Poetry Libraries?

I just came across this new Poetry Foundation building in Chicago by John Ronan Architects. It’s…. all right. In fact, from what I can see in the pictures, it offers some lovely moments. But poetic? I don’t know if I can stretch that far.

One of my favourite buildings in Edinburgh is the Scottish Poetry Library by Malcolm Fraser Architects. It’s tucked away down a narrow close (alleyway) off the Royal Mile, and it’s a small building but packs a big dose of quirky charm. I love how neatly it fits into its context, how clever the use of materials is, and how underwhelming it is. It presents itself – and by extension poetry – as an old, comfortable friend who has interesting taste. Continue reading “Poetry Libraries?”

UMass Combined Heat and Power Plant

UMass Combined Heat and Power Plant

Central Heating Plant photo_0

This building contained a fairly technologically sophisticated ¬†system when it was completed in 2007. I couldn’t map out how the boilers created steam and electricity at the same time, but I will never forget how many times I calculated those curved girders in order to describe them to the fabricators accurately enough.


I spent more than two years working on the project – first on the design team, then in charge of the construction process. For a year and a half I drove out to Western Massachusetts once a week to meet with the construction team and the client.

One interesting part of the brief was that the building wasn’t designed to for very many people to use it, but it was being built in a very prominent spot at the entrance to the campus, so it had to look good.¬† Continue reading “UMass Combined Heat and Power Plant”