Community Service in Buckeye, Arizona

Community Service in Buckeye, Arizona

Demolition derby is once again upon us in Buckeye, Arizona.  The event is this Saturday Nov 22 at 7 pm.   This event has been part of Buckeye for over the past 20+ years.  As the contestants are getting their vehicles ready to mash them up and put another notch in their fan belt, members of the Buckeye Rotary and Buckeye Main Street Coalition were prettying up the beer both that resides at the Helzapoppin Rodeo Arena.


Besides sitting in the sun and painting a beer booth (The ironic thing is I don’t even drink beer) for an entire day reminiscing about Ralph Macchio in the Karate Kid, what did I gain from this experience?

Community involvement is definetely a fun and awarding way to work along people in your community.  Usually work meetings come and go and topics are mainly business and politics, but sharing the day with others while working on something collectively that improves your City makes you even more proud of where you live.  What other City can you go to an event and Mayor Meck calls you by name.

Way to go Jay Broadbent

Way to go Jay Broadbent with Powers Leavitt Insurance

Remaking of the steps

Remaking of the steps, Dave,Austin and Candi Rioux with Buckeye Plumbing

Lara Serbin painting the pickets

Lara Serbin painting the pickets

Taking a break to have some fun!

Lily Serbin Taking a break to have some fun!

Charlene Powers painting the wood planking

Charlene Hopkins Broadbent of Powers Leavitt Insurance,  painting the wood planking

Jeff Serbin getting a bit too detailed

Jeff Serbin getting a bit too detailed

The beer booth, an attraction for the demolition derby, known for raising College scholarship funds by the Buckeye Rotary Club by selling beer, looked like it had gone through its own derby and was in need of some TLC.  Years of weathered siding  was re-branded like a cow.

So apropo!

So apropo!  Thanks Ron Noble from Buckeye Feed and Country Store  for making a great door

Beer booth before

Beer booth before

Did you know, the rodeo is coming back to the Helzapoppin’ Arena in January 2015 so get your irons out.  We don’t want any stray cows running through downtown Buckeye, except for the Parade organized by the Buckeye Main Street Coalition on Monroe Avenue that occurs during that afternoon.

Through months of planning, working closely with the Buckye Rotary, we came up with some enhancements to make the Saloon a bit more attractive.  With a reality check of budget and constructability issues, we begin our fury of work this weekend.

Beer Booth concept, now the "Saloon"

Beer Booth concept, now the “Saloon”

One thing we learned was that 7 gallons of paint can be your best friend, if slowly applied and well brushed.  Some of us tackled the inside with new lighting and power and others tackled the outside.  Thanks to a local artist, Ron Clarke, the beer booth was re-branded as a “Saloon”.

Saloon.  Anyone have some horns we can mount on top?

Saloon. Anyone have some horns we can mount on top?  Let Lara know.

Over time we will be adding further elements to make this unique to Buckeye, Arizona.  Now all of you will know where to go before and after the derby to say hello to all the Buckeye Rotarian’s serving up some nice cold ones.

After attending the event, it was an eye opener to see all that attended and to witness the activity around the Saloon.  It just goes to show that clear signage is important to people know what you may be doing, which in this case was selling beer.  All proceeds from this Rotary event go to a B.U.H.S. Scholarship fund.  That is Buckeye Union High School Folks.

Beer both 'almost' after

Beer booth After

Night of the Demolition Derby November 22, 2014

Night of the Demolition Derby November 22, 2014

Restaurant Design

Restaurant Design

Super Bowl 2015  has created a push for restaurant design in and around Westgate City Center  in Glendale, Arizona. Westgate is anchored by a 2-story AMC Theatre and University of Phoenix Stadium.  We are working with J.J. Girn , an entrepreneur and franchisor of Fresh Healthy Café  a new dining experience moving into the Entertainment District at Westgate. During the design phase of this project I had decided to see Malifacent the movie with my kids. To kill time we hung out in the splash pad area. As I looked to find the empty suite where Fresh was going to be located I noticed how big and bold Buffalo Wings signage was.  It occurred to me that we needed to make sure the signage on Fresh was just as bright and tall.

2014_024-signage concept #2_08_12_14.psd


It is important to use contrast so signage will read correctly.  Look at the photo on the left above, the yellow lettering really POPS!  Fresh Healthy Cafe uses bright lime green and white for their branding so the sign will be able to compete with Buffalo Wild Wings.  I was against putting the signage on the gray block wall being that it would be too far back from Wings lettering.  This just proves how important it is to look at your design from every angle not just as if you were standing in front of the storefront looking straight on. Or even worse never getting out to see a movie!  Most people will take 6 seconds to make up their mind about the visual message of a storefront. You have to convey a positive attraction quickly or it is a design failure.  Like a friendly wave saying “Come on over here, I am clean and fun inside!”

71118 Fresh Healthy.cdr

The rendering above is what the final design will look like.  We thank Bootz and Duke Signage Company for helping us make this a reality.

Most of the equipment to make the healthy wraps, smoothies and salads was established when we first came on board. We took the concept from  Fresh Healthy Cafe and then verified clearances, finalized finishes, light fixture layout and the design of the outdoor patio eating area. We satisfied all the code requirements and worked with the building management and City of Glendale.  We even helped our client select the building contractor.  We spoke with the candidates past clients to ensure this build out will be complete in time for the BIG GAME!

Meaningful Design

Meaningful Design

When designing anything it must be functional and meaningful.  The photo below is a stop shot. That’s when I make whoever is driving stop the car so I can take a photo.  The architect probably used this 1960’s CMU pattern on many of their buildings back in the day.   But someone creative added the sweet colors so it caught my eye. Is it meaningful? Yes, it keeps the rain out of the inside of the building and heavily armed knights charging the wall with x-calibers.


It is easy to get caught up in design especially architecture and forget that people are actually going to use your design after you leave your new building or whatever you designed. The photos below are from the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.  I like this exhibit because it reminds the visitor of playing with cars.  I always like when collections of any kind are showcased.  To make it more meaningful and fun they could design a ramp and let you race cars. The orange track has the cars permanently mounted. Cool but too static and boring.

cars   cars_02   cars_03

 You need to look at the problem from a different angle or a different outfit.   Stepping back is a good way to do this.  Changing into flip flops and shorts could work too.   Ask a friend for their perspective.

chahuli chahuli_2

The Collections Cafe in Seattle is a great example of meaningful design. Forgive me for not listing the designer, whoever you are… Can I be you? You rock!  Suspended accordions, vintage transistor radios, and creepy yard sale poodle statues are all part of Dale Chihuly’s private collection.  Hence the name of the Cafe. Crazy I know! It was a sequential understanding of one artist’s work. First you start in the dark gallery where the glass art is the main focus. Then you have lunch at this cozy cafe and absorb visual clues of Chihuly’s inspirations for his work.  I could imagine him looking around at flea markets in hopes of finding another fishing lure for his extensive collection.


The menu design is wonderful too with a continuation of shapes and color.  The whole design package is a design win!




New Brochure for Buckeye Main Street Coalition

New Brochure for Buckeye Main Street Coalition

There I was watching our final brochure getting printed out at lightening speed today.  This brochure is the second try at coming up with a brochure for Buckeye Main Street Coalition.  We are a group that volunteers our time to make Down Town Historic Buckeye look better. We want new and current businesses to thrive on Buckeye Main Street.


This is a big ass printer at a place called in downtown Phoenix.  Shelly Butler, with Forms Management is a Buckeye girl who helped us find the right place to print this vertical accordian style double sided brochure.  The place was on Grand Avenue and 27th Avenue which is pretty industrial place. So I found out that Grand Avenue really has an end point today. It ends at Indian School Road.  Now you can all sleep.


Everything looked so sharp and the colors were really deep.  I did notice the sky could have been blended a bit better because the cowboy photo was not quite tall enough. So only you and I know. Next printing I guess. No one will care except for me.  Even the horse hair is so crazy sharp.



So one side has photos of fun things to do in Buckeye like go to a demolition derby, get a burger at Cafe 25:35, go to a car show, buy some jeans at Saba’s Western Store and have 99 cent tacos at La Placita Cafe.  Then on the flip side is the map with location dots.  We tried to squeeze everyone on there.  If you are not on there just call me up and we will put you on there for the next printing.

There are so many printing options.  I think as being the graphic designer it helps to go and watch how it is actually printed. By visiting a print house it is a great way to learn about new finishes, colors and formats.  There were so many exciting projects going on at once at Lithotech today.  There is a lot that happens behind the scenes.  It is isn’t as easy as design a brochure and poof it magically appears at your doorstep as a folded brochure.  There are many steps to the finished product.  Right now our brochure is probably waiting to get the bleeded edges cut off and then folded.


As architects, our virtual world we design eventually becomes a reality.  At least that is what our intentions are when designing the built environment (buildings).  We have many numerous tools, such as  complex computer programs like REVIT, a 3dimensional modeling program more difficult to fly than a 777 Boeing airplane  OR   Sketchup, equivalent to hopping on the neighbors bike for the first time and going for a joy ride.  Whatever tool is your fancy, we can develop ideas into a virtual reality.

Center for the Arts

REVIT – Center for the Arts

About 10 years ago, I stumbled across TV glasses.  Skymall made it mainstream or so it tried, but the cost of the glasses were outside the reach of many.  It gave opportunity to immerse oneself into a world of movies or tv with little periphery distraction.  It’s displays however were still like watching a tv set, not following the motion of your head.  I thought it would be a cool idea to take this technology and use it somehow to present architectural ideas, but it was too premature.



Fast Forward 2012, Oculus Rift is developed, eventually purchased on March 25, 2014 by Facebook for 2 billion dollars to develop further for gaming platforms and other yet to be explored uses.  It contains LCD screens and 3-axis gyros, accelerometers and magnetometers to track head movement.  This allows the user to look around virtual worlds.


As an Architect, I have dreamed up scenario’s in which I could utilize a technology such as this to present my ideas.  Imagine developing designs in 3dimensions and incorporating this into a world that is becoming more digitized (Google Streets).  What if we could join the two together into a virtual presentation.

Imagine walking down a virtual street while a designer presents before and after views of the streetscape.  This would enable a designer to express their ideas with more reality.

Before Image

Before Image

After remodel image

After remodel image


This could further be enhanced by entering a 3dimensional virtual world of a building, highlighting the spaces to get a sense of the spatial relationships.  I envision this not in an exact replica of reality, but more in a conceptual stage to convey ones ideas.  I feel that is has to be simple and affordable so designers can incorporate this into their projects.  Having to use someone who specializes only in creating virtual reality presentations will only stunt the creativity process.  Here is just one example of my virtual world, created in sketchup without holding onto the handlebars.


Now imagine if YOU could control where you walked and what direction you were looking in.

Remember, this is not reality, but virtual reality.

I am excited what the future has in store, are you?


Architects depend on presentation to convey their ideas to their clients.  Presentations come in many facets, from hand drawn images on paper, computer generated drawings shown on a screen and physical models.

Buckeye Park and Ride

Watercolor of Buckeye Park and Ride


LACMA – Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Peter Zumthor’s Design Model


But what we really want is virtual reality to go places that are developed in our minds yet not here.  Architects have been creating virtual reality in their sketchbooks and drawings boards for ages but today we are even closer to further immerse ourselves into the worlds we create.


Computer gaming has shown us that we can escape into the various worlds.  Some games I have seen are fairly detailed and there are examples that are highly fantasy.


As movies develop further and video becomes more advanced, people are developing ways to bring a virtual reality into a new dimension.  Just check out what the people at AV Solutions have developed to create this holographic virtual world.




The artfulness of hand drawn images are becoming a thing of the past.  We used to pride ourselves in our office that we still produced water color images of our designs, however there has been a shift to put the pencil down and really focus on what technology can do for us.

Every so often, I see an article in an architectural magazine with a STARCHITECT stating that the art of hand drawings is being lost to the computer, but if you notice they are usually 80+ years old.  They  never learned the art of the computer.  I don’t believe they are wrong, just right for themselves.  One must realize that technology is just another tool for the modern architect to convey their designs.

“The computer is wonderful for certain things, but it is hard for your mind and hand to work together unless you continue to draw …  they don’t have to be beautiful drawings, just get it down.  It is your language, you cannot give it up”    Michael Graves


If you grew up using DRAWSOMETHING2, imagine how good you would be creating those images once only possible with pen, pencil or brush.  You can now “let your fingers do the walking”, (another quote from past time) and create master pieces.  I’ve seen some amazing renderings watching my kids play DRAWSOMETHING2.

As the STARCHITECT’S are getting younger and developing their careers during the computer age, I believe we will hear less of the grumbling about the pencil being lost and more about embracing new ways to present our ideas.

To be continued …………………………………….