Episode 019 - Charlie Portelli

Charlie Portelli

The elusive Charlie Portelli, Assoicate Principal of Computational Design at KPF drops by the studio. We talk Programming, Stevens Product-Architecture Lab, Atari, Beer and the fact that Charlie doesn't drink coffee...seriously? Also, it's incredibly diffucult to find a picture of Charlie on the Internet. Zach found this picture by cropping Charlie out of a photo from a TT Core hackathon. You can find the real image here. He's harder to track down on the internet that J.D. Salinger and Thomas Pynchon.


Download it on iTunes!

Show Notes:

  1. Charlie Portelli is the Associate Principal of Computational Design at KPF

  2. Brian interned at KPF (NYC and London offices) back in the day

  3. One time in Battery Park Brian saw Charlie jogging shirtless in sunglasses with an American flag bandana it was amazing

  4. Doc Louis and Mac jogging on the Brooklyn Heights promenade

  5. 16 facts about Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out

  6. You have to love yourself before you can love somebody else

  7. The longer you wait to be an architect the easier it becomes

  8. Charlie once gave a presentation to Brian’s CUNY students after getting his wisdom teeth removed earlier in the day

  9. Charlie worked directly with Bill Pedersen on a line of chairs called LOOP de LOOP which were manufactured using CNC pipe bending

  10. The chairs used a special fabric by Shea + Latone that doesn’t stretch

  11. Lua is a programming language that’s basically only used in Ecotect (now defunct) and World of Warcraft

  12. Leeroy Jenkins reimagined as a short film

  13. David Rutten runs a personal blog called I Eat Bugs For Breakfast

  14. What is object-oriented programming (OOP)?

  15. MATLAB is good for working with matrices

  16. Zach keeps getting error code ID10T

  17. Check out this sweet calculator trick

  18. 251 words you can spell on a calculator

  19. Charlie was in the Stevens Product-Architecture Lab program with the likes of Mark Pollock, Steve Sanderson, and Erik Verboon

  20. Alex Pollock and Jonatan Schumacher, former podcast guests, also graduated from, and taught at, the Product-Architecture Lab

  21. John Nastasi started the Product-Architecture Lab and has taught at NJIT and Harvard GSD

  22. KPF’s 10 Hudson Yards is the first tower to top out in the Hudson Yards development

  23. I’ve got a code comment for you, I know just what you need

  24. Zach and Brian have 5 cats between them

  25. We’re like the Voltron of cat ladies

  26. The Simpsons’ Crazy Cat Lady character is actually named Dr. Eleanor Abernathy MD JD

  27. Brian ran into Charlie at the AAVSNYC 2015 closing exhibition

  28. Zach’s wife Jennifer hates this podcast

  29. Boogazine is Zach’s first on-air portmanteau

  30. OMA’s Content had balls. Like, literally, a man’s balls were in it

  31. SMLXL is unreadable and is only useful for propping up architecture students’ shitty furniture

  32. Trent Reznor did Quake’s soundtrack

  33. You can’t go wrong with the unbeatable combination of Martin Lawrence and Will Smith

  34. BurgerTime (Atari 2600, 1982) was Brian’s favorite Atari game

  35. ET was arguably the worst video game ever

  36. The legend of the ET and Atari game burial was confirmed, sort of, in 2014

  37. And subsequently sold on eBay

  38. And, of course, turned into a documentary titled Atari: Game Over

  39. Atari systems started as four different standalone single function consoles, also known as dedicated consoles, one of which was Pong

  40. The 1976 Atari VCS was renamed the Atari 2600 upon the Atari 5200’s release

  41. Which was followed by the Atari 7800

  42. Super Mario Brothers on the Atari 2600 made by this guy

  43. The first home console was the 1972 Magnavox Odyssey

  44. #classicMcCune is a fun hashtag

  45. Zach hasn’t seen an RFI since 2007

  46. Brian has never seen an RFI and hopes he never sees one

  47. The Designalyze podcast is a proto-Skynet

  48. Terminator might be a Western


Questions from Slack:

  1. Don Rudder: How the hell can you drink all night and still operate normally during the next morning?

    1. Charlie: Skill and talent

  2. Michael McCune: How many workshops has Charlie been to in his life?

    1. Charlie: Given? I don’t know. Attended? More than given


Lightning round:

  1. What book(s) are you reading right now?

  2. What music are you listening to right now?

  3. What’s your favorite sci-fi film?

    • Doesn’t like sci-fi but he thought Ex-Machina was interesting

  4. What’s your favorite retro-game?

    • Pitfall (Atari 2600, 1982)

    • Donkey Kong (Atari 2600, 1982)

    • Wait, is that a pre-Nintendo Mario?!

    • Yes, the arcade version of Mario was named Jumpman and he appeared in many consoles and systems including Atari and Commodore 64

  5. What’s your favorite childhood cartoon?

  6. What’s a great beer you’ve had recently?

  7. Describe your productivity ritual.

    • Run and bike ride and gym throughout the week

    • Get into work around 9 and leave around 7 or 8

    • NO COFFEE - If you enjoy what you’re doing you don’t need stimulants

    • Meetings are the worst. Almost as bad as emails

    • Day to day schedule is a juggling act

  8. What’s the latest app you downloaded on your phone?

  9. What’s something that recently blew your mind?

  10. Who is behind Banksy?

    • Theory: Whoever they are, they’re a pretty cool dude

    • Theory: Could be a dog

  11. WHAT IS ARCHITECTURE???!!! In one sentence.

    • Architecture is the design of safe and beautiful spaces for human habitation
tutorial rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)


Zach Downey

Want to Contribute?

Want to be an author? Drop us a line here we'd love to have you.

Already have a video you'd like to post? Send us a link and we'll get you going.