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May 5, 2008

Architecture and Technology


Technology and architecture. It is inevitable that as technology expands, it will make its way into every aspect of life. So, yeah, technology is always going to be a major part of architecture. Instead of trying to keep with the traditional ways, why not embrace architecture in the technological age?

Technology brings a whole new life to architecture. It starts with the way architects put their ideas onto paper. Now, it is through the computer. CAD and other programs organize thoughts. They help dimension and work with complicated numbers. It is no longer necessary to draw and redraw to get it perfect. The computer allows a designer to play around with things more. The method of designed is quickened. Beyond the process, the things you can do with the programs are incredible. Frank Gehry is the obvious example. Since he got his jet designing software, the scale and complexity of his projects have skyrocketed. What an architect can now do with the form of a building has changed completely. Architecture is always evolving, this is just the way it is now evolving.

Despite it’s benefits, it is still really important to have skills beyond the computer. I feel like even if plans aren’t all drawn out and what was once hand drawn is now done on the computer, it is important to be able to draw. Computers may be able to convey scale and details, but your drawings should convey emotion and the feel.

So I say, yes, technology and architecture are a beautiful combination. We just have to be careful not to forget the artistic aspect that computers may lack.

May 4, 2008

Term Project Critique

The presentations are over! Hurrah!

Now, a moment to reflect on other people’s presentations.

I really enjoyed Byron and Michelle’s presentation on poverty on hunger. They looked at Somalia and how the problem can be improved in such an unstable nation. Broc and I focused on Somalia as well, so it was really interesting for me to see other information about the country. I learned a lot more about the agricultural and social sides of the nation.

The presentation was set up very well. It was well designed and had powerful pictures. I thought the banner that constantly remained on top was great because it created a flow throughout the presentation. It was faded just right so that it was not distracting as well. The images used were obviously carefully chosen and fit well with what Byron and Michelle were trying to get across.

After setting up a background of the country and why exactly people suffer from poverty and hunger, they went into specific case studies of programs that were helping the people. They looked at programs tat helped Africans help themselves. Rather than a program that just gives Somalis food and supplies, they found ways for the community to make decisions together to improve conditions. I especially liked the case study of UN-HABITAT. It is a UN program to maintain socially and environmentally sustainable shelter for all through working with governments and small communities. It helps the communities take action against their problems. I thought the case studies on improving the agricultural problems were also fantastic. Somalia is a dry country. It has seen many droughts and does not grow crops very well, thus limiting the amount of food put out to the people. Working on improving agricultural productivity in the nation itself is the base of improving the hunger situation.

After looking in depth at these case studies, they went on to establish their proposal. It was not a specific list of what they think needs to be done in Somalia. Instead, it was a call for community involvement, the improvement of the government, and the reversing of rural degeneration. I liked that they just had a vague guide of what to do. I think if programs were expanded for Somalis to get started and help themselves, they could pull themselves out of this state of hunger and poverty.

Overall, I think Byron and Michelle did a great job of explaining the problem and establishing a basis for their solution. Yey!

April 12, 2008

Day FOUR

Spring break kind of put a damper on my volunteer schedule. I was off for a week, then South was off, then I couldn't make it... this past week was much the same. I had some family stuff going on and couldn't make it on my normal Monday so I came in Friday instead.

I would just like to point out that Minnesota is gross. I got out of bed and definately was not looking forward to trekking to South in the icy rain/ sleet. Ew. But I did anyways, and was put in a much better mood.

When I got up to the career center, there was a note for me on the door telling me to go to another room downstairs. I was pretty satisfied that I knew exactly where this room was. I peeked through the window and saw a conference room full of well dressed students and important looking adults speaking to them. I waited outside for a minute before I gain the courage to knock and see if Anne was in the room. She was! I went and sat down and Anne told me that these kids were signing for the Wallin Scholarship (a prestigious $4,000 a year renewable scholarship for students in Minneapolis and now St. Paul). It was pretty exciting- it brought me back to the good old days (hmmhmunderayearagomm) when I was in their seats.

After a bit, Anne and I went back to the Career Center. It was a really busy day for her since there were many scholarships due and the career fair is coming up. I was glad I was there to help out with paper work and such.

I got on Anne's laptop and updated a contact list for the people coming to the career fair while making copies and such. Students were flooding in with questions for Anne. A pretty steady line formed between classes. Anne is very good at handling all these kids at once (and they all seem to love her).

In the last half hour, I helped a girl fill out her FAFSA. Ha. If there is one thing about the college process I hate, it is the FAFSA. I have done it for years, as I did it for my sister for two years before doing my own. If you have the papers right in front of you, it is not so bad, but sometimes it is so hard to figure out. I am no expert, but I know the basics. The student didn't have much paperwork with her, so we couldn't do much and she was very frustrated about this. Hopefully once she gets her taxes together it will come out easier.

I'll be back in two weeks!

April 2, 2008

I made title pages!

i apologize for the linkage. i am not feeling so tech savvy right now.

these are my cover designs. they may change as i play with indesign throughout the night... enjoy:

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March 13, 2008

Design

i have no idea if this website is working... but here is an attempt...
i'll add my pictures once i know that it is functioning.


The design of the UN Millennium goals project is a critical portion of the work. If the information is poorly put together, no one will care. The layout has to be interesting and catch someone’s eye.

Broc and I are discussing the possibility of a global partnership. We are looking at technology in Africa and how we can unite to make progress. A research paper will not do justice to the issue. There are images and diagrams that speak beyond words. Therefore the design of the project must be centered on the images. Since we will be presenting to the class, I think it is important to have a pdf slideshow in addition to whatever method we choose to present our work. This way, we can run through the images while discussing them in more detail.

I think our work could be well presented in a small book. It could be like a table picture book with informational captions and quotations.

We used Bruce Mau’s book Massive Change as a source and it was inspiration for me in terms of design as well. It is brilliantly put together and the images overtake the book. The points are emphasized and explained by text and interviews.

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I looked at the websites mentioned in class. I found the CMYK magazine most appealing. There is little text and very clean. The font is consistent but interesting. The images really stand out and are obviouslly carefully chosen. I liked this one the best.
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These are some other websites that I just really like the layout of. The way they are composed catches the eye and makes the information presented most important.

Architecture in Helsinki http://architectureinhelsinki.com/

Urban Outfitters. http://www.urbanoutfitters.com/urban/index.jsp

Charles Stinson. http://www.crsarch.com/

March 5, 2008

Where I Belong

I live in my tiny, kitchen-less room. I live in Middlebrook Hall. I live at the University of Minnesota. I live in Minneapolis. I live in Minnesota. I live in the United States. I live in North America. I live in this world. I live in this universe. I exist in my build environment that has made me who I am today.

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It is strange to me that when I think of my built environment I no longer think of the home I moved out of only six months ago. My middle-class home in the suburbs no longer holds much meaning to me. I don’t want to sound like I grew up with a lot of angst or hated where I lived so much, but it really was not right for me. The suburbs are not where I am meant to be.

Growing up in this middle class, suburban environment of structure, focus on education, and preparation for the future has shaped who I am. This is not a bad thing. I like structure. I do well in structure. It’s not where I am happiest, but I do well with structure. My education as a high school student was intense; I was an IB (International Baccalaureate) student. It has prepared me for my future.

This has carried to my new home. My kitchen-less room on the 8th floor of this strange place known as a dorm. But what has affected me most is what I left behind in the suburbs. I came to a new environment of city living. I ride the bus. I look out my window at the skyline of Minneapolis. I have forgotten how to drive. I have concert venues in walking distance (HUZZAH!). My new life in this room is where I am meant to be (Is it weird to prefer a box with absolutely NO privacy to a spacious 6 bedroom home?). The community I have built here and frameworks that surround me have built who I am today.


[I should mention that any photos in this blog I have not cited are my own.]

March 3, 2008

Reading Discussions 12- 13

12--- Architecture As Space by Bruno Zevi
Keywords:
1.
2.
Discussion Questions:
1.
2.

13-- Nature and the Idea of a Man-Made World by Norman Crowe
Keywords:

1. Nature- Nature is what surrounds us and drives us. Everything we build and do affects the nature and is informed by nature.
2. Relationship- Crowe explores the relationship between nature and place. There must be a harmony between the two and a connection to the natural world.

Discussion Questions:
1. Describe an ideal relationship with nature. Where is it? What does it look like?
2. What is necessary to have a good relationship between the built world and the natural world?

February 22, 2008

I'm freeeee

"If you were completely released from the constraints of the 'architecture school' program, what would you do architecturally, artistically, bodily, lyrically, etc that would still have an impact on your environment. Describe a real or imagined place which might allow you to do this. Explore through images and text."

There are so many paths my life could take without architecture school.

I think I am interested in too much for my own good. But what I would do would have to do with something that makes me really happy. What makes me really happy?

1. Coloring with my set of 50 crayola markers (12 of which are "silly scented"- the best invention ever).

2. Finding new music. Listening obsessively.

3. Making music (yes, I am in a "band" called the Raindeer Bot Clothing Exchange. Basically, my friend and I mess around with garage band with a mix of joke songs and some pretty cool covers. My friend at Reed College is going to play us on his radio show!!! HA I find it hilarious that my voice will be on the radio ever, as I am not a singer by any means.)
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4. Going to concerts. This is NOT wasting my money, I swear... There is something spiritual about live music.
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5. Taking photos/ figuring out how to work my camera.
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6. Kids. In small doses.

7. Eating. Mostly ethnic food. My brother-in-law is Sri Lankan. He is also an excellent cook. I am obsessed.

8. Being outside. Walking. Watching the leaves change. Staring at the river. Camping. Being sustainable.
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9. Organizing. When I was young, I did not play with my toys, I organized them. By size, color, whatever. There is nothing more relaxing to me.

10. Dancing. I suck. It does not stop me.
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Okaaaaaay. That is my top 10. It doesn't answer much, but hopefully it will help me determine what I would do with my life sin escuela. I want to be passionate about whatever I do. I could be passionate about any of these things.

My mom often asks me if I want to change my major to something in music- music production or business (which I find really funny because my friend just dropped out of school and is going to McNally Smith for just that, very much against his parent's will). I don't think I would like it though. But I do think that music is in my future. But in what way?

Maybe I could plan music events. Or design venues. Or a music camp for kids. What if I turned this all into one? Ambitious, but I can do whatever I want, right? I could create a sustainable, interactive venue for people to come listen to music, dance, eat, and learn about music.

I am kind of obsessed with lyrics, so I would probably design the venue with snippets of song lyrics running along all of the walls. I think it would be cool to have the artists write some of their favorite lyrics as they play in the venue. Along with their lyrics, they could add their favorite photo or piece of art. Eventually, the walls would be covered in all kinds of unique art work. Maybe this could be a gallery as well... the possibilities are endless.

Come to think of it, i really would like to design music venues, regardless of if I am free from architecture school or not. Think of all of the perks...

February 21, 2008

A Global Partnership for Development


Goal 8: A Global Partnership for Development

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http://exposedplanet.com/images/peace-in-tibet-kid-tingri.jpg

• Develop further an open trading and financial system that is rule-based, predictable and non-discriminatory, includes a commitment to good governance, development and poverty reduction— nationally and internationally
• Address the least developed countries' special needs. This includes tariff- and quota-free access for their exports; enhanced debt relief for heavily indebted poor countries; cancellation of official bilateral debt; and more generous official development assistance for countries committed to poverty reduction
• Address the special needs of landlocked and small island developing States
• Deal comprehensively with developing countries' debt problems through national and international measures to make debt sustainable in the long term
• In cooperation with the developing countries, develop decentand productive work for youth
• In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries
• In cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies— especially information and communications technologies

If you have the opportunity to play this game of life you need to appreciate every moment. A lot of people don`t appreciate the moment until it's passed.
Kanye West

A lot of people think that Kanye West is just some arrogant rapper. He is probably the only one that could make the "you're acceptance speech should be done by now..." music stop (an act I thought to be brilliant). But really, look at this quote- he knows what's up. We are given this life, this existence. Don't mess it up by mistreating it...

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http://people.tribe.net/kachinakatrina/photos/827a9428-3bc9-41df-8c3b-b764da3c6f5c

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.

Martin Luther King Jr.

The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood.
Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 - 1968), "Strength to Love"

Turbulence is life force. It is opportunity. Let's love turbulence and use it for change.
Ramsay Clark

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http://www.friendster.com/photos/41134960/0/765897976

Divide and rule, a sound motto. Unite and lead, a better one.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832)

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http://peoplesdesignaward.cooperhewitt.org/2007/images/nominations/change.jpg

Playlist:

i figured out how to embed a media player!!! however, as many of them are obscure and random, the website did not have everything i wanted. i'll keep trying to get them up...


1. First Breath After Coma- Explosions In The Sky [The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place] This song is purely instrumental. It makes me happy. This is what I listen to as I am walking through campus feeling pretty optimistic about life. Somehow, every time I listen to it, I notice things: the bike tracks in the snow, the sun reflecting on the trees, the way in which people walk. It makes you think.

2. Where Do The Children Play?- Cat Stevens [Footsteps In The Dark]
Society is changing and we have to make sure that it is in the best possible way, that our children still have somewhere to play.

3. When The Night Feels My Song- Bedouin Soundclash [Sounding a Mosaic]

Just a song of hope- hope for change, for better days.

4. What I'm Fighting For - Matisyahu [Youth]
"What I'm fighting for is a chance to unite the past."

5. Section 11 (We Sound Amazed)- The Polyphonic Spree [Together We're Heavy]
"Take the time to find the world another way" Let's find another solution. Look at things in a different way.

6. I Like Giants- Kimya Dawson [Remember That I Love You]

7. Everyone's A V.I.P. To Someone- The Go! Team [Thunder, Lightning, Strike]
The song title says it all, we all matter.

8. Carry You- Dispatch [Who Are We Living For?]

9. Honor And Harmony- G. Love & Special Sauce [Thicker Than Water Soundtrack]

10. Ballad Of Paul And Sheila- Mason Jennings [Use Your Voice]
I think a big part of uniting and developing is looking up to the idealists that have come before us. Look at what they have started, and strive to finish what they began. Mason Jennings sings, "Hey senator, I'm gonna do, everything I can to live my life more like you did..." Paul Wellstone was a man with high aspirations. We can look at his legacy as inspiration for making this life better.

11. Purpose- Cloud Cult [The Meaning Of 8]

"There must be healing here, cause everybody here has been damaged." We all know pain, we all have purpose. Let's use that for something great.

12. Gunship Politico- State Radio [Us Against The Crown]

13. We Are One- The Matches [A Band In Hope]
Okay, I'm not going to lie, this album isn't out yet, so unless you search for it, you probably won't be able to hear it. But these lyrics have great meaning; in the background, they chant, "if you're not the change you want to see, who will be?" The chorus goes, "When we are loud, we are one, when we are one, we are more." We can do so much more working together.

14. Always Love- Nada Surf [The Weight Is A Gift]
"Hate will get you every time."

15. Heard the World- O.A.R. [Stories Of A Stranger]

February 10, 2008

Minneapolis Public Library

The Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery is a great organization out of Golden Valley working to reduce child abuse and neglect through providing services for parents in crisis. Their goal is to strengthen families and communities. After volunteering at the Nursery for a few months, a friend of mine became very interested in the seemingly low literacy rate of the children she was working with. She wondered if her shock was a result of growing up with very educated parents in a wealthy neighborhood or if she was just unaware of how illiterate our society was. In response, she devoted a semester to learning about childhood literacy and presented her research to the student body. She opened our eyes to the low level of literacy in many adults and what that means for their children. One major problem that stuck in my head was the number of children that do not own books. If kids don’t have books to read, how are they going to learn? Especially when their families are not in a state to be able to help them.

This problem sparked the “Read to Succeed: Tonka Students for Childhood Literacy? program. Throughout the first year, my friend collected almost thousands of books to put in the hands of children passing through the Crisis Nursery. The hope was that with these books, the children would be inspired to read and break the illiteracy cycle.

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The next best thing to children owning books is going to the library and renting books. The libraries are public facilities that every child should be familiar with, right? They should be available to everyone. But the truth is that in the past few years, keeping libraries open and usable in Minneapolis has been very difficult. Ridiculous budget cuts meant fewer hours. Then fewer employees. And in 2006, it meant fewer branches. Unfortunately, many of the 15 branches of Minneapolis Public Libraries were closed. Others were cut down to a few hours a day or only a few days a week. These limits make it so much harder for kids to get to the libraries, especially the ones that need to be at the library. More than likely, parents will be working during the hours the libraries are open. Or the library would be too far away.
There has to be a way that libraries can stay available for all children. A way for them to get there. A surge fundraiser. A strong volunteer system that will allow more branches to stay open. A compromise on hours.

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In 2006, three budget situations were proposed with different combinations of hour changes and branch closings. The one chosen called for the closing of three branches and cutting hours dramatically at three others. The remainder of the branches would have extended hours, but only would be open Tuesday through Saturday. So what happens on Mondays? What happens to the kids that lived by the libraries that are now closed? What happens to the parents that can’t get their kids to the library in the limited hours?
There is no easy solution. And I guess I don’t know enough about the library system to give any advice. But I know that with creativity, budgets can be stretched and compromises can be reached that will provide children with the best possibility at becoming literate.

February 4, 2008

flow

Energy, flow, and transformation.

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When I think of cities, I think of skyscrapers and bright lights and traffic and movement. The idea of city to me is like a ball of energy. Constant movement drives the city and the people that walk through it every day.

It seems that every major city is centered around a body of water. Duluth is centered around Lake Superior. Minneapolis around the Mississippi River. Chicago around Lake Michigan and the Chicago River. New Orleans around the Gulf of Mexico. New York City around the Atlantic Ocean. The list goes on and on. Water embodies all of the qualities of movement and life and energy. Water flows from one place to the next in all ways. The water flow can be calm, harsh, fast, slow, rough, and so on. The flow changes with the weather, the time of day, and the season. The flow of the water can carry objects a short distance or across country. The flow of water can connect places with completely different world views or even geography. The flow of water connects everything.

So it seems appropriate that the water that epitomizes the word 'flow' would create a basis for the structure of our cities. Take Chicago, for example. I was recently in the city and observed what an influence the bodies of water had on the expansion of the city. As the city broadened over the river, bridges were built. Every few blocks, a bridge runs across the river creating unison and flow between two sections of one city. Suddenly everything and everyone is connected.

The ability of transportation systems to connect the flow of cities also strikes me. The movement of a mass vehicle system, such as subways, connects each area of a city. The rich and the poor, the liberal and conservative, the financial and commercial suddenly become one.