Alumni Reunion!

I’m starting this post with a quick trip down memory lane: Back when I was first working as a photographer’s assistant, I assisted on a shoot for AC Martin in Orange, CA. At the time, I was young and inexperienced – and almost never knew where I was at any given time. In my memory, this job was just logged away as ‘that big building in Orange”.

Fast-forward to current time: when I arrived to scout out the new Science  and Engineering Center at Chapman University, I realized I was standing right where I worked as an assistant many years ago!  It was a fun full circle moment to find myself shooting the building directly across the street from one of my earliest assistant jobs.

Designed by AC Martin Architects, the Keck Center for Science and Engineering at Chapman University was great fun to shoot! It is the University’s most expensive and expansive building project to date, and reflects a 182% increase in dedicated space for the sciences.  I’m thrilled to share some of my favorite moments from my three day shoot with you.

Speaking of the Passing of Time…

As an architectural photographer based in California, I have photographed many schools and public spaces for AC Martin. Often, we’ve used the same kids in the shots over the years as they are family member of the AC Martin team and are happy to step into my photos to bring the spaces to life. It has been a while since I worked with this particular group of kids – and to my (very foolish) surprise, they’re all grown up!

It’s very amusing to realize that many years ago I worked on an elementary school for AC Martin, and now these same kids look at home on this college campus – Time does fly.

A Building That Wears Many Hats

This shoot happened over the course of 3 days – it was an enormous project that fully encompassed the space of 3 different buildings. Although it is officially the Science and Engineering Center, it is SO much more than that!First, there are state-of-the-art research labs where – at any given moment – the future bright minds of tomorrow are solving problems. Second, there’s an incredible transition space of classrooms, workspaces, and an open-concept staircase-meets-lounge (think Rome’s Spanish Steps, but ultra modern and as an interior focal point). Third, the Keck Center opens up onto the football field, track, and spectator bleachers – a match-up I’m not sure I’ve ever seen before, but immediately loved.

The most interesting part about three distinct uses for the same space? Three very palatable energies that coexist and morph! Depending on where you stand or what time of day it is, your experience in this space is sure to be different each time. Balancing the frenetic energy of a live sporting event with the focused energy of a science lab was a first for me.  For this space, the challenge of representing each aspect of this space and the energy it brings was the most enjoyable part of planning and shooting for AC Martin.

And, Oh! The Artwork!

The artwork in the Keck Center was extremely inspiring. When I hear “Science and Engineering Center” I certainly don’t expect there to be engaging and inspiring art at every turn – but then again, nothing about this building is what is to be normal and expected!

From the DNA-inspired mobiles to the solar-system-y light treatments, to the cell-inspired wall prints, to the two-sided bimorphic interactive painting by Peter Bynum…it just kept coming! I love that I can capture the harmony that is present when creativity, collaboration, and innovation all come together in a single space.

This space really begs you to use your brain and allow the future to lead the way.
Searching Out Great Eats!
Discovering the best places to eat while I’m on location
Sometimes you just need to sit yourself down to have Chicken & Waffles for lunch. So, that’s exactly what I did on day 2 of my time at Chapman! I heard mention of Bruxie while I was working, and I am here to confirm that their food is worth the hype!

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