May 1, 2008

Class Presentations 2

The presentation regarding sanitation in Inda (I believe) was very interesting to me. I didn't realize that there were archtiects working towards cleaning up these issues there. What struck me as being the most interesting aspect of this project was the affect of the levels of community involvement. I understood that the communities that took an active part in building their own toilets and played an active role, were the ones that stayed the cleanest and were more 'successful' than the communities that were forced to work on building the toilets.

This can be related back to the imortance of culture and community in architecture and design. WIthout the public, users, and community seeing the importance in and can relate to a design, it is essentially worthless - no matter how much of a benefit can come from it. As designers it is our role to design for the user and also show the user the importance of something, relative to them and their beliefs. This is not an easy idea to implement, and people may not always be accepting of things. As long as the user is the center of design, and designers are sensitive to the variables within the users, design is powerful.

April 3, 2008

Blog #7: Layout Ideas

One of the goals of our project is to make information easily accesible to the common person. The information must be simple, effective, and well organized. The layout of the presentation/final product is crucial in order to make ithe information usable. Here are a few ideas:

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March 13, 2008

Blog #6: Presentation/Documentation Ideas

In order to make a potentially boring topic interesting to the classroom audience, presentation/documentation techiniques need to be utilized. Creativity and out-of-the-box ideas will make for an innovative and stand-apart presentation. There are many options for presenting and documenting, but the right format will determine the success of a project .

Some ideas include:
Flip book
Pop-up/interactive book
PowerPoint presentation
'Cut sheets' of information
Series of graphic posters
'Fold-out' document
Graphic showing the overlap/relationships/conclusions found from research

For my group specifically: I think that a very interesting presentation would be to compile the effects of each our topics affects one another, drawing conclusions and real world examples of how these things relate to one another. A very graphic representation of this would be idea, with conceptual photos and emphasis created by transparency, text, visual heirarchy, etc.

Some examples can be seen below:




March 6, 2008

Blog #5: The Power of the Designed Environment

Many times people are placed within architecture solely based on a need for space. This strong need for space takes precedence over the purpose and function of the people that are moving into a space or piece of architecture. By not considering the user group and functions, architecture and design most often will inhibit the inhabitants. As an unfortunate inhabitant of McNeal Hall and a frequent user of Rapson Hall, I am able to view the effects that architecture and design have on its users.

McNeal Hall is comprised of 2 separate buildings, connected by the construction of a third between them. Though physically connected by form and materials, they are disconnected visually and physically between area of study and department. Disciplines are spread throughout the massive complex and are, in a sense, segregated from one another.

Segregation occurs through arrangement of space. Each department has its own area of the building where they take all of their courses and, more often than not, do not have any need or want to go into the areas of the other majors. The only places where all disciplines come together are in the computer lab (even within the computer lab there is separation of majors to specific labs), the atrium space (this space does not act as an area of integration as it serves simply as a space for passing through and does not provide space for work or interaction), and in the color, drawing, and auditorium spaces (the spaces are only integrated for pre-design courses and 1000 level classes). Because of this division of space, interaction is hindered drastically, between disciplines and majors themselves.


Caused by a lack of open area, electrical outlets, surfaces, and a poor wireless connection in some areas there are no spaces within McNeal Hall where people can spread out and work. This in turn is reflected in the amount of time people spend within the building. After 5:00 on a weekday, the building is cleared out, minus a few students around for a late night class. On the weekends it is rare to see more than 2-3 people in the building.

Interior Design, my area of study, is located on the fourth floor. Our given ‘area’ within McNeal hall is essentially a dark, dead-end in appearance corridor. As the only occupant of the fourth floor, it is very cut off from the rest of the building and users which make it seem very unsafe and scary to the point that no one works in the studios or hangs around later than they have to. The studios themselves might as well be auditoriums for the fact that their users just go into them during class time, listen to a professor, and then leave. Not much interaction or design work occurs within these spaces at all. Over the span the of my sophomore, junior, and senior years in the Interior Design program, I have probably spent a total of about 2 weeks in the studios, outside of the required class time.

Due to these adverse conditions within McNeal Hall and since the joining of the colleges, I have become a squatter in Rapson Hall. You will see me there for hours on end, ordering in food, spreading out on multiple tables, and pinning up my ideas and sketches as if the courtyard space were my studio. Rapson Hall has all of the aspects that McNeal Hall lacks, such as ample workspace, view of and the ability to interact with other disciplines within a common environment, display areas, a sense of security, and the feelings of a small community. This environment truly fosters creativity, new ways of thinking, interaction, and integration.


As design students we should have the opportunity to inhabit and affect out environment, but within the confines of McNeal hall, are not given this. It is amazing the effects that architecture and the designed environment have on their users. McNeal hall inhibits its users and the expansion and implementation of the teachings that occur within its walls.

As a College of Design we are prime candidates for creating new ways of thinking and designing through collaboration (which occurs in the workplace), joining of strengths and weaknesses, and through the interaction of thoughts and ideas. This is the ideal that as a student I believe is what we should be striving for, but something that no one is working or pushing for. This truly starts with the spaces that it’s majors and students inhabit, or try to.

February 28, 2008

Blog 4: The Idealistic Advantage of Complete Creative Freedom


Creativity represents a miraculous coming together of the uninhibited energy of the child with it apparent opposite and enemy, the sense of order imposed on the disciplined adult intelligence."
-Norman Podhoretz

If given the opportunity to be completely released from the constraints of the ‘architecture school’ program I would explore and exploit complete creative freedom. Freedom from the profession and all other restraints normally placed on architecture and design.

I would combine the artistic, architectural, and physical to create a wholesome, all-inclusive approach to design. By giving oneself complete creative freedom to explore all realms and disciplines affecting the environment, the outcome would be that much more relevant and beneficial to the users. In effect, the impact on the environment would be much greater due to the multiple influences and limitless thought process.

Two critical constraints that would be necessary to leave behind would be that of time and deadline. While these are both important in the design process now, they also inhibit creativity. Additionally titles and labeling of activities and pigeonholing individuals into specific realms prevents if not stops creativity from growing roots.

By placing guidelines, constraints, and stereotyping certain professions, we are preventing design from reaching its full potential. Removing these limitations frees the designer to create an environment that utilizes its full potential. Additionally, the designer grows from this opportunity by analyzing anything and everything and maintaining complete control over all aspects of their design.

"Creativity can solve almost any problem. The creative act, the defeat of habit by orginality, overcomes everything."
-George Lois


February 21, 2008

Blog 3: How Do You Want to Spend Your Future?

Blog 3: How Do You Want to Spend Your Future?

They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.
Andy Warhol (1928 - 1987), The Philosophy of Andy Warhol

We have to enact change within our societies if we want to see change in the environment and our shared futures. Many people don’t directly see the impact of the lack of environmental sustainability that our society and world have, so they do not understand it completely. Not only is this misunderstood, but it is also disregarded and often ignored until negative effects are seen in the individual’s community and quality of life. Usually the effects of something are greater once it reaches the point of negatively affecting people.

Due to the lack of desire and understanding within people societies must plan for the worst and find solutions and ways of handling situations once they have gotten out of hand. Examples include the smog over Los Angeles and Bejing. Both of these situations negatively impact people’s lives and are detrimental to their health and could have been prevented, but now their effects must be dealt with and solutions/ways to cope with the problem need to be developed.



As a world society, we need to raise awareness of how to prevent environmental sustainability problems and how their effects will impact EVERYONE on the planet. Failure to do so will create more problems. We need to decide, how do you want to spend your future?

Change has a considerable psychological impact on the human mind. To the fearful it is threatening because it means that things may get worse. To the hopeful it is encouraging because things may get better. To the confident it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make things better.
King Whitney Jr.

Precious – Depeche Mode
Wasted – Cartel
Fortunate – Cartel
Bullet and a Target – Citizen Cope
Big Yellow Taxi – Counting Crows

February 14, 2008

Northside Home Fund: Changing the Ramifications of Foreclosures

In the past few years, foreclosures in the Minneapolis neighborhoods have increased significantly. Not only are foreclosures bad for the individual, but also for the neighborhoods in which they occur. Hennepin County alone doubled its numbers from 43 percent in 2005 to 82 percent in 2007. 2007 saw a 1,100 increase in the number of home foreclosures to 6,100.

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With the increase in foreclosures comes an increase in crime. This increase is due to numerous vacant and abandoned homes in neighborhoods with multiple foreclosures. Many homes that have been foreclosed get broken into and vandalized while they wait to be sold. The areas that these activities are most commonly taking place in are those who are already struggling with poverty and crime. It is a problem that continues to cycle and feed within itself.

In response to these issues of foreclosures, abandonment, and crime, the city of Minneapolis and members of the North Minneapolis community created The Northside Home Fund in 2003. This organization works with neighborhoods in North Minneapolis, where foreclosures are on the rise and most occupants are not economically stable, to “add value to existing city, community, and neighborhood efforts to improve the quality of the housing stock…? The main focus of this organization is “the redevelopment of vacant and boarded homes identified by the City.? The organization is working in ‘clusters’ within the selected neighborhoods. By making improvements in ‘clusters’ the surrounding areas will be positively affected, creating a ripple-like effect.

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As a result of the redevelopment process, the Northside Home Fund hopes to improve these neighborhoods. Improvement will come through ending the cycle of crime and increasing home ownership in various neighborhoods of North Minneapolis. Owners are more likely to take pride in their home, community, and neighborhood over someone who rents. Giving ownership and personal responsibility to the members of these neighborhoods increases the sustainability of these efforts.

By redeveloping, reusing, and creating resident responsibility and pride, entire communities will be affected. With home foreclosures on the rise, the mission and efforts of the Northside Home Fund are going to be more crucial to maintaining and improving the neighborhoods of North Minneapolis. The changes are simple, but very effective in creating better places for all residents of Minneapolis to live and visit.


February 7, 2008

Responding to Place


Continue reading "Responding to Place" »