Design Is Everywhere Volume 01 – Launch From The Hive

We’re launching a new series that explores the many aspects of daily life that influence our designs. As we release each volume in the series you’ll notice that we often reference “the process”, that is deliberate. We find it interesting that as designers our natural tendency is to hide our process, we don’t want our audience to know the steps it took to arrive at a final thought…we project the idea that our first thought was perfect, as if we are perfect, yet reality is quite the opposite.  Our best designs are the product of collaboration.  It is the result of our willingness to be influenced by the things we see, hear, and smell, the people we surround ourselves with (our circle) that are chipping away at the same block of ice that we are but from a slightly different vantage point.  It’s the applied pressure from our circle that challenge us to do better and be better, even when we get deal fatigue*.

Tinker Hatfield & Jordan 3
Gehry Residence 1978
Museo Guggenheim Bilbao

What is most interesting about the concept of “deal fatigue” is that it is a phenomenon only experienced by the designer.  The end-user/consumer is never exposed to the steps associated with getting from point A (the beginning), to point B (the end), so this concept is foreign to them.
The consumer in general sees something they like, and they go buy it.  The designer in contrast has to create, edit, market, and sell the idea.  Think about it – how many different versions of the Air Jordan 3 do you think Tinker Hatfield studied before he pitched Michael Jordan who was at the time frustrated with Nike and considering leaving the brand?  The end result was Tinker’s design and it saved the day…the rest is history.  How many attempts in material study did it take for famed architect Frank Gehry to arrive at Museo Guggenheim Bilbao?  When you think about it, his trajectory toward use of a material that defies gravity started with chain link fence.  A very simple, affordable, and readily available sheet good that is pliable in multiple directions.  “The process” of study, trial and error eventually led him to the use of titanium which is also a pliable sheet good…but not as readily obtainable, much more expensive, but perfect for the application.  The end result is architecture that inspires us to aspire to challenge conventional methodology.

As an owner of an architectural firm, I’ve noticed amongst young talent the hesitancy to expose the process.  There’s this gravitational pull toward putting on our headphones and hiding in our cocoons and spending hours upon hours cranking way on what we think is the perfect solution.  It almost seems as if what’s really being taught at universities is the idea of self-reliance as a path to success which cheats the process. I’ve seen MANY portfolios in interviews where I look at the finished product and think to myself “wow, this is impressive”, only to realize that the individual was working in their cocoon all by themselves for the better part of a year to produce something that in real-time we’d have to produce in a couple of weeks.  It’s the most difficult adjustment for young talent to make…the transition from theory to real-time which is about twenty times faster.

I’ve concluded that the cocoon that we all gravitate toward climbing in as a default is really our safe place that protects us from vulnerability.   I think the people most successful at breaking boundaries, innovating, and generating new ideas are the people who are OK with exposing their vulnerability.  Those that are OK with looking a little weird or sounding a little crazy.  They are not afraid to be excited or show genuine emotion for the people around them that are exploding with talent.  They let their fears push them ahead rather than stand in front of them and impede forward progress.  The “Design Is Everywhere” series is our gesture of stepping outside of our cocoon and exposing you to the things we encounter on a daily basis that inspire us, the people in our circle that push us, the highs of challenging the market and our competitors, the inevitable lows of missing the mark, and yes – the occasional occurrence of crazy.

We are not afraid…let’s get it!

Stay tuned for Volume 02 of “Design Is Everywhere” – Sportswear Passion.


*  Deal fatigue is a term used to describe the point of mental and physical exhaustion when working on a project because for various reasons often out of the designer’s control, the project seems as if it will not come to completion.  


Lee Frommelt – Copy Editor


Pendulum Press Release 8/11/2017

Pictured: Dunkin’ Donuts Park in Hartford, CT.

Photo Credit: Robert Benson Photography


Hartford, Conn., August 11, 2017 – Dunkin’ Donuts Park, home of the Colorado Rockies’ Eastern League affiliate Hartford Yard Goats, has been awarded’s “Ballpark of the Year”.  The award was announced in the August 9th edition of USA TODAY Sports Weekly by Joe Mock, webmaster and founder of and frequent contributor to USA TODAY.

This prestigious honor has been awarded to new or substantially renovated ballparks for the last 18 years, and this year in particular featured formidable competition. Dunkin’ Donuts Park was selected from an all-star cast of facilities including SunTrust Park, the new home of the Atlanta Braves, and The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, the spring training home of the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals.

Jonathan Cole, founding principal of Kansas City, MO-based Pendulum, was Architect of Record for Dunkin’ Donuts Park.  He was joined by key members of the design team including Peter Newman, principal of Newman Architects and The S/L/A/M Collaborative’s Rick Bouchard, Chris Sziabowski, and Derek Czenczelewski on the pregame announcement with Joe Mock on the Yard Goats’ radio broadcast.

“As Architects and designers, we work diligently to make positive contributions to the built environment” said Cole.  “When our work is recognized as being significant in the sports marketplace, in the local community, and nationally by an institution like, it is incredibly meaningful. Joe Mock has visited 349 ballparks and counting, so when he and his distinguished panel say a ballpark is good, it carries a lot of weight. We are deeply appreciative of this honor.  It’s something we’ll never forget. It was even more special that we were able to be present with the team when it was announced.”

Joe Mock added “I actually visited the ballpark while it was still under construction. I could tell immediately that it was going to be something special.  When I came back to check out the finished product, I was blown away.  Not only is it supremely fun to attend a Yard Goats game, the design of the park itself is spectacular. It has the intimacy of small Minor League park, while providing all the amenities of a big-league stadium. From the YG Club behind home plate to the Budweiser Sky Bar high above center field, every inch of Dunkin’ Donuts Park is well-thought-out and expertly designed. This really sets the bar for any Minor League park to be built in the future.”

Dunkin’ Donuts Park now joins an elite list of award recipients, including Major League Baseball stadium icons like AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres, and PNC Park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

“The design of Dunkin’ Donuts Park is timeless, a generous mix of the baseball nostalgia, that people love coupled with forward thinking amenities that offer our fans a big-league experience in a very compact footprint,” added Josh Solomon, owner of the Yard Goats.  “The fact that the ballpark is creating the excitement that we hoped it would with the fans, which will lead to further transformation of the surrounding neighborhoods, is proof that the city of Hartford picked the right design team for the job.”

“Dunkin’ Donuts Park is a spectacular ballpark that combines the intimate, family-friendly feel of Minor League ball with the architectural quality of a big-league park,” according to Hartford’s Mayor Luke Bronin. “That’s one of the reasons Yard Goats games are selling out week after week and bringing thousands of fans and families to the downtown, which really adds to the City’s energy. It’s an honor to have recognize that the result truly stands out among parks across the country, including several Major League facilities.”



  • Pendulum: Jonathan O’Neil Cole AIA, NCARB, NOMA
    • (816) 399-5251
  • S/L/A/M Collaborative: Derek Czenczelewski
    • (860) 368-2371
  • Newman Architects: Howard Hebel
    • (203) 772-1990

Pendulum’s 10 Year Anniversary Video – Part 02 “Time To Take A Swing”

We close out our 10 year anniversary celebration with one last look at our founding principals discussing entrepreneurship and life after it being “time to take a swing“.


  • Carlos Lima Photography: Camera work and editing
  • Behr Productions: Original music and production
  • Steve Paul: KC Star article released September 2008
  • Competitors: Fuel

Hartford, CT Planning & Zoning Commission Votes In Favor of Special Use Permit For DoNo Stadium

Pendulum/Newman Architects/SLAM Collaborative were selected by the City of Hartford, CT to design the proposed new Class AA Eastern League ballpark for the New Britain Rock Cats who intend to relocate to the proposed new Downtown North Hartford Development (DoNo) for the 2016 season.  After several weeks of testimony and revisions to satisfy conditions of approval the commission unanimously voted this evening in favor of granting a special use permit allowing the proposed stadium to proceed as designed at the intersection of Main and Trumbull.  The following images illustrate our progress with the stadium design to date.


Aerial view at the corner of Trumbull and Windsor


View at the corner of Main and Trumbull


Main Street elevation at dusk


Home plate entry view at the corner of Main and Pleasant


Aerial view at the corner of Windsor and Pleasant

Incorporation Day – Seven Year Anniversary!

Project Collage

When Devan and I started Pendulum the industry standard was three years before you’d be considered a real business.  As the economic downturn reared its ugly head five years was the new normal…and now we hear ten is what it takes before the industry takes you seriously.  Well, 5/18/2014 made seven years in the game and the Pendulum is still swinging.  Are we real?  I guess that depends on who you talk to, but as the resident realist I will say that it has been an honor to contribute to the built environment with the projects featured in the collage above.  In behalf of our naysayers and despite our reputation for upsetting the apple cart I suppose we’ll hold off on having any major parties until year ten, but in the meantime we’ll keep grinding, hustling, competing, growing, and broadening our horizons…the next evolution for us is right around the corner.

Many thanks to all of our families, friends, staff, clients, and collaborators for inspiring us to keep it moving.

Rooftop Hospitality

Although “there’s no place like home” – the thought of using a public toilet facility doesn’t seem so bad when it’s in a smart design with clean lines surrounded by beautiful landscape.

10 East 13th Street Kansas City, MO 64106 - 6th Floor

Although “there’s no place like home” – the thought of using a public toilet facility doesn’t seem so bad when it’s in a smart design with clean lines surrounded by beautiful landscape.

Green roofs in Kansas City are impacting the economy as well as the environment in a positive way. In early 2009 the City of Kansas City, MO expressed interest in converting an existing green roof in the Power & Light District above Constantino’s Market parking garage into a revenue generating multi-purpose outdoor event space.  Although sedum fields and concrete walking paths were installed during the initial build, pedestrian lighting and public toilet facilities were not in the budget.  The lack of these features made the City’s proposed enhanced use of the green space difficult to achieve due to code regulated occupancy requirements.

Pendulum Studio was retained by the Cordish Company and tasked with developing several concepts that would comply with code requirements, accommodate heavy daily use, and be ready for occupancy by the spring of 2010.  Our initial design methodology was geared toward a partially off-grid modular solution – constructing the building in two pieces off site then hoisting them into place by crane.  Although this approach was intriguing to all parties involved, it was decided that a more traditional “bricks & mortar” approach was most appropriate for this application.  One of the keys to our design solution was the selection of materials and colors inside and out that would withstand public use but avoid looking institutional.  We achieved this by incorporating SIL-LEED cementitious board on the exterior.  It’s gold color contrasted by the adjacent dark metal cladding compliments the limestone and glass buildings in the background.  The use of soft colored subway tiles accented by charcoal banding and strategically placed lighting on the interior gives off a warm and inviting vibe.

Next Steps…
Although we did not implement our modular concept on this project, we have not given up on our quest.  In fact, this rooftop project is really a predecessor to our shipping container based modular toilet facility soon to be completed.  We are now working toward the delivery of four new off-grid modules equipped with solar cells, battery storage, and rain water collection for a municipal client at 50% of the hard construction cost of the traditional “bricks & mortar” method.  Stay tuned for more info in an upcoming issue of Pen & Ink.

Photographs by Iiams Images

The Beginning…June 9, 1990

This month I’m celebrating my twentieth wedding anniversary with architecture (June 9, 1990). Like most relationships we have our ups and downs – good times and bad times, sickness and health. Every time I think about walking away from her, I follow my heart and honor my commitment…the fact is I love her – and I always will.

When people ask me “What made you want to become an architect?” the long version of my explanation is a bit complicated. To be honest, I had no idea what the profession entailed prior to getting serious about choosing my major (junior in high school). This is a disturbing reoccurring theme amongst “disadvantaged/minority” youths across the nation – an overall lack of awareness and exposure when it comes to the design professions.  I was reminded of this painful truth just a few weeks ago when I participated in a career day at a local high school where the racial demographic was approximately 60% Latino, 35% African-American, and 5% caucasian.  Amongst all of the students I spoke with that day (approximately 50 freshman), 95% of them had no clue what an architect is or does – and frankly, showed very little interest in learning more.  They all seemed rather put off by five years of college, three years of apprenticeship, and a $34k starting salary.  It’s funny to me because I’m sitting in front of these kids as an advocate for hard work and dedication to the profession and they are looking at me as if I’m totally nuts – I actually started to question my own motives…maybe I am nuts.  Why did I choose this profession?

I chose the architectural profession because I was born with a pencil in my hand so to speak.  I’ve always had a magnetism toward visual expression of my thoughts and ideas – however I was accustomed to channeling my talents toward fine art and illustration.  In high school I won a regional NAACP ACT-SO award for painting (, which led to a several commissions as an illustrator for a greeting card company; at 16 years old I thought I had it all figured out.   During a family gathering 24 years ago my older cousin Vicky asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up, I told her that I planned to be an artist.  She responded by informing me that if I wanted to secure “gainful employment”, the architectural profession would be a much wiser pursuit (there’s actually irony in this advice – but we’ll address that later).  So I did a little research on architecture, then submitted applications to several universities and was accepted by the California Polytechnic University, Pomona School of Environmental Design.

I remember it like it was yesterday, one Saturday afternoon a woman by the name of Alice Blue Lee representing Cal Poly’s  Minority Outreach Program called my parent’s home and asked to speak to me.  She said that although there was an overwhelming demand for entry into the school of architecture (at that time one of the top architectural programs in the state), she had two positions that were to be filled by “disadvantaged” applicants.  She called to offer me one of the slots on one condition: “Jonathan, you have to promise me that you will work hard and become a graduate of this program…Do I have your word?” (kinda reminiscent of the scene from the Bourne Ultimatum).  Fast forward twenty years, there are two things that are certain: Yes, I am a product of “affirmative action”…and yes, I kept my promise to Alice Blue Lee…plus some.

So, when did I fall in love with architecture?

My infatuation with architecture began in 1990 as a freshman in design school on a trip to the Louis Kahn designed Salk Institute in La Jolla, California.  While standing in the main view corridor watching the concrete plaza disappear into the horizon, it was then that I first realized the impact of the built environment on human emotion – if you haven’t been to the Salk Institute and experienced the view in person (shown above on the left), I guarantee it will change your life.

I fell in love with architecture in 1993 as a junior in design school on a trip to the Yucatán Peninsula to see the pyramids of Chichen Itza (shown above in the middle).  It was then that I began to understand that the world is larger than my immediate surroundings.  I realized that the built environment should do more than just cater to our daily needs; it is in fact a part of our cultural and spiritual expression – in many ways it contributes to the definition of who we are and confirms that there is more to us than just “us”.

I “popped the question” so to speak in 2003 when I traveled to Barcelona, Spain and stood at the base of Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia.  I got off the train walked out the station and I remember telling my wife – “I don’t care what we do while we are here but we have to see the Sagrada Familia”.  I had no clue where it was or how I would find it, then I turned my head and there it was!  I was awe struck by this incredible masonry structure  that resembles melting candles (shown above on the right).  Take a second to give this a little thought; how did Gaudi pull that level of craftsmanship off way back then when in contrast to today (in the age of Avatar for goodness sakes), we can’t get a contractor to build a traditional one story parking garage with simple stick framed construction above without melting down the entire project budget?  Seeing The Sagrada Familia in person was my moment of clarity, the point in time that I knew what I would do and what I would be – I was hooked.

This month I’m celebrating my twentieth wedding anniversary with architecture (June 9, 1990).  Like most relationships we have our ups and downs – good times and bad times, sickness and health.  Every time I think about walking away from her, I follow my heart and honor my commitment…the fact is I love her – and I always will.