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February 27, 2008

Freedom

What would I do if I didn't go through the architecture school program...what would I do...
Hmm.
What do I like to do?
...i like to sit in comfy chairs and read books...
...i like to visit the library...
...i like to draw/sketch...
...i like to paint...
...i like to go on walks...
...i like to wander around campus...
...i like to listen to music...
...i like to play my flute...
...i like to march with the marching band...
...i like to cheer with the pep band...
...i like to dance in the rain...
...i like to jump in puddles...
...i like to golf...
...i like to make jewelry...
...i like to laugh...
...i like to go on adventures...
...i like to use sharpies...
...i like to smile...
...i like to hike in the woods...
...i like to contemplate life...
...i like to take pictures...
Hmm. I could do something with my pictures...

pic collage.jpg

I love taking pictures. Everywhere I go, I've got my camera with me, and if something catches my eye, I take a picture of it. My favorite pictures to take are close-ups of flowers and large landscapes in nature.
If I wasn't in architecture school, maybe I would take pictures and then use them to promote environmental awareness. I could print them in calendars and sell them with proceeds going towards protecting nature.
If I weren't here in Minneapolis, Minnesota to study architecture at the second largest university in the US, and money wasn't a problem, and I didn't need a job, I would be out in nature, wandering around outside, through the woods, across the countryside, taking pictures, enjoying the clean air, contemplating life, while alone in nature. Of course I wouldn't go too out of the way, because I do like civilization and people. I'm a rather social person. Over the summer, my family and I went out west. We started in San Francisco and drove all the way up the Pacific coast to Seattle. Along the way, we stopped at the Muir Woods, the Redwood Forest, multiple beaches with tide pools, a sea lion cave, a couple of national parks, a rain forest, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Olympus, Hurricane Ridge, and everything in between. It was amazing. We spent over a week hiking trails through the woods, along the ocean, and past lakes. I loved it. I took over 1200 pictures in 11 days. I've never run through my camera battery so quick. I was recharging it every night. Maybe that's what I could do. I could work in a national park. I could be in nature, still be social, and take pictures. The pictures could be for all the brochures that the parks have, maybe take pictures for the park's books. That would be a fun job. During this coming summer break, my family and I are going to The Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park. I'm so excited for that trip. I know that my camera will be put to use on that vacation too. ...good thing I got an extra camera battery for Christmas.

February 24, 2008

Readings 9 and 10

Reading 9
The Image by Kenneth E. Boulding
Key Words:
1. Image
2. Knowledge
Definitions:
1. Image: a picture built up in a mind as a result of all past experiences of the possessor of the image
2. Knowledge: information that is believed to be true by a person

Image is a key word because the author discusses how he forms an image of the world and what is influencing it. Knowledge is also key because knowledge has the power to shape and change the image. New knowledge might contradict the image, causing it to change.

Discussion Questions:
1. Has there been an event in your life that has caused your world image to change dramatically?
2. Has there been a time when you doubted your world image?

Reading 10
Mr. Palomar by Italo Calvino
Key Words:
1. See
2. Understanding
Definitions:
1. See: to perceive all of something without overlooking anything
2. Understanding: a mental grasp, comprehension

Mr. Palomar spent the day at the beach and did quite a bit of contemplating. While there, he focused on seeing things. He saw a wave, a woman, and a sunset. Then he tried to understand them all. He tried to understand how the wave moved from beginning to end. He tried to understand what type of seeing of a topless woman was acceptable. And he tried to understand the "sword" from the sun in the water, and where it went.

Discussion Questions:
1. Do you try to see things as clearly as Mr. Palomar?
2. Does seeing help you come to an understanding of a subject?

February 21, 2008

Different Perspective

I was standing at the bus stop by across from Jones Hall, waiting to for a bus to take me back to west bank after lecture today. As I was standing there, two people came up to the bus stop and stood behind me. They were discussing the lecture, but their discussion about it was much different than the one that I had just had with one of my friends in the class. The first words of their discussion that I heard were that the designed environment should not be a required class, and that there should be an architecture philosophy class for people who are actually interested in it. They were talking about how didn't understand the point of this class how it related to the profession of architecture. One of them said "it's just four walls and a roof, man" the other agreed with "yeah, and make it pretty." Their views on the class surprised me, well not entirely, because I know there are people in the lecture who find it pointless and play on their computers the whole time while sitting in the back. But their view on the class is so different than mine. I find the class inspiring. The slides are always filled with beautiful images and the lecture is filled with inspiring quotes and new ways of thinking. To me it is an eye opening to a different way of viewing the world. To me, the class is about seeing how architecture is more than just four walls and a roof that look pretty. It's about people, ideas, nature, life, hope, and dreams. Sure it may be hard to translate that into a building, but architects should think about how those apply to the buildings they design. A house that has been designed as "just four walls and a roof" doesn't really have much to it. It's just a place to sleep and eat and keep your things. But a house that has been designed with the people, their hopes, their way of life, and their ideas in mind has much more character and life, and it will become a home.fairytale cottage of carmel.bmp
If the designed environment is a philosophy class, then it is my kind of philosophy. I took intro to philosophy last semester and didn't like it at all (and that's an understatement). I couldn't care less why Frankfurt thinks we have free will, or what Kant's formulations are. I do, however, really enjoy talking about what makes a dwelling or a home. Or why it is important to have a sense of wonder.
Someone can be a great architect and never think of the building as more than some walls and a roof, but they could be so much more, if they took these ideas, and others that we have talked about in lecture, to heart.


taken by flikr member linda yvonne

February 17, 2008

Millennium Development Goal #3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women

The Millennium Development Goals:
1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
2. Achieve universal primary education
3. Promote gender equality and empower women
4. Reduce child mortality
5. Improve maternal health
6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
7. Ensure environmental sustainability
8. Develop a global partnership for development
(http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/)

I am going to focus on goal number 3: Promote gender equality and empower women.
This goal aims to eliminate gender disparity in primary and seconday education preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education no later than 2015. This entails decreacing the ratio of girls to boys in primary, secondary and tertiary education; decreasing the ratio of literate women to men, 15-24 years old; increasing the share of women in wage employment in the non-agricultural sector; and to raise the proportion of seats held by women in national parliments.
For this goal, I have collected some inspiring images, quotes, and songs.

Inspiring Images







evelyn.jpg
http://shemgroup.org/aboutus.html


poster-We-Can-Do-It.jpg
HistoryImages.com

nepal women.jpg
http://www.mountainfund.org/html_site/members/Womens/EWN.html


sba-arrested.jpg
http://www.in.gov/judiciary/citc/lessons/susan-b-anthony/index.html


Inspiring Quotes

"I'm just a person trapped inside a woman's body."
-Elayne Boosler

"If women are expected to do the same work as men, we must teach them the same things."
-Plato (427 BC - 347 BC)

"More countries have understood that women's equality is a prerequisite for development."
-Kofi Annan

"When we talk about equal pay for equal work, women in the workplace are beginning to catch up. If we keep going at this current rate, we will achieve full equality in about 475 years. I don't know about you, but I can't wait that long."
-Lya Sorano

"Men, their rights, and nothing more; women, their rights, and nothing less."
-Susan B. Anthony

"Does feminist mean large unpleasant person who'll shout at you or someone who believes women are human beings. To me it's the latter, so I sign up."
-Margaret Atwood

"Woman is the companion of man, gifted with equal mental capacity."
-Mohandas K. Gandhi

"There is no occasion for women to consider themselves subordinate or inferior to men."
-Mohandas K. Gandhi

"When people ask me why I am running as a woman, I always answer, 'What choice do I have?'"
-Pat Schroeder

Inspiring Songs


Love Song by Sara Bareilles


Don't Tell Me by Avril Lavigne

best of dianne reeves.jpg
Endangered Species by Dianne Reeves

February 13, 2008

The Second Site Visit

I went to Homework 'n Hoops on Monday, expecting to get some type of formal training. But when I got there, the person who normally does the training was not in, I think she was sick. So then I was told that I would either shadow a kid or tutor one of them if another tutor wasn't able to make it. But then Travis came over reminded Mauree that I was going to work in the computer lab, so then Mauree told me to forget everything he just said and I went with Travis to the computer lab. My job as the computer lab facilitator is to make sure the kids stay on track when they are in there. When they aren't in there, I get to work with a program called Terrapin Logo, which teaches programming. I am pretty sure that I've used that program before, like way back in first or second grade or something. There is something fimiliar about it that is driving me crazy. It's a pretty cool program. There is this little turtle that, when you type in a command, draws a line and the way to where you told him to go. The drawings can get pretty complex too.
Once 5 o'clock hits, I'm free to pack up the computer lab, put the computer lab stuff away, and then head home. I don't really do much, but I still feel like I'm being more productive there then I ever did while I was at Edison, even though I'm basically just playing games on the computer. I suppose there will probably be more kids in the lab when I go in next time, because this time, they weren't originally going to have the lab open for the kids, but I was there and they decided to open it up. Just 3 of them came in, all with their tutors, so I didn't really have to do much in watching them.
Now I don't go back again until the first Monday in March because I'm alternating with another girl. What really is a bummer, and I'm going to have to figure out what I'm going to do, is that one of the Monday's I'm supposed to go in is over spring break, and another is after school is out and exams are over. I'll have to talk to Travis about that.

February 10, 2008

Brisk, Blustery Bus Stops

Have you ridden a metro transit bus recently? I have. And when I did, I almost always checked out the metro transit site to figure out which bus or buses I needed to take and what time they came. Then the site always tells you to get to the stop at least five minutes early. So I go to my bus stop, about 7 minutes early because I'm paranoid bus stop bench.jpg I might miss the bus. It's cold outside, because, well, it's winter in Minnesota. (I lost feeling in my legs today it was so cold.) So I'm at a bus stop. and I'm waiting for the bus to come. I'm waiting and waiting. And the bus finally comes, about 3 minutes late according to my watch. So now I've been outside for 10 minutes. This stop that I'm at is on Riverside and 22nd across the street from the Jimmy Johns. There is no shelter there, no building close enough to the stop that I can stand inside until the bus comes. Nothing to block any wind. There is a bench, but it is cold and covered in snow. I'd rather stand. Then the bus comes, and I get on and regain feeling in my feet as it takes me to another BusStop_sign.jpg stop. I have to take a transfer, so now I'm standing at the bus stop on Central Ave NE and Hennepin Ave. There isn't even a bench there. There is an old, small, cement block building that isn't used for anything as far as I can tell. But there is nothing there that distinguishes it from any other patch of snow covered sidewalk, except for a metro transit sign on a pole. Since I'm now waiting for a transfer on a little patch minneapolis bus stop with lots o snow.jpg of sidewalk, I don't have the ability to wait inside for as long as I can before the bus comes, and then run out just in time to catch it. There is about a 15 minute gap between when I get dropped off to when my transfer bus comes. It's still cold outside. And windy. The bus finally comes, but now I have to carefully climb over the mound of snow that is left at the edge of the sidewalk by the plows. It's been walked on so many times from people climbing over it that it's a bit slick. I don't have a problem climbing over the snow, I'm young and have good balance, but it's inconvenient. However, what about the elderly, people in wheelchairs, people who don't have good balance, or just anyone who puts their foot down to hard, that might get off or on at that stop? They have a good chance of slipping, falling, and potentially getting hurt. I don't have a problem with the actual bus system. They do a good job getting to all the stops when they are supposed to, and if they are a bit late-I would rather have them be a bit late than early, when I might miss it because I wasn't out in time. There have been a few instances when the bus didn't come at one of the times it was supposed to, so I had to wait an extra 10 minutes for the next bus to come, but I'm sure there was a really good reason for it. It was annoying and slightly stressing at the time because I thought I was going to be late, but everything was ok. The thing I am not to happy about are the majority of the actual bus stops. In the frigid Minnesota winters, frostbite is easy to come by if outside, especially without a wind breaker. Bus shelters would also be helpful in the summer to shade the hot, burning sun.

stop_large.jpgMinneapolis does have many good bus stops, don't get me wrong. The really busy ones are big, properly lit, have heat lamps, and are glassed in on all sides, with small entry spaces, to block the wind and warm you up. The ones that are frequently used and on main roads, but not quite as busy, have shelters that block the wind and are lit, but don't have heat lamps. There are a lot of stops, though, that get their fair amount of use, but don't have a shelter, and some-not even a bench. According to Project for Public Spaces (PPS.org), a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people create and sustain public spaces, a bus shelter should be placed in "neighborhoods where buses run infrequently; commercial areas with frequent service and high levels of ridership; areas where security is a problem; neighborhoods where there are many older people; and areas where inclement weather is common." (PPS on bus shelters) In my short time as a rider of metro transit, I have come across stops that fit in with those descriptions, but do not have shelters.

Minneapolis should asses the stops to find out where there should be a shelter, but there isn't. They can conduct a survey to figure out how many people use each stop. It would be easy. Each driver would be given a chart with the columns representing the bus stop and the rows representing the day. At each stop, the driver would count how many people got on the bus and record it. This should be done for a few weeks to get an average rider frequency per stop. Also, each stop should be assessed as to it's qualities-in a residential neighborhood, low or high bus frequency, etc. The city could then use this data to find the exact locations for the shelters. If the city is worried they may not have enough funding, Project for Public Space has a solution. The city could use private contractors to construct and maintain the shelters. The contractors would be able to advertise in the shelters and the revenue gained from the ads would then be used to maintain the shelter. Also, every bus stop should be cleared of snow so the curb is easily accessible and the bench is usable.

Images (In order top to bottom):
http://picasaweb.google.com/Philip.Crandon/TravelerPart7TheTwinCities/photo#5102508959854903090
http://www.cts.umn.edu/Publications/ResearchENews/2005/11/index.html
http://picasaweb.google.com/Philip.Crandon/TravelerPart7TheTwinCities/photo#5102509114473725762
http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2005/07/11_olsond_transit/

Readings 7 and 8

Reading 7
The Profession and Discipline of Architecture: Practice and Education by Standford Anderson
Key Words:
1. Profession
2. Education
Definitions:
1. Profession: a career that requires specialized knowledge and often long and intensive academic preparation
2. Education: the action or process of training by formal instruction

The article talks of how the profession of architecture is very different from the architecture education. There isn't much overlapping of the two. "We might imagine a diagram in which the profession of architecture extends horizontally and is intersected, vertically, by the discipline of architecture. Thus the two realms of activity intersect; they are partially but not wholly coincident." They do have a lot to do with each other, though. The profession has given a lot of tips to the education to help the students get better prepared. There is only so much that the education can do to help the student get ready for the profession, however.

Discussion Questions:
1. How does architecture education cater to the profession?
2. How does research help the student get ready for the profession?

Reading 8
All You Ever Needed to Know You Learned In...: 1000 words for design students by Allan Chochinov
Key Words:
1. Design
2. Determination
Definitions:
1. School: where students go to learn
2. Determination: the act of deciding definitely and firmly

School is a key word because the list is for design students who are in school. While in school, students should do their homework, listen to gossip, get the most out of their classes, ask questions, work on presentation skills, photograph everything, do more than necessary, stay in touch with the news, work in groups, take any job, and get off campus. These are all to be done while still in school. Determination is key because without determination, the student would not do anything on the list, and they would not succeed.

Discussion Questions:
1. What are the benefits to working on a team?
2. Where in the cities could you go to be "submerged in the culture of design practice"?

February 6, 2008

Key Words for Readings 3-6

Reading Three
Genius Loci by Christian Norberg-Schulz
Key Words:
1. Dwelling
2. Place
Definitions:
1. Dwelling: The way in which people *are* on the earth.
2. Place: A totality made up of concrete things having material substance, shape, texture and color used to determine an "environmental character." It is given a character and is therefore a qualitative, "total" phenomenon, which cannot be reduced to any of its properties without losing its concrete nature.

Dwelling and place are two key words in the text because the text it describing the relationships between where people live and how they live there. It also describes how everything relates. When people talk of a place, they include everything that the place has to offer. They talk of how the space relates to the objects that are there, how the object placement creates an feeling, and how the feeling creates an overall atmosphere and character for the place. If one of the characteristics were to be taken away, then the place would not be the same. It would be different in atmosphere, and therefore a different place. Dwelling is important because it is how were react to the place that we are in. In order to dwell, people need to recognize how they "are", how they relate, how they impact the places and spaces around them. To dwell is more than just being somewhere and calling it home. It is the act of participating in the surrounding place.

Discussion Questions:
1. How do you dwell in the place live?
2. Is there any place that has an atmosphere you will never forget?

Reading 4
Is Design Political? by Jennie Winhall
Key Words:
1. Design
2. Politics
Definitions:
1. Design: to create something with a plan and purpose
2. Politics: the art and science of government; the relations between particular areas of expertise.

Design and politics are key words for this reading because they are what the article is all about. The article discusses how design can be political and influential. Design influences everything around us. We live in a designed world. The ballots that we vote with are designed. If they are confusing, people will fill them out wrong and the final tally could be wrong. That example is a direct connection between design and politics. The author of the article also talks of how one of his friends became a politician because he wanted to chance the world. That was the same reason that the author became a designer. Designers can influence the world. If they design an attractive shopping center, more people will be inclined to go in it. If they design attractive food packages, people will be more inclined to buy it. If a college is designed with attractive buildings and lots of green space, students will enjoy their stay more. Design influences the way people act and think about situations and products. Politics is influenced by design because the candidates have designed a slogan and a symbol to try and connect to the people. If they have designed their campaign well, they will connect, if they designed it poorly, they will not have as good a chance.

Discussion Questions:
1. Did design influenced what you ate for breakfast this morning?
2. How do certain deigns make your day more convenient?

Reading 5
In the Scheme of Things by Thomas Fisher, pgs 1-12
Key Words:
1. Flow
2. Survival
Definitions:
1. Flow: directional movement or development
2. Survival: continuation of existence

This chapter explains how everything is connected; how everything flows together. The boundaries between the career fields are slowly melting away. Previously, the architects were in charge of a project from start to finish. Now, there are construction consultants, construction managers, developers, and many other professions that are consulted even before an architect is called up. To survive, architectural firms have added these positions to their firm so they will be more attractive to customers. Also students need to survive. Not many firms want to train them, so the best are the ones who get the internships and jobs right out of school.

Discussion Questions:
1. Do you know of any companies, stores, etc. that have combined different professions under one roof to attract more customers?
2. What two professions do you think would be profitable if they were offered as one entity?

Reading 6
In the Scheme of Things by Thomas Fisher, pgs 91-102 & 115-122
Key Words:
1. Education
2. Practice
Definitions:
1. Education: the action or process of training by formal instruction
2. Practice: a professional business

There is a conflict between what the practicing architecture firms want and what the students are taught in school. The professionals want people who know what they are doing and can be left alone to be productive. However, the education that the students receive gives them little to no hands on experience. They have trouble finding jobs and internships because companies don't want to waste the time teaching them how to work in the real world. The students are then left hanging because how are they supposed to get the on the job experience need for a higher paying job, when no one wants to hire them and give them that experience.

Discussion Questions:
1. What are some ways the article says students could get on the job experience? Do you think they are good ideas?
2. How could firms better work with students to get them experience without using up much of their valuable time?

February 4, 2008

The first site visit

I went to visit the site that I'm going to volunteer at. It's called Homework 'n Hoops. It's an after school program where 2nd through 5th graders come in and work with a tutor on homework and then have recreation time. Already I can tell that I'm going to enjoy it. At Edison, I had nothing to do, I had no training what-so-ever, she didn't seem to appreciate that I was there to help her, and she didn't know what to do with me...so I just sat there. Not fun. I was at Homework 'n Hoops for 45 minutes, and already I feel welcome and appreciated. I met Maurie, he the guy in charge, then I met Travis, who gave me and two other guys a tour of the building (the building made me laugh, you walk around the corner and the style of building would change, there were stairs randomly in the middle of a hallway, it's almost maze like) and talked to us about the program and then we asked him questions. I will get my formal training next Monday (which I just realized is the Monday Beth leaves for Australia and I was going to see her off at the airport...shoot. Sorry Beth :'-( .) I'm kinda excited to volunteer there. It should be fun. I get to be the computer lab facilitator. I get to help the kids get were the need to be on the computer, help them if anything goes wrong, and maybe put together some Internet games?? Travis wasn't quite sure all that i would be doing, but that's about the gist of it. I'll find out more next Monday.

Getting to the site was easy too. All I had to do was get on the 2 right in front of Middle brook, get off on Pleasant and Franklin, and walk 3.5 blocks south through a pretty city neighborhood. Takes about 25-30 minutes. Definitely better than the 45 minute ride to Edison with a transfer in the middle.

February 3, 2008

Living River

Life is like a river. It never stops. It moves in one direction. It has rough patches, swift patches, slow patches, calm patches. It meets up with others. It flows past many different places. It has twists and turns. It has endless energy. It transforms the landscape. It has a destination.
pebbles broken and scraped by andy goldsworthy.jpg
The city is a location on the river of life. The river flows through and around the city, giving it life and energy. It starts out small. A person. A home. A career. A school. Then it grows. The person meets the people who live in the homes nearby. She meets people at the place she works. She makes friends at school. She and her friends are what bring life to the city. They move with the river, as part of the river.
minneapolis at night.jpg
The river effects the city. Bridges must be built across it to connect it.
As she goes about her daily business, she brings more energy to the city. When so goes to work, she brings her energy to get what needs to be done, done. When she goes to the grocery store, a smile at the cashier gives the cashier energy to continue being polite to all the customers, despite the mood he may have been in. When she goes out at night, she brings positive energy to the people around her as she laughs and has fun with her friends. The energy she brings with her as she move through the city effects everyone she comes in contact with, much the same way a river uses its energy to effect and change the landscape it flows through.
Everyone is connected. The way they interact allows the energy to flow from one person to another, transforming the city into a living river.
river14.jpg