As designers it is hard not to find inspiration everywhere we go and this summer was no exception. We took a lot of trips, some far and some close but no matter the destination we found something that caught our eye. As summer comes to an end, we thought we’d share where we went and what we found along the way.

Big Ben tower, London England

Mike Lisowski: During a family trip to London, we visited Big Ben and according to the U.K. newspaper The Telegraph, “The top of the tower is now almost one-and-a-half feet off the perpendicular – so far off that experts say the tilt is visible to the naked eye. If the movement was to continue uncorrected, the tower would one day topple. However, MPs can breathe easy: at its current speed it would take some 4,000 years to reach the angle of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and even longer to hit tipping-point.”

White Tail Woods, Minnesota

Eric Young: My family and I went camping at White Tail Woods in Dakota County. The cabins, designed by HGA, won an AIA award for design. The cabins “nestled-in” and addressed the landscape and surroundings. They made you experience all 4 sides of the exterior, rather than just being a façade with glass looking out.

Brady Mueller: I didn’t travel much this summer but I am going back this fall to my favorite spot over the past 15 years…..Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The architecture and interior designs are amazing and culturally significant. The color and the dramatic feel of the spaces surrounding you are truly fabulous. Then there is the intimacy of the details that you notice the more you spend time at the locations. But who can forget the wonderful weather and beaches that surround you everywhere.


Spooner, Wisconsin + Minneapolis, Minnesota

Cindy Nagel: I traveled to Spooner for a girls weekend this summer. We visited an antique/junk yard and I loved the way discarded automotive, architectural and furniture items created colour, texture and pattern. Also in August, I finally made it to the revamped Sculpture Garden at the Walker Art Center and was drawn to the Blue Rooster “Hahn/Cock” by artist Katharina Fritsch, I love the brilliance of the blue, the large scale and the white polygonal plinth. I also loved the metal sculpture of Hephaestus the Greek god of blacksmiths by artist Matthew Monahan. The use of rebar as the structure, the metal embossed with texture and pattern made to look like a draped textile, and the impression of an anguished face. We have this amazing place almost in our back yard and yet we visit so rarely. I think I need to change that!


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Laura Bauer: I visited Milwaukee this summer with my husband and friends. We went to see a Twins game at Miller Park. This is the retractable roof at the stadium. I took the photo before it was all the way open. It was a really cool baseball stadium, but looked very complicated structurally. I’m sure it’s nothing our engineers couldn’t handle though!

PS – the Twins won that night!



Barcelona, Spain

Steve Iaria: Sagrada Família – This monumental building has always been a fascination of mine since learning about it in architecture school. The style that Antonio Gaudi developed and used here truly stands out from all other cathedrals I’ve visited in Europe.  As an architect designing in a completely different time, I have such an appreciation for the amount of care and thought that must have gone into (and is still going into) the planning and detailing of this masterpiece. One of the most fascinating things with this building is that when viewed up close as well as from afar, it seems to always exhibit a quality of being hand-sculpted.  Definitely one of those experiences in my life to always look back on and of course wish I wouldn’t had more time to spend there.  Who knows, maybe I can convince my wife to go back there when it finally gets completed in 10 years!

Alisha Simones: I took a trip to Vegas and, it’s Vegas – so what doesn’t catch your eye? The architecture is so over the top and extravagant. I found myself wanting to stop and stare for a while just to try and absorb it all. In contrast my husband and I also visited Walker. Each home has carved up the shoreline and molded it to create the perfect fishing spot, sunset view, etc. It really is a slice of heaven.