Tag Archives: architecture

Sunday Afternoon Coffee [sixty-two]


If we were having coffee this afternoon I would tell you I wish it would snow. We got dumped on a couple weeks ago and the skiing was awesome. Then it decided to get warm. Too warm and everything is melting. This is ruining my downhill and cross country ski time. The Sexy Master Electrician and I have 10 passes to Bridger this year so I really want the last month to be amazing!

While we are on the subject of skiing, TSME and I skipped the Super Bowl again to go cross country skiing in Yellowstone. When we got there, we wanted to do a trail in Lamar Valley but the wind was so bad we opted to go back to Tower Falls. The trail is protected and it went 100 times better than our previous trip up there. On our way back to the Boiling River, we had a coyote come right beside us. He could have cared less. The river was amazing. We had it all to ourselves for quite awhile. The best.

If we were having coffee this morning, I would tell you that TSME decide to surprise me on Valentine’s Day and actually get me something and not even just one little thing. I came downstairs to flowers, wine, a Yellowstone Pendleton Blanket and chocolates. A late arrive hedge hog print arrived the next day. I don’t expect this to happen again any time soon but it was super sweet and he was pleased with himself for surprising me.


If we were having coffee this morning, I would tell you about the second year studio crits I did on Friday. It’s so great to go back to the School of Architecture and see projects unlimited by scope, money, everything. Makes me want to do a random competition again.

If we were having coffee this morning, I would tell you that everyone in my office is about ready to snap. We are currently stuffed in a job trailer behind our actual office while it’s being remodeled. We’ve been in there since around Thanksgiving. We were suppose to move back in the office a week ago. We can’t move with out the trailer moving or bumping into someone. We’ve started compensating with too many cookies/candies/doughnuts and alcohol. At least the rooftop was open on Friday for happy hour since it was so nice.



Design Control

20161108 CHAIR DWG

This past fall I was asked to help a graduate student at MSU with her thesis project. She need a control for her experiment. She was testing virtual reality as a design tool against tradition design tool, drawings and 3D images or models. I agreed help her out by going through the same design process with middle school students but she would use virtual reality and I would use traditional drawings and images.

It was a pretty cool idea and process. We had two groups of middle school students that we meet with once a week. After our initial meeting we did share what we were doing with the kids. They were suppose to act as our client asking us to design an piece of “furniture” for their classroom. And it had to be something the GS could actual build to see how close the drawings vs virtual reality came to what they expected.

Chair and desk
The First Model Step

I will admit that I may not have given this 100%, so my renderings were definitely not on par with what I would show a real client. I definitely cobbled together various chairs in SketchUp at one point,  but it got the point across to middle school students, who,  I’m pretty sure, forgot whatever I told them within a 10 minute time span. We started with random images of different pieces and when through what they wanted. One idea was a double decker sofa. Another was a table that made me think of King Authur and the Knights of the Round Table. We moved down the path of a simple desk and chair that had a lot of moving pieces. One of the key features was that they could tip back in the chair and hook their foot on the desk to not fall. As we progressed I felt we need to pick just one and the chair was it. The key feature that had to remain was the ability to rock back. So I came up with a spring idea on the back legs. Once we had that idea in place, they wanted more privacy, so people couldn’t cheat. I didn’t question this, they are the client. The professors at her review were concerned with what that meant in terms of social interaction as cell phones. As I stated above, I was not in this to get a social experiment out of it or looking for one, but I’m sure it would be very interesting.
chair final round
The Frankenstein Step

The end result was a chair with rotating arms, a parachute or tent like material that could pop out of the back and fold over the top on to a desk and, of course, it had springs on the legs. I couldn’t be there when the GS took the finished products back to the students to test out. The main take away was that, for both teams the items looked like it was suppose to but the the traditional route expected it to be bigger, they didn’t understand the scale of the chair, even though we talked about it in relation to other chairs and even went and tested other chairs to see what they liked.

final chair
Final Model (final 2D instruction at top)
Actual chair

It will be really interesting to see where virtual reality goes in the design field. I got to try on the head set and it was pretty cool, though a bit dizzying, to walk through a space and see the desks her students created. I think the disadvantage for someone in the field is that we inherently understand scale and space, so we don’t realize when someone may not understand how big or small an object or space is in drawing. This gives us the opportunity to really understand what we are creating. It might be awhile before it is common practice to use in architecture firms, right now it is a bit clunky, but I think it will provide great advances when it does between the client and architect.



Chiar desk Grad project

Sunday Afternoon Coffee [fifty-nine]

If we were having coffee, it would be along time coming. I have been so busy. Doing what? I’m not entirely sure. I seem to go to bed earlier and earlier and there have been a lot of weekend adventures. A lot of cross country skiing to tell you about. A lot of work to not bore you with. And a lot of other random stuff. My mom was checking facebook to make sure I was still alive because I had not called home in so long. So let’s catch up a bit and enjoy a huge cup of coffee.

If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you about the Cat- Griz basketball game. I was skiing earlier in the day, otherwise I would have wanted to go see the women’s game in the afternoon. We made it back for the men’s game in the evening. I don’t think I have been to a game since I was a freshman in college, and I’m not sure I even went to one then. It was a pretty good game up until the last quarter when they let the Griz win. At least I have cool friends to watch the game with.

If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you to read this quick, funny story about bouncing back forth between New York and Los Angeles. I too imploded somewhere in the middle.

And speaking of New York, The Sexy Master Electrician got me a great book for Valentine’s Day. I have been following the instagram feed for a while now. I found pink Himalayan Sea Salt shot glasses for his tequila.

If we were having coffee this afternoon I would tell you that I finally saw Michael Keaton. Apparently he is around town rather frequently, though I now know I wouldn’t have been to pick him out if I had bumped right into him. I went to a Bozeman Film Society film, (one of my favorite things), to see Spotlight. He introduced the film. I didn’t even know he was in it. It is an amazing film. It made me want to go back and read the articles. I was a silly high school senior at the time, I only vaguely remember it happening. I highly recommend it. Your head will be spinning.

If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you that I have some friends who are on a cornhole league. On Tuesdays, all the teams meet in a “ballroom” above the Eagles Bar and play a few games of corn hole each on the 10 courts. One of them was gone a couple weeks ago, so a couple of us subbed for her. It was pretty entertaining to watch people take so seriously. And I proved that I suck at tossing beanbags.

If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you that I am also not hot at bowling. But I had some great tights on while I was doing it. Dusty set up a bowling night on Galactic Bowling night. He had seen my crazy tights I was given for Christmas and the night was themed the 80’s. My tights did not carry my game, but my first bowl was a strike. It went down hill from there. At least I did better than TSME.

If were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you I need to get used new glasses. For the last five years, I’ve had the same pair with little rectangular lenses. I really only wear them in the morning or at night, but these are much, much, larger, in true hipster fashion. I probably could have gotten them when I got my first pair of glasses back when I was 6 or 7. I do like how they look, just need to get used to them being so large.

If we were having coffee this afternoon, we would talk about School of Architecture’s Advisory Council meetings last week. I am on the Graduate Council part of it. We meet to discuss ways we can help the school, go to studio crits, do speed interviews and a host of other things to engage the students. We also get to tour new buildings under construction. This time was the new Yellowstone Building, which is a dorm. I was in North Hedges as a freshman, built in the 60’s or something like that. And then I was in the “New Buildings.” They didn’t have names yet and were the cool dorm to get into at the time that only sophomores and older could apply to be in. This puts the to shame so badly.Untitled
At least the views are the same amazing mountains. They can’t make that better!
And speaking of architecture, Earth Elements had an open house to celebrate a new plumbing fixture line they started carrying. I fell in love with this piece of granite:

If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would show you my haul from the Bozeman Public Library Book Sale. I woke up, sent my friend Erin a message that said, “The book sale starts in 6 minutes!” To which she said,  the one where all the books are $2?!  Yup, getting dressed. Pick you up?  Yes please.  I walked out with 15 books. Three of which are for the TSME for his trip to Cabo that he left for this morning. I will be reading in bed and he on the beach. I do love books!

Career Update: A New Position

Today is my first day in a new job at A&E Architects. it happened rather quickly and unexpectedly over the last few weeks.  A colleague asked me, ” After getting so close to that fellowship, how are you going to go back to working at your current firm?” I understood what she was saying, I had been thinking hard about what I really wanted to be doing with my career. I really enjoyed working at Envi Design, I had a great boss and working environment, but it wasn’t what I really wanted to be doing.

I told a friend at A&E that I didn’t get the fellowship and was trying to figure out my next move. He said, we are hiring in Bozeman, send me your stuff and I’ll get it to the right people, I kinda thought he was joking. Bozeman is in demand, finding any kind of professional job here is not easy. Most firms that have offices in multiple locations, want you to go to a different office first, there is a queue for the Bozeman location. Less than a week later, I was meeting with one of the principles and had a job offer a week later.

A&E does a variety of projects and hopefully I will be working on more of the public/government type projects that provide great design for the masses, not just the 1%, (though they do have those kind of projects too). They also do a lot of preservation work that can be really interesting. The Bozeman office just started a year or so ago and it is currently being run by a couple of my classmates. I will be the sixth addition to the office. Even though it will be an adjustment to go back into straight architecture, different office dynamics and being at work at 8 AM (that hasn’t been the case for 8 years!), I think it’s going to be a fit and I am looking forward to seeing how it goes.

I am grateful for my time at Envi and sad to leave such and awesome office and people. I hope they find a replacement that is even better than me and they continue providing awesome designs. Maybe down the road we can work on a project together.


The Rose Fellowship Finalist Summit


Last week I had the privilege to attend the first Rose Fellowship Finalist Summit. I found out just a couple weeks before that I had been selected. I was in a bit of shock, then super excited, then terrified. The intent of the summit was to bring together the finalist and the host organizations in one place before the final interview round. They wanted us to have the opportunity to network with each other since we all have a passion for community based design and could do wonderful things together. The hosts would have a chance to get to know us more before deciding on final interviewees. Like I said, exciting and terrifying all in one.

The summit was an all day event at the beautiful India House in Financial District. I was worried that there was going to be a sense of competition in the room since the 25 of us there are all hoping to land one of five spots this year. However, it wasn’t like that at all. Everyone was excited to be there an meet other people with similar interests in the design field. They made us business cards so that we could share our contact information easily with each other and anyone else that we wanted to be in touch with us.

After the welcome from Enterprise, the host organization representatives had four minutes to explain how they ended up where they are now. Then they sat down for a panel discussion about the fellowships. It was wonderful to hear how the landed in their various positions and how passionate they were about their jobs. After that we all had to give presentations.

The two weeks before I spent stressing out and trying to figure out what I was going to present  for my four minute, 12 slide pecha kucha. It had to get across what I was about in some way and why I deserved to be there. This was the first year they had done this summit, so I couldn’t even ask my friends what they did in the past. After talking it through and having some major help from some friends here, I ended up creating a presentation on how I ended up there and how Sturgis, my adopted hometown, had an impact on that path.

2015 JDunn Compressed Pecha Kucha

I was the fifth person to go. Luckily, I didn’t have to go first or last and got it out of the way quick. I managed to not stumble through it, I didn’t read my notes the entire time,  I don’t think I said “um,” and the timing with the slides was pretty good. After two years of not having to speak in public or in front of any audience, it was a bit of a shock to do it again. I’m so glad it went so smooth. Everyone had different approaches to the presentations and it was great to see what everyone is interested in or where they came from to get there.

After the presentations we had 10 minute speed interviews with our perspective host organizations. I applied for two projects so I met with both of them and they couldn’t have been more different. The one in South Dakota asked us to meet them for a drink in the down time before the evening social to talk more and get to know each other a bit better and asked us a couple serious questions in those 10 minutes. The upstate New York one was the exact opposite, much more relaxed, talking about the project a bit and what we had seen. I ended up asking him if he had any questions for me towards the end cause I didn’t want to have messed it up, the answer was, “nope.”

I did go meet the South Dakota crew for a drink and we discussed the project in more detail before heading over to the reception for the outgoing fellows. There I was able to meet up with my friend, Annie, who is a current fellow, meet her “classmates,” as well as the other current and many past fellows.  The outgoing fellows talked about their work over the past three years and then had a panel with their host organizations. It was so inspiring to see what they had done for their communities and how excited those places were to have them there.

The night ended at a bar with many of the finalist, fellows and Enterprise team hanging out. Many people would leave the next day, while I stayed through the weekend and hung out with my friends while showing Dr, K around the city.

It was kind of a surreal trip. To make it more surreal, on Monday I found out that I made it to the next round with the upstate New York organization. I will be heading back out to New York in less than three weeks for a real interview on site. My emotions are all over the place for various reasons and I cannot believe I made it this far. I cannot wait to see what happens at my interview or what comes of it.


In any case, I’ve met some really amazing people and I hope we really do use the network that Enterprise set up for us and great things come of it, even if we do not all end up as fellows.

The California Academy of Sciences

California Academy of Sciences from the De Young Tower

Let me geek out here for a bit. It’s goin to happen. It has in the past. While I was in San Francisco I was able to visit the California Academy of Sciences and it was AWESOME! I may be a bit of a science nerd and this place is just cool in terms of design too. Michele was happy to go check it out one morning so we headed over just before the doors opened to get in line.

We started with the lower level aquarium. The snakes were right at the base of the stair and freaky as usual. Never my favorite. The anaconda was following people.
not an anaconda, but still following people. By Michele

The coral reef and tropical fish were beautiful. I think I could have sat in front of one of those windows for quite a while. The jelly fish were cool and I had to touch a starfish.

The most interesting character down there was an albino alligator. He just hung out while people took picture after picture of him.
Meet Claude

By mb//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
By Michele

Next we went up to see the penguin feeding. So damn cute.  This was Michele’s favorite part I think. Being the polite adult that I am, I allowed those with kids to sit up front and listened to the biologist talk about the what was happening, facts about the colony and individual penguins, etc. I should have become a biologist. Next life.

I am a huge fan of planetariums, so we grabbed tickets when we arrived for a showing of Fragile Planet. It was one of their older films, so it wasn’t loaded with new information, but it was still interesting. I need to go to the local planetarium more often.

We briefly wandered through the dioramas, though they have never been a huge draw to me. We also checked out the exhibits on color in nature, earthquakes and whales. The Whales exhibit happened to be the same one I saw in New York a few years ago before moving.  Small world.

Our last major exhibit was the rain forest. We had a short wait in line before being admitted into a large, sealed, climate controlled biosphere. It is full of trees, birds, butterflies, frogs and fish in the water below. It was gorgeous and our main focus became trying to catch a picture of the beautiful butterflies with blue on the backs of its wings.
Can you see the blue butterfly!?

At the top where you exit, we went out to the native rooftop garden. The garden is lovely and has a great view. It is here that I will switch into architecture mode. The spheres of the planetarium and biosphere  pop up and help create the undulating hills that cover the roof top. They are spotted with round skylights, some of which open to help regulate the interior climate.  It’s just a really cool space. The interiors too. There is a ton of natural light and space was planned well. I really enjoyed wandering through it.

If you are in San Francisco, I highly recommend checking the academy out. Give yourself at least a half a day, if not more. It is so interesting and  worth the time and cost. I would get there early if you can, we were told it sells out sometimes. Plus our first hour or so, it wasn’t nearly as crowded as it became later.  I fully intend to check it out again.

Sunday Afternoon Coffee [fourty-eight]

Sunday 48 - 1

If we were having coffee this afternoon, it would be a big summer catch up. There has been hiking, weddings, river fun and a birthday. So here we go!

If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you that in June I was a bit worried I was going to roast for about a week. It was warm enough to float the Madison in JUNE. I don’t know if I’ve ever been in an inter tube on the river this early. It was heavenly.  Minus the minor sunburn.

Sunday 48 - 2 The Madison River

The heat also gave us a great excuse to sit at bar patios sipping cucumber presses, my new favorite summer drink.  Cucumber vodka, half soda water, half 7-up and a lime. Trust me, you won’t stop drinking them.

If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you about a friend’s bachelorette party where we learned to pole dance. I was terrible. It was kinda fun, kinda awkward. It was entertaining. I could see how if you were not wasting time doing the crawling and prancing portion, the actual workout class would kick your butt. I am not coordinated for such workouts. We headed downtown for a typical bar crawl after that and had a blast.

UntitledThat happened. 

If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell also tell you about the lovely wedding on Sunday. It was just out of Bozeman at the beautiful TJ Ranch.  The bride was beautiful, the groom shed a few tears, the rain held off until after the ceremony, the food was amazing, the photo booth was a huge success, the bartender was our friend, and we had a blast. We found a cigar that one of the groomsmen must have left lying around and decided we needed to try it with the bride before their send off. I’ve never smoked a cigar before and it wasn’t too bad. I’ll keep it in mind for the next wedding. Untitled

And speaking of weddings, last weekend I went to San Francisco for my friend Iris’s wedding. She was one of my first friends in New York and it was great to catch up with other New York friends who came for the wedding. It was all outdoors at the beautiful Fuchsia Dells in Golden Gate Park. There was a four man marching band the lead in the bride and all of us to the conservatory for a huge group photo. It was definitely a whimsical event as the couple desired, some people really dressed up for the occasion and everyone had a good time at the photo booth. More on this trip later. Untitled
Untitled Whimsy at its finest

If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you how excited I am that Music on Main has started for the summer! Hands down one of my favorite things to do in the summer. Though sometimes I wish it was on a Friday instead.

If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you that you should join R and I for Food Truck Friday in front of The Architect’s Wife. Every Friday we walk over to the store where the parking lot is full of local food truck and locals hanging out. The food is delicious and the showroom always has amazing pieces. Some day I’ll get a new couch…

If we were having coffee this afternoon, we would talk about the Fourth of July. It was pretty much the same events as last year, floating on the Yellowstone, the Livingston Rodeo, but this year we spent a night at Chico as well.  A couple things were different and made it a bit difficult this year, but I still had a great time with great friends. We stayed at the studio again so we didn’t have to worry about driving home. Livingston is such a fun town for the Fourth! Untitled
UntitledUntitled Photo by S.

If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you that I am excited to finally repay all the friends who helped me move apartments. Tonight I am hosting a little BBQ for them.  I should probably leave and go get that ready…

And if we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you that I had a lovely birthday. We went to a low key dinner then out for drinks and called it a night. I did get some pretty sweet and unexpected gifts, like a sky projector, a necklace I’ve been meaning to get myself and a bad ass tea cup.  Thanks everyone!