The New OWA+DP Website is Alive! Click Here
Become a Member! | Login
Kiev, Ukraine

Newsletter | Mar/Apr 2022

Volume 50:2
Previous | Next | Current | Archive

If you would like to see corrections to this newsletter or to submit articles or suggestions for future newsletters please contact the Newsletter Editor.

In this issue:
Editor's Note - Mui Ho
Inspiration - Alicia Rosenthal
Retreat theme for 2022 - Rachel Slonicki

Editor's Note

by Mui Ho    |    Share #1546

We are always searching for interesting topics or speakers for our annual retreat. When Rachel mentioned about talking to Alicia Rosenthal whose topic suggestion was 'inspiration', it really hit a cord in me. The last couple years, we have been focusing on housing issues, a very urgent topic. Now we can switch gears to talk about something more conceptual.

I am sure we all have experiences or stories on being inspired. I am always inspired by beautiful architecture and unusual designs. Recently with so much turmoil in the world , I get particularly inspired by what I read related to deeds of bravery, kindness and helpfulness. Inspiration does not necessary relate directly to design or to architecture but it affects our working life and helps us to move forward in spite of all the humdrum parts of our profession. Of course, when I hear a very good talk from an architect, I get totally fired up. I would like to continue this theme for the next newsletter as well. Hopefully we can get more little essays from our members.

Reading about the women and children fleeing from the war in Ukraine being housed by families and organizations in Poland and other countries restored my faith that such kindness to strangers still exists. It is the silver lining in the terrible truth that peaceful settled lives can be taken way in a flash by unforeseen events. This recent war has many of us thinking about ways of helping -- how to make the world less unstable, better and fairer. More inspiring stories are needed to help us cope.


by Alicia Rosenthal    |    Share #1547

Inspiration: The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative. This is my favorite definition, still connected to the basic one of drawing a breath. I feel one holds the breath for a second in the presence of creativity.

The OWA retreat has been inspiring just by our presence. I feel I am part of a family where we  already know each other just by our shared experiences,  interests, skills and preocupations. This is amplified by the setting and the care that shows in the delicious food and the property itself with countless well thought out details and places to emcourage sharing.

Yet when I look back and think of specific experiences I find that for myself some have been more memorable than others. I go back to Topher Delaney and Claire Cooper Marcus as presenters that helped a retreat be particularly inspiring for me. What inspires me? They are both very different. Yet, I see that both challenged me through their work as well as their presence, to either pick up a different lens to look at something as familiar as the house or to reevaluate the role of landscape in projects. Both felt like a window into possibility.

Their impact was no doubt amplified by the setting and the format of the retreat that allows us to be relaxed, open, permeable, in a state of mind likely different from a monthly evening program. What inspires me is likely different for others. But we continue to live in very challenging times and I look forward to the retreat as a holder of possibility,, of inspiration.

Retreat theme for 2022

by Rachel Slonicki    |    Share #1548

We decided to make inspiration the theme for this year’s retreat program. Alicia Rosenthal, a colleague and friend, recalled leaving the retreat where Topher Delaney was the guest speaker inspired. Discussing different possible programs, she suggested that we try to develop a program which might capture that feeling for this year’s retreat. After a couple of years of anxiety and separation, a spirit lift is in order. What inspires me? When I witness a project, or a person, with the special magic, they have “It.” Architecture with a capital A can take various forms. Once you experience a site, or hear a lecture about a particular project, you know it has spirit and the extra beauty which catapults it to an exceptional level of design and/or art.

I have experienced this feeling at the Carpenter Center at Harvard University, la Sagrada Familia in Barcelona Spain, at the Santiago Calatrava Milwaukee Art Museum in Wisconsin. Recently attending a virtual meeting with the AIA, I heard Frances Kere talk about his projects around the world. Collaborating with locals in his native Gando to build beautiful schools. Hearing Meejin Yoon, and her husband talk about their monuments and projects. People can inspire you. Bill Chen, my first mentor, who patiently explained architecture to a neophyte. Listening to Margot Siegel describing attending a land grant school, the only university she could attend and study architecture. Working with Bill Dutcher, Mui Ho, and Phil Overbaugh, architects with exceptional design skill. When I paint with the SAWS group, my friend Chris Kent says, you must feed the muse. Let us celebrate our muses this year at Westerbeke Ranch.

Refugee shelters and Ukrainian architecture

by Mui Ho    |    Share #1552

Russia's attack on Ukraine has destroyed cities, monuments and historic sites on top of forcing more than 4 million citizens, women and children, to flee the country the largest movement of refugees since WW2.

There is no easy answer to this catastrophe, but the efforts of many people, including architects, are helping to lessen the suffering. I was inspired by the temporary shelters designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban in Poland for Ukraine refugees. They are simple and light weight and easily erected. The best part is that the structure does not require anchoring onto the the existing building, neither on the floor nor the wall.

I had followed Shigeru Ban's work for years and totally inspired by his concept of building with light weight materials like bamboo, paper, fabric and tubings. His Japan Pavilion for Expo 2000 in Hannover, Germany with Atelier Frei Otto Warmbronn was spectacular. His use of paper tubing inspired us to rethink about the making of architecture. I regret not visited The Museum of Modern Art in NYC in year 2000 when he installed the paper arch.

JAIA Architect: Shigeru Ban Architects

Japan Pavilion, Hannover Expo 2000

Ukraine's Architectural Treasures Face Destruction

 Share #1549

Modernist Kharkiv : Behind The Battle to Protect It

 Share #1550

How can you help and what can you donate?

 Share #1551

Contact us at
Follow us at  

by check or PayPal