Thesis Interview

For the MIT architecture blog, thesis students are being "interviewed" each week about their thesis.  It's a quick way to give other students in the program a window into what's happening in the thesis room. Here's my response:

Day One at Silo City

Today starts my week long adventure in my home town of Buffalo through the lens of my thesis on adaptive reuse of abandoned industrial buildings in shrinking cities.  Case study: grain elevators in Buffalo.  This morning I met with Jim Watkins, the Silo City Site Manager who is a wealth of knowledge of the happenings and history of these concrete giants.  I interviewed him outside his house beside his super-chill giant dog, feeling totally dwarfed by the silos rising around us.  He gave me a tour of the site and led me through the three buildings that Rick Smith of Rigidized Metals owns and then gave me free range to explore.  Also on the site today was a graffiti class for inner-city youth: using the silos as their canvas, remnants of a wedding that happened there, and the beginnings of the design studio with +FARM with whom I was able to talk.   

I have lots more meetings, tours and interviews scheduled and will even get to check out a wedding happening at Silo City on Saturday.  

I'll be here grinning all week, smelling Cheerios from General Mills.  

Meanwhile, here are some photos from today: 

Thesis Travel

Next week I've scheduled time to go to Buffalo, NY and visit some grain elevators there and chat with designers from +FARM Studio who are working for three weeks on fabricating a pavilion along the Buffalo River funded by Rigidized Metals, a company invested in the grain elevators.   


Here are some things I've been producing from industrial building photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher's body of work on grain elevators:


New Project Post

A sketch proposal for Buffalo, NY with the Green Archipelago urban design strategy applied of Ungers and Koolhaas.  This addresses the realities of shrinking cities-cities declining in population and how to maintain urbanity as density decreases.


One of my thesis committee professors just hooked me up with at least a hundred GIS layers of data for the city of Buffalo which I've been trying to track down for months.  It's like Christmas in June!  I've been so psyched all week.  Railroads! Water! Parks! Vacant parcels by year! Time to get map-making!

Remember, Sharing is Caring.  Always share your GIS data! 

Some Bat House Recognition!

A professor of mine from undergrad at UB, Joyce Hwang, whose firm is called Ants of the Prairie was recently named as one of eight “Emerging Voices” by the Architectural League of New York for 2014 (

A huge congratulations to Joyce who is now a part of the long and impressive history of past winners! ( The list is long, including Steven Holl, Morphosis, Stan Allen, MOS, Jeanne Gang + some current MIT professors: Nader Tehrani, Sheila Kennedy, Mark Goulthorpe, Vincent James and Meejin Yoon.

Joyce will be in NYC to give a lecture on Thursday March 13. That evening’s event will also feature Rael – San Fratello Architects from San Francisco, and will be moderated by Fred Bernstein. See here for more info:  I'm planning on attending and am quite excited!

I worked with Joyce along side a handful of other students on the Bat House (see Projects page which was a fun project to design and build.  I presented this project to my aspiring architecture students that I taught at the Boston Architectural College in 2012 and I think it expanded their mind about what kinds of things an architect can design.  "A house for bats? Bats? like you mean the ones that fly around?"  Yup. Architects can design bat houses!  And endless other cool stuff...see Ants of the Prairie: