Saturday, November 29, 2008
Let's let Thanks Giving serve as a reminder, not an exception. What if "Gratitude" can become our "default"? There is nothing as potent as "gratitude" when it comes down to quelling a longing, calming restlessness, quieting anxious thoughts, filling emptiness, overcoming doubt or celebrating abundance. It is a force we can tap into at will, one with the ability to change our perspectives and fuel our potential.
When our starting point is gratitude, we have already won, before we begin with the rest of our lives.
I am grateful for having been welcomed into the Meyerhoff house while I was lonely during the holidays. Thanks Mrs. Meyerhoff, you are a tough act to follow, a lovely lady, a rock for your family and a role model for women, and I am glad to know we share our love for opera and for Alex, my dear friend and colleague.
I am grateful to have hiked Tahquitz Canyon with Alex and being lost in thought about the mythology and natural beauty of the place.
I am grateful for my children, Lourdes and Sofia, who make every single sacrifice a little price to pay to have them in my life. Mommy loves you both.
I am grateful for having the opportunity to teach, run, lead an office and be of service to my team-mates, Cliff, Peter, Alex, Ivan, Ashi, Zach and Matias. You have no idea how much energy and enthusiasm you bring into this exhausted traveller, who against all odds, tries every day to go back to the well and be replenished so I can lead you to greatness. With all my foibles and shortcommings, each one of you know that I always leave everything on the field, I walk away from each battle, knowing fully that although the scoreboard did not work in our favor, we left it all in the field, we gave it our best and as such, whether we succeed or fail, it will not be a dance-on-the-tables/hide in the corner choice... we all know were we stand in that dance/hide debate.
Thanks everyone you are a blessing and as such I refuse to just limit my gratitude to one day a year. In fact, for people like me, it is a every-day kind of thing... Adversity may stare us on the face, but as seasoned players, we may whink at it and dance away the only way we know how... leaving a cloud of dust behind, like in the Old Spaguetti Western movies.
A blessed Thanks Giving everyone, whether a team member, a student, a friend or a curious soul...
PS. Thank you dad for chosing this glorious holiday to say good bye. You have taught me that there are many ways to bring your memory back and to a certain extent your legacy by doing good for others "anonymously".
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Updates and Dates
Finally the design of our latest project is beginning to reveal itself. We completed the theatre and it is quite remarkable, now on to the third round of the concert hall... Ivan, Alex and I worked like Tasmanian devils on the design. We were very smart, we divided the tasks, Alex designed the acoustical system, Ivan improved the design of what I had slaved over the weekend and we dished out the concert hall and started fresh so hopefully by tomorrow night we will have all the pieces cooked and then production will begin. Cliff did the code research and other important activities I am not allowed to reveal, plus, Lance my former business partner has agreed to meet me on Saturday to help out in designing the "perfect" most efficient structural system for the project.
On my end, I am ready to throw in the towell, I have been staring at this project for too long, but I know in my heart that if I hang out long enough, I will in fact, become a participant of a memorable project. Another building which hopefully when I am gone, my children will visit and see and understand what made "mommy tick". For me is more of an homage to all who have supported me in this crazy business of architecture, specially my father who relished in every single thing I did whether it was a success or a flop. I learned during his short life that you have a choice, either dance on tables or hide in the corner... my choice has been obvious... but whether I fly and soar or crash and burn, it has always been on my terms. Whom else has had the priviledge to have such a ride? enduring scratches, sudden turns and falls, while holding a chocolate bar on one hand and texting on the other while coming down hill on one of those treacherous trails I love so much, just behind my office, in our beautiful Palm Springs. The challenge this project presents makes "Bad Water" a walk in the park. I am so glad to be surrounded by wonderful team-mates who give their heart and soul time and time again... Thank you guys and girls... It could not ever happen without you!!!!
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Can you hear us? I am talking to you where ever you are. Nothing can stop Esc Arc from succeeding in reaching for the stars. Lucky I am in love with this project, Lucky to have a dream team to work in the IPAC project, and although four team-mates are missing from the picture, Dicle, Peter, Ivan and Alex, just know we are holding the fort and working away on a beautiful weekend and taking a huge leap of faith as the world spins around, we are holding on to a great idea and just making it "BIG" ...sounds transformed in a music box knowing full well that the world is our stage... TMI... just in case the competition is listening...
Thanks guys, welcome Ashi to our team!!!! Everytime I am away from the office I feel happy to be coming home again!!!! Peter, we are thinking of you and take your time. We support you. So stay strong and remember this is home. You are one of ours!!!!
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Opening of the Clinic in Uganda designed by Esc Arc
It took the death of Luke, a beautiful orphan baby boy in Uganda to set in motion the design and construction of a clinic for the orphanage of Aim of the Restoration of Hope, an NGO in East Africa under the leadership of Ronald Mugabi, the director and a man of God who gave up his life of luxury in Kampala to live among the poor, the disenfranchized and the victims of the AIDS epidemic in the African continent.
As the Lord called his disciples to leave their lives behind, Ronald answered the call to serve the poor. I am so blessed to call him my "Commander in Arms" by following his footsteps and use our skills as architects to design and fundraise for the construction of dignified buildings so in that small part part of the world, children will not suffer for the lack of medical care, parental love and education. Our office has in a humble way helped to bring his dreams to fruition. Thanks to all of you who poured their hearts into each and everyone of the projects needed to create a self-sustaining community. My special thanks to Justin Williams, Dicle Bath, Peter Blackburn, Chuck Whittaker, Tim Paulson, Marco Garcia and Dany (sorry Iforgot your last name) who dilligently worked hard to make this and other projects for the charity the best they could be.
We will not be present at the opening of the clinic, due to forces out of our control, but we will be there present in spirit and soul. Nobody can deny that in every mortar joint, concrete slab and spatial arrangement, the imprint of our sweat and tears is embeded for the better good. No need to receive accolades or be part of the fanfare. My father always said, "the best charity is the one that remains anonymous", and living by that mantra we have chosen to stay behind. Nevertheless, we are sharing on the joy of all Ugandans on this special day in which if God permits children will not suffer the pain of hunger, poverty, abandonment and disease. So, from a far, in this small world of ours, I will celebrate with joy and the knowledge of a job well done on behalf of our little brothers and sisters, our Lord Jesus in disguise, the glory that we serve the poor, the forgotten and the helpless and in doing so we have discover our humanity which has nothing to do with doing fancy buildings and accolades. My only hope is that the people of the charity, the children, teachers and caregivers know within them that we have done our best for them without expecting anything in return, just hoping that God restores eheir faith and gives them the strenght to go on and achieve their potential for generations to come. That is what immortality is all about!!!!
Cheers AROH and hope that Jesus continues to work in his mysterious ways to keep the momentum alive. We are bowing out with humility and grace. Out job is completed and thus, as we say our good byes, just know we did our best against all odds and at the end of the road it is all that matters.
Good Luck and God Bless you all,
Ana & our team mates at Esc Arc
Sunday, November 09, 2008
Now, here is a photo of a true friend, colleague and a designer so full of enthusiasm and love for a project who humbles me and restores my faith in humanity of an example we all should emulate, Alex Meyerhoff, someone who has shared my dreams, stale crackers, lethal dosages of a caffeine and other carcinogens in additions to OD'd on sushi at all hours of the day and night just to make a wonderful project happen and with his incredible passion and professionalism is working together with me to make this project a work of art. Thanks Alex, you are the ultimate optimistic, talented and it is an honor for me to work with you at all hours of the day and night. See you tomorrow at 9:00 am. Your devoted friend and colleague, Ana (a certified night owl). The question I have, is "where have you been all my life?" although I have known you for ages (in geological times) it took me a while to discover the backbone, kindness and talent you have been honing for years. Glad... no, truly blown away to have the honor to call you a friend, a colleague and partner in crime. You are unstopable. There is a God after all. See you in a few hours!!!!!
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
There are times... in which life is turned upside down
You give up on some dreams, compromise on anothers and as long as you know where you are going and that nothing nor anyone will stop you, it is all it takes to survive in this mercurial world of ours. Call me anarquist, dreamer, socialist ar even a commi---nst, it does not matter. At Esc Arc we live by one axiom and that is "theology of liberation". Be free, dance at the tune of your own drum and not go through life by living by other people's dogmas. Be optimistic, real and tough as nails. Be prepared and don't compromise, Boldness has a magic and inherent power to it.
Saturday, November 01, 2008
The Dream Team - PAC Project
We are working very hard on a significant project and our office had to rally the old troops to make this project a reality. God knows I am OD'd on concert halls and theaters to say the least... However, everytime I am ready to hang the towell with such a complex program and requirements, someone in our team is willing to bring some sense to Ana's brain and just enjoy the process of "making" and "transforming" sound, lighting and drama into a poetic endeavor.
As we speak, our team has attended plays, soloist performances and concerts to no end. We have weeped at the tune of Bolero at the LA Philarmonic, danced with Patty Smith (from the Pretenders) and stood up screaming "Bravo!!!!" at "Good Country's play by students.
Walked the site at all hours of the night and day, on a full moon or at dusk, looked around and seen the place upside down, in and out, on our knees or standing up. In short, we got it all!!! Now, it is time for the old Medieval "Alchemy" to take place and as we work as a team, all I have to do is to digest the information and blurt it out with all the magical components each and everyone of our "believers" bring to the table.
All I am doing is looking through the glass and allowing the design unfold around me... Here is a clue... TMI (too much information as Brian Wexler would say) - all we can do is raise the bar and design righteously and mightly... and be wild "within reason"
So, there we go, against all odds and being optimistic and on the face of adversity, we refuse to live in fear... the only requirement to team up with Esc Arc!!!!
There is a price to pay for our efforts... there are always casualties of war... our families, our children... our beauty and health!!!! But in the scope of geological times, that is nothing compared to all the scattered love and satisfaction we get for a job well done!!!
Thanks to that entity who resides way above us... some us call him God!!!