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. 


my first architecture post

So after determining that I probably need ritalin, I get this email from my old bud Ziv Zamir, Senior Project Manager @ DJ Associates Architect, PC down on Broadway...  

THIS (below), is the same project preconstruction... didn't know or care to learn how to embed a yahoo video (although it's probably easy), so I found this on 'tube:
Coincidence? Possibly. 

Honestly - this is something I wouldn't probably  do myself.  I mean - if you're going this route - spending 2 mill just to say you live in an airplane pretty much shoots all your trendy 'green' ideas in the foot.  Helicoptering the pieces in?  Oh it's recycled, but you tripled your carbon footprint - good job. 

Overall it's a neat, gimmicky idea.  Does it speak to the residents? It's surroundings effectively? Hey - w/out being there I'll have no idea how succesful these talented (seriously, this was hard to do) designers 'solved' it.  (Solved: a very technical term that only makes sense to architectural students who spend min. 5 years w/ no sleep while constantly being berated by their professors... go ahead - ask your archibuds..) 

At the very least - it's a testament to what any of us are able to do at any given time given the right motive mixed w/ the right passion. 

-That Guy
getter of stabby



when people ask what i like most about myself - the answer has to be insomnia.

frank m. bua



I've come of heart, but now I'm cool
I didn't make it, baby, playin' by the rules
I've come of heart, baby, but now I'm fine
I'm checkin' trouble, sure movin' down the line
(thanks http://www.lyrics007.com/Marvin Gaye Lyrics/Trouble Man Lyrics.html


Frank M. Bua
inspired by music


The Bug Is Back In Town (FRANK BUA GOES BACK TO NYC!!)

     On the bus back to NYC. Yes - bus. Go to www.megabus.com It's awesome. Double decker, brand new, free wifi, outlets everywhere - and if you book early enough most tickets only cost ONE DOLLAR. Yes it's true - I went roundtrip to Toronto for 5 bux... less than it costs to get to the Mamoun's, or even a beer at Daddy's....

      Anyway - quick post today - just to let you all know that for the next 4-6 weeks - you better step your game up.  To quote Marvin Gaye, 'I Come Up Hard Baby.'
     Really - I look forward to seeing all my friends & family.  Spending some time in CP w/ a bottle of wine listening to free concerts, hit my roof for a joint, hit my terrace w/ my Ovation (missed you baby!) and of course trying to get some clients and spread the Concept: propoganda. PS.1, shady bqe skating, dinner party at Wolf Sleepy, MoMA Thursdays (orchestras in the sculpture garden! missed you too!) - I miss a good falafel, the tombstone place 2 blocks from my apartment..
     Before I left, the 'disneyfication' of NYC was really getting to me.  I'm interested to see if I'll still be annoyed, or if the feeling was a side effect of a depressing time.  Regardles, 24 months, 6 countries - I lived in NY my whole life (people don't understand the rarity of that statement, or take it for granted) and I realize it's not the end all be-all.  You start to realize - what's worth it to some, is bottom of the barrell for others & vice versa.  You think, what has 'worth' anyway? My memories, my friends, my family -  for me, that's the only thing worth anything.  When I'm going senile, I'll have a lot to look back on - and I just need to make sure it's going to be a good story.

     Let's be clear - I LOVE NEW YORK.  I always have, always will.  I've taken it for quite a ride, wether it's yachts & private chefs, smoking tree under some bridge in Central Park, stealing quarter waters as a kid -   The more I travel, the more I appreciate & miss the city.  Honestly - if you really want to appreciate NYC - you HAVE TO LEAVE for awhile.  Really - the way a native NYer thinks life works - is very far from the rest of the world.  Like Vincent Vega says in 'Pulp Fiction' - it's the little differences.

     One day I'll have my farm in Sicilia & I'll have my dream life excluded from the popular idea of what 'society' is.  And for now - there's work to be done and places to go.  But New York will always be home.  I'm really excited to be back for the summer.  Here's some pics of one of my favorite places in the world.


New York News Promo

Frank M. Bua
bus rider



      Im a HUGE - ahem - HUGE Basketball fan.  And I'm a NY Knicks fan! That's right... I even realistically believe they're going to squeak into the playoffs every year.  YEAH - I'm one of those guys. 
     Anyway - I like to make predictions.  I don't like to gamble - I've only been to Vegas once, and Atlantic City only for a NYE party...  But I'm SO into basketball I just read all the articles I can find.  I know all the stats for the Knicks starting seven.  I know a lot just from reading a lot and acting like a child basically.  There have been times where I've succesfully predicted box scores, series, etc.  And of course sometimes exactly the opposite happens and - whatever.  At the end of a game I just like to be cheering, drinking & smoking. 
      I even have rituals like - one cigarette at tip off, one cigarette at the half, and if it gets crazy one more at the 2 minute warning.   Once or twice I tried to do a beer a quarter but I'm not drinker and it wasn't a good look.
(directly cut & paste from an email to Paul Hanan, Owner & Designer at Graham Withers Clothing)

Dope point gaurd, dope shooting gaurd, dope coach who used to be a dope point guard...

Devin Harris, Courtney Lee & Avery Johnson.

I'll officially put it out there now- nets first round playoff sleeper team in 2011.

I'll even call they get swept in the 1st round by celtics or hawks...

Frank M. Bua


So Busy, Travel Pics

     Hey - Pretty busy lately... for the immediate future - whenever Im super busy & unable to post, I will try to put a nice picture up from some odd corner of the world I've visited. I've only been in 6 countries - but that is definitely SO FAR.
     Today's picture is from my first trip outside the U.S. borders, to my homeland of Sicilia.  This was the block I lived on in a town called Torretta - thousands of years old.  I was there as a wedding guest for native Sicilians.  They got married in a 14th century church and like 2 small towns came out to party.  It was ridiculous.  Here's the place I stayed at for 20 euro's a night!

Frank M. Bua
hostel lover


Ol' Skate Clip of the Week, lets say #8

Here's a little seen ol' part from back in the day. Your boy, New York's lost son - Keenan Milton. You want to talk style skaters? This guy was doing it BACK in the day... and he wouldn't hesitate to switch flip a triple set either... So smooth. You can't tell me you don't model your switch flip after the one Keenan did over a picnic table in Mouse.

Switch shove nosegrinds, switch varial heels, the guy was too good w/ his own bag of tricks. Thinking about it - a lot of this guys tricks would be some other pro's 'signature trick.' But Keenan Milton had them all & made it look too easy. Keenan Milton Forever.


The Monster

This is the Monster

Other known aliases include: