S03E02.3 PKN Pittsburgh vol. 20 – Maranie Rae Staab

This is the third of three interviews for Pecha Kucha Night Pittsburgh, vol. 20. It’s with photographer Maranie Rae Staab.

Before we get going, check out the Facebook page for PechaKucha Night Pittsburgh for details about the event.

And subscribe to the podcast on iTunes so you don’t miss the other two interviews.

Maranie Rae is a photojournalist and has been documenting social issues with her camera for the past few years. Here’s a small selection of photos from her website.

Women of Uganda

Children of Uganda

A Ugandan Wedding


Click any of those and find more at maranierae.com.

Contact her on any of these:


Maranie has several social issues that she is working to raise awareness on including acid attacks on women [graphic image warning] and human trafficking. She is involved with a Pittsburgh-based NGO called “The Project to End Human Trafficking”. Visit their website to find out how you can help.

And as always, subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

*Updated on 4/3/2016 to include video of PKN v20.


S03E02.1 PKN Pittsburgh vol. 20 – Gwyn Cready

This is the first of three interviews for Pecha Kucha Night Pittsburgh, vol. 20. It’s with RITA Award winning author Gwyn Cready.

Before we get going, check out the Facebook page for PechaKucha Night Pittsburgh for details about the event.

And subscribe to the podcast on iTunes so you don’t miss the other two interviews.

Gwyn is working on a memoir of her sister’s life, who died at an early age. At PKN, she will be sharing a “chapter” from that memoir about her mother and stepmother.

She’s also written several romance novels. You can buy her latest, Just in Time for a Highlander, on Amazon, B&N, Indiebound, and others.

Find out more on her website, or on Facebook, or on Twitter, where she will be live-tweeting episodes of Outlander during April and May.

Visit the Women Read, Women Write page to find out more about the next event.

And as always, subscribe to the podcast on iTunes

*Updated on 4/3/16 to include video of PKN v20

S03E01 LIVE! Storey Telling v.01

We have something totally different to start out the third season of Design:interviewed. A live event that I put together with the members of the Young Architects Forum in Pittsburgh, with the help of Eric Fisher. And before we get started, if you’re new to the show, please subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

The blurb:

Mentors are invaluable to any profession, sharing their experience with the next generation. Architects are gifted storytellers, through their words and the forms they create. Storey Telling combines both, creating a way for mentees to connect with compatible mentors through personal experience. At every Storey Telling event, architects and designers share a short personal story on a theme. After, they are available to connect with mentees after over drinks and light fare.

Four people were kind enough to come out and share a story.

Emily Putas, a fellow YAF member, Syracuse alum and employed at Stantec (formerly Burt Hill, may it rest in peace).

Freddie Croce, founding parter at inter*Architecture, CMU professor and previous podcast guest.

John Barbera, another Syracuse alum, employed at Penner and Associates Architects (where we worked together for a spell).

Eric Fisher, Harvard man, founding principal of FISHER ARCHitecture, gracious host for this event, and another previous podcast guest.

Fun fact: John was a teaching assistant when completing his Master’s at Syracuse, and assisted in teaching Emily who was working on her undergrad. They didn’t expect to meet each other at this event. It’s a small world after all.

Everyone had so much fun, here are some pictures to prove it.

View this post on Instagram

@yafpgh Here is John Barbera's turn! @aiapgh

A post shared by YAFpgh (@yafpgh) on

Bea Spolidoro took all of the photos, special thanks to her. She’s also on the YAF Committee with me. Here’s how to connect with us if you’re a Young Architect in Pittsburgh:

Request to join the Facebook Group
Visit our corner of the AIA Pittsburgh website
Follow on Twitter: @YAFpgh
and on Instagram: @YAFpgh

Get your tickets to the next PKN event before they sell out.

And as always, subscribe to the podcast on iTunes

S02E07 Clayton Merrell

Clayton Merrell is on the show to talk about, among other things, his ongoing project at the Pittsburgh International Airport.

That project is a piece of public art done in terrazzo and will cover the entire center core when finished.

For reference, the tops of the escalators that bring you into the center core are at the right side of the left-most rectangle.

Intricate patterns are possible with careful workmanship, like the river that runs through the food court.

S02E07 Terrazzo tour_01 enlarged food court

The terrazzo is laid out like a paint-by-number, with metal transition strips separating each of the 13 colors. Clayton completed the drawings using a Wacom tablet, which were then cut into full-size pieces of corrugated plastic that fit together like a puzzle.

S02E07 Terrazzo tour_02 no paint

Photo Credit: Bob Grubb


Then they were painted with orange paint so that the transition strips could be laid out after the plastic was removed.

S02E07 Terrazzo tour_03 with paint

Photo Credit: Bob Grubb


If you have 1.5 extra acres in your backyard and want to replicate Clayton’s design, maybe you can fish through the airport dumpsters for the next few months, looking for the used plastic templates. I’m sure that won’t get you arrested.

Once the transition strips are laid out, the spaces between are labeled with the color they are to receive …

S02E07 Terrazzo tour_05 PBN

… and then filled in.

S02E07 Terrazzo tour_06 filled

Don’t worry, the colors are much more vibrant once the floor is polished:

S02E07 Terrazzo tour_07 polished

Photo Credit: Bob Grubb


When finished, you can follow the trails of different flying machines around the airport.

S02E07 Terrazzo tour_08 apparatus

Photo Credit: Bob Grubb


If you visit the airport right now, you’ll see the project in all phases, from the original tile being removed to preparing the concrete underneath to receive the terrazzo and the locating of utilities.

This is Clayton’s biggest public art project and it was partially inspired by his experimentation with covering a sphere with layers of paint, then peeling that paint so that it would lay flat.

And despite an initial avoidance he’s done a lot with landscapes. On the show he talks about using a technique of placing hard-edged “cartoon” objects in otherwise classical scenes.

You can see more of his work on his website, or keep an eye out for exhibitions in the area.

Or take one of his classes at CMU.

And as always, subscribe to the podcast on iTunes (link opens in iTunes)

S02E06 Kahmeela Adams Friedson and the 48 Hour Film Project

Today we hear from Kahmeela Adams Friedson about her work with the 48 Hour Film Project. We also chat with a participant in the project, Andrew Wolf.

Andrew and I go way back. See his entry for the Pittsburgh 2014 48 Hour Film Project here, called Stiff: A Living Statue’s Tale:

He is participating in the horror film project with Cipher Eye Media. Their entry is called Begin the Sanguine and will be screened on October 25. Details below.

Kahmeela is a busy woman. Keep up with her at her website, Rugged Angel, and follow her on Twitter @The_RuggedAngel.

In addition to running the Pittsburgh chapter of the 48 Hour Film Project, she has a day job at MCG Jazz.

And she’s promoting the science fiction movie Coherence:

Like I said. Busy woman.

Here’s the details for the screening of the horror films:

Sat Oct 25 6pm to 10pm
18 short horror films all made in 48 hours.
The Hollywood Theater $10 or 2 for $15
Complimentary beverages provided by Clique Vodka


Here’s the short film that we mentioned in the show, it should whet your appetite for Saturday:

And as always, subscribe to the podcast on iTunes (link opens in iTunes)

S02E05.5 Freddie Croce

In case you missed the last episode where I teased this talk with Freddie Croce you can get caught up here.

Freddie lives and works in Garfield at inter*ARCHITECTURE. We each independently had the idea for a logo consisting of 2 letters and a punctuation mark. Great minds, I guess.

I hope to update this page soon with some of the images that Freddie used in his presentation, so check back soon.

Until then, subscribe to the podcast on iTunes (link opens in iTunes)

S02E05 PKN Pittsburgh vol. 19 Presenters

Today on the show we have four of the presenters for PechaKucha Night happening this Thursday, October 9: Addy Smith-Reiman, Freddie Croce, Julie Mallis and Nikki Dy-Liacco.

Come out and see these people present. They’ll be joining many others, including Phyllis Kim, who you remember from last time.

PKN vol. 19 takes place on October 9 at 6:20 pm at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Center, 805 Liberty Ave in Downtown Pittsburgh. Admission is $15 and includes, drinks, eats, and entertainment.

To start out the show we have a fun audio tour of the sand casting process. Here are the pictures that accompany that tour.

S02E05_Tour forms

the forms, made of high density foam, sitting inside a flask

a tool for packing sand, and some more flasks

a tool for packing sand, and some more flasks

the resin

the resin

the mixer. you'll be hearing a lot from the mixer

the mixer. you’ll be hearing a lot from the mixer

scrap iron ...

scrap iron …

S02E05_Tour iron2

to be broken down …

... all the way down

… all the way down

… so it can be melted to be poured into the sand casts. Hope you enjoyed the tour.

First we hear from Nikki Dy-Liacco. When she’s not working for DDI, she’s looking at cities through their lamp posts.

See more in her Facebook album.

Julie Mallis’ digital prints can be seen on her website. I like this one a lot …

… but they’re all good. Make sure you check out the moving images, too.

She’s got a million other things going on, too. Like helping run BOOM Concepts (who you can like on Facebook), or her collaboration with DS Kinsel, Magic Organs (getting some press here).

Freddie Croce runs inter*ARCHITECTURE with his wife, Jennifer Lucchino. More on him in the near future.

Addy Smith-Reiman is a Master Gardener working with Rivers of Steel to highlight the plant life at the Carrie Furnace.

She’s with creating the plaques which will be poured on October 25. Details here.

I recently took a tour of the Carrie Furnace, I wrote about it here.

It turns out I had a picture of some plant life creeping in:

S02E05_Carrie FernAce

That’s all for this time. As always, subscribe to the podcast on iTunes (link opens in iTunes)

S02E04 CLX – Jessie Rommelt, Lillian Denhardt, Phyllis Kim

Today I talk to the founders of the Creative Labor Exchange, Jessie Rommelt, Lillian Denhardt and Phyllis Kim

Come to the launch party on September 5th, 2014, at Bunker Projects (5106 Penn Ave).

Visit their website: [http://www.clxpgh.org/]

Join the Facebook group: [https://www.facebook.com/groups/creativelaborexchange/]

Read the essay by Casey Droege that I quoted in the monologue.

Find out more about Bunker Projects, another endeavor co-founded by Jessie Rommelt.

You can get your own cricket cookies here, and there are energy bars made with cricket flour out there as well. And maybe someday you won’t think eating bugs is gross. Until then, Jessie recommends the movie Snowpiercer, where they evidently make some kind of gross sounding plum jelly out of bugs for the “other half” to eat.

Your reading assignment about James Rhodes, the pianist Phyllis brought up towards the end. Book Club!

If you still haven’t, subscribe to the podcast on iTunes (link opens in iTunes)

S02E03 Jen Bee

Today I have for you my first full hour with a female designer, Jen Bee.

This interview was recorded prior to the passing of Gary Carlough, co-founder of Edge Studio where my guest today developed her love for restaurant design. He also taught at my alma mater, Carnegie Mellon University. He was a force in the Pittsburgh design community and he will be missed.

Lindsay Grauvogel works for ThoughtForm Design, and has her own website. If you all else fails you should just show up at a PKN event, she’s probably presenting.

Her video and blog series will show up right here once it is the future and those things are real.

Speaking of PKN, vol 18 is happening probably right now! If you already missed it, there will be more. Try the facebook page for more details.

Jen and I talked a bit about sexism and feminism in architecture. I’ve assembled a sampling of related readings from around the internet, such as The Onion, Design Observer, and Architecture Record. There’s also another podcast, KCRW’s DnA, that had a good segment, and I also wrote a satirical post for my own blog. That should get you started.

Jen’s first dream job: working for James Cutler at Cutler-Anderson Architects. There are interviews with and books about him to be read, for the curious.

Jen used to drive an ice cream bike like this one:

… except hers had the cooler on the back.

Now she designs things that sell food, but out of buildings, not out of coolers. They’re called restaurants, like Spoon in Penn Circle:

Spoon, selected as one of the top 10 new restaurants in the U.S. in a 2011 publication

… and Blue Line Grille in Uptown:

Blue Line Grille, voted best new bar in Pittsburgh

If you’re like Jen and me and you want to sketch more, use the hashtag #5minutesketch on Twitter and Instagram.

Whoever you are, the AIA needs people like you to help make it work. If you’re an architect or concerned citizen interested in getting involved check out the Young Architect’s Forum or any of the other committees. And of course, you can always email: info@aiapgh.org

If you still haven’t, subscribe to the podcast on iTunes (link opens in iTunes)

S02E02 PKN Pittsburgh vol. 17 Presenters

UPDATED: 6/3/2014 with video

Today’s podcast is a special episode, featuring five of the presenters for Pecha Kucha Night Pittsburgh, vol. 17.

If you count the full hour I did with Eric Fisher last year that means over half of the presenters have been on the show.

PKN vol 17 is this Thursday, April 3, 2014 at the Pittsburgh Filmmakers Melwood Screening Room. Admission is $15 for AIA/AIGA members, $20 for non-members and includes drinks and snacks. Doors open at 7:20, don’t miss it! More details can be found at AIA Pittsburgh’s website, or like the page on Facebook.

And don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes (link opens in iTunes)

Christine Holtz is a photographer teaching at Robert Morris University.

An example of one of her interior landscapes:

For more information about Allegheny CleanWays, visit their website. [http://www.alleghenycleanways.org/programs]

Corey Escoto is an artist currently exploring photography and sculpture. He teaches at Chatham University.

Examples of the photographs he has made using the technique he discusses on the show as well as other works can be found on his website. [http://www.coreyescoto.com/#]

Casey Droege is an artist who teaches several courses at the Art Institute and Carnegie Mellon University. She also organizes several events for artists in the city of Pittsburgh.

SIX x ATE is a dinner and lecture series which you may have to travel to be a part of this year.

Shares of CSA PGH are available now. [http://www.csapgh.com/]

You can see more of her work at her website. [http://www.caseywhat.com/]

Anne Jackson is an information designer who took the long road to becoming involved with creating a poster exhibition with the AIGA.

The poster exhibition needs funding! Check out the Beyond Borders page at the AIGA website for updates about how you can help. [http://www.aiga.org/beyond-borders/]

You could be a part of bringing posters like this to the United States, maybe even to Pittsburgh:

Follow her on Twitter, @annedesigns.

Blaine Siegel is an artist currently exploring “volume, breath and impermanence” in his work, which currently includes sculpture, video and set design.

Go see Dream Body at 709 Penn Avenue.

Buy a share of CSA PGH.

And go see The Ubiquitous Mass of Us at the New Hazlett Theater:

And why not visit his website as well. [http://blainesiegel.com/home.html]