new site

17 January 2011

I may resume posting personal thoughts here, but a lot of my focus will be over at the APPALACH Design Workshop site, so be sure to check it out.

haiti orphanage section

30 September 2010

the future?

11 August 2010

Daydreaming and messing around with with logo and name concepts for my possible future firm. "Appalach" is the fictional root word of the mountains I love. I've used it around the internets for a while a user name and it's become a familiar alias, so why not? The logo is supposed to be a folded plane (a design motif I love) and also an abstraction of the way our mountain ridges line up in ascending blues on a clear day. I like "workshop"- it has a hands-on connotation. And hopefully I would offer contracting and fabrication services as well as design, so I thought it'd be appropriate. I see a drafting table next to a table saw... my kind of firm.

cool student project video

05 June 2010

Interesting integrated concept- I love the idea of intelligently recontextualizing a strip mall. Also, the best integration of computer modeling and sketch diagrams I've seen yet. Really gives you a good feel for the process they went through. And make sure watch the very end- I really hope they included that in the presentation to their professors. I would have loved to present a project this way in school.

knoxville's bowery

13 May 2010

originally posted a

photo credit:

I've been reading Metro Pulse's "Ask Doc Knox" blog and I've been fascinated by the arcane history of this town. And it's brought something to mind.

First off, I love downtown. I work on Market Square, I love my neighborhood Mechanicsville. But... if I have a free sunny afternoon you'll find me heading down to the Old City for a cigar and a pint. I think that sitting in the corner booth of Patrick Sullivan's is maybe as close to the spiritual center of "Knoxvilleness" as one can get. It is the oldest building in the city, after all. The Old City vies with some of the best urban neighborhoods I've been able to find in other cities.

photo credit:

I could go on about the charm of the district, but let's get to the point- as I've grown to love the Old City, I've tried to learn more about it. Jack Neely and "Doc Knox" (if they aren't truly one and the same) have helped me get a feel for its rough and tumble history. And, it it's proper name: The Bowery.

Back in the small original urban renaissance of Knoxville in the 1980s, the Bowery needed sprucing up. Perhaps longer than anywhere else, the "Suttree version" of Knoxville survived at the intersection of Jackson and Central (rumor has it that this area is where you'll be most likely to run into Cormac McCarthy when he's in town). It was a somewhat dangerous place, like the New York neighborhood it was probably named after. I've heard stories of prostitutes keeping shop above the old saloon, dragging half drunk winos up the stairs for business. Most of the gunfights in our city's history happened down there.

You can see how the early urban revivalists wanted to distance themselves from the Bowery's reputation. What better than a new name for the district? So, as I understand it, "Old City" was born. Never mind that near the river is the oldest part of the city. Out with the old, in with the new jazz clubs and lofts.

I'm not knocking the Kendrick and the preservationists. They did what they had to. Under it's new moniker, the Old City has risen, fallen, risen, fallen, and risen again. It has become the neighborhood I love. But it's been twenty years and "Old City" seems to me a bit contrived like "Happy Meadows" is for a subdivision. We need to embrace our past, even the gritty parts, and celebrate it. It's time to have a Bowery again.

From now on I'm calling the district around Jackson and Central The Bowery. Maybe I'm pseudo-nostalgic for a time when I'd probably have been murdered down there. We'll see if it catches on.


06 May 2010

I forgot about this one. A while back my friend Cullin ran as a write in candidate for Knox County Comissioner. I made this graphic for him, parodying that iconic Obama graphic, which in turn imitated this one.