7Designs+Development Awarded Best of Houzz 2017

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7Designs+Development is excited to announce that we were awarded Best of Houzz 2017 for Customer Service. We are humbled and honored to have received this award. The Best of Houzz is awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 40 million monthly users on Houzz. Customer Service honors are based on several factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2016. Architecture and interior design photographers whose images were most popular are recognized with the Photography award. A “Best of Houzz 2017” badge will appear on winners’ profiles, as a sign of their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.

Below are a few of the reviews from 7Designs+Development family members that helped us achieve this honor.


Baray and his team did a great job through the entire design process for our Bistro 1636 here in Orange, CA. We are a manufacturer’s Rep group that represent 24 companies that sell equipment, tabletop and supplies to the food service industry from fine dining and QSR to education, hospitality and healthcare.  He converted a hallway and couple of offices to an awesome test kitchen and showroom with an open ceiling and skylights.My personal relationship with Baray goes back over 20 years while at Taco Bell and he continues to be extremely responsive and supportive with new and innovative ideas.  He managed our team here at the Fischer Group from the initial concept thru final design & construction.  He was available the entire time to answer specific questions and modifications as needed.Since opening in June of 2014, we continue to receive rave reviews from our customers about our unique modern but “natural” design utilizing restored wood, fashionable tile and porcelain flooring that is durable for our kitchen yet very appealing.Hosting events for food experts is never easy, but our design was well thought out and looks great.  Thanks Baray.

-Rick C. Winfree//EVP, the Fischer Group



A few moths ago my family took the huge step of renovating their home in Yorba Linda, it had been 10 years since they had done any sort of renovation work on their home. After some extensive research we came across 7designs and contacted them for a full renovation of our home. There was a need to update the home into a more contemporary design, thus after looking at some of the work Mr Karim had completed we sought his services. Through out the process Mr Karim and his team acted in the most professional manner, with regular communication, consulting, and very very reasonable prices we had a wonderful blue print for our house. The designs were exemplary and the level of detail and professionalism was very outstanding. The work was done in timely fashion without delays and it took approximately 6 months to complete an entire house. Mr Karim maintained a very professional, friendly and cooperative persona through it all. Our house when completed was beyond our expectations. Baray brought a vision to life and we couldn’t have expected anything more exemplary. The detail, design and finishing was beyond anything we have come across. We walk into a home that we feel proud of, a house that I constantly walk into with awe. I highly recommend 7 designs to anyone looking to see a vision in reality with the highest levels of professionalism in Southern California. My 5 stars coke from experiencing and working with a fantastic company full of talent and great business ethic.




I have known and worked with Baray for over 16 years. Throughout my experience with him and this design firm whether at Yum Brands, Lennar or presently at Public Storage, I always find Baray a highly qualified design leader with outstanding imagination, sensibility and design solutions. His passion for quality design and out-of-the-box solution is second to none. I always find 7 Designs + Developmenta very professional, cordial and caring group to work with. They are sensitive to client’s budget and pay attention to details.

-Karen Cornier Southard// Public Storage


Our team would love for you to become a part of the JayMarc family and help you in your journey to building or discovering your dream home. Visit our website more information. See more at


About Houzz

Houzz is a leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a small room to building a custom home and everything in between, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts, and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world.

Color in Architecture — More Than Just Decoration

Color is an integral element of our world, not just in the natural environment but also in the man-made architectural environment. Color always played a role in the human evolutionary process. The environment and its colors are perceived, and the brain processes and judges what it perceives on an objective and subjective basis. Psychological influence, communication, information, and effects on the psyche are aspects of our perceptual judgment processes. Hence, the goals of color design in an architectural space are not relegated to decoration alone.

Especially in the last eleven decades, empirical observations and scientific studies have proven that human-environment-reaction in the architectural environment is to a large percentage based on the sensory perception of color. These studies include the disciplines of psychology, architectural psychology, color psychology, neuropsychology, visual ergonomics, psychosomatics, and so forth. In short, it confirms that human response to color is total – it influences us psychologically and physiologically.

The American Faber Birren, considered the father of applied color psychology (originator of the OSHA colors) and the first to establish the profession of color consultant in 1936, proclaimed: “The study of color is essentially a mental and psychological science, for the term color itself refers to sensation.“

Color is a sensory perception, and as any sensory perception, it has effects that are symbolic, associative, synesthetic, and emotional. This self-evident logic has been proven by scientific investigation. Because the body and mind are one entity, neuropsychological aspects, psychosomatic effects, visual ergonomics, and color’s psychological effects are the components of color ergonomics. These being design goal considerations that demand adherence to protect human psychological and physiological well-being within their man-made environment. The color specifier/designer has the task of knowing how the reception of visual stimulation, its processing and evoked responses in conjunction with the hormonal system, produces the best possibilities for the welfare of human beings. This is of utmost importance in varied environments, such as medical and psychiatric facilities, offices, industrial and production plants, educational facilities, homes for the elderly, correctional facilities, and so forth. Each within themselves having different task and function areas.

Color Psychology

One of the most striking results concerning color connotations and color mood associations is its consistency cross-culturally from one individual to another and group to group. The great number of studies comparing human subjects worldwide, such as men to women, children to adults, laymen to architects, and even monkeys to humans show that color is an international visual language understood by all.

The impression of a color and the message it conveys is of utmost importance in creating the psychological mood or ambiance that supports the function of a space. A classroom has a different function than a hospital patient room; an office space is not a production line, etc.

To mention a few examples concerning colors and what they convey:
Pastel yellow gives the impression of sunny, friendly, soft. The message in the interior space is stimulating, brightness, coziness.
Red is arousing, passionate, provocative, fiery, aggressive. The message in the interior is aggressive, advancing, dominant.
Green is balancing, natural, calm with the message of simplicity, security, balance.
White expresses open, vast, neutral, sterile. The message being purity, sterile, emptiness, indecisiveness.

Obviously this is a very small example since all colors change their character when modified in their lightness factor (light to dark) and saturation.

Neuropsychological Aspects

A part of neuropsychological investigation is to discover how the brain processes and reacts to sensory information coming from the external world and how this affects humans.

Especially important for the color specifier is the research concerning the presentation of two perceptual extremes within the environment known as sensory deprivation and sensory overload, also termed monotony (or understimulation) and overstimulation.  Involved is the reticular formation which always seeks to maintain a level of normalcy, but it can (and will) malfunction. Stress research has shown that states of sensory monotony or overstimulation can trigger dysfunction in the organism.

Monotony sends weak environmental signals and overstimulation confusing signals. Studies have shown that people subjected to an understimulated environment  show signs of restlessness, irritability, excessive emotional response, difficulties in concentration, perception disorders, and in some cases, a variety of more extreme reactions.

The basic signs of an understimulated environment are weak intensities of colors, monochromatic harmonies, achromatic colors, weak or monotonous color contrasts.

Overstimulation results in changes in the rate of breathing, increase of pulse rate and blood pressure; increase in muscle tension; psychiatric reactions of varying types; and probably compounded medical consequences, such as increased susceptibility to infection, coronary disease and ulcers. Stress research has shown these symptoms as typical effects on persons who have been subjected to overstimulation.

The basic signs of an overstimulated environment is strong color intensity (highly saturated), color harmonies that are too complex or incongruous, contrasts that present themselves too strong, too many complex visual color patterns.

In a research paper by Dr. R. Küller (Architectural Psychology Department at the University of Lund), entitled An Emotional Model of Human-Environment Interaction, it states: “Actually recent research in the field of neuropsychology indicates that affective responses are faster and more basic than cognitive processes.“

Architectural Environments – Emotions and Psychosomatics

Professor for Architecture Sune Lindstrom remarked in 1987: “With every particular architectural product, it is the spontaneous emotional reaction that is of importance to us.“ The environment produces emotions which in turn is linked to psychsomatics. Psychosomatic medicine emphasizes that physical disorders may originate through psychological factors, be aggravated by them and vice versa. It is common knowledge that stress may cause headaches, anxiety makes the heart beat faster, and anger and distress may affect the stomach, to name the most common occurrences. Of course the list includes high blood pressure, heart palpitations, migraine headaches, eczema, impotence, and so forth.

Scientific research has also established the link to PNI – Psycho-Neuro-Immunology which clearly shows that networks of nerve fibers and molecular bridges connect the psyche and the body with each other and that emotions penetrate completely into the cells of the organism. Henceforth, research indicates that a positive emotional mood strengthens the body’s defensive system against illness, whereas a negative emotional frame of mind has a weakening effect.

Relative to designers is the answer given by David Felten (Professor for Neurobiology and Anatomy for the School of Medicine at the University of Rochester, New York) to the question: “When does the interaction between the mind and the body connect?“ Felten answered: “The moment we begin to perceive sensory stimulation.“

Visual Ergonomics and Color

Probably one of the least known factors of appropriate color specification is its role in safeguarding visual efficiency and comfort. The eye’s adaptation process involves the immediate reaction of the eye to changes in the degree of illumination. Lower light reflectance causes the pupil to dilate, and the reverse is true for higher reflectance. The eye sees luminous density and not the intensity of illuminance. Luminous density is what the eyes receive when light is reflected from a surface (floors, walls, furniture). If the differences between the luminous densities within view are too great, the iris muscle is strained due to constant adjustment, thus causing eye fatigue. Studies have shown that appropriate differences in luminous density can prevent eye fatigue and raise visual acuity, and thus also productivity.

The colors of surfaces absorb and reflect a certain amount of light. These measurements are referred to as light reflection values. Practically all paint companies show them on their color fan decks under LR or LRV.

The international norms are the 3-1 light reflection ratio within a space. This suggests that floors should reflect about 20%, furniture 25-40%, walls 40-60%. The 3-1 designation means the lightest color (60%) divided by the darkest (20%) is a ratio of 3-1. However, visual ergonomists are not color designers. A yellow wall at 60% is not a yellow anymore but a tan. The only solution is if the walls are raised to 75% light reflection for example, so must then be the percentage of floor and furnishings also be raised to insure that there still exists control of extreme contrasts in dark and light. Interesting fact is that if these rules were known by the design community, white walls would not exist – only ceilings are where 80-90% is accepted.

The Application Gap

In his document D15:81 on the effects of light and color for the Swedish Council for Building Research, Dr. R. Küller wrote: “During the course of this work, it has become evident there is an enormous amount of facts and results that is almost never considered in practice and education. Thus, one finds a gap between research on one hand and practice on the other; the INFAMOUS APPLICATION GAP.“

His statement echoes the concerns of the IACC-International Association of Color Consultants/Designers that was founded in 1957 with the participation of approximately 50 architects, designers, artists, educators, psychologists, and scientists from 12 countries. The motivating force being an absence of competent training in the professions that demand the use of color. With the collaboration of recognized national and international experts, an interdisciplinary education/accreditation program was established in Salzburg, Austria under the guidance of Dr. Heinrich Frieling, founder of the Institute of Color Psychology of Germany. It is now known as the IACC Academy for Color and Environment. As to this present day, this program is conducted also in the United States for all international English speaking participants; Milan, Italy, and the IACC Schools of Japan for Color and Interior Design, Nagoya, Tokyo, Kyoto, Fukuoka, Hiroshima, and Sapporo.

Without doubt, the assumption that color is no more than decoration and color specifications can be satisfied or solved by personal interpretations or the following of color trends and design idioms in current fashion is absolutely false and counterproductive. Humane design places the human being in the center of its concern and purpose. Therefore, it should show interest in human welfare and dignity.




Surce: www.archinect.com

11 Ways to Become a Better Architect (Without Doing Architecture)

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11 Ways to Become a Better Architect (Without Doing Architecture), © Ariana Zilliacus © Ariana Zilliacus
Architects are often noted for having bad work-life balance, a lot of stress and little free time. How can you take time off while still improving your skills as an architect? Can that time off even give you an extra edge? Compared to other fields, architecture stands out as a field in which you need to “know a little bit about everything.” Thus, in order to live up to our name we must also do a little bit of everything, and as they say, a little goes a long way. So with that in mind, here are 11 activities which, while not obviously architectural, just might make you a better architect.

1. Playing Video Games

Video game developers have free rein when imagining and designing cityscapes and other spaces that frame the virtual universe. Such spatial experiences may never be realized in our physical world, but can still provide an entirely new perspective on the possible relationships between our bodies and our surroundings. They can go a long way in challenging your spatial problem solving, especially when Virtual Reality really takes off and becomes an ordinary tool in every architecture firm.

2. Reading Fiction

Fiction is possibly the easiest way for humans to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. As architects, this is a great tool for empathizing with different viewpoints in society, as well as understanding subjective spatial experiences and the emotions tied to them. A great example is “The English Patient” by Michael Ondaatje, a novel with characters from a range of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds with memories strongly tied to spaces. Architects are sometimes accused of having little understanding of people, an issue which fiction could help to solve.

3. Watching TED Talks

An architect founded TED, however that isn’t why it’s on the list. As architects, we need to know how to defend our projects and ideas, making knowledge of rhetoric an essential part of the profession. TED speakers know how to construct an engaging argument within a relatively short amount of time, making them both entertaining and educational to watch. The wide variety of topics on offer will also undoubtedly help to build that wide knowledge base which is crucial to architectural practice. To get started, check out The 20 Most Inspirational Non-Architecture TED Talks for Architects.

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© Ariana Zilliacus © Ariana Zilliacus
4. Physical Activity

Consistent physical activity has been proven to reduce stress, something that most architects have an excess amount of. Not only will it improve your workflow, it will also serve as a productive break when you need some time away from the drawing board (or computer screen), as studies have shown that walking actually improves creativity.[1] It’s important to maintain a healthy work-life balance in an industry that often demands long hours, especially when many of those hours are spent craned over a laptop with bad posture in an uncomfortable chair. A healthy body will make that time more pleasant and you will feel less fatigued by the end of it.

5. Taking Stuff Apart

When we experience stress, frustration and disappointment, many of us feel a primal urge to destroy the objects of resentment that surround us: that good-for-nothing laptop that’s slowing down your work process, or that annoying flickering lightbulb that’s giving you a headache. Most of us will, quite reasonably, resist this urge; you would not be a very popular coworker if you threw your laptop across the room every time it froze up. However, there is a certain satisfaction to be gained from taking things apart once they’re already broken or will no longer be used. More important is the understanding of how objects are put together and function. Although smartphones and toasters don’t exist on the same scale as buildings, there is something to be learned from the details of assembly. In the future, when that 3D Printer or those VR Goggles aren’t cooperating, you’ll be the company’s most valuable asset.

6. Painting and Photography

In the process of painting or capturing and editing a photograph, there are three fundamental elements to keep in mind: color, light and composition. Unsurprisingly, these elements are just as crucial when it comes to architecture. Being experienced with these components within another context can give you an edge and an alternative way to approach the design process. In addition to this, you will be far more acquainted with the details of your surroundings. By taking the time to paint or compose a particular photograph, one observes features with more care than if one were just to look at them.

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© Ariana Zilliacus © Ariana Zilliacus
7. Hosting Dinner Parties

When hosting dinner parties, creating a pleasant atmosphere and experience for your guests is of utmost importance. This doesn’t only require good social skills, but also a knowledge of cosy lighting, comfortable seating areas, and deliciously smelling food. In other words: sensory experiences that make people feel at ease. Architecture affects all our senses—perhaps with the exception of taste—yet architects often seem to get caught up in the visual elements of a building. Understanding how tactile architecture, for example, can affect people’s comfort in, and enjoyment of, a building is a huge advantage for an architect. Because if we aren’t creating spaces that people feel good in, what is the point of our profession?

8. Living in Nature

Living in nature, temporarily or otherwise, is one of the most certain ways of falling in love with and fully appreciating our natural world. The large-scale impact that comes with being an architect means that we play an enormous role in conserving and sustaining our environment—a huge and unavoidable responsibility given the current situation of our planet. A vital aspect of sustainability lies within context and understanding the specific location on which a building is being designed. Experiencing the environment first-hand develops a deeper respect for how different climates are capable of assisting our architecture.

9. Travelling on a Budget

In our modern world, being a tourist has become such a popular pastime that the purest forms of cultural exposure are being compromised. Travelling on a budget, however, can give you that extra push to get to know locals and their cultures while looking for a place to stay or learning about the history of a place. By travelling you build a personal relationship with a range of contexts, gaining a deeper understanding for the individual qualities of different locations. Read more about the genius loci of architecture and the fight against global solutions in this interview with Ricardo Bofill.

10. Social Volunteering

As is made clear with the word “social,” this activity encourages interacting and forming relationships with people, an important part of architectural practice. Architects design spaces for people to enjoy and feel happy and safe in, but in order to fully understand what this can mean for individuals it is necessary to understand people’s needs and preferences. Social volunteering is a great way to make a positive impact in your community, while gaining a broader understanding of different spatial needs within society.

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© Ariana Zilliacus © Ariana Zilliacus
11. Playing a Musical Instrument

Learning how to play an instrument requires the development of one’s understanding of rhythm, repetition and slight variations that sound pleasant and appeal to almost all human beings. How can these properties be translated into space? That’s a question you might be able to answer after a few months of playing the trumpet.

Now, go have a well-deserved break, and come back a better architect than ever.



Surce: Wong, May. “Stanford Study Finds Walking Improves Creativity.” College website. Stanford University. N.p., 24 Apr. 2014. Web. 1 Sept. 2016.

Young Architect Guide: Architectural Redlines

What Are Redlines?
Redlines are architectural drawings that have been printed, reviewed and marked up with errors, changes and revisions. The markups are typically done in red ink to make them easier to find, hence the name Redlines.
As a set of construction drawings moves from a schematic design into the creation of construction drawings that a builder will use, printing out the drawings at 50 percent (usually on 11 by 17 sheets of paper) and full size (24 by 36 sheets or larger) is necessary to ensure quality control.
When drawing in CAD, the line weights (thicknesses of the lines), shading, patterns and other elements are usually color coded. The thickness of a line shown on a computer is often very different than the reality of a printed line. There is also a level of translation between each printer. The gray shading on one printer will usually be very different than the gray shading on another printer. So frequently printing PDF files on paper to do quality control makes excellent sense.

Redline drawings can stack up as fast as your design ideas … Image © Mike Riscica via Young Architect
I personally print out as much as I need to, and sometimes that’s a lot. By printing so much, it actually allows me to work faster and be much more thorough, ensuring that a potential error is not made. The cost of the paper is always much cheaper and significantly more sustainable than dealing with an error on a construction site.
Everyone has different preferences, but when I work on a set of construction drawings, I love to mark up my own work on printed-out sets. It’s nice to back away from the computer screen and see the work on paper as it starts to move closer to what the contractor will need to build it. Some people use various kinds of software and draw all over PDF files in red and hardly ever print. No matter how you do it, you’re still arriving at a drawing with markups in red.
“Picking Up Redlines … ”
… Is a term used when someone marks up a set of drawings with all the errors, changes and revisions in red ink. Then they explain all the changes that need to be made on the drawings to another person (who typically has a lower pay rate, let’s be honest), and that person will go into the drafting software to make all the changes.
Picking up redlines is a fantastic way for junior staff to really tap into the knowledge, experience and expertise of more-senior-level members in the firm. Honestly, being the drafter for other, more experienced architects was one of the most important parts of my education. It taught me a lot about their decision-making process, which is great stuff for someone beginning their career. A ton of learning takes place picking up redlines.
Creating Construction Drawings Is an Art.
Putting together a clear, concise and thorough set of construction documents for a contractor to build from is a skill and an art form. Anyone who does this work has their own systems, theories and philosophies about how to put together a set of drawings.
The real power of picking up redlines is doing this job with many different people and tapping into the collective knowledge of the office. Everyone at the office has different experience and a different area of expertise. A good attitude to have is: Know there is valuable knowledge you can learn from every single person at the office and be open to learning something from everyone.
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Highlighting completed redline drawing amendments helps you keep track; image via Think Architect.
Don’t Get Lost!
When picking up redlines it’s really easy to forget the changes that you have made as you move through the markups, especially if you do not complete all the redlines in one sitting. The very best way to keep track of the work that has been done is to use a highlighter and mark off each redline mark that has been picked up or completed.
Redline your own drawings before you ask someone else to.
There are two important concepts you need to understand if you are spending many hours drafting:
1. The drawings will never be perfect. You can work on a set of drawings for 143,567 hours, and there will always be more you can add.
2. When you are working on a drawing and putting a lot of thought and energy into it, you can become very blind to a blatantly obvious error. You just don’t see it because you have been staring at the same drawing for too long.
A classic redline drawing; image via Alembic Studio
When I first started working in offices, I used to work really hard on drawings, print them and then hand them right to my supervisor without reviewing them first. He would find the most obvious errors that I couldn’t see on the screen but were blatant once they were printed. For a long time, I used to feel really sheepish because my drawings had sloppy errors on them.
At some point, I got sick of this stupid concept being a distraction and making me repeatedly look like a fool. So I started to get very obsessive about making it a habit to always check my own drawings before I handed them to my boss to review. By doing this, it showed that I took the time to review my own work, and I felt better about catching that spelling mistake before the boss did.
Every Boss will be appreciative of seeing your layer of redlines before they add theirs.


Source: architizer.com (MICHAEL RISCICA)

When T.G.I. Friday’s Loses Its Flair

When T.G.I. Friday’s Loses Its Flair
Chain restaurants, which for so long used their decorations to celebrate America’s past, are now focusing on a (clutter-free) future.
T.G.I. Friday’s is losing its flair. In place of the casual-dining restaurant’s traditional, signature look—a little bit Antiques Roadshow, a little bit Hoarders—the chain announced earlier this year that it would be adopting a new, modernized aesthetic: blond wood, clean lines, bright-but-soft lighting. In appearance, decidedly sleek; in vibe, decidedly Upscale Cafeteria.

In that, Fridays’ is going to be looking a lot like … Applebee’s, which recently announced a similar update to its front-of-the-house situation. And Chili’s. And Ruby Tuesday. And Olive Garden. And also like fast-food chains, which are, like their up-market competitors, embracing the strategically pared-down style that you might call “high meh-dern”: McDonald’s recently unveiled a series of new “design concepts” for its stores, all of them replacing the chain’s signature primary-colored formica with, yep … blond wood, clean lines, and bright-but-soft lighting. Burger King has been giving its restaurants similar facelifts. So has Wendy’s. And Arby’s. And KFC. And Taco Bell.

Friday’s was meant “to make people feel that they were going to someone’s apartment for a cocktail party.”
The chains are taking a cue, it seems, from the popularity—which is also to say, from their perspective, the threat—of Chipotle and Panera and Shake Shack and their fellow establishments: fast-casual spots whose designs tend to de-emphasize design itself. Whether they seat their guests upon pleather banquettes or faux-industrial stools, these newly popular restaurants feature very little in the way of wall art or table art or strategic whimsy. And the casual dining segment, tired of losing market share to them, is now following their lead.

The result is a kind of permeative mono-aesthetic—blond wood, clean lines, bright-but-soft lighting—that is designed, always, to “appeal to Millennials,” and that is inflected not just by Chipotle’s faux industrialism, but also by the design logic of Silicon Valley and Marie Kondo and minimalism. Strategically de-cluttered, devoid of flair—devoid, indeed, of any decor that might distinguish them from their fellow establishments—chain restaurants are melding, visually, into one tentacular beast. They are, en masse, going normcore.
The walls of a Los Angeles Friday’s in 2013 (Excellent Notion via Collectors Weekly)
For Fridays, the new look is taking the brand back to its roots. The chain, founded in 1965, didn’t start as a full-service restaurant: It started as one of New York’s City’s first singles bars. The ‘60s marked the start of the sexual revolution in the U.S.; bars, though, in the early ‘60s, still tended to be frequented mostly by men or by couples who were already on dates. Enter Alan Stillman, a 28-year-old perfume salesman who knew that his Upper East Side neighborhood was populated by models and flight attendants and who wanted to find a way—a dignified way—to meet them. So he bought an old building on 63rd Street and 1st Avenue, and decorated it with Tiffany-style stained glass, candy stripes, framed photos, and knickknacks—anything, basically, that would make the place feel homey and welcoming. (He also included on the menu drinks like “Harvey Wallbangers” and daiquiris—concoctions meant to appeal in particular to women who might not otherwise like the taste of alcohol.) “The principle involved,” Stillman would later explain, “was to make people feel that they were going to someone’s apartment for a cocktail party.”
The bar, which Stillman named Thank God It’s Friday!, was a hit. And its concept quickly spread. The second Friday’s opened in Memphis in May of 1970, six months after Shelby County, TN, first allowed restaurants to sell “liquor by the drink.” The new outpost, Collectors Weekly notes in a fantastic essay about the current fate of the chain’s wall memorabilia, “became a hotspot for the Memphis counterculture,” known for “for its boozy adventures, drug experimentation, and sexual subversion—including an underground queer scene.”

But the new Friday’s imitated the original in its old-school decor: It, too, featured leaded lamps and candy stripes, and cluttered its walls with memorabilia. This new Friday’s was, one newspaper declared, “a place with so much atmosphere you have to push it aside to get in.”

The Friday’s brand (and aesthetic) soon inspired imitators: Ruby Tuesday opened in 1972 in Knoxville, near the University of Tennessee campus. So did Houlihan’s in Kansas City; and Spaghetti Warehouse in Dallas; and Steak and Ale; and Bennigan’s. Bars, in less than a decade, had become equal-opportunity establishments for single people—so much so that by the early ‘70s, according to Stanford University research, some 20 to 25 percent of American couples had met at a bar.

In an age defined by anxieties about physical resources, minimalism is a moral as much as it is an aesthetic.
As Friday’s expanded across the country, it evolved into the concept that is familiar today: a family-friendly restaurant that the family in question might frequent after a trip to the mall. The couples who met at a Friday’s or imitator-Friday’s remained loyal to those establishments; the restaurants changed as their patrons did. What didn’t change, though, was their embrace of Alan Stillman’s “welcoming clutter” concept—which continued to be a defining feature of Friday’s and its many imitators. In 2003, The New York Times reported, Applebee’s was budgeting roughly $25,000 to spend on antiques for each of its new restaurants—and Ruby Tuesday was budgeting up to $50,000.

The decorations that covered the walls of the burgeoning bar-and-grill eateries offered not just a distinctively quirky “atmosphere”; they also distinguished the casual-dining restaurants from their formica-festooned counterparts in the fast-food segment. The clutter served, in its way, to make families feel good about their meals out together. It also served as a collective conversation piece, tchotchke by tchotchke: Each little relic, whether it was a guitar or a movie poster or an old street sign, was a cue for questions and discussions about the American past the item represented. Applebee’s in particular (current full name: “Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar”) emphasized the storytelling aspect of its clutter, with outposts often focusing at least some of their decorations on the accomplishments of local athletes, firefighters, community leaders, and other “Hometown Heroes.”

But it was T.G.I. Friday’s, of course, that would come to be most readily associated with Flair.

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Friday’s new 10,000-square-foot restaurant, in Corpus Christi, TX  (T.G.I. Friday’s)

Perhaps the chain is now de-cluttering-ing, as has been speculated, because of itsOffice Space-shaming. (Or maybe because of similar treatment it got from The Simpsons—remember Uncle Moe’s Family Feedbag?) For the most part, though, Fridays’ updates are simply architectural reactions to a cultural shift—one that finds, on the one hand, people forging new relationships between public spaces and private. “It’s a response to what customers are looking for,” the chain’s CMO, Brian Gies, explained to AdWeek of the transformation, after the launch of Fridays’ flagship Corpus Christi store. Gies added that the need for “fluid social zones” was one of the core ideas driving the new, de-cluttered concept. And so was, he suggested, the need for dining space that can double as workspace. “In addition to capturing the after-work or weekend crowd,” AdWeek noted, “Fridays’ hopes to be seen as a viable lunch destination, a place for an office meeting or a home base for work-at-home types who are tired of actually working at home.” Starbucks, basically, but with mudslides and Tuscan spinach dip.

The redesigns are also responding to a culture that is renegotiating its relationship with “stuff” as a concept. More and more young people are renting homes rather than buying them; many of them simply intuit, in a way their parents cannot, the life-changing magic of tidying up. In an age defined by anxieties about the limitations of the planet’s physical resources, minimalism is a moral as much as it is an aesthetic; the “clutter” that defined so much of Friday’s traditional look, in that sense, can now whiff of self-indulgence and lazy excess.

In a recent essay for The Verge, Kyle Chayka coined the term “airspace” as a design concept—a unified global aesthetic, he argued, that exists as a kind of existential assurance that no place is very different from another. The style is the kind of thing you are very likely to see in an AirBnB ad (hence the name): It involves Eames chairs and throw rugs and reclaimed wood and West Elm cactus planters, and evokes, in general, an air of effortless, globalized comfort. Airspace allows the wealthy to move from place to place around the world without a meaningful change in their aesthetic environment. It is, Chayka argues, the product of technological advancements. “As algorithms shape which content we consume on our feeds,” he wrote in a follow-up essay for The Guardian, “we all learn to desire the same things, which often happens to involve austere interiors, reclaimed wood, and Edison bulbs, like a metastasized real-life version of Kinfolkmagazine or Monocle.”

And so: What began at the dawn of the sexual revolution is now transforming at the dawn of the digital one. Here is “airspace,” applied to commercial space. T.G.I. Friday’s recently rebranded as “Fridays”; even its name has been subjected to the whims of minimalism. And its new look, whether manifested in Corpus Christi or Des Moines or Alexandria, evokes Silicon Valley—whose corporate spaces, in general, are defined by their airiness, and their emptiness, and their engineering of “serendipitous” social interactions. The house-fronts of chain restaurants are in that way another kind of front: They are yet one more way that a small stretch of California is changing how the world sees itself. You don’t need flair on the walls, after all, when you have a screen on your table.


Source: www.theatlantic.com



The Architectural Treasures of Iran

According to The White House, in January 2016, “the International Atomic Energy Agency verified that Iran has completed the necessary steps under the Iran deal that will ensure Iran’s nuclear program is and remains exclusively peaceful.” This should lead to the lifting of numerous nuclear related sanctions — oil exports, international financial transactions, and industrial imports — that have dramatically limited the country’s economic output since the mid 2000’s. The sanctions remain one of the defining aspects of Iran up to today, and precisely that which make its architecture interesting to study.

To paraphrase the introduction of a popular economics textbook: “Architecture is building design under conditions of scarcity.” With international sanctions having loomed over anything built in the past ten years, the idea of shortage, limits, and isolation becomes an interesting lens through which we can examine a project.

For some, it is overt: the SIPAN and Kahrizak residential buildings began as abandoned construction ventures, which were then referred to the studios of RYRA and CAAT. Others, such as the Villa in Darvishabad, hark back to a time when “international influence” meant good things — in this case the purity of Le Corbusier. One can also observe an inward turn to the region’s architectural heritage, as in the ornamental windows of the Shahkaram Office building or the resurgence of stone cladding. As these sanctions have defined Iran, its architects have risen to the challenge.

Villa in Darvishabad by Rai Studio, Darvishabad, Iran

There is more than a little Corbu in Rai Studio’s Villa in Darvishabad. Most strikingly, the house sits proudly on center-mounted pilotis — but this isn’t the only homage to the Five Points of Architecture. The interior plan is open and flexible, there is a large roof terrace, and the façade is free from load-bearing responsibilities. All that’s missing is the horizontal band of windows!

Asef Office Building by Boozhgan Architectural Studio, Tehran, Iran

The front of the Asef Office Building is defined by its sun blinds: these chevron-shaped aggregations give shade and act as balcony railings and as plant containers for what will one day be a verdant façade.

SIPAN Residential Building by RYRA Studio, Tehran, Iran

Of the myriad reasons to appreciate the SIPAN Residential Building, two stand out in particular. Firstly, the project was referred to RYRA after the structural elements had already been completed, making it as much about adaptation as it is about design prowess. Secondly, the material of stone is associated chiefly with the ancient monuments of Iran, which makes the decision to reintroduce it with a contemporary vocabulary all the more important.

Kahrizak Residential Building 01 by CAAT Architecture studio, Kahrizak, Iran

Like the SIPAN building, the Kahrizak Residential Building was not built ex novo – it grew from two stories of an aborted apartment complex in the poorest southern reach of Tehran. CAAT Architecture Studio expanded the existing structure vertically and added a grid to the façade, the apertures of which were filled with one of 21 brick expressions.

Shahkaram Office Building by Hooman Balazadeh, Kalaj, Iran

The face of the Shahkaram Office building is an exercise in playful modulation. The 14 floors have been grouped into seven rows of giant squares (featuring two different types of decorative Iranian Orosi windows), which have been cut and rearranged.

Afsharian’s House by ReNa Design, Kermanshah, Iran

While admiring the handsomely cloven façade, we must bear in mind that this, in fact, represents only three-fifths of a house. Floors four and five, which will elongate the already dramatic front, are to be added when the two children of the house-builders reach adulthood.

Baranoosh Residential Building by Boozhgan Architectural Studio, Tehran, Iran

The Baranoosh Residential building features a number of interesting details: the fluttering grid of the stone cladding, for instance, or the balcony railings that appear uniform yet are unique for each apartment. A particular favorite is the moment when a façade piece has been deliberately omitted to make way for a planter.


Source: Architizer

Bringing together science, sustainable building design and architecture

A multi-disciplinary team bringing together science, sustainable building design and architecture may soon develop the first living algae buildings in Australia. Their unique collaboration has seen a comprehensive feasibility study conducted on behalf of the City of Sydney, with plans to create the first flat facade algae panel this year.

It looks like a giant green lava lamp as the bright, syrupy liquid twists and turns from the bubbles rising to the surface. The panel, however, contains microalgae – tiny aquatic plants that capture carbon dioxide from the air and light from the sun to generate energy and oxygen.

While it might appear to be Sydney’s latest public art installation, if Sara Wilkinson and Peter Ralph have their way, these flat panels will soon be gracing the outside walls of buildings throughout Australia.

The researchers are working with Research Engagement Manager Dr Brenton Hamdorf and Director of the Australian arm of architectural firm Atelier Ten, Paul Stoller, to make their vision a reality.

“Our goal is to successfully integrate algae into the built environment and use it to heat buildings, fertilise rooftop gardens and filter vehicle exhaust fumes,” says Sara Wilkinson, an Associate Professor in UTS’s School of the Built Environment.

The concept of a building powered by algae is new to Australia, and one that Wilkinson believes is the next step in sustainable building technology. “There is demonstrated success of living algae bioreactors overseas, but nothing of such scale has been explored in Australia, until now,” she says.

Wilkinson has recently undertaken a feasibility study, funded by a City of Sydney environmental research grant, to look at algae building technology. Her team have interviewed over 20 stakeholders in the building industry, including designers, engineers, developers, planners, architects, sustainability managers and certifiers, to ascertain what they see as the drivers and barriers to an algae building.

Related Stories: Liberland Could Be The First Nation Powered By Algae

One year into the feasibility study and the response has been enthusiastic. However, as with all new technologies, Wilkinson’s research has uncovered challenges.

“One of the architects we spoke to said that they’ve spent most of their professional careers helping design facades that purposely avoid things growing on them or having water flow through them – so you can see how such a concept would raise lots of questions.

“For example, one of the recurring questions we were asked throughout the study was, ‘What would happen if a panel was accidentally or intentionally damaged?’ So what we’ve recommended is specifying toughened glazing in certain areas.”

Another concern that arose was around excessive heat killing the algae, and what could be done to mitigate that. As a result, the research team spoke to the Australian Window Association, who have advised on tempered and heat-resistant glass.

Such questions and concerns will help inform the next stage of this innovative research – the design of a prototype flat façade panel.

The research team is collaborating with a leading engineering firm to fabricate the Australian-first panels, and they hope to place it in a high visibility location on campus so it can begin to pique public interest.

Ralph, a Professor in the Plant Functional Biology and Climate Change Cluster (C3) is helping to build this prototype. He unabashedly describes his role as ensuring that Wilkinson puts “the right green stuff on the buildings”.

Ralph’s team from the UTS Centre for Industrialised Algae will be studying algae strain optimisation and selection to recommend the best species for the living building project.

It’s just one of the possibly endless applications of algae products, says Ralph. He believes algae can play a large part in solving climate change issues via new, sustainable bioproducts.

“Algae can be used to make almost anything that society needs – plastic, food, pharmaceuticals, paints, carpet and cosmetics, for starters. We think there could be up to 300,000 species of algae out there, and that we are only culturing about 100 of those.”

Ralph says the building project is a great medium to encourage people to engage with algae outside of science.

“I want the public to accept the use of algae in everyday life. I want people to see more of this microorganism for what it is – a natural solution to the energy, food, economic and climate challenges facing our world today.”

He also believes the project will encourage designers and architects to think about algae in their “quirky” building designs. “I see it as technically interesting and exciting for them, and for us as scientists, it’s a chance to promote this natural, sustainable alternative to fossil fuels.”

The production and uptake of algae-based materials will also provide greater diversity in our built environment, says Wilkinson. “One of the biggest advantages of this technology is that it is so visually appealing.

“I mean, how could you walk past a building with bubbling green wall panels and not stop to learn more about it? It’s eye-catching, it’s unique and it’s decarbonising the atmosphere, all at the same time.”

Source: University of Technology, Sydney




The Psychology of Color: 7 Uplifting Uses of Yellow in Architecture

You can’t make something yellow without causing a stir. Arguably the most intense color on the spectrum, almost any expanse of it commands attention and draws the eye. So what does it mean when this color is employed in architecture? Psychologically, yellow is often characterized as making people happy or invigorated and — whether the designer intended it to or not — it can underscore such notions for inhabitants when used in a building.

The projects below all feature noteworthy applications of yellow in their articulation. Typologies vary widely, but the effect this color choice has on a wide range of occupants illustrates striking similarities and contrasts. In all, these examples reinforce the notion that yellow exerts a powerful presence wherever its used, and its implications should be considered carefully.

Tellus Nursery School by Tham & Videgård Arkitekter, Stockholm, Sweden

Individual strips of sawn wood, painted yellow, form a screen façade that extends over, or is interrupted around, certain openings. The space it defines — an interior courtyard where children from different grade levels are expected to play nicely together — benefits from the psychological effects of this color choice.

Apprentice Formation Center by AIR architectures, Saint-Maur, France

As a training center for apprentices in various crafts, this project carries the yellow theme across two buildings and the ground between them. This dramatic use of color acts as both an identifier and a mood-setting element for vocational training.

Sunray Woodcraft Construction Headquarters by DP Architects, Singapore

A yellow-clad exterior serves here to both reference a company’s name and produce a high level of daylight reflectance into interior spaces. Used primarily as shading devices, yellow wooden bands protect interior spaces from harsh direct sunlight while ensuring maximum possible daylight is allowed inside. In addition, this color choice ensures the building will stand out without completely dominating its surroundings, allowing it to become a landmark for passersby.

Inter-Generation Centre by Dominique Coulon & Associés, Venarey-les-Laumes, France

An interior courtyard for a nursery is bathed in yellow as part of this community center. Besides the obvious benefits of using yellow for a children’s play space, it also serves to delineate a break in program between the nursery and other areas of this multi-use community center. Furthermore, this courtyard also acts to buffer the interior of the nursery from the noise of trains passing nearby.

Housing for the Fishermen of Tyre by Hashim Sarkis Studios, Abbasiyeh, Lebanon

The interior courtyards of this housing complex have been brightly colored, a direct contrast to their dark exterior. This inward focus emphasizes levity amongst the residents and their interactions with each other, a mandate that was stressed in the complex’s design, as all residents are members of a co-op and insisted on a design that treats each member as an equal.

Morangis Retirement Home by Vous Êtes Ici, Morangis, France

The creation of a welcoming effect, coupled with enhancing the reflection of daylight, was achieved here in the form of a yellow hue repeated across window and door openings, as well as some wall surfaces. This method is further employed for sculptural “dents” in the exterior wall to raise the profile of the color’s presence. This works to lighten the mood of residents (many of them long-term care patients) and give a positive association to the building for anyone approaching from the outside.

Centre Clignancourt by GPAA Gaëlle Péneau Architecte & Associés, Paris, France

Color choice was a major component for the exterior of this university building, which alternates between yellow, blue and gray depending on program. Yellow’s association with the arts underlies its psychological aspects, for which it can be seen to engender positivity among occupants. Whether in the practice of sport or the production of creative works, this strong application of color serves to energize and inspire.

Source: Architizer

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5 Emerging Trends That Will Shape the Future of Architecture

What will the future of architecture look like? We might not be colonizing Mars or living on leafy, man-made space stations any time soon, but some exciting recent architectural trends are giving plenty of reasons to get excited about the future of built environments right here on Earth.

by Lidija Grozdanic

Over the last two decades, the construction industry has been subject to dramatic changes, paving the way for a future in which traditional spatial concepts are longer valid. Now, compost is being used for building materials, crowdfunding and collaborative design have become increasingly popular approaches to architectural projects, there is a focus on the importance of green infrastructure and energy efficiency, and the line between private and public space is becoming increasingly blurred. These new approaches are foreshadowing the ways in which our urban environment will evolve over the next few decades. Here’s a rundown of the new trends that have already started to affect the way we build:

#1 – No More ‘Public vs. Private’ Space

An increasing number of buildings not only address the needs of its users by function but also aim to incorporate public and commercial amenities. Architects are becoming aware of the need for creating inclusive spaces that share the same palpable values as their neighborhoods and the general public.

With the emergence of new technologies, it has become possible to design large developments as micro-cities that offer a range of diverse services (think Google, Facebook and Linkedin headquarters). Private buildings often include recycling and composting facilities and other public domain functions.

Excess energy that has been generated by private residences, offices and other buildings is now often fed into the public power grid. As Adriana Seserin writes in her article “The Publicly Private And The Privately Public”, “The dichotomy of public vs. private is limping in its ability to describe the complexity of today’s society.”

#2 – Design Will Become More Collaborative

Architecture as we know it is likely to disappear and, in the future, the role of architects may be very different to how we recognize it today. Specialists in, for example, environmental science and social anthropology will become active team members in design studios, working on complex projects that require knowledge in different fields.

It is reasonable to expect that the emergence of specialists from various fields will eliminate many of the job profiles currently existing in the construction industry. “Small ‘design-led’ practices will face increasingly stiff competition from multidisciplinary giants and must become more business savvy in order to survive in the future,” claims a 2011 RIBA report.

The rule of starchitects is likely to come to an end, as both private and public clients are starting to expect much more than iconic spaces and structures. Interaction, inclusiveness, easy maintenance and energy efficiency are getting priority over extravagance for extravagance’s sake.

#3 – Internet of Things Becomes Internet of Spaces

The “sharing economy” (or, “collaborative consumption”) has had the greatest impact on the housing and real estate market. Peer-to-peer online platforms like AirBnB, as well as shared workspaces and driverless cars are paving the way towards a future in which infrastructure is the dominant aspect of the built environment.

Regarding residential architecture, the concepts of interconnectivity and smart design will redefine the way living spaces are created. Transformable spaces that adapt to the homeowner’s age, economic status and personal preference are well on their way to becoming mainstream.

#4 – Buildings Will Be Funded by the Many

The concept of  is radically changing the way projects are financed. Since it was first introduced, Kickstarter has funneled more than $66 million into a varied number of projects, from food through movies to technology. Architectural projects, including Lowline and the BD Bacata Tower, have also made use of crowdfunding to advance their plans.

Certain areas of the construction industry – standardized designs and prototype housing, chain stores and retail office buildings, and schools – could see more competitive bidding in getting their plans funded, while more complex structures requiring unique designs such as stadiums, power plants, bridges, museums and medical buildings are less likely to be built through an open-bid approach.

#5 – Going Tall, Small and Temporary

Breaking the pattern of the urban sprawl we’ve seen over the last century, the new trend of building super-tall structures will make cities grow upwards rather than outwards. These tall buildings combine living, playing, shopping and working in one area and are made possible thanks to the advances in material technology, like electronic glass panels. As developments in technology change the size of our gadgets, so too may these developments also affect the size of our living spaces.

This change would be made through modular design, which has increasingly been used in different building typologies. Additionally, many architects are now recognizing that the shorter a building’s lifespan is, the more sustainable it can be. Therefore, ‘prefab’ houses that are easily replaced could be the future of architecture.


The recent phenomenon of technology altering the physical world and permeating every aspect of our daily lives is symptomatic of a larger social and cultural shift. The way buildings are financed, designed, built, used and removed continuously changes architectural discourse and introduces an entirely new vocabulary into the construction industry. We are excited to see how it will all pan out in the coming years.

What do you think the future of architecture will look like?

Source: Archipeneur