Green Design Jim

Swann's Way

Swann's Way

As a Student at school I kept hearing that reading and study of the humanities was very important to becoming a good Architect. As an Architect over the last 30 years I have continued to read the old and the new. Culture changes, but not by much. People are people.

So I took up reading Swann's Way by Marcel Proust who lived from 1871-1922 in France.

He is known for his extensive voice on details that he witnessed or dreamed up. I believe it was the age for dreaming. Look at other artists from the period like Wright, Sullivan, Le Corbusier, Van Der Rohe, Gropius,  Gaudi, Aalto, Matisse, Picasso, Klimt, Rodin,  Faulkner, Hemingway, Steinbeck, Baum , and others. They could see, interpret, and represent in their fields what they saw in their mind. Below are a few excerpts taken in with my context?

  • For my final enlightenment. I put down my cup and examine my own mind. I alone can discover the truth. More than that: create. It is face to face with something which does not exist, which alone cam make actual, which it alone can bring into the light of day. But the indisputable evidence, of its felicity, its reality, and in whose presence other states of consciousness melted and vanished. I want to try to make it re-appear. I trace my thoughts to the moment at which I drank my first spoonful of tea. I shut out every obstacle, every extraneous idea.
  • What was prized above everything else in the world, namely, a natural air and an air of distinction? Or you could just be ignorant of architecture.
  • You have a soul in you of rare quality, an artist’s nature; never let it starve for lack of what it needs.
  • All my conversations with friends bore upon actors whose art., all together as yet I had no experience of it, was fist od all its numberless forms in which Art it-self allowed me to anticipate its enjoyment. Between one actor’s tricks of intonation and inflection and another’s the most trifling differences would strike me as being of incalculable importance. I would arrange them in order of talent -- hardening in my brain and hampering it by their immovability.
  • I saw an external object, my consciousness that I was seeing it would remain between me and it, surrounded it with a thin spiritual border that prevented me from ever touching its substance directly; for it would somehow evaporate before I could make contact with it ----
  • It’s always proceeded by a zone of evaporation. on the sort of screen dappled with different states and impressions which my consciousness would simultaneously unfold while I was reading, and which ranged from the most deeply hidden aspirations of my being to   the wholly external view of the horizon spread out before my eyes at the bottom of the garden, what was my primary, my innermost impulse, the lever whose incessant movements controlled everything else, was my belief in the philosophic richness and beauty of the book I was reading ----
  • Entrust with the secrete of truth and beauty, things half felt by me, half incomprehensible, the full understanding of which was the vague but permanent object of my thoughts.
  • Mobilize all our spiritual forces in a glittering array – open the gates of an unknown world.
  • Constantly reaching out from my inner self to the outer world, toward the    discovery of truth, came the emotions aroused in me by the action in which I moved.
  • ---persons arouse in us can be awakened except through a mental picture of those joys or misfortunes, and the ingenuity of the first novelist lay in his understanding that, as the image was of the one essential element in the complicated structure of our emotions, so that simplification of it which consists in the suppression, pure and simple ----   is I a great measure perceptible only through our senses.
  • Impenetrable to the human soul – one’s soul can assimilate ---- the feeling of this new order of creatures appear to us in the guise of truth, since we have made them our own, since it is in ourselves that they are happening --- every emotion is multiplied ten-fold – dream more lucid and more abiding – sets us free within us all the joys, we are able to distinguish ---
  • Happy discovery –
  • Some piece of imagery he would make their beauty explode into my consciousness --- realizing that the universe contains innumerable elements---
  • I was so filled with happiness, that I felt that it had so entirely relieved my mind of its obsession with the steeples and the mystery which lay behind them, as though I myself were a hen and had just laid an egg, I began to sing at the top of my voice.
  • Its symmetrical arrangement, its notation, its expressive value, he had before him something that was no longer pure music, but rather design, architecture, thought, and which allowed the actual music to be recalled. This time he had distinguished quite clearly a phrase which emerged for a few moments above the waves which emerged for a few moments above the waves of sound.  – a world of inexpressible delights --- slow       rhythmical movement --- toward a state of happiness --- yet prices – change of direction—fresh movement -=-=- rapid, fragile, melancholy, incessetnat6, sweet, with it toward new vistas----passionate longing – image of a new beauty which deepens his own sensibilities’ –pursuit of ephemeral satisfaction---
  • The immeasurable keyboard – millions of keys of tenderness. Of passion, of courage, of serenity, which compose it, each one different from the rest as one universe differs from another, have been discovered by a few great artists who do us the service, when awakened in us the emotion corresponding to the awakened emotions corresponding to the theme they have discovered.
  • Face the eye of reason – explicit --- so original a force, preserve the memory – conception of love and happiness = our notion of light, of sound, of perspective, of physical pleasure, the rich possessions’ wherewith our inner temple—
  • Decorated with works of art calculated by their designer to gladden the eyes of whoever may ultimately sleep therein, the subject being in keeping with the locality and surroundings of the house for which the rooms are planned.
  • Besides, nature, by virtue of all feelings that it aroused in me, seemed to me the thing most diametrically opposed to the mechanical inventions of mankind. The less it bore the imprint, the more it offered for the expansion of my heart.
  • Alternation of images had effected a change of front in my desire, and as abrupt as those that occur in music – a complete change of key in my sensibilities. Simple atmospheric variations—
  • A leaf torn from another chapter in the interpretation of the calendar of Happiness—
  • It all depends on the exclusive changes of the seasons and the weather.
GreenWave live /summer conference - 2022

GreenWave live /summer conference - 2022

As the summer conference moved along I took down some key words that need to be integrated in ones thought process. This is a collection of words and my interpretations on Leadership.

Thanks the Glenn Hallam and his team for coordinating this amazing networking event.

  • Passion –  “I have hope” – leaders – vision- manage
  • I see a future
  • Action – make things happen
  • Connect with others – opportunity for change
  • Persistence – tell your story – mobilize – relationships
  • I believe – responsibility – create
  • Love the environment – savior the planet
  • Realize entrepreneurial energy
  • Self-motivation – command and control
  • Tell the story of the future – compelling   vision
  • Climate mitigation – values of home and work
  • Leverage to do the right thing
  • Implement values in all you do – sustainability
  • Connect the young with the older – changes
  • Giving voice to values – ask a different question
  • Once you know – how to make it happen comes next – results
  • Frame the challenge
  • Change happens – systemic issues – incremental  - your values
  • How to get the right thing done
  • Moral mussel memory – similar to physical memory from training – rehearse
  • Move forward – accept the risk – be aware – know how to act
  • Rehearse – practice – quality – do it all prior to a presentation
  • You would do what --- if? Plan ahead
  • Deviate from the norm – habits
  • Act your way into another way of thinking
  • It is all about tradeoffs in ethics, earth, time, finance – where do you stand?
  • The process of getting there
  • There are many ways to finance a project – do your homework for the short term and the long road ahead
  • Power of dialog – facilitator
  • In a conference all you need is 1 new idea and 1 new contact – that is considered a great success
  • Making sustainability solutions real
  • Leverage all opportunity – renewal – transformation
  • Obligations to re-define all aging infrastructure into the future needs now
  • Transform – it is a brave new world – social – economic – sustainable – keep these in your heart and actions
  • Look at all fundamental assumptions – integration of ideas, financing, society – no one left behind

Join the GrreenWave movement -


Economy: The uses of our human, living organism, and planet resources respectfully and efficiently.

Community: Living, supporting, and buying locally, while viewing the Earth and all its resources as part of our local community.

Sustainability: Freedom of living entities to prosper into the Earth’s future while following Economy and Community protocol.

The chant, mantra, or branding of ECS works. It energies’. It is short and to the point. Spread the message and amplify it. Let’s get our community, Earth beings excited and activated to make the change, to vote in the best interest of the future of mankind and Earth!

Shahnameh, the Epic of the Persian Kings by Ferdowsi

Shahnameh, the Epic of the Persian Kings by Ferdowsi

I was eating at a Persian restaurant, the Wish Dish Café, and I got to talking with the host. He was telling me about a book that really affected him. It was about the history of Kings in Iran. As we talked about Stoic responses to life and training he said I should read the book. I bought it.

I am still amazed that history repeats itself. The sages say the same things after having lived life.

Here are some passages for the direction in life.

  • Do not chase worldly goods and wealth. It is much better that a man avoid harming others as he lives on the Earth.
  • When you are made King, adopt the humility of a slave.
  • All that remains from us is our deeds. So, deviate not from the path of the righteous.
  • Only the unwise pass their time without reflection.
  • For the glory of having fought is greater than the disgrace of having been beaten.
  • Sedate your passion and temper your greed.
  • Rain in the demon of excess in the world and only in the path of justice proceed.
  • The future is no more real than the wind.
  • Be generous and resist the temptation of wealth.
  • The point is to live in the light of reason while we are alive.

Many of the points sound familiar. See past posts from architects and stoics.

Know what is important in life, especially as you age and see what really is important to you.

Peace to all and live with a steady hand.

Follow Up Work

Follow Up Work

Taking on small projects lead to great projects.


One example of being introduced to a new client is picking up a very small project as a favor. I did this on a $600 fee project just to get a Tenant improvement permit. The introduction came from one of the engineers I work with. This turned into the entire Scotty Building rehab of a five story building and a new 36,000 s.f. mixed use retail and office building. This led to being hired by many of the new tenants, and being hired by LADWP for energy studies.


Having a great relationship with all your engineers can really be a benefit to company growth. 

California Water Rights

California Water Rights

So who has the California water rights?

See the article in the LA Times 5/31/22, we also have it as the blog image above.

Is it all about senior rights, agriculture, and politicians?

In LA we only get about 20% of the water with most of the population. But whose water are we using by proximity rights? Who and when were the senior rights awarded? What should we be doing now? Is the Sites reservoir needed? If so, for whom?

Let everyone know your thoughts on how the State of California should be allocating water rights moving into the future. Is it for land owners with homes, is it for the profit of the agriculture industry? How about saving the environment like fish?

What is the fairest way for future allocations?


Jim Heimler


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