March 10, 2008

Style bitch!

March 4, 2008

the built envornment and me?

Witnessing natural disasters destroy homes and forever change peoples lives makes me think of designing a home impervious to natures elements that could take on any type of effect of time with regular maintenance. This living space would be made entirely of carbon fiber and the latest modern composites creating a structurally strong shell and be able to float like this example.


It might have 8 legs that would allow it walk away from an impending storm and move to higher ground or keep it planted if it were floating or keep it firmly planted incase of a hurricane.


The use carbon fiber would also allow it to withstand projectiles and unlike this carbon fiber reinforced trailer it would be wind tunnel tested to withstand any hurricane or tornado strikes.


The major support structures would be would have electronic sensors to identify any cracks or structural flaws. However, The carbon fiber would also be self-healing so incase of structural damage it would return to its original shape.

The glass would be bullet proof to ensure that any flying projectiles could not penetrate the outside and cause damage to the interior or any occupants inside. The glass would be stronger than steel and allow for great structural support as well.


The outer shell would have a highly resistant covering of solar panels to protect the carbon fiber from the suns powerful rays and provide the house with electricity, the excess electricity would be supplied to the local power grid so that the occupant would help reduce the release of greenhouse gases from fossil fuel powered plants.


The house would stand on ball bearings sitting in discs to allow for isolation from the ground in case of an earthquake.

This house would impervious to pretty much anything nature throws at it, including time unlike the structures of today. This house defines who I am because I would like to see natural disasters effect on populations become a thing of the past. The house would be awesome and take on anything that was thrown at it like a pirate with a knife in his mouth.


February 26, 2008

the future of learning.

If I were outside of traditional education it would have to be in the future because there is currently no way to do what I dream of.
As soon as I was born and stripped from my mother’s womb I would be immediately entered into surgery for an access port to my brain through my spinal chord in my neck. The procedure would take 30 seconds to complete and would be performed by a man who completed technical training over a period of a week with a tool similar to the guns they use for tattoos.
By that time implant access ports would be so small that they would never need to upgrade in size with my growth as they had in the past. The port would be created by apple since the company had taken over the entire education system as well as the rest of the world in a merger with Google.

My parents would be instructed by an apple genius and introduce me to my new learning system in the hospital.
Gradually the time tapped into the system would increase from one minute to one hour by the time of my first birthday. My parents would love the fact that in two weeks time I had begun to use the miniature toilet with integrated bidet that helped reduce the consumption of paper products. I would be speaking by one month but would take the usual amount of time to learn basic motor skills. By the time I was one years old I would be speaking fluently in formal English, and developed an intrinsic understanding of the major language families’ underpinnings. Language would be the first step of my learning process. There would be no formal education in art or colors for a long time because it was well understood that children are the best artists because they have no formal knowledge to hamper their creativity.

By my second year I would be introduced into a learning community for children where we would be able to converse freely thanks to our great understanding of the English language being able to conjure up descriptions of doggies and kitties that were fitting of a fifth grader.
Through out the year at the children farm the time spent tapped into learning program would gradually increase to two hours. Before the undergoing the software based learning we would have lunch that had a large amount of glucose for our brains to be able to process more quickly and effectively. Following the download we would be napping and dreaming about the concepts and lessons that had been forced into our brains. After our naps we would be active in art without any more directions than paint, make something with a given medium or draw. The program would conclude with vigorous exercise to help drain our energy and make us more manageable for when our parents picked us up. The next year in school would begin to integrate an understanding of mathematics simultaneously with music theory. By the age of 6, I students could write geometry proofs and rock music. By 10 I would be proficient at multivariable calculus, be able to speak 9 most common languages fluently and be able to write brilliant electronic symphonies.
This practice would continue in succession to the previously mentioned program of one additional hour per year for a normal student. More gifted students could receive more hours and reach their true potential much more easily than in times past. The median age for completing an undergraduate degree would be 12 years old. But that degree would be a liberal arts degree in which the child could have a good understanding of their interests and what they wanted to pursue. From that time on I would choose architecture that would incorporate 12 hours of downloaded learning. By the age of 16 the program would have sharpened my motor skills to a robotically accurate degree allowing me to draw exquisite sketches in a matter of minutes and also be an incredible guitarist because nobody can just be one sided.
The days in the past tedious practice would be over. Unplugged and fully educated I could enter the professional world with nothing to fear especially since my training would be slightly better than the most recent graduates. I would learn the interpersonal skills required in the professional realm as apprentices working along side professionals dealing with clientele. I would now be able to tap into the professional program in which I conceptualized ideas that would be turned into computer files which would be a great departure from physically drawing or using a graphical interface with a computer design program. Physical review and presentation would only be done in meetings where the designer would present and defend their ideas to the masters in preparation for real clients.
As young professional architects like me would endure upwards of 20 hour long stretches tapped in, relying on IVs for sustenance. My meetings with clientèle would demand immediate results of conceptualized ideas drawn with traditional graphite and paper and my heightened motor skills would be a great asset.
Architectual Drawing of Reilly Center.jpg
By the age of 22 I would be considered a master having completed an incompressible amount of designing. I would not need to endure any more marathon stretches hooked up to the seven hours would be at the most leaving an hour for lunch. A comfortable 8 hour workday would be all that was demanded of him from then on. On my own time I could tap in for pleasure and become a true renaissance man having already gained notoriety in the realm of sustainable architecture.

February 18, 2008

a shrinking world.


“It has been said that arguing against globalization is like arguing against the laws of gravity.?

-Kofi Annan

I think this quote is very true especially with our ever increasing understanding of other cultures, the problems that other popultions are faced with and our increased global cooperation and coordination.

“This is a very exciting time in the world of information. It's not just that the personal computer has come along as a great tool. The whole pace of business is moving faster. Globalization is forcing companies to do things in new ways.?

-Bill Gates

This quote is very true the silicon revolution was great for helping a faster tranfer of information and allowed for easy communication between countries but it only helps those who have access to it.

“Globalization, as defined by rich people like us, is a very nice thing... you are talking about the Internet, you are talking about cell phones, you are talking about computers. This doesn't affect two-thirds of the people of the world.?

-Jimmy Carter

This is very true, there is much more than just how connected we are to each other electronically.

“Globalization has changed us into a company that searches the world, not just to sell or to source, but to find intellectual capital - the world's best talents and greatest ideas.?

-Jack Welch

This is very true. So much help for our country relies on other's accomplishments and aid. Most of our products are produced in other countries where labor is cheaper. We have outsourced many of our jobs to countries where citizens have a better work ethic and are more qualified. We are merely following in the footsteps the engineering accomplishments of other nations. We all depend on each other. We are less and less separate countries.

“We must ensure that the global market is embedded in broadly shared values and practices that reflect global social needs, and that all the world's people share the benefits of globalization.?

-Kofi Annan

Much of our country's success lies upon the labor of others, making very low wages without benefits like medical plans and unhealthy work environments. Our practice of farming subsidies has destroyed the money making potential of other countries. Free trade doesn't help all of the countries included in it.


“Globalization could be the answer to many of the world's seemingly intractable problems. But this requires strong democratic foundations based on a political will to ensure equity and justice".?

-Sharan Burrow

A global effort to help the seemingly endless problems of the world. We need to ensure the freedom and wishes of the countries we help though their struggles. Sometimes our ideals do not match up with their cultures and we need to respect their own wishes.


“Globalization presumes sustained economic growth. Otherwise, the process loses its economic benefits and political support.?

-Paul A. Samuelson

This is an important point. Our country will not help assist others without some kind of economic compensation. The war in Iraq was not merely to help bring democracy, Iraq is a great source of oil.


My Playlist
Concrete Jungle - Bob Marley
In Other Words - Ben Kweller
Come Together - The Beatles
Money - The Beatles
Happy Nation - Ace of Base
The People That We Love - Bush
World of Pain - Cream
Information Travels Faster - Death Cab for Cutie
The General - Dispatch
Trail of Broken Hearts - Dragonforce
Freedom - Jimi Hendrix

February 12, 2008

a greener future

A major social design issue in the Twin Cities has been a poor public transportation system. In years past transportation was more accessible to individuals thanks to the streetcar system that was in place. Unfortunately the major auto manufacturers of the United States bought out the companies and dismantled them to help promote use of their products. This has proved to be a great loss for our Twin Cities and the United States as a whole. Currently there is talk about our cities becoming more Europeanized, following the model set by cities of high population in other parts of the world. The recent creation of the light rail system in Minneapolis is a step in the right direction but it is clear that there is more to be done.
It is unfortunate that our current system is so limited. Currently the light rail only runs down Hiawatha from downtown to the airport and the mall of America. It leaves many communities that could use affordable transportation overlooked and the future plans don’t see much of a future either. The future plans would connect downtown Minneapolis to Saint Paul by use of University avenue. The proposed plan has an estimated cost of 930 million dollars. It would be of great benefit to the students at the University considering a bus ride to down town is estimated between 30 and 60 minutes. The Light rail line has proved to be very successful throughout its short existence. It has exceeded expectations of riders by about double and contributes to 12% of metro transits business. Imagine how much fuel Minnesota would save if the light rail was a greater resource for commuters.

I found an article from 2004 about a proposal linking the Hiawatha light rail line to Lake Calhoun and Lake of the Isles. There were 13 neighborhoods in the support of the proposal that would connect the congested east and west of 35W. The proposal called for the recommisioning of streetcars from the original line. The nostalgic aspect would be appealing to riders. The benefit of streetcars versus busses is that they more reliable and more environmentally friendly. Most importantly the line was estimated to cost 53 million dollars. Which seems very affordable in comparison to the expansion to Saint Paul. The cost estimates would be similar to extending the line to reach highway 100. However if the legislation continues to slide under the radar the costs will only continue to climb. The idea of reestablishing trolley routes seems promising especially if the lines are integrated into the light rail system they would allow further branching into new neighborhoods at a much lower cost.
Another idea in the works is the Northstar Corridor. By using existing freight tracks a forty-mile stretch north can be covered and eventually could cover 94 miles reaching St. Cloud. The idea seems reasonable considering the fast expansion of these areas. The line’s completion is expected in 2009. It was originally proposed by Jesse Ventura and finally accepted after resistance from Tim Pawlenty. Since it would use existing tracks the cost would be significantly reduced and estimated to be 1/3 the cost of renovating freeways. The line would use trains similar to the existing light rail.
The Twin Cities are expanding traffic congestion is ever increasing and with that congestion comes wasted time for the commuter and fuel. It was estimated in 2007 that congestion in major cities creates a 78 billion dollar annual drain on the American economy from lost 4.2 billion lost hours and 2.9 billion gallons of wasted fuel. The metro area has been identified as the 17th most congested area in the country and its population is expected to grow by one million residents by 2020. There is more that can be done.
Human powered transportation is often overlooked as an avid biker, I am discouraged by the lack of comfortable accessibility to the cities from the suburbs. To make it down town I need to bike amongst cars with a posted speed limit of 40 miles per hour. During congested times I fear for my safety and am bombarded with insults and taunts from drivers. I have resorted to driving if I am going to the cities. Though many commuters would not be keen to such a long commute on a bicycle, much can be done to expand trails.
Safety is of greatest importance on this issue. According to the Department of Transportation pedestrian and cyclists account for 14-15% of traffic fatalities nationwide and the number of deaths in urban areas is higher. It is important to understand the danger that new bikers pose to themselves as well. Those who are less experience have not developed the skills to avoid dangerous situations. There is a strong need for dedicated trails and bike lanes. Here is a map of our current bikeways and planned accomidations for the future. However with budget cutting because of the disaster of the 35W bridge and other expansion there is not a definite timescale in place even though these facilities are much more affordable than public roads and expansion of the light rail.

Not only would the bike trails provide more economical access to destinations compared to owning a car or paying for public transportation, they would further reduc greenhouse gasses, and could help reverse a terrible major trend in the United States, obesity.

Percentage of Obese (BMI>+30) in U.S Adults.

The light rail, trolley systems, and increased use of bicycles will help our reliance on foreign oil and reduce our output of harmful greenhouse gasses. The practice of these ideas put into place would be of great benefit to our Twin Cities and reflect upon the already proven European designs. Of course the success of these future endeavors will depend on our involvement and activism.

“It is expected that the public will become much more involved in transportation planning and policy, especially on the local and State levels. ISTEA and a general trend toward citizen activism are leading to the formation of bicycle advisory councils (BACs) and pedestrian advisory councils (PACs) in many areas. Combined with existing community organizations, clubs, and advocacy networks, they will play increasing roles in transportation and land use decisions.?

The choice is up to us.
**I am having trouble uploading pictures.

February 10, 2008

a man who likes to play in the woods

First off I have to say this blog is infuriating. I must have lost my work 4 times before deciding to save it all as a word file and then uploading it, anyway...

Well I have to say Andy is an artist. Throughout rivers and tides it seemed apparent that everything he was saying made sense to him and that he assumed you had the same understanding of his work. Nonetheless I was impressed with how he would spend so much time on work that is so temporary. It shows his tenacity and passion for his interest. I thought it was very admirable to be using natural materials and in turn having little or no environmental impact on works that transform the land. Still I found it difficult to take him entirely seriously when he is doing things like throwing snow in the air. I could just imagine him saying “isn’t it incredible how the wind carries these glistening crystals in swirling patterns against the pristine backdrop of beautiful untouched evergreens.? Anyway, I was checking out youtube to refresh my memory on his film Rivers and Tides and ran into this. This young man seems to have captured the very essence of Mr. Goldsworthy at least from my perspective.

I think it is important in how one presents themselves. Obviously it is important to be environmentally conscious with out seeming like a nut it is hard to take someone seriously if they are so out there especially on such important issues. I also couldn’t stop wondering how the hell he makes any money. Later after doing some research I found that he does have a fair bit of permanent artwork that seems as if it will truly last a very long time. His permanent works are mostly made out of stone. It seems as if the only architecture that lasts is made of real stone. Man made materials seem to deteriorate much more quickly. Brick and mortar crumble over time. I suppose in a grand scheme of things nothing we create is permanent. Which is why we need to become more integrated into this world instead of having progress before nature attitude. If humans disappeared with nothing to maintain our structures or creations the land would simply reclaim them back into raw materials. I saw on the Daily Show or Colbert Report an author describing how quickly the earth would wipe any evidence of our existence.
He mentioned that in a matter of weeks the subway systems would be flooded without the operation of pumps and in a year or so the buildings would begin to collapse as their underground support systems corroded. It is very humbling to think about how much time we have actually spent on earth compared to the other successful organisms, which have lasted millions of years without evolution. It makes you wonder how advanced are we? Is our breed more successful than others because we are able to create ideas that manifest into physical things, or is it a blip of history that will have little relevance in millions of years because of our destruction of the planet that eventually leads to our demise. No other species has so dramatically altered the world, which reminds me of the description of the sheep destroying the tree population in Scotland, a seemingly harmless animal that with our help led to such an altered landscape.
The factory style farm comes to mind. They are so removed from the natural world. They create terrible waste from the livestock that pollutes the land and water supplies surrounding them. They are a major contributor to greenhouse gasses. They breed increasingly more resilient forms of bacteria since the animals are subjected to unhealthy living conditions and antibiotics. The fact is they are more economical and in a world ruled by money there is no need for organically raised meat for the mass market.
I saw on Dirty Jobs that a farmer ran his home and equipment on the trapped methane gas from his cow’s waste, and he transformed the manure into flowerpots that are rich in nutrients. I am glad to see someone turn something seen as waste into something usable. It wasn’t that long ago that recycling seemed irrelevant, the only way it exists is that it was found that money could be made from it. In a world driven by profits steps like this give me the impression that there is hope. In fact I think in Germany 80% of post consumer waste is now recycled.

His idea flow seemed forefront in his work. I think the flow of energy is best way to encapsulate this notion. Energy can’t be created or destroyed it can only change forms. This truth makes me wonder what are the byproducts of our use of energy. We haven’t found anything nearly as efficient as a plant converting sunlight into food. Our main uses of energy are wasteful especially with fossil fuels. A car or coal fired power plant only gives off about 30% usable energy the rest is converted into heat and sound waves. We are unintentially a very wasteful society. By cutting down on our wasteful nature such as discarding useful materials that took energy and valuable resources to produce we can transform them into something else.

If we are able to make our energy practices flow better in a more cyclical pattern instead of a matter in which we have definite beginning and end our planet and our future lively hood will be better protected. I am so glad that finally we are looking into alternatives for better energy consumption. Though it takes a scare like global warming to finally get us on the right track. There are so many innovations being made toward clean electricity that finally becoming economically viable that use what the earth and son have to offer for free, like wind power, geothermal power, and solar energy. There continue to be great innovations as well like creating thermal trapping structures that use rising air currents for turbines, tubes that use the movement of waves to propel turbines, power plants that use tides for generating energy, and the innovations will continue to come. As future architects we have a duty to work toward the cause of environmental harmony and use the growing green technology in our work.

Sustainable architecture is something that I have always been interested in. After taking an energy prospectives class I learned about technologies that go way beyond solar panels on the roof. There have even been ways to cut costs that have been around for decades, such as solar box water heaters and multi pane window glass. There has been so much advancement in insulation. I actually worked this summer on constructing a second story at the Frank Stone gallery for offices. He used an blow in insulation that had not only great fire preventative properties but was made of recycled materials, which I thought was funny considering that the old insulation (newspapers from the thirties) was a common practice from a time when money was more strained and people made use of what they had available.

Of course the use of modern technologies seems to be a great solution, people that use solar panels may pay more in the beginning but the surplus energy they create for the power grid is compensated at a premium by the power companies because the solar aid occurs during times of peak hours. There are many other technologies arising that will help our energy use return to a more natural flow that is cyclical with the planet instead of a dead ended use of fossil fuels from underground. It seems to be the people who are ahead of their time that have the solution, Frank Lloyd Wright had plans that were so integrated into the environment they became a part of their surroundings. Rudolf Diesel inventor of the diesel engine created it having seen the inefficiency of the gasoline internal combustion engine, and ran it on peanut oil at its introduction at the worlds fair and now we are coming back to the idea of using natural oils and fats for the same use in biodiesel. Though we may be out of step with our surroundings and the environment the future brings promise of a closer dialogue with nature and once again be apart of the flow.