All posts by Kevin Payne

Air Force Academy Chapel

The Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs has one of the most unique chapels I’ve ever seen. When the sun lights up the windows of this chapel, an amazing blend of colors bring the chapel to life. This chapel is also home to a huge pipe organ and the acoustics of the building are fantastic, allowing the music to resonate throughout the chapel.


The building has multiple levels, each pertaining to different religious practices such as Protestant Christianity, Catholicism, and Judaism. Each level also has unique artwork specific to each practice.


This is definitely my favorite building that I had the chance to visit while I was active duty. It’s the most peaceful, beautiful work of art that the Air Force has ever constructed in my opinion.

Noshina Hotel

The Noshina Hotel is definitely one of the most unique places you could stay at if you ever find yourself visiting Naoshima Island. The green roof is one of the key features of this structure. It provides an extra layer of insulation to help save on heating and cooling costs as well as adding to the beauty of the building.

Noshina Hotel Green Roof

Tadao Ando is always designing around nature and maintaining a balance between people and the environment we occupy. This building is primarily built with concrete and includes a pool as the centerpiece. I think it’s one of his best designs even though it’s not the most detailed.

4×4 – Tadao Ando




Tadao Ando creates some of the most unique structures I’ve seen. This home sits in Japan with a view of the ocean. Tadao Ando loves utilizing natural light and all of his creations include large windows and open spaces.


Tadao’s designs also capitalize on the low cost of using concrete as the primary building material. Even though concrete isn’t the most visually appealing, this design pulls it off.


tadao ando 4x4


I think it’s awesome and wouldn’t mind living in one of these myself!

San Diego Natural History Museum

The Sand Diego Natural History Museum offers visitors a unique view of the prehistoric era. This structure has very intricate detail constructed along the top of the building. The roof also has large windows to allow for plenty of natural light to illuminate certain areas of the building where light won’t damage the fossils and other artwork.


The landscaping can really be highlighted and appreciated during the spring. It’s a beautiful sight if you ever have the chance to visit.


The interior is nothing too extravagant. All of the attention is meant to center around the fossils and displays from history. It was neat to visit and I definitely enjoyed the experience.

Griffith Observatory

One neat place to visit in Los Angeles is the Griffith Observatory.  Not only is the architecture impressive and unique, but the view from the top of the mountain it sits on is priceless.  The entire city of LA can be observed using free telescopes and they offer a view of stars and planets through much larger telescopes free of charge.

Griffith Observatory

Inside of the Observatory you’ll have the chance to learn about techniques used to observe deep space as well as tons of facts about our solar system. The architecture is a work of art on the inside.


There is artwork painted on the ceilings and throughout the rest of the building.  It’s truly an amazing site to visit.

Ft Worth Museum of Modern Art

Inspired by Tadao Ando’s Museum of Modern Art in Japan, this museum was built to mirror its twin.  It is highly energy efficient, allowing for plenty of natural light to enter without damaging the artwork.


The museum itself is also a work of art. Tadao Ando designed for the building to highlight and create balance around natural features such as water surrounding areas of the structure.



Tadao Ando does a fantastic job of keeping his buildings attractive while using concrete as their primary building material.

Tadao Ando – Church of the Light



The Church of the Light was designed by architect Tadao Ando. The concept of using natural light to highlight the cross in the back and provide a large source of the lighting gives this church an extremely unique look. What bugs me about this church are the cement walls, which Tadao Ando seems to use in almost all of his designs. It doesn’t seem fitting in a church in my opinion, but the cross cut out in the back seems to defy physics. The upper left and right areas must have quite a few anchors in order to pull off this architectural feat. Although I personally don’t agree with the overall choice of material, the view from the aisle looks beautiful and intense.

Chicago Water Tower

While visiting Chicago, I had the opportunity to check out this beautiful structure. It really sticks out between the giant shopping centers and skyscrapers that line the streets of the Windy City. 

The inside was converted to a small walk through exhibit which featured some history of the building. There was also a hydroponic grow system showcasing how certain plants could be grown utilizing fish as a source for replenishing nutrients while the plants serve as part of their diet. It is definitely a highlight of the city, structurally and historically.

Hyogo Prefectual Museum of Art

Architect Tadao Ando designed this beautiful museum in Hyogo, Japan. It instantly reminded me of the Robie House shown in class, although I can’t say if it was part of his influence in the design. The overhangs, large open rooms, and a multitude of windows really give this building its character and visual appeal.


If you really can’t stand it when your calves aren’t sore, then this museum is the perfect place to get your leg workout for the year. The staircase leading up to the building is huge and delivers a grand appearance. Tadao Ando also designed a lovely spiral staircase that will leave you speechless (literally and figuratively).


One Big Tower

Last Christmas I was lucky enough to slip in a road trip to Chicago, Illinois. It was the first time I’ve ever visited the Windy City. I was immediately in shock when the city and its plethora of towers came into view along the horizon. The only area I had to compare it to was Bricktown, and this city made Bricktown look like child’s play. Needless to say, I was extremely overwhelmed. The first massive structure I visited (my personal favorite) was the Hancock Tower. From the base of the tower, staring towards the top, I was very disoriented and it actually made me dizzy. This tower flaunts its support beams, some of which cross over each other and accomplishes its intimidating, industrial HackcockTower



look. If you want to capture one of the best views in the city, you’ll have to pay $20 to hop on what they claim to be the world’s fastest elevator. It’s a very small price to pay for such an outstanding view. TowerShorelinePic


It really felt like I was on top of the world and in comparison, most of the other towers seem tiny. I definitely look forward to visiting again and hopefully it’s sooner than later.