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February 25, 2008

My Second Life (Blog 4)

I like to imagine a me… free…
I have no boundaries, no limits, and no destination.
I am alive, unbound, uncontrolled, and wild.
I am the creator of my dreams…

This is my brain on creation...

Without organization through the architectural discipline- designers LIvE outside reality.
With. . . organization through the architectural discipline- designers think outside reality.

If my goal in school was something other than to be an architect, it would probably be to hold some type of scientific degree; which was my first intended major, in fear of loosing my passion for architecture. [‘No school’ is not in my vocabulary.] While in the pursuit of a science degree, I would probably continue with my long hobby of free-sketch architecture; it helps me to get my mind off of actual life. This is my imaginary place of freedom. Here, I can be the architect and the client. Between the lines of squares I see light and shadow. The paper becomes a code that only I can see. I have imagined effects on architecture from the suns position and its outcome on light, to rocky landscapes and potential downpours. I’m not sure how to properly draw open-ceilings, half walls, or countertops. I don’t know the rules for barring walls, plumbing or electrics. I am not an engineer or a classical physicist. My drawings are purely imaginary.

I am learning of ideas before I learn these ideas in school. Just a few weeks ago for example professor Sercowski of the University of Minnesota spoke of Palladio at a lecture in downtown Minneapolis. He explained how architecture was considered with rainwater runoff and was gathered together in a central courtyard. Just weeks prior to this intriguing Venetian lecture I too was experimenting with these same ideas. I was amazed on how similar my ideas were on a topic I had no prior knowledge of.

You could take the ‘architecture school’ program from me, but never my imagination.

Yours truly,

Servant of Imagination

February 21, 2008

Education is Amazing Grace

To many of our youth suffer..
To many of our youth are forsed to work..
To many of our youth take school for granted..

"Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves.?
Matthew 10:16

"Fathers send their sons to college either because they went to college or because they didn't."
L. L. Henderson

"The foundation of every state is the education of its youth."
Diogenes Laertius

"Only the educated are free."
Epictetus (55 AD - 135 AD), Discourses

February 12, 2008

New Urbanism: The Perfect City: effective mixed-use architecture

The lives we live, in this future-orientated America, are fast-pased and precisely accurate. We live by our clocks. We calculate commute times. Add in minutes for the occasional traffic jam, weather slowdown, or cup of joe. We determine our exact amount of sleep. We are constantly looking to improve. Looking to better accommodate ourselves and others. And with this a new architecture is born.

Definition: New Urbanism is an approach to designing cities, towns, and neighborhoods. New Urbanist town planners, developers, architects, and designers try to reduce traffic and eliminate sprawl. A New Urbanist neighborhood resembles an old European village with homes and businesses clustered together. Instead of driving on highways, residents of New Urbanist neighborhoods can walk to shops, businesses, theaters, schools, parks, and other important services. Buildings and recreational areas are arranged to foster a sense of community closeness. New Urbanist designers also place importance on earth-friendly architecture, energy conservation, historic preservation, and accessibility. http://architecture.about.com/od/communitydesign/g/newurban.htm

But this is not the first time these types of multi function structures were experimented with.

The idea of mixed-use structures may have been first seen with the Greeks, on the island of Crete. The complex at Knossos was built around 1900 BC and housed areas of cult rooms, formal areas, storage facilities for agricultural products, industrial areas and workshops of the palace and domestic apartments as well. It was basically a fully functional structure with the exception of agricultural growing. This may be the first example of structure planing for architecturally efficient complexes.

Today, city planners and designers all over the globe strive for convenience and community with their housing structures.

In 2005, the City of Bloomington, Minnesota, approved a massive transit oriented development project to begin construction. The $600 million dollar Bloomington Central Station project is arguably the largest transit oriented redevelopment project in the country. This transit oriented, mixed-use urban structure will be located right along the Hiawatha Light Rail Line, close to The Mall of America, and will include approximately 1200 housing units, 2,000,000 sq. ft. of office space, a hotel, and retail and entertainment space, as well as a central park area and other amenities.

The mixed-use complex is a radical advancement that crosses scientific reason with community. It is a highly economic and perfectly accessible based architectural design theory. Residents will have all the basic essentials while being steps away from fast reliable transportation. Some architectural critics speculate on high costs, planning difficulty, and the loss of individuality and culture with these complexes. But they must not be too quick to judge the future.

Excelsior and Grand
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In 2003, St. Louis Park, Minnesota, city planners devised a way to actually create a city center. It was a 15-acre Excelsior and Grand, $150 million dollar development project that engaged urban design principles and practices to help liven up a dull city. And it worked. On the corner of a heavily traveled intersection, Excelsior and Grand is a “…compact, vertically mixed-use development that features residential units—condominiums and apartments—over street-level retail and restaurants. To enhance the environment’s urban feel, the site features a well-manicured village green and adjacent open-air amphitheater, as well as store-front parking and wide, pedestrian-friendly sidewalks that accommodate outdoor dining.? http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.tcbmag.com/images/industriestrends/commercialrealestate/articles/asset_upload_file158_71796.jpg

I myself being raised in St. Louis Park can truly appreciate the positive impact of such advancement. I now had a common place to meet my friends for coffee, to have lunch, or do homework. The close by shops made errands fun and easy to accomplish. Many of my friends also found employment in some of the new businesses. The development also allowed me to compare my city-suburb to neighboring ones (ex. Hopkins Main street, Edina Main street) I am an advocate for smart developments.

The Bridges of Saint Paul
The Bridges of Saint Paul.jpg
The St. Paul City Council rejected a rezoning application for the Bridges of St. Paul. The landmark was estimated at costs over $1.5 billion dollars. It was proposed for the city's West Side.

February 5, 2008

Sticks and Stones and Village Homes: Life and Death All Around Us

Andy Goldsworthy watched each one of his works get destroyed before his eyes; stick wind catcher, stone piles, beaver dam, icicles. I felt a strong relationship between the destruction of his art and the ways he talked about the people in his village, in Scotland. He said that the old lady saw "only the life," while he sees "only the death" of the village people. He mentioned a lot about how you could not ever feel the entire culture of his village unless you have lived your life in it. This is similar to the first reading for our class when it was explained to the graduates that life is a learned experience and could never be told. Andy Goldsworthy also relates to this again when his stone structure kept falling and he said that with every failure, he learns more and more about the rocks.
I liked the curvy brick wall and how it disappeared in the water and came back out strait on the other side. Andy Goldsworthy resurrected the lost stone wall. The curveyness resembled the physical characteristics of the land; the windy river etc.