24 hours of BOOTY

Hey all,

June 27-28, I will participate in 24 Hours of Booty, a 24-hour cycling event that raises money for local and national cancer initiatives. I have made it a personal goal to ride 50 miles, and hopefully more!

If you would like to join me, registration for the ride is $35 through the rest of this week.

Also, I have made a personal fundraising goal of $200. If you would please consider supporting this cause, any amount will help. You dont have to reach deep in your pockets, $5, $10, $20 is still helpful!

Thank you for your support!

My Donation Page

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New Camera

I recently bought a new camera, a Sony Cyber Shot HX300 to be exact.  I have only had it one day, and I have already been playing around with long exposure shots.

I have a strange obsession with light drawings. If you’ve never seen one before, Darren Pearson is one of my favorite light painting photographers. Check out his Flickr.

Last night, I got inspired and did a simple light painting myself. Hopefully this is the first of many.

I will also upload more light drawings to my Flickr as I do them.


Light Spiral

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Pecha Kucha

Have you ever heard of a Pecha Kucha? Kudos if you have! I recently stumbled into my first Pecha Kucha not too long ago. It was absolutely riveting, and I cant wait to share.

A Pecha Kucha (Japanese for “Chit-Chat”) is a presentation of 20 images with only 20 seconds to talk, per slide. It was developed by Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham of Klein Dytham architecture. Their reasoning was simple; architects are long winded. They will talk forever if given the chance. Pecha Kucha is simple solution to having a quick presentation on any topic you wish.

My company is having an informal Pecha Kucha, and I am excited to give my presentation on Urban Sprawl. I was fortunate to go on an urban planning study abroad to Iceland, Denmark, and Sweden. Our focus was to experience cities with dramatically different densities, and draw a conclusion on how dense cities tend to operate more efficiently and offer a higher quality of living for most people.

Title slide.

Title slide.


I totally recommend you try a Pecha Kucha for yourself! VIsit pechakucha.org for more information.

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Chili Cook Off for Second Helpings Inc.

Recently, Schmidt Associates had their annual chili cook off! This was my second year to partake in the cook off, and this time I was asked to help organize and make it happen!

Every year, a charity or organization is chosen to benefit from the cook off, and this year we decided to raise money for Second Helpings Inc. I was given the recommendation from a neighbor who knew a contact there. I contacted Second Helpings and they were more than happy to invite us over for lunch and a tour of their facilities. I was incredibly impressed how clean, efficient, and organized their facilities were.

I had always thought of Second Helpings as a food pantry or soup kitchen. They are much more than that. I had no idea the extent of their operations. They have three major efforts; eliminating hunger, empowering people, and rescuing food. Their Mission: Transforming Lives through the power of food.

Eliminating Hunger – Every day, Second Helpings provides food to more than 60 organizations that feed the hungry. Their staff and volunteers help to provide 50,000 meals every month from over 100,000 pounds of rescued food.

Empowering People – Second Helpings has an amazing culinary job training program that gives the unemployed or underemployed a second chance to become a trained culinary professional. Their program is extensive enough to earn college credit!

Food Rescue – Lets face it, Americans are wasteful. What food normally gets thrown away, Second Helpings rescues from their partners in the food service industry. They collect food that is deemed to be safe and edible and serve it to those that would otherwise not have a meal.

It was a no-brainer that this organization would be a perfect choice for our chili cook off. This year we had 14 cooks donate their special batches of chili. With over 100 participants, at $5 a bowl and several jean days, we were able to raise over $1,700. With a few more silent donations expected, we are hoping to have a final total somewhere between $2,000-2,500. Not bad for a fun little fundraiser.

Delicious Chili

Delicious Chili

I was incredibly fortunate to work with the most fantastic people at Second Helpings for this event. They deserve every penny raised. By the way, did you know it only takes $1.11 to feed someone? Me either.

If you would like to learn more about Second Helpings, volunteer opportunities, or how you can help their organization grow, go to their website Secondhelpings.org

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2012 CANstruction

This year, I held a larger role in our company’s involvement with the annual “food drive” competition, cleverly named, CANstruction. This year, the theme was “Year of the Dairy Cow,” with the tagline “Celebrating the Hoosier Spirit.” It is always encouraged to try and incorporate this into the design if possible, but not necessarily mandatory.

This year, in our brainstorm session, we tried thinking along the lines of the “Got Milk?” slogan. A few minutes later and we are talking about the 2012 Olympics. Sure, we switched to something that was current right away, but let’s be honest, that’s usually what wins. Besides, athletes drink milk, so we are totally keeping with the theme.

There are several different awards to win, but it’s really the “people’s choice” that is the coveted prize.

This year, the awards are as follows:

· Best Meal
· Best Use of Labels
· Structural Ingenuity
· Juror’s Favorite
· People’s Choice
· Most Cans – New Award

Our design this year will include The American Flag, the Olympic Torch, and the Olympic Rings.

After sketching out some ideas on paper, we started modeling our project in Revit. I took on the bowl and rings while another team member designed the flag. At this point, we have no idea how this is going to work or be constructed, but we needed to start somewhere.

Here is a capture of what our Revit model looked like during the design phase:


It took several long nights of diligent work to figure out how we were going to support our structure. The team decided that we would support certain layers of the model with a thin Masonite board. It took a lot of cutting and sanding with jig-saws to get each layer just right, in order so that they will not be seen, helping to support our can structure.


When build day finally arrives, our volunteers/co-workers make their way to the Indiana State Fair, to the agriculture and horticulture building, where our firm has an allotted space (10’X10’X8′) to build our structure. Our fellow competitors are local architecture firms that are all arranged in a tight row on some uneven concrete flooring. It is important when stacking cans, to be very aware of your surroundings – If not for your own clumsiness…sabotage.

It’s important that while stacking cans, everyone is very aware of their surroundings, so no one accidentally bumps into the structure. It’s a little frustrating in the beginning to get things planned out, but once you have a good foundation, it’s pretty easy after that.

Planning the foundation.


Setting the structure.


Building the flag.


Stacking layers of the torch and starting the rings.




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It is close to that time of year again, when a team and I will be participating in an awesome event called CANstruction. As far as I know, this is a nationwide event normally reserved for architecture and design firms. Each firm registers with their local participating venue, ours being the Indiana State fair, and submits a design for something that will be constructed almost entirely out of aluminum food cans.

Each year, there is a different theme in which some of the designs will stick very close to, however, there will also be rebels that will ignore the theme in order to gain favor among the audience, usually with some current pop-culture reference. The obvious intent of the competition to the designers is to win the competition with the wittiest, funniest, or amazingly constructed can structure! However, there are other objectives that motivate the design including: most number of cans, best use of labels, people’s choice award, best balanced meal, etc. Each team will likely fundraise and get support from sponsors to get the several thousand cans that each structure usually incorporates.

Last year, our firm decided to ignore the theme and go with a current trending topic – Indianapolis 2012 Super Bowl. It was what everyone was hyped about, so we made our design based on the stadium and trophy.

Best of all, the competition is actually a food drive for the local food pantries that will receive all the cans used in the competition.

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Recycling: The good ol Days

I feel fortunate to have been raised in a community that placed a great emphasis on the importance of recycling. My family has recycled ever since I can remember and I can hardly think of any other families in my social circle that didn’t recycle. It seemed like every business, church, school, and public service establishment had a recycle bin next to the trash can.

When I moved to Indianapolis, I was shocked by how few places had any kind of recycling program in place. I lived in an apartment complex that had over 650 units and yet there was still no form of recycling set in place. If you wanted to recycle, you need to find one of the few recycling dumpsters spread about the city and make a trip.

It does seem like people are catching on to the value of recycling, and noticeable efforts are being made to make the chore of recycling easier. All sorts of different establishments are starting to place separate bins next to each other, giving us the option to consider what we are disposing of and where it should be properly disposed. While, to me, it seems like a no brainer for every place to offer separated waste receptacles, it shocked me to hear this phrase emitted from a co-worker recently:

“Don’t you wish we could go back to the good ol’ days when we could just throw all of our trash in one container.”

Umm, No!

Really? I just can’t imagine how anyone can be so lazy or unwilling to make a small behavioral change that clearly makes a positive difference in the world on a large scale. Needless to say, I was saddened and disappointed that someone would even say this, especially someone working in an architecture firm trying to promote healthy environments for people to live in.

If you do not recycle, I encourage you to put forth a little extra effort to the cause. If everyone recycled a bit more out efforts together could make a large positive impact to the quality of our living environments.

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Superbowl XLVI – Indianapolis

The Super Bowl is a large event that attracts a lot of spectators every year. Thousands of people with different economic and social backgrounds will flood into the hosting city where they will give a boost the local economy; but for how long? And with the event being hosted in a new city each year, it also brings along with it, a flurry of excitement and a range of environmental and economic impacts.  

The City of Indianapolis has been pouring a large amount of money into preparing the city to look its best for our Super bowl visitors. There have been numerous capital city improvements to roads, buildings, and parks, as well as clean-up efforts. Teams of people and artists have been putting either efforts into beautifying the city with murals, lights, graphics.  The city has been adding flashy lights to trees in order to highlight areas like trendy Mass Ave. with bars and restaurants. Georgia Street has been completely re-designed to host a “Super bowl Village.”  This will be a one-stop-shop for entertainment, shopping, and other festivities including a 70 foot high zip line through the air.

While this is all good and exciting, there are also a lot of unintended negative impacts that a hosting city will face. In a recent work e-mail, we were told to pay closer attention to our personal belongings because of suspected pick-pockets that will be visiting town just for Super Bowl. This seems to be a relatively minor and justifiable concern, but while a spike of crime has been seen in every hosting city around the time of the Super Bowl, the city of Indianapolis will still suffer the judgment from the victims of such crime.


Another concern with such a large event is the amount of trash generated, and I wonder what, if any strategies are currently in place to reduce and/or recycle our waste. I found one website claiming that the 4 days of Super Bowl events in 2004, generated nearly 428 tons of trash.

I think one of the most interesting things to think about is the end balance after calculating what has been invested into the city in preparation for this event, and how that relates to the long term costs associated with these investments after the quick spike in economic growth has passed. I wonder how many optimistic plans and investments will not be able to be sustained long term after the Super Bowl. I also wonder which investments (small or large) will pay off exponentially because of this Event. It’s hard to say for sure, but I think it’s important to be aware of the successes and failures of our investments and what they can tell us about either the hosting city, or the event itself.

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99% Invisible

Source: http://99percentinvisible.org/

Lately, I have been listening to a new podcast. Its called 99% Invisible. What I like about this podcast is that it is primarily focused on subjects related to design. While its roots may be in architecture, it’s subject matter is widely varied.

Visit http://99percentinvisible.org/ to listen!

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MalmoAfter recently visiting Malmö, Sweden in the summer of 2009, I was fortunate enough to explore a relatively new development called “Bo01.” The initial intention by developers was to create a building fair that would bring attention to the way in which we are currently living and how we might live more sustainably in the future.

While this development is not utilizing a pre-existing dense urban fabric, it is attempting to create a new one by reclaiming area on the western harbor that was once deemed “unclean.” Situated on a brown site, new living area was created after soil was tested for contamination and cleaned before the start of construction.

Aside from its major objectives to build self-sufficient housing in terms of energy consumption and reducing greenhouse emissions, some of the major goals for the development included the use of renewable energy, in attempt to maintain 100% locally renewable energy, the incorporation of biological diversity, the implementation of ecological building practices, and even the collection of organic waste through a vacuum system that eventually harvests the bio-gases to be used for heating homes and powering vehicles.

Despite the fact this development did not reach or exceed many of its intended energy and density goals, there is much that can be learned and applied to future developments, for it is my belief that we cant learn until we try. Though skeptical of new developments (I currently prefer adaptive re-use in the pre-existing urban setting), I get excited when there are lofty goals regarding energy consumption and diverging from the, more typical, sprawling and wasteful developments plaguing the suburbs of most cities.

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