2016 Year In Photos

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If one more person implies they hope 2017 is a better year, I’m going to puke.

2016 was an amazing year for me! I made a lot of new friends, rode my bike across America and lots of great stuff happened all year long. I don’t think I could have even asked for a better year. It certainly wasn’t an easy year and that’s a good thing too.

2016 stretched me far outside my comfort zone over and over again. Here is my picture summary of 2016. All of these pictures came from my Instagram account.

How’s Molly?

This was the first picture I took with my new DSLR camera.

Whenever I get on a phone call with a family member, the first thing they ask me is, “How’s Molly?” So lets talk about her first, before I start rambling on and on.


Molls is awesome!

She had an amazing year as well. She went to the beach a bunch of times, enjoyed the summer in Portland and hung out with a ton of her friends. Molly knows more people in the neighborhood, then I do.

While I was traveling all summer, an architecture student from Boston hung out with Molly. She had an internship at a local firm here. Her and Molls stayed in my downtown apartment and they had a ton of fun enjoying the summer while I was gone.

Before I left, lots of people told me I should take Molly with me as I bicycle across america, but that’s a ridiculous idea and too dangerous to ever consider. Molly is a dog, not a cyclist. She would hate every minute of it.


Molly will be 9 years old this march and a few months ago, I put her on a new dog food. She lost a little bit of extra weight, her coat got softer and now she is in the best shape, she’s been in prolly for the past few years. We’ve been trail running a lot lately.  Today Molls looks like shes 3 years younger, then she did 1 year ago at this time.

Celebrating 4 years of Yellow Labrador calendars.

Architecture Projects

During the first half of the year, I said NO to a lot of projects because I would be traveling for the entire summer. But….

I ended up taking on this residential house project, a few weeks before I left for the bike tour. I had started talking about this project, for six months before they were ready to pull the trigger on it. They want to redo the kitchen and add on a master suite where the existing deck is.

As I was packing my bags, I measured the house,  banged out a few designs for the client and then picked it back up as soon as I got home. I even did a quick sketch for the client when I was cycling through Yellowstone. I’ve been having a lot of fun with this little house and I’ll be ready to get a permit in early 2017.

My friend John helping me measure the roof lines.

I have a few more house projects on the horizon, which could materialize in 2017. I’ve been working exclusively with one Builder on all this residential work. I really enjoy working with him. We make a good team.

At the end of 2016, I took on a little part time job, helping a friend muscle through some retail design work. It’s pretty easy stuff for me. I like it because I can zone out (and think about Young Architect) while doing my drawings and it pays pretty well. Its nice to have a backseat role on a project for once, while I watch my friend take a million (annoying) phone calls from the client.

In 2016 I passed off a few project opportunities to friends, because I just didn’t have the bandwidth to take on another thing. I am pretty content with my workload. There is plenty of architecture work right now.

Young Architect

This silly Young Architect blog will be 3 years old in January. 2016 was a really good year for Young Architect. Young Architect recently hit 100,000 social media followers and email subscribers. It was also featured as one of the Top Architecture Blogs in 2017. 

New business cards with the new logo

The ARE Boot Camp has been doing awesome. I ran the program all year long and even while I was cycling across America, which was kind of crazy. I never thought I would enjoy running this program as much as I do. Every Thursday and Friday when NCARB releases exam results, I get emails from the people who have taken program telling me they passed another test. If feels really good watching everyone kick ass after they take my program.

In the middle of the summer, one of my childhood friends who is a high school teacher texted me this picture. He said one of his students wrote a paper about Becoming an Architect and listed Young Architect as part of his works cited.


I started an online retail store called Young Architect Gear selling hats, posters, bags, shirts, sweatshirts, yoga pants and all types of crazy stuff. I created this store as a way to channel my photoshop skills into something useful rather then adding more dumb memes to the world. It also allows me to undercut and sell my book cheaper then Amazon, while making a bigger profit per book. At the beginning of 2017 my self-published book about How to Pass The ARE has been purchased over 1,200 times.

Back in February, I posted a bunch of cheezy valentines day jokes over the course of 2 days and pissed off the entire internet. I lost several hundred social media followers, received several angry emails and was forced to delete all my valentines day jokes. It was a good reminder about how serious the rest of the world takes themselves. Its a shame, because ALL OF IT was really funny. I’m kinda glad I lost all those followers and friendships.

In the Spring, I volunteered for the Architects in Schools again this year and taught architecture to 3rd graders. We built bridges,  talked a lot about design and laughed till it hurt. I love these kids and the Architects in Schools program. I wish I could quit my day job and hang out with 3rd graders all day. Oh wait, I already did that.

In March, I went to DC to meet with NCARB for 2 days to discuss the next version of the Architect Registration Exam. The people that work for NCARB are all awesome, they did a great job on the new exam. I got to hang out with lots of really important people who played an integral part of helping me pass my Architect Exam a few years ago.

After I got my tax return, I said “the hell with it” and went down to Nicaragua to do some yoga and surfing.

My award winning photo at sunset.

This dude was on the bus for almost 2 hours and in the middle of nowhere he pulls this live chicken out of a bag. Chickens riding the bus!?!! Just a normal day in Nicaragua.

I got stuck in Nicaragua for an extra day with Jill and Michael Knouse. Nothing worse then being forced to hang out with your favorite people in the world.

In April I co-hosted an Architecture Firm happy hour at my office and also used it as a going away party, before I left to go traveling all summer. 150 people showed up and it was the most successful Architecture Firm Happy Hours EVER.

My best friend Bob Potter surprised me and showed up at my going away party in Portland and hung out for a few days.

AIA Conference

The best architecture picture I took all year.

With all the madness of leaving to be gone all summer and then then arriving at the AIA Conference. I decided to take Amtrak across America, from Portland to the AIA Conference in Philadelphia. It took 3 days to get there and I loved every minute of it. It was really nice to just relax for a moment, breathe and enjoy the train ride across America.

My room on the train was so big, I did a bunch of yoga.

Charging some electronics on the train. Everyone on social media got really upset and worried that I was going to start a fire. That didn’t happen.

The AIA Conference was amazing. My only goal at the AIA Conference was to network and connect with the architecture community, which I certainly accomplished. I made lots of new friends, connected with internet friends in real life and caught up with lots of old friends.

Chillin with Steve Ramos, Enoch Sears and Bob Borson.

Hangin at the party with Lora Teagarden and Black Spectacles.

Lukas my BFF from architecture school showed up and hung out for a few days.

The Portland Crew in Philly at the AIA Conference.

Riding My Bike Across America

In 2016 I took my 3rd bicycle ride across America, coast to coast. This had been something I had been dreaming about for almost 10 years.

After the AIA Conference was over, my friends Laura and Sam picked me up in Philly and took me down to Yorktown Virginia, where I picked up my bike and gear that I mailed to some random bike shop.

The Victory Momument in Yorktown, VA is the beginning of the Transamerica Bicycle Trail.

Laura and Sam rode with me across Virginia and then I kept going until I hit the coast of Oregon.

I rode my bike for 75 days and covered 4,300 miles across: Virginia, Tennessee, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and Oregon. It was an incredible trip. I laughed like crazy and met some pretty spectacular people along the way.

I even blogged every single day of the trip with photos and some music videos as well.  The summer’s bike blog is at: http://coast2coastbikeride.com/duderobot

In Richmond, VA with Ephriam, Laura, and Sam. A few weeks later Ephriam rode his bike from Chicago to Seattle.

Some sketchy camping situation in a Walmart parking lot.

You’d never believe the welcoming ceremony the locals gave me when I rode into Kansas.

Just another scene from the Yellow Brick Bicycle Trail in Kansas.

My Brother from another Mother. I met Austin in Newton, Kansas and rode with him all the way to Missoula, Montana. He lives here in Portland and now we hang out all the time. I love this guy, he’s hilarious.

I carried a 15’ extension cord across America. Everyone made fun of me, until it repeatedly kept everyone’s electronics charged.

In the middle of Virginia, I found my wisdom teeth at the bottom of my bike touring first aid kit, I hadn’t opened that bag since 2007.

The latest in bathroom technology.

Picture from the longest day of the trip. Austin and I rode 136 miles across Kansas and into Colorado.

Bob Potter showed up and surprised me at the Kansas Colorado border. He hung out for 2 days and was our support vehicle.

Halfway across America with this trouble maker.

After a wild night of partying, Austin and I slept inside this crazy Limousine in Pueblo Colorado.

Camping behind the dentist office in Canyon City, Colorado. For most of this trip, I was too lazy to setup my tent. Tents are overrated and a pain in the ass.

Colorado wildlife.

Cycling into the Rocky Mountains.

I built a reverse selfie stick for my gopro and edited some the footage into music videos. Visit: http://coast2coastbikeride.com/music-videos/

After a day of brutal headwinds, 20 cyclists got soaked by sprinklers in Walden Colorado, after they gave us permission to camp and told us where to setup our tents. The temperature dropped to 30 degrees that night.

I got so cold that night in Walden, Colorado that I almost puked.  I thought I was going to die.

Camping in Lander, Wyoming

I hung out with this guy Oli just outside Grand Teton Park. He was walking the Transamerica bicycle trail to the east coast and pushing all his gear in a stroller. For months after I finished my trip I followed him on social media until he got to Yorktown Virginia.

Screw the bike, I’ll just ride this jackalope.

Yellowstone was packed with RV’s, tourists and screaming kids. It was nice to get outta there. A 10 year old kid took this picture for me.

Catching Pokemon while waiting for Old Faithful to erupt.

PBNJ’s with a little bit of dirt and grease.

Girl Talk, Feed The Animals was the official soundtrack for the summers bike tour.

Why’d the chicken cross the road?

Camping in Virginia

One day I rode 100 miles through the mountains and when I got to my friends house in  Knoxville Tennessee, he hands me a beer and took me to a kickass punk rock show for the rest of the night.

My first flat tire in Tennessee. I actually missed a turn and rode 7 miles the wrong way before I got this flat. I would have kept going all the way to Chattanooga, if I didn’t get this flat

Oregon had the worst drivers out of every state, in case you were wondering. I was almost run over several times and the closest call was when I was about 2 miles away from reaching the Pacific Ocean.

The Pacific Ocean at the end of the road.

My 4,300 mile picture.

After cycling across America, I lived in Jill and Michael Knouse’s 1984 Winnebago for a little while, until the girl watching Molly went back to Boston at the end of August.

Life After The Bike Tour

It was tough coming back to being a civilian after cycling across america, partying everyday and meeting tons of new friends.

Part of why I took the bike trip this summer was to give myself some space, to think about what I want to be when I grow up. Which I never really figured out. In fact, I think I got farther away from figuring it out.

But a big conclusion I came to was…

I want to start teaching yoga to people and become a yoga instructor (again). I took a Yoga teacher training program a year and half ago and teaching yoga after that, was never my goal. But for the first time, I feel like I have the time and space and genuinely would like to start teaching yoga.

In early October, I started an 11 week 200 hour Yoga teacher training program and that program kept me very busy until the middle of December.

I just taught yoga to all these people. That’s why they are all smiling.

View from my apartment window.

In October, all the finest Young Architects from around America came to Portland to visit me and hang out. Just kidding, I crashed their party, while they were here for a meeting.

When I was a kid I broke my front tooth fooling around. 20 years later the crown was starting to not look so good, so I replaced it as a birthday present to myself. It looks better, than the original.


Thanks for making my 2016 such a great year.

Starting this Young Architect blog has been the best project I have ever worked on and what I am most proud of. For the past 3 years, I have obsessed over it and have had more fun writing this silly architecture blog then I ever imagined I would.

Whats going on for 2017?

2017 will be just as amazing as 2016. Lots of great stuff is on the horizon.

I’ve been recording a bunch of episodes for the Young Architect Podcast. I’ve been talking to all the leaders (and people who get shit done!) in the architecture industry from all over America.  It’s been really interesting hearing about how everyone got to where they are today. The podcast will launch in February 2017 and I can’t wait.

I really want to grow Young Architect, more then I have in the past few years. My plan for 2017 is really to get better at what I’m already doing. It’s pretty simple.

I’m updating my book, rolling out the podcast, have a ton of blog posts to write, and architecture projects to work on. I’ll take a bike tour this summer somewhere, not sure where yet. Definitely will be a shorter trip. I am super grateful for what I already have and want to spend 2017 focusing on that!

Thanks again.

Checkout the past months

December 2016
November 2016
October 2016

Sept 2016 

August 2016
July 2016
June 2016 
May 2016 
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
Twenty Fifteen Year In Review (In Photos)
December 2015
November 2015

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015
June 2015 
May 2015

April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015

December 2014

2014 Year In Photos
November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

August 2014

July 2014

June 2014

May 2014

April 2014

March 2014
February 2014

January 2014 

December 2013

November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013

About the author

Michael Riscica

Michael Riscica is a Licensed Architect who lives in beautiful Portland, Oregon, with his Labrador Retriever. He is passionate about helping Young Architects change the world. In his free time, Michael likes to take very long bicycle rides across America. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Linked In.

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