modus studio

Despite my best intentions, my adherence to any kind of blogging “schedule” has quite handily gone out the window. What can I say – it’s been a busy few weeks, and I’m happy to say that it has been busy in all of the best ways. As mentioned earlier, I finished up my degree at Mississippi State University, and in mid June I was offered a job by an architecture firm in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The firm’s name is modus studio, and as they were one of the few firms in the region that I actively pursued, I was overjoyed to accept the offer.

For those who don’t know, Fayetteville is situated in Northwest Arkansas, nestled in a surprisingly beautifiul landscape between the Ozark and Boston mountains. The area is rich in culture both new and old, and while at times it is certainly evident that I am still in the South (just as many barbecue joints as churches), the region offers amenities hitherto unavailable to me. If you’re an outdoorsman, the trails, rivers, and forests that are within an hour or two drive can’t be beat. And while it is technically a college town (home to University of Arkansas), it’s several times the size of my old college town and remains quite active even during the summer. The weather is cooler and the air is fresher, and overall I am super pumped to be here.

All of this, of course, is bypassing the surprisingly strong architectural presence in the region. The school of architecture at the university is named after Fay Jones, designer of the famous Thorncrown Chapel and student of Frank Lloyd Wright. His influence can be seen everywhere, although his limelight is shared by the town’s current star, Marlon Blackwell. Blackwell’s work beautifully exhibits what happens when a talented designer is immersed for years in a place as culturally rich as Arkansas. His buildings are simultaneously modern and old-fashioned, as they employ simple, regional materials to create elegant compositions and generous gestures. His work is fantastic, and I am honored to say I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with him.

There is more than one way to skin a cat, however, and modus has begun to show that other designers in the area can thrive even amidst such competition. The firm is young (about to have our fifth birthday!) and small, and it is unlike any other firm I’ve worked for. I hesitate to use the term “coworkers” for the other people in the office, because to do so would be to do disservice to the friendship, energy, and respect that I feel working at modus. I look forward to going to work every day, and the working environment is such that I find myself wanting to put in more hours and effort than what is asked of me.

I’ve done a handful of different tasks since starting (including help to publish a monograph of their work – stay tuned!), many of which have involved learning new methods, new softwares, new techniques, etc. I’m currently working with one of the principals in the firm on an elementary school, and I’ve been trying my hand at 3ds Max rendering. It was a pretty steep learning curve, but with a little bit (read: a hell of a lot) of Photoshop, I wager the end results aren’t looking too shabby.

13.21 - flippin - entrance aerial

13.21 - flippin - entrance ground

In other news, I finally received my Leap motion controller, and with a little help from Andy Payne’s Firefly components for Grasshopper, I’ve managed to set up a few interesting gestural modeling demos in Rhino. Post to follow…

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