Wednesday, May 28, 2008


We did it!!!!

Wow!!! I am humbled by the submission of our project. The writing is brilliant, photos are exquisite and the ideas behind it... daring, modest and the surrounding wilderness.
Now let's put it behind us and move on to the next summit and see if we can continue to raise the bar... that is what life of an architect is all about. Thanks everyone... as usual we were down to the wire!!! submitted two minutes before deadline!!!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Latest News

Our office is submitting one of our projects for a significant award and we are all in stitches about it. Playing coreographer, director, scriptologyst as well as putting our scientist hat has been amazing. We have gone to extreme lengths to include everyone who got brain damage in the course of the project from the original designer to the company who assisted us in the steel fabrication and landscape design consultant. Great projects are not an "ivory tower" kind of endeavor, but they are a team effort of professionals who climb every mountain with everything they have, us... we are the guys who stake the flag on the summit. There is enough glory to go around and we are honored to include everyone. The list is quite extensive, and hope we have not left anyone out, so here we go. Our special appreciation to Lance, Peter, Martin, Cliff, Marco, Susana, Blair, Logan, Les, Susan, David, Joao, Don, Marcello, Mark, John, Chris, Mario, Joanie, Dick, Fernando, Pablo, Rosy and of course... our client, a visionary who is a big picture thinker. Thank you all, and now, let's keep our fingers crossed and let's hope for the Gods are smiling upon us. We have done our darnest. The rest is up to the jurors and destiny. Goethe said it all: "Be bold and believe that you can... Boldness has an inherent magic to it". We'll keep you posted. We have gone for the gold and left it all in the field and there is nothing left for us to give.
God Bless you all.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Meeting @ the IDC on Sunday 05/25 with ARC 103L students

I would like to know if we can meet at 12:00 pm versus 11:00 am as we had scheduled. Please group leaders check with your team-mates and let me know if this is possible. I expect a reply tonight (or in the wee hours). Also, I have not received any emails from Leandro, Milagro and Gerardo as to what your strategy and schedule is, in order to bag the assignment.

I will bring my welder and let's stake out a piece of real-estate at the IDC so you can get to work. Otherwise, the last remaining days during the quarter will move at a geological pace... It will seem like an eternity... a definition of hell on Earth, so please get to work. I hope to spend a good 4-5 hours with you and just getting this puppie of the ground. Remember, we are at a cross-roads, fierce competition and take no prisoners... I will be there at the trenches with you, fighting your battles, consumming lethal amounts of caffeine and other carcinogens to get the project on. But, as you know my style, if you don't show any interest, I will not help you or support you. The education of an architect is a brutal process but like in the Western movies, at the end, "Good guys and girls always win". So, charge on.


Thursday, May 22, 2008


ARC 103L

Just to clarify an issue that was brought up during our meeting outside building one yesterday, you will be working over the weekend. I will be there with you on Saturday, not all day but will come in and out because I'll have my 9 year old daughter. So, this will be a working weekend...



Final Assignment as Agreed by Faculty Members

Fellow Students, here is the final assignment as finally agreed by the Faculty. Please read carefully and if you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact. You may even want to reach me on my cell phone. Leave a message and I will call you back. In the meantime keep working on your mock up and tomorrow we will select the 3 projects to be built by individual groups.
The final assignment will consist of:

3 partial mock-ups per section
3 partial mock-ups, tectonics and modules, detailed 6'x4' each
1"=1' model (3x)
Shopdrawings/fabrication drawings
Sections/plans/isometric, 500 word narrative (poster format 18x24) per mock-up
Team-work of 5-7 people
05.28. details solution using real materials (building the final thing, starting Tomorrow)
05.30. drawing refinement, building schedule, detail refinement
06.02. building
06.04. building
06.06. final presentation
budget limit $800/mock-up
If the weather is good, after selecting projects and assembling teams, we will take a quick field trip to Reel Lumber. I will bring my welder and show you photos of past projects. It will be a war zone but I have the utmost confidence in each end every one of you, even those, whose project need CPR.


Latest Events ARC 103

By tomorrow you should keep working on your object, bring your 1/2" model and drawings. They don't have to be printed but they should be formatted using illustrator and will check them on your laptop's screen.



Latest News at Studio

Architecture Students,
The final decision has not been arrived at by the program coordinator. So, please keep working on your mock-up until we hear the news. It gives an opportunity to those of you who have not achieve a level of resolution in your design to continue working. I will keep you posted.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008


ARC 103L - Cal Poly Pomona Architecture Students

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have not received all the images from your project as we discussed this afternoon in class. Therefore, a decision of whose object will be built at full scale can't be reached.

I will be checking my email periodically through the night as I am working on a deadline also. The drop-dead-drag-down deadline will be 5:00 am.

I am also awaiting from a final decision of the program coordinator as to the criteria for selection. So far, I have only received 3 emails from you. Please don't email me to my address, since I have never checked my messages there, just my business address as we agreed this afternoon.

Good Luck and Work Hard... Architectural Solutions don't just happen. They take determination, sacrifice and willingness to reach out within ourselves to tap in God's given source of energy.


Sunday, May 18, 2008


The Downloadable version (I hope) by Stephanie Aurora Lewis in Innovative Home - "Diamond in the Rough"


Thursday, May 15, 2008


Innovative Home Article by Stephanie Aurora Lewis "Diamond in the Rough"

On behalf of our office, Peter, Susana, Cliff, Andrew and myself, we would like to thank Stephanie for such a wonderful article in the Summer Edition of "Innovative Home". I spent two days with Stephanie and Roy, just doing the "yada...yada" thing (or as Peter's SNL's dead-ringer immitation of "Wable, wable") and I felt so comfortable with them, it was like I was chatting away with my old grad-school chums. Not boasting or putting on pretentious philosophical manifestos, but having fun and revealing where we succeeded and where we failed miserably.
Most importantly, Bobby Greenbaum was phenomenal, always demure, self-effacing but forthright and sure of himself, knowing that he took a gamble with this unknown architect, but the risk paid off. I am forever grateful for that opportunity.
Our detractors may call us "Boutique Architects", "Purists"..."Peter Pans"... but then, I would challenge any of them, to step up to the plate and be persistent, driven and dogmatic as we are... Then, if they achieve what we had, they can call us any name they want.
People ask me frequently "How you do it?" and "Why you do it?" mostly students who are embarking on this journey... My reply is not Earth shattering or profound, it is just "How? because we can't help ourselves but be earnest and truthful, and to the Why... our come back is "Why not". Luck is when opportunity meets preparation.
Thanks Bobby, Don, Lance, Mark, David Glomb, Marcello, Marco, Martin, Less, Peter, Cliff, Susana, Blair and everyone who left a little bit of themselves in the process... I see it every time I visit the house (like today) and it's self-evident that all of our team efforts are chiselled in... well...CMU, water, glass and pv panels... (as opposed to stone... Cicero)
Buildings are story tellers charged with emotions, daring dreams and ultimately they hold within their innards a journey of self-discovery. Thank you all!!!!

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Tehachapi Ranch -Aerial View sent by an acquitance

Today was a marathon day!!!! Got up at the crack of dawn, drove to the cementery to bring flowers to my mother's grave and then went back home and pretended to be asleep when my daughters came up with a whole red carpet "breakfast in bed" production. I got a pearl from Tiffany, cards, a cake and of course a strong cup of Argentinian "yerba mate" (Nope, I don't drink coffee anymore... we ran out of our private stash). Then, we drove to the ranch in Tahachapi, our little get-away place and went straight into town. We planted our garden the whole afternoon with petunias, daysies and other flowers, in addition to basil, cilantro, peppers and all kinds of tomatoes. I was whinning about how we have missed the Spring, just to be reminded that this beautiful season just began in our ranch. Lots of wild flowers, frogs, fish in the pond, birds of every color and the oaks are full of leaves again. There will be plenty of BBQ's, walks, runs, solitude and just family time. And yes, the lonely duck is still around. Unfortunately, the goose who used to be his companion was killed by the wild-life, he became too trusting and was zapped suddenly.
As I celebrate, my hard-earn mommy title, my kids and I reflect on those children who have lost their family by death, illness or divorce. I understand their pain at a visceral level, but I also understant the pain of a mother who is suddenly ripped from her child, by death, illness or poverty. A childless mother's pain is unfathomable to us in the West, but in place's like Africa is a daily occurence and to annoint the hopelessness and despair in each and every child who is left behind is truly how Mother's Day should be honored. Thanks Moms all over world. Mommyhood is a sorority I am so fortunate to belong. More children perhaps in the future for our family if it is in the cards... Ah-Ha!!! Now I got your attention! a Pipe dream sor of speak, but a worthwhile pursuit.
Happy Mothers Day to Mary the mother of Christ, my mother who went to heaven last summer, my real Mother Marissa (my father's widow), Lourdes, my super-mom sister Mireya who is sending her first one to Med School in Tulane in the Fall with a full scholarship and all the remarkable moms I have the pleasure to meet every day at St. Theresa amd everywhere I turn. You inspire all of us mere mortals!!!

Thursday, May 08, 2008



Projects are moving forward, teaching is good and running is even better. Today, thanks to Odilo, I was able to conquer my fear of running on dirt trails again. No Ipod, Blackberry or any distraction. Of course, he is a gifted runner who fishes me back when I am going to fast. "Slow down... hold your horses". Great lesson we all should learn, "Pain is unavoidable... suffering is". So, we bagged the Tramway in 53minutes... so, again on Saturday at 6:00 am we are meeting on the Likkens trail and really test our endurance and have fun... Alex may show up, Don I hope will, and of course Odilo and I will be there and "just do it", plus, there is a half marathon in the horizon...
Also, we are expanding our office... Matias, Zach and Andrew want to work with us again in the summer... I will need room to get away from them... plus it will make Peter, Susana and Cliff happy to send my to my room without supper... Ah-ha, wait and see...

Monday, May 05, 2008


An invitation to lecture

Today we received an invitation to lecture at Ohio State University School of Architecture in the Fall. What an honor!!!! I guess my father was right when he said "Nobody becomes a prophet in his homeland". We are all excited and of course we have lessons to share with architecture students, not only about getting projects done, surviving in a mercurial economy, but most importantly to safeguard the ideals and aspirations which empowered us to pursue this noble profession. It will not be like Randy Pausch "Last Lecture" at Carnegie Mellon, since we will not have to introduce the elephant sitting in the room, but rather it will be about team-work, when a Client, Architect, Engineers and Contractors come together to join forces to build a project that most likely will out-lived them, in the hope that at some point in time, people will look beyond the obvious systems, realize that they are witnessing the legacy of a dream, in which all parties came together and gave the project their all.


Exhibit Space - Architecture Students ARC 103L

Fellow architecture students, here is an image I want to share with you from last year, so I want to see some sparkles flying while you are working dilligently at th grindstone. Design ideas do not happen by osmosis... it is just back-breaking work.


Ana, your teacher

Sunday, May 04, 2008


Thanks my friend A...

Today and in fact this weekend has been a great one. Back to running, and making a lot of decisions which will impact our office. Friday night Peter and I were ready to crash like Kamikaze pilots after a very long day... Driving for endless hours, teaching, and me being half blind due to a minor injury to my cornea. We had a jury at Pomona and I was surprinsinly silent, because I could not see... Oh well!! Scars of War.
Projects are going well, besides the minor meltdowns, "been there done that". But, today after self-indulging yesterday with a sun tan and just reading all the stuff I never get a chance to do, A., my dear friend and I went out to lunch, laughed to tears because of his incredible humor, I got to work and get all the ducks in a row, so this week will be as good and productive as any. Plus, we have three projects to go into construction and I can't wait to wear my new hard-hat and just walk around the construction sites, as if I know what I am talking about... the surprising issue is that I may appear absent minded, but I know how to mestatize to the sites where I need to be... the secret of survival in this business... make it happen and don't take any prisoners.

Great time to be an architect and find creative solutions to otherwise unsurmountable problems... I love it!!!!

Saturday, May 03, 2008


No Words Needed

At ESC Arc we don't wait for opportunities to come by... we create them!!!!

Thanks to our staff, clients, consultants, colleagues and friends... you always do the righ thing at the right time.


ARC 103L - Assignment Clarification

A suggestion for my students. Assuming that some of the images and geometry included in your poster was rooted in your architect's case study, extrapolate the "kit of parts" and build 3 models for Monday's class. The idea behind the exercise is that "spatial conception" will allow the visitors to understand what your architect is all about. The objective is to produce a conceptual construct, an experiential object. Don't worry about scale and programatic requirements, just build the thing and we will take it from there.

Thursday, May 01, 2008



Stephanie Lewis, a very talented writer from the East Coast visited our office and reviewed our work for an article she is writing. I had a great time just showing her around, not only our work, but buildings by Neutra, Lautner and Wexler. They also had the opportunity to hang out with everyone in our office and meet some of our clients.

This is as good as it gets for young firms like ours. Thanks Stephanie and Roy for taking the time to travel all the way to the desert. We hope the journey was worthwhile.

This photo really embodies what our work is all about... finding the beauty of a place, independent of the architecture, it is about space... orientation... views and unforgettable moments chiselled in stone.


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