May 13, 2008

Some Closing Thoughts

For my final blog entry for 1701, I would like to comment on a few things I picked up on in this class that I found to be most important/memorable/applicable. From every lecture, guest lecture, film, and discussion session, I learned something valuable. Some were 'better' than others, but each was interesting, thought-provoking, and informative.
Perhaps the most important lesson that I took from the class was that, as Jennie Winhall's essay discusses, design is political; thus, designers are activists whose work embodies an ideology. One of my favorite quotes taken from the class is Jennie Winhall's assertion, "Design is not a neutral, value-free process." I think that this short excerpt sums up the "moral" of the course, so to speak, that the work of the architect can change the world for the better. Ozayr, James Wheeler, Della, and many of the readings and films outlined this lesson well for me. The coursework helped me to understand the real impact that design has on people's lives. It isn't, like I assumed coming into this course, simply another "profession," but in many ways a position of public service. The Millenium Development project allowed us to dig even deeper into a specific avenue in which design makes a difference. I thoroughly enjoyed the project. Researching our two-fold problem of a shortage of low-income housing in the Twin Cities and the current environmental crisis was a fascinating process. It was really exciting digging into books on sustainable design strategies written for architects. Overall, I feel that the course had a really good approach to defining architecture in a very real and human yet complex and sophisticated context.

May 8, 2008

5/7/08 Service Learning...The End of a Great Experience

It's official: I have completed my learning experience at Augsburg-Fairview Academy for ARCH 1701H. With approximately 11 hours of service in total, I have fulfilled the course requirement for service learning, which is a nice relief for a busy college student. But I really viewed my experience tutoring high school students at Augsburg-Fairview to be much more than a required assignment for a college class; I viewed it as an OPPORTUNITY to give back. This positive mindset has gotten me up an hour earlier than usual on Wednesday mornings this semester fired up and ready to go out and make a difference.


It was a relief to wake up knowing that I would be finishing my service learning requirements, but it was also sad to think about the fact that I would probably not be working with the good people at Augsburg-Fairview again. IThis semester, I had the tremendous opportunity to work with an extremely grateful, welcoming, kind staff and student body. Each morning, I was welcomed by Mr. Matuseki and the students with a smile and immediately brought up to speed on what the class was working on.


This morning was no different, as I was promptly welcomed and thanked for coming. The class was small today; only five kids. It was a new rotation, so they were just getting started on a new unit. Mr. Mat had the kids working on yesterday's homework assignment during the first half of class. I helped a guy who didn't do much of the assignment at home and was scrambling to get as much done as possible before Mr. Mat collected the assignment. I tried to slow him down a bit and convince him that it would be best to do a few problems correctly than all of the assignment wrong. The assignment was dealing with finding the domain of functions, so I tried to explain the process in as simple of terms as possible (such as defining domain as "what "x" cannot equal for the function to remain a function) He began to slow down and try to understand the assignment, even though he only finished about 1/4 of the assignment and didn't receive much credit.

May 5, 2008

An Odd Couple? Technology & Architecture

The relationship between technology and architecture has been a bittersweet one. Scholars of architectural theory have debated the appropriate role of technology in the field of architecture for ages. In my architectural history class with Professor Rachel Iannacone, I've been exposed to the rather bitter battles over the ages over the role of the "machine" in architecture. We learned about the Arts & Crafts movemement being a backlash against the Industrial Revolution's embrace of new technologies in architecture (namely steel, glass, and mass production techniques). The craftsman's touch versus the mechanized look serves as a stark contrast between, say the architecture of the DeStijl architect Theo von Doesburg and William Morris of the Arts & Crafts movement. Upon studying both sides of the argument, I personally believe that theorists from both radical pro-mechanization and reactionary anti-mechanization camps have brought legitimate arguments to the table.


Those in favor of embracing mechanization can rightfully argue that the machine brings good design to the common man by vastly lowering production cost. Furthermore, they argue that it creates pure geometries which cannot be created by the craftsman without the proper tools. Pure geometric forms are essential to Cubism, Purism, and much of modernist art and architecture. They also argue, as Ozayr's lecture outlined, that technology allows an "escape from primitive helplessness of the will," (I like Ozayr's word choice). Other legitimate arguments from the pro-machine camp are that the machine conserves and minimizes our use of energy, which is a huge plus with today's energy crisis.


On the other hand, the anti-machine camp can argue that the machine creates an alienation from materiality and renders the inhabitant unable to see subtle details in the architecture. They also argue that the increased speed in the machine's design process doesn't necessarily create a better design. The camp can also legitimately argue that the machine is neither additive nor subtractive, but "ecological," as Neil Postman puts it in his book. Ultimately, they are asserting that new technological advances completely replace old technologies. They cannot coexist with old technologies, so regardless of the value of the old technology, the new one will consume it. Technology can sometimes be good, they concede, but it can also be very bad. Ozayr illustrated this point well in showing two different pictures of "mobile homes"; one row of luxury motor homes at an upscale RV park and next to it a photograph of the row of junk trailers in a refugee camp. They argue that technology has created architecture which lacks the imprint of the human touch; thus an emotionless, cold, and depressive architecture that doesn't uplift its inhabitants. They point to the monotony of suburbia and the the pre-fabricated boxes we call homes. They argue that the machine is ultimately taking over the role of architect in many respects, over time rendering the human designer obsolete. David Newton well-illustrated this prospect in his guest lecture.


So, as I really agree with all above points from both sides of the aisle, I would have to label myself a centrist when it comes to the politics of pro/anti mechanization. I can honestly acknowledge the validity of both sides. I think Ozayr said it best, himself also taking a centrist point of view on the subject: "The ultimate lesson here is to be skeptical of new technologies because they can greatly after how we think with things and alter the nature of community." A healthy level of skepticism is always necessary when confronted with a new change; not just in architecture, but in life in general. But a healthy level of openness must also counteract this skepticism.

May 2, 2008

MDG Goal 4 Presentation Response



Sarah and Krista's project addressing Goal 4 (Reduce child mortaility) was a very informative presenation. The statistics they brought to the table were really quite shocking; a common piece of all of our presenations. The fact that 13,054 children die in the time we were in lecture today was particularly eye-opening. In discussing Sierra Leone's under-5 mortaility rate of 270 deaths per 1000 children, the group clearly defined the problem as a serious crisis. The widespread threat of Malaria lacking anything of ample magnitude currently being done to truly remedy the problem was well-defined by the group and solutions thoroughly analyzed. 39% of the population using inadequate sanitation facilities and 80% not using mosquito nets can easily be remedied; the group had some excellent points to make here. It really struck me when they explained how the problem and its solutions are widely-known, and that the acutal execution of these solutions is the real challenge. It was the simplicity of the solutions that really caused me to wonder why this country is still experiencing the crisis of child mortality. An adequate amount of mosquito nets, nutritious food, and immunizations would solve this problem. It really isn't that costly or complex. It simply takes people and/or governments to have a heart and take action to help their brothers and sisters in need. This is very much like the problems we addressed in our project; sustainable building strategies are widely known and have already been brought to the table, so our challenge was to convince our audience that these sustainable solutions CAN feasibly be applied to high-density urban housing. I enjoyed how they included a set of organizations to join and actions that can be taken by "the common man." Their group was unique in this, as the rest of us focused more on what can be done by governments, architects, and those in charge. I think their message reached the audience at a more personal level than the other presentations.


Overall, I really liked how the group organized their presentation: beginning with a well-defining the problem, followed by a thorough listing of possible solutions and an in-depth analysis of a few key solutions, and finally, ending with what they foresee as the benefits of the execution of these solutions. It was very much how we chose to organize our project, and I felt it worked well in all of the projects that chose to do so. I commend the group, and everyone who presented today, for a very thorough and thought-provoking analysis of the Millenium Development Goals. I hope that our audience of peers took our call to action to heart. We all learned alot in our own research as well as that of the other groups. To be honest, I didn't even really know what the Millenium Development Goals were before this class. I now feel that I know enough to educate others about them, which I hope to have the further opportunity to do in the future; be it in the formal sense at my church or something, or just in conversation with a few curious people.

In addition....
I just viewed the video today when I opened Ozayr's email. It was very well done! Great job, group! You found some great images to document the problem at hand, playing well with the emotional sensory qualities of well-chosen image and sound.

May 1, 2008

4/30/08 Service Learning

Today was one of the last days of class for the current rotation in Mr. Mat's class. The kids were working on their final project on the laptops and on finishing up homework assignments. Most kids were working on the projects and didn't need much help. I spent the hour today helping a girl on a homework assignment from a few days ago which was assigned a day that she missed class. Since she missed class, I taught her the material she missed, dealing with statistics and its representation through circle and bar graphs. She was a little rusty when it came to compass and protractor use for drawing the circle graphs, so we spent a good portion of the hour working on angles and their measurements. Just before I had to leave, she finished the assignment, though. It was really fun teaching her an entire lesson on my own. I am used to just clarifying information they had already been taught in class and helping them problems with little details, but today offered me the unique opportunity of doing some actual 'teaching' rather than just helping. It was really a rewarding experience to know that I helped her get caught up so that she will do well on the final exam and project. If I hadn't been there today, she probably wouldn't have gotten the one-on-one attention that I was able to give her, as Mr. Mat was very busy jumping around answering questions about the requirements for the final project.

April 23, 2008

4/23/08 Service Learning

I returned to Mr. Mat's classroom this morning after a week away due to Augsburg-Fairview's schoolwide testing last week. A different rotation of kids was there today. I recognized many of them from earlier in the semester; I think this may have been the first group I worked with back in February. Since they were a new rotation, they were just starting a new unit on statistics. Today, Mr. Mat spent most of the period lecturing on box plots. The kids did a short hands-on penny data collection activity, for which they had to record the dates of a handful of pennies and then translate this data into a box plot. Mr. Mat let them work on their homework toward the end of the period, and I jumped around from table to table offering help getting started. They really seemed to grasp alot of the content well, however, needing very little extensive explanations.

April 19, 2008

Reading 19 "Technopoly" by Neil Postman

KEY WORDS


1. Skepticism


"If one is to err, it is better to err on the side of Thamusian skepticism," writes Postman on page 5. What he is essentially asserting is his belief that "a dissenting voice is sometimes needed to moderate the din made by the enthusiastic multitudes." (5) Postman sees in our rapidly changing, technology-embracing world today, there are far too many 'Technophiles,' or advocates of technology who can only see what technology can positively do and not what it will undo. Therefore, a healthy level of skepticism is necessary, according to Postman, to avoid negative effects technology will have on our existing social fabric. He illustrates this point by quoting Sigmund Freud, who first discusses the postive aspects of the railroad on commerce, transporation, and communication, and then discusses the negatives of the railroad causing children to disperse from their hometowns and the separation of loved ones. "The benefits and deficits of a new technology are not distrubuted equally. There are, as it were, winners and losers," he writes on page 9, suggesting such skepticism before the embrace of a new technology.


2. Competition


"New technologies compete with old ones--for time, for attention, for money, for prestige, but mostly for dominance of their world-view," writes postman on page 16. Technology, he further asserts, is "neither additive nor subtractive" (18) but ecological in the sense that one significant change generates total change. New technology often cannot coexist with old technology, as the world of technology is an evolutionary Darwinist world of survival of the fittest; a competition for prominence. The losers in this competiton become obsolete and are replaced in the ecological environment of our technological world. "New technologies alter the structure of our interests: the things we think about. They alter the character of our symbols: the things we think with. And they alter the nature of community: the arena in which thoughts develop." (20)


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS


1. According to the views of Postman, technologies are neither additive nor subtractive, but bring about total change. Have new technologies in architecture, such as CAD and 3-D printers, brought about this "total change" in the architectural arena, as Postman's theories would suggest?


2. "In any case, theological assumptions served as a controlling ideology, and whatever tools were invented had, ultimately, to fit within that ideology," explains Postman of the Middle Ages. Could we replace "theological assumptions" with an equivalent in architecture; something which serves as a controlling ideology that forces tools architects adopt for use to fit into it?

April 9, 2008

4/9/08 Service Learning Journal

This morning, Mr. Mat's class was working finishing up their trigonometric graph project that they had just been starting last Wednesday during my tutoring time by using computer-aided graphing software. Today, they were working on hand-drawn graphs to turn in for a final grade. They also have a test tomorrow, so it was critical that they understood all six of the trig graphs thoroughly. I worked with the same table as last Wednesday. They were relieved to see me walk into the room, as they were struggling with getting their paper graphs started. I helped them along, showing them with a graphing calculator what the graphs were supposed to look like if ideally drawn. After some review pointers, they caught on really well and were eventually able to complete the assignment on their own. As always, their kind and appreciative attitudes were uplifting. It certainly makes the pains of rolling out of bed a few hours earlier than normal well worth it to see the real impact you're having on these kids' lives.

April 2, 2008

4/2/08 Service Learning

This morning I returned to Augsburg-Fairview after two weeks of leave for my spring break followed by theirs. It was nice to get the warm welcome from the students and teachers who hadn't seen me in a while. Mr. Matt's class was preparing for a final project dealing with the graphs of trigonometric functions. He issued laptops to students, allowing them to use a program called the Geometer's Sketchpad to sketch and analyze graphs. He went through a tutorial first and then allowed students to work on their own. I helped a table who needed a little help getting the program down and then helped a very polite and eager student compare her graphs and discover what happens when different variables in the 'sin' graph change.

March 30, 2008

07 Project Title Page Design Options

I've used Adobe Creative Suite to design these three title page options for my group's millenium development project. For these three designs, I've drawn inspiration from publications and presentations which I've found to be clean and neat in their design, utilizing white space and avoiding overuse of ornamentation.


My three designs vary in their emphasis of images or white space, use of color, and general layout. My first design is a horizontally-oriented page, which would work well for the introductory slide of our slide show as well as for the first page of our hard copy pamphlet. I like the crisp modern feel to the page, as well as its colorful visual appeal. I chose two images with the intent of representing both facets of the problem we are exploring solutions to: the shortage and grim state of low-income housing (specifically in Minneapolis) and the threats on the health of our environment. I created all three designs in Adobe InDesign CS3 and converted into a PDF which can be viewed using Adobe Acrobat Reader.


Download file


My second design is oriented vertically. This design is definitely my cleanest. It has alot of white space and very few images. I think its cleanliness and simplicity represents well our project's theme of environmental sustainability. The three small images I have included are visible and eye-catching but not dominant. With its vertical orientation, it would work nicely as is for the cover page of our hard copy, but its scale would need to be altered before it could be used as our presentation's first slide.


Download file


Also oriented vertically is my third design. This design is quite different from my second design, with very little white space in comparison; a clear emphasis on the four rectangular images making up a square on the upper-middle of the page. A droplet of water represents our project's focus on the conservation of environmental resources in addressing the problem of high-density low-income housing in Minneapolis. The flourescent lightbulb represents our examination of current environmentally-friendly building materials. The image of the Cedar-Riverside Towers are represenative of our project's examination of problematic existing low-income housing in Minneapolis. Finally, the image of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis is represenative of our careful analysis of individual case studies of success stories in sustainable architecture. What I really like about this last one is the powerful meaning associated with each image, with each image making up one sector of the dominant square block consuming most of the page. Like my second design, I would need to alter this page in order to use it for our slide show.


Download file


March 29, 2008

Reading 18 "Mathematics and Creativity" by Alfred Adler

KEY WORDS


1. purity


"Mathematics is pure language--the language of science...unique among languages in its ability to provide precise expression for every thought or concept that can be formulated in its terms," writes Adler on the article's first page. He goes on to compare it to the game of chess, in which there is no room for subjective criticism regarding the genius of the player. In a mathematical problem, there exists just one solution and an infinite number of wrong answers.


2. creativity


The mathematical language, according to Adler, "is continually being altered to fit new results, to simplify new techniques." The spoken languages do not allow for the bending of words to denote refinement of their old images. Rather, human thought is bent by the accumulated meanings of words. Mathematics is not held bound by this constraint. Thus, mathematics is creative in nature. Mathematicians are always using their creativity in discovering new techniques and hypothesizing new possibilities; mathematics is always in a state of creative evolutionary flux. "The essential feature of mathematical creativity is the exploration, under the pressure of powerful implosive forces, or difficult problems for whose validity and importance the explorer is eventually held bound by. The reality is the physical world." Thus, like other creative areas of study, including architecture, mathematics allows a great deal of speculative freedom. But at the same time it must be relevant to physical reality.


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS


1. "What is more, mathematics generates a momentum, so that any significant result points automatically to another new result, or perhaps to two or three other new results," writes Adler in his concluding paragraph. Does architecture--a field of study akin to mathematics in many ways--also generate such a momentum? What exists that is evidence of such in the built environment?


2. Adler asserts that in mathematical creation, "an assertion, together with a proof" is required. Therefore, to state that the average speed at which an object travels is equal to its displacement divided by the time it takes to travel from point A to point B, a mathematician must prove it with a numerical formula. Does this translate also to architectural design? If so, does it apply in the same way? (Can we, in architecture, prove a design theory in such a simple quantitative way as mathematicians do with their formulas?)

March 24, 2008

Reading 17 "Nature's Numbers" by Ian Stewart

KEY WORDS


order, universals, accidentals


"We live in a universe of patterns," writes Stewart. This universe of patterns, explains Stewart over the course of the reading, is not in place to simply be admired, but to give "vital clues to the rules that govern natural processes." Everything in nature is ordered in some cohesive pattern or arrangement. Some patterns observed in nature are universals that actually mean something of significance. Stewart exemplifies Kepler's discovery of a "very strange pattern relating the orbital period of a planet--the time it takes to go around the Sun--to its distance from the Sun." He also points to the fact that numerological observations of universal patterns were key in Isaac Newton's theory of gravitation. Numerological pattern study doesn't always result in the discovery of scientifically-significant universals, however. "The difficulty lies in distinguishing significant numerical patterns from accidental ones," writes Stewart on page 4. He points to some of Kepler's other pattern studies that resulted in the discovery of accidental patterns which scientifically mean nothing, such as his devising of a "simple and tidy theory for the existence of precisely six planets in our solar system," which was later discovered to be completley untrue.


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS


1. How can the observation of patterns in nature--from the most obvious to those existing in the microscopic world--inform architecture in its modern-day quest to design efficiently and environmentally-friendly?


2. "Mathematics is to nature as Sherlock Holmes is to evidence," writes Stewart on page 2. Would it also make sense to say that "Nature is to architecture as mathematics is to nature?" according to Stewart's theories?

March 14, 2008

Reading 16 "Biomimicry" by Janine M. Benyus

KEY WORDS:


biomimicry


According to Benyus, biomimicry (from the Greek bios, life, and mimesis, imitation), "is a new science that studies nature's models and then imitates or takes inspiration from these designs and processes to solve human problems." It studies nature in three ways: nature as model, nature as measure, and nature as mentor. The Age of Biomimicry "introduces an era based not on what we can extract from nature, but on what we can learn from her." It is based largely upon the principle that all human inventions have already been invented by nature in a better, more efficient way. Nature is "imaginative by necessity," writes Benyus.


safeguard


"It is time for us as a culture to walk in the forest again," asserts Benyus. The reading emphasizes the necessity for human beings to be stewards of the Earth in which we live, learning from it and safeguarding it from harm. If we fail to do so, we not only harm nature, but doom the future survival of the human race. "We realize that the only way to keep learning from nature is to safeguard naturalness, the wellspring of good ideas. At this point in history, as we contemplate the very real possibility of losing a quarter of all species in the next thirty years, biomimicry becoems more than just a new way of looking at nature. It becomes a race and a rescue." Benyus sums up her call to safeguard the natural world, saying "This time, we come not to learn about nature so that we might circumvent or control her, but to learn from nature, so that we might fit in, at last and for good, on the Earth from which we sprang."




DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:


1. "Nature invents and we invent. In fact, I think that humans and all other life-forms have been evolving toward similar points, but other organisms are simply farther along than we are," quotes Benyus from her discussion with University of Delaware researcher Herb Waite. Is Waite's rather radical challenge to the common assumption of human superiority arguable?


2. Has the architecture profession truly embraced the widely-accepted-to-be-enlightened study of biomimicry, or is there alot of work yet to be done?

March 9, 2008

Reading 15 "Search for Form" by Eliel Saarinen

KEY WORDS:


FORM


Form possesses a functional quality as well as a spiritual function. "Form, then, is not mute. Far from so, for form conveys its inner meaning with finer vibration and deeper expression than can the spoken tongue," writes Saarinen on page 17. Art of man and nature have both gone through a similar evolution of the creation of form: the subsconsious, conscious, and self-conscious stages. Primitive man created original, genuine form out of necessity during the subconscious stage of creation. During the conscious stage, man created original form not out of necessity, but out of curiosity. It is the present state of creation, the self-conscious stage, that sees litlte to no geniuine form created. Man has become civilized and thus dependent upon aesthetic speculation, dogmatic doctrines, and a desire to imitate rather than create.


NATURE


The origin of all form is nature. "It is inconceivable that a truly complete understanding of form can be had unless one goes to those primeval sources where the concept of form was born," writes Saarinen on page 18. Saarinen discusses how, at the beginning of man's existence, he was close to nature. Thus, his forms were genuine manifestations of nature. "Having lost his spiritual communication with nature, man became gradually blind to nature's laws." (page 19) Man reacts to the creative actions of nature. Art of nature, argues Saarinen, is synonymous with art of man, taking its beauty in the same colors, textures, movement, flavor, and sound. Thus, the forms of man are reactions to the forms of nature. He speaks of architecture, on page 47, as being naturally-originating forms that are for man's protection and accommodation.


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:


1. "Art is like the plant," writes Saarinen in the preamble. "The characteristics of its (the plant's) form lie concealed in the potential power of the seed. The soil gives it strength to grow. And outer influences decide its shape in the environment." What does this metaphor tell us about how architects and designers in general are to create forms?


2. On page 11, Saarinen begs the question, "is art soulless; or does it have a soul?" He further points out that the answer is obvious, but points out the fact that today "there exists an abundance of forms that are desitute of meaning and yet are regarded as forms of art." Do you agree with his harsh assessment of the modern design scene? Is today's artistic creation "soulless?"

March 7, 2008

06 Term Project Graphic Style Planning

As Ozayr has stressed in class on numerous occasions, and Design Fundamentals I hammered in pretty firmly last semester, the ability to present your work in a clean, aesthetically pleasing fashion is a necessity for designers. Allan Chochinov in "1000 words for design students" asserts, "And no matter how good a designer you are, without a certain level of presentation skills, nobody will ever know."

Photographer Janet Killeen, "known for capturing topics of social importance around the world", put together a very powerful, clean, and nice-looking web site design. The image below is her web design included in her e-portfolio on Gravitate Design Studio's website. She indicates in the caption that "The challenge was to do something very edgy and unique, but not allow the design to overpower the photography." I really like her emphasis on strong, anthropological inquiry through photography in documenting a social issue. She brings viewers into a too-close-for-comfort view of an issue of social justice, which is a successful attention-grabbing technique. Our group, in our attempt to document applications of sustainable architecture in low-income urban housing, could take her photography-based graphic layouts as primary inspiration in considering the graphic style of our presentation.
www.gravitatedesign.com/portfolio/web_design_6.asp

Jay Gandhi and Kevin Egan's advertisement for US Airways featured in CMYK Magazine is a bold, crisp, and clean. The bizzare reversal of the ordinary (flipping the United States map upside down) not only catches the attention of the viewer, but it makes a strong statement. In this particular case, it is making a marketing pitch, but the idea of creating an abstract graphical paradox is one that we could certainly use in our examination of sustainability and inner city public housing.
http://www.cmykmag.com/site.cfm?page_id=92§_id=22&Entry=219&Type=2&Issue=39

Goran Krstic's "Self Portrait" was featured as the cover art for CMYK Magazine Issue 38. Krstic is a student at Pratt Institute. What intrigues me about his graphic design is the highly abstract richness of the layout. It incorporates a vast palllette of varying color, lines, shapes, and textures in its bizzare narration of the artist's life. I admire his use of graphical metaphor to tell something about himself, and believe that we could employ a similar technique in telling the "story" of the once-thought-to-be bizzare marraige of sustainability and low-income housing.
http://www.cmykmag.com/site.cfm?page_id=94§_id=22&Issue=38

The personal record collection of Clifford Soltze of Soltze Design Firm in Boston, struck me as interesting. The fact that a designer collects record covers for inspiration is a good indication that the graphic design of such are very valuable. Today, record covers have become CD covers and MP3 album icons, but have changed in their purpose very little. I have always liked the highly abstracted intellectually creative visual responses to the design problem of graphically representing a music album. Our millenium development group faces a similar challenge in graphically representing the complex issues of sustainability in urban low-income housing in one cohesive graphic presentation.
http://www.howdesign.com/article/collections/

The cover illustrations and designs for Canada Law Book's legal resources catalogue, designed by "On the Water Communications," is featured on portfolios.com. What I really like about this graphic is the powerful juxtaposition of the natural (a leaf in this case) and the man-made (in this case, the intricate crafted golden ornamental plaque). It is not a dominance of either element, but a harmonious co-existance of the two objects to create one beautiful image. This is essentially what we're researching for the Millenium Development Project; the harmony of sustainability and urban low-income housing.
http://www.portfolios.com/zoom.html?imagecount=8&User_number=bruce999

This proposed CD cover design titled 'Sharing Secrets' is a product of "Dancing Eyes Design." What I like about this design is the boldness and textural roughness of the image. I really think it could possibly translate into a good representation of our urban issue. The abstraction and complementary relationship of the image and supporting text is nice. Perhaps we could create a similar graphic effect when documenting the present conditions of low-income housing.
http://www.portfolios.com/zoom.html?User_number=bryandechter&imagecount=12

Nathan Brightbill's MLA (Masters of Landscape Architecture) Portfolio for the University of Washington College of Architecture & Urban Planning is a very nice composition. I particularly like this page titled, "Housing Design/Affordable Housing," as it is related to the topic of our term project. The page is layed out well; very professional, clean, and flowing. I particularly like the palcement of the title and short description of the prompt/design problem on the top bar. The plan and accompanying perspective sketch are also very clean and occupy the page well. I think that a layout similar to this would do the main slides/pages of our presentation justice.
http://www.caup.washington.edu/larch/static/Admissions/portfolios.php