Bold Design Intended

Submitted by Wilson Nguyen

    Many of the buildings in downtown Houston seem to blend in with one another due to the correspondence in color. There is one building that stands out from the rest, and that is the George R. Brown Convention Center; with its bold color choice, spectators may question the architects’ motives or intent of design. The convention center’s architect, Mario Bolullo grasped his inspiration for the design from the Pompidou Center in Paris, allowing them to retain similar features. Being one of the largest convention centers in the nation, its bold design gives the building the standard it needs to hold. The George R. Brown Convention Center contains many concepts such as color, high-tech, and structure that resembles post-modern and deconstructivist architecture.

    The convention’s color principles are quite abrupt, and on going traffic passing this bold building would question the intent of the design. As architect Mario Bolullo planned out, he took the concept of making various colors to each resemble a certain element into consideration. In the Pompidou Center, it contained this concept and it helped differentiate the various components of the high-tech building.  The George R. Brown Convention Center’s color choice consists of red, white and blue. Bolullo made it to where the red on the building represents utility carriers, the white represents the building’s surfaces and the blue embodies the structural support. The bold color choice resembles the theme of post-modernism in that it was used in a different way. It makes a statement and delights viewers when they pass up this building in downtown.

    High-tech architecture plays a strong role in the George R. Brown Convention Center’s design concept. According to architecture expert, Jackie Craven, “the support beams, duct work, and other functional elements are placed on the exterior of the building, where they become the focus of the attention. The interior spaces are open and adaptable for many uses”. This is true for both the Pompidou Center and the George R. Brown Convention Center. 

 Dating back into history, the time the convention center was built, technology was prospering. The use of glass and steel on the exterior face of the convention give the building a high tech look, but also resembles deconstructivism architecture. The little details of technology contained within the building shows many deconstructivist influences.

     The exposure of structure and skin in this building is another thing that sets the George R. Brown Convention Center from all the buildings in downtown Houston. Standing out from the rest just shows how post-modern the architecture is. According to Richard Rogers from the Pompidou Centre, “all of the functional structural elements of the building were visible from the street”. Also, with its streamline appearance, it takes on deconstructivist architecture by going for something out of the norm and switching it up. Although many can say the structure brings the building design more character, the ever-growing convention center is still extending its design to further heights in the future.

    The George R. Brown Convention Center’s color choice, high tech features, and structural details all encompass what post modern and deconstructivism architecture consist of. With it’s bold design and physicality, one may question its intent, but to the architect’s desire, it is a statement piece for the city of Houston.           

How to Scale Drawings in Autocad

Find a reference image preferably with a scale in it.


Next find out what scale your drawing is in. (Feet, Meter, etc.) It should show on the scale.


This scale is in feet, as noted by the 5'. Others may say 5mm for millimeters, or 5m for meters.

Next before importing your drawing into Autocad, youll want to make sure the units you are using in AutoCAD are correct. Use the command UNITS or UN for short to bring up the drawing units tab which will allow you to specify the drawing units. For architectural we can set the Length > Type to Architectural instead of decimal.

Next you'll want to import your drawing into AutoCAD using the XREF (external reference) command. Keep in mind that XREF uses only certain types of images. For the purposes of this tutorial, we will be importing using a JPEG image.


When imputing your image it will as you for many input options, for now just get the image on to the model space. 

Next use the command SCALE. This will allow you to scale your drawings to a certain dimension. Once you use scale, it will ask you to pick your objects. Select the image and press enter. Then it will ask you for your base point, which is the fixed location the image will be scaling from. Pick the point on the drawing scale labeled 0'. Then it will ask you for the scale factor in the input bar ( the bar on the bottom of the screen showing all the commands enter). You'll want to press r then hit enter to choose a reference instead of imputing a scale factor.

Drag the mouse from your base point to the end of the reference length you want and then input its new value.

When entering the new value be sure to input the number correctly.
For example if the length is 1 foot, don't just type in 1, but instead type in 1'.

Voila! Your drawing is scaled.

If your drawing is in Meters, you'll want to use an online conversion calculator to find out what value to put once you have your reference length. (ex. 1 meter = 3.28084 feet.)

Use the drawing scale on the bottom as your reference.

You can use the command DI, or distance to check the dimensions of the drawing afterwards.


3D Logo In the Works

 Concept Rendering

Concept Rendering

I have been contemplating creating a 3 dimensional logo for quite some time now.
I thought it would be a nice project to help get my creativity flowing.
Whats shown are initial concept renderings of what the design could be.
As you know, design is a collaborative process, and thus all feedback is welcomed.

Stay tuned as I will be posting progress pictures of the 3D Printed outcome in the following days to come. I will also be talking about the 3D Printing process - how it works, what is needed to get started, and also what resolution is in 3D Printing.

Post Graduation - Getting Your Finances in Check

Now that you are done with school, and have a steady job what is the next step?

I suggest getting your finances in check.

1.First start off by checking your credit report

A credit report is basically a written history of all your credit repayments. It will tell you the balances owed, the scheduled payments, and the actual amounts paid. It will also tell you if you were late, or if you were on time.

For a more detailed explanation of what a credit report is follow the link:

You are entitled to 1 free credit report every 12 months, follow the link to obtain your copy:

2.Next step is to check your credit score

There are three main credit bureaus:
Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.

All three will have their own way of calculating your credit score, but they should more or less all be in the same range. If you go through their respective sites, there will be a fee to get your credit score.

One way to get your credit score for free is by signing up with Discover IT Credit Card, they provide free monthly credit scores on your credit statement.

Another way is through Credit Karma, they are a free service that has both Android and iOS apps that provide you with your credit score as well as different information on what affects your score.

3.My third step is to setup a Savings Account, you can start by using one with your current bank. It does not have to be anything fancy, just a separate account from your checking so that it will not be as easy to spend. I advise against having your savings in your checking account because of the temptation to spend it. Keep spending money in your checking account, and your savings in your savings account.

I believe Capital One 360 lets you set different sub-savings accounts to help you allocate your money into different goals:

My recommendation is set up automatic contributions so that the saving will feel "effortless". I recommend giving yourself a few days after you anticipate your check so that it will have time to clear.
Example: If you usually get your checks on Monday, set your automatic contribution to be taken on Wednesday, or Thursday. 

4. Lastly, I would recommend monitoring your accounts. I recommend using Mint, a free account viewing app that will allow you to track multiple accounts at once.

While I would like you to think that I magically gained this knowledge, I must confess that is not the situation. One pivotal book that has helped me get a grasp on my finances is:

I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi

I learned many of my techniques including many other topics not discussed such as: what a Roth IRA is, what Lifecycle Funds are (Target Date Funds on, employer matching, and how to beat the banks and get out of debt.

While I did not mention paying off debt, I believe that should come first, this post is meant to advise you on ways to save. 

Feel free to comment and tell your strategies on saving.

Fast Tracking Licensure

In one of my previous posts, I spoke about the path aspiring Architects need to take in order to obtain their license. The process ends up being 5 Years of Bachelors of Architecture + 5600 Hours of IDP (Intern Development Program) = Roughly 7.5 Years at the minimum. That's only if you attend an accredited 5 Year Architecture College, but if you didn't then its likely to be 4 Years of Bachelors in Science of Architecture or some equivalent + 3 Years in a Masters of Architecture program. + 7 exams.

It is suggested that you try to do 1 per month, so at the minimum, its 7 months if you pass them all in the first try.

Well.. here is my advice on how to speed things up.


Although the workload in school might seem overwhelming, try to make some time to get some interning experience and training.

This will do two things for you:

1. it will allow you to experience how an architectural office is run, as well as understand the differences between your academic work and professional work.

2. it will allow you to start documenting your hours towards the IDP process, giving you an early start, and thus, finishing ahead of everyone who starts after they graduate.


Check the IDP Guidelines

December 2013 IDP Guidelines - page 13 - Supplemental Experience

There is a list of opportunities to gain hours under the Supplemental Experience Category.
Keep in mind that the experience is separated into items for Core Hours and Elective Hours.

While in school, you might be interested in doing a competition aside from you assigned curriculum. If you are, you are eligible to gain up to 40 hours per area, after approval of a Mentor. Check the guidelines for additional requirements.


Get certified. Also listed under on page 13 of the December 2013 IDP Guidelines are different certifications you can get which will count towards IDP hours. 

From CSI you can get : CCCA, CCS, and CDT certifications
Follow the link for more information:

From GBCI you can get up to 40 hours with LEED AP Credential.
Please be aware that this does not apply if you have the Green Associate.


EPC - Emerging Professionals Companion
This is "an online resource used to help interns gain IDP credit" - 
You can gain up to 1,800 hours with this resource.

The most important piece of advise I can give for anyone wanting to speed up their path to licensure is to read the IDP Guidelines to learn about all the different ways to gain your hours.

There are many ways to licensure, and this is just my take.
What was your path like, and what did you do differently? I'd be interested to know.

As always, feel free to comment, and suggest any other things I may have missed. 

Hope to see you all as a Registered Architects sooner than later!


Speeding up Layer Controls

One of the most time consuming tasks in AutoCAD is layer control, whether it is to show a layer, lock a layer, switch an objects layer, or switch the current layer. Well, here is my solution. Below is a list of my most used layer control commands that have helped me optimize my workflow and avoid having to click the layer drop-down menu on screen. 

MA (Match Properties)
- used to change an objects property to a source object.

LAYFRZ (Layer freeze)
-used to freeze (hide) layer of item selected.

LAYTHAW (Layer thaw)
-used to reveal ALL frozen layers.

LAYLCK (Layer Lock)
-used to lock the layer of item selected. Different from LAYFRZ because the layer is still visible.

LAYULK (Layer Unlock)
-used to unlock layer of item selected.

LAYMCUR (Make Objects Layer Current)
-used to change the current layer to that of the item selected.

LAYCUR (Change to Current Layer)
-used to change item to current layer.

LAYISO (Isolate Layer)
-used to isolate layer of selected item.

LAYUNISO (Restores layers hidden by the LAYISO command)
-used to restore layers hidden by the LAYISO command

For a list of all the Layer commands and their aliases, follow the link below:
AutoCAD L Commands

How have you optimized your layer workflow? I'd love to hear about your techniques.

Stay tuned for more of my tips, tricks, and thoughts, all shared with you.


The Path to Licensure: Architect

As aspiring Architects, students and young professionals have to realize what the path to licensure consists of.

After completing a 5-Year Bachelors of Architecture program, many students may not realize that the journey to licensure has just begun. In addition to obtaining your bachelors degree, aspiring Architects must also complete a total 5600 hours of training, called the Intern Development Program (IDP), which includes both Core Hours and Elective Hours. The IDP process consists of several different categories which you need to gain experience in such as Pre-Design, Design, Project Management, Practice Management, and Supplemental Experience for Elective. These different categories also have a subset of categories. For Example, Pre-Design consists of Programming, Site and Building Analysis, Project Cost and Feasibility, and Planning and Zoning Regulations.

To find out more information and to download the latest IDP Guidelines follow the link below for more information: 

In addition to the experience, the last part of licensure for students is to pass the 7 divisions of the ARE (Architect Registration Exam), which consists of:

1. Programming, Planning, and Practice
2. Site Planning & Design
3. Building Design & Construction Systems
4. Schematic Design
5. Structural Systems
6. Building Systems
7. Construction Documents & Services

Be sure to check  your state's Department of Education for any additional requirements they have in order to obtain your license.

For New York State Residents follow the link for more information:

And finally, after 5 Years of Academia, 5600 Hours of Training, and 7 ARE Divisions later, you can finally legally call yourself an Architect.

Stay tuned for our next segment: Ways to Speed up the IDP Process.

Are you in New York on May 8th, and free from 6PM to 8PM? Be sure to stop by the Center for Architecture for their event: Demystifying the ARE 4.0.

Check my events page for more information.


So recently, I have been dealing with AutoCAD documents containing as many as 40+ layout tabs in the file. Printing all of those layout tabs individually can be quite annoying, and so upon some poking around, I have come up with a solution - Publish.

Publish allows you to print multiple items and binds them at one time, hence saving a whole lot of layout tab switch and Ctrl+P-'ing. 

Ok, so lets begin.



To start, we need to make sure all our layouts are properly setup, meaning the Viewport must be placed in its proper place, the print area set to the right mode (layout, window, etc.), and you must specify the Plot Style Table in the Page Setup Manager. This is needed because once we begin the process, AutoCAD will automatically print the layouts according to whichever Plot Style and Plot Window/Layout you have indicated.

tep 1. Click on the First Tab that you would like to include in your Publish command.

Step 1

Step 2. While holding SHIFT, click on the Last Tab you would like to Publish.

Step 2

Step 3. Right-Click on the Layout Tabs and select Publish Selected Layouts

Step 3

Step 4. Select the file type you would like your Published document (i.e - DWF, DWFx, PDF) and the location on your computer you would like your file to be saved.

Step 4

And that's all there is to it! Once you hit Publish, the program will do the rest. 

This command has saved me a lot of time in printing, and I hope it will do the same for you!

Hope you enjoyed this shortcut. Stop by for more tips, and tricks to help improve your workflow and productivity in all things design. Feel free to leave a comment, suggestion, or question.





Hi All,


Welcome to my page. I will do my best to share as much useful information as I can so that we can all learn from each other. This blog is meant to be a dialogue, so feel free to leave any suggestions, comments, or just any thoughts you may have about the content.

Feel free to poke around my site so that you may get to know me.

Hope to hear your great suggestions and thoughts!