Session 07: Expanding the Definition of Practice

Date: April 03, 2020
Location: Zoom Virtual Webinar
Led by: Chris Haverkamp and Joe Iwaskiw

Downloads: Session 07

This was the first ever virtual CKLDP session, held remotely due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The speakers that participated in this session focused their presentations on the different types of architecture practice and the different ways of working within the profession. The session featured digital presentations, Q&A sessions, and an interactive sketching workshop. The timing and format of this session was very fitting, as we are all learning new ways to practice while working from home.

Activity #1 –‘Defining…’ The Wow Factor and the Spectacular Line

The first presentation was by Moh’d Bilbeisi, who spoke about the “importance of drawing and dreaming” and translating ideas to paper. He started his presentation by sharing examples of his work and how he uses drawing to portray ideas and concepts. Moh’d finished his prestation with a group virtual drawing. During the exercise he emphasized “9 Laws of Perspective” to remember to help create better drawings. The “Laws” as he described, are as follows:

  1. Find the horizon line first and locate the vanishing point on this line (always)
  2. Always draw at eye level
  3. Objects get distorted the closer they are
  4. Always start from the front and work to the back
  5. Converging lines – to vanishing points
  6. Foreshortening (item disappears at horizon line)
  7. Composition
    • Establish a focal point
    • Intensity of the sketch at focal point
    • Foreground, middle, back
    • Rule of thirds
  8. Scale and relative proportion
    • Judge using a pencil at a fixed length away from your eye
  9. Line quality
    • Sharp pencils and quality pens
    • Confident strokes


Activity #2 –‘Expanding…’ The Architect Developer Value Proposition

The second presentation was led by AJ Pires of Alloy LLC. Alloy started in Brooklyn 14 years ago and continues to work in NYC today. It is a multifaceted firm that provides services that often include development, design, advisory, construction, management, and “whatever else it takes” over the life of a project. The company acts as the owner/developer, so they hand pick a select few projects every year that interest them because they will work on these projects over the entire life of the building. Deciding which projects to develop is a rigorous process that involves the following steps:

Step 1: What would be the right “thing” for the site (program), look at demographics, comparative products, etc.

Step 2: SWAT analysis and comparatives, identifying specifics of the project

Step 3: Design (gross, loss, efficiency, life safety compliance)

Step 4: Budget (using comparative info)

Step 5: How much to pay for land (critical)

Each of these steps is completed on a potential project before a decision is made and once complete, they have the information needed to make an informed decision.


Activity #3 –‘Innovating…’ The tooling of Innovative Practice

The final presentation was given by Minyoung Song and Scot Teti of SHoP Architects. Their presentation focused on SHoP’s unique design and fabrication process, which they highlighted by describing the design and construction process of the Steinway Landmark Building, 9 Dekalb, and the WaPo Building.

Scot and Minyoung also described how the firm viewsprojects as a “kit of parts” and how they often look to other industries for inspiration in fabrication, automation, technology, and building methods. They see themselves as thinkers and makers and there are several in house tools and resources to support this, including a 360-degree virtual reality room and a model shop.

At SHoP, they are constantly looking for better ways to deliver information to contractors, questioning traditional methods of production, and experimenting with new fabrication methods using traditional materials.