Kristin Dispenza

Kristin Dispenza

Kristin graduated from The Ohio State University in 1988 with a B.S. in architecture and a minor in English literature. Afterward, she moved to Seattle, Washington, and began to work as a freelance design journalist, having regular assignments with Seattle’s Daily Journal of Commerce.

After returning to Ohio in 1995, her freelance activities expanded to include writing for trade publications and websites, as well as other forms of electronic media. In 2011, Kristin became the managing editor for

Kristin has been a features writer for since January 2010. Some of her articles include:

Faux Painting

Mon, Jan 30, 2012
Looking for a way to liven up your kitchen or bath – or any other room in the house – without spending a lot of money? Faux painting may be the answer. Offering more than just a change in hue, faux painting can change the very character of a space.

The best alternative to plain painted surfaces used to be wallpaper. But wallpaper is difficult to remove, and installing it requires a lot of prep work, not to mention the time spent on precision measuring, cutting, and hanging. Faux painting can have an effect that is just as dramatic, but it isn’t as much of a commitment. And painting is one of the least expensive ways to customize a space.

BIM for Small Businesses: The Benefits to You

Thu, Jan 19, 2012

You’ve been reading about BIM. It’s being used by all of the big companies, and they’re talking about the benefits they’ve reaped.You know that BIM will be coming to your workplace soon, too, but how and from what direction? Are you just supposed to buy a software suite and hope for the best?

As it turns out, that’s an approach not even the product makers and suppliers would recommend. Building information modeling (BIM) is increasingly being described as a "disruptive" technology, even by its biggest promoters, for a reason.“Most people now understand that BIM is a process, not a product,” says Catherine Palmer, Sr. Industry Marketing Manager, AEC Solutions at Autodesk. “It’s a paradigm shift.” When asked how small to medium sized firms should handle the move to BIM, Jim Lynch, Vice President, Building Product Line Group at Autodesk recommends education as a first step. “Position yourself by beginning with the concept,” says Lynch, “Then embrace it.”

Biophilia: Our Affinity for Nature Can Help Us to Transform Our Living Spaces

Mon, Nov 14, 2011

What is it that makes a person like a building? Beyond simple differences in individual taste, scientists are identifying biologically based responses that determine our preferences.

Green design can mean many things. Even the most structured green building rating systems reflect this fact. At their most encompassing, rating systems can include far reaching social and cultural goals; at their most pragmatic, these systems still emphasize the importance of environmental quality for the end user. However, this type of imprecise consideration is often overshadowed by components that are more measurable, such as energy-efficient heating and cooling systems or water usage.

Ross Barney Architects: The University of Minnesota Duluth’s James I. Swenson Civil Engineering Building

Fri, Nov 11, 2011

Structural and mechanical systems used in the Swenson Civil Engineering Building, located on the University of Minnesota Duluth campus, serve as a teaching tool for the program’s students.

In 2008, The University of Minnesota Duluth began offering a B.S. in Civil Engineering. The new program required the construction of its own building, and Ross Barney Architects were hired to design the 35,300 sq. ft James I. Swenson Civil Engineering Building, which was completed in 2010.

London 2012: Velodrome by Hopkins Architects

Thu, Nov 10, 2011

Hopkins Architects’ design for the London 2012 Olympic Games Velodrome reflects the elegance, efficiency, and sustainability of the sport it supports.

The Olympic track cycling venue, or Velodrome, by Hopkins Architects, is considered the most sustainable venue in the Olympic Park in terms of design and construction. The overall inspiration for the design was the bicycle – a fitting choice, considering the building’s purpose. In a monograph published by The Architects’ Journal, Hopkins Architects senior partner Mike Taylor says, “Right from the off, we wanted it to feel like a bicycle in terms of its engineering, i.e., very taut and nothing superfluous. Everything trimmed down to the minimum.”

London 2012: Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid

Tue, Nov 15, 2011

Zaha Hadid’s building at the London 2012 Olympic Park is more than simply an aquatic center: it will factor largely into the public experience of the Olympic Games.

For the gateway to London’s Olympic Park, internationally acclaimed architect Zaha Hadid was selected to design one of her signature sculptural buildings. Hadid's London Aquatics Centre will be the venue for Swimming, Diving, Synchronized Swimming, Paralympic Swimming, and the aquatic portion of the Modern Pentathlon. It is scheduled to host 192 events in all.

House of the Month: 700 Palms Residence by Ehrlich Architects

Wed, Oct 26, 2011

An urban infill project in Venice, California, provides an example of flexible home design.

Multi-functional spaces have been receiving attention in the design world lately, as homes become smaller and every room must do double – or triple – duty. The 700 Palms Residence was designed by founding Principal Steven Ehrlich of Ehrlich Architects to have a modest carbon footprint and to fit into an existing residential community, so creating flexible spaces was key.

From Lady Gaga to High-Tech Architecture, a BOFFO Installation Spans the Gap

Fri, Oct 14, 2011

Gage/Clemenceau Architects, whose work often combines architecture with emerging technologies, designed a temporary installation for BOFFO, a non-profit organization whose stated mission is to “foster collaborations between artists, designers, communities, theorists, and the media in the exploration of contemporary subject matter that inform and educate the public, through innovative, participatory programming.”

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