Posts Tagged ‘information value’

old post office building, washington, dc, vernelle noel, thinking insomniac

Old Post Office - Washington, DC

I did this drawing of the Old Post Office building in Washington, DC in Summer 2003. I make negatives of my drawings and will  post some of them for you. I think they look pretty cool.

This was done during my first summer in DC…the beginning of one of the best relationships in my life. You know of my deep love for this beautiful city. I was drawing and photographing everything left, right, and center. The following summer I went to New York, bought a bicycle, came back on the bus with my bicycle and rode everywhere in the wind, rain and snow. I didn’t care. I was in love with it all…and I still am.

The Old Post Office Tower soars to 315 feet, making it third in height among the buildings of the Nation’s Capital. The 270-foot observation level allows visitors an awe-inspiring view of the city and the area. Here also are the century old tower clock and the Bells of Congress. The latter were a Bicentennial gift from the Ditchley Foundation in England. (

Here are some informative links about the Old Post Office:

America’s Watchtower – Saving the Old Post Office by Scott G. Shultz >>>

Old Post Office Building by Thaddeus Cooper >>>

Washington City Old Post Office architectural model >>>

Hope you enjoy!

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This work by Vernelle Noel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

the willard hitel, vernelle noel, thinking insomniac, architecture, sketch

The Willard Hotel - Washington, DC

This is a drawing I did of The Willard Hotel, in summer of 2003. It was my first summer in DC (one of my favorite cities in the world) and I could not see enough of the city. I was in love with the architecture, its spaces, the people and places. The Willard is on Pennsylvania Avenue, one block from the White House. The 12-story structure, designed by famed hotel architect Henry Janeway Hardenbergh, opened in 1901.

Beaux-Arts architecture depended on sculptural decoration along conservative modern lines, employing French and Italian Baroque and Rococo formulas combined with an impressionistic finish and realism. Slightly overscaled details, bold scuptural supporting consoles, rich deep cornices, swags and sculptural enrichments in the most bravura finish the client could afford gave employment to several generations of architectural modellers and carvers of Italian and Central European backgrounds. A sense of appropriate idiom at the craftsman level supported the design teams of the first truly modern architectural offices.

Though the Beaux-Arts style embodies an approach to a regenerated spirit within the grand traditions rather than a set of motifs, principal characteristics of Beaux-Arts architecture included:

  • Flat roof
  • Rusticated (often used to give visual weight to the ground floor) and raised first story
  • Hierarchy of spaces, from “noble spaces”—grand entrances and staircases— to utilitarian ones
  • Arched windows
  • Arched and pedimented doors
  • Classical details: references to a synthesis of historicist styles and a tendency to eclecticism; fluently in a number of “manners”
  • Symmetry
  • Statuary, sculpture (bas-relief panels, figural sculptures, sculptural groups), murals, mosaics, and other artwork, all coordinated in theme to assert the identity of the building
  • Classical architectural details: balustrades, pilasters, garlands, cartouches, with a prominent display of richly detailed clasps (agrafes), brackets and supporting consoles
  • Subtle polychromy

Courtesy Wikipedia

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This work by Vernelle Noel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Culture of Creation and Hope

I did the sketch above while living in India. I am fascinated with mehndi and my friend, a mehndi artist, mentored me in the artform. The sketch above was one of his many assignments for me…so that my hands understood the craft and techniques. Thanks again Mishal.

One of my favorite shows on television is the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Stewart is a game changer, very funny and most importantly very intelligent. On Monday night’s show he had Anand Giridharadas, an online columnist for The Times and the author of recently released “India Calling: An Intimate Portrait of a Nation’s Remaking.”

In his interview with Jon, Anand spoke of India and its “cultural upheaval, as a new generation has sought to reconcile old traditions and customs with new ambitions and dreams.” Jon asked him about the success and growth of India (China included), and he attributed their success largely because to their “culture of hope and creation,” and that stuck with me. He was absolutely right!

I have lived in the Caribbean, the US and India; India has by far been my most creative and innovative experience. This was so because of what Anand spoke of, that culture of creation…all of us wanting to create, do, and be better. We didn’t care whose idea it was, all we cared about was perfecting it. I was among people – now my family – who shared knowledge and information freely. I have mentioned these people before (Share, Create, Ideate blog post). I will always be an advocate for sharing knowledge because I have seen the awful effects of living by the old method of hoarding knowledge – mistrust, little or no innovation, little or no collaboration, and so much more. I am an architect but learned from and shared with my friends who are product and industrial designers, business, and marketing gurus. They opened their worlds to me and as a result I entered the realm of product design and business, and marketing. I enter and even won a product design competition (Ecotopia) with my friend Gijsbert. I shared knowledge and vice versa. We are all better today at what we do by the mere fact that we all truly love what we do and are able to see the BIG picture…that without sharing with each other, and learning from each other, our innovations would be much less than they could be.

What kind of culture are you fostering? What kind of culture are you part of? Hoarding information and knowledge today is a waste of energy and time. Your time would be better spent sharing and collaborating…THAT sparks creative energy and invention. Start that culture of hope and creation today in your home, class, country, region, and society. The future depends on it. If you see the BIG picture and practice knowledge sharing, don’t hesitate to drop me an email. I look forward to hearing from you.

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This work by Vernelle Noel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

thinking insomniac netherlands spain world cup sketch cartoon

Wish you the best!


I am a football fan (yes football…or soccer if you prefer). I look forward to Sunday afternoon for a great game of skill, technique and determination. Who wants it more? The Dutch, or the Spanish? I always root for good football first…whoever plays the better game, I’m all for that. I will be supporting the Dutch on Sunday however. I grew up watching great players like Ruud Gullit, and Marco van Basten to name a few. I also have a couple very close dutch friends, and if all of Holland is like them…they deserve to win! Gijs, and Licia, I will be rooting for you!

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This work by Vernelle Noel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

thinking insomniac value versus volume

How does the VALUE of information you put out, compare with the VOLUME

Mies van der Rohe adopted the motto “Less is More” to describe designs being reduced to its necessary elements, its essentials, its most fundamental features. This came to my mind during my read of JP Rangaswami’s blog, confused of Calcutta. In his post he mentions “filters” in the information we share with others. Is the information (designs, tweets, posts) we share with others of value? Value is relative and can be informational, social, emotional, psychological, technical, economic, humorous, and so much more.

There are bloggers and tweeters I pay particular attention to because their information value is very high. Which means, when they speak (tweet, post), I listen. One of my closest friends Bob Massa never just “makes a post”. It takes him quite a while to compose a blog post, letter, even email reply. Why? Because he always makes sure what he says is EXACTLY what he wants to say in just the right amount of words. He believes in editing, editing, and when you think you are finished, editing some more. He believes in less is more.

In everything you do, try to always give a high value to volume ratio. As an architect and designer, I have seen many designs, both real and imagined that are filled with “fluff,” unnecessary elements and attachments that in no way strengthens the concept. Those elements and words become “noise.” High volume tweets (noise) does not mean high value information. Let’s strive to create work based on honesty and integrity, enriching persons along the way. I thank JP, Bob, and the many others who give information of a high value. I am always able to learn, laugh, and be informed.

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