Creativity and Inspiration: A simple formula

Learning + Thought + Work = Creativity & Inspiration

Browse the web and you will find thousands of articles describing the source for creativity. From our own experience and working with artists of different disciplines we have found that creativity is not a mythical hard to reach place in your mind and it can be attained with the simple formula above.


Successful creative types devour information and expand their knowledge base on a daily basis. Reading, listening, observing, it is a constant hunger for that which we don't know. People watch, follow your favorite artists on Instagram and even try learning something completely outside of your element. You are a painter? Learn to play the piano!


Creative types daydream A LOT. We are not distracted or aloof, we are processing information in our brains, going over ideas over and over again. Planning, scheming and preparing our minds. Albert Einstein lived inside his head, thinking over and over about gravity and relativity. It is work that takes place inside your mind. 


If inspiration hasn't arrived by now, don't worry, creativity often comes from sitting down and making yourself work even when you are not inspired to do so. Successful artists don't wait for ideas to come to them, they go out and grab them by buckling down and getting to work. As a wise man once said:

Creativity is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration.’ 

So go out there, learn, thing and work hard. You will be surprised at how inspired and creative you will become. 


Brutalist Architecture: Raw, Honest and Blunt.

Massive, exposed concrete, honest, and raw are words you might use to describe Brutalist Architecture. Favored by government institutions during between 1960s-1980s for low cost constructions, this unique style was a response to the lightness and optimism of 1940s architecture as well as a descendant of Modernist Architecture of the early 20th century.

Architects such as Le Corbusier championed the style. Brutalist buildings employ the use of raw concrete for its raw and unpretentious honesty, a stark contrast to the highly ornate buildings of the competing Beaux-Arts style. Brutalist surfaces often reveal the basic nature of their construction and repeated modular elements form masses representing specific functional zones.

In short, Brutalist architecture unabashedly shows you how it was built, with what it was built and why it was built. It is blunt with its message and function, we should all be a little more Brutalist. 





5th & West and the Revitalization of Downtown Austin

Once a dark and desolate place at night, Austin's downtown has become a lively and safe place to live thanks to the arrival of high luxury condo towers over the last ten to fifteen years. Today cranes fill the Austin skyline as projects such as 5th+West rise up and attract more residents to the heart of the city, drastically improving the quality of life in downtown Austin.

Existing buildings with projects currently under construction highlighted in red.

This transformation began in the 1990s when the city actively started taking steps to attract developers to build residential units downtown. A goal of attracting 25,000 residents to the heart of the city was set and today we are more than halfway there thanks to some brave developers nearly fifteen years ago. The early pioneers were Nokonoah in2002 who were followed by Austin City Lofts in 2004, The Shore in 2007 and the 360 Condominiums in 2008. The Austonian set the standard for luxury condos in 2010 and took the title of tallest building in Austin. Today projects such as Seaholm Residences, The Independent and 5th & West are currently under construction and continue to prove that demand for centrally located condos is at an all time high.

The 5th & West sales center next is right next to it's lot and it is flanked in the distance by the Austonian, The W and the 360 Condominiums

A luxury condominium building currently under construction is 5th & West, slated to be completed in 2017. Locally grown developers Riverside Resources, continue to make an impact in Austin Texas with this next addition to their portfolio. 5th + West will be nearly 450 ft tall with 39 stories, 154 residences and 278 private parking spaces. It sits on, a prime slice of real state in the heart of downtown Austin's Market District. GDA Architects designed the building while superstar designer Michael Hsu gave the common area interiors his trademark touch. Units range from the $400 thousands to $5M.

The newly completed 5th & West scale model with it's 3D rendering hanging behind it.

A unique challenge for developers in Austin is the city's many unique regulations and ordinances aimed at preserving the aesthetic integrity of the area. The protected view corridors for the Capitol are a perfect example. As the map below shows, builders are restricted from building anything over 6 stories high in many areas of downtown to allow for an uninterrupted view of the Capitol from many spots around the city. The design of 5th & West was very much shaped by these restrictions as it's pool deck falls right inside of one the Capitol view corridors. GDA Architects overcame this challenge by designing a triangular shaped building that is elegant and unlike anything else in Austin's skyline today.

Map of the Capitol's protected view corridors which place restrictions on where and how high developers can build. 

The city also requires developers to be mindful of how their buildings impact the city at the street level. Gone are the days of walling off your project from the sidewalks with little regard to daily pedestrian traffic. The city places unique requirements on each project in order to create a lively atmosphere on downtown streets that will carry from the daytime into the night. For example, 5th & West has been required to place a kiosk along 5th st. that will sell newspapers, coffee and other goods to the public. Other buildings such as the JW Marriott are incorporating dining establishments on their ground levels that open up to the sidewalks. 

The JW Marriott makes great use of it's surrounding sidewalks with sidewalk open air seating for it's Corner restaurant. Features like these help blur the line between inside and outside making building more accessible and bringing new life to city streets.

Our city will continue to shift and morph for at least the foreseeable future. Some of the old Austin may be disappearing, but a lot of it's good aspects continue to get even better. The City of Austin's initiative twenty years ago has undoubtedly helped create a better downtown. As a local resident of over 10 years I hope that the city and its residents will continue to grow together while still holding on to the charm, warmth and weirdness that makes this city.