May 1, 2008

Presentation Response

One presentation that I found interesting was the renewal of Riverside Towers in Minneapolis, MN. This group devised a plan to update the towers with sustainablitiy and efficiency in mind. Ideas included installing oxygenating showerheads, recyling water, replacing light bulbs with energy efficeint flourescent bulbs, replacing the elevators with updated styles, installing recyling centers, and replacing the glass with triple pane windows. All these solutions seem like a great idea to decrease the negative environmental impact such large housing units have, but how and who would pay for this? 1,300 apartment units is a lot. I think this project would reach a very high cost. I believe providing better living conditions for low-income families is a good idea, but maybe could be tackled on a smaller scale. Personally, I would rather see the building demolished since they are so ugly and present an eye sore to the rich modern Minneapolis skyline. The powerpoint presentation was creative using images which highlight and fade out as the slides changed topics.

A second presentation I found interesting was about Somalia. This group pushed for an increase in technology to help deliver aid and improve the societal conditions. For example, providing laptops would help educate students, and cell-phones were being used for communication and even delivering emergency information via text message. I agree that it is important to provide technology to these third world countries. Technology is key for a diverse education and for these students to advance their education they need resources to access the internet and do research. I was also was caught by the great use of powerful imagery in their powerpoint too.

Overall, the presentation on Thursday were all very impressive and focused on a variety of goals in differing regions. Each group had unique solutions to the goals which I found interesting.

April 21, 2008


Today the weather outside was great so we took the group outside. We setup hop-scotch on the sidewalk and tried to get the kids to learn numbers as they hopped the course. The kids then drew on the sidewalk with chalk for awhile. The staff member had treats for the kids today so the kids ate some fig bars as a treat. Soon the playground was tempting and the kids ran to the swings. I pushed the kids for awhile on the swings and helped them maneuver the slides. Before we knew it was time to go home.

April 14, 2008


The kids had a lot of energy today so we sang lots of songs. There is a CD with songs on it that has the kids do activities while they sing, like turn around, touch your knees, etc. The kids seemed to really enjoy this. We took a break in between songs to break the kids into small groups and read a couple books. We also went through the board again.

April 7, 2008


Today the kids started with the blocks again. We read books, went through the cards with objects and words on them, colored with crayons and sang the abc’s song on the CD.

March 31, 2008

Title Pages for Research Document

Here are some ideas I came up with for our group research document. Our goal is to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger in China....





Today no kids showed up. We hung out in the room waiting for someone to show up, but no one did. I guess there older kids were off school or something like that.

March 24, 2008


Today there was a big snow storm; I made it to volunteer though. Not too many kids showed up. The kids played with the blocks and then we read books in small groups. After that we did the board with the abc’s and taught numbers. The kids like to count the numbers with their fingers as you say them. We went over colors too. When we do colors the kids usually point and say someone’s name who is wearing that color. The kids have a really good grasp on their abc’s and colors. Some kids are quiet and do not speak up as much but when you talk to them directly they usually have the correct response. I try to get all the kids to participate as much as possible.

March 11, 2008

Research Documentation

When thinking about different options for presenting our term project a few things came to mind, but the overall driving force is that it needs to be something unique. First, it shouldn't be something ordinary. The document should not be a standard powerpoint where the presenter sits there and clicks through slides with way too many words reading every slide word for word. That's boring. And it should not be a ten page research paper that reviews all the collected data and is full of facts and figures.


So what should it be?

Continue reading "Research Documentation" »

March 9, 2008


I have noticed there is a good variety of boys and girls that attend the Pre-K program on Mondays. I find it interesting the girls are much quieter and usually hangout together leaving the boys to run around and be wild. Today we started with started with the blocks again and the girls sat to the side watching the boys. We then went to reading a book as a large group. After that everyone sat at the table and played with playdo. The kids used stamps with letters on them to stamp the playdo and they would tell us what it was. After the playdo the kids sang the abc’s song that is on a CD and then went home.

March 4, 2008

The Environmental "Effect"

The environment has a strong influence on people shaping the way one lives and most of all their culture. The vernacular architecture from these distinct cultures responding to the differing environmental constraints provides evidence of how people conform to their surroundings overcoming the present oppositions.

Examples of this kind can be seen through the architecture of Cappadocia, Turkey where this culture has dug into the mountains and created a society of their own. Cappadocia's response to the opposition of nature created a secure hiding place for early christian followers and inturn create a unique society with a shared culture.


Throughout history culture has been threatened and continually destroyed by urbanization and governemental influence. Such as the Marsh Arabs whose society was based on the use of reeds which grew around their homes floating in the marshes of southern Iraq. When Saddam Hussein rerouted the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers he successfully destroyed the Marsh Arab society and threatened the life of a historical culture.


In today's built environment large urban cities have destroyed the unique cultural identifiers of the ancient world. Today culture is seen through the built environment in expressive architecture, artwork, and personal expression.


March 3, 2008


Today we had a full room of kids. About 7 kids showed up to the Pre-K program. Luckily, David, another coordinator at Common Bonds was there to help manage the kids. We started the afternoon with the blocks again. The kids love to empty the box violently on the floor with the blocks spilling out in a large pile on the rug. They stack the blocks up and tip them over. Build strange shapes and arrange them in unique patterns. Occasionally, one of the kids will turn to me and want to tell me what letter or color they have. The kids seem to really enjoy learning.
We went over the board again teaching the alphabet and numbers. Also, cards with pictures and the word of the item were taught to the kids. I attempt to get all the kids to participate and repeat the words with me. They usually do very well.
Today one of the boys was not listening very well and one of the staff had to take him back to his mother. All the other kids were watching scared to move or talk.

February 26, 2008

Is there a life beyond Architecture?

"If you were released from the architecural school program what would you do to impact the environment?"



There is just something about a forest. It's a majestic and enlivening experience when one gets a chance to view such an amazing thing. Some trees stand over 100 feet tall and can be several feet across spanning a life time of nearly one hundred years! "Forests not only make us feel alive they help us live" (

There are events going on today which threaten this experience. Deforestation is killing our trees and killing the environment. Generally, the removal or destruction of significant areas of forest cover has resulted in a degraded environment with reduced biodiversity. In many countries, massive deforestation is ongoing and is shaping climate and geography.


"The burning and clearing of forests contributes more than one-fifth of total global greenhouse gas emissions – more than the emissions of all of the world’s cars, trucks, trains, and planes combined" (

“Protecting the world’s remaining forests will significantly reduce climate change, maintain the livelihood of millions of people who depend on the forest and protect a huge amount of the world’s biodiversity? said Greenpeace Amazon Campaign Co-ordinator Paulo Adario.


Continue reading "Is there a life beyond Architecture?" »

February 25, 2008


My second day volunteering in the Pre-K program at Skyline tower went well. The same kids showed up today along with another volunteer from Arch 1701. A mother tried to drop off a child that was not old enough and she was told she couldn’t leave him. I thought it was going to get confrontational since she started shouting a little bit, but she left peacefully.
The kids played with blocks for a couple minutes and then were asked to clean up. I am surprised how the kids all pay attention and follow directions so well. It appears they have a routine which they are used to. The kids then grabbed books and we read books to small groups of 2-3 kids. After reading a couple books the kids colored with crayons and I tried to teach them letters and colors. The day went fast and soon it was time for the kids to go upstairs and I cleaned up the room and left.

February 18, 2008


I arrived at Skyline Tower in St. Paul, MN to begin my first day volunteering in the Pre-K program. I was not sure where this was located in the building since last semester I volunteered as a Homework Center tutor. I found Yvonne, a coordinator with Common Bond, and she politely directed me to the Pre-K room. There I met the director of the Pre-K program and she gave a quick overview of what they do everyday. From 2:00pm-2:45pm children ages 3-5 come to participate in learning activities. When the children arrived they quickly grabbed the “blocks?, wooden blocks with letters and colors on them, and spilled them across the floor. There were 5 kids today and they played with the blocks for about 5 minutes and then we moved onto reading the board and teaching the alphabet and numbers. I read the kids some cards with words on them too. Later, we read several books and colored some alphabet letters with crayons. The day went fast and the children seemed very interested in the program and I went home with a good impression of the program.

"To a man with an empty stomach food is God." ~Gandhi

"If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin." ~Charles Darwin

This collection of quotes, images, and a song list all share a common goal to bring awareness to a global issue of extreme poverty and hunger. Awareness will be change...

Did you know?

Did you know that in our world today:

One third of deaths - some 18 million people a year or 50,000 per day - are due to poverty-related causes. That's 270 million people since 1990, the majority women and children, roughly equal to the population of the US. (Reality of Aid 2004)
Every year more than 10 million children die of hunger and preventable diseases - that's over 30,000 per day and one every 3 seconds.
(80 Million Lives, 2003 / Bread for the World / UNICEF / World Health Organization)
Over 1 billion people live on less than $1 a day with nearly half the world's population (2.8 billion) living on less than $2 a day. (UN HDR, 2003)
600 million children live in absolute poverty. (SCF, Beat Poverty 2003).
The three richest people in the world control more wealth than all 600 million people living in the world's poorest countries. (Source:ChristianAid)
Income per person in the poorest countries in Africa has fallen by a quarter in the last 20 years. (Source:ChristianAid)
800 million people go to bed hungry every day. (Source:FAO)
Every year nearly 11million children die before their fifth birthday. (Source:UNICEF)

See this video:
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NOTE: Some images are graphic...

Continue reading ""To a man with an empty stomach food is God." ~Gandhi" »