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Lewis Wadsworth
Works at LW4
Attended Yale School of Architecture
Lives in Boston, Massachusetts
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Lewis Wadsworth

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I see demons.

No, not really. Someone's "Android Experiment" (written in that hipster artistic version of Java Processing no less):

https://www.androidexperiments.com/experiment/elements

There's no way to capture the image other than to grab a screenshot, so that's what we have here. There's a limitation in symmetry, as well...eventually the pattern will look like an angry supernatural entity's face, no matter what you do.
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Renderings & Construction Progress: Master Bedroom

This is the top-floor of the renovated nineteenth century townhouse in Boston that I have been overseeing, and as you can see by comparing my renderings to the in-progress photos it is likely that it will closely resemble my ultimate design for the space once it is completed.

That ceiling is probably the most striking element to this room, and I’m tempted to ad-lib some derivative "archi-spiel" to explain why it looks like this. But circumstances and simple expediency drove the design: prior to renovation, the townhouse’s almost-flat roof had been illegally modified to accommodate a shed-roofed glass sunroom, uncomfortably facing south for maximum heating and leaking. I had determined to save time with permitting for this project by avoiding any design changes that would require a zoning board hearing, which in this case meant I had to keep the “existing roof profile” with its high points, low points, and slopes (including the shed), no matter how little sense that roof configuration made post-renovation. So I did just that, and I decided to allow the individual planes of the ceiling, determined by those silly roof configurations, to overlap each other strategically. The shelves created by those overlapping planes in the ceiling largely hide the awkward geometry where different slopes intersect. And I’m running concealed LED lighting strips along those shelves to make it all look deliberate and not desperate. 

There was one skylight, pre-renovation, over the stairs in the hall outside this bedroom. To bring more natural light into the center of the ceiling I simply reproduced that skylight (thereby maintaining “the existing roof profile and slope”) and spaced the three copies across the width of the building. None of the interior partitions on this floor actually structurally support the roof, so I placed the skylights (off-the-shelf Velux models, BTW) on a plane distinctly higher than the adjoining portions of the ceiling and passing across the bedroom door opening, largely because it amused me to illustrate the insubstantial nature of the interior walls. The builders have taken to calling this the "skylight groove.”

The partial-height wood-clad wall in these renderings and photos separates a small, open walk-in closet from the bedroom. The client for the project once complained with some bitterness that, in his house, no one ever closed the closet doors. So, whenever possible, I gave him closets that do not have doors so that he can’t get upset about it. 

I could have left the dividing partial-height wall painted gypboard, but at some point it occurred to me that I should give it some sort of textured surface. The Japanese designer Takeshi Sugimoto (whose work I only know from photos) covered interior walls in his 80’s and 90’s restaurant and retail fit-outs with patterned assemblages of salvaged metals, wood, and other found materials. He claimed that the historic uses of these recycled materials would still radiate from them as a sort of ineffable energy or information that remains appealing despite the change in location and use. Or perhaps I have been reading something badly translated and I completely misunderstand why he did this. It is certainly not clear to me if he ever proposed an explanation for the appeal of that revenant energy or information.

Anyway, I will be personally finishing this wall with strips of wood salvaged from elsewhere in this construction project, which I have been carefully hoarding in the basement. I have a logical system for facing the wall that requires three different rough profiles of wood strip, in two different lengths. But chances are that it will have a much more varied texture than presented here in my renderings.

Incidentally, that wall was originally (i.e., a couple of years ago, early in the project) to be the built-in headboard for a bed. But then, after the interior framing was in place, the other client decided she wanted a king-sized bed, which would be too large to back up against the partial-height wall. I hadn't intended the wall to be a sculptural object standing alone, but so it goes. I’m sure it will end up with a piece of antique art or furniture in front of it, as indicated in my renderings with a tansu model casually downloaded from Trimble’s 3D Warehouse. (At one point, I thought about bagging the whole idea and papering the partial-height wall with out-of-date and red-lined construction drawings from the project, the sort of stuff I am forever finding scattered about in the sawdust. But I couldn’t decide if cynicism made for a good decorative motif.)

The eight-foot-high, multi-panelled hanging door which slides into the open closet’s entrance was recovered from the library of a grand nineteenth century Beacon Street mansion currently being converted into condominiums. It is solid oak, faced with cherry, and weighs at least three hundred pounds. It’s also pleasantly over-stained and generally f--ked up, with chips, cracks, and badly-filled repairs, as the grand mansion had fallen on hard times as a sort of rooming house in the twentieth century. We had to have the door craned to the top floor here with the air conditioning equipment for the roof. Originally it was a pocket door, but the foreman for this job of mine was able to salvage and restore all of its elaborate Victorian rail system, which will be exposed in this installation...you can observe in the renderings the black steel “C” track spanning the “skylight groove” above the lintel-less entrance to the bedroom.

You could argue that I am, with that door, yet again emulating Sugimoto with his reused material and its ineffable information. I was invited to visit the old mansion as it was being demolished, and I purchased the old door on the spot because I couldn’t bear to see something like that go into a dumpster. Perhaps it was the ineffable information or energy of the old piece that called out to me and led me to incorporate it into a new project.
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Renderings & Construction Progress: Kitchen & Dining Room

So, what are we looking at here? The first three images are quick panoramas made with my phone, of the kitchen/dining room of my current (and really only) project, which I have taken to calling "il Palazzo Ludovici". It's a rehabilitation of an 1865 side-hall Italianate townhouse in Boston. Construction has been going on twenty-one months. If there existed a special set of sensors which could detect the results of the rigorous application of "architectural theory", they would show this place glowing near-incandescently. Or maybe not.

The latter six images are rather quick-and-dirty renderings I made today to give to the guys who are putting it all together, at their request. 

You should be able to figure out which renderings correlate with which site photos, despite the distortion created by the panorama stitching.

I suppose I should feel happy that the project has hit the "home-stretch" and nothing is terribly messed up (yet), or significantly over-budget, or even too different from my drawings. But I often find myself thinking, "Yep, in about twenty years it will probably be under water, and how will that leave the world a poorer place?"

(Yep, you might have seen this before. It's a re-post of a post originally shared from Ello, that hipper-than-thou social network alternative, to G+...which stopped working. Whatever.)
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All Over Coffee

...examples of previous weekly comic strips (that doesn't seem like the right term, really) by Paul Madonna from the San Francisco Chronicle. These are ink wash drawings, usually created on site on a watercolor block. Madonna describes his technique and how he arrived at it, as well as his theory of "Hierarchy of Engagement" (which explains why he thinks these illustration "work") in his book Everything Is Its Own Reward.

These images are from the SFGate archives:

http://www.sfgate.com/comics/slideshow/All-Over-Coffee-Paul-Madonna-44779.php

Madonna's main site is

http://www.paulmadonna.com/all_over_coffee/index.htm

Madonna has begun a new series since finding himself evicted from his home and studio in San Francisco, which I posted about previously:

https://plus.google.com/+LewisWadsworthIV/posts/abvgXBozCMR

I have to wonder what will happen to All Over Coffee and to Paul Madonna, now that he has lost his studio and his home. (What would I do, if this happened to me? Could it happen to me, or to you?) 
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Dinosaurs are jerks.
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Black Angel

Accompanied by an exclusive introduction from the director Roger Christian, the incredible fantasy short returns. It was first released in certain cinemas ahead of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back in 1980. Lost for 35 years, it has been found and restored to its former glory.

I finally had a chance to sit down and watch this. There is something odd and compelling to it, like a shared dream or dreamtime even if some elements of the story aren't particularly plausible within their own context. And if you've ever read "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" you'll probably have some idea, like me, of what is coming for--or maybe what is happening to--brave Sir Maddox, well before it happens on-screen. But still, still...
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Lewis Wadsworth

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Shadows

I didn't realize until the day before yesterday that this eleven-year-old piece of Wagon Christ electronica, which curiously enough features a sample of a James Bond soundtrack, has an accompanying video by "Fizzy Eye" (which  is or was a collective of film creators, as I understand it).

The imagery is really interesting! Kind of Gahan-Wilson-monsters-meets-Hayao-Miyazaki-bucolism. How many buttons does that combination of idioms push?
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Renderings & Construction Progress: the Study

I thought that, for a lark, I would describe my design process for this space, which is on the street level of that Italianate side-hall townhouse that has been obsessing me for the last two years.The first four images, obviously, are quick computer renderings of the completed room, and the second four are panoramas of the work-in-progress I took with a camera phone today.

So, a single floor-plate of this Victorian side-hall townhouse is about twenty feet wide by thirty-six long, with an additional semi-circular “bow” towards the street front. (That’s why it is called a “bowfront”.)  I already had enough space for the kitchen and dining room towards the rear of this floor, but what to do with the odd chunk of floor, including the "bow"? It would diminish the impact of the dining room and kitchen to simply leave the extra area contiguous with them. But what if I mirrored the “bow”? We could have a little round room, a miniature Pantheon. Yeah, that’s the ticket! (I could hear, somewhere in my head, the old Tears For Fears song, "Everybody Wants to Rule the World", but with the principal refrain changed to "Everybody Wants to be Sir John Soane".)

But what about the dome, even a shallow one? There’s barely 8’ under the the newly stripped and reinforced floor joists above (which were sand-blasted for good measure). Can’t lower the floor, for structural reasons. And the only natural light sources are the four windows in the narrow ends of the floor, including the two in the bow. And I lost a battle with the plumber about where I could put the kitchen, without having the plumbing intruding into the basement room below: the kitchen counter would have to cross the rear windows, windows that can't be re-positioned without rebuilding the whole rear masonry facade. We needed the light from the front of the building, in other words, across the whole floor and not confined to just a little superfluous room in front.

So no shallow dome, then. I simply erased it from computer model (all my sketches and designs are digital these days), leaving a 6’9” partial-height wall that did not reach the joists above. It’s an imaginary dome! Sure, everyone buys that idea. Close your eyes and you can feel it! Actually, let’s make the whole ceiling imaginary, too: the building is fully sprinkled, so I really don't have to hide those old joists with plaster or gypboard. 

OK, so what do I put on the round wall, opposite the windows and under the imaginary dome? What is this stupid little tempietto to be? Bookshelves! We need bookshelves! When in doubt put in bookshelves and call it a study! (Less romantically, the builders have taken to referring to it as "that round office”.) 

If I mirror the windows across the center of the room, and replace the sashes with shelves within otherwise identical casing, then I can run a little further with this rotunda all'antica idea and pretend they are niches “in the drum”. Actually, that looks kind of interesting because the shelves will be taller than the partial-height wall that holds them. Oooooh, we are inverting typological expectations!  And from the dining room their curving backs will describe a vaguely-classicizing bifurcated drum form. (Say that three times, like Zippy from the comics pages: “Vaguely-classicizing bifurcated drum form! Vaguely-classicizing bifurcated drum form! Vaguely-classicizing bifurcated drum form!“)

One more niche, opposite the entrances, and we have six! Yeah, and I’ll square out the lintel as opposed to giving it an arch. I’ll put hidden lighting over a raised floor there and call it a tokonoma just to boggle the doctrinaire classicist troll that lives in my subconscious. I’m to supply some artwork for this building, when it is all done: I’ll make something and put it in that niche and call it Corrupted Endeavor.

One last complication: the HVAC engineer needs to run a pair of large ducts, supply and return, to either side of the bow, meaning that the walls must get thicker. So the round room becomes more of an oval, in plan anyway. 

Oh well, if you can’t Palladio then at least Borromini, that’s what I say.

(This is a repost of something flippant that I originally shared from Ello a few days back. It stopped. Sharing, that is. So much for Ello.)
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Another project update shared from that beta hipper-than-thou social network Ello. It is kind of elegant. But let's face it, if Google with all its resources can't keep a Facebook competitor viable, how will a group of idealists who don't even seem to have a revenue plan?
(I thought I would describe my design process for this space. Said process has been edited for brevity. The first four images, obviously, are quick computer renderings of the completed room, and the second four are panoramas of the work-in-progress I took with a camera phone today.) So, a single floor-plate of this Victorian side-hall townhouse is about twenty feet wide by thirty-six long, with an additional semi-circular “bow” towards the stree...
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Ha! This is interesting...I can automatically share a post from Ello, the hip "alternative" social network, to a completely "old-school" one like G+.

Well, here you go then. I have to admit that G+'s lack of integration with the new-and-improved-or-simply-new Google Photos has made it difficult for me to order images in a gallery as I would like, and that's not true on Ello.
So, what are we looking at here? The first three images are quick panoramas made with my phone, of the kitchen/dining room of my current (and really only) project, which I have taken to calling "il Palazzo Ludovici". It's a rehabilitation of an 1865 side-hall Italianate townhouse in Boston. Construction has been going on twenty-one months. If there existed a special set of sensors which could detect the results of the rigorous application of "arc...
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The Eviction Series

In case you don't know: Paul Madonna is an award-winning comic creator, whose exquisitely-drawn and thought-provoking All Over Coffee pieces run weekly in the San Francisco Chronicle. Most of his work consists of unusual but utterly-recognizable illustrations of San Francisco's flamboyant architecture, with fragments of text (sometimes appearing as signs on the depicted buildings) recording the conversations, aspirations, and eccentricities of the inhabitants as they face the absurdities of life in this city.

Ironically enough and speaking of absurdities, the artist has suddenly found himself a victim of the ravening real estate market in San Francisco, losing his home and his studio of ten years. In response, he has begun a new series of drawings:

http://paulmadonna.tumblr.com/tagged/evictionseries/chrono

The main AOC website is of course

http://www.paulmadonna.com/all_over_coffee/index.htm

and somewhat-inconsistent archives of past strips are available here: 

http://www.sfgate.com/comics/slideshow/All-Over-Coffee-Paul-Madonna-44779.php

Incidentally, City Lights Books has published two beautiful collections of Madonna's work, All Over Coffee and Everything Is Its Own Reward.
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Some time in the next few days I plan on walking over here. 
 
Interesting new memorial on the MIT campus.  The structure is composed of stone and is entirely dry fitted - no fasteners, or adhesives.   
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What a great city for architecture. Enjoy Memorial Day!
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Work
Occupation
Designer, illustrator, artist, and teacher...wait, didn't I already write that somewhere? Why didn't I become a spy? How does one become one? I will delete all my files and burn my computer. Why is there no fire? Why aren't there the makings of one? How did I get in the unused room on the third floor?
Skills
"Architecture is an art purely of invention, and invention is the most painful and the most difficult exercise of the human mind." - Sir John Soane
Employment
  • LW4
    Principal, or possibly Chief Cultist, 2008 - present
  • Boston Architectural College
    Instructor, 2007 - 2013
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Currently
Boston, Massachusetts
Previously
Seattle, Washington - New Haven, Connecticut - Hanover, New Hampshire - St. Augustine, Florida
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Tagline
Architect who knows how to use a sword.
Introduction

Lewis Wadsworth is a designer, artist, and teacher in Boston, Massachusetts.

Lewis' architectural projects have appeared in AIArchitect, the journal of the American Institute of Architects, and have been honored by the Boston Society of Architects. He has also illustrated projects for architecture firms in the United States, Australia, and Japan. He teaches 3D design and software courses at the Boston Architectural College. He has served as a technical adviser on software manuals, and oddly enough sometimes is paid to tell publishers what he thinks about proposed books on software commonly used by architects.

Lewis also fences with an épée. A lot. And yes, that is a type of sword.

Bragging rights
Peter Eisenman threatened, when I was an architecture student, to make sure that I never had a job in architecture anywhere on the planet. I've never assumed he wasn't serious.
Education
  • Yale School of Architecture
    Master of Architecture, 2001 - 2005
    (where, notably, he was told by the same fool who gave Maya Lin a "B" for her Vietnam Veterans Memorial project that he was too "unconventional" to be an architect)
  • Dartmouth College
    A.B. Visual Studies, 1986 - 1990
    (where he learned a few things, mostly concerning the habits of obscure Roman emperors. You have to be pretty decadent to invent veal.)
Basic Information
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Male