November 27, 2006

digital schizophrenia

technology is now necessary to operate in modern society; it has become the driving force of business enterprises, the very structure of communications and even a tool for scholastic study. i could not submit this required assignment without employing complex technologies unheard of a mere twenty years ago. i am at this moment transporting my thoughts to perceivably every computer in the world; and without wires even. Postman would argue to see the negative aspects of this “convenience?. for instance, is society getting to intimate with strangers through deployment of personal information onto the global trading post of bogging. the ability to do this wirelessly means that we can be always connected to our peers. is this technology a digital transcendental nightmare? H.D.Thoreau insisted that the solidarity of nature is the only place to truly know oneself. how long will it take wireless technology to break current limitations and allow a poet in the woods access to a wikipedia thesaurus – would poetry then really be his? the media implications of continuous wireless technology would be nothing short of constant distraction. it is already a mild schizophrenia that plagues productivity. students in classrooms bring computers to take notes and end up browsing for some trinket on eBay. it is a distraction that was not, is not, and needn’t be. Postman defines the current state of society as a technocracy while predicting a future technopoly. current technologies remains in control of the users and while it dominates our perception of modern productivity it remains partially segregated from the real – our physical lives. in a technopoly, this distinction will vanish. in this transformation the analog existence of man will become digital; computational technology will render our natural senses useless. why see only visible light when we have the technology to view the entire wave spectrum. why listen to music in a very compressed range of hertz when we have sensors to pick up extremely low and high waves? Postman warns the current generation to stop every now and then and contemplate the negative affects of technology taken for granted. one could argue that the ultimate evolution of man is toward a digital mind. thoughts composed of 1’s and 0’s. i wonder in this case how expressive art would suffer. the whole diminished leading tone having no emotional provocation. the abstraction of lines and colors on canvas having no significance; the only thing of importance being which permutation of 1’s and 0’s is most significant.

November 6, 2006

a mathematical description of sound

mathematics being the language of science to describe the natural world is imbedded into the generation and transformation of sound. within architectural acoustics architects must consider intrinsic properties of the materials that they are designing with in order to control the amount of defraction or absorbtion of sound waves. it has always been interesting to me how deeply mathematics penatrates the development of music. for instance, within the famous fibonacci sequence:


successive terms (n[0,∞]) generate the outputs 0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13... which in general form the foundation of western tonal theory - based on the intervals of 1,3,5,8 and with a 2 (often considered a 9) 13 can form a very interesting chord. The chord based on intervals 1-root, 3-third, 5- fifth, and 8-octave can be refered to as a tonic triad which is undisputedly the basis of western tonal music. Most pieces stretching from classical to modern popular music begin and end on the tonic triad, giving the listener a sense of completion.

it is good acoustic design that allows for the natural harmonic overtones of music to resonate within a concert hall, recording studio, or simple living room. this resonation is critical to allowing less dominant pitches to be heard clearly over the often muddy sound of the root (1) and fifth that dominate tonal music.

computer programs have been written to analyse materials and geometries in relation to waveform generation. this enables architects to “see? how the sound will interact with the designed space.


October 23, 2006

of primary conflict

it is November and yet the evening's fog speaks of a chilly dawn in spring. it is that kind of fog that all at once remains cool while bathing one in the warmth of a well-worn wool blanket. it is all that i can do not to simply run from this repressing room out the door and loose myself in a smoky embrace of this evening’s transformation. it is this endeavor of mine, this scholastic architecture business, that is simultaneously urging exploration and confining me indoors and viciously constraining my day. it is after all indoors where it is suitable to write of observations when that which moves me is waiting hopelessly for me - as i have yet to diagram the spatial complexity of a stairwell, yet to read endlessly of other, more important opinions of what and what is not moving of the natural environment, yet to write paper after paper about ancient structures and their conventionally agreed upon greatness. i am expected to create narrations of how a particular Roman dome evokes a feeling of godly creation when i have never once experienced even setting my foot in the entire continent of Europe – all while this godly greatness can be seen out my window. i have to wrestle with the administration, a great work of erratic politics, of minute paperwork details that in reality won’t concern this billion-dollar enterprise of a university when the issue at hand is my future career and monumental debt. a future career that regardless of eight years of scholastic training i will arrive to inevitably feeling completely ill prepared for. no, i will jump through the hoops set before me, pay dearly for them and learn about great architecture by reading of it.

“Every form has its own meaning. Every man creates his meaning and form and goal. Why is it so important – what others have done? Why does it become sacred by the mere fact of not being your own? Why is anyone and everyone right – so long as it’s not yourself? Why does the number of those others take the place of truth??
- Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

time as a phenomenon

neither of us wants to leave despite the cold, the air is crisp and the night sky has a fantastic clarity this time of winter; the stars seem nearer. the streets are mostly deserted with only one or two cars passing by. we have been standing here for a time that neither of us could describe; time that has strayed into a loop. the city is entirely removed from the space that we now occupy – a bubble only defined by the dimmed light of a nearby street lamp and cycling traffic light. it is the traffic light that gives the only definition of passing time, a reminder that even now this night, time cannot be stopped. time as a human invention – a framework of description - is being measured by the passing of colored lights, a loop that has no function in the absence of traffic but to reference time into particular subdivisions that make up one of the only globally agreed upon measurement systems. why should time be divided into base 60 intervals and the second into tenths? what is the value of a second in this new world of physics that depends upon mass? is it yet another desperate plea to measure the worth of our knowledge in attempting to describe our surroundings in space? - a phenomenon of human invention to feel less lonely in such a vast space.


October 7, 2006

a descriptive landscape of genius loci


the smell of surrounding pines appears heightened in the crisp mountain air, mountains that exude an energy present only in such mass; invisible in the night though easily felt. there is a slight snowfall exerting a meek endeavor to further cover the hidden landscape – it does this constantly here as roads become caverns in a snow flooded plain. it is beautiful, powerful and intimidating all at once; what could be buried under all of this snow? the lanterns follow along with the road holding tightly around the curves trying not to be swallowed into the darkness, lead us through the night. my family travels here almost every year, we rest inside after having grumbled and maneuvered logs into the fireplace set ablaze. it isn’t necessary though as we had been sitting for hours along the way – a sense of past arduous travel has implanted itself firmly into our modern thought. we laugh together even as we understand the mystery of the food cans, bags of chips, yogurt containers and knock-off brands of Tupperware® burst with the pressures that we brought along with us – evidence of that long climb that still weighs upon us. we read after having settled down and before going to bed; my father always some kind of wartime novel featuring a bold blood red Nazi enigma as book art or referencing the US/Soviet conflicts of the Cold War - something rich with history - my sister and i having never succeeded in shaking off these absences have piles of textbooks read through the years as a timeline of our lives – elementary, middle school, high school the more recently collegiate material - to get through while my mother absorbs the rarity of the complete family together. we will sleep after having the traditional snack of kettle cooked popcorn and awake to a brilliant blue and spectacularly pure white horizon jagged along the mountaintops.


September 30, 2006

an issue of social design

we are, after all, animals; it reminds us of our own mortality: the restroom. they are everywhere, in every class of society – from the troughs of sporting arenas to the private rooms of opera houses. why then, cannot this necessary amenity demand a higher respect from the design community?

i at first notice a flaw in the entrance: more often than not, it is a push to enter and pull to exit type of door. this is backward design in extreme for if one is the least bit health conscious it is necessary to grab hold of the community door handle – the single spot where washed and non-washed hands alike can share a host of contagious molecules.

the second flaw is inconsistency. there will inevitably exist restrooms that have undergone large expense through the installation of high technology motion detection systems for the sinks and either air dry or automatic towel dispensers. yet still, there is that handle that has to be overcome upon exiting. it is only an option to save a bit of towel to open this handle when there are towel dispensers – an endangered item – rather than air driers – ever growing in popularity.

the worst flaw is that of the circular cloth towel. this is little more than a rotating community disease dispenser meant to be avoided at all costs. little more needs to be explained of this device as its faults are self-evident.

i personally would advocate for door less restrooms with automatic sensorary washing items. but even without these sensors, the door less restroom is an improvement as i can feel comfortable after washing and drying – something that seems very few are doing these days – not to have to wrap my hands around an infested handle.


September 20, 2006

a conservation of energy

upon approaching the midtown global market a sense of vibrancy can be felt radiating from the very structure itself. it is located in a diverse neighborhood and stands out as the most prominent building of the site. this vibrancy is transformed into a curious expectancy before even entering the building.


once inside there is an obvious energy in the commotion of busy bodies rapidly passing eachother in apparent random objectives. this energy seems to have originated from the timelessness associated with the dissonance in the design of each shop. all in one couryard different themes are repressented through the use of diverse technologies. an aged tile design can be seen adjacent to a neon sign advertizing fresh goods.


there is also a vibrance in selection. it is rare to experience this many cultures in one area. the global market is truely a valent effort of representing global nationalities; in a short walk one can experience the tastes, art and aromas from:

-American (Cafe)
-Native America

the midtown global market is a clear example of the conservation of energy. it is created in foods prepared through cultures refined from all over the world, transfered in the ingestion, burned and released again through the movement and collision of a crowd.