Good News!

In between pretty boys and girls and brainy architecture geniuses, let’s celebrate my first MONTH WITHOUT SMOKING in 25 years! (except for a very short six months in 1992.)

I’ve QUIT SMOKING!!! I’m PSYCHED!!!

Remember the Boston trip? Well I was in my third day, when we left, no really. 

The simplest, silliest little book help me do it. I feel like an infomercial and such, but I highly recommend it if you are trying to quit. Don’t judge it, just do what the man says and you will stop smoking. Sometimes the hardest things can suddenly become simple if you reach the right frame of mind, I guess… I’m still pinching myself… The guy, Allan Carr basically tells the truth about smoking and about the health industry myths, I wish someone had bought me this book YEARS ago… YEEEEES!!!! 
 

Posted by Viviane

 

Kiaron

No, this is not becoming a photography blog, but what can I say, I’m in a shooting mood. And we can all use a break from architecture once in a while.

Kiaron works at the grocery store and I’ve been wanting to photograph him for a while, then he shows up with a black eye (from trying to break up a fight he says.) So I ask him if he wants to do a short photo session and he goes, yes, my friends tell all the time me I should do that. So we shot yesterday. He calls me before hand hoping he doesn’t have to smile much because he’s sad. I say that’s even better. In 15 minutes we are in another world. Short session, but we decide to milk the black-eye, street-kid thing I mean, what else…

For what I can see, he’s actually pretty angelic and way sweet, but like I told him, the camera doesn’t know that…

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(Photos and post, Viviane Vives)
All rights reserved, contact Barcelona Films, LLC if interested.

Fashion Teens

This is what I do in my spare time.

What an amazing opportunity:

Veronica, Roma, and Natalie have been getting together for fashion shoots for four years now, they are now fifteen, so do the math. They were joined by EvanA and Aralynne. Veronica is an amazing photographer herself and she chose the setting and orchestrated the get-ups and the do’s. She’s also a beautiful model (she’s the one in the “Kill your TV” t-shirt, a like minded soul!) They all are. Just incredibly talented.

I had such a good time that I’m considering getting back into photography, beyond architectural photography that is. I hope you enjoy these as much as I have shooting them and getting them ready for show. We had so many good pictures that it was quite the task.

Lauren Bard deserves also special credit. She was generous enough to let me participate, as were the girls… Lauren helped me with reflectors and what-not and managed some great shots of her own, on top of it.

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Picking up the National, Loving Boston

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As y’all know and have heard to death, at least from our end, we were awarded a National Institute Honor Design Award this year for the Anthony Nak Jewelry Flagship Store by the American Institute of Architects

Ok, so we went to Boston and picked up the thing.

We were the only Texans at the design awards, but MJ made sure he was wearing his boots. 

This project has won almost every award I can think of so, although the National was a surprise, it didn’t surprise me as much as you’d think… Nevertheless, out of curiosity, I went and researched a bit to see how rare this really was for Austin and wow, as far as I could find here, or here there have only been three other projects in Austin, TX ever awarded a national AIA award… it’s really kinda freaky, actually, they are:

– Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity House by Lundgren and Maurer in 1954.  (We think it was demolished, can anyone confirm?)
The Oaks by R. Gommel Roessner in 1965. (Sadly demolished when the University acquired a vast tract of land east of Memorial Stadium. This guy’s work would be interesting to see, anyone wants to go with me to these archives and see what’s there?)

Lake Austin Residence by Lake | Flato Architects, Inc., San Antonio, 2005 (hopefully this one is still standing)

– Anthony Nak Flagship Store, by yours truly, M. J. Neal Architects, 2008 

That is not a lot of projects for a whole CITY, F-O-U-R??? It just doesn’t sound right to me… C’mon guys the work in Austin is GOOD, I’m I missing something? Texas architects in general fared a tad better, but besides Lake Flato, not so well, actually…

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MJ still can’t believe it, but it’s real, I got in on camera! Slide show to follow, surprise, surprise!

Boston is now officially one of my favorite US cities, and they do have the best fish!!! We had lobster at the no name restaurant one rainy night after enjoying an afternoon at the ICA

The most wonderful thing about Boston was seeing Reese Schroeder, one of mj’s oldest and best friends. In the slide show you’ll see us at the opening of the Apple store where strangely and appropriately, we ended up celebrating the win after a dinner at Aquitaine that knocked our socks off. We enjoyed the Metropolis as well, and manager Tim is just too cute!

On the slide show, you’ll find also some pics of the only Corbu building in the USA at Harvard and the Office da’s McAllen building (worth the walk.) plus some bonus material!

We stayed at the Clarendon Square and I HIGHLY recommend the place, quiet, flawless, beautiful, comfortable, it’s all that and more!

On with the show!

(most pics by Viviane Vives (Who doesn’t mind shooting for hire email vvvATbarcelonafilmsDOTcom) some by MJ Neal, AIA and some by Reese Schroeder, AIA. All rights reserved) 

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Lost Images

I was poking around old files and found these (I had never even seen them before) They are an old incarnation of a house that will never be, but I thought I put them here. We can’t post what we are working on right this minute, because it’s a couple of competitions and we can’t make the work public until there’s a winner… But if you happen to come by the office, you can sneak a peek:-)

Anyway, I hope MJ is cool with my posting these here. If not well, I’ll delete the entry:-) I like this house a lot and just in case you were wondering if you can build amazing houses on steep sites, yes you can… say no to huge retaining walls!!!!

WoW, National AIA, WoW

[We (Oooooohhhhhhhhh)Won]

Can you BELIEVE it???

M. J. Neal Architects just won the 2008 Institute Honor Award for Interior Architecture from the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

It’s a great day, it’s a great, big, fat, new…. year!!!!

This project had already won an Austin AIA Design Award and the Texas Society of Architects (TSA) Honor Design Award, and let’s not forget the International IIDA Award (my favorite, see previous post)

The anecdote? We almost didn’t submit the project! Farley Studio was doing so well at competitions that when we were done submitting it, MJ, who was hungry and tired, said, “ah, let’s blow it off and go to Asti to eat… I was hungry and tired too…but something told me to submit Anthony Nak, so I stayed on and BAM! You never know, do you?:-)

Yey for being dogheaded when I’m hungry and tired and double yey for MJ’s design excellence!!!!

Here’s the video the TSA made for the 2005 State Design Honor Award.

Scott Randall Productions by Scott Randall. emailto:sr@scottrandall.com.
Copyright 2005 by the Texas Society of Architects.

The Bench Holds

Speaking of the pilates studio, I don’t think I posted my favorite construction picture of alll times. John Bowyer took the picture; that’s some of Living Art’s fantastic crew. The guy in the red shirt with the blackcap is Michael Kalish, John’s partner at Living Art (and a proud daddy for the second time, congrats again Mike!!!)

Living Art is the construction company that built the pilates studio and our office, and they are building the Wolfe Den, and many more to come… In my book, they have a lot to be proud of. Stay tuned for updates, especially if you are in the market to buy a house designed by MJ. It looks like there will be a few good homes to be had in the horizon. These guys are not only working for us and our clients, but we are working for them too:-)

Next to Michael, at the very end, is MJ, with a beard, looking happy, eh??? (you can tell it’s him because his tennis are clean!)

Pilates Studio

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Pilates studio by MJ Neal, AIA

Check the Pilates studio out! It’s open for business. Ann Arnoult is an excellent Pilates instructor and a former dancer at Ballet Austin. This project was built by Living Art, Austin. John and Mike’s building outfit.

Update April 22, 2008

Foda Studio created the three illustrations for the project, I think they are our good luck charm:

We are proud to announce that this project has won the 2008 AIA Austin top Design Honor Award! This makes us the winners of the top local design award for two consecutive years! Stand by for celebration party:-)

Farley Studio Entry is in!

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The Picassa slideshow was working on my Safari browser, but not my Firefox.

We’ve been shooting pics for the Farley Studio and putting them together for a presentation. Pretty intense week and weekend but I’m VERY happy with the pics. I was running around the building like mad at sunset, I think I CAN be in two places at once!

The awesome site plans and exploded axo’s are from fab Jett of fodastudio who is so talented I just want to slap him…

It looks pretty good huh??? I hadn’t been in the finished space and it won my heart. As usual, it felt playful but calming, daring but appropiate, unexpected as always. The good thing about MJ is that he doesn’t stop surprising me, when I think I have him figured out, he goes off in a completely new direction, EVERY SINGLE TIME…

If you don’t believe me, wait until we post the almost finished Pilates Studio and especially the Wolfe Den, which is well underway… I’m green with envy with that project… I want it to be mine!!!

I’m also really getting into the photography part of the studio. I was quite shy at the beginning, but after the success with these, the pilates studio pictures, and a project for another architect using a Hasselblad, I’m starting to get requests to shoot other people’s work too. Bring it on!