Pavement to Parks – Perkins+Will Playland @ 43rd Ave.

6-16_PW_Playland-474-EditSan Francisco’s “Pavements to Parks” program is an incredible organization that is testing the possibilities of underutilized areas along San Francisco’s streets and public rights-of way. Designed to be public laboratories for the City to work with communities and test new ideas in public, the projects are meant to be temporary with a possibility of permanence.

Designed Pro-bono by Perkins + Will, “Playland at 43rd Avenue” is an awesome demonstration of how transformative this program can be.

6-16_PW_Playland-294-Edit-Edit6-16_PW_Playland-052-EditPavement to Parks, Perkins+Will, ©EmilyHagopian6-16_PW_Playland-398-Edit6-16_PW_Playland-217-Edit


Study of Space – SF Workspace

When I visit a site, inherently I want to study the environment to see how people flow through it. How do they occupy the space? Where do they gather? What furniture do they actually use? With all my work, the intention is to understand how humanity interacts with the design. After that is clear I can then populate my imagery with people as they would truly utilize the space.

This video studies both the environment and photographic process at 888 Brannan, designed by Gensler, and Airbnb’s Offices in San Francisco, by Interior Design Fair.

VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre – Perkins+Will

sustainable design, LEED, Living Building Challange, Organic ArchitectureIntegrating both organic architectural design and sustainable building practices, the VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre in Vancouver is by far the most beautiful project included in my study of deep green architecture thus far.
sustainable design, LEED, Living Building Challange, Organic ArchitectureDesigned by Perkins+Will and engineered by Integral Group, the VanDusen Visitor Centre was named the Most Sustainable Building of 2014 by World Architecture News and was Canada’s first project to apply for Living Building Certification. With LEED-NC-Platinum certification the structure was designed to be net-zero energy, net-zero waste, and net-zero water.
sustainable design, LEED, Living Building Challange, Organic ArchitectureIn photographing the VanDusen I really wanted to see if I could capture something a little bit more than had been captured in the past. Structurally the building is breathtaking, no doubt. However, could the careful addition of people into the imagery bring this space to life?  I think so…

6-16_VanDusen815-Edit 6-16_VanDusen444-Edit 6-16_VanDusen401-EditIt was such an honor to photograph this site and to continue giving the VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre the publicity it deserves. It is an exciting addition to my collection of Deep Green Building and has energized me to keep the project moving forward.

For the full photo shoot please visit the “New Work” gallery on my website:



The Heart of the Tenderloin

11-15_PerkinsWill_TenderloinMuseum-0147_FinalNow, don’t get me wrong. I love photographing high-profile commercial projects. But to be truly honest, the work that brings me the most joy are those that are actively working toward uplifting the community they serve.
Architecture and design firm Perkins+Will did an awesome pro-bono historic renovation for the new Tenderloin Museum in San Francisco. This project, though small in scale, has an impact beyond measure. Focused on the rich history of the Tenderloin, known as a seedier part of the city, this museum shines a light on the neighborhood’s role in shaping San Franciscan heritage and American culture over the years.
While on-site photographing this project it became clear that the locals have established a symbiotic relationship with the museum and its general manager—the museum staff and neighbors look out for each other, and the museum has become a safe-haven for the city’s most vulnerable residents. It was inspiring to see the real ways in which the museum honors the community they represent.

For more information about this project visit the Perkins + Will blog.







The Road to Net Zero


I recently had the privilege to photograph DPR’s Net Zero offices in San Francisco for USGBC+ magazine. First of it’s kind in the city, this beautiful workplace has three green walls, light-sensitive skylights, and colorful, open, modern design.

Net Zero means in the course of one year this 24,000 square foot building should generate MORE power than it needs.

Seems like an excellent precedent.

Picking up where my graduate thesis left off long ago, DPR is one of the first shoots to be included in my new personal project documenting extraordinary efforts in sustainable design. Another featured project will be the Bullit Center in Seattle which is the WORLDS GREENEST COMMERCIAL BUILDING.

…quite amazing…see my previous post.




4-15_DPR_USGBC_Portrait062Ted van der Linden – LEED AP BD+C







4-15_BullitCenter1_010Now this is something to get excited about…

The Bullit Center is an amazing demonstration in TRULY SUSTAINABLE DESIGN…no longer is less bad the only option.

Here is a list summarizing the extensive sustainability features this project demonstrates:

– Building Neurology – a computer system that is constantly monitoring and responding to the environment to ensure efficient control of heating/cooling, passive/mechanical ventilation, delighting and metabolic systems

– 575 Solar Panels to create a Net Zero Energy building

– Composting Toilets – That’s RIGHT! and it DOESN’T SMELL! or at least it didn’t when I was there…it’s AMAZING.

– Wastewater from sinks and showers are stored and then cleaned through a constructed wetland before being infiltrated back into the soil to recharge the local aquifer.

– Rainwater catchment – Eventually the building will use only the water it catches on site…they are currently working out regulations with the municipal water district…

– Central – Walk/Bike-able Location

– Natural lighting, radiant heating, active design, regenerative elevator….and much more…check out the website for the full details!



The Unconventional Convention Center

Last March I was between assignments in Dallas and decided to check out the Irving Convention Center designed by RMJM Hillier Architecture out in Las Collinas. The intention behind it’s design was to create a “non-conventional” convention center and I can attest that this goal was achieved.

This is a very unique structure, for sure. According to Wikipedia, “the Irving Convention Center is designed as two boxes, stacked and rotated to create cantilevered corners that provide several shaded outdoor areas for visitors to use.” This design, as well as the chosen materials, create a variety of angles and textures that resulted in an interesting set of compositions.

See for yourself…

3-15_IrvingConventionCenter_Texas218 3-15_IrvingConventionCenter_Texas196 3-15_IrvingConventionCenter_Texas092 3-15_IrvingConventionCenter_Texas199   3-15_IrvingConventionCenter_Texas117 3-15_IrvingConventionCenter_Texas150

Designed Motivation


I believe, and I think most of us can agree, that truly good design can create an environment people enjoy being a part of. A well designed space can inspire, motivate, and invigorate our spirit. I have found that being directly associated with good design also brings a sense of pride.

So when I photographed this health center, designed by Gensler, it just made sense….if you build a gym that people want to be associated with, provides an inspiring environment that invigorates them, they will WANT to come rather than feel obligated. See for yourself…



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Louis Vuitton Foundation – Paris

11-14_Paris_873While at the top of the Eiffel Tower I was looking out at the beautiful city of Paris surrounding me and I noticed a huge glass structure floating amongst the trees in what I later found out was the Jardin d’Acclimatation. I had no idea what it was, but I knew I had to see it in person. Turns out it was the Louis Vuitton Foundation designed by….can you guess….yes, Frank Gehry.

Now I know many architects who are critical of what they call Gehry’s “potato chip architecture” or his disregard for the building’s surroundings and climate….but even one of his toughest critics (who I shall not name) was very impressed with the unique use of steel, glass, and wood in this building. I have read that Gehry’s vision was to encapsulate the interior structure which he refers to as the “ice berg” with glass sails.

I had exactly 1 hour to shoot this with daylight and then an additional hour at dusk, but still managed to get some nice shots….family vacations make it a little tough to truly study a structure…needless to say there was a lot of running going on at dusk.



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My daughter was clearly unimpressed...

My daughter was clearly unimpressed… I think it was the lack of swings.


In November 2014 I had the awesome opportunity to take my family to Europe. We spent time in both Paris and Amsterdam. It was an amazing experience for all.

While in Amsterdam I decided to take a solo day trip to the city of Rotterdam, a unique architectural marvel in it’s efforts to expand and experiment with architectural design. Lucky for me I was connected with a local architect, Maki Oishim, who took me on a whirlwind bicycle tour where we were able to quickly visit a number of key architectural sites. All the images you will see below were taken between my arrival at 12:30pm and dark (approximately 5:00pm).

Now, please take into consideration that there was no “waiting for best light” this is drive by photography at it’s best.

Thank you Maki for taking me on this fun adventure!


Het Nieuwe Institute

Het Nieuwe Institute

Rotterdam Central Station

Rotterdam Central Station

Schouwburgplein Square

Rotterdam Central Station

Erasmus Bridge

Erasmus Bridge

Erasmus Bridge

Erasmus Bridge

Erasmus Bridge

Erasmus Bridge


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Market Hall Square

Market Hall Square


Cubic Houses

Cubic Houses

Interior of Youth Hostel in the Cubic Houses

Interior of Youth Hostel in the Cubic Houses

Cubic Houses

Cubic Houses

Rotterdam Central Station

Rotterdam Central Station



Rotterdam Central Station

Rotterdam Central Station

Rotterdam Central Station

Rotterdam Central Station