Something to celebrate as we toast in the new year!

January 4th, 2012 § Rachel

8 AWARDS lowres

2011 Design Awards: 3six0 Architecture received a total of eight design awards last year.

At the AIAri Annual Design Awards 3six0 was recognized with all five Honor Awards, given for outstanding achievement in architectural design.   more…

And at Rhode Island Monthly’s Design Awards 2011 3six0 was given two Gold awards and one Silver.   more….


Providence Business News: Five Questions With Kyna Leski and Chris Bardt

December 28th, 2011 § kynaleski

Published online Dec 23, 2011

Five Questions With: Kyna Leski and Chris Bardt

By Patrick Anderson
PBN Staff Writer

3six0 Architecture and Design in Providence has had good years before, but this year the firm pulled in all five honor awards given by the American Institute of Architects Rhode Island Chapter at its annual award ceremony. One of the awards was for the Providence River Pedestrian Bridge Design, created jointly with Architect Friedrich St. Florian as Studio Providence LLC, which came in second in an international design competition. In an email interview, company principals Kyna Leski and Chris Bardt spoke about the bridge competition a year later and their other projects.

PBN: What was your reaction when you learned 3six0 had won five AIA honor awards this year?

LESKI AND BARDT: A quiet sense of gratitude. The AIA awards are an anonymous acknowledgement of a job well done. This means a lot to us.

PBN: Did it take some of the sting out of coming in second in the Providence River pedestrian bridge competition to see that design honored, or did it make it that much more frustrating that your bridge will not be built?

LESKI AND BARDT: Many people felt stung by the end game of the process for the Providence River Pedestrian Bridge competition. Having nowhere to turn, they came to us. We were told stories from other designers, businessmen, politicians, prominent figures in the community and other individuals who share a love and concern for Providence. This award doesn’t change the process or what will be built on the river. But it confirms what we [and others] think would be best for Providence.

PBN: Aside from the pedestrian bridge, what design that won this year are you most proud of?

LESKI AND BARDT: That’s like having to name a favorite child. We are especially proud of the Rhode Island-based projects. Each had really challenging, unusual issues and modest budgets. These awards celebrate that good design can happen, even under highly constrained circumstances.

PBN: When you look at all the projects that won awards this year, specifically yours, do you see any common ideas or threads running through them?

LESKI AND BARDT: It seems to us that the judging didn’t fall along stylistic or other simplistic lines but recognized designs that were tailored to the specific situation of each project. Any threads that ran through the winning projects have more to do with economic trends or environmental conditions of our region.

Specific to our projects, we arrive at each through a search for something essential, which for us is spatial in nature, a way of making relations cohere in a fundamental way.

PBN: What exciting projects does 3six0 have in the pipeline now that may turn up at future award ceremonies?

LESKI AND BARDT: We’re working on really diverse projects, from a house on the water in South County, to a little cottage in Foster, to a new building for a growing non-profit in Providence, and yes they are all challenging, that’s what makes them so exciting.

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Back from China

April 12th, 2011 § kynaleski

I had a packed five weeks in Hangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing, Suzhou, and Ningbo

Two new posts on my experience in China and how it came into the workshop I taught at the China Academy of Art can be found at , “Something out of nothing; sense out of nonsense & Finding your way. . .” can be found here and “Workshop at China Academy of Art” can be found here. The students who were part of this workshop are currently continuing this work in developing proposals for social housing in China. Jiang Weihua, a CAA faculty who taught this workshop with me, is continuing with these students and is working on a book of this work.


Finding your way . . .

February 20th, 2011 § kynaleski

I am about to leave for a 5 week trip to China where I will be teaching a workshop called, Finding your way.

I suspect that that will be the subject of my entire trip…which I hope to blog about at my blog,
I hope to find you there.

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A different world cannot be built by indifferent people.

February 14th, 2011 § kynaleski

At a Chinese New Year celebration, I asked my cookie to give feedback on a very public project that we were most recently involved in.

That is what the cookie said.

Friedrich St. Florian made the observation that considering the length of human existence, fifty years here and there without architecture is barely noteworthy. The way he put it was, “The world can do without architecture for fifty years.”

This seems to be no big deal, really, when you think of it.

Building goes on, governed by substitutes for architecture: pseudo sociological programming, realty logic or developer logic.

That is the literal interpretation of my fortune…with building referring to “bricks and mortar.” But with the recent revolutions in Tunisia and Eygpt, more significant world building comes to mind.

Social Media played a role as a tool chest for the necessary gathering of outrage, intent and action, but the will to define change and a sustained commitment of action had to have been there in the first place.

This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, by William Hutchinson Murray:

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, the providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.

This makes me ask, was our president’s campaign slogan “yes we can” fitting for our country’s people and times?


Stuart Blazer: Our “Roving Sturbridge Village Idiot” (Letter to the Editor)

January 31st, 2011 § Rachel

Dr. Downtown (David Brussat) has long deserved to be sued for malpractice, and the last few of his missives warrants this “J’accuse.” His constant attack on modernism is wearying, and not due to whining alone, but because it is unjustifiable as an intellectual stance. I recall his railing against Schoenberg, whom he’s obviously never listened to or read in depth, unaware of his carrying on traditions established by “classical” composers such as Bruckner and Mahler. Should Faulkner be deprived of his Nobel Prize because of his non-linear time-frames and polyphonic voicings? Would their equivalents in the visual arts be summarily dismissed?

All the buildings in Providence that Mr. Brussat condemns are those that offer the edgy pleasure of being harmoniously jarring within the urban context they help create: the Chace Center at RISD; Classical High School [Editor's note: replacing the writer's "Central" with "Classical" is the only editing change. Central High is in classical style; Classical High is modernist; I'm sure he meant that I condemn Classical High]; the recent Wheeler Gallery and Art Club additions. He has even solicited snide responses to the as yet unfinished Granoff Center at Brown, putting once again his bandwagon before the horses.

His campaign for the pretty as opposed to the beautiful (which engages and can redefine “the ugly”) coupled with his apparent fear of diversity and risk comes dangerously close to that supremacist ideal of blond blue-eyed sameness, championing the status quo at all costs. The 11/10/10 article concerning the foot-bridge contest is filled with misinformation and smug opinion. Friends differently wired than I have shared comments written on the blogosphere, mostly instructing Mr. Brussat about his business; these should be reprinted in a series of columns devoted to this important civic issue.

The column from 11/18/10, second paragraph, transposes what should be arising from your columnist’s mouth into the cry from a character enmeshed in a Reagan-era scandal. “Where do I go to get my reputation back?” could be a new beginning, unless this would be considered too modernistic a departure from entrenched mediocrity. Until this mea culpa is expressed, Mr. Brussat will be taken about as seriously as a cigar-store Indian.

Style is said by some to be the man. Mr. Brussat should be obliged to appear in public in a kind of personalized stock and pillory consisting of wide-brimmed hat and oversized buckled shoes (set off by yellow cross-gartered stocking) so he can follow his bliss undisguised, our roving Sturbridge village idiot, doomed to historical re-enactment.

Stuart Blazer

Stuart Blazer has been invited to work as occasional poet/critic in the RISD Department of Architecture since the 1990s.

David Brussat’s blog post containing this letter can be seen here.

Additional unpublished letters to the editor can be found in the blog post below.

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Imitation – the Sincerest Form of Flattery?

January 4th, 2011 § Rachel

What's your opinion?

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Circa Restaurant, MemphisCirca Restaurant, Memphis.  Design (including wine wall) by 3six0 Architecture, completed in 2007.  Photos by John Horner.

Top Chef All-StarsWine wall on the New York set of “Top Chef All-Stars,” (Season 8: 2010-2011), completed in 2010, currently airing on Bravo.

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Providence Pedestrian Bridge Competition Conclusion

December 15th, 2010 § Rachel

River View Towards Bay, rendering by studioamd

River View Towards Bay, rendering by studio amd

3six0 Architecture is part of a partnership with Friedrich St.Florian Architect called Studio Providence, LLC.  Studio Providence collaborated with Odeh Engineers of North Providence on the design of the runner-up bridge proposal in the Providence River Pedestrian Bridge Competition.  Our thanks go to David Odeh and Odeh Engineers and to John Kletzien and studio amd of Providence who provided renderings for the project.

For more on the conclusion of the competition, see today’s article in the ProJo.

Plan and Elevation

Plan and Elevation

Systems and Details

Systems and Details

Construction Sequence, animation by Odeh Engineers


Not-so-stealthy Stealth Bridge

August 13th, 2010 § Rachel

Studio Providence’s decision to not release its pedestrian bridge design to the ProJo for David Brussat’s July 29th column was not driven by a desire for secrecy, but by our respect for the committee’s interest in getting great design built in Providence and the review process that is evolving towards those ends.  Some of the comments posted on in response to Brussat’s column have been very insightful, including those by pablo fortuna:

If this is the new bridge to the Knowledge District it should be something bold and modern. This is a great opportunity to make a design statement for Providence as the Creative Capital. We have a half-dozen traditional bridges in Waterplace Park, let’s do something bold.

The claim of a secret conspiracy seems rather far fetched. As I understand it the committee has been meeting for months and they have been concerned that the designs submitted thus far, all by a single architect who was not selected by any public process, were too mundane and not worthy of the opportunity presented by this new site that will lead to the new Knowledge District — home to cutting edge research firms and the new med school.

Hearing of this frustration a local firm volunteered to sketch out an alternative just to get a discussion started — a design that has not yet even been shown to the committee. Their hesitancy to release the design to the public at this point comes entirely from a courtesy the new designers felt toward the committee and its deliberative process. As they have not yet been invited to show their design to the committee, it seemed inappropriate to suddenly be courting controversy in a newspaper column.

Instead the new team is urging the committee to consider opening the design process up to the public and to a variety of designers. To release their design to the Pro Jo before the committee has even seen it would be discourteous to the committee and disruptive of the open call and public review process they feel would best serve the city in this design process.

The charge in comments below about city taxpayer funds being wasted are also entirely wrong. If anything this is a great example of creative problem solving by the government and community leadership from the design community. We have now replaced a severely over-taxed and outdated I-195 bridge with a new bridge and a more thoughtful site placement of the interstate junction. As part of this exemplary project, much needed and much admired, the old bridge cannot be left as a rusting hulk, but must be removed with federal highway funds already budgeted for the new improved highway alignment.

Instead of spending $2 million on demolishing the existing stone piers, RIDOT realized they could preserve the elegant stone piers (the only attractive element from the original bridge) and recycle them and give the community a much needed pedestrian bridge with the money saved.

This was a brilliant example of our government working at its best. The Providence design community’s interest (all of them volunteering their time) in promoting a design discussion that would invite a variety of compelling and transformative bridge designs for the commtitee’s and the public’s review is equally proper and commendable.

Sadly an entirely false story about a non-existent “secret” cabal to force a horrific “modern” design upon an unsuspecting public seems to make for better newspaper copy.

One would hope that the real story of competent and thoughtful civil servants saving the public’s money while working cooperatively and cordially with a dedicated group of design professionals all volunteering their time would be worthy of coverage — and commendation — in a column dedicated to the design future of our downtown.

Perhaps the good doctor disagrees.

posted 8:21 PM on August 2, 2010 by member pablo fortuna

On thinking further about the good doctor’s concerns over alleged secret proceedings and his nostalgia for “traditional” approaches, some other observations seem appropriate.

Ironically, the “traditional” bridge design that Brussat is so stridently championing was actually the design that resulted from a “secret” process where only one architect was even permitted to present designs to the committee. But then again, a pre-determined selection process insuring a single favored architect must be better, because it is indeed a long-standing “tradition”.

That an honorable effort by Studio Providence to stimulate a public dialog over a variety of designs should be so entirely misrepresented in the newspaper as a “secret” “stealth” attack is indeed rich. For while disguised as a call for more public dialog, the column was actually the result of a classic insider leak and was intended as a preemptive strike against further dialog. The hope was to prevent the community from engaging in a more public review of a variety of bridge designs and to disparage a design not yet even presented for consideration.

Secret selection processes and irresponsible newspaper commentary deployed to obscure the truth for the benefit of the well connected are indeed quite “traditional” in the history of architecture.

But as Hamlet so aptly observed, there are some traditions more honored in the breech.

Let’s embrace a bold new world in Providence and welcome a public review of a wide variety of bold new designs. And may we boldly leave behind the tired “traditions” of political patronage, petty posturing and impoverished design.

Our city deserves nothing less.

posted 11:32 PM on August 2, 2010 by member pablo fortuna


Stealth Bridge

July 29th, 2010 § Rachel

This morning David Brussat of the Providence Journal  referred to Studio Providence’s pedestrian bridge proposal as ” the Sopwith Camel Gas Station design.”



For those under 50, here’s what the Sopwith Camel looks like.  We’re still trying to figure out how to combine it with the gas station.



Studio Providence, L.L.C.  was established as a joint practice between Friedrich St. Florian Architect and 3SIX0 Architecture two years ago.

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