March 13, 2008

term project: styles.

First and foremost I believe the font or typeface used in a design or presentation is one of the most important aspects. A clean/neat font used consistently throughout the presentation or piece will tie the whole thing together and make your point come across much clearer.

http://ilovetypography.com/

This is a blog/website about the design process of creating a good font, and also their applications.

I recently saw a documentary film entitled "Helvetica" and found it immensely interesting. I have always been interested in typefaces and clean design, and been unbeknownst to me, a huge fan of the Helvetica font. I highly recommend seeing this film as you will be amazed at how something as seemingly insignificant as a font has made it's way into our subconscious and has become something we take for granted. The film isn't as boring as it sounds and is actually a beautifully shot and edited film about design in general.

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I intend to use some of the design techniques presented in this film to get our point across as simply as possible without all the distractions.

March 7, 2008

the built environment affects me!

The built environment that I interact with on a daily basis affects me in both positive and negative ways, as I'm sure it does with many others who share this system of modern civilization. First of all look at any major cities skyline and you'll see the unavoidable symbol of American commerce right there in the skyscrapers and high rise towers. Building these as tall and as impressive looking as possible has become a contest in our age, a symbol of economic power, and whether you want it or not this economy based system affects everyone.

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Another example of this type of effect manifested in the built environment that has been a hot topic in the U.S. lately is the NAFTAs Superhighway and the North American Union. For some reason this hasn't been getting much coverage in the main stream news media despite it's potentially huge implications, including a switch to a continental currency, the 'Amero,' much like Europe's 'Euro.' A little investigation into this proposal on the internet will reveal how far along the process has already been taken without congressional oversight or media attention.

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"The NAFTA Superhighway: Driving a Stake through America's Heart"

February 27, 2008

architecture and oppositions

The blog prompt for this week didn't immediately conjure up any images or ideas like the others did, and I'm still not sure exactly what it is looking for, but I'll try to take it in the context of recent readings and lectures and interpret it as best I can. First of all I can't say that I've been completely under the constraints of the 'architecture school' program, at least not yet, but I'll consider being out of the grasp of any type of college curriculum. Art and music would always be a part of my life and I'm sure architecture as well in the form of construction and designing things like furniture. I would have more time I suppose to focus on personal goals and projects and would probably end up doing more sculpture and learn as much as I could on my own about different construction and design techniques from around the world.

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one of my sculpture/lamp designs

As far as a location that I think would allow me to be as creative and happy as possible, I would have to say Bowen Island, just off the coast of Vancouver B.C. I was born in Vancouver and my uncle lives on the island where he built his own house like so many others. I am very drawn to the west coast, specifically Vancouver in the northwest, because of the forests, wildlife, mountains and the ocean. The pace of life up there and attitudes of the locals are very attractive to me.

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snug cove, bowen island

February 22, 2008

goal 7: ensure environmental sustainability

I chose goal 7 of the Millenium Development Goals, which is to ensure environmental sustainability. This one immediately popped out to me because it's something that is impacted by a lot of the things that I think about a lot and something which everyone can have a part in achieving by making simple changes in their way of life. It's also something I feel is very related to architecture, especially now with the growing popularity of green and sustainable architecture and with the whole LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification being implemented more and more.

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ex. of a leed certified house
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There are a number of good quotes in the book "Ishmael" by Daniel Quinn that explain the problems that have accumulated regarding our handing of the environment. This is just one that I found kind of sums up a lot of the themes from the book:
"The problem is that man's conquest of the world has itself devastated the world. And in spite of all the mastery we've attained, we don't have enough mastery to stop devastating the world--or to repair the devastation we've already wrought. We've poured our poisons into the world as though it were a bottomless pit--and we go on gobbling them up. It's hard to imaging how the world could survive another century of this abuse, but nobody's really doing anything about it. It's a problem our children will have to solve, or their children."

The band Pearl Jam also did an album titled "Yield" based on this book and although I don't consider my self a huge fan of the band, some of the lyrics and songs do contain implications of what's wrong and what needs to be done. The soundtrack for the film "Lost in the Wild" again by Eddie Vedder has some good tunes as well.

February 15, 2008

the latest trend in foods: organic.

Over the last couple years living in the twin cities there has been a very obvious rise in interest and popularity of organic foods that I've noticed. I remember hearing through friends and acquaintances about the supposed health benefits of 'going organic' as well as their minimal impact on the environment compared to other more destructive methods of raising food for mass consumption. Eventually, as the popularity of such a lifestyle began to grow, many corporations would catch on and develop their own lines of organic products such as Target's Archer Farms to cash in on the phenomenon. Even Wal-Mart has announced that they will begin offereing organic foods! You can hardly go anywhere in the city now without seeing or hearing something about 'going green' or 'going organic.'

"Currently, organic food is a 14 billion dollar business, expected to grow to 23 billion dollars in the next several years. They continue to increase in popularity not only because they do not contain the toxins found in conventionally grown foods but because of their nutritional value." (www.whfoods.org)

Is it just a new marketing strategy or is there actually something to this. It took me a while to actually look into the whole craze after repeatedly blowing it off as another fashion trend, or something for someone in the know to brag about. I've made my rounds at various farmers markets in the cities and admit feeling a bit self-contented knowing that I was choosing to give my business to local growers rather than big corporations. I began to look into the health benefits of these organic foods and green diets and was amazed at what I found. Besides organic foods' lack of pesticides, chemicals, hormones, and anti-biotics they have recently been found to be nutritionally superior to conventionally grown foods.

A review of 41 studies comparing the nutritional value of organically to conventionally grown fruits, vegetables and grains, also indicates organic crops provide substantially more of several nutrients, including:

* 27% more vitamin C
* 21.1% more iron
* 29.3% more magnesium
* 13.6% more phosphorus (www.whfoods.org)

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After stumbling across the Gerson Therapy by way of a documentary on PBS, and through further research, I was astonished at what organic fruits and vegetables can do for one's health when taken to the extreme. There are countless documented examples of how Gerson's therapy (including drinking the fresh juices of organic fruits and vegitables) has cured cancer, diabetes, heart disease and almost any other chronic degenerative and autoimmune disease. I highly recommend watching "Dying to Have Known," a documentary on the healing effects of an all natural diet as an introduction to the benefits of organic foods.


February 7, 2008

energy, flow + transformation in the city

The film "Rivers and Tides" documenting the work of Andy Goldsworthy, besides being beautifully shot and edited, caused my mind to wander and reflect at a Zen like pace about these ideas of flow and transformation in various aspects of life from nature to humanity and culture. After watching the film in class and listening to the lecture, I watched it again at home and found Goldsworthy's slow, thoughtful way of speaking about his work to be quite meditative. I began to think about the idea of flow and energy in the city that we are blind to because of our constant exposure to it. One thing that immediately comes to mind is the network of streets, roads, ramps and highways that make up every city and is almost identical anywhere you go. These man-made concrete 'rivers' constructed for the purpose of easy transportation, almost mimic the natural flow of the river. Despite their ugly concrete and steel construction they can have a kind of austere beauty.

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