December 11, 2006

Research Project

During group presentations in our discussion section, one group proposed a mini golf course that ACES could employ during gym activities. This mini golf course would serve a dual purpose by combining enjoyment with learning. The group at hand was required to research the effects of the designed environment on the children of ACES. As a result of their investigations, they found that students participated better during organized activities. This conclusion sparked the idea of designing a mini course that would engage students in a structured learning environment.

-Michael Anderson

December 5, 2006

Comparison Blog

After reading the FAB, by Neil Gershenfeld, I became interested in his idea of teaching societies to become self-sufficent. He proposed the idea of providing Fab Labs, or fabrication labs, in which societies were supplied with the necessary machines to fulfill their needs. This allows societies to invent and manufacture individualized products, thus making them self-sufficient. Gershenfeld compared his Fab Labs to the Star Trek's Replicator, a machine that constructs a product to meet its operator's desires.
Louis Kahn, author of Essential Texts, believed that light was the giver of all presences. Without light there would only be silence. Kahn said, "What Light makes casts a shadow and the shadow belongs to Light" (Kahn 229). This concept is very similiar to Gershenfeld's, in that society creates an individualized product and that product is and invention of society.

November 27, 2006

Technopolies as I See Them

atom bomb.jpg

After reading Neil Postman's Technopoly, I immediately thought of our American government. Without taking a political stance, I would argue that at times our government looks at warfare technology with one eye closed. Meaning they only consider the power the technology provides, but not the consequences that will follow. This is an example of a technopoly, an individual or group that does not fully analyze new technology as it is presented to them. Take the example of the atom bomb; sure it may have been a powerful weapon to use but how many unnecessary casualties was the result of such a decision. For every new technology presented to society, each individual and group should consider both sides of the argument.

ARCH 1701 student,
Michael Anderson

November 6, 2006

Architecture & Mathematics

Mathematics has been an integral part of architecture since the first constructed shelters. No structure could be thought of without considering even the most basic of mathematics. Some visionaries had the desire to explore the incorporation of mathematics into their architecture, such as the architects of the Giza pyramids. These three iconic structures remain an astonishing feat. The Giza pyramids were constructed from 2570 B.C.E. to 2500 B.C.E. The architects stretched the possibilities of their time by creating geometrical structures that are within inches of mathematical perfection. These structutes are more accurate than some buildings of the 21st century.


Another great example of the presence of mathematics in architecture is the Pantheon in Rome. Dating back to 118 A.D., the Pantheon has become one of the most symbolic structures in the history of architecture. It has achieved this through the use of simple geometric shapes. Similar to the architects of the Giza pyramids, the architect of the Pantheon had the desire to push the boundaries and limitations of his time. This time the architect chose to use geometric shapes to form a symbolic temple. The use of the dome is symbolic of the heavenly sphere, creating a large open ceiling that is pierced with a circular opening, known as the oculus. The architect designed the Pantheon, so that theoretically a sphere would fit perfectly within the interior of the structure; in essence, designing the entire structure around the heavenly sphere.


October 23, 2006

Opposition: Wasteful Society


As a whole, American society consumes much more than our share of energy. Most of which is not used conservatively, and is disgarded without much thought. A major contributor to this problem is our housing. Housing design today is determined by cost of construction and the desire the keep prices low. I believe we need to change that frame of mind, and this can done by proving the longevity and cost effectiveness of smart design. Although upfront design costs may be higher, the long term cost of climate regulation is significantly lower. There are many solutions to inefficient housing design such as, bio-inspired design, green roofs and higher quality building materials. We can also lower costs by employing alternative energy sources such as solar panels and wind power. Over time new technology and brighter ideas may arise, but right now we have efficient bio-friendly materials and design needed for a better future.

Architecture 1701
The Designed environment
Michael Anderson

October 9, 2006

The Phenomena of "Home"


One phenomenon that most of us share in common is that of home. Such a simplistic structure, yet it evokes an uplifting and comfortable feeling. Usually "home" is the residence of your childhood, where your parents may still reside. The phenomena of "home" can be experienced during family gatherings or just a Sunday dinner. The "home" has all the basic frameworks, clockworks and attributes required to meet the standards of a phenomena. It incorporates all three into a complex system. The attributes are represented by the physical appearance of the home, such as the windows, doors and roof. Then the frameworks are the "home's" guts, such as the rooms, HVAC and yard. The clockworks of the "home" are the building processes from the foundation and framework to the finished product. When all three aspects are incorporated into one, the phenomenon of "home" is born.

October 2, 2006


When I think of a meaningful place, the lake instantly comes to my mind. Lying on the beach during a summer sunset is a calm and relaxing place. The slight cool breeze of the surface of the water and the sounds of the waves coming ashore create a feeling of peace and tranquility. The spirt of the lake is projected through the sights, sounds and emotions of lying on the beach. Growing up as a child, my family would travel an hour north every weekend, in pursuit of this feeling, in an attempt to escape reality.

Mike Anderson
Architecture 1701 student

September 25, 2006

Social Design Issue: Poverty

Rural Studio.jpg

Poverty is an ugly word, and it's surreal to think that so many people live in it everyday. I firmly believe that poverty is one of the most important issues in America. One way we can attack this issue is through architecture. Samuel Mockbee had this vision in 1992 when he and a partner founded the Rural Studio in Hale, Alabama the second poorest county in Alabama. Mockbee's teaching strategies were rather intense. He wanted his students to learn about poverty, by living in it. The first house designed and built by the Rural Studio, was the Bryant (Hay Bale) House in Mason's Bend, Alabama (above). The exterior walls of this house were constructed of hay bales, just one example of how the Rural Studio believes in using abstract building materials that are inexpensive, yet practical.
My vision is similar, but not as daring. I believe that there are several ways in which to help people suffering from poverty, one of which is to provide affordable and efficient housing. Thomas Fisher once said, "In architecture, there will be unending needs that will need to be addressed." Poverty is at the top of the list for me.

Michael Anderson
Arch 1701 student

September 18, 2006

Midtown Market Prompt (9-18-2006)

Midtown Market.jpg

Before participating in this prompt assignment I had never experienced the environment of the Midtown Market. After successfully locating the market, through the wonderful world of google, I set off to East Lake Street in South Minneapolis. Here I came upon an abundance of small tents, under which families were selling everything from produce to floral arrangements and baked goods. Although it was a soggy Saturday morning, the market was buzzing with lively activity. There was live music and masses of people, including myself, wandering through the open market, gathering items for their next home cooked meal.
One thing I took note of, was the choice of location for the Midtown Market. There is easy access to the light rail system and it's in the heart of several rich communities. These are the perfect ingredients for a culturally diverse and hearty marketplace.
The music in the background created a fun and relaxing environment, where people gathered and traded goods. All together, the Midtown Market was an intriguing experience and the produce I purchased, made for an excellent roast.

Thank you,
Michael Anderson
Architecture 1701 student