December 30, 2014

My year learning Improv

I just want to say, sometimes it’s good to find that hobby outside of Architecture. For some it’s going back to sports, or meeting with creatives, or creating music. For me, I am happy to discover the world of comedy. So I (being Ross) wanted to get with Improv (my Julie) and wanted to call a break with Architecture (my Rachel, see what I did there!)

December 08, 2014

Choosing the right job offer

This post is based on a recent Facebook chats with a friend who was asked me questions about which job offer to take as she completed her architectural undergrad. For anyone getting their first architecture job - the struggles are the same when getting your foot in the door to the profession. There comes a point in your architecture student career when you have to find work (unless you want to be an Academic, but that’s a whole other issue). But also, there is that nervousness of whether you will be making the right choice to the right job offer? I think me and people I have talked to get worried about the commitment that comes with a job opening and to decide whether to accept or pass in hopes a better job offer will come right away.

November 10, 2014


The Imbalanced Life

I’d like to share some thoughts out loud which is from a conversation with a friend when riding the subway at night. I apologize for the lack of blog entries. It’s been some busy months. I do plan to talk about architecture school struggles, but I would like to publish my feelings through the wet and cloudy autumn I am in.

October 09, 2014

Traveling + Sketching Around

I spent some of my time in New York City taking some drop-in improv comedy classes, attending comedy shows, taking food tours, attending an architecture conference and even a lecture at the GSAPP (SANAA was lecturing - ended up in the overflow rooms). However, one of the most relaxing and calming moments was taking the time to sketch and draw during my trip. Sitting in the water fountain at Washington Square Park on a sunny day and just taking in the city life and basking in the sunlight.

September 24, 2014

Transforming the Profession

I always find a good reason or three to go to New York City...and obviously an architecture conference is a pretty good reason for me.

I just got back from my week vacation in New York City which included attending the 2014 Future Now Summit hosted by the Emerging New York Architects (ENYA) of AIANY. The Future Now Summit focus on challenges the Architecture profession faces today. By creating a platform for discussion, future architects can learn and discuss opportunities with emerging trends in society.

September 01, 2014

Welcome to Architecture School

I remember my first day of Architecture School. I was worried. Funny, it was the way I met two good friends in Architecture School as we worried outside the main entrance before our 8am class. It was a big transition and a bit scary at the beginning. I had cold feet; I was questioning if I was able to make it and was intimidated with the workload. My worries and anxieties was building before architecture school as I knew about the all-nighters when touring the architecture building during months earlier. The architecture students guiding my tour were pretty blatant about their caffeine runs and sleepless nights.

August 18, 2014

Knowing your creative space.

This weekend, I met up with young creative designers at a meet up to talk about our what is our ideal creative space. The event I went to this weekend was hosted by Intune Labs, a collective of young designers in Toronto who provide supportive space for a diverse community of creators to come together in a monthly workshop to explore, discover, and transform the way they create. 
You can check out their website at

I recall my old architecture student days and my reactive ways - I would let my circumstances get the best of me. Sometimes not having the ideal workspace to help me work at my best and impact my productivity bet getting to my head. I think this can be a challenge for any design student. If you live with family during college, you might find working at home quite distracting. At the other extreme, you may not like working in your design studio at school just because you don’t feel comfortable being exposed to your peers while you work. 

July 07, 2014

Learning from improv – Moving Onwards.

Last week, I attended a Second City Training Centre event which featured Improv legend Colin Mochrie. It was just my luck. I signed up when all the seats were reserved and was placed on waiting list. Some no-shows and voila! I found myself sitting first row. I rarely get to meet celebrities in life and ones that I actually know of. When I attended those big  architecture guest lectures in college, I usually end up in overflow rooms. Afterwards, even approaching "starchitects" was very intimidating.

After being stuck in university for 6 years, I decided to pause my traditional architectural career path and pause on an M.Arch because I wanted to learn something that is unrelated to Improv. I wanted to work on myself before pushing forward.  It's been a few months of taking comedy classes and the more I took classes and attended the events, a lot of the rules of improv are life lessons I want to apply in my professional life.

Anyways, I thought I would share some of the themes covered in the interview because it is applicable to any aspiring designer. Coming from creative and competitive fields, we will always be riding ups and downs and in-betweens and must be ready to cope and deal both failure and success.

June 18, 2014

Getting back into sketching

I noticed in school and at work that my moleskine sketchbooks have degenerated to chicken scratches in the past few years. It has become more words and less images. Inside my sketchbooks you see the writings of to-do lists and things I need to register in my head when I am in a meeting, getting feedback, or things I have heard in a lecture.

June 05, 2014

1 year work anniversary!

I do not know if putting the “Underdog Architecture Student’s Blog” on my resume was a good decision, but coupled with my work experience,  I think it alluded to my personality to garnish my capabilities.

For the past few months of working I began to see the similar interests with my colleagues at work. Just about a year ago, after months of cold calling firms, applying to job postings and constant portfolio revising, I was hired by a boutique architecture firm that wanted to take a chance on me. I am grateful because it was a lot of grunt work to find my first full-time job in architecture.

I thought for this post, I’d share some things that I have learned or am learning as I hit the one year mark at my job. Here’s some things you will realize once you enter the workplace #ArchitectureStudents

May 21, 2014

What We Can Learn from Mad Men

Being the intrinsic New Yorker that I am, one of my favourite shows right now is Mad Men. The show sets us back to the 60s and explores the culture of the advertising industry. If you’ve watched the series, you are easily confronted with realizing the irony of how many of the things we consider wrong from that era still lay remnant in today’s society – dealing with issues of inequality, social status, and cultural norms. I have always wanted to write about Mad Men and tie it to the blog since the series is ending, and watching last Sunday night’s episode, The Strategy, it reminded me of lessons I am still trying to learn and figure out to this very day when dealing with perfectionism and anxiousness.

May 20, 2014

Learning from other fields: Architecture, Acting, and Film.

I have enjoyed this past weekend a lot. I got a chance to volunteer front of house and watch my friends from a comedy troupe hold their annual comedy revue. After the show I got some time to talk with the cast members and other friends that I have made in the comedy, acting and film world. As creative designers and artists – we all share similar struggles in confronting the design process and reaching for the best quality of work we can do.

May 06, 2014

Making Mistakes, Making Progress

After falling behind in architecture school, I find myself excessively self-conscious and overthinking things with each step I take designing or doing any task for that matter. It is not bad to edit your work and be self critical. However, it can be your downfall and get you nowhere when done excessively. I am happy to be getting out of my comfort zone starting my second level class of improv. I've been told the biggest pitfall in improv is to actually overthink and judge yourself. That’s right, I have to un-learn the negative habits I have acquired in design school and I am trying to find the balance of both extremes.

April 29, 2014

Just Finish It!

We’re heading into summer break if you are in North America and you probably are just finishing off your semester in school. Deadline comes, and some of the deliverable were not met, or not everything was done at your best. You rushed towards the deadline and at the end of the review; you basically realize that everything could have been better.

April 15, 2014

Collaboration & Communication

Last weekend, I just finished the first level of improv classes! (and yes, I have signed up for the next level). I am confronted in class on how to become better in collaborating and communicating with others. The past few weeks have focused on the importance of listening, accepting others ideas, and adding to another person’s idea when we play on stage – we do not refuse or reject what they say in the moment but we agree and add on. Reciprocally, we equally establish and drive the scene, even giving up our own ideas to create something unique.

April 07, 2014

Every Little Bit Counts.

It’s spring time and I decided to go for a jog after a hiatus from hibernating like a bear this winter. To be honest – the jog was not pretty. I cannot jog as good (for a guy of my size and type) as I used to. I might suck in the eyes of people looking at me when I jog. I decided to go out a jog and that’s what counts. I might not be where I wanted to be but I wanted to start working towards getting active as the temperature heats up.

March 31, 2014

Which Grad School to attend?

T'is the season. I have seen a Facebook status or two and some friends have talked to me about the issue they have to deal with career-wise. I’m talking about the issue to decide where to go for Graduate School. 

March 17, 2014

Why You Shouldn't Compare Yourself To Others

This week's post comes from Christina Canters (@DesignDrawSpeak). She is passionate about helping design students become confident and effective communicators. I have been listening to Christina's podcast, Presentation Skills for Design Students, which provide tips and advice that can help you present your studio projects and communicate with clients in the workforce. You can find it at

Christina's guest post focuses on something that myself and others struggled in school: to not compare yourself to others. To NOT compare yourself to your peers is a challenging thing to do in a competitive environment like design school. It is a bad habit that is enervating and destructive. Christina's post offers valuable insight:

March 10, 2014

To be a designer is to be vulnerable

In school, I had to learn how to come to terms with vulnerability – or at least say the least. But in some respects, learning how to not let self-doubt and what others think can help you design and explore freely without the external factors that burden us from reaching our fullest potential.

March 03, 2014

My M.Arch Detour: Improv Comedy!

Sometimes you gotta get your head out of architecture to look for meaningful things in life. Architecture Students and graduates, you want to take some time to pursue other interests to avoid becoming a two-dimensional parti.

February 25, 2014

3 powerful tips for becoming remarkable

This week’s post is from John Michael Wilyat (@JMWilyat). He is the Co-Founder of Real FX Digital, a company that provides solutions through architectural rendering and animation. Last week, I received tweets about RealFX Digital (@realFXdigital) offering tutorials on rendering. Photoshop and rendering machines was not my forte in design school - I picked it up doing my portfolio. Today, I am using it monthly at work for the marketing and rendering tasks I have before me. I highly recommend visiting their website because they provide tips on what you need to stay on top of your game. The tutorials are thorough in explaining the process and workflow to be proficient at rendering your studio projects. Without further ado, here's this week's post:

February 17, 2014

Getting it Right VS. Getting it Done (Part I)

For any architecture student, we get that new studio project brief with renewed delight and joy. After feeling crappy from yesterday's design review, your optimism (and naivety) is renewed with the new project. With a new project, we hope to NOT pull any All-Nighters and/or (2) ensure a project that is worthy of praise come presentations.

February 03, 2014

All-Nighters Never Really Worked for Me.

The week my design competition was due , I experienced those stressful days that I had when I was an Architecture Student. I was tired, anxious, worried while trying to push the design at the same time. It was as if I was taking studio all over again. How could anyone be able to design and think while skipping out on sleep?

January 27, 2014

The Studio Trifecta

In my high school years, I had a chance to go and take a Graphic Design Camp at a college during my summer break. I recalled the instructor telling me the three things that impact a graphic design project: time, money, and resources and equated it to a triangle, once one part gets constrained, the other two have to make up for that constraint.

January 20, 2014

Failing > Dropping

It was 5 years ago that I decided to drop out of my third year studio class. It was a year-long project that was to continue into the winter term and it was expected of us to work on our project during the holiday break to get it to the level needed for design development.

January 15, 2014

Lessons learned from design competitions.

"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." (from some childhood story I've heard)

One of my early blog entries for 2013 in my disappointment after my failed attempt to do a design competition over the holidays. I talked about willing to try and fail instead of giving up. Well this year, I am happy to attempt once again doing a design competition this past holiday and this time - I got it done on time! I could have chosen to not do anymore competitions after last year’s failed experience, thinking about the expenses and resources wasted, but I wanted to push myself as a designer and I wanted to know that I can make it on my own. I wanted to learn and bounce back from my failure.