Thousand Story Studio

Dream of Venice Architecture


Sometimes you come across a book that touches several of your passions and it immediately becomes a treasure. For me, Dream of Venice Architecture is such a book.

If you are interested in architecture, photography, and writing, I believe Dream will be a great find for you too. The concept is simple and elegant. As stated by JoAnn Locktov in the Preface, “For this book (the second in our Dream of Venice series), we invited contemporary architects and architectural writers to share their personal experiences of Venice.” Each of the short essays is paired with an extraordinary image captured by award-winning filmmaker and photographer Riccardo De Cal. The result is a beautiful book that communicates on multiple levels.

There are three dozen essays and related photographs. Initially, the reader will be satisfied to flip through the pages, noting the authors and taking in the images, happy to see a scene or a name that is familiar. There will be scenes and names that are unfamiliar, however, which is a compelling reason to go back through, ready to settle in and explore.

Even on a second pass, the eye will be drawn to the photographs. They are that captivating.

On subsequent tours through the book, the reader will select one essay, then another, finding each architects’ prose as varied and distinctive as their design work. (If I may say so, Architects have earned a reputation for using ill-conceived communication when the subject is architecture; proffering esoteric concepts and using obscure to idioms, rendering their intended point nearly unapproachable. There is no “archispeak” in these pages, however.) The designers and writers are communicating from the heart. They are telling us stories.

Another joy of the book is in comparing the text with the image. There is an added richness when we see one creator’s reflections of a space juxtaposed with another creator’s photographic exploration of it. (This depth doesn’t come from a one-on-one collaboration, I suspect, but is more attributable to the editor’s eye and heart for the subject.) The photographs do not have captions, nor do they need them. They are in an open dialog with the essays that they accompany.

For me, the most poignant essay is by the man who unashamedly states that he has never been to Venice. I am from that camp. I’m an outsider. Through the book, I listen in on the reflections of those who have journeyed to the city. I silently take it all in, and I’m made richer by the vicarious experience of the place.

There’s another level of communication offered in the pages of Dream. The Contributors list at the end of the book gives a micro-bio of each of the essayists, including a web address where their work can be found. These serve as portals to the return destination of each of the writer-creators.

Whatever your relationship to Venice is; part-time resident, frequent explorer, one-time tourist, or prospective visitor, I believe you will treasure this book. As an architect, writer, and photographer, I have a renewed desire to visit this iconic city and become a fellow traveler with those who have produced this book. Until then I will return often to its pages and dream of Venice architecture.

I wish to thank JoAnn Locktov, the aforementioned editor and publisher of Dream of Venice Architecture, for permitting me to review her book, for providing the images to share, and for sending me a copy to keep forever.

Please visit JoAnn’s site, Bella Figura Publications (, to purchase Dream of Venice Architecture (a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Foundation Querini Stampalia to support their architecture programming in Venice) and to see the other the Dream of Venice books.

Happy New Year


This is the time of year when people launch new habits and attempt new goals.

My goal for this year has been a long time coming. I’ve talked and Tweeted about my writing efforts for years. But no one I know has ever read my work.

Over those years I’ve attempted and “won” NaNoWriMo three consecutive times. NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, where thousands of writers spend the 30 days of November to create a 50,000-word novel (or at least a very rough first draft of one). Anyone who accomplishes this is deemed a winner. No one ever read any of these three stories – a verified word count was all that mattered.

Last year I entered several short story contests. None of these efforts “won” anything, but it got the writing out of my laptop and in front of actual readers. There was little feedback with these competitions, however, and none of the readers actually knew me. All of my writing remained safely anonymous.

This year I will begin sharing some of my writing – right here on this blog. By year’s end, I plan to have a collection of short stories available in ebook form.

Most of my stories feature architects, doing things that architects do and saying things that architects say. Some simply present architecture (places and spaces we’re all familiar with) as a character in the story.

I believe there is a lot of untapped story matter to develop here. I also believe that there is a vast potential audience. For years my blog tagline was “Architecture Holds a Thousand Stories” – in 2018 I will begin to tell some of the thousand stories.

I look forward to sharing more soon in this happy new year.




A New Look


This blog has seen several iterations over the past eight or so years.

I appreciate those who’ve followed along – and those who’re just now finding Thousand Story Studio.

Here’s a short recap:

Building Content was launched almost a decade ago as a blog to help Architects promote their work. I found myself unemployed in the great recession. Things were bleak for me and many of my fellow Architects. I was looking for answers, for a way out for the profession as a whole.

At that time I began to see blogging and social media as inexpensive and simple marketing tools. “Architecture Holds a Thousand Stories” was my tagline and mini-manifesto. It became a rallying cry. It had long bothered me that our profession was a closed book to society at large – it seemed that no one knew what we really did. The initial purpose of Building Content was for me to learn – and then to teach others – how to tell our architectural stories through blogging. I picked up a few awards along the way and made some life-long connections with my peers.

On New Years Day of 2011, I started Tweeting these ideas as @BuildingContent.

In spring of 2013 (after moving out of state for a job with a firm that eventually went out of business) I launched a company of my own. Following a good deal of market research and SWOT analyses, I adapted my blog tagline into my firm name: Thousand Story Studio.

I secured the domain name and relaunched the Building Content blog as my design firm website. I primarily posted about my projects, but behind the scene, I continued to explore the relationship of Architecture in the media. I became fascinated with the idea of stories of Architects and Architecture finding their way into the culture. Online and off, I began networking with filmmakers, media professionals, and writers of all fields.

Due to a terrific career offer from an established engineering firm, I relocated back to Charlotte. I had no need for my company website, but I continued to use Thousand Story Studio for occasional blog posts (primarily for the Architalks blog series).

Now Thousand Story Studio has a new purpose – as my new author platform. I have been developing my fiction writing over most of the years I’ve spent blogging. I intend to be one of those who tell the thousand untold stories of Architecture in the form of short stories and novels.

I will post more here soon. In addition to featuring some of my own writing, I will be reviewing books about architecture and interviewing authors.