life, edited

September 3rd 2015 Comments: 17

Downsizing – people my age (53 if you must know) talk about it but seldom actually do it. It only seems to really happen when the kids drag us kicking and screaming into the retirement home. I’ve just completed the final round of two episodes of downsizing so I feel … [read more]

McAlpine Journal: Life, Edited

Start Spreading the News

August 27th 2015 Comments: 4

I do want to announce that my McAlpine partners and I will be speaking at various design events in New York City this Fall.  The first one is happening on September 17th at the Dennis Miller showroom and will feature Ray Booth and myself on a panel discussing collaboration in … [read more]

McAlpine Journal: Join Us

Dorm Follows Function

August 20th 2015 Comments: 18

Well, this one happened to be my kid. You see, my wife and I just moved our daughter into her very first dorm room at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Of course, prior to this I insisted upon drawing the floor plan of her meager chamber so we could scheme … [read more]

McAlpine Journal: Dorm Room

Chimney Effects

August 13th 2015 Comments: 1

Take the elemental act of building a fire – necessary warmth produces unnecessary smoke. A simple pipe or hole in the roof is all that is needed to provide escape for sooty pollutants. Problem solved. Over time, however, the once-humble smokestack has evolved into a lauded architectural element. The chimney … [read more]

McAlpine Journal: Chimney Effect

Pre-Writing History

August 6th 2015 Comments: 1

I’d like to expand on that because it’s something we like to call “built-in history”. In other words, we’ll create deliberate situations in our design where it appears a house has been renovated over time or added onto. This immediately gives a spanking brand new building an artificially curated history. … [read more]

McAlpine Journal: Pre-Writing History

Advanced Aging

July 30th 2015 Comments: 3

Fashion may fare well in pop culture and technology but in architecture, it just looks shallow and desperate. After all, buildings should not be disposable goods. Developers often talk of building lifespan. Just look at shopping centers as an example. They open their door with an expiration date built in. … [read more]

McAlpine Journal: Advanced Aging

Open House: Under the Carolina Sun

July 16th 2015 Comments: 8

In Frances Mayes’ book Under The Tuscan Sun, the protagonist of the story finds herself renewed after the impulsive act of purchasing and restoring a villa in Italy. This house’s story was not one of wanderlust but of roots; our particular hero built this home with his deep roots in … [read more]

McAlpine Journal: Open House


July 9th 2015 Comments: 3

The 30A corridor of Florida’s panhandle is hot. No, not just because it’s July on the Gulf Coast. It’s because this area’s beach real estate market continues to set new design standards. It began with the picturesque ‘New Urban Development” of Seaside in the mid 1980s. Rosemary Beach quickly followed … [read more]

McAlpine Journal: Model

American Idyll

July 2nd 2015 Comments: 6

Scores of bucolic lakes pepper the landscape of this great country so once the pilgrims figured out how to survive (thanks Native Americans), the next step in American evolution was kicking it back lakeside.  We dragged along with us tents and then erected meager huts, simple places to shelter us … [read more]

McAlpine Journal: Holidays

Television Settings

June 25th 2015 Comments: 15

Ask any architect or designer what influences them most and they’ll ramble on about the most esoteric things – travel to exotic lands, operatic arias, paintings and sculpture. Few fail to notice what truly inspires them most is intrinsically ingrained in them: it was the way they grew up. Growing … [read more]

McAlpine Journal: TV