December 6, 2006

Gershenfeld talked about prefabrication and being able to produce anything from one machine and the machine even being able to make more prefabricators. These machines are able to make something almost out of nothing. When Gershenfeld creating his class, How to make (almost) anything, he didn't anticipate how many students and the variety that would be interested. To operate the machinery it was complex so he had planned to teach it to the technologically gifted, who he felt could handle weight of the curriculum. After the class was completed he was amazed at the result and products his students had designed. They had created the purely for their own personal needs but could be reproduced. The products ranged from a parrot alarm clock to a scream catcher. Gershenfeld delighted in the user designing the product. He also enjoyed that it could be reproduced for those who were looking for the same outcome.
Kahn differed in some of his views of design. He felt that a part the designer is left in everything they design and something shouldn't be designed for everyone. We are all different and as desingers we should be working to perfect a solution for one problem and not every situation. We can't meet every criteria for every situation so the result will be a compromise and ultimately mediocrity. The fact that something is mass produced already lessened its value because beauty takes into account rarity. If diamonds were everywhere they would not be as precious. A computer can't define how a space is used or the mood it expresses so prefabrication is limited from start.
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Kahn and Gershenfeld agree on the power of design and its intentions. Prefabrication isn't wrong if it is meeting a need. If the mass producing is meant purely make money and poorly then the design is pointless and the product has lost its meaning. Prefabrication could help many people but used incorreclty could result in the opposite. The designer must take control of their product make sure that what they are making is of value to them becuase if it isn't then what is the point of designing.

November 28, 2006

A technopoly is a new technolgy that has taken over society and it impact feel almost limitless. It is typically developed with more concern for progress that what it will affect. Our society is obsessed trends and being apart of them. We are what Neil Postman calls "technophiles", a person who only looks at how a new technology benefits our society and not the negative consequences. Our government has attempted to help out the consumer by testing out products and ensuring ther safety but the more we use them we find out that they may cause us harm. Many people consider the convenience worth the cost. Technopolies not only can change us physically but how we live our lives, comminicate, and react to our environment. We have even created new words for thing we have created. One the main driving force for technological is for more exciting ways to entertainment. One of the first of many was the television.


A staple of every American home. Even in every dorm room there is a TV. I find myself wishing that cable wasn't so expensive so I could freely enjoy all of my favorite shows. The TV after the radio was the first form of mass communication. People can tune in and watch the news and other important information. People could also watch advertisements for products that could also help in their everyday lives. The TV like most technopolies is not just a positive progression of our society. American is one the only countries in the world that has the problem of its citizens becoming overweight and TV is one the leading causes. TV has changed are very lifestyle and we fit our schedules around our favorite shows. People no longer have to go anywhere to be entertained. They don't even have to leave there couches. TV has also increased the obsession with movie stars giving the world another medium in which to gossip about them. This obsession with fake beauty has left its viewers with an unattainable standard of perfection and increased eating disorders.
Instant messenger is another example of a technopoly. A communication system designed for the modern teenager. User are "lucky" enough to able to not see and not even the heat the person they are talking to. Many people would rather converse in this impersonal format instead actually meeting face to face with a person. AOl Instant Messenger does have its advantages by allowing users to be able to talk to their friends for free and leave the messages if they are not there. As a user of it I find it very convenient for making plans and not completely interrupting the life of the person I am trying to contact. Social interaction is very important but instant messenger could be affecting people relationships and living in a completely impersonal world.
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Neil Postman was not saying that progress itself is negative but neccessary. It is just the way we approach it. We as designer must think about what we are going to design and how it is going to affect the people we design it for. Many of the new miracles we have created are least from natural and ultimaltely hurt us. People we not meant to be cooped up indoors and never have any physical activity. People need human interaction and the people we meet help shape who we are. We take a step back look how functionaly new technology affects and if it is natural for humans to live in this way.

November 6, 2006

When looking for pictures that represent math I kept thinking geometry and how it's forms are replicated throughout architecture. It is decor, style, and themes.

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Pure geometry is used in in the overall style of building. Frank Lloyd made this style famous with the replication of pure geometric forms throughout his facades and structure.

Geometry is also used for architectural structure. Certain shapes such as the triangle are more architecturally supportive. The arch is the strongest shape but because of the effort involved to perfect it the trianlge is often used.

Skyscrapers are also another good example of how math is used in structural design. It takes alot of calculating to design a building with stand a hundred stories against all the natural elements.

It is easy to see that math is a very important part of architecture. Architects must use math while designing to control many factors that influence if a building is successful or not. Math and Architecture is a partnership that ensures that a building is safe for its user and its ability to sustain. Without math architecture would be ultimately primitive and wouldn't accomplish its goals. If a building is not structurally sound and therefore cannot be functional then it can't be considered Architecture.

October 23, 2006

Opposition to Gravity:
It seems like everyday we ecounters what it seems like a unsurmountable struggle but turns out to be quite the opposite. As time progresses mankind has invention certain commodities to make our lives just a litlle but easier. One of these inventions is the elevator. With the mere push of a buttons you are soaring up floors which you would have otherwise would have dragged yourself up. It is also a solution for those people that are able to climb the stairs themselves not just a mere laziness..

Opposition of Space:
Every college student can relate to the lack of space in the dorm. As soon you put every in there to make it feel more like home there is barely room to breath. But don't worry there is another one of man's solution to help us out again: the lofted bed. We are tp roam freely under our bed and the only worries we have to avoid hitting our heads when standing up from out desk chairs, which is not so easilly avoided.

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So through small manipulations of our enviroment we can drastically affect how people use spaces and help solve conflicts encountered by the everyday person.

October 9, 2006

When choosing my phenomena I decided to take a look back at my childhood and think about all the things that stumped me. The things that adults ignore and seem to fascinate the innocent. I thought about seasons changing and getting colder.Snow was one thing that came to mind. It stuns me to think how something clear when frozen and a liquid, can become white and form snow. It seem abnormal how fluffy it can appear when slowly sailing through the sky. One thing every child does in the winter is catch snowflakes in their mouth.


There is nothing really amazing about this activity but the longer I thought about it, the more I realized how amazing the snowflake really is. Each snowflake has a similiar structure but none are exactly the same. It seems so impossible how something that small cannot have a twin.
The snowflake is a thing composed of water molecules. It's framework is it six spike structure repeated throughout every snowflake but never completely the same. It's clockwork is the water cycle. Something eveything child learns about in elementary school. Starting from evaporation all the way to precipitation. This framework is depended on for the existence of the world and fuels my phenomena.


October 2, 2006

Genius Loci:

When trying to think of a memorable place, one seems to take precedence over the others. A place I have been going to since I was born; My cottage in the Northwoods. When I think about it I cannot remember a bad time I have had there. My cottage is situated on a small lake right outside Eagle River, Wisconsin. They are but four cottages on the lake so natural beauty dominates the landscape. This seclusion also adds to the serenity of the location and to its appeal as a northwoods hideaway. Above the lake on top of a small hill is my cottage, A one story, myriad of rooms. It became this way after two series of editions the result resembles a tiny maze. My cottage shares the concept of not being just a house but a home. I can even remember the smell of everytime we enter it. I spend some much time there that it has taken on a more sentimental characteristic then just a one time vacation destination. It was built by my great grandpa and the legacy has continued today. The cabin also represents family becase of the history it has and the time we spend together there.
There are many reasons that I travel to my cottage but one of them is to releave stress and to take a break from my everyday life. I cannot think of a more peaceful place then sitting on my dock right after sunset and staring at the calm, glass like surface of the water. It is a good place to just think and soak in the calm of the early night. The densy oxygenated air is so easily breathed in you just can't help to let all go.
Another purpose it serves is for activity. I am never more entertained then when I am at my cottage. The lake is not the only source of energy, there is also the woods surounding the lake. We spends days exploring the seemingly infinite trails and as a child we built forts to "house" my many cousins. There is always something to do and I detest the time I have to get in the car and go home.
My cabin represents family, activity, serenity, and home and that is why I would rather be in no other place.

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September 25, 2006

Prompt #2

When searching for my social design issue I thought about things that affected me daily. The thing that has caused me the most trouble has been the bussing system in the cities. I have been here for three weeks and I still have no idea if the letters next to numbers for the routes have any significance. I am happy that the system is in place becuase otherwise I would have no way of transportation but it needs to more navigable. The metro transit system has attempted to make it better by making it possible to plan trips online and it will tell you which busses to take and transfer to. The only problem with these directions are that for new people in the city it is hard to find the next bus stop where they are supposed to pick up their transfer buss. Many of the stops don't even have shelters so it is hard to spot from far away and in extremes weather it doesn't provide much comfort for the everyday commuter. Busses aren't the only form of transportation, there is also the Light Rail. Except the light rail unfortunately only travels in a straightline from uptown to downtown Minneapolis so it can only be used for a limited amount of locations. Unlike the busses the light rail very easy to understand having maps of the bus routes one the wall with lighted red dots indicating which stop and a voice anouncing the approaching stop. The lightrail is very good for tourists who are looking for the Mall of America, the airport, and downtown Minnneapolis but if they want to go anywhere else they will have to use a buss or taxi. Tourism being a major form of income for the MInneapolis, should motivate the city to create a better way to inform tourists how the use the bussing system. There are some signs on the side of buss shelters but they rarely explain minor technicalities important to using the public transportation system.The area has two beautiful cities and people should be able to see them and get around in them.

September 18, 2006

Design and Its Power

Everytime I use the minneapolis bussing system it challenges me in a new way. Coming from a small town in Wisconsin, I have never used a public transportation system. My main source of getting lost is my inability to find the next bus stop where I am supposed to pick my connecting buss. I never really know the actual direction I am supposed to be going. This was problem the particular on my trip to the midtown change. We took the right bus in the wrong direction. We asked the bus driver and he told us the he was changing to a 53c and we need a 53b so we waited at buss station for awhile. Impatient we left and decided to find it on our own. We walked down Hennepin to Lake street. After walking several blocks down Lake street we realized that we needed East Lake street not West Lake street. So we took a random buss heading down lake street hoping the we would see the apparently obvious midtown exchange. After several stops the buss turned into the parking lot of the exchange. Excitedly we jumped off the buss and headed toward the front entrance of the exchange. Before we entered I looked back at the buss stop and observed a 53c buss entering the parking lot. My frustration was lessoned by the fact that I had made it to exchange but It just taught me that just because someone is from the city doesn't mean they know what they are talking about. I was very impressed initially with the external size of the building for the market and was pleasantly surprised to be greeted by three mosiac sculptures in the front lobby. The first thing I observed about flow in the market was the lack of direction. I wasn't led anywhere. I just wandered not knowing if I had been down that isle before or missed a certain vendor. I was also bothered by the random holes of missing vendors and seeing only a blank concrete wall. I was also hoping to see some human interaction but because it was a monday we where some of the only people there it was impossible to observe without creating it yourself. What I did enjoy was the variety of things to buy and I was very tempted myself but because I am a poor college I decided against it. As I rode the buss home, I was thinking about energy and came up with the definition of energy as being the potential for activity. Still thinking about energy I noticed the flow of people getting off and on the buss. Every person unique in their own way but united because we all were heading to relatively the same place.