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February 28, 2008

Blog Prompt #4

When asked what I would do architecturally, artistically, bodily..... if released from the constraints of architecture school I think about what my passion is. I would like to tell myself I would do something along the lines of the Rural Studio or go to third world nations and be apart of the effort to design effective housing for the poor. Maybe I would do take some time and participate in some of these efforts in waging war against poverty but that is not really where my interests are. My absolute favorite hobby is participating in music....
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I think I would take my passion for music and blend it with my interest in everything architecture. I really enjoy the feeling of going to a concert in a theatre that is older than my grandfather and has amazing character and history. But many old urban venues are shut down or poorly kept. I would love to be able to travel to different cities and take on projects of refurbishing old theatre's for many different uses. Concerts, plays, music education are just a few of the activities that could take place. Historical theatres are not only places to see shows but community centers where the public could come together. They also are a symbol of history in many cities and are worth the effort to keep up. One of the most amazing concert venues Ive been to is The Riverside. It sits right on the milwaukee river and was built in 1928. It has been renovated numerous times but has always been kept to how it originally was built. Today not only does it act as a concert venue but it also serves as a ballroom, banquet hall, and can even be rented out for wedding festivities. Places like the Riverside interest me and I could definitly see myself spending my time around the country helping keep historic theatres running.

The Riverside
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February 21, 2008

Blog Prompt #3 Ensure environmental sustainability

Every since I took Mr. Gryzwa's 5th hour environmental science class my senior year of High School I have became a lot more aware of the environment and how it relates to my interests. I have became aware of things in architecture deal with sustainability, especially learning more about LEED and buildings that are LEED certified. Green roofs, recycled materials, and natural heating are all interesting to me and I believe can change how designers think about buildings. One of the quotes Mr. Gryzwa gave our class on the syllabus was the Ghandi quotes "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." I think designers can help change the world for the better because they can set trends in structures and lead by example.

Some images that really inspire me to pursue environmental design...
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This is a LEED Gold certified building called the straw bail building in California and it is really cool
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The Hearst tower was the first LEED Gold certified building in Manhattan
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When looking at LEED buildings I think "Wow, that i so cool how environmentally stable they are but they all look amazing just as buildings." I think environmentally conscious design has a specific style to it that I love.

There is an amazing singer/songwriter from Australia who plays a dozen different instruments and does some interesting things with looping his own music live. His name is Xavier Rudd and he writes a lot of songs about the environment and peoples impact on the earth. He is pretty extreme but he writes great music. One of my personal favorites is a song called The 12 of September.
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It's come to our attention
Life now is bound to change
While we the peaceful majority
We sit back and anticipate

These are our days now
These are not the same now
These are not the same
These human beings are dangerous
Their greed is contagious
Now the world it waits

This song always reminds me that if we are not actively trying to change our everyday habits that heart the environment, we are still part of the problem.

February 13, 2008

Blog Prompt #2

"The term social design therefore refers to that aspect of architecture which takes as a priority the creation of environments for effective and positive human interaction, and in the end asks the question:
Can better buildings make for a better quality of interaction?" -Langdon Morris

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The Saint Anthony Falls area along the Mississippi river in downtown Minneapolis has been experiencing major development in recent years with large condominium buildings rising high and restoration of historic warehouses and mills for housing and shopping. The Saint Anthony area is becoming the fashionable area across the river to eat and shop expensively and live in a brand new condo. The Saint Anthony’s area however, has a much richer history than any people know. It has a been an industrial complex of mills since the mid 1800’s and holds the record for the most flour produced in one area in the world. The Dam and bridge that many people see were built during these times. People who understand the area’s history believe the site should have some integrity and not be covered up by large buildings and restoration.

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The Saint Anthony area is a soical-design issue because two sides of people what the area designed in two different ways. Architects need to decide what is best for the area and create buildings that make better interaction with the public. I would say the architect needs to decide based on what is best for the area and not necessarily do exactly what the clients, or big business developers, want to do. I would personally advocate for a mix of both. I love historic areas in urban settings but there has to be some history left intact in order to get that affect. There should be some historical buildings left for usage of museums or other uses but some development should be allowed. Low rise buildings should be the norm with a restriction on how tall they can be.

I have been to Saint Anthony's a few different times since I have been up in Minneapolis and can feel the history. I hope the designers and developers have the best intentions for the area in mind and not just the green they would get with exploitation. Understanding that Minneapolis was built upon the flour mills of St. Anthony Falls should be enough for designers to want to encompass that feel into the modern district.

I recently did a project on the development of St. Anthony's and sat down and talked with a representative and designer of a new high rise condominium complex.

February 6, 2008

Blog Prompt #1

When asked to investigate the ideas of energy, flow, and transformation through a city I immediately began thinking about the city I knew best, Milwaukee. I starting thinking about milwaukee as I would travel through it and think about the experience. I feel milwaukee has good and bad examples of urban planning and examples of energy,flow, and transformation. I think for a city to have good flow and energy there needs to be numerous green spaces through out the city. In the case of milwaukee, the largest park is set right on the east side on lake michigan and it is known as Veteran's Park.

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Green space inside of cities adds to the flow and energy of the landscape because it gives people a place to congregate and bring nature into the urban world. I think having an abundance of trees and parks in a highly urbanized area is very important because of its beneficial qualities to the people and keeping the environment healthy. An interesting idea is the topic of a green ban around a city. Having a few miles wide of forrest surrounding a city can have a great impact on the pollution that sits above highly urbanized areas. Some cities in Europe are experimenting with this idea.

Next aspect of energy in cities is support of the arts. Having museums, works of art, performance art centers, and other events inside cities give energy and character to a city. They create energy in the city because people get out of there homes or work places and experience their city. Some of my favorite places in milwaukee deal with support of the arts and history such as...
The Milwaukee art museum by Santiago Calatrava
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The Milwaukee Orhcestra Theatre
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The historic Pabst theater
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The milwaukee public museum
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and my personal favorite, the Summerfest grounds
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All these places are fixtres in the downtown milwaukee area and are considered landmarks. They give people comfort in knowing they are there for them and create flow and energy throughout the city because they are special and not just office buildings. Public spaces, I feel are important to creating a city with energy.

Lastly, Milwaukee has some good examples of transformation. In what is known as the Third Ward. It lies right on the milwaukee river on the west side and was originally developed as a port off the river. This area of milwaukee was one of the original areas of development and other than use as a port, there were many irish neighborhoods.
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It then began getting wore down significantly with industry in the 1950's and 1960's and recently great stride have been taken in transformation. The Third ward has been transformed into a modern area that is the most highly desired in downtown milwaukee for living.
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I think transformation give people a renewed sense in pride in areas of there city. When people can find pride in there town, they will continue to make it better.