Category Archives: Principles

What Does “Designing” Mean Anyway?

When I was a freshman in architecture school, I honestly still didn’t know what the heck it meant to “design”.

Sure, we are already in the thick of many design projects for our different classes – design a hat made out of this, a workspace for this person, a house for this client. But going into all those endeavors half-blind to what I was really doing was limiting and counter-productive.

To me, the conception of what designing specifically meant was a vague animal. The first thing that popped into my head when I heard design this, or design that was, “Okay, how to make this thing pretty?”. 

You might also like:  26 Things About Design Process That You Should Know

I remember when a high school friend asked me in a small reunion “What does designing mean, exactly?”, and I was put in an awkward situation. I said a whole bunch of somethings as a reply that really meant “I don’t actually know bro or maybe I do but i’m not sure”. I was a designer for goodness sake, but I didn’t know what I was really doing.

Do you have a clear idea of what it means to design?

Continue reading What Does “Designing” Mean Anyway?

As Promised: My Personal Life-Plan at Age 23.

Life Plan

Craft your life-plan today, and you’ll wake up every morning with greater direction. It doesn’t need to be long or grand – it just needs to be honest.

In previous entries, I stressed my beliefs in the importance of dreaming big and thinking deeply about what you want in life, especially for us young people. Dream big, and then commit, is what I said.

I also promised that I’d share my own person goals in life as an example, and today I am making good on that promise. Seen below is my own personal Life Plan for myself, crafted at age 23. Think of it as what drives me to wake up every morning.

This is my own personal sharing to the world at large, partly to keep me accountable to my dreams, and partly in hopes that it could somehow help another person achieve theirs. Continue reading As Promised: My Personal Life-Plan at Age 23.

What Do You Want Out of Life?


There’s a crisis that thrives in the hearts of many people today, whether young or old, male or female. And it’s a destructive force that doesn’t take lives – it takes souls.

That crisis is living without meaning. So many people these days go through the motions of life, doing things because people tell them to, never looking to surpass themselves, going merely where the wind blows – and feeling empty.

What do you want out of life? What are you living for? Where do your passions lie? Continue reading What Do You Want Out of Life?

Learn, Plan, Commit, Adapt – the Fundamental Formula for Growth.


Success doesn’t come overnight. In my young seedling age, I’m not even considering that paradigm anymore.

I’ve learned early on from my parents and mentors that road to the greatest of triumphs is a long and arduous process that has no short cuts. If you want real success to blossom, it’s apparent that you have to nurture it from a seedling and slowly tend to it as it grows to maturity.

It’s delayed gratification. I’m in love with the concept of delayed gratification. I think it’s a beautiful ideal – because it makes work a whole lot more meaningful. And living out this mindset for the long term is a reward in itself; the character you develop in being process oriented will make you a more awesome person, guaranteed.

Bring the meticulous note taker that I am, I distilled all that I’ve learned into a basic four phase concept for success – something I’ll be constantly putting to the test for the long haul: Continue reading Learn, Plan, Commit, Adapt – the Fundamental Formula for Growth.

The Special Performance Needs of the Architecture Student.


The architecture student is a unique animal with a diverse skillset.

Throughout the course of your academic life, you’ll be expected to perform well in areas both physical and mental. You need to be both a cerebral powerhouse and physical warrior. With this in mind, if you aren’t conditioned for the specific heavy demands of design school, you’ll spend many a day slumped over in an incapacitated, unproductive stupor.

To start of the post series on health and fitness, some goal setting is needed. I’m writing this post to set a good framework so we can establish the challenges that the bodies of most architecture students will face – and from here we’ll know what to aim for when we start on the road of fitness and health.

So then, what are some of  the key performance considerations of the Archi-torture student? Continue reading The Special Performance Needs of the Architecture Student.

The 4 Basic Elements that Designers Use.

Point Line Plane Volume

There are only 4 Basic Elements of Design. Seriously.

If you’ve already read up on architecture before or consider yourself to be some sort of design aficionado, I invite you to empty your cup and be a little kid again. Sometimes our minds overcomplicate our conceptions, which makes us more closed off to learning. All preconceived notions gone? Good. Now, understand this simple truth:

Designing only has four basic elements. Point, Line, Plane, and Volume.

No, an elliptic paraboloid is not a basic element of design – that’s merely a kind of volume. Nor is a pulse of light with a wavelength of 652 nanometers a basic element of design – that’s merely a line. Continue reading The 4 Basic Elements that Designers Use.

Positive and Negative Space. So basic, yet so important.


I’d like you to imagine that you are are a baker who is itching to make a fresh batch of cookies.

You’ve prepared your dough, and have proceeded to roll it as a flat sheet on the table. The next step, is to take out your forms and cut out the cookie shapes.

Tell me, how would you go about in cutting up your cookies?
Would you try and carefully place the forms tightly together in order to not waste dough?
Would you space them out evenly according to a certain standard so they don’t expand into each other in the oven?
Would you cut them up without a care in the world because you’re just going to re-roll and reuse the residual dough anyway?

In the context of design, the parts within the cookie outlines are positive spaces and the residual dough themselves are negative spaces.

Continue reading Positive and Negative Space. So basic, yet so important.

Architecture and Boxing? The Connection.

Understanding Architecture is like getting punched in the face.

Architecture and Boxing

Architecture is complex; there is so much bubbling under the surface that people tend to take it for granted. Maybe it’s because that experiencing architecture is a sneaky little devil – it instantly affects our psyche without us knowing that it is doing so. But if you were to actually study how your brain works (luckily for us, the awesome scientists have already taken the reigns on that one; thanks guys.) you’d find that we understand architecture on 3 fundamental levels. Like unwrapping a present through its layered packaging or savoring a candy bar from crispy exterior to chewy core – the way we perceive architecture is a layered experience.

I like comparing experiencing architecture to boxing, specifically getting hit by a jab-straight-hook combination.

Each punch has a specific purpose, and when done right, the flurry results in a spectacular knockout. Continue reading Architecture and Boxing? The Connection.

The Architect, Space, People, and Time.


What do architects work with?

The architect’s life basically revolves around three things – Space, People and Time. We care about designing great spaces for people, that will be experienced over the passage of time. On a technical level, it can be said that architecture is the art and science of the definition and articulation of space. From here, you can see that at the core of everything, space is our medium. Much like how a composer orchestrates music, an architect orchestrates space- making it purposeful, beautiful, and sturdy to stand the test of time.

Continue reading The Architect, Space, People, and Time.

How do Architects contribute to Nation-building?

For a good architect, every single line has a story that points to a better standard of life.
For a good architect, every single line has a story that points to a better standard of life.

If you were to ask a doctor what his contribution to society is, his answer would probably be that his work heals the ailments of many. If you were to ask a businessman the same question, he might reply that his work allows the economy to thrive. A lawyer? His work allows justice to prevail and brings the Chief Justices to justice. How just.

What of the architect? It might seem difficult for most to answer this. Heck, even a number of architects probably don’t know what to say when faced with this question. After all, like other designers, the results of the architect’s labor are concrete and tangible, but the benefits to society are ironically not. I mean, some of those who know nothing of the design process would conclude that design is merely about making things pretty. Really, what does designing buildings and public spaces have to do with the development of a nation other than the obvious aesthetic implications?

The answer: Everything.

Continue reading How do Architects contribute to Nation-building?