April 6, 2008

Millenium Project Design


Our group decided on this design a long time ago.Our millenium goal is environmental sustainability. We chose this design because it helped, not only divide our separate technologies but also connected them. We have some tweaking to do but...

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When I arrived to the NE MN Charter School there was one student eager to get some help. I was there for a couple hours with another tutor helping out this student and no others came in. It would be nice to get some more students in there, but I understand they can't force them.

This experience, so far, has been really great. My nerves are gone and I feel comfortable helping the student(s). Takara informed us that next week the students will going on a field trip and that we do not need to come in. The week after the students will be preparing for one of their big exams and that there should be a few more students wanting some help.

March 24, 2008



Today was my thrid week of tutoring. I arrived at 11ish and no one was there. No students, no Takara. I wasn't sure if I was suppose to ask the teachers to send some students or if I should just wait...while I was debating another volunteer showed up a few minutes later and he said that we should just wait for students. Takara came in and recruited one student for us to help with his basic math skills. The rest of the time there no one else came in to get help.



This is the second time of volunteering at the Charter School in North Minneapolis. When I arrived I signed in and went upstairs to the tutoring room. As I walked in I was amazed on how many students were there. At first it was a bit overwhelming considering this was going to be my first time tutoring. Takara wasn't around and I was a bit confused on what to do. There was about 10 students in the room and one other volunteer. I tried asking him who needed help but he was overwhelmed as well. I talked to a couple students who needed help with basic skills math and tried the best I could to help them. There were about 3 students sitting in the corner laughing and disturbing everyone else that really wanted help. I was confused on why they were in there if they didn't want to be. All they were doing was being loud and distracting the others. They would leave the room and get sent back in by one of the faculty members and then just keep distracting the others. I know from personal experience that if I have someone being loud and obnoxious that it hard to study or get help which is disappointing.

I know Takara said that she would be there sometimes and other times she might not but I felt just kind of thrown into this without knowing what to really do (considering it was my first time there with students) and having questions that couldn't be answered. After the first half hour went by I was fine and felt comfortable and I'm not saying that I needed my hand held the first day but maybe just some guidence for the first 15 minutes would have been helpful.

All in all, the last hour I helped a girl working on basics skills for the math exam and we worked well together. We worked with whole numbers, percentages and intergers. Another volunteer came in for the last 1/2 hour I was there. It was nice to have another "helper." The time went by fast and went well. Takara came in at the end of my tutoring session and answered the questions that I had at the begining.



Today was my first day of volunteering. I'm going to be a basic skills tutor at the Minnesota Internship Charter Center in Northeast for students wanting to complete their GED.


I had sat down with Takara (volunteer and organizer of the tutoring program) and she told me that the students will be going on a college visit and that we will go over the orientation packet. We went throught the orientation packet and then she gave me a tour of the building and also introduced me to other teachers and volunteers.

My first impression of the area and school was that I felt a bit intimidated but after meeting the majority of the faculty and volunteers my nervousness had gone away. They were all extremely kind and offered their availability to any questions or concerns that I may encounter.

Before meeting with Takara, I was asking myself questions about how I would help these students, could I help these students at all? I guess I felt unprepared and inexperienced. Sitting down with Takara and going over the orientation packet really answered my questions and fears. Takara and I talked about scenarios and that helped me alot.

One thing that Takara talked about that frightened me was that some students might get into a fight and I was informed not to get involved and to go get security. I have never been in volunteer tutor and that was eye opening. It was great information to know and thought that this volunteer posistion was going to help me come out of la-la land and step into reality.

I feel really great about this posistion and am excited to, not only help as much as I can, but also learn from this experience. I think that this experience will definitely help me grow and give back instead of always taking and doing what is comfortable.

March 11, 2008

Creative Kitchen

Blog Prompt 6:"Look for and document some examples of presentation/documentation styles that your term project may take as inspiration."

Term Project: Environment Sustainability

My group got together this last Sunday to discuss what creative possibilities we could come up with to present our term project. All of us agreed that we didn't want a generic powerpoint or a mundane handout. We want to be original and unique. A lot of the ideas that we shelled out were really great...and others REALLY great. Here are a couple of our top ideas...

Pop-up information book:


We wanted to have something that would literally grab someone's attention and also be fun to flip through for all generations.

3-D Book:


We had kind-of the same reason as the pop-up book. Just wanting to grab attention and something fun to read and flip through.

Obviously, these are our rough draft ideas and will be meeting again to vote on our final style of presentation.

March 4, 2008

The Clockwork Green

Blog Prompt #5

February 28, 2008

Architecture and Oppositions

Blog Prompt #4: "If you were completely released from the constraints of the 'architecture school' program, what wold you do architecturally, artistically, bodliy, lyrically, etc that would still have an impact on your environment. Describe a real or imagined place which might allow you to do this."

For some reason most of my childhood is very blurry. A few of the only childhood memories that I have retained were things that I obsessed over. I'm going to focus on the birth of my pre-architecuture / design era (which started at a very early age, circa 1985 - 1989...making me 6 yrs to 10 years old) and incorporating these novice ideas into what I would do if I were free of the constraints of the 'architecture school' program.

Design Phase 1: House Boats (The Cardboard Style)

My first obsession was houseboats. I really thought that when I grew up, instead of buying a house I would buy a house boat. (Really, who didn't want a houseboat when they were eight years old?) Obviously when I was eight there was no way I could afford to buy a house boat (I did try to convince my father that our family would be more comfortable living in one, but unfortunately, to my dismay, that idea was shot down.) I decided since I couldn't have the real thing I would make one out of cardboard. I needed to find my major resource for construction and therefore scoured surrounding neighborhoods and collected cardboard from people's garbages. I then needed to decide on a semi-permanent location, not only to construct it but also manageable living conditions. I designated the living room, after all it is for living! I also decided to place my material in the dining room, which was connected to the living room, which seemed to be the most convenient place for quick access to my materials. Unfortunately, the property owners were disgusted by the materials used and encouraged that I relocate to the garage.

After a smooth transition into the garage and with a lot of packaging tape and hard work, the design and construction process was quick and easy. It took only 3 days to turn my dream into a living room, 2 bedroom, one bathroom houseboat.

Design Phase 2: Blanket Forts

I remember my sis and I builing the best blanket forts ever! Seriously, they swallowed our whole living room / dining room area (at least 600 square feet...okay, I'm a bit exaggerating but they were gigantic!) My mom is a pretty laid back woman, with a touch of O.C.D., and as children we rarely got in trouble with her. Well, except when she came home and all the blankets, comforters, towels and kitchen rags were made as passages, bedrooms, hallways and entry ways. She would immediately tell us to take everything down and bring it to the laundry room so she could start washing it all. My sis and I would cry and cry...begging and pleading (seriously, every time) that this "was the best blanket fort EVER and it can NEVER be built the same again." I remember crying, running to my room and making my sister compose a letter stating "even a genius couldn't rebuild this!" For at least four years, the excessive tears and visible heartbreak never deterred her from making us take them down.

Design Phase 3: Tree House

Unfortunately, the property my parents owned never had sturdy enough trees to build a tree fort so I had to live vicariously through another family called "Swiss Family Robinson." The "Swiss Family Robinson" was actually a TV show about a family that becomes shipwrecked on a deserted tropical island. They are forced to remain on the island because of the damage to the ship and the pirates that are roaming the islands. They create a home on the island (centering around a huge tree house) and explore the island and it's wildlife. What's extremely funny is that I actually brought pictures into my 3rd grade class for show-and-tell and tried to convince everyone that the pictures were of a tree house my dad built for me on our family owned tropical island and he lets me stay there in the summer. Wow, huh?


Swiss Family Treehouse Bedroom.jpg


If I were free of the constraints of the 'architectural school' program what would I do?

I decided that I would build a gigantic tree house community (obviously using my past experience of working with different materials and environmental concerns). It would contain 1, 2 and 3 bedroom living quarters. I would have community kitchens and community living rooms. I wouldn't charge families to live there but they would have to help build the community.

OK....just kidding. But...

If I were free of the constraints of the 'architectural school' program I would, hands down, volunteer at the Interact Center in Minneapolis. As stated on the Interact Center's website, it was "Founded in 1992 as a professional theater company that included actors with disabilities, Interact expanded its vision in 1996 to become a recognized center for both the performing and visual arts. Interact is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization and a licensed day care facility.
Today, Interact Center is the only center nationally that offers professional-level training, performances, and exhibitions in multiple artistic disciplines, for artists with a wide range of disabilities, from physical to developmental to mental to behavioral. At Interact, adult artists with disabilities explore and expand their creativity as actors, writers, painters, sculptors and musicians.

Interact’s three overarching goals are:

—To provide artists with disabilities skills and opportunities for creative expression, artistic growth, professional performance and exhibition opportunities, and opportunities to earn income from their work.

—To challenge existing stereotypes that assume people with disabilities are not capable.

—To challenge the arts community to recognize and include the unique talents and vision of people who have long been marginalized.

Interact Founder/Artistic Director Jeanne Calvit has a long history in both theater and social services. Her committed advocacy for artists with disabilities has led to heightened public awareness that many people with disabilities are creative and talented, but that their creativity often is ignored or discouraged. Many of these people depend on assistance from local social service programs, but those programs are geared toward placing people with disabilities in minimal-skill, low-paying positions that may not challenge them. At Interact, over 90 artists earn income through theater performances and sales of artwork in the organization’s public gallery, The Inside Out Gallery, the first gallery in the Twin Cities to feature Outsider art. Interact is now a vital participant in the Twin Cities arts community. Regional and national performances and exhibitions by Interact artists enable the public to see work that is raw, honest and explores visions and voices that would otherwise not be seen or heard. Furthermore, Interact effectively demonstrates a progressive model for integrating artistic and social service systems in ways that build on people’s strengths, rather than focusing on their limitations."

I actually head of this center through a friend that volunteers there and who was completely moved by this organization. I also saw a theatrical performance that entangled my heart and jump started my passion for this theater community. Unfortunately, spring semester started and the 'architectural school' program has consumed most, if not all, of my free time, disabling me from participating. I encourage everyone to support this organization or at least check out the website: http://www.interactcenter.com

February 21, 2008

Blog Prompt #3

Propose a set of images, quotes and a playlist of songs that influence your values with regard to your selected Research Project Millenium Development Goals.

Environment Sustainability.


"It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope; and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance."

- John F Kennedy

- Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell

"Helping people experience themselves as living bodies on a living earth...is necessary in achieving any solution to the problems we all face...Only with the bodily experience of power and compassion will people have the courage and the desire and the ability to undertake what must be done to heal the planet."

- Paul Linden

al gore.jpg

"We sometimes emphasize the danger in a crisis without focusing on the opportunities that are there. We should feel a great sense of urgency because it is the most dangerous crisis we have ever faced, by far. But it also provides us with opportunities to do a lot of things we ought to be doing for other reasons anyway. And to solve this crisis we can develop a shared sense of moral purpose."

-Al Gore


"The blunt truth about the politics of climate change is that no country will want to sacrifice its economy in order to meet this challenge, but all economies know that the only sensible long term way of developing is to do it on a sustainable basis."

-Tony Blair

- Fake Plastic Trees by Radiohead

A couple other artists I really love are Cloud Cult and Ani Difranco. These two artists help define environment sustainability.



February 14, 2008

Blog Prompt #2

The Designed Environment: Find a design issue - here in the Twin Cities. Document it. Become an advocate.

There is a beginning to everything. Being able to document a social design issue begins with knowledge and understanding.

Autodidacticism (also autodidactism) is self-education or self-directed learning.

I believe people strive for knowledge and truth on all issues but it's a lot easier to watch the news and shrug off self-activism. I do believe we all can learn from one another but I also strongly encourage every human to educate themselves. With a coverted discipline in the 21st century, we NEED to WANT to educate ourselves on issues and be STRONG advocates in every direction. Education is key. Whether or not it is taught or learned, we need to be leaders of our own right.

I strongly believe autodacticism is a foundation for advocacy.

I'm very passionate about many social design issues. Here in the twin cities, one of the issues that I have become an advocate for is, historic perservation planning. The mission statement for the Historical Preservation Planning Program is that Minnesota's historic and archaeolgical properties are among the states most valuable resources. They produce evidence of the ways people have chosen to live their lives, of our need for beautiful objects as well as functional structures. The presence of historic properties, which display various styles, different historical periods, and the contributions of diverse groups of people, adds diversity and richness to our urban and rural landscapes.

According to the Historical Preservation Planning Program, there are many issues, threats and opportunies:

1. Baseline data of county-by-county standing structure survey is major asset, but some information is old or lacking;
2. Similar statewide archaeological survey is incomplete;
3. High quality surveys conducted by CLG communities;
4. New Categories of properties need to be surveyed, such as traditional cultural properties and historic landscapes;
5. Difficulty identifying viable uses for historic properties in both prime development and low-growth areas;
6. Successful studies of reuse of vacant, threatened, or under used historic properties;
7. Ever-growing number of preservation-oriented organizations and professionals with preservation expertise;
8. American Indian tribes are becoming more active in preservation;
9. Unprecedented growth and sprawl in urban and suburban areas, and depopulation and economic decline of smaller, rural communities;
10. Population growing increasingly diverse and elderly;
11. Baby boomers are expressing interest in areas that exhibit a sense of place, stimulating revitalization of older residential neighborhoods and industrial areas;
12. Minority populations can be untapped audiences for historic preservation;
13. Pattern of income disparity between urban and rural areas;
14. Historic preservation can be successful economic development tool in urban and rural areas;
15. Changes in the transportation system could destroy resources and/or increase economic development and tourism;
16. Historic elements of the transportation system are also important resources; The Federal Highway Administration's highway design initiative may help encourage innovation in resource protection;
17. Federal, state, and local governments are major players in historic preservation, but public funding is decreasing, leading to increasing importance of the private, nonprofit, and commercial sectors;
18. Public policy is increasingly favorable to historic resource protection.


1. Increase community awareness of the value of Minnesota�s historic resources.
2. Encourage integration of historic preservation at all levels of planning.
3. Expand the statewide network of organizations and individuals engaged in historic preservation.
4. Promote historic preservation as an economic development tool and provide economic incentives that encourage it.
5. Identify, evaluate and designate significant historic and archaeological resources.
6. Encourage appropriate management and treatment of historic resources.

February 6, 2008

Blog Prompt #1

The photo displayed below was taken of downtown Minneapolis's nightlife. I believe it shows the idea of energy, flow and transformation through a city. It shows that all things, (people, places, things, ideas, auras or energy) are continuously moving, changing and transforming...sometimes with witnesses and other times, without.

Continue reading "Blog Prompt #1" »