Novedge:Tell us a bit about who yourself and what you do.
Stephen Ramos: I am a Project Architect for LS3Pin Charleston South Carolina. At LS3P I work in a commercial studio with my primary focus on hotels and multi-family housing. My passion is Design, and I am fortunate that I get to lead the Design efforts on some great projects. Charleston is booming right now so it is a fun time to be an Architect. In January I started the blog "Buildings Are Cool" , so I guess I can now say that I am a blogger! Novedge: What is a recent project you have worked on with LS3P?
Stephen Ramos: The project that I am most excited about at this time is the Spectator Hotel. The Spectator is a 41-room high-end boutique hotel right in the heart of Charleston. Our team at LS3P worked tirelessly on the design with the goal to make the Spectator the best hotel in Charleston. That is a pretty tall order in a town with so many great hotels. The project is almost finished construction with an anticipated opening date of July 4th. It has been a dream to see the project come to life. In commercial design, it is common for projects to be shelved before ever reaching the construction stage. So when one does get built it is magical. Charlestowne Hotels will be managing the Spectator and they have done a lot of cool promotional things including this video. My first movie role!
Novedge: Your main focus is Commercial Architecture. What do you like about that?
Stephen Ramos: The biggest benefit of working in Commercial Architecture is the broad range of building types that it covers: multi-family, hotels, office, retail, and parking structures (plus others that I’m sure I have left out). At any one time, I will be working on projects of different type and different scales. Variety is the spice of life! The Catholic Diocese of Charleston Chapel
The Vendue Boutique Hotel
Novedge: What are the rewards and the challenges of working for a big Firm?
Stephen Ramos: oooh……..Thats a tough one. Big means you get to work with a lot of great people. And you will typically find more people with some sort of expertise. I look to my colleagues as resources and being surrounded by a bunch of all-stars is a great thing. I would also say that we have a lot of great toys at LS3P: the best software, plotters, 3D-printers, and ever expanding monitors throughout the office. The biggest challenge is that you are a small fish in a big sea. It is a little harder to make an impact. Change and evolution will take longer in a big firm.
Novedge: What software do you use at the office?
Stephen Ramos: We use Revit to design and document all of our projects. I feel like we were early adapters at LS3P. It has been at least 5 years since we became fully immersed in Revit. So much so, that I can barely even use AutoCAD any more! Revit has a ton of advantages but what I most appreciate is the 3D aspect. We do a lot of front end design work, and the 3D views are very helpful at testing design ideas; it also works great when trying sell those ideas to our clients. At LS3P we have gotten very good at producing photo realistic renderings with Revit. After we export the rendering from Revit we do a good bit of post-processing in Adobe Photoshop. The secret to any good computer rendering is Photoshop. Once in Photoshop we will layer the Revit rendering on top of an image of the actual building site. We will then add all of the entourage and accouterment! And voila'….sexy rendering!
Novedge: You write a Blog called "Buildings are Cool". The title gives us some idea…… but what exactly do you write about?
Stephen Ramos: I know right? How vague is that title? Well….I love Architecture and am a bit of a goofball. And the name Buildings Are Cool seemed like a great way to convey that. I post 2 blogs a week: one on Monday morning and one on Thursday morning. I have 3 goals for the blog: celebrate Architecture and Design, celebrate Charleston, and to celebrate our work at LS3P. Each blog I write is designed to support one or all of these goals. These three posts are a perfect example of the content I share: Design….It’s a process, South of Broad, and Architects RULE!
Novedge: I hear Architecture is not your only talent…..what else you are good at?
Stephen Ramos: Art has always been a passion of mine and is what ultimately lead me to Architecture. As a child, I always enjoyed drawing and trying different mediums. My mom is a great artist and I have to thank her for taking me to art classes and always supporting my artistic endeavors. Thanks Mom! Stunning portrait of Stephen's wife, Danielle. Rufus by Steven Ramos.
I really enjoy portrait painting and definitely have Warhol-esque tendencies. Color, brush stroke and scale are things that I like to ‘play with’ in my paintings.
Novedge: You started an Architectural Book Club. How do we get in and what are your latest book recommendations?
Stephen Ramos: I have a hard enough time convincing my friends to join the book club. It figures I have a taker half way around the world. Maybe I should start sharing our books on the site and then blog about it……..hmmmm…….Good idea Barbara. We have read a ton of great books in the ABC. Here are some of my favorites:
Between Silence and Light by Louis Kahn. This is one we just finished so it is fresh in my mind! Kahn was an amazing Architect and his writing is extremely poetic. It is fun and easy to read.
Interaction of Color by Josef Albers. Albers was a great artist and he gifted the world this wonderful book on color theory. When the ABC read this book, we divided the chapters and did the color exercises that Albers did with his students. Then we got together and shared them. It was awesome.
The Architect by James Williamson. Although this was fiction, it was extremely relevant to the day-to-day workings of an Architect. I strongly identified with many of the struggles that the Architect of the story had to face.
Novedge: We discovered your blog as one of the many voices in the #Architalk Series launched by Bob Borson and joined by many other familiar Architects/Bloggers. What is the best part about engaging in a conversation with other like minded professionals?
Stephen Ramos: I just got back from the AIA Convention in Atlanta and I am still floating on cloud 9. I actually met Bob Borson in person!!! I also got together with many of the other #Architalks bloggers. Being surrounded by that many like-minded individuals is very powerful. I have found all of the Architect Bloggers to be very supportive and it has created an amazing synergy. I can’t wait to attend next year’s Convention in Philadelphia.