let’s pray…

Posted in opinion, other architects, projects by DS26 on 01.09.2011

Today, Sunday, a day especially made of religious significance (at least in certain religions) is a day most dedicate to calm, prayer, and faith.

Most, additionally, dedicate this day to be with family, whether partaking in religious activities or not.

When I was growing up Sundays were Catholic Church days, and family gathering at or around lunch time to spend the entire day together at my house. We would be anywhere around 10-15 people or more. Every Sunday.

In lieu of this day, and events in the last one, I thought I would dedicate this post to

7 details that have made 7 of the most recognizable works of religious architecture.

In no particular order of preference (because Ando would be back to back on my two top spots.. ehe):

1. Notre Dame du Haut  (“Ronchamp”)

A famed building, and surely his most significant religious work, by Le Corbusier.

A couple of things that make Ronchamp most recognizable: its roof structure (form), and its varying punched windows. The random-nes of their sizes, widths, angles (within), create a magnificent ever-changing display of light in the space.

Both can be seen in this image and, though the stand alone differing greatly from each other, they’ve made the ‘whole’.


In keeping with the theme of light…

2. Church of Light

One of Tadao Ando’s most recognized buildings in Japan.

Details that are most significant in this building, as well as all of most of his other work, is not what is there but is what is created in its absence. Ando believes architecture is not about the objects, but about the void or space created. In the Church of light he creates the cross of light by subtracting it from the concrete wall. Additionally, to create a much greater definition, one can see the side wall joints approach the light cross, to give it a perceived extension.


In keeping with the theme of light…

3. Jubilee Church

A religious structure by Richard Meier, in which light is one of the most important design drivers.

From an inside perspective one can see one of the many skylights above. The skylights span from one double curved wall slab to the next. Though obviously not structural, it is built in to the whole building becoming a significant detail in the experience of its faithful. Casting shadows, and allowing daylighting, are these skylights’ most significant purpose.

(Please notice there are structural members from wall to wall, but they act independently from the glass)


In keeping with structures…

4. Thorncrown Chapel

A structure meant to bring the outside in, by E. Fray Jones.

There is something very beautiful about the repetitive pattern. The space created by a lattice linear repetition.

Don’t think this space was designed, or meant to bring any particular religious preference. It may instead connect anyone who visits to nature, therefore light, and a sense of peace.


In keeping with structures…

5. Sagrada Familia

A never-ending project, of magnificent proportions and detail, designed by Antonio Gaudi.

This, architecturally, is the one building everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime. Whether a religious individual or not, the shear scale of this structure is something to be admired. Also, Gaudi though some regard as having been eccentric, had noble reasons for most of his work.

Aesthetically we’ve heard that there is a certain bone-like inspiration to the columns in the space. If Gaudi was alive I would ask to further give me insight to what he was thinking… I see the “bone-like”, but there are these spurs; these flashes of structure.

I admire the dedication Gaudi put into his work when he was alive, his cause the “forgotten creatures”, and the dedication now of Spain and its people to finalize this monumental work of art beyond his death.


In keeping with objects… though not monumentality

6. Church of Water

The second piece featured in this article by Ando.

This time he did not play with what isn’t there… unless we look at a surface for the cross to stand on.

The cross is an object he has placed into an almost god-like existence, floating on water. What I appreciate most about this structure (like any other in his work) is the minimalism that allows what is important to be so strongly perceived… in this case the symbolism of this particular detail.


In keeping with minimalism… though not recognized

7. Saint Benedikt

Lastly, though not recognized, this religious structure is so minimal but so perfectly thought out and executed, it could be considered a detail in an of itself.

Designed by Kunze Seeholzer in Germany.

Perfectly detailed doors, benches, even the bell location, and cross…. we call this a little & beautifully crafted ‘religious architectural gem’.


Let’s pray… for family… friends… this country… this world… and also for more great design…


DS26 #architecture (#arquitectura)

Posted in DS26 work by DS26 on 01.08.2011

When we take on any project whether a competition, a tee shirt or a concept… our core values remain :

human scale, sustainability, efficiency (materials & cost-), improving quality of life.

we’ve updated our project gallery to show what we’ve been up to for the past 2-3 years, and we will soon be adding content (as we now are working on re-designing a downtown corridor). Stay tuned!

growing up to be #BIG… ?

Posted in projects, sustainability by DS26 on 01.06.2011

As we quickly approach yet again another graduation, a license and legitimate practice, and the place in adulthood of no return (and no excuses)… we continue to strive to understand what it is DS26 will be.

We spend a lot of time looking at firms that we greatly admire, BIG among others.

Bjarke Ingels, a 36 year old Danish guy with fantastic architectural vision and mad skills to retain private developers as perpetual clients, has lead BIG (the Bjarke Ingels Group) to become one ‘universal’ practice. He’s being recognized for his radical aesthetics yet he insistently retains sustainability as a core value in the work… creating many instances of daylighting, endless paths for pedestrians, and must-have routes for bicyclists. BIG recently opened shop in NY.

One should have great admiration for such projects accomplished as the mountain and the 8 house.

We always joke saying “we want to be like BIG when we grow up”… but is it really this BIG?


Spontaneously the both of us continue to feel there has to be more to life than simply a design-service pratice… and more to life than design for money. That sustainability does matter a great deal. And that there must be a way we can actually have a BIG-ger impact.

We (definitely I) don’t want to deal with the everyday headaches I’ve already experienced… client-based practice, billing, contract issues… and in this market? We (definitely Bobby) would much rather experience design in its pure form, unapologetic, unbound by the mundane. See design actually change lives… that it becomes appreciated… enjoyed.

I, particularly, think education is a great part of my calling. I want to educate through Arts+Sciences. I mentioned in my “death” the High Tech Center.

So maybe we should be looking at other big ones, with a different type of architecture and maybe a bit more impact, like Samuel Mockbee

Samuel “Sambo” Mockbee (12/23/1944 – 12/30/2001) dedicated his life, as a teacher and as an architect, to creating architecture that not only elevated the living standards of the rural poor but also provided “shelter for the soul.”

He, with his Rural Studio at Auburn, managed to lift many spirits in the rural south. His architecture was BIG in other ways.

Also Michael Reynolds (aka Garbage Warrior), who in his own quirky way is slowly building what he calls ‘biotecture’.

Reynolds’ work is so radical, even the AIA banned him from his credentials at one point.

We recommend you watch the movie ‘Garbage Warrior’ because in a little bit of his madness, it actually makes sense. He builds a city with man hours in exchanged for your eventual own home. He uses garbage disposed (by the megatons) every day as building materials… and with it he is creating a completely self-sustained community. Talk about a living city

Here’s your sneak peek… Believe me it’s so worth your time…

> We think there’s something to this “helping others” and “truly sustainable practice” thing…

Tabitha, of DS26, dies in 2088… ‘pouring’ party scheduled.

Posted in #letsblogoff by DS26 on 01.04.2011

Tabitha, of DS26, dies at 107 on this month of March of 2088.

She was found with a smile, but forehead on table with the signature black ‘lePen’ (now only found at their shop) in hand, at their offices in the more recently formed island of “Las Olas”.

Her ashes were cremated, as requested to save square footage, and will be dropped into the foundation mix of the newest High Tech Center, one of a group of education facilities she spent her whole life conceptualizing and developing.

Concrete foundations are no longer common-place, but she insisted an exception be made upon her passing. She also suggested a ‘pouring’ party, now scheduled.

She leaves behind a very young BobbyZ, now 104, their pet JadaZ III, and no children but a legacy of architecture, education, and music.


In “Las Olas Times” :

“Newest High Tech Center, developed, designed and built by famed award-winning firm DS26, had its concrete foundation slabs tested. It has been found that a new super bioconcrete material was developed at curing.

No one knows how, yet, and further investigation is necessary.

BobbyZ, the elusive co-founder of DS26, was not found for comment.”

Blogger Twitter LetsBlogOff Post
Denese Bottrell @Denese_Bottrell Thoughtful Content
Bob Borson @bobborson Life of an Architect
Tabitha Ponte @DESIGNSTUDIO26 26 [at] 41
Madame Sunday @ModernSauce Modern Sauce
Becky Shankle @ecomod Eco-Modernism
Jenny Roets @arch_girl JennyRoets
Cindy FrewenWuellner @Urbanverse Urbanverse’s Posterous
Amy Good @Splintergirl Thoughts of a Splintergirl
Saxon Henry @saxonhenry Roaming by Design
Rufus Dogg @dogwalkblog DogWalkBlog
Jerlyn Thomas @jerlyn Design Lady NYC
Paul Anater @paul_anater Kitchen and Residential Design
Sean Lintow, Sr. @SLSconstruction SLS-Construction.com
Jody Brown @INFILLnc Jody Brown’s Blog

Corbu’s Skull..

Posted in DS26SHOP by DS26 on 01.03.2011

The Bag.

One out of many many cool items that, once in a while, are a spark of design genius out of BobbyZ’s brain…

You remember?!

Studio, all night-ers, tools, sketches, wood… endless stuff. Carrying them all always an issue.

Corbu’s Skull : get yours.




DS26 design(ing) today

Posted in opinion by DS26 on 01.02.2011

In consideration of this economy that, unlike many opinions and statistics, is not getting better in architecture, we have taken it upon ourselves to remain as active & creative in design as possible, and in many ways through many alternative formats.

I, for example, truly do enjoy graphic design. Anything 2d print or web, any size, is a challenge for me, and I think of it the exact same way I do architecture… taking into consideration balance, cohesiveness, flow, organization, a palette, etc.

I find fast-turn-around joy in updating our twitter thumb, or creating an event poster.

Some iterations of DS26 on twitter for 2010:

You see, we have a brand/image that we’ve created, a signature gray & orange combination, and a cool acronym DS26, which stands for Design Studio 26, and does mean a couple of things to us… (we did not randomly choose a number).

And, actually, we started in gray & green (which most of you would not remember), and with our last names (old school), and realized that the whole world had turned gray & green, and that last names would not do it anymore… and acronyms were in… There! So… we moved on!

But… now the whole world turned gray & orange… ( Sigh! )

I’m also well-known for being a compulsive iWeb designer. I don’t know why, but I can’t leave my websites alone…  :/

BobbyZ today seems to be getting a kick out of designing tees. He’s created an interesting collection of DS26 tees, and other architecturally fun tees:

We sell the tees, along with other cool merchandise (like my minimal graphics stuff) on DS26SHOP.

We do this to keep busy, to keep our creative juices flowing… We’re both enrolled in Master degrees, studying for the ARE (Architect Registration Exam), and fighting our way through this currently very economically disappointing profession.

We see what is happening and we talk through, and build a strategy, on what it is that DS26 will actually be… Architecture as it has always been will not remain. It is changing, evolving, and we’re certainly trying to have the foresight to be at the forefront.

We work on design, we surround ourselves with others doing the same… and we try to get a handle on things that we CAN do today, without that license that isn’t here yet (but hopefully this year)… like

The Living City Challenge.

Yes. We are entering… and YES, we will be in practice (a new business model of a practice anyway)…

2010 26[at]41 – in review

Posted in stuff by DS26 on 01.02.2011

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads:


Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 2,500 times in 2010. That’s about 6 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 38 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 190 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 79mb. That’s about 4 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was June 1st with 257 views. The most popular post that day was Hi, I’m Barbie… & I want(ed) to be an Architect.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, twitter.com, ds26.com, obama-scandal-exposed.co.cc, and hootsuite.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for lateral torsional buckling, local buckling, omelette architect, duke tip 2011, and denny’s omelette architect.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Hi, I’m Barbie… & I want(ed) to be an Architect May 2010
1 comment


Architect?.. Get ‘Licensed’ or get over it ! September 2010
1 comment


5 good reasons to attend the convention.. while in a recession May 2010
1 comment


Steel BM #Fail(ure) August 2010


GB10… the best of… November 2010

26 Resolutions

Posted in opinion by DS26 on 12.30.2010

26[at]41 for *2011

NO, I’m not about to list 26 resolutions… whaaat?… that would be silly!

Here are 7:

1. We’ll tweet everyday, at least once a day. ~ Wait!…

2. We’ll improve our appearance to look more like architects.  ~ Hey, psssst, you!… Can you help us?

3. We’ll finish our living city design competition submission.  ~ And we’ll tell you all about it too…

4. We’ll both be licensed before the year’s end. ~ I hope!

5. We’ll become better sales people, and better business people… see if we can take our venture to the next level.  ~ Yes, I want to believe I’ve already started. Don’t burst my bubble please…

6. We’ll continue to mentor younger and/or the completely clueless people out there about good design. ~ And how it does not mean more expense, a waste, unnecessary, and it means quality of life, experience, joy…

7. We’ll OPEN SHOP… that is We’ll start. Begin. Take Off. Take Flight…. We’ll rumble the engines and make noise. Throw your hands up. HOLLA! ~ I borrowed that from @modernsauce

ProBono Architecture…

Posted in responsibility by DS26 on 12.19.2010

We firmly believe that good architecture is a public right and not the wealthy’s priviledge.

With that said, we have made a commitment to regularly help 501c(3) and other community-based organizations develop their projects. We are a registered group under  the 1%.

So if you, or someone you know is looking for some help… and are a 501c(3) exempt organization (or pending) let us help you.

We have the combined experience of nearly 20 years in architecture and construction, most of which we have spent in completing public works.

Send us a note telling us more about your goals : Tabitha@DS26.com

the architecture of Apple

Posted in opinion, projects by DS26 on 12.06.2010

Remember this?

People lined up for days… hours… it was a craze.

The opening of Apple in 5th Ave, NYC.

The novelty that was the clean, transparent, glass box. The steel details. The floating crisp, white apple logo.

Wow. What a beauty.

Well… it does not end there. And, as I learned recently, there are many more impressive Apple stores out there, and this post will give you a bit of a gist.

It all started in Soho (or so I am told). The restoration of the interiors of the Soho store was taken on.

The facade and structure remain, restored, and the interiors have taken a modern life, like Apple alone can do it.

Truth is the company has created an architecture to expand and highlight their branding.


NO doubt you have arrived to an Apple store, without even catching a logo, as soon as you see it. Certain materials and certain details announce it loud and clear.

The company has taken steps toward a more sustainable architecture including daylighting, green roofs, aluminum (highly recyclable and potentially already recycled).

Also, sustainable because they have learned (or chosen) to respect historic features and structures. You can see it at their Soho store, and others.

Something I did not know, as you probably don’t, are certain record-breaking facts.

For example, the store at NYC upper west side has a record-breaking span glass roof.

Also, the new Shanghai store. It has an impressive glass span vertically (seems like 3 stories).

I looked at this image quite closely, to make sure it was a continuous piece. It surely is.

The cylinder is an homage to the original 5th ave cube… right?!

A new underground playground for all the Apple fanatics, users, lovers in the world.

One store that impressed me was the Louvre. Did you know the Louvre had an Apple?

At first I thought it could not be real… it was so… pre-meditated.

But there it was.

A Louvre Apple!

Now… I wonder what IM Pei thinks about this new glass pyramid.

Does it (potentially) pay respect and admiration to his architecture?

I think maybe so. At least, I hope so… he is to be very well respected, and one of my faves.

The latest store I visited was really enjoyable. It is the place where, as of yet, I have found the most natural light… it was quite a refreshing space to experience.

It is the newest Chicago store, at Lincoln Park.

In this store, longitudinally arranged, the two ends are main entries, one which faces and welcomes people from the CTA red line “clybourn” stop.

Also, there is a long span skylight that runs most of the entire length of the building, plus a green roof.

I have heard many rumors about this particular store, and some are tied to some facts.

One for example is that they want to rename the red line stop to “Apple”, or the apple logo.

I cannot corroborate or deny this as a fact, but I can attest to the significant improvement to the red line entry by the creation of the plaza.

A genius here told me that, due to a union strike, the opening of this store was delayed.

I was there for it’s final stages, and visited in the recent weeks, in it’s first weeks.

Extra cool facts are, for example, that Apple’s revenues are approximately $7,000 per every single square foot of retail built space (staggering!).

Also, that Apple recently launched AutoCAD for Mac. I waited almost a decade for this… being a personal user for almost that long. I have used CAD since it was Release 14… in the early 90’s.

I am not that old, but I did listen to my dad when I was 17 and took my 1st pro class in college.

NOW  I simply hope that, after the CAD release, Jobs considers the next (newest) best thing, and that is to develop a Mac Revit series (architecture, structures, mep)…

Truthfully that could have been it… they could have skipped CAD… but then again, vectors had to happen before hand I guess.

It is obvious I LOVE APPLE, and I am not the only one… there is a whole culture out there.

My twitter friend @npann for example, keeps me informed often. He has an area (category) in his site dedicated to his Apple posts.

Also, my friend @liraluis calls herself (proudly) Miss MacGruber.

There’s Miss MacGruber, wearing electric blue, at Copenhagen’s meat packing district… friends bonding with Apple at Soho’s Architect of Record : Ronnette Riley.

( thanks for the pic lira! )

And, self, hugging “my apple” the first time I visited Chicago’s Apple store on Michigan back in 2007… First time I visited Chicago when we came for USGBC Greenbuild.

I have always been called by friends… the Mac Baby.

Maybe you should consider joining us?!

Hey, Apple… need another Senior Design Manager?! ~ sounds like whole lot of mac fun…  :)