December 2, 2006

Mathmatics and the Greek Columns

Durring a trip to Greece in 2005, I was lucky enough to experience the Parthenon. I realized, through the books I was reading, that the columns are built to mathmatical porportions that are pleasing to the eye. The Parthenon has both Doric and Ionic columns that were built to reflect certain mathmatical ideas.
Mathematics and proportion determine size and shape of the columns. According to Vitruvius, a Roman engineer for both Julius Caesar and Augustus, the Doric column's diameter-to-height ratio is based on the relationship between foot length and height in a man; whereas the slenderer Ionic column diameter-to-height ratio is based on the foot length-to-height ratio in a woman.
Although they may appear identical, the columns around the outside of the Parthenon are not uniform and straight. On the outside, there are 17 columns along the lengths and eight along the width. The four corner columns are thicker by 1/14 in order to avoid looking weak from a distance.
parthenon.jpg

The thought and effort that went into the construcion of the columns at the parthenon is absoulutly amazing to me. It shows advanced math skills and a knowledge ofthe human eye that seems advanced by even todays standards. Truly an amazing example of human intellegence.

November 28, 2006

Oppositions - Man vs. Society

Durring the summer I was lucky enough to experience the beautiful and holy land of Mt. Athos in Northern Greece. While I spent time on the peninsula I experienced and observed a way of life that defines a "man vs. society" opposition. The peninsula is inhabited by Orthodox monks whos lives are lived for only one purpose; salvation. No women are allowed. The stories say that the land is sacred to the Virgin Mary so no other women are allowed even on a boat within 500 meters of the peninsual. There are no female domesticated animals. No chickens, no cows, not even female cats to help keep the mice population down. Even males must recieve special permission to enter the peninsula. They truly wish to keep unwanted visitors from society out of their sacred land.
There are 20 monistaries that have been around since the mid 900's and there are also several small communities of monkst that live in groups called Skities, but the truly amazing monks are the hermits that live in total solitude. They choose places to live that are truly secluded and unreachable (unless you have the proper guide!!). They live totally secluded from society and spend their lives in solitude contemplating their own salvation.

n13955187_32551483_5551.jpg
Can you see it??

n13955187_32551484_6017.jpg
A monk used to live up at the top of this cliff and recieved his food from other monks that would raise it up to him on ropes. They only knew to retrieve his body when they came one week, lowered the basket and food was still in it...


n13955187_32551485_6502.jpg
He had his own chapel (the stone roof to the bottom right is the roof of the chapel) and he had VERY modest living quarters...

n13955187_32551480_4059.jpg
This particular monk lived her until he was 97 years old! The three logs across the rocks was his bed for 76 years!!

This man was truly a winner in his quest to seclued himself from society.

October 28, 2006

Snowflake

snowflake.bmp

The snowflake is truly one of natures grand creations. Falling in uncomprehensible numbers, snowflakes come each winter and define the season with its all encompasing essence. The framework os a snowflake is based on frozen water particles. Freezing and crystalizing in the atmsosphere, water particles form an absoulutly symetrical snowflake that will fall to earth. The clockwork of the snowflake is that the process of producing a snowflake resides within the cycle that all wter on earth goes through. Begining as a snowflake, it falls to the earth until warmer temperatures cause it to melt. After it melts the water particles join a water flow of some sort. Either it becomes ground water or part of the water flow that joins the ocean, but either way it will EVENTUALLY evaporate and become a gas form that holds residence in the atmosphere. Finnaly becoming, once again, a snowflake, or possibly hail, rain, etc. Once again joining the hydrolac cycle of the earth. The phenomena of the snowflake is that it is NEVER duplicated. Every single one is different in its own way. Unrecognizable the the naked eye, but undeniable under the microscope.

October 5, 2006

Genius Loci

friends.jpg
Once a year in August, four friends and I always make a trip to the San Juan Mountains in southwest Colorado. We camp, hike, and just hang out for about a week before we all return to our respective areas of the country. It's a time to reflect and reminisce on the 20+ years we have known eachoether. It's also a time for us to refocus our lives. Life altering decisions have been made here and we ask for eachothers input. Decisions such as "..do you guys think I should marry her?" and "...what do you guys think about me moving 2500 miles away to Minnesota for school?" It is an important place to all five of us and we feel that these mountains are so much a part of our lives that we could never deal with life without this time together.
The mountains are open backcountry with no designated camping areas. The area is open to everyone but few make the trip because of the ruggedness and unaccessible terrain. It rains on a daily basis, almost like clockwork, durring the months of August and September, but the rain is welcom as it gives a feeling of "washing away life's burdens." It's cold at night, even in August, about 35 degrees, and it is sometimes hard to keep a fire going because of the thin air at 10,000 feet (right around the "timber line"). The enormous mauntains, hidden lakes, abundant waterfalls, colorful foliage, and beautiful sky, can literally bring you to your knees and make your jaw drop with awe. The elements are a reminder of exactly how insignifigant we (human beings) really are in this world. It's a remeinder that no matter what we think, we are NOT as important as we all think we are. It's truly a place that raises and humbles the human spirit at the same time.

September 28, 2006

Social Design Issue

Having grown up in the southwest United States I am accustom to wide open spaces and having plenty of environmental space to expand. I am not used to the traffic flow problems becasue roads, freeways, and highways are often "overbuilt" to accomidate future population growth. having recently moved to Minnesota I have, regretfully, become aware of traffic issues, specificlly in south Minneapolis along 50th street, west of 35W and east of Edina. Being that 50th street is one of very few streets that run uninterupted between said areas, it has many traffic issues. 50th street is a two lane road that has the traffic flow of at least a four lane road! Expanding the road from two lane to four lane, however, does not seem to be a viable option. The parking lanes are desperatly needed by small shop owners. In an effort to increse traffic flow the city has made it illegal to park in the parking lanes durring rush hour. The design issue becomes "how do we increase traffic flow without hurting small businesses along 50th street." The answer, to me, seems to be that parking structures are needed. This would allow for traffic to flow in four lanes nearly the entire length of the said problem area.

September 19, 2006

Midtown Market Energy Observations

Energy can be defined in many ways at the Midtown Global Market. There are the traditional forms of energy, such as heat and electricity, that are intergrated into the "industrial" design of the market area and are on display overhead for all to see and experience. This decision to display the heating ducts, water pipes, and electrical pipes, I feel makes the shopper more intimate with the exchange of energy throughout the Global Market area.
Also, the energy brought in by the human element is very prevelant. People from many different ethnic and social backgrounds are all interacting with eachother and the flow created by the large walkways helps to avoid any sort of halt in the exchange of energy.