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:

House of the Month: Captured Spaces: An Exercise in Modernism

Wed, May 25, 2011

The Fairfield House, designed by Webber + Studio, is located on a tree-lined street in the Austin, Texas, neighborhood of North Hyde Park. The Hyde Park Historic District is listed in the National Register of Historic places, and the area’s popularity has been growing in recent years due to its proximity to the University of Texas. In many respects, the 3,180 sq. ft. home, an Architectural Record House of the Month in 2009, draws upon the district’s rich architectural traditions, just as its neighbors do. In response to Texas’s hot, humid climate, for example, the house is separated into small building masses that are open to ventilation. A breezeway – another classic architectural element – connects the front and the back portions of the building, but that is where the nod to tradition ends. In every other aspect of its design, the Fairfield House is an exercise in modernism.

BIM for Infrastructure

Thu, May 05, 2011

Since the release of Autodesk’s 2012 product suites in April, Buildipedia’s BIM series (see Contractors Look to BIM to Streamline Construction and BIM: Bridging the Gap Between AEC and O&M) has been highlighting changes and upgrades to the software systems. Each year, Autodesk's line of products forges into new territory, and one of its most recent areas of development has been 3D modeling for infrastructure. Applying the same principles currently used in BIM on the scale of individual buildings, BIM for infrastructure expands that 3D vision outward, taking it to a new level – literally.

BIM: Bridging the Gap between AEC and O&M

Thu, Apr 28, 2011

Building Information Modeling (BIM), which first proved its value as a software solution for the design and construction industries, is now being introduced in another sector: building operations. The advancement is a logical one, considering the limitations of the traditional supply chain. “There has always been a ‘handover’ from AEC to the building owner,” says Marty Chobot, Vice President of Product Management at facility management company FM:Systems, “but we need to find a way to bridge the gap between AEC and O&M.”

House of the Month: Country Vernacular Meets Regional Modernism

Wed, Apr 27, 2011

The Chauvin residence is set comfortably back off a country road just north of Lake Ponchartrain in Southern Louisiana, woven into a site that is notable for the large oaks that are characteristic of the region. Its owner, an artist, was open to architect Jeffrey Smith’s interpretation of the site. Smith, principal and director of design at Holly & Smith Architects, considers it important to take cues from local building styles. “The Chauvin residence could be called Country Vernacular,” he says. “We stuck with traditional hips and gables, and metal roofs.” Brick is used, but sparingly; it appears on small portions of wall, as well as on chimneys and the foundation. Inside, the house is open and contemporary.

Adaptive Reuse: Borrowing from the Past

Mon, Apr 25, 2011

The design and construction of a building is always an arduous undertaking, even under the best circumstances. But when a project calls for the adaptive reuse of an existing structure, the challenges quickly multiply. Designers must bring older structures up to code, follow ADA guidelines and preservation standards, and work within the confines of outdated structural systems. Additionally, existing structures have already experienced the effects of time and decay, so extensive repair work is often in order. Considering all of these factors, design professionals who specialize in adaptive reuse often see their profession as somewhat of a labor of love. “The amount of work is out of proportion to the [architect’s] fee,” summarizes Carmi Bee, architect and president of RKT&B Architecture and Urban Design. Nevertheless, recent decades have seen a steady increase in the popularity of adaptive reuse.

Contractors Look to BIM to Streamline Construction

Fri, Apr 22, 2011

The building industry is moving inevitably away from 2D paper drawings and toward 3D virtual modeling. When a new technology offers people a better way of doing something, they will eventually use it, even if it means overcoming old habits and facing a sometimes steep learning curve. The use of Building Information Modeling (BIM) has increased dramatically over the past few years, not just in architecture firms, but industry-wide. Construction firms that were early adopters of BIM now have the hard data to justify their choice: projects are taking less time and costing less money, and demonstrated mastery of state-of-the-art technology is winning these firms more jobs.

Financing Renewable Energies

Tue, Apr 19, 2011

Perhaps the only thing that traditional, fossil fuel-based electricity generation still has going for it is the ease of “turning on” a new account. Calling the local utility company… easy. Researching, installing, and financing renewable energies and alternative solutions… difficult. More and more, however, government entities and private companies are finding ways to help people to adopt newer technologies.

House of the Month: House Ocho, Sustainable Living in the Santa Lucia Preserve

Wed, Mar 30, 2011

Sustainable living in metropolitan areas tends to take the form of large, LEED-certified developments; the majority of plant and wildlife habitat conservation still takes place on public lands. Somewhere in between lies a third option: the blending of human habitation and nature conservancy on the same plot of land. Exploring this option is the Santa Lucia Preserve, located near the coast in central California and occupying acreage that was originally part of the Mexican Land Grants of the 1830s. The owners of House Ocho had been searching unsuccessfully for a home to remodel when they found their lot in the Santa Lucia Preserve.

LifeCycle Tower: Taking Wood to New Heights

Tue, Mar 15, 2011

Metal and concrete, along with various composite materials, are the definitive building blocks of contemporary architecture. Wood is more historic and homespun … or is it? For almost every green attribute that these trendier materials can boast, wood can boast one of its own. Most notably, wood is renewable, it represents low embodied energy, and it sequesters carbon for as long as it is in use as a building component. The designers of the LifeCycle Tower are setting out to prove that wood can be used for more than just homebuilding.

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