November 6, 2006

Design and Math

Math plays an important role in architecture. Two projects designed by the Baroque Architect Borromini show the use of math and geometry in his designs. In his building San alle Quatre Fontane he created an unusually shaped central planned church by initially taking two circles than by using math he created the shape of the church plan.
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In a second masterpiece San Ivo Della Sapienza, he used circles and triangles to create an unique design for the floorplan. The plan turned out be similar to the shape of a bee, the symbol for the Barberini family, an important family in Rome.
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October 24, 2006

Oppositions

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An opposition that many people face living in metropolitan areas is traffic congestion during many hours of the day, but especially when they need to be somewhere on time such as traveling to work, an appointment or school. I try to avoid driving around the Twin Cities at all costs because I can't think of a better waste of time than just sitting on the expressway. I started using public transportation in the middle of my first semester here after my friend convinced me to get an Upass and I found it to be a very good investment in time and money.
If an area continues to grow, just building more and more roads will never solve the problem of traffic, it will just make more people want to drive. Public transportation is a resolution to this problem because for one you are getting your own car off the road, and second busses usually have a special lane on the expressways to get you to your destination faster. A second resolution would be to eliminate the opposition, which can be done by moving closer to the places you need to be at a lot which could allow you to walk or ride a bike a short distance to your place.
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October 9, 2006

Phenomena

Ok so I don't know if the phenomena we choose is supposed to be related to architecture but I am going to choose a recent event, the Minnesota Twins winning the American Central Division title because it contains things, frameworks, and clockworks.

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Things
Bats, Balls, Bases, Opponents, Fans, the Metrodome, Johan Santana, Justin Morneau, Nick Punto, Luis Castillo, Torii Hunter, Francisco Liriano, Michael Cuddyer, Joe Mauer, Boof, Brad Radke, Jason Bartlett, Ron Gardenhire.

Frameworks
Hitting homeruns, Stealing bases, Striking out the opponent, Working as a team, Cheering on the team, Winning games, Working hard.

Clockworks
Doing everything above better than your opponents in 162 games. Then repeat next year.


This event had marked beginnings (the beginning of the season), a destination (top of the central division), a purpose (to WIN!), duration (162 games), internal hierarchies (pitching, being piranhas), and an exhibited change (moving players as injury happens).
WIN TWINS!!

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September 30, 2006

Genius Loci


Minnehaha Falls
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I have always enjoyed going to Minnehaha Park in south Minneapolis because how peaceful it is and how it feels like you are out in the middle of nowhere when you are actually still in the city. I like how the falls here are natural, and not like the concrete apron that was built at St. Anthony Falls. (I know the apron was built because the falls were moving upstream and they would have eventually become rapids but it doesn't really feel like a natural waterfall like here at Minnehaha Falls.

My family came here all the time when I was young because my uncle lived a few block from here. After he moved we stopped coming here but a few years ago I rediscovered this place and think it is cooler than I remembered as a child. Like I said above this place is like you are in the middle of nowhere. After you descend the steps in the gorge and follow the creek to the Mississippi river there is very few man made objects to be found. The paths are not paved and they crooked and uneven. The stream is shallow and calm in places that you could walk across and in some places there are miniature rapids. This is a great place to come on hot day because it surrounded by foliage and it feels so much cooler when you are down there. The light changes from dark during the summer when the gorge is covered by leaves and full of light in the winter.

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Minnehaha Park is completely different during the four seasons. In spring the falls are the strongest and the trails can be a little muddy. The dry summer can dry the falls up a bit and they don't seem so mighty. The fall is the most beautiful with the changing of the colors of the leaves. In the winter the falls are frozen solid and after a fresh snowfall the trees are a beautiful white. When the sun hit them they can be blinding. (But in a good way.)

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September 26, 2006

A Social Design Issue

Designers should be working on making every place more walkable and getting people out of their cars. It seems Americans have become very lazy and use their car to get anywhere, even if their destination is only blocks away. Many places in the world have already learned this and have very walkable cities that cut down on traffic and pollution. Downtown Minneapolis is great, because once you are there you can see a movie, shop, run errands, eat, work, see a baseball game and many other things without getting in a car. Other parts of the metro are designed fairly well also but there are many areas that should have been designed differently.

The best example I can think of is if you head to any of the areas major shopping malls you will find an area completely designed for cars and not pedestrians. I will use the Rosedale area as an example but this applies to just about every area with a mall nearby. Within a half mile area of this mall you can find a variety of restaurants and stores, from TGI Fridays to Appleby’s, from Best Buy to Barnes and Nobel and just about everything else you could think of. Anyone walking out of TGI Fridays can see the Best Buy sign a couple hundred feet in front of them, yet everyone who would be heading to Best Buy next would get into their car and drive there. Even I would be one of those people, not because I am lazy, I try to walk down by river downtown or around Lake Calhoun five times a week, but because there is really no sidewalk to get their safely. Walking through a sea of parking lots can be dangerous and I would rather be hit by a car while driving my car than get hit walking. Trying to cross Fairview Avenue is not something i would find being too fun either because traffic is coming from everywhere and you would have to run to make it across the street in one light.

Areas like this need more sidewalks and they should be marked well so people know where they are and where they lead to. Pedestrian bridges would be useful over major roads with three lanes of traffic going one way. I remember reading the newspaper a couple years ago about making the Southdale area in Edina more walkable, but I haven't seen much done to incorporate this.

This is an aerial view showing all the roads but too many place to walk.
http://bigeyeinthesky.com/ViewQTVR.asp?PID=244&RID=232-

September 18, 2006

Midtown Global Market

When I visited the Midtown World Market this weekend I was surprised by the amount of energy that was found there. I was expecting there not to be a lot of people because I know that the corner of Lake Street and Chicago Ave does not have a history of being one of the safest places in the city and I also visited this site the only time I had free which was at five in the afternoon on a Sunday.

Walkin through the door for the first time my senses were bombarded with different smells, sights and sounds. With the variety of differnt foods and goods for sale I am sure my sense of taste and touch would have been affected too. The interior was bright with a variety of colors and different lights that gave a festive, exciting feel. The stands contained Indian, Middle Eastern, Asian, Latin, and American experiences which created an energy and and mixed well with the variety of people found shopping and browsing there. The people were a mixture of different races, classes and ages and they were all communicating with each other to create a kind of energy. One thing that created the most energy I think was the live music being played by a man singing while playing the keyboard and another man banging on a bongo drum. This was located in the middle of the market and could be heard anywhere in the building.

I think the developers did a great job taking this older building that had been sitting vacant for years and using it to create a market that attracts people from around the city to shop and socialize. This place also reminded me of the State Fair where there is energy around every corner.