February 6, 2010

Site Visit

We visited the site that our designs will be on today, and it's prime real estate. It is currently a parking lot on the corner of 6th Ave SE and Main St. in Minneapolis (St. Anthony Main area). It's across from the entrance to the Stone Arch Bridge at Hennepin Island park, with perfect views of the Mississippi and downtown.
Here's the Google image:

There are plans to develop this lot, and restore/renovate the Pillsbury A Mill (adjacent to the site) into mixed-use and luxury condos and apartments, but from what I know there isn't an emphasis on making the apartments sustainable. I'm currently researching some other sustainable apartment complexes that have gone up in the past few years. Some good sites I've found are inhabitat.com and treehugger.com
I will post pictures and information of some that I find particularly helpful and informative in my design process.

February 1, 2010

It's still early

Week three of my final semester of undergraduate architecture studios has begun, and until now its been a relatively slow start. Fortunately, I only have Studio IV and one Sustainability course this semester, along with a three-credit Sustainability internship. So, I should have sufficient time to put into this blog, explaining my processes, joys, frustrations, triumphs and failures in this feat of applying systems thinking to my studio project.

Studio IV: The Way We Live Now, What Luxury Teaches Us about Poverty (and Vice Versa)
Professor Cynthia Jara
Last semester I had a professor who started the semester telling us that he had a particular interest in sustainable design and therefore our projects were going to incorporate the ideas of passive heating and cooling, natural ventilation and green building technologies no matter what. Though Cynthia didn't start the semester with a similar disclaimer, the studio will be focused on apartment housing, which is considered more sustainable in itself because of its density. There definitely are challenges to sustainable apartment design, but I think that by taking cues from the Netherlands and Denmark, I'll be able to successfully apply systems thinking and sustainable design principles to my project.