The treatment of urban creeks is an important and under-considered issue, and there seems to be little study on how to deal with them from an landscape/urban design standpoint.   The city fabric turns its back to these creeks, encouraging their appropriation as areas of crime, environmental damage and missed socio-economic opportunity.  It can be argued that the insertion of public amenity and light circulation within these creeks ​can provide a framework for economic attraction, which will underpin architectural reorientation.  More of this project to come…


work by thomas grant macdonald, 2015, all rights reserved



IMG_9463 900px GrayscaleIMG_9484-900pxphotos
from top:

armature model by thomas macdonald

studio space photo by thomas macdonald

‘thinker portraits’ by students of Richard Weller

2015, all rights reserved

Staying Up Late

It’s 4:30 in the morning and I just returned home from my PennDesign studio, where I had been working since before noon today.  It seems to be the unwritten law in college architecture programs that students live in a state of chronic sleep deprivation.  I knew this going into the Penn program but vowed – naively – to be the exception to such a torturous policy.  It was my  plan to operate more like my good friend Jayson, an architectural designer in Austin.

According to Jayson, when he was enrolled in the architecture program at the University of Houston (this was years ago) he pulled very few all-nighters and did the bare minimum of work.  While the other students were spending countless hours working on projects at school, Jayson was interning at real firms.  At graduation, most of Jayon’s class didn’t even know who he was, but with his real-life work experience he was offered some of the best jobs and highest salaries of any of his classmates.

So that was my plan – to be like Jayson and not spend the next three years of my life making models for teacher’s approval.

“A plan is just a list of things that don’t happen.”


As of today I really enjoy being in studio.  I love what I’m learning, I love what I’m doing.  I feel lucky to have the opportunity to stay up all night long working on cool creative projects and learning the way of landscape architecture.  I wish I didn’t have to eat or sleep so I could just stay there around the clock.  Perhaps I’ll feel differently in a couple months, but right now I have no problem coming home at 4:30 in the morning, catching four hours of sleep and leaving at 9 am to meet a guest professor at Bartram’s Garden.  This is the good life, I appreciate it.

Now if I could only do something about that mouse I hear scratching around in the kitchen…

In the Studio

Our class’s current studio project focuses on Bartram’s Garden, one of the first botanical gardens established in the New World.  So far the project has involved walking the site, sketching, taking of measurements and creating triangulations, drawing sections, developing a photo montage, and designing and building a device to measure objects found on site.

Despite seemingly working around the clock for the past three weeks, I am behind in my project.  I feel like a big part of this is due to leaving class to eat and get coffee.  I know that I need to make a huge amount of food at the beginning of each week and eat lunch in the student lounge area… I just don’t have time to make the food.

Below is a picture of my photo montage concept in its draft stage.  I put this together today and am happy with how it is moving along.  Sorry for the poor image quality, someone please send me an iPhone 4s.