May 9, 2008

Last Service Learning Blog

5/7/08

Well, today was either my last or second-last day at PYC for the year. I still want to go one last time during finals week if I can, but if not, I hope to return next year. Anyway, today I helped a few different kids-one with logic problems, one with pre-algebra, and one with attempting to find her backpack (which I suspect is lost for good...). The kids are still learning about butterflies, and the class I work with apparently has the most chrysalises left (according to spell check, that is correct, but I have my doubts...).

While I was waiting by the bus stop, something exploded a few houses down. I still have no clue what it was, but the police came very quickly, which was comforting.

May 2, 2008

Goals Presentation Blog

I am choosing to comment on Alyssa and Heidi’s presentation. I really liked that, instead of proposing a solution based on currently existing programs, they came up with something completely original (Project Unity, I believe). I think that using homes as schoolhouses is a pretty good idea, and would work towards improving education in general, and closing the gap between educated men and educated women. Using a home as a school will also better enable parent-child interaction on educational issues, which I have read has been proven to better education. I realize that this program would probably take some funding to get the teachers/mothers trained, but at least it would save money on buildings. Also, the main teacher was mentioned as someone who could, after training the mothers to teach, be available for tutoring and just to help out in general. I think that perhaps, additionally, this teacher could start to teach more advanced classes to the older children that have finished the schoolhouse program. I really like that this group focused on education to increase gender equality. Historically, gender equality in societies has generally improved as education has improved and become more widespread. I also liked that they rethought the programming of houses in relation to education. A lot of times, architecture is focused on new buildings, but rethinking existing ones is a usually interesting angle.

I've been writing these in a notebook on bus rides, but here are my service learning journals, finally typed up

1/30

Well, I’m back at the same place as last semester (PYC). I help out with the 5th and 6th graders in the after school program. I know most people pick the really little kids, but I volunteered for a few years with the after school daycare in my hometown, and found that, although cute, a lot of kids make a LOT of noise. Middle schoolers are a fun age to work with, though, and in my opinion, they’re the most important to help guide. One of my little brothers ended up having to go to an alternative high school after one year of regular high school and one year of no school because problems were not caught and corrected early enough. Elementary schoolers are generally good, and are not being confronted with enough bad things to influence them, but middle schoolers get confronted and enticed by a lot more, and, additionally, are in a really awkward age. Thus, I am pretty committed to mentoring them.

I really love PYC, and think it is a great organization, but really wish the neighborhood was a little less sketchy. I had to leave at 4:30 today because I did not want to be waiting for a bus in even remote darkness alone.

2/13

A little girl called me Rapunzel today because of my hair, which I found quite amusing. I also observed another one eating her peanut butter and jelly sandwich with her whole face (which I hear is a regular occurrence) during group snack time, and was once again grateful that I am working with slightly older children. I am really impressed with how much the kids here respect the teachers. I guess I respect the teachers here a lot, too, because of their commitment to working with children not from the best neighborhood. The program seems to be working pretty well, and seems pretty well thought out and set up.

I had to leave pretty early again today to not wait for the bus in the dark.

3/5

Someone else started volunteering at the same time as me, and it’s getting lighter, so I did not have to leave as early! Yay! I mainly watched a rehearsal for some play today, and helped keep the kids in the audience quiet. I have been involved with theater projects for a very long time, and thought that, for an elementary school production in its early stages, it was going extremely well. Also, I would like to mention how much I love the Capri Theater. There is nothing like the arts to get people so involved that they have very little time to get in too much trouble. Brilliant! Always worked for me. As a child, dancing basically was my social life. Sometime, I really would like to see a dance rehearsal here. Occasionally, I see the kids in my class practicing hip-hop moves after break, and I think seeing a class would be fun.

4/9

Because of the separate times of college spring break and elementary/middle school spring break, I haven’t volunteered in a few weeks. However, I can now stay much later, which is awesome. I helped some kids with math and spelling today. I really do not understand the "alternative" math taught to younger kids. Six different schools by 6th grade, so I had about half "alternative" math and half "traditional" math, and can honestly say that the traditional was far more valuable. Actually, I do not remember a thing of the "alternative" math that actually helped me. I had hoped that it had been phased out by now, but I guess not. In my hometown, I know that the alternative math had to start being supplemented with traditional math worksheets, and eventually was entirely eliminated. I really hope, for the sake of kids’ understanding, that it gets eliminated everywhere pretty soon.

4/16

One of the girls in the class read to me for a long time today. It’s nice getting to recall books that I read way back when. The kids here have a lot of reading time, it seems, which I am very happy about. I remember loving to read in elementary school (still do), but during middle school, high school, and college, having progressively less time to do so. It’s nice that these kids have time set aside to just read.

4/23

It was standardized testing week, so the kids were still outside unwinding when I arrived today. So, I got dragged into a game of tug of war by some kids that I think are bigger and stronger than me (no lie). It was fun, though. Then, I jumped rope with the girl who called me Rapunzel awhile back, who is ridiculously adorable. This week, another girl read to me during the reading time. It seems that the kids are getting a lot more comfortable around me, which is great. After reading, we played Brain Quest, which was fun. Some of these kids are pretty smart, I’ve got to say.

4/30

The kids must be learning about butterflies now, because there was a big discussion about some caterpillars in a dish that looked like they would be forming cocoons pretty soon. Then, they played some logic game about going four people left, three right, two more right, one left, and so on. I did not get to do much in line of helping kids today, but I think that it’s getting to that time in the year when educational games are about the only educational anything they’ll pay attention to. I don’t blame them, though. They definitely had to wait awhile for spring this year, so spring fever is totally understandable.

I have 9.5 hours right now, so I will be going back next week, and I’ll post that then if this isn’t graded yet.

April 28, 2008

Technology

Oh, technology, how I love thee...right now, I am sitting in a very uncomfortable position in my room because I cannot pick up wireless in the lounge or my favorite late-night coffeeshop. However, I am also typing, rather than writing, this, and will post it for all to see online instead of handing it in. I am not sure how I feel about the ubiquity of technology. I mean, I could post something that was viewed around, and changed, the world. Conversely, I could post something read by the exact wrong person, and have some consequences I would rather not think about. This sort of double-edged sword does not just hold true for internet technologies, but also for architectural ones.

Take, for instance, the CATIA (which may or may not start with a "C") software used by Frank Gehry. It certainly has changed the sorts of architecture that can be created. Whether for better or worse, though, is questionable. His work, to me, looks more like modern art than architecture, but this perhaps is creating more fusion between the two. His museums, in particular, reflect their content much more than most buildings, which is more of an inward-facing approach than traditionally used. However, they often lose the outward-facing approach of fitting in with their context. If/when more architects begin to use this and other new technologies, I wonder what sort of architecture will emerge...perhaps all buildings will eventually look like Frank Gehry’s, and they will be in context.

April 9, 2008

The Last of the Readings

Reading 14

Nature and the Idea of a Man-Made World

Geometry

The geometry involved in architecture is very apparent in all of the illustrations in this reading. Also, the quote "to the builder, the geometry of a building is not abstract" appears. It makes sense that buildings based strongly in geometric principles might create a more cohesive building. Also, a lot of geometry is based at least somewhat on nature, so buildings based on normal geometric shapes probably blend in better with the environment.

Influence

"We shape our architecture and it in turn shapes us." This makes a lot of sense. For example, the architecture of courthouses and city halls is generally very orderly and Roman or Greek revival style, and they promote order. However, more and more art museums are beginning to have unique designs, promoting creativity and freethinking.

How have you seen architecture influence people?

What geometric patterns do you think should be used more?

Reading 16 (already did 15 in another blog)

Biomimicry

Wonder

The wonder of nature is very much showcased here. The fact that so many things that were/are considered architectural feats already are present in nature is amazing. Also, just think of how much is still out there to learn...

Learning

So much can be learned from nature. Using this knowledge in relation to architecture and design can greatly improve building techniques. Also, great examples of energy efficiency (like the termite tower example) can be found in nature.

Where in nature do you think architects should look for inspiration?

How can biomimicry improve sustainable design?

Reading 17

Nature’s Numbers

Patterns

The logic of the honeycomb pattern is described here. If one thinks about it, honeycombs really do appear a lot--honeycombs, of course, snowflakes, coin packing, etc. I think this could be used a lot more than it currently is in architecture.

Caution

It is important to use caution when deriving/analyzing patterns. If this is done incorrectly, it could probably turn out with really ugly results. I’m sure this has already been done, but I guess I have yet to see it.

Which ways could the honeycomb pattern be used in architecture?

Where have "natural patterns" been used poorly?

Reading 18

Physics, Astronomy, and Mathematics

Creativity

Creativity is very important, even when dealing with fields not thought of as creative, such as math. One that really surprised me was structural engineering. Last semester, we learned about structural engineers that are architects, which shocked me a little, because that did not immediately strike me as a very creative, design-oriented field.

Skepticism

In mathematics, skepticism is apparently almost forced on students. I think that this is also very inherent to architecture studies, but that curiosity is even more important. I guess curiosity is a lot like skepticism, but a little less cynical.

Do you think there is a difference between skepticism and curiosity?

Which fields do you think creativity is not generally thought of as important to, but could use more of it?

Reading 19

Technopoly

Neil Postman

Consequence

All new technology has consequence. Some consequences are good, and others bad. Both are equally important to consider. Take, for example, Frank Gehry’s use of CATIA (described below)...

Judgment

The pros and cons of new technology must be carefully considered before implementing it. In a lecture I went to tonight on Frank Gehry, his use of CATIA software was described. While it made some aspects of design easier, it sometimes took away the spontaneity of projects and the ability to use drawings to describe how the buildings should be constructed. Once his office learned to use the software better, though, it allowed the creation of projects that would have been extremely more difficult and expensive on paper.

How has a particular technology been used well and poorly?

What do you think of the writing invention parable at the beginning of the reading?

Reading 20

Louis Kahn

Essential Texts

God

Unlike many architectural readings that seem to have an atheistic or agnostic undertone, this one mentioned God a surprising amount. At the end, it told a story about architecture being the manifestation of God, and nature what God has created. I found this a rather interesting way of thinking about architecture, which is not commonly associated with religion today. However, looking back, a lot of the most prominent early architecture is of churches and other religious buildings. In some cases, the architect was only considered the person who drew the plans, with God being the designer.

Light

Electricity and modern lighting has reduced the practical need for natural light incorporated in design. Natural light, however, cannot only save energy, but can also create a more pleasant environment. The concept of needing a sliver of light in a dark room to see how dark it actually is gave an interesting view of perspective and phenomenology.

What connections, if any, do you make between religion and architecture?

What is an interesting architectural way to juxtapose light and dark?

April 6, 2008

Design

Here are my group's cover page and inner right and left pages (we'll probably do bookmatched pages for the printed out copy). There were a few more cover versions, but I failed to save them before we did a little reworking. Mainly, it was just in different fonts, and originally, the goal7 part was part of the title instead of it's own entity.
cover page
inner page 1
inner page 2

March 10, 2008

Inspiration or Imitation?

Perhaps I am missing the point of this blog entirely, but the way I took it was that I was supposed to look for graphic design ideas to use in my final project/presentation. Honestly, I can’t. If I see too many other designs, I will subconsciously use them in almost exact form, thinking I created something cool and original, only to happen upon the inspiration and think, "Oh, well that’s disappointing (and possibly illegal)." I realize that knowledge can always be gained from reviewing others’ art, but I have already seen a lot of graphic design (edited my high school newspaper and yearbook), and feel competent using graphic design software in an original way. In studying others’ buildings, it would be almost impossible to recycle ideas too much if attention is paid to form, site, and program. Ideas can be adapted to new projects, but still will evolve more. Graphic design, however, could be too closely copied, and since I value my originality (and value others’ originality), I would not want to copy someone else’s work. I realize, looking at my blog, that it is not the best laid out, but that is because I do not know how to get it to look that way, despite hours and hours of searching. Graphic design software, unlike blogging software, I know how to manipulate fairly well, and would like to do using the project to inspire the design, rather than being inspired to design by design. Well, this is how I feel on the topic, and know that, despite the fact that it is 5 AM (spent a lot of time thinking about how to best say this in a non-offensive manner), this is not a cop-out. If necessary, I will re-do this blog, but I really do not think that would be overly beneficial to the final project. For someone who has never worked with this stuff before, it is a good idea, but believe me, summer yearbook camp (which is about as fun as it sounds...) and newspaper seminars give some pretty intensive training. This is not at all because I am opposed to blogging (note that I have posted many non-required blogs), but that I just do not agree with the focus of this. I suppose I have said that already, but I really do mean it to be not offensive...

Search for Form

Reading 15

Search for Form

By Eliel Saarinen

Potential-All form has the potential to be beautiful. However, it often gets buried in superfluous artistic detailing. This does not mean, though, that form should follow function without adherence to art. What Saarinen says is that art and form should have meaning.

Organic Order-According to Saarinen, humans lost their connection to nature as they got higher up into the "fine arts," and that beauty and meaning only come from nature (and not in exact replication). The beauty of nature, he says, is in how things relate to each other and are proportioined. If nature and intuition are inspiration, form and function will be cohesive and beautiful.

Do you agree with Saarinen’s views on subconscious, conscious, and self-conscious art, or are these categories too mutually exclusive? Why?

Give an example of beauty in natural order, and how it can be applied to architecture.

March 2, 2008

Space in Time

Reading 12

“Architecture as Space�

By Bruno Zevi

Space

“Space is the protagonist of architecture,� states Zevi.He speaks of it in terms of dimensions, particularly 3rd and 4th.However, he says that the number of dimensions is really infinite, which brings me to the next keyword…

Interaction

People moving about the space and seeing it from different perspectives is closer to the true essence of architecture.However, the most important is the human interaction with the architecture, separating architecture from other forms of art.

How, in your opinion, can architects better represent space in their plans?

What do you think of adapting video game software to architectural uses to show movement through spaces?(maybe this has already been done…)

Reading 13

“Nature and the idea of a man-made world�

By Norman Crowe

Nature

What is nature?I think this question is essential to the piece.I like that it gives examples of the author’s ideas, but leaves room for interpretation.

Values

The way one culture values a place can often be far different from the way another culture does.This can cause conflict in the way each culture uses the land.Before building damaging properties, I think it is important to check the cultural significance.

What planes have you created (i.e.-how do you mentally envision certain environments where you reside)?

Give a good and a bad example of man relating with nature, and explain each.

So close, yet so far away

juxtaposition

I think this picture says it all.


Ok, originally I did wish I would have gotten it on a clearer day, but after viewing it more, I decided that the misty bleakness adds to the intensity of the juxtaposition. How is it that two areas, so close together, can be so different? I mean, not only are the demographics of the population vastly disparate, but how about the buildings? I wonder how the built environment has affected these almost completely different populations...


Let’s start with the easy one first (a.k.a, the one where I fit)...


west bank

U of M (West Bank in particular):


demographics



  • students (generally late teens to mid-twenties, if grad students are included)

  • majority middle class or higher--as a whole, have at least moderate drive to do well

  • some lower-income--typically above-average drive to do well

  • not overly high crime rate

  • on West Bank, three main groups

Business Majors-not typically well-liked by most non-business majors (I think it is because they will probably be making the most money)


Fine Arts Majors-Theater majors as a whole party a lot, when they are seen (Usually in rehearsal or going out--little sleep, I’d assume), while music majors tend to be far more quiet and reserved (I do not tend to see a lot of art or dance majors, so I cannot really comment on those)


Honor Students-some of these fit into the other categories as well, but there are basically two types--those who are in honors because they are smart and study a lot, rarely partying or procrastinating, and those who are in honors because they are smart, and because things come easily, party and procrastinate a moderate amount (procrastinate in particular). Most people do not fit completely in one or the other, but usually at least tend towards one side (and, let’s face it--demographics is a stylized form of stereotyping, anyway).


built environment



  • relatively new buildings, since the West Bank is the newer part of campus
  • pretty classy-looking (take, for example, Carlson)
  • either brick or concrete
  • subtle colors
  • set up to be conducive to the arts
  • flowers in neat, round, pots
  • neatly encircled trees
  • nicely clipped grass
  • well-lit at night
  • moderately high-density housing

crackstacks

Cedar-Riverside (crackstacks, in particular)


demographics



  • almost solely poor immigrants

  • little higher education

  • very high crime rate

  • the crackstacks got their name somehow...

built environment



  • gaudy-colored buildings

  • not well-lit

  • very high-density housing

  • not very nice landscaping (really not much landscaping at all)

  • many older buildings

  • "crackstacks" are newer--original idea was to have many different income levels, but it slowly moved to being almost all low-income, high crime housing

It hardly seems like these areas could be so close in space, but so far away in feel. I guess that goes with the whole idea of phenomena--and the built environment that supports it. The campus is designed to feel safe and foster leaning, while Cedar-Riverside, aside from having some cool music venues, has some buildings designed as afterthoughts, and some that just were not kept up the way they should be. Plus, I just do not think that the original idea of the crackstacks (I know, that is not their real name, but I bet far more people know this one), which was to have people of all income levels living in such high density can work in this society. People who have a lot of money can afford safer, nicer housing in areas with other rich people who desire safe, nice housing, so the idea that they would choose to live in basically the same conditions as the desperately poor does not seem very realistic to me. I guess this works in some European cities, but I just do not think it fits American ideals. However, if the built environment better supported safety, perhaps the richer would more voluntarily come, possibly bringing more stability (and property tax) to the area. Just a thought...

February 29, 2008

This has cool links that I think everyone should see, and blogs with Ozayr's name seem to always be the "blog of the week," so I hereby title this OzayrOzayrOzayrOzayrOzayr.

Ok, this does not directly respond to the blog prompt, but I promise, I will get to that soon. Well, actually, I still have yet to figure out what it means, so by soon, I mean 2 1/2 days from now, when something clicks and I get it. I suppose that is the general idea, anyway.

Anyway, in reference to the actual point of this particular blog entry, check out this sweet article my parents mailed me (best check soon, because I assume that it’s not long from being filed in the Sheboygan Press archives, which yes, you have to pay to view). Refined Design I’d suggest actually reading it, but in case you’re in a rush, it’s about a home near where I grew up designed by Chicago architect Margaret McCurry. In addition to being featured in the Sheboygan Press, the house was, much more importantly, featured in Architectural Digest (which I thought I was subscribed to, but I guess either the subscription ran out, or it’s setting at my parents’ house...oops). Although the Architectural Digest website doesn’t have the article posted, for obvious reasons, it does have this excellent slideshow, which I also recommend checking out, regardless of if you are in a rush. Bentley Home-Margaret McCurry

Cool, right? I wish you could see the rest of the Sheboygan Press pictures--they’re also really cool. Speaking of which, here is how the original picture I saw looked:

bentley home

A lot different in black and white! At first glance, I thought the article was a feature on some rural Wisconsin farm, and was wondering if maybe I knew the farmers and that’s why my parents sent it to me. From this angle, the house really does represent a Wisconsin farm home. You can tell that the roof is metal, which really is not all that uncommon, but what you can’t see in black and white is that the rest of the house is galvanized steel, and has extremely brightly painted trim. Also hidden in this shot is the fact that the entire house is symmetrical and V-shaped, and the cool, nautical-inspired entry. I love how this blends not only into the rural Wisconsin landscape (especially in the black and white wintery picture), but also into the essence of the lakefront, and, all the while, stays original. I really like the idea of creating a unique building while still respecting the local culture and landscape. (For example--the Frank Gehry Disney Concert Hall totally complements its area, while still being creative, while the Weismann looks pretty cool, and works alright with the river, but not really with the rest of the surrounding buildings). Here is the color picture that was in the Press:

Photobucket

Apparently this house is sometimes called the "Crayola House" by locals. Any guesses why? Hmm...I like it, though. Wisconsin farmhouse+beach house is cool with me. Actually, this really speaks to my personality--I love winter and snow, but also the summer beach atmosphere. Hey--this could work as a starting point for my next blog! (note to self...)

Alright, so we have successfully established that this house obviously looks cool, especially in its context, right? Right?! *threatening face* Good. But, what really sparked my interest were some of the ways that the house physically is built for it’s environment (opposition!!!). The steel outer walls help the house stand up to the wind from Lake Michigan, which can get pretty strong sometimes (Trust me--I grew up a few minutes away from the lake). Also, awning windows are used to let in light and ventilation while keeping rain out (and presumably any spray from the lake on windy days). The article never mentions sustainability, but I suspect that these help tremendously with cooling costs. Additionally, an air exchanger is in the house to help with humidity, and the concrete floors not only are easy to clean sand off of, but are heated in the winter (I’m guessing these last two are not overly environmentally friendly, but rather necessary nonetheless). Along with concrete floors, the interior has reinforced walls to display various collectibles in the couple’s possession, and also to allow the installation of handrails as they age.

This house is so well-designed that it made me extremely curious about the architect, Margaret McCurry. The architectural digest website has an article on her, which you may view here: Margaret McCurry. Since I am working on sustainability for my research project, I found this idea/quote particularly inspiring: "I’ve tried when possible to practice passive solar architecture, orienting buildings correctly and using cross ventilation to minimize energy consumption [in addition to using solar and geothermal energy with some clients]." Beyond vindicating my initial suspicion that the window placement/type was sustainable, this gives me a great foundation to work with for the project. Since my group’s main topic of sustainability has a subtopic about improving slum life, we have chosen to look at how local areas such as Cedar-Riverside and North Minneapolis can be made more sustainable, but in an affordable manner. Hello, duh! Passive sustainable design! Of course, while this can be easily implemented in new construction, it will be more expensive and harder for older homes, but I’m betting a lot of them need window replacement anyway, so why not find more sustainable ways to do that? I know that the project research still has a ways to go, but who knew a random article my parents mailed to me on a whim could be so helpful? Luck, luck, luck. :-) Anyway, if you are interested in Margaret McCurry, here is her website: More McCurry Her style is listed as "a synthesis of modern classicism and the American vernacular," so if you are at all interested in that (or just are curious what the heck it is), check out the website. I know, I know, I hyperlink too much and add too many pictures. Maybe, though, someone else is crazy/cool enough to actually look at them. If not, these blogs will at least serve as a great reference for me! Ha!

February 24, 2008

Paradigms

Reading 9-The Image

Relation

A person’s image of the world is highly subjective.It depends on what the person has been exposed to, the person’s emotions, and myriad other influences.According to Boulding, image is largely based on senses.All of the things a person experiences through senses (or thought) relate to each other, and shape that person’s world paradigm.

Change

Likewise, image is very subject to change as a person experiences more and more throughout life.Boulding discussed how reading scholarly books was perpetually changing his world view.Even if he knew them not to be completely infallible in theory, they still affected him in some way.I think this is true for all media.

Reading 10-Mr. Palomar

Observation

Making observations about one’s environment is important.Also, in this piece, the way in which one observes is marked as important.In the wave scene, Mr. Palomar spent time observing only one wave, and then observing how they merged, and so on.The impossibility of only observing one wave was noted, and then attributed to the properties of waves.

Perspective

The way in which something is observed also relates to perspective.This was especially apparent in the scene where Mr. Palomar repeatedly walks past the nude sunbather.Each time, he tried to observe (or not observe) her breast in a different manner, which he related to how he could be perceived, as well as his perspective.

waves

February 22, 2008

Alternecture School

rockettes

Wow...what WOULD I do if I were not in architecture school? Being a Rockette first comes to mind (and yes, I did honestly give that a bit of consideration), but that aside, I think I would concentrate on experiencing as much art, architecture, and history as possible. If money is no object here, I would travel to every continent (well, almost every...something tells me that Antarctica is not the most architecturally interesting place) and go around to different works of art and architecture and historic sites, constantly carrying a sketchbook. Also, I think I would spend a lot of time sitting in outdoor spaces just people watching and trying to capture the spirit of the area through sketching it and listening to local music. Additionally, I would try to get involved in volunteer building projects everywhere I went. That way, I would not only absorb different architectural styles and draw inspiration, but learn practical building knowledge. Plus, I think that learning vernacular building and design styles would be very helpful to sustainable design, because I suspect that little huts that people have been building for centuries have got to be sustainable (I cannot picture them being very environmentally unfriendly) as well as efficient (because if people still live in them, they must meet their needs effectively).

venice

After I finished travelling (however temporarily, because I do not believe that anyone that enjoys travel is ever really done), I would love to come back here and collaborate with people who have done the same. Where? Well, I have noticed that coffeeshops, for me and many others, tend to spur creative thought, as well as help sleep-deprived architecture students stay awake (why there is no coffeeshop in Rapson, I just do not understand...if the DENTISTY building gets one, with all the sugary drinks, I do not see why the architecture building cannot--preferably an independent shop, though). Alright, so a coffeeshop is necessary. Also necessary is studio space. During some all-nighters that I have pulled working on architecture projects in my dorm lounge, though, I have found that I like being able to go back and forth between my room and my workspace, and take a break and shower or whatever. When I heard that Architecture BA’s do not get studio space, I was actually excited, because that means I get to work in my apartment/house/wherever I live, rather than being stuck in a studio miles away. However, hauling things to and from class is almost as big a pain as hauling materials and oneself to and from studio must be. Ok, so, how what is my ideal work/study space? Well, it has/is a coffeeshop, and has workspace, living space, and classrooms close at hand. Hmm...architecture students work on mixed program designs in Design Fundamentals 1, the first required architecture class, yet nobody has thought of/done this yet?! Ok, so here is the plan (and note, I know that not everyone works and studies like I do, so I have made concessions for that)...design a building for the architecture school (I know the prompt says that I am released from the ’architecture school’ program, but rather than eliminating it, I am hypothetically altering it, because I believe that independent study is extremely valuable, but so is guided study--nobody is so perfect that he or she does not sometimes need someone to tell him or her what to do) that has the following: a bottom floor with central classrooms, one wing filled with traditional studio spaces for commuters (the nearly identical, divided, regimented looking spaces, which, for me, would not really inspire creativity) and another wing (also for commuters) that has a coffee bar and is set up in a more creative fashion--good lighting, but tables not all set up in strict patterns, many forms of seating, coffeeshop music playing (yes, that is pretty broad, but all good), and even various floor seating areas with low tables (still smooth enough to draw on) and cushions/pillows scattered about (I am much more into sitting on the floor than at tables). Also, great wireless service and many, many plugs for laptops should be available. The next floor up would be for people choosing to live at the complex. here, the wings would be filled with apartments, and the central area would be another coffeeshop setup. The third floor would have the apartment wings, but with a traditional studio space in the central area. Additional floors could be added, depending on the needs of the school. Also, running the minimum two coffeeshops could be a concern, but students would be living right in the building--poor, coffee-loving college students. Catch my drift? Good. At this point, one may begin to wonder if I think grouping architecture students together, and away from other people/things, is a good idea. The answer is no. Location is important--preferably in the city. This sort of setup in a rural area could create some horribly sheltered students. Also, this complex may sound a bit like a commune. That is also not the goal--not only would students be encouraged to interact with the rest of society, but showers would be present--many, many showers.


Here is a rough idea of what I am talking about--note, it was done in Paint, so it’s a bit rough...

alternative architecture school

Man, I love this town (but hate Movable type...3rd try posting this)

It really amazes me how much awesome architectural stuff goes on in the Twin Cities, for lack of a more elegant way of wording that. Although I do not really associate journalism with architecture all that much, most of this I find out about through the various free local papers.

This week, I found out about an art project going up in the glass of the downtown skyways. I absolutely cannot wait to see that. Right now, the skyways are definitely useful in the Minnesota weather, and not bad looking, but not particularly amazing, either. I find the idea of adding art to them extremely exciting. Plus, just think of how many people will get to see these pieces! I love public art. Here’s an example of a screen that will be in the skyways.

canvas in the air

Also, here is a link to the article in the Downtown Journal:

Canvassing the Skyways

Another short article (well, more like ad, but anyway...) was about a miniature golf open in the skyways. Now, golf generally doesn’t interest me at all, although I am not opposed to miniature golfing. That was not the cool part of the article however--that was the holes. Here was the winner...with a strange resemblance to, say, 3/4 of the projects displayed in Rapson.

golf hole

Oh, and check this out--Habitat for Humanity ice castle...totally sweet.

February 18, 2008

Sustaining Songs

For the research project, I will be working on UN Millennium Goal number 7, which is "Ensure Environmental Sustainability."

Specific points under this category are:

-Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes; reverse loss of environmental resources

-Reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water

-Achieve significant improvement in lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers, by 2020

Well, after combing through my playlist, this is what I came up with for a possible playlist for the goal:

Running Out of Days-3 Doors Down

R-Evolve-30 Seconds to Mars

Young and Proud-Ace of Base

Before Tomorrow Comes-Alter Bridge

The Times, They Are A-Changin’-Bob Dylan

In the Ghetto-Elvis

Raise Your Hands-Bon Jovi

Look What You’ve Done-Bread

Onset-Buckcherry

Shake it Up-The Cars

The Big Issue-Chumbawamba

We’re Going Wrong-Cream

Let it Rain-Eric Clapton

Land of Confusion-Genesis

Have a Little Faith in Me-Joe Cocker

Only the Young-Journey

Go Where You Wanna Go-The Mamas and the Papas

Time is Running Out-Papa Roach

Paramore-Miracle

We Are the Champions-Queen

I Won’t Back Down-Tom Petty

Eve of Destruction-Barry McGuire

It’s My Life-Bon Jovi

Update 2/20: Ok, now I found some quotes and images. This is still just a start and will be built upon as the research progresses. Quotes: "The two-word definition of sustainability is 'one planet.'" --Mathis Wackernagel

"Pain is not an evolutionary error." --Mathis Wackernagel

"We do not have an ecological crisis. The ecosphere has a human crisis. Our 'story' about our place in the scheme of things has somehow gone awry in the industrial age..." -- William Rees

"The reconciliation of growth and the environment...is the vast and grand work of the 21st century." --Dan Walters

"Sustainability is especially ripe for political controversy and opposition because fundamentally it is a new paradigm that represents significant challenges to the status quo. The paradigm of sustainability, with its notions of limitations and carrying capacities confronts dominant paradigms of progress which do not recognize limits to unchecked growth." --Economist Hazel Henderson

Images:
foreclosures in n mn
foreclosures in North Minneapolis-not only are homes not sustainable, but they are also not affordable...
crackstacks
Cedar-Riverside's current housing...
Photobucket
current, unattractive solar panels
circle
great focus picture