Green Design Jim

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

While in the first year of Architectural School, our class was told a few time that to be a good architect, one must read the humanities. That I continue to do. Empathy is learned, turned on, and seeing through other eyes awakens it.


A friend turned me onto Joseph Conrad. My dad’s cousin was one who worked in the Congo helping the children for many years. So now I read Conrad. My dad’s cousin, Herbert Weiss, now old even told me the next book to read on the Congo. They both were born in Vienna Austria with a great education and understanding of colonialism.


A few takeaways from the book all in regard to the art of writing or the impulses to deal with the choices art provides:

  1. Know your art – how to manipulate your words, design, and events.
  2. Art is beyond all other greatness – it is a work for the Gods.
  3. Sympathetic consciousness of a common destiny – the art of fidelity to the right practice which makes great craftsmen, the call to honor, devotion to our calling, our idealism, rest firmly on Earth. Go with the spirit of adventure tied with the spirit of service. Risk is part of daily work. Create a steady fidelity to what is nearest at hand and heart. Go with the sense of immediate duty.
  4. The world of marvel contains enough marvels and mysteries. They act upon our emotions and intelligence in an enchanted state. This applies to the living and the dead in their countless multitudes.
  5. Act humbly to the conditions of art should carry a justification for every line. Art itself may be defined as a singles-minded attempt to render the highest kind of justice to the visible universe by bringing truth underlying its every aspect. It is the attempt to find in its form, in its color, in its light, in its shadows, in the aspects of matter and in the facts of life, what of each is fundamental, what is enduring and essential – their very truth of existence. The artist descends within himself to a lonely region of stress and strife, by choice, for the love of his craft. The artist appeals to that part of our being which is not independent on wisdom, to that which is a gift, therefore more enduring.
  6. All the truth of life is there: a moment of vision, a sigh, a smile - and all the return to an eternal rest.
  7. Liberty of imagination should be the most precious possession.
  8. A good artist should expect no recognition of his toils and no admiration of his genius. It is all for the promise of perfection. Let his thoughts dwell on the strength of his imagination amongst the things of this earth. Permanence of memory – “Take me out of myself – look for the light of imperishable consciousness.
  9. I am no slave to prejudices and formulas. My attitude toward subject and expression, angles of vision, method of composition will always be changing. I am free to express. I am not a slave.
  10. Approach the task at hand with the spirit of love for mankind.
  11. Use one’s abilities to as a means of conquering darkness.
  12. There is a singleness of intension, an honest concern for the right way of moving forward, a humble road ahead. It is a rule to stay out of the darkness. See everything clearly, even through the fog.
  13. Give your own personal visual perceptions a more complete autonomy. There is an intuitive response to visual sensations. What does each individual see? “A private view of reality”.
  14. The internal and external prevail at the moment of observation.
  15. One-man try’s to express his most inward impressions’. There is a chance to find oneself.
  16. The impression is the equivalent of the entire perception as man experiences it all with the powers of his being.
  17. Be liberated from the bonds and irrelevances of the purely circumstantial and go with larger ideas and attitudes.
  18. Expand moral awareness. Find the light in all our thoughts. There can be an inherent in their structure and purpose rather than just illustrative and functional. Find the origins of consciousness. Feel the events without being able to explain them.
  19. The Heart of Darkness points us toward such origins, in morality, language, and consciousness. Think of the primitive vs the civilized on all perceptions.
  20. We need to be prepared for this kind of perceiving before we arrive at our destination.
  21. There is an art to the shaping of consciousness. Self-revelations may come.
  22. Be aware of naked commercialization devoid of human concern. Be aware of the difference between fact and value. Restraint is part of the path. Locate the moral value within each experience.
  23. What we cannot embrace we reject, what we cannot love we hate. Reach for the insights and your self-discovery. Be free!
Happy Holidays from JHAI

Happy Holidays from JHAI

Happy Holidays to everyone this year, we hope you have a good one!

Another Robert Heinlein book review of Double Star

Another Robert Heinlein book review of Double Star

I only want to point out that even in SCIFI books there is a theme of virtue.


A few noted selections with my editing from the book.

  • Value for value – building on the square and on the level. The Hippocratic oath – don not let them tear down – Honest work for honest pay
  • The price of expansion is virtue. Never give a sucker an even break is too narrow a philosophy to fit the broad reaches
  • Take sides! Always take sides! You will sometimes be wrong – but the person who refuses to take sides must always be wrong! Heaven saves us from poltroons who fear to make a choice. Let us stand up and be counted.
  • Have a true sense of history.
  • His was a persona I was proud to wear.
  • You cannot enslave a free man.


I read this book right after finishing ATLAS SHRUGGED by Ayn Rand. Also, the Russian was into Ukraine was underway. Many of the books I read in the last few years seem to be on the same ideology. Am I just hearing what I want? Is there a theme to life? What am I missing?

Universal Housing

Universal Housing

As I read about Mies Van der Rohe or Corbusier Universal Housing would be mass produced, more affordable, and honest construction. It would be for the masses as opposed to the richer crowd not following their principals of the future. The future being modern and just, without all the self-fulfilling history or random non rational buildings.


For me it is more the opportunity to develop a system, like Mid Century Modern, that is a Tinker Toy of parts that can be used in many imaginative ways. Building still need to work constructively for humans. The function is most important. The form, personal values, light, spacial energy should all reinforce the human spirit.


How do you do Universal Housing with all this in mind? Study, invent, calculate, imaging that future. Be bold, experiment, engineer, be site selective, work with local and the larger building and planning to develop opportunity. Collaborate using past opportunities to see what works for today. Modular construction shipped to site might be a great option. However you need to look at all the embodied energy used to create and build housing units. There might be a better more cost effective way to achieve your goal.


For now the majority of residential projects I have worked on have been additions, remodels, or re-purposed housing units. Each new project I have worked on has been custom. I study the concepts of Universal Housing, affordable housing, homeless housing, manufactured housing continually. Many big government housing project turn into slums and a few had to be destroyed. This is a very complex issue.


Even Walt Disney could not solve the issue.

JHAI Featured Article: "The Best Industrial Architects in Torrance, California"

JHAI Featured Article: "The Best Industrial Architects in Torrance, California"

General Contractors Magazine recently featured us in their latest issue as "The Best Industrial Architects in Torrance, California" click the link below to read more:


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