Architecture, Design + Photography Podcast (+ Conversation)


But it’s that it’s just a raw feed of like
an interesting conversation yeah but um to cue these up. It’s an interesting dynamic
with photography that if someone calls me to get something done they expect me to be
on every aspect of the capture sure at minimum I have a studio manager and retoucher that
retouches everything you know he’s a technical wizard and an artist in what he does sure
but if someone were to show up and I weren’t there in creating that there would be a strong
like whoa whoa whoa. But with architecture you can have that the head of the firm show
up and sell the whole project but then other people design it you know and that’s an interesting
difference in in that whole practice. It felt funny to like I I got to a point where you
know if you’re practicing for 18 20 years you’re facile enough you can produce a building
on your own but then if you’re doing it under someone else’s banner it’s their work and
and so there’s that funny like it’s your art and it’s the clients art and that’s a collaboration
and I experienced this many times where I work with a client we get to the end of it
and it’s like but that’s not mine it’s the person whose name is on the door and that
I don’t know if that’s wrong or right but that was a conflict for me for sure and maybe
that’s just my ego as an architect or an artist but I realized that at some point that there
had to be another way and something else that I wanted to try and you know my business has
just been like a whole series of experiments you know fundamentally it comes down to making
things and making is the act of taking an idea and turning it into a physical reality
and that can happen with architecture that can happen with a business like I found a
lot of creativity in just like starting a business like business the creative approach
to business to me is also very valuable and I find that I’ve often got ideas for other
businesses going on in the back of my head that I have to keep killing like don’t don’t
get distracted Trent shiny object dude yeah let squirrel yeah and we strap it down in
the back and put it through the moonroof and shoot in downtown New York City of the larger
buildings oh that’s wild yeah so we’d drive around with basically what looked like a gun
turret in the back and like pre 9/11? No after 9/11 like no one would blink an eye like we
did it right in front of a cop station too double-parked I’m on the roof with this up
high like I don’t know I think they’re just used to crazy in New York I made a horrible
horrible employee I could have never worked for someone else and I I would be completely
bored if I knew I had a consistent income like for me for some reason the being on the
edge of failure I intrinsically know that that drives me you know the challenge of starting
your own thing yeah and really figuring out how to make it like there’s nothing that makes
you grind harder than that I really miss kind of those early days because I was free to
experiment and fail no one was watching it felt so like at some level so liberating and
also as you say like really scary because you’re responsible for bringing in the same
level of income that you had before and so everything became a creative challenge as
opposed to well I’m gonna get in the car and drive 70 miles to and from work and you know
just check in check out. It’s not an easy thing to make money as a creative and pay
for a house and family and kids you know well what is it about your personality and what
are some of the choices you’ve made you think that if that have made you successful? I mean
if I were to say one thing it would just be I relentlessly execute on ideas and I think
a lot of people have a lot of ideas but that’s where it ends the idea how do you pick the
ones you’re gonna go on? That’s a hard thing for me like I’m I have a hard time staying
on like the one thing that’s working for me it’s like you know? It gets easier the the
farther you get into it but in the beginning when I was first starting this I did everything
and like people don’t like hearing that cuz that’s not easy I tried writing I tried making
videos I tried taking photographs I tried working you know with clients one on one I
tried doing consulting I try like all these things right? And what I did was I figured
out which ones gave me the most creative energy and the most feedback and the ones where I
saw the most potential to leverage my time. So YouTube ended up being a great confluence
of all those things because it’s a creative outlet I get to film architecture I get to
think about editing I get to learn about cinematography so there’s like this whole headspace in there
that I just unlocked I didn’t even know it was there it’s also a way to earn income and
it’s a way to promote my business so I can get new clients it just ended up being this
kind of perfect storm to invest in. There’s also the financial aspect right? I mean you
have to this has to work financially I really struggled hard in the beginning to make it
work financially and I realized that you know if I was gonna take ten different clients
small little projects and get on this hamster wheel of like you were talking about you know
addition, renovation like what’s that three or four months worth of work if that? And
then I have to find a new client and it’s like all these little things no I’m gonna
wait for big client to come along good project nice people to work with but in order to wait
that long I need to have revenue that’s supporting that so right I did plan sets I wrote books
I’m doing advertising revenue I’m doing affiliate like all this stuff because I want that to
leverage my time so that I can wait for these bigger commissions to come in. That’s a more
entrepreneurial approach to practice most people just say I’m gonna do the client thing
and whatever that looks like it’s gonna be a struggle and I talk to people every week
that are in that same position like well how do you do this and? Keep your expenses low
work hard that’s true but and it’s like it is executing and I think most people the execution
part that’s where it falls flat. What you can essentially do with a with a tighter focal
length you can compress stuff more and it feels more like natural eye but if you can
use a tilt shift you can get more of the frame so what you essentially do is you make your
vanishing point you know the focal point of where your camera is further back by doing
that so where I could be here and use a 24 and everything would be a little distorted
I could use a 45 and it’ll feel like I’m further back. I see. So that thing kind of takes this
and it goes like that. Oh interesting yeah connects back like this. It works very well.
We have a I I think a very similar taste in architectural design what what informed that
taste? I mean you probably didn’t grow up in a house that looks like your house or this
studio I know I didn’t grow up in a house that reflects the house that we were actually
able to just finish building finally – thank you God – but like what what informed your
tastes like for me at the beginning of architecture I had this one professor who was insanely
just active mind and really excited about what he was doing sure and he just had he
was from somewhere in Europe and he had a very kind of more minimal and modernist approach
and I was just like wow this is really cool stuff yeah and I’ve since found that I just
very much gravitate towards minimalism and a modern take with a take on vernacular architecture
as well and like Scandinavian minimalism and that that idea of simplicity sure really really
appeals to me where do you think you were informed for your taste on design yeah I think
it’s it’s obviously a function of sort of where you come from what you’ve sampled your
education all of your life’s experiences right it all passes through this filter and I think
you know if I look way back my father was a history professor a lot of history in my
house he worked at a museum so I was always accompanying him to the museum you know he
was a photographer so like I’m always in the workshop with him seeing old stuff you know
we grew up in upstate New York so lots of barns lots of agriculture you know it’s a
very rural place not not dissimilar to this place but a huge farming tradition there so
you know a love for barns and these big blank walls and these big you know vacuous spaces
timber frames all of those sort of historical elements but when I come to school I realize
gosh there’s so much more to architecture than just this sort of historical notion of
like what the past the 1800s has given us right you know New England they imported the
English tradition of barn making and these sort of colonial homes were all built on that
English tradition get to school and realize okay modern architecture like there’s this
complete other world out here right and I’ve travelled to New York but it was nothing that
was ever all sort of viscerally like important to me those those buildings seem very disconnected
from my personal experience but get to school and I realize architecture can look like a
thousand different things and I think part of the process of going through design school
is really sampling all those things and then putting it through your own hand and figuring
out what you’re actually capable of creating. Like there are things that I looked at in
school and I thought my god this would be so fantastic if I could do that and I would
try to do that and it it would it would fall flat I mean I’m sure you had this experience
like everyone wants to do the the current trend in architecture so in school when I
was in school it was deconstruction and everyone wants to be a decon architect so it’s like
these crazy you know I mean you remember that style I’m sure it’s very aggressive and bold
design moves but what you realize is that you know part of creating your style is figuring
out what your past is understanding your past and then figuring out how you’re gonna move
that into the future and and what I realized was that my design process was more of a reductive
design process I was not good at adding things and making it look better I was always better
at taking things away and so I think you know finding a more simplistic style just felt
right to me it the the more I took away the better it looked to me and and you always
have this like I’m doing that with my photography all the time so this feels like it’s a calmer
more able to take the space in the the less that there is in it and it’s just kind of
a I don’t know if for me it just has this feeling of serenity and peace that I can relax
in it it’s just so hard though and you’re at this stage of life and you don’t have a
trust fund I don’t have one either man yeah it’s it’s a hump it is for sure and and
what I you know I did a video on this one time because I had some a bunch of questions
people saying well you know how do you manage to get this done and I just said that I sleep
less cuz I get up really early and people were not when do you typically get up? I get
up at 4. Really? I’ve started I did that a little bit last week man I get so much done
between like 4 and 8 it’s like geez I’ve worked a half day and now I’m just gonna hang out
with the kids for a bit and but my thing is like that I feel like that puts me ahead of
everybody else and it’s like kind of evil evil little sort of voice in here that’s like
and so when people ask me that it’s like get up earlier yeah and it’s not a popular idea
but it actually does work oh no it totally does work you can get so much more done in
those four hours before 8:00 then you can the rest of the day because the phone’s not
ringing the kids aren’t coming in nothing you can just you plow forward and you pay
for it on the other end of the day I can promise what do you see is like wow that’s good architecture
like what makes you see something as good when it comes to architecture it’s a really
difficult question because I think there’s you know there are academic answers to this
you know you and I both went to architecture school.

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38 thoughts on “Architecture, Design + Photography Podcast (+ Conversation)

  1. Notes + links to all the gear used in the photoshoot are here: https://thirtybyforty.com/architectural-photography-gear-architects-camera-equipment
    And, be sure to check out Trent's podcast: https://www.trentbell.com/podcast/

  2. Sir can we get a video about how you prepare your sheets….I love the The red labeling specially.. what details you add it leave out

  3. This really helped me to know what architecture is as a subject after highschool. After watching this vid I'm able to figure out what it is actually, from being an architecture student to a well established architect. Thank you very much sir for such an informative video. 🙂

  4. It is amazing how everyone finds their own path after school. Along the way you either discover yourself, or you find a niche that you never thought of. For me, I always wanted to be an architect, ever since I was a freshman in high school (1988) taking architectural drafting classes. After all of those years I finally landed a job with an architectural firm in 1997 and realized it wasn't for me.

  5. That is where I'm at and letting go these hamster wheel jobs will be so liberating. How do you notify your clients?

  6. Awesome, I would love to see you create your own podcast about design, function of design, vs aesthetics of design, how it all fits together. Architecture design and interior design or something along those lines
    In one of your videos you photographed a project and took some of the furniture out of the house because it didn't fit the architectural design of the house.
    I thought why would those people hire an architect to design a dream house and not furnish it with appropriate furniture.
    It seems the days of Green and Green Brothers, and Frank Lloyd wright are gone.
    Most all the the interior designers I work with are scared to think outside of the box, and are not really designers, but more like catalog pickers. It's all commercialized form the same catalog.

  7. Here is an article inspired by this podcast – thank you!

    https://medium.com/@kazimi/why-you-shouldnt-hire-an-entrepreneur-e763c8a832de?source=friends_link&sk=762ed452f80533b08f364a02781ae76b

  8. Just found your channel and have loved everything I’ve seen, especially the sketching/model making videos! Really awesome content and your point of view is fantastic.
    I’m a furniture making and maybe an idea for a furniture video might be how you view furniture and such in your design process (if you consider it at all that is!) just an idea but thank you for the fantastic work!
    David B

  9. Awesome podcast! This is really good content! Thank you so much, Eric! You're an inspiration and have opened my eyes to new ideas for architecture. Hope to reach as many as you have with my own channel.

  10. Hej,

    I love this kinda podcast session between architecture and photography thought, experience and honesty.
    It really inspired me, you almost answer all those question.

    Keep doing it and let us inspired by you,
    I'm Interior and really love your work and your studio.

    At the moment i don't have a friends to share thought regarding creativity other than my wife.
    Yeah, Soon i will find somebody.
    Thank you very much for your inspired.

  11. Late in my successful practice/career I was asked “what was the secret to my success?” I answered “fear”.

  12. Ah, the millennial vibe, must be a happen'n architect. Back in the day everything was with "canary" paper, mechanical inking pen sets, slide rules, masking tape, drawing boards, x-axcto blades etc.

  13. Could someone be so kind as to direct me to a good book about reading floor plans? More towards the commercial side of architecture. This is great content as always!

  14. I purchased your book a while back. Been watching your videos for quite some time now. I admire the growth and passion emanating from you. Cheers!

  15. Hi Eric ! I am a mechanical engineering student who is really interested in learning more about architecture and design. How do architects factor in critters when creating spaces that transition from indoor to outdoor? Also, are their examples of buildings that successful strike a balance between technology based climate control and passive climate control through design? Thanks!

  16. Hey you should do a podcast discussing the collaboration between an architect and a structural engineer. I'd find that really interesting.

  17. I didn't think this episode would interest me, but I have to say it had some answers or ideas to the question I am occupied with lately……Thanks you

  18. I hope there will be 30×40 podcast. I love to hear the struggles of designer and how they overcome throughout the adversity and balancing all these challenges to remain true to their creativity path.

    Thank you for sharing your journey. I love your workspace +studio . Truly inspiring

  19. Holy cow! I commented on your last video and didnt even realize you knew Trent! We met at Alien Research Center by Area 51, wonder if you were there? Im terrible with names. Im starting architecture school and coincidentally ran into your videos. Trent's a great guy, thanks for insights!

  20. 30×40 I love your content. For future videos could you please demonstrate all pictorial views that architects use (1 pt, 2pt perspective). I think many would benefit!

  21. 1:00 – during my internship I designed and made structural drawings of a project, when I left the studio and went back to finish my education that was the last time I heard of it till one day I was going trough the city where the project had to be built and I was caught by surprise to see that the project have been already finished, I got excited, sad, angry at the same time – it was cool to something that big that you designed have been built, but at the same time I got 0 credit for my work, project costs reached over 150 000 euros and I didn't received a penny for it – well it doesn't matter at the end of the day, it is just sad that the studio didn't even bothered to write me an email to say "hey you project will be built" and that my name haven't been mentioned even once.

  22. I can't tell you how much you have helped me to clarify and define what kind of business person and architect I want to be. Bit by bit I'm tackling it. Thank you.

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