May 1, 2008

Blog 8 & 9: Honors Presentations

Kelly & Broc
Millennium Goal 8- Develop a Glodal Partnership for Development
Focusing on Somalia, and comparing it to Kenya, they discussed the importance of new technologies in advancing the lives and culture of residents of Somalia. Somalia, which they stated is "behind the technological curve" in Africa, and was the last country on the continent to offer the internet. They discussed how communications via cell phones and over the internet improves the economy of the country and increases social possibilities. A quote that really stood out to me was, “Developing nations don’t have to catch-up, they have to embrace their own technologies.? Essentially, they argued that in order to catch-up and maintain continual growth, Somalia must leap-frog older technologies such as land phones, in order to improve economically and socially.
They believe that the wireless internet and the availability of cell phones each are key to advancing a culture. The two benefits they discussed were ease and cost. However, the most interesting gain in implementing these two forms of communication was the impact they have in the progression of education in Somalia. Dr. Mitra said, “Technology should be designed for education, not adapted for it.? Technology directed towards education systems have several strong benefits, among them access to information and resources. The technology having the most impact on education in Somalia is the $100 laptop, in which a consumer buys a package deal where they receive one laptop and a student in a country such at Somalia receives another.
This was a very compelling presentation that explored a breadth of information, addressed many issues, and presented solutions as to how those issues could be dealt with. Overall I felt this pair did a very good job in assessing the Goal and focusing on a selected area.

Anthony, Laura, Angie
Millennium Goal 7- Ensure Environmental Sustainability
This group brought their study a little closer to home, studying the issue of sustainability in relation to low-income housing in Minneapolis. They stated that low-income housing in a crisis because there is a growing need for it and a lessening in availability. Problems also arise when the following are taken into consideration, also in relation to sustainability: NIMBY’s (Not In My Back Yard), redevelopment problems, over-crowdedness, homelessness, and poverty.
The group considered how building with “Go Green? in mind would help address these issues in low-income housing. Buildings cost a lot of money to build, to maintain, and to remodel or to demolish. They consume a lot of energy and produce CFC’s (chloral-floral-carbon) and vast amounts of CO2 emissions.
They proposed changes to Ralph Rapson’s Riverside apartment complexes that would address low-income housing and environmental sustainability. Such changes would include installing KONE elevators, replacing the windows with triple-pane glass windows, changing the light bulbs to fluorescent bulbs, installing recycling chutes, recycling of rain and shower water, and installing efficient appliances.

April 7, 2008

Blog 7(?)... 3 cover pages




March 31, 2008

ACES Volunteer Journal

Fall Semester - Present (3.31.08)
As a person who willingly watches my younger cousins, babysits the neighbor's kids if needed, and an ex-employee at a day-care, I thoroughly enjoy working with and teaching kids. In fact, if it weren't for architecture I would likely have become a teacher. Volunteering at ACES has been a wonderful experience for me, with some obvious rough patches as any experience will include. Certainly the biggest challenge that I faced was the environment. Growing up in a mainly white suburban neighborhood, I have had next to no exposure to life in areas such as North Minneapolis. This challenge was also what made it most worth while.
Working with young students, in my case mostly fourth graders, was also patience testing. After I had spent more time with them, and as our comfort levels grew in conjuncture with the retaining of some unique names, order was eventually gained and work could begin. Of course this was after a heated 10 minute argument as to whether I should be addressed as "Moose" or "Taylor Made." Their reasoning is still a mystery to me...
Having a passion for helping kids is very benefitial. When the kids have a passion to be helpful (not only to us as teachers but to themselves and their peers) it is a wonder. The determination I witnessed from these kids provided me with much needed inspiration to actually do my homework when I got home. Working collaboritively on their homework assigned during the day in class, they worked diligently for the most part, and when reminded to stay focused, rarely protested. Following their homework, ACES leaders would direct class discussions regarding topics such as healthy foods, puclib speaking, proper etiquette to name but a few. Participation in these discussions was rather consistant and extremely benefitial for the kids as the topics were ones different from much of what they learned in their classes but were expected to practice. Their favorite part of the after school program, and I will admit, mine as well, was gym time. Pending good behavior in class, the kids would finally be allowed to expell their endless supply of energy. Games that are most popular include basketball, football, and jump roping.
Sadly, I have been MIA for nearly three weeks!! Mid-term week, followed by Spring Break, followed by their Spring Break made attending the after school program rather difficult. Today, given the driving conditions and a rather nasty cold has kept me from being able to get back to the program today. If all goes well, I expect to be able to get back to working with the kids on Wednesday.

Wednesday. April 2- After work I ran over to Cityview, and discovered that Spring Break for the kids was this week. Next week we are back in business!

Monday. April 7- Finally get back to work the the kids!.. Relatively low key day today, well as low key as 5 fifth graders can get. When I arrived they were racing each other with puzzles as one other student worked on completing his homework. These games lasted about 20 minutes until it was time for our group leader, George, to lead us through out curriculum. Today we began the topic of nutrition and fitness, covering were we get our energy from and definitions of those suppliers. The kids really like George, he does a terrific job keeping them focused by having fun with them, but soon enough it was time for us to head to the gym for them to expell some of the energy they had built up over the day. As usual, the most popular games were basketball and jump-roping. It was really nice to get back there after such a long absence.

I stopped over at my grandparents house on my birthday yesterday, and they asked me how school was going and what I had been doing for it. After running throught the typical rhetoric of "oh, studying hard, lots of reading and late nights," I mentioned working with ACES and "inner-city" elementary aged students, and they were both extremely intregued with the experience of working with them. It was then that I realized how unique this opportunity is for me, it is definately never something I expected to do. I will admit to myself and to those of you who read this blog, that I had no idea what to expect but was anticipating a rather difficult group of kids. I am pleased to say that my thoughts going into this experience were proven to be completely false. The students (with obvious exceptions... they are kids after all..) have been an absolute joy to work with. They are remarkably attentive and their willingness to learn surpasses anything I could have expected from them. Though this has been slightly time-consuming with commuting and being there after work (even though I haven't been able to be there as much as I had hoped this semester) I am disappointed that the semester is coming to an end..

Wednesday. April 23- Today I was glad to have worked with kids in the past as my patience was tested thoroughly. I am also thankful that I have a realization that "kids will indeed be kids" and sometimes they will actually act like they are! The team leader even had a difficult time controlling them, and I, along with the other volunteers, did my best to support her in the task. Eventually Mr. Rees (sp?) came in and laid down the law. I believe he is someone the students look up to so they took his words ("If you leave this room you will be suspended!") seriously. The running and yelling finally made its way to the gym where it belonged all day long haha. I must admit I get a kick out of their remarks, though inappropriate sometimes, I cannot help but laugh inside. I guess I see a surprising resemblance of them in the way I was at the fourth grade level. I know that tomorrow Mr. Rees has the group of students I was with today, so I am hoping for his sake (and partially theirs) that they are better tomorrow!

Monday. April 28-Much better! Today volunteers were scarce and I was late, as always (since I get off work at 3:30) but the students were much more manageable. Today, I spent a lot of time with Tyshawn (I love that name because there is a Tyshane in the same class, ironic) and helping him with his homework. He is one student that I thoroughly enjoy assisting with anything in which I am teaching him something. His eyes are locked on your in intense anticipation of what instruction you give him next. To see a passion for learning from someone so young is remarkably inspiring, so much so that it influences me to get to my homework when I get home. But as soon as the words leave your mouth he is either nodding in agreement or posing an inquisitive expression that subtly says, “That didn’t make ANY sense.?
After that Cordell (another favorite name because he has a twin brother named Cardell, not as ironic but still very amusing) said that he wasn’t feeling good. Knowing Cordell, I initially questioned his “illness,? but allowed him to go to the bathroom a few times. Eventually he asked if he could work on his homework in the hall and relax in a quieter environment. I was in the hall with him so I could help him with his homework and spelling, which he needed very little of- I was very impressed. I stopped back in the classroom for no more than ten seconds, and upon returning to the hall with a clean piece of paper for Cordell found him at the other end of the hall. “Cordell, what are you doing over there man?? “Haha.. (looks around and grabs a chair) I was just getting you this!? HAHA. I love it, so quick to think of something to stay out of trouble. Regardless, he returned to his desk in the hall, my chair in hand. Shortly thereafter he had his homework finished, and proceeded to show me how to fold a sheet of paper so you can make it make a popping noise. Although I enjoyed how calm he was, I felt pretty bad that he wasn’t feeling well.
My 15 minutes gym were spent trying to run and hide from Bruce, eventually we both got too tired and called a truce. With the remaining time I relaxed in the corner watching over the gym making sure everyone was playing safely. As I watched I thought it resembled a prison riot, not in the sense of violence, but in the sheer chaos and level of energy, I knew that if I ventured back in there I wouldn’t make it out. At least the kids knew what was going on…

March 12, 2008

Blog Six: Extra








March 2, 2008

Blog Pompt Five: who dat?.. who dat?, I dat!

Pinning down exactly what in the built environment dictates or defines or represents or influences or embodies or symbolizes who I am was not an easy task, nor am I certain that I still found proper examples specific enough to who I am to make it determinable that these do in fact define, influence, or symbolize who I am, especially because they are public things, frameworks, clockworks, and phenomena.
Also, the examples I have provided are so varied that one might think I Googled “random? and took the first dozen or so pictures that came up. Perhaps this is the necessary evidence to show that these are in fact specific to me myself and I. However, many of these are also applicable to my friends, hence my difficulty claiming that these help others and myself understand… myself. Hmm.
Anywho, here are images and supporting texts of the built environment that affect who I am..

I am a huge movie quote fan, I like to drop them at appropriate, and sometimes inappropriate times. One quote I really enjoy though is from 'Hitch" when he says, "You can't know where you're going, unless you know where you've been.." My reason for liking this is because it is applicable to so many situations. In this instance for example, early dwellings served as 'guinea pigs' for peoples to follow, showing us methods that were efficient in the ways of protection, comfort, sustainability, and progression.
These show two different approaches to designing a village, both based on different criteria, both influencing the methods used today.

An example of a combination of how the two villages shown above may have influenced is a city that I have spent a lot of time in and one that has a lot of meaning to me, the city of San Diego. Built on the Pacific shoreline near the Rockies, this city functions wonderfully, and is a prime example of cities as we (typically) picture them today. It's original meaning was lost centuries ago, but many scholars maintain that it translates in German as "Whale's Vagina."
san diego.bmp

This is not the case for more than half of the world's population who live at or below the poverty line (for their respective countries, a small amount of countries but some none-the-less live in complete poverty). Their image of a city is undoubtedly different from the image of San Diego. My brother asked me why I included the following pictures in an entry about who I am personally. I told him this class is making me realize how design goes hand-in-hand with so much more than we think. Its impact spreads out further than we can see or touch, but that doesn't mean its impact (positively or negatively) isn't felt by those who you may never have contact with. As hard as it is, we all, designer or not, need to consider how we can make a difference for those who are in dire need of one.
This epidemic is world-wide. In Tokyo, in India, and even in the cities of our southern neighbors in Buenos Aries Brazil.
buenos aries.bmp
I could go on forever about this, but I found an interesting photo online that was written on a sidewalk in Africa.
What makes America #1? Are we #1? Who makes that decision?..... What is so great about the U.S.?

Bringing it back to me though...
The city that has impacted my life the most, in more ways than I could possibly begin to list is Minneapolis. Isn't it funny how we always hear about the negatives of the city; the shootings, the gangs, the failing school systems, yet when looking at it from afar (in this case from the Weisman Bridge over Washington Ave.) the city always glows with promise and potential? Maybe some attention needs to be given to facts such as the 30+ Fortune 500 Companies who have their headquarters in Minneapolis, a city of 55sq. miles, whereas San Diego has only 3 F.500 companies in a city of over 310sq. miles. Things are seen in black and white too often based on what context is being considered...
She is beautiful though isn't she?

And how could I possibly leave out my home away from home?

Another local building that I have spent many hours within and traveling to and from. Watching the Wild here and playing in the High School State Hockey Tourney here are two things that every Minnesota should try to experience. It was rated the best hockey rink in the nation... if you want to see beautiful architecture check it out.
Ladies and gents, the "X"

I thought I would give a quick shout-out to Bauer hockey, who's skates have kept me from receiving a broken foot (knock on wood) while propelling me to hockey stardom (kidding) for the last 9 years of my life.
Bauer Vapor XXXX: $519, Ozayr's beard: priceless.

Of course, being a physical sport, hockey has put me in the ER a few too many times... enough to piss my parents off over the medical bills haha.
MRI's, CAT Scans, stitches.... nice.

The only other time I have been in a hospitol for reasons partaining to myself was when I was born on April 21, 1987 at St. Joseph's Hospitol in St. Paul.
st. joes.bmp

Above is the coolest sundial I've ever seen. It's on the "K.F.A." building at UW-River Falls. While attending there, I tried numerous times to understand it but never figured it out. I spent an hour there once to see what I noticed, and it made me realize A) that I was wasting my time B) that time flies by.... just like my favorite car, the Lamborghini Murcielago.

Sometimes however, I like to kick back and get away from the cities. I am a city boy but damn do I love being in nature. The fresh air, the natural smells and noises, the wildlife... nothing can duplicate what nature presents you with. I really enjoy camping with my friends and/or family, and taking the canoes up to the BWCA for 4 or 5 days and really getting back in touch with nature. It clenses you like nothing else can.

When thinking about how these designed elements play roles in what I can and cannot do while venturing into the wilderness, I realized there are things humans have little or no control over in such environments that also dictate what one can and cannot do in the wild.
A spider web and a hornets nest are signs instructing us to not pass by or disturb them.
spider web.bmp
hornet nest.bmp
In other cases, such as an eagle's nest, things in the designed environment can attract us to them.
eagle nest.bmp
In still other instances, naturally designed elements can provide us with new places to explore, like a beaver dam.
beaver dam.bmp

But being in college, I definately like to party and go to concerts, meet new people, stay out late, etc...
red rocks.bmp
Above is a picture of Red Rocks auditorium. It was carved into the bluffs just outside of Denver, Colorado and I strongly advise going out there for a concert, even if you don't like the band.

My favorite thing to do at a party, besides talking/dancing with ladies, is beer pong.
beer pong.bmp
And if Uncle Sam tells you to do something - you do it!

I thought a little on what outside of my direct environment impacts my life. Obviously my cell phone, my iPod, my laptop and things on it.. this is the "Tech Generation" isn't it? For the sake of keeping this blog less than novel length, I tried to find something that linked the technology we rely on every day, that again, was outside of what I see every day. I feel a satellite meets that criteria splendidly. Transmiting signals and taking images while traveling on the power of gravity and under the control of a few (wo)men thousands upon thousands of miles away.

And finally, but certainly not least..
mirror.bmp designed physical element can better show who we are than when we look into a mirror.

FYI: I am slowly figuring out how to make a good looking blog, I apologize for the organization of this.. I hope to get it more accurate within the next few entries.

February 27, 2008

Blog 4: Freedumb

If I were released from the architecture program I would take a road trip to Florida and spend a year down there doing nothing. I figure that would be long enough for me to desire to return to my education and application of what knowledge I aquired. What I would do next is at this time a Utopian world for me, but one that I hope to be able to turn into a reality. The personal world I speak of is that of me as an architect, designing houses for family with special needs. This dream was inspired by the show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," in which the designers are called upon to plan a house for a family with certain special needs that they themselves would not be able to provide. An example of this is an episode I saw recently in which a family of five living in a four bedroom rambler had to take in four other children, the children of their relative's who tragically died in a car accident. Forced to share small bedrooms with other kids of different ages and genders, sharing beds and looming college tuition, car insurance, and necessity of vehicles put the family in a bind they saw no way out. That was until Extreme Makeover decided to step in a help out the ever-growing family. With the unveiling of their new home (completely funded by the show and donations from construction companies, built by volunteers) the family had hope of a new life, free of mortgage payments and house payments. Now with the ability to put money away for their kids and the new additions to their family, renewed hope and capabilities gave them a "new lease on life." Seeing the joy of that family made me realize that I can make a big difference, even for one family, while still doing something I am passionate about. It was when I first realized the architecture could be and is a profession that serves the community.

Here is the link to Extreme Makeover: Home Edition:

And here are some pics of the homes they have built (I hope, I'm still trying to figure out the picture thing):

I must also express my extreme excitement of the return of my favorite hockey play, Peter Forsberg ("Peter The Great"). He is back home, wearing a Colorado Avalanche jersey as he was born to do.

Practice.... not a game, practice, we talkin bout practice..

Picture 021.jpg

February 18, 2008

Blog Three: Media influences on term proj. Goal

Goal #7: Achieve Environmental Sustainability

It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment.
Ansel Adams
I am two with nature.
Woody Allen
To cherish what remains of the Earth and to foster its renewal is our only legitimate hope of survival.
Wendell Berry
For every person who has ever lived there has come, at last, a spring he will never see. Glory then in the springs that are yours.
Pam Brown
One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.
Dale Carnegie
The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.
Galileo Galilei
We do not see nature with our eyes, but with our understandings and our hearts.
William Hazlitt
Forests, lakes, and rivers, clouds and winds, stars and flowers, stupendous glaciers and crystal snowflakes - every form of animate or inanimate existence, leaves its impress upon the soul of man.
Orison Swett Marden
Man has lost the capacity to foresee and to forestall. He will end by destroying the earth.
Albert Schweitzer
Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth.
Henry David Thoreau
If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen.
Henry David Thoreau
Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.
Henry David Thoreau
I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it.
Alice Walker
Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature's inexorable imperative.
H. G. Wells
Every man gotta right to decide his own destiny.
Bob Marley


Beatles, The "A Day in the Life" "Piggies"
Beach Boys "Don't Go Near the Water"
Belew, Adrian "Inner Revolution" "Only A Dream"
Blue Oyster Cult "Godzilla"
Browne, Jackson "God Bless My SUV"
Captain Sea Level "When the North Pole Melts"
Cheesman, Chuck "Wolves of Lamar Valley"
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young "Calypso" "Earth Day Every Day (Celebrate)"
Donovan "Atlantis" "Deep Peace"
Dyniss "All the People"
Focus "Why Dream"
Genesis "Seven Stones"
Jethro Tull "Wond'ring Again"
Johnson, Jack "The 3 Rs (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle)"
Kansas "Coal Tattoo"
Liquid Blue "Supernova"
Mellencamp, John Cougar "Rain on the Scarecrow"
Midnight Oil "Blue Sky Mine" "Earth and Sun and Moon" "Warakurna"
Mitchell, Joni "Big Yellow Taxi"
Moody Blues, The "Day Begins, The" "How Is It" "Sun is Still Shining" "Word/Om, The"
Nektar "Recycling"
Pretenders, The "My City Was Gone"
Rush "Subdivisions" "The Trees"
Schilling, Peter "Zone 804"
Sinclair, Richard "Plan It Earth"
Spirit "Fresh Garbage" "Prelude/Nothing To Hide"
Taylor, James "Sweet Baby James" "Traffic Jam"
Turtles, The "Earth Anthem"
Wright, Laurence "Sun Rising"
Yardbirds, The "Shapes of Things"

February 11, 2008

Blog 2- Local Social Design Issue

As most of us are aware, the University of Minnesota is the third largest university in the nation. We also know that the UofM campus is located in the heart of the Twin Cities. Combining these two facts leads into a social issue that directly affects nearly all of us. As college students, participation in the "nightlife" and downtown events is a commonality for many. When considering what the downtown nightlife may include, a staple characteristic is the party scene and/or bars. Thomas Fisher wrote in his article “In the Scheme of Things? that we as designers must be responsible for our designs, be it a positive contribution, or a negative hindrance. This calls into question what message(s) areas such a Block E and Fourth Street are sending to students. Now, I will admit that putting bars a block off campus and right next door to Frat Row is excellent marketing, but, we must ask at what cost is this acceptable?
Entering my first year of college, my parents asked me to be responsible if (and when) I drank. Of course I gave a simple “I know? to keep them off my back. In the months that followed however, stories flooded the media of students –mainly freshman- who had died due to some alcohol related incident. This was a harsh realization of the damage that drinking can cause to people very similar to me. Since the beginning of this past academic year, numerous deaths have plagued Minnesota colleges, making our state aware of problems such as binge drinking, the “Power Hour,? and other drinking games such as beer pong or beer bongs.
Back to the relation between this issue and design. Regardless of the marketing capabilities of having bars so near to campus, the question should be considered if it is worth it, if it is good design. Since this question would likely be answered in different manners, I would like to offer my opinion. I believe people who participate in drinking, regardless of manner, frequency, or type, are responsible for themselves. If they are responsible enough to make the conscious decision to drink, then they should be responsible enough to take care of themselves. As is usually the case when two sides are offered, the other must be acknowledged as well. I cannot help but wonder how frequently students would go out for a couple drinks (which often leads into several), how many people would get better grades if they hadn’t gone to the readily accessible local watering hole the night before a test, or how many of those students who have (to put it bluntly) made stupid decisions simply because they were too under the influence to know any better, would still be alive today.
The final question is this good or bad social design. Even after providing my strong opinions of responsibility that an individual should accept when drinking, I do believe this is a local social issue that should be considered, and should these trends continue, maybe even be addressed.

February 2, 2008

Blog 1 - Goldsworthy's Ideas Applied to the City

Something I have found interesting which also relates to Goldsworthy's ideas of energy, flow, and transformation is urban expansion and urban revitalization. When studying the history of downtown and inner-city areas, we notice the trend of moving “up and out? as a commonality since the Industrial Era. “Up and out? is a term explaining the tendencies for individuals and families to move up in financial status to the middle and upper classes, and consequently out of the city and into the suburbs and development regions. This movement from city living to life in the suburbs was a response to several changes in the inner-city, but looked to be a staple for years to come. However, recent studies show a return of wealthier classes living in or very near the city. This movement is in response to something known as “urban revitalization,? in which downtown areas are rebuilding, rezoning, and consequently attracting new, young, and wealthier people back into the city. Whether or not this shift continues has yet to be determined. It does however provide an excellent example of the energy, flow, and transformation of the city. As Goldsworthy said, “The environment is fluid yet solid, dynamic yet static,? as is the city.