December 8, 2006

Group Presentations

I was impressed with all of the presentations for the group project. I really believe that all of the projects will enhance certain aspects of jackson Street Village. It was impressive to see the thoroughness of everybody's presentations. Everybody was sincere, but made it clear that Jackson Street Village was already doing amazing things. That is one of the things that I was worried about when this project was started -I thought that some kids would think that they were helping or saving Jackson Street. But it did not turn out that way. It was really cool. We were able to hang out and have fun. We taught, but also learned from the kids. It was amazing how well it all worked out.

All of the projects contributed to Jackson Street. From the smallest details, to really cool themes, I think that Adam was very excited with the new insight. Nobody pretended to be an expert in these projects, but we all helped out, by adding a new perspective.

One project that stood out was the group that made the video. The video was amazing. I unfortunately don't recall the names of all of the group members, so I will not even attempt to recite names. But they know who they are! The video was full of care. Any prospective employees at Jackson Street Village would get chills from watching the film. It shows how much of a breakthrough Jackson Street has made. I loved how it started out very emotional, and ended on a very positive note. That is what organizations like JSV do. They don't "save" people, but they do help people get back on there feet. Awesome Job!

December 3, 2006

Virtual Reality

computer.jpg

I must be honest that I am not exactly sure what to title this blog, as I am not sure what the significant link of the last two articles and lectures where. I do not really have a subject to write on, but have many thoghts on the readings. All of the information in the text pertains to both designers and all other people alike. I think that there are great similarities between these last readings and the article on technopolies. All of this pertains to the role of the designer, and how we use technology to change our environment, culture, and everday interactions with people.

The first article by Zukin talks about how important an architect's role is. We have great powere, as an architect puts his or her "signature" on the landscape. The role of an architect is clearly a very important one.

The Disney land article continues to explore the power of design. Desney land is like a virtual reality. I think that although it is a theme park, it is a completely designed environment. This is an example of the power of architecture. When one goes to Disney Land, it is not the physical state of the buildings, but rather the Magical Feeling that on gets when exploring the park. This shows that architecture is Powerful beyond what can be seen. I think that Disney land is very similar to reality, but is not conventional. It has many elements that are present and will be present/valid in the future.

The Gershenfeld article seemed to have a slighltly different idea. It really added insight to reality, and linked many of my thoughts. The neat thing about this professor is that his students make their ideas concrete. THis is actually a flip from what I was previously talking about with how ideas of architecture don't have to be concrete. Maybe this actually shows how the two are closely related elements of design. (Physical vs. Virtually Real Ideas). I think that this article also shows how an architect must work closely with the client. There is so much merit in vernacular architecture, or in this case, vernacular design in general. It is neat t be able to make ideas come to life. Sounds like a neat studio session that the U of M program could integrate into it's curriculum.

November 27, 2006

Nature's Role with Technopolies

mouseear.jpg

As depicted with this image, technology seems to collide with nature. I began to ponder what this meant, and whether it is a problem or not. After some deap thought, I realived that technology is an offspring of nature. Human beings were invented (created, hatched, whatever you choose to believe). Consequently, we continually invent technologies. So the two are not in conflict, but rather, are the same thing.

After reading the exerpt of Technopoly, by Neil Postman, I realized that technology can never be understood, or explained concretely. It is always changing. As humans invent new technologies, technology defines culture. It is baffling how closely the two are related. We depend on technolgy, but technology also depends on us.

Our culture is defined by the present technologies. These technologies are never the same in any two locations, or in any separate periods of time. Technology is fluid, and never stays stagnant. As soon as we understand a certain technology, our whole perception of what that technology means is changed by a new modification. An example of this is with computers and software. No person will ever have the state-of-the-art computer, because the computer is continually and rapidly improving. There is no winning the battle with technology. You could almost say that technolgy is volitile, as it instantly changes, and in turn, dramatically influences culture.

The mindset of Technocrat is understanding the roles of these new technologies. Importance is being shifted from discovering these new technologies to understanding what they mean. This changing idea of technology and its infuence on culture is everywhere a tecnnpoly (We live in a technopoly). I am reminded of Daniel Pink's book, A Whole New Mind. In his books, he describes how a world of numbers is being changed into a workd of new concepts. I believe that there is a corellary here with technopolies. It is not the numbers and computers that are critical, but rather, how they fit into culture and into nature.

Like monopoly, technology continually takes over our understanding of how things work, and our harmony with nature. Human knowledge is infinitely expanding. Our understanding of technology, culture, and nature, are constantly changing. Change is not necessarilly a bad thing. Technopolies are a part of nature, and not a separate category. New ideas are welcome, and further understanding this relationship will lead to exciting things in the future. Although, if balance is not achieved, we may be taken over by a new bread of ear-mouse creatures like in the above photo. Thanks to our pushing the limits of technology, we may exterminate our species. Hopefully no time soon.

October 24, 2006

Opposition

I suppose that there are many oppositions and conflicts around me. however, I will have to just pick the first one that comes to mind. This is the conflict between buildings and people. Yes, I think that we are in a constant struggle for power with buildings. After all, the reason that we fork over the serious comissions for buildings is to make a statement. What better way to make a statement than with an overwhelming and intimidating building. It is true that many buildings do control and intimidate building. That is their purpose. Corporate headquarters, admissions buildings, massive highschools, etc... are all delivering a message of control to their occupants. Another example of this power struggle is Roman Architecture. Massive columns and steps that are made to the scale of gods are all meant to belittle the occupants. If you are on the same side as the administrators of a building, you are impressed by its grand scale and decoration; if you are on the opposing side, you are intimidated and controled into submission simply by entering the building. Yes, this struggle is brutle. Another example of this control is with Northrupt Auditorium and the other buildings of the mall. They all have massive ionic columns which radiate the power and superiority of knowledge. This is all unconscious, but buildings do greatly influence and sometimes cause conflict with the occupant's attitudes. Solutions? Make more visitor-friendly buildings. Don't be over-the-top, with imposing structures like the massive curtain walls of a skyscraper or the huge facades with pediments and grand columns of the great empire. There is no need for this rough feel. I think that more modern buildings could improve upon this idea. Buildings can still be impressive if they are more humanly, inviting, and soft. But then where would the fun be of intimidating those who enter your building out of reluctance?

October 15, 2006

Gel Pen

"Find a thing, document its framework and clockwork, and define its phionomenon"...Not sure exactly how to approach this one, so I'll talk about something very simple. My Gel Pen. The framework and clockwork of a gel pen is simple. It is a physical object, who's design is easy to grasp: long, narrow, plastic, holds ink, ect... And the clockwork of a gel pen is not rocket science, either. You hold the pen vertically, ink flows down from the reservoir, and out the tip. Here is where an interesting phenomena takes place... The pen marks the page that you are writing on with ink, and you use these markings to make symbols that are used to communicate through language. Something as simple as a pen, or other similar writing instrument, has been used to communicate and document history-changing occurances. Many things that are communicated by mouth are simultaneously communicated useing a pen. Consequently, language, communication, and the pen have created our society. The pen is everywhere that there has been an important decision or agreement. But it is also every place that we encounter in everyday life. At school, the office, or any stores, there is always a pen. It goes unnoticed, but has a strange phenomenon. It is essential to our existance.

October 3, 2006

My Special Place

Many special thoughts begin with a place. As the Genius Local artical portrays, it is often helpful for a thought to begin on something concrete. This inspires emotions, feelings, and memories that are greater than the concrete object or place that created them. A place is more than what you see when you visit. It is all of the senses that are instilled in your memory, long after you leave the place.

In my cause, I sadly had to leave the place that inspired most of my greatest memories from my childhood, through my adolescence. It was paradise. It was a place that was sad and happy at the same time. The place was full of adventure at times, and it was calming when it needed to be.

This place was the lakeshore of my precious home. We lived in a very small town, just outside the metro area. There, we had a dock and boats, all of which were surrounded by a sanctuary of cattails and lillys. As a kid, I got hurt there many times, in my boyish adventures. My friends called me nature boy. I knew every snake and turtle in the area, and how long it took to climb every tree in the adjacent forrest. The place was amazing, and it was all mine. This was the place where I first found love. In highschool, I asked my girlfriend of four years to be with me. Ever since, we have been happy, and I believe that haveing a relationship built around such a special place must have helped our moods. We spent many a romantic evenings watching the sunsets on a bench over the water. It was beaustiful. I still remember the smell of fresh cut grass mixed with lilacs, as the wind blew my girlfriends curly hair. It was perfect.

Then it all ended. It was good while it lasted. My parents were divorced, and we lost the house. I haven't been back. In this case, it probably wouldn't give me the same experiences as it did when it was my private sanctuary. Now I feel bitter and sad that I lost it. But you can never take away amazing memories. Memories of kids playing and catching big fish with our bare hands (literally!), and memories of love. I wouldn't take it back for the world. This special place made me who I am today.

My Special Place

Many special thoughts begin with a place. As the Genius Local artical portrays, it is often helpful for a thought to begin on something concrete. This inspires emotions, feelings, and memories that are greater than the concrete object or place that created them. A place is more than what you see when you visit. It is all of the senses that are instilled in your memory, long after you leave the place.

In my cause, I sadly had to leave the place that inspired most of my greatest memories from my childhood, through my adolescence. It was paradise. It was a place that was sad and happy at the same time. The place was full of adventure at times, and it was calming when it needed to be.

This place was the lakeshore of my precious home. We lived in a very small town, just outside the metro area. There, we had a dock and boats, all of which were surrounded by a sanctuary of cattails and lillys. As a kid, I got hurt there many times, in my boyish adventures. My friends called me nature boy. I knew every snake and turtle in the area, and how long it took to climb every tree in the adjacent forrest. The place was amazing, and it was all mine. This was the place where I first found love. In highschool, I asked my girlfriend of four years to be with me. Ever since, we have been happy, and I believe that haveing a relationship built around such a special place must have helped our moods. We spent many a romantic evenings watching the sunsets on a bench over the water. It was beaustiful. I still remember the smell of fresh cut grass mixed with lilacs, as the wind blew my girlfriends curly hair. It was perfect.

Then it all ended. It was good while it lasted. My parents were divorced, and we lost the house. I haven't been back. In this case, it probably wouldn't give me the same experiences as it did when it was my private sanctuary. Now I feel bitter and sad that I lost it. But you can never take away amazing memories. Memories of kids playing and catching big fish with our bare hands (literally!), and memories of love. I wouldn't take it back for the world. This special place made me who I am today.

September 25, 2006

Social Design Issue...Nature Collides w/ Technology

The social design issue that came to my mind was nature, and it's relationship with people and the built environment. It often seems that people ignore the beauty and importance of nature. Nature is important to meople in many ways. It affects society greatly, in terms of health, attitude, overall happiness, and many other aspects of our well-being.

Nature is often over-looked. In city planning, it seems like nature is often left out. Either that, or it is misunderstood. If people do incorporate aspects of nature, such as plant life, in design, it is often neglected. Plants are greatly inferior to massived skyscrapers and city lights.

I wish designers could celebrate nature more. It would greatly benefit society. Rather than a massive curtain wall on the buildings like those that Bill Chilton showed us, why can't buildings respect nature. Bill's buildings are very impressive and grand, I admit it. But they overshadow the beauty of nature. They block the sunrise/sunset. They overpower any plant life, etc. Why can't buildings complement nature.

I think the perfect example of a building that complements nature is Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water. The building seems to grow out of the water. The patio doors upon up to frame the wilderness around the building. Why can't this be done in urban areas as well? People need to be more aware of nature, even in metro areas where they live fast-paced lives.

Even a bussinessperson that is in a rush to a board meeting should be able to walk past a beautiful row of quaking aspen. And when this business person gets into the conference meeting, they should be able to look the window at something living and real, rather than concrete and steel.

Buildings are wonderful. Steel is very impressive, but I wish it could fine harmony with plant material. Some architects are able to do it, but most ignore the necessity that all human beings share to be in touch with our roots in nature. Why can't these massive skysacrapers frame nature, rather than block it?

September 19, 2006

Energy at the Midtown Exchange

Energy. Energy is more than just a power plant. Energy may be displayed physically, but is nearly always sparked emotionally. It is a total release of something that has built up inside, whether positve or negative. The release of negative energy is probably one of the greatest feelings on earth!

The Midtown Exchange is full of energy. It is a curious energy. It is the energ of the unknown, and is driven by the desire for people to grow and learn about another culture. This is a positive energy. The Midyown Exchange is really an exchange of energy, which is usually positve. There will always be a negative energy from outsiders who simply don't understand. But good energy can overcome this barrier.