sorry blogspot. you were good, i was bad. i had to go.


and the Winner is.....

frank m. bua
d  e  s  i  g  n  e  r

Ostra Bar & Lounge + Frank M. Bua = one awesome dining experience.


An Idea...that's probably wrong

Today I was sitting in front of a chain link fence noticing its lack of shadow.  At first I thought that due to it`s lack of thickness that the light particles were simply splitting around the wire and re-converging again before they hit the ground.  

Then I thought about the scientific experiments that prove it is possible for a single particle travelling as a wave function (as light does) to occupy more than one space at one time without a relative vantage point. (General Theory of Relativity).  

It then occurred to me that it was possible that the light particles are not splitting around the fence, that they could in fact just be occupying both sides of the the wire material at the same time.  I then began to realize that the whole way we think about light may be wrong in the first place.  It is possible that light is NOT a series of particles travelling from point a to point b.  It is possible that a ray of light is not a series of particles travelling as a wave function AT ALL.  In actuality it is reasonable to hypothesize that a beam of light consists of only ONE particle - NOT travelling from point a to b, but EXISTING at all points simultaneously.  

Think about C (the speed of light) now.  It is impossible (as we know it) to travel AT the speed of light.  But if we think of light as NOT travelling - as simply EXISTING as a single particle... What if C is not a speed  at all - but instead a level of ultimate existence.  

Throughout history all religions have associated light with god whether in description or artistic depiction.  The states of being acheivable through meditation or mind training are often described and similar to the way `light` exists in our physical world.  Is this all coincidence - and is a particle of light the connecting key to this physical worldÉ If time is only another Galilean unit of measurement as Einstein hypothesizes - and if Light breaks the rules of all Galilean units of measurement - then to exist, or function in the way that light does would allow a human to time travel.  

Now if we go back to the idea that it is possible that light is only a single particle existing everywhere simultaneously....


Video of My Fordham Lecture

Thanks to the guys at Moral Fibers for shooting w/ both the Death AND the Long lense on my big day:

we would like to remind you that Moral Fibers is dedicated to detail, committed to craft and hellbent on delivering great design on beautiful Made in the USA tee shirts. Check out their blog too: http://moralfibers.blogspot.com


Design Competition Sketch

(i dont know what to say about this.)



London Biennale Visits NYC, opening reception TONIGHT 6-9pm!
Curated by: Inbred Hybrid Collective
08.05.10 — 09.01.10
(Opening Reception: 08.05.10 • 6 – 9 PM)
127 Elizabeth Street, New York, NY‎   |   (212) 244-6006‎
(Hours: Wednesday to Sunday (11-6) and Monday by appointment)
Featured artists: Michele Brody • Walt Cessna• Michelle Handelman • John Kelly • Scooter LaForge • Max Carlos Martinez • Reynolds • Rob Roth • Smith & Lowles • Lili White
Contact Info: Dominic Cloutier
DOMCLOUTIER24@YAHOO.CA |  646-462-7756


Computer Aided DESIGN????

     Design starts in the mind - the quickest way to express is through the free movements of your hand to paper... THE COMPUTER IS A TOOL PEOPLE! 

     Don't get me wrong- my minor is in computer aided DESIGN & drafting.  But the DESIGN part should not be confused. 

     Your Design is AIDED by your programs - not generated BY your programs.  It's easier to drop shadows or calculate structural loads on the computer.  But WHERE are those shadows being cast from?  What NEW idea did you have that necessitated BIM (Building Information Modeling)?

     We all have fallen in this hole where we SEE the design in our head - jump into photoshop/max/etc. and next thing we know we just spent 3 hours getting our gradients right and our file structure set up.  That's 3 hours that the design went NOWHERE. 

     Use the computer as a tool to execute your designs, aid your designs.  It can not design for you.  Remember - somehow the Brooklyn Bridge was built sans CAD.  The Empire State Building was rendered in watercolor & ink.  Marc Jacobs knows how to hand sew.  The Coca-Cola logo, nike logo - drawn by hand. 

     So go out and have fun designing.

Frank M. Bua


Design Competition

     So I've entered a architecture_design competition.  It's a competition that will lead to a job, which I need, so screw it. 
     The project consists of an existing church which will be converted into a high-end oyster/martini lounge. It's located on Queen St. West in Toronto, Ontario.  
     The initial feeling I get from the partners is that they love that I'm from NYC, but seem to think I'm going to go way over budget.  I`m kind of worried about that too, but my inclinations of the space make me think I can spend the budget wisely, where it needs to be spent - and walk away with a cohesive, plastic design. 
     So I`ve been narrowed from 30 apparently, to 8 & now to 4.  My concept for the design is consistent with the owners I feel - that we want that `converted church` feel to a classy lounge.  Problem is - this, `old church,` is more old warehouse than Notre Dame.  And thus, the problems begin. 
     Anyway - here`s some pics of the existing structure as is.  I`ll post my, `entry,` soon enough.  A lot of it is already there in my head & in sketch - now I just need to set up the design presentation.


     Looking forward to the challenge. Hopefully they`ll like my design concepts & executable strategies.

Frank M. Bua


Agrigento & The Valley of the Temples

     Little history lesson for you all today.  A few days ago I posted some Giuseppe Terragni on my DESIGNAHOLIC tumblr page.  One of the responses I got was, `they have architects in Italy????? :-)`  Lovingly, of course, via Josep Mosq Uea of INACABAT photography fame.
     Anyway - I just wanted to show off a little bit of Agrigento for those who forget that SICILIA is the birthplace of the modern world.  Yep - you got it right from a Sicilian`s mouth.  We taught the world how to appreciate (1st pic), respect (2nd), learn (3rd), enjoy (also 3rd) and of course eat (4th).   

     So read up on the Valley of the Temple Agrigento - you`ll learn a lot more than listening to me blab like an idiot.  


temple of concord

temple of hercules



Agrigento: (Sicilian: Girgenti), is a city on the southern coast of Sicily, Italy, and capital of the province of Agrigento. It is renowned as the site of the ancient Greek city of Akragas (also known as Acragas (Ἀκράγας) in Greek, Agrigentum in Latin and Kerkent in Arabic), one of the leading cities of Magna Graecia during the golden age of Ancient Greece.


Today's Inspiration

     How’s this for plasticity? Louis Kahn, Exeter Library. Rhythm & Unity.

     Notice how the study areas are set INTO the facade - bringing them 'outside' the structure.  At the same time this is perfectly placed w/ the window above to create indirect natural lighting for the user.
     The columns create the rhythm of light, use and volume of the space.  Even the lighting fixtures are place in a way to add a 3rd dimension to the various planes of view. This whole thing can be explained simply by studying the light & shadow of this photo. 
     Ol' Kahn sure made it hard for the rest of us.

Frank M. Bua
inspired today


Good People Do Good Things

July 15th is National Help Day!

     For the most part - this world is fucked up.  In some way, small or large - we all (hopefully) have that kind of a feeling some time.  Mostly - we say to ourselves, 'well what can I do about it?'  The answer -  nothing really.  But that doesn't mean you have to give up.  A little bit DOES count.  The more of us that do, 'a little bit,' will just make it count even more. 



Expression in Art & Writing

     Somehow I finagled my way into guest speaking at Fordham University's Manhattan campus.  I'm writing this post to help hone my ideas, so I don't end up in, 'theoretical jargon land,' where I often times find myself.  Please- tell me what you think.

      (I'll skip my intro of who I am & such and get right to it.)
      Quickly – can anyone tell me what this is?

(Picasso, Stravinsky upside down, fast)

Little easier - how about this:

(cave dwg)

Is this a picture, or is this writing?

     Before we go any further Let's talk about that. - WHAT THIS picture is. Because I'm not here to talk so much about art OR writing. But I will probably be using those words a lot. What I'm actually here to speak to you all about is EXPRESSION. What IS Expression+ How can we more effectively, timelessly – EXPRESS ourselves+ It is important to understand than any form of expression, for today's sake, will be referred to as ART. Often times we as people forget that writing is just another art form. More often they forget that music is art as well. So let's begin by examining what IS art? What is, as is often stated, 'the problem of art?'

Let's look at this:

(Banksy Slide)

      Does anyone know what THIS is? Most likely – you didn't have to THINK about what this is. You see it – maybe it takes you a second to realize - `somethings off here.` And then BOOM – you get it. The intention of the piece has been clearly EXPRESSED to you w/ no more than a rock and some squiggly lines.

     Expression. At some level, as humans beings with minds & thoughts - we need to express our ideas, our feelings - to one another. The cave people did it to pass knowledge of the hunt. Banksy`s 'cave drawing' is the same, yet clearly expresses a sense of materialism in our modern world.

     Try and describe a thought. Not - what you are thinking, but what is a thought in itself? Electric synapses firing in your brain, thoughts lead to feelings. Feelings lead to thoughts. Describe a feeling. Express HEAT w/out using the word, 'hot.' Maybe a simpler one, more common - describe, 'confusion,' or, 'love.' Yes, these words have definitions in any dictionary or easily found on the internet. But they are only defined by a series of more & more words - all of which you can apply the same principle to: What do they REALLY mean? Lets take some time – describe for me, in writing, drawing – whatever – LOVE. Don't start yet – we will do this art school style – you have 10 seconds. Just kidding – take a full minute.

     We'll come back to these later. Who knows what this is:


     Who this is?


      One is thousands upon thousands of years old – the other, 40 years or so. Both before Either of our lifetimes, but yet we KNOW this image, this person in a second. Why is that? You've heard of this guy before:


     Lets think for a minute – why 2400 years have passed and this mans writing are still taught and referred back to by any philosopher ever since? Lets think about why the Parthenon still stands? How Jimi Hendrix was able to make static (among other things) sound so freeking good?

Lets look at this next slide.

(wait for Picasso picture)
     ...and I don't want you to think of WHAT it is... Its upside down because I want you to not look at WHAT it is – but instead what it is COMPRISED of. Hell-I'll tell you its comprised of lines on a piece of paper. What I want you to do for me now – is to spend the next 5 minutes copying the picture, but not thinking about the picture. Follow the lines on the paper – pay attention to the relationship of one line to the next... I know I'm not talking to an art class – so if you want to pick one line of the drawing – try to follow it top to bottom, left to right – whatever. Just go for it.

     I'm flipping the picture right side up.

     Turn your pictures around to match. See how close, or how far they are from the original. I bet you didn't know you could possibly draw as well as it came out. So you know, this is a sketch by Picasso of the influential musical composer Igor Stravinsky. Congratulations, you've just started your first forgery.
     Seriously – why did I ask you to do that?  Why would I come in here and ask you to describe LOVE in 1 minute? There is a reason, 'the masters,' as we call them are called, 'THE MASTERS.' They are masters of their trade yes – but do you think Da Vinci really knew how to build the helicopter he drew during the Renaissance period?

     Or that Phidias laid every block of the Parthenon himself? The reason we refer to, 'the masters,' as such is not only because they were a master of their craft – but they were MASTERS of their expression. What better way to express a dedication to a God (Nature) an understanding of ourselves in this natural world than with this:

This is not a lost art. Lets look at this. Who knows what this is:


      Why has this building become such an ICON of NYC? – which in itself is an icon of urban development. Not because it once held the title of tallest building in the world. There have been many tallest buildings built since, including in this very city. But what separates E.S.B. Apart from the rest? The design of the building was initially meant to represent the people of this city, as well as the city itself. It was not (although became) a race for the tallest building – it HAD to be the tallest building.
     The Empire is such an icon because it was designed, to be EXPRESSED as the greatest, tallest building in the world , because it sits in the largest, greatest (arguably) city in the world. What better testament to the people of this city than to put what would be the largest building in the world right in the heart of the city.
     It IS an expression for all of us. And while very few people study art, architecture, or anything – the message of the building is so crystal clear, it came to represent the very place it exists in.
     And hence I've just arrived at the problem of art. I'm trying to EXPRESS to you something w words & pictures – trying to articulate this feeling, this thought I have that I want to share with you.

     What does all this stuff I've been talking about have in common? Why did I have you do the drawing excersise? What I'm trying to get across is that all these things have something very definite in common, thousands of years apart – yet timeless.

     The artists of all these works had a good understanding of themselves, their society, their place in society. Or maybe they didn't – and their life & work was dedicated to figuring all of that out.

     In this day and age, our society has developed very far. While this is good, in some ways, it is bad. All of us have pre-conceived notions of our ideas, our feelings – before we think about what those feelings & ideas even mean to ourselves. The 'masters,' if we for now apply this term to the people we study in history books, are not in the history books because they had a ,'style.' They are there because what they did became a, 'style,' after them. Style is for the birds. We all have our own, 'style,' so to say. But what separates us from the masters is the expression of what lies behind our, 'style.'
     Understanding that a thought, a feeling – has no description – the problem of art becomes that of, 'how do we communicate clearly,' to one another. We must remember – that all of us have our own interpretations of our feelings & thoughts. But at the same time, we are all human beings. 10 fingers, 10 toes, etc. So we must pay attention to what we SEE, not what we are TOLD WE SEE.

     If I wouldve asked you to draw me Stavinksy sitting in a chair – your drawings would not have come out so good. Think about what you see, how it affects you – and you will be able to more clearly express yourself, regardless of medium.

Cavemen – wanting to eat – a basic instinct. They drew-wrote a bull w a spear. Put a little background squiggly in there – boom.. The problems of a caveman are not the same as today.

Banksy – the new popular guy. He's expressing the same idea – but within our modern era... he's leaving something behind for the future, while simultaneously mocking our present. Was he up all night thinking of whats something cool to do or did he just have that nagging feeling we are all getting a bit too lazy and found a way to express that feeling?

The Parthenon – tribute to nature, how we relate to nature (diving proportion) how understanding that relationship is a testament to their God.

Jimi Hendrix – it is said that towards the end he would daydream all day about the sounds in his head that he would never be able to reproduce w the guitar – think of what THAT would've sound like. Think about how he looked INSIDE to produce sounds EXTernally.

Aristotle – never met a question he didn't want an answer too

Picasso – blessed us with cubism after reinterpreting what his classical training meant to HIM in HIS eyes. It is said that at 14, he could paint as well as Da Vinci, keep in mind. But we don't want to see any of that do we!
Da Vinci – forget the code... think Vetruvian Man.

Empire State Building – a testament to where it is and who it represents.

      Their EXPRESSION is made clear by tapping into that which is in all of us, yet can not be described in any kind of words, or paintings, or buildings, or sculpture, or song... Yet somehow, through whatever medium they chose, they were able to convey their message about their life, as it relates to yours whether the same or different.

     That's all I really have to say, if I've said anything at all today. I want to just leave you with a few paintings from Rene Magritte – a surrealist from Paris. I love to look at this guys interpretations of the world. First I say, damn that's messed up, but then after awhile I love to try and find his mind state and truly understand why a fish lady becomes so provocative. But Surrealism is a whole NOTHER animal by far.
     Thanks for you time, remember when you write, or anything that you do – understand what it is your trying to express, understand YOUR own feelings & ideas to more profoundly convey them. Forget style, be yourself.

(keep in mind these were my 'notes' please don't comment on any grammar.) 


I'd like to thank:
Sarah E. Cornish
Doctoral Candidate/Senior Teaching Fellow
Fordham University, NYC.

and of course the kids for staying awake and actually asking questions!


The GEM! A Comparison of House vs. Home

     Today I want to stab off a little about 'Taste in Design.'   One thing that constantly confounds me (us) is the phrase, 'but my neighbor has...,' or, 'well this one site had...'   These words to a designer in any field are about a million times worse than nails on a chalkboard.  Horrible.  
     Of course we must remember that our job is to translate the wants of a client into our own language - the language of art, architecture, etc., ad nauseum.  Of course our natural responses are curses that would make the French proud, but all in our head - of course.  After all, being not far from prostitution - we need the money.  My go -to phrase in that situation is, 'But wouldn't you want your neighbor wanting what YOU have?'  Still often times unsuccessful.
     WHY? Because we are trained to understand the world in ways which our clients simply are not.  This does not make us better than them, but it does make it hard to communicate sometimes.  Today I want to share with you some pictures of what I'm talking about.  A little gem amongst rubble.  Enjoy:

the setting:

"typical" houses on the block:

Whoa! What am I talking about? Notice the low-key stature of the house, the shrubbery almost hiding it from the street - as opposed to the other houses who are made to be seen. Let's not even talk about columns & keystones NOT belonging in a beach setting in NY.

Look at these 2 again:

BIG windows BIG columns BIG terrace on the FRONT of the house.. NOT designed to look over the beach, but to look at this: (directly across from terrace)
a much better view?

Let's look at the 'entrance' to The Gem:
The inhabitants drive INTO the house - are protected and immediately are welcomed to the beach side of the property.  The 'columns' you see on the left actually are closets for outdoor material storage - you enter from the driveway into the kitchen - its useful to drop your things off, and move to the rest of the house. 

I'm sure this cost the same as that oversized portico across the street. Much more useful, much more beautiful, much more of a HOME. 

Let's talk windows. forget big picture windows staring at nothing.  The biggest window in The Gem is in the family room, which opens up to a covered terrace, which sits on the water. If you're already outside, you don't really need windows.

And finally lets look at how the other 'houses' engage the water.
This one really gets too 'look' at the water... the house has no engagement. I don't even see a door to the rear yard...

these people have a BEAUTIFUL LAWN - but the pavement stops 5 feet from the house.  Unconsioucly the inhabitants & visitors never venture further past the pavement. a damn shame. 

The Gem's engagement is obvious.  The house is designed around where it is, to enhance the experience of the inhabitants.  It is truly a 'machine for living.'

The Statement:
Set into it's surroundings, surrounded by nature.  The roof protects the inhabitants whether inside or outside the house. 

The Entrance:
This is a view from the 'front door' looking back towards the street.  You feel comfortable just looking at it. Its functionality is evident.

The Materials:
We have to stop this STUCCO bullshit.  You can pay more for your 'coins,' or you can pay for natural wood. When you sit outside, even though covered by a man-made structure - the natural materials keep you attached to nature  & add to the serenity.  
The Engagement:
 From the deep overhange, to the matching storage shed (over in the left) the geometric relationship from the covered porch to the dock... I love how the chimney continues a plane past the powerful line of the roof. 

And of course how they all work together, in harmony with itself, it's settings & it's inhabitants. I hope my ramblings made sense.  Remember - forget what people tell you that you want, rely on that which matters to YOU and you will have something beautiful.

Do you think this was an accident: (last thing)
The only other window that breaks the high, private windows of the bedroom is a long, glass block window of a bathroom.... but the true magic is that it is made even more private by placing a tree between the window, and the side lot line.  Accidental? I think not.  Organic Design, plasticity in essence.