Story-telling a family genealogy, one byte at a time

The tree in XMind software, capped at 13 generations in this image, with different colors for different branches of the family (screenshot of the work)

For the past few years, I’ve been working on connecting and expanding our family tree in North America, Europe, and Asia. I had the benefit of starting with solid, verified information for the previous five or so generations, and in one case, the known genealogy went back for over one thousand years, thanks due to land holding records kept and tracked in India. What started out as a “simple” project to consolidate bits of research into one chart led to an amazing journey through stories, data mining, and graphic representation. …


One of the main reasons people tell me they gravitate to my work is that they find it hopeful, helpful, and uplifting. In this time of much change, I thought I would do something to uplift those who are already following me on the social media site called Goodreads.

Over the past week, this turned into a social media learning that has awakened within me a desire to understand the inner machinations of political posts, Facebook, Instagram, and social media advertising in general. Instagram blocked a sponsored post, and many people have asked me about this.

For the TL;DR, continue…


I had the opportunity yesterday to participate in a Zoom call offered by the International Well Building Institute (IBWI) to learn more about the rollout of the WELL Health-Safety Rating for Facility Operations and Management.

In general, as a Registered Architect, I am a fan of building rating systems because:

1. they provide a common standard of care;

2. they form a backbone of communication between trades and professions;

3. they hold the public in a place of greater awareness of often-unseen systems that are important to health and safety.

The big question on a building rating system that is…


-as presented by Maia Kumari Gilman, AIA, LEED-AP BD+C at the Library of the Chathams

There are many misconceptions about what architecture is, as a career. We study and practice a blend of art and science, and deal with every scale of design, from the smallest thresholds at 1/16th of an inch, up to the scale of a city block or larger. We deal with the insides as well as the outsides of the buildings, and we’re responsible for life safety, legally speaking. We design façades and interior systems, and we specify colors and tiles and finishes. We see projects…


I am an architect who visualizes spaces into being. This week I had the opportunity to help with the crafting of an interactive climate change video game, in an ecovillage set hundreds of years in the future, in the Seattle, Washington area. I connected with a group already mid-stream in their creative process as part of the Pacific Science Center’s Seattle Indies Show & Tell and Games For Our Future Game Jam Showcase, and so my ideas piggy-backed onto theirs. I provided input through my favorite medium: SketchUp Pro. What I learned in the process will serve me well in…


When I was on my honeymoon in Puerto Rico I had the fortunate experience of traveling to the island of Vieques. As well as the intrigue of purchasing mandatory wild horse collision insurance while renting a Jeep for island travel and delighting in home-baked bread every morning at Hix Island House, we had a more illuminating and transcendent experience: new moon kayaking at the magnificent bioluminescent bay, Mosquito Bay.

I am a traveler and I do not live in Puerto Rico. Yet, in the short time I came to love the place and in our two weeks of travels on…


At the United Nations in Geneva wearing a Sandy Humby rose scarf

Can a streamlined wardrobe amplify who you are inside? I asked myself this when I was invited to be part of an international group of independent artists to present our artwork at the United Nations. I’d spent months creating art in my messy-happy-flow-place and was ready to share. But how to translate that good feeling source of creativity into a workplace setting, and an international diplomatic one at that? We would travel to Geneva. I was finishing one job and beginning another. Busy with kids and family obligations. No time to focus on wardrobe.


What if…

Every time we mention “climate change” or “political change” or “social change” we replace the words with “art for change” — ?

I think this softens the implied goal into something immediately achievable, satisfying and easily shareable. It becomes an action and not a want. It becomes a community verb. It carries its own weight and allows a spherical transformation to occur, regardless of boundaries or known realities or perceived or wished-for outcomes.

It becomes the tableau on which the new meal is served, the new deal is outlined, and the cruel heel is vanquished. Art is the…


I am deeply honored to be a part of an international group of artists who will be exhibiting work at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, this Spring. Within the next few days, I will have more information to share publicly with you.

Today, I offer a dress rehearsal of some of my work in exhibition, at the Watchung Arts Center in the US where I have a solo art show on display for the month of February. …

Maia Kumari Gilman

Architect | Artist | Author #adaptivereuse #architecture #mixedmedia #ecofiction #solutionsjournalism www.maiakumarigilman.com

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