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Chapter 2

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A few weeks ago a large group of politicians descended on an empty lot in downtown San Antonio to break ground on a new federal courthouse. Of course, San Antonio already has a federal courthouse. It’s an odd little building but it has a fascinating story.

In this chapter of the San Antonio Storybook we’ll discover the story of this building and the important part it played in the history of San Antonio.

You can listen to it here or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or wherever you download your podcasts.

Morning Boom


The first chapter of the San Antonio Storybook is now live.

My town can be pretty quiet before it wakes up and before its streets fill with traffic. That’s what makes it so jarring when the silence of the morning is broken by the sound of a distant boom. In the opening chapter of the San Antonio Storybook we discover the story behind that boom as well as the people who are responsible for it.

You can listen to it here or subscribe on iTunes or wherever you download your podcasts.

New Episodes of "The Works" Are Coming Soon

Today the creators of This American Life and Serial release their newest "spin-off" podcast, S-Town. I know very little about it other than it promises to be in the true-crime genre like the first season of Serial and it will probably be very good.

You might be thinking to yourself, "Hey, Isn't there a really good podcast out there about architecture and design?" There is: it's called 99% Invisible. If you haven't listened to it, you should.

What you're probably NOT thinking to yourself, "Hey, isn't there a second-rate podcast produced by that Brantley guy about architecture, those who create it and those who inhabit it?" Well, in the unlikely event you were wondering about that, you're right. 

Twenty episodes of the The Works have been produced over the past two years/seasons. "Runaway success" is not a term one would use to describe the effort but I've enjoyed drilling into some of the unexpected stories about the built environment that have been featured. Some episodes are better than others, but I'm proud of what's been created even if it's proven to be a lot more work than I imagined.

For the third season I decided to abandon the monthly format in favor of a more relaxed, whenever-I-feel-like-it approach. All that is to say that new episodes are in development but there won't be as many of them.

The next episode will be about planetaria; the curious interior spaces where people go to view what they should be able to see outside. Of special interest are the mechanical devises that project the stars onto the interior of the dome above (see image above). Recently these great steam-punk artifacts have begun to be replaced by modern digital projection systems. As is often the case, this new technology brings with it some exciting possibilities even if something is lost in the process.

In the meantime, you can subscribe to and listen to old episodes of The Works here. Enjoy.



The Season Finale Of "The Works"

the host of the host of "The Works" in his recording studio

Back in February I started an experiment.

After years of listening to podcasts I decided to try my hand at producing one myself. I invested in some recording equipment, set up a recording booth in my closet and went to work. In the ten months that followed I sought to tell some of the stories behind the buildings that define our lives. Each episode was a little different and I'd like to think each was a little better than the last. Episode 10 has just been released and I think it's one of the best yet.

It tells the story of how a century ago Dallas city leaders sought to build a plaza to memorialize their history. They did this, but then something happened that forever changed how that plaza was understood. So if you're on your way to or from work and have 18 minutes to spare, have a listen. I think you'll come away from the experience looking at something you though you knew in a completely different way.

And don't gorget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. Season Two will be here before you know it...

The Works

Special thanks to Julie Pizzo Wood for help with the design of the logo

As I mentioned at the end of last year, we've set several goals for 2015, one of which is to create a podcast. We are delivering on that promise and present to you today the first episode of The Worksa monthly podcast that tells the stories of those who create architecture and those who inhabit it. 

For our inaugural episode we focus on a Winston Churchill quote I remember from my time in architecture school. It's a really great quote and even though I reference it often, I actually knew very little about it other than what I was told in a class some twenty years ago. And so I started asking some questions, I found out some answers, and learned some unexpected things along the way.

We've never produced a podcast before and this first effort is a little rough around the edges. That said, we're excited to share it and hope you enjoy listening to it. 

And suddenly it's the end of the year

2014 has been like many other years - there were some really good parts and there were some really bad parts. As far as HiWorks is concerned, it was a great year. We continued to have the opportunity to do interesting work for good people and we look forward to doing more of that in 2015.

Architecture can be a very slow process and it can sometimes take a painfully long time to see the end results of many months of effort on the part of architects, contractors and owners. And so in 2015 we're looking forward to finally sharing photos of completed projects.  We'll be updating the website as well in hopes of making it more accessible to potential clients. Finally, beginning in January we will be launching a podcast, The Works. Each episode will focus on some aspect of the built environment by talking to people who create buildings as well as those who live, work and learn inside of them. 

I've never hosted a podcast before, so hopefully it'll turn out to be as compelling as the idea of it I have in my head. Maybe it's naive to think that, but back in 2012 I didn't really know how to run an architecture firm either. That seems to have turned out OK so far.

Anyway, happy New Year. We'll see you in 2015.