nature in my daily work.  Instead, as with most working professionals, I spend the majority of my day in an office, either at my desk, in a conference room or in front of a computer.   Seniors spend more time indoors because access to outdoors becomes more challenging as they age.  Children have electronic entertainment keeping them indoors, and many haven’t really learned how to play and enjoy the outdoors.  People who grow up in highly urban areas may be afraid of nature. Yet, we inherently know that nature is good for us, we feel it in our bones.  It’s been proven with extensive research. We are a part of nature and it’s good for us to interact with it in whatever ways we can, even if it’s a view out a window (more on that later!).


Landscape Architecture – Is that even a real thing?

I always wanted to be an architect for as long as I could remember.  Being an architect was admirable, commendable, goal worthy. People know what architects do. During the first year of architecture school all the little lumps of clay that are freshmen take the same classes where all the projects have an element of each of the three primary professions (urban planning, landscape architecture, and architecture) in order to expose us to the design world at large.  In all of my projects I made a box for the building and concentrated on all the “stuff” around it. I had no idea what that box should look like. I didn’t care, it didn’t matter, I would get to it later.  This was every single project.  My professor was surprised when I declared Architecture as my major. He insisted that I was a landscape architect. No way, that’s not even a real job. But eventually the realization did sink in, I was a landscape architect.

Crud, now I have to deal with the same bias, non-understanding and confusion that I myself had regarding my career path.  People don’t know what landscape architects do.  Heck they don’t know what to call us most of the time; landscaping architect, landscape designer, master gardener…...the list goes on.  Every new person I meet says the same thing when they find out what I do: “Cool! I need you to come look at my yard!” or “I have this tree in my backyard that’s…”.  Seriously, EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON.


Interesting article on how an aging parent's relationship with their caregiving child can affect their health....

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 enriching lives through purposeful and innovative design