From the Editor: What Inspires You?

Editor Karen HickeyKaren D. Hickey, editor

“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.”
– Vincent van Gogh

Each day I rummage through my email, hoping for just a few treasures, as if I were at a flea market or a thrift store. I’m hoping for some tiny morsel of inspiration, whether it’s a project that stands out or an interesting topic to share.

How do you choose which projects you will work on? Do you even get that choice? Once you begin your work, what inspires you?

For architect Brad Cloepfil, a simple charcoal drawing (inset) shows the inspiration for his design of the National Veterans Memorial and Museum.

For architect Brad Cloepfil, a simple charcoal drawing (inset) shows the inspiration for his design of the National Veterans Memorial and Museum.

I recently attended the Vectorworks Design Summit (see p. 48 for a special report), and during the design keynote, an architect shared the details behind some of his recent designs. With each new building he designs, he starts with simple charcoal drawings. I was amazed. All the high-tech software at his fingertips still isn’t a match for what’s in his mind and what he can draw on paper. Isn’t that how it usually begins — with something small? Inspiration doesn’t have to be colossal, but it does tend to be consequential.

In this issue, Legat Architects describes the inspiration behind their early learning center designs. The Freedom Walkway in Rock Hill, S.C., took inspiration from a civil rights sit-in in the 1960s. The design for an addition to the Franklin County Courthouse in Greenfield, Mass., was inspired by the need for better functionality.

I hope that the projects featured in this issue of Masonry Design will inspire you in some way. Share your inspiration, whether large or small, by emailing me at

To make comments or suggestions, send e-mail to

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