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March 31, 2008

Readings 16 - 18

Reading 16
Biomimicry by Janine Benyus
Key Words
1. Nature
2. Imitation
Definitions
1. Nature: the qualities of an organism; the external world in its entirety
2. Imitation: follow a pattern, model, or example

Nature and imitation are key words because the chapter talks about how organisms in nature are being studies in order to imitate their properties in a man made object. An example used in the chapter was a case study of an oyster. They have the ability to glue themselves to the floor of the ocean and it is almost impossible to remove them from their bond. They also have an incredibly durable and strong shell. Science wants to copy these properties so that they can be used to benefit people.

Questions:
1. What properties of other organisms would benefit people if they could be imitated through science?
2. What is currently used by people that was inspired by something from the natural world?

Reading 17'
Nature's Numbers by Ian Stewart
Key Words
1. Pattern
2. Mathematics
Definitions
1. Pattern: a reliable sample of traits, acts, tendencies, or other observable characteristics
2. Mathematics: the science of numbers and their operations, interrelations, combinations, generalizations, and abstractions and of space configurations and their structure, measurement, transformations, and generalizations

Pattern and mathematics are key words because the article talks about how nature is full of patterns of numbers and shapes-patterns of mathematics. Examples used are the number of petals on a flower, the shape of sand dunes, ripples on the waters surface, and the shape of a snow flake.

Questions
1. What are some patterns of nature you know of?
2. What other sequences of numbers do you know of that are found in nature?

Reading 18
'Mathematics and Creativity', in The World Treasure of Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics by Alfred Alder
Key Words
1. Intellect
2. Creativity
Definitions
1. Intellect: the capacity for rational thought especially when highly developed
2. Creativity: the ability or power to create

March 9, 2008

Reading 15

Reading 15
The Search for Form in Art and Architecture by Eliel Saarinen
Key Words:
1. Form
2. Nature
Definitions:
1. Form: conveys the thoughts, feelings, and aims of man
2. Nature: inspires form, the surrounding landscape

This chapter tries to define form. It uses example from art and architecture to help, but then uses the subconscious, conscience, and self-conscience of man to further explain how form comes about. The basis for inspiration of all form in nature. It has inspired everything that has been know to be art. It inspired man to depict his surroundings on the walls of caves, to created weapons to defend himself, to create a shelter to protect himself, and to create art to decorate his shelter. Form exists because of nature and nature has inspired the creation of form.

Questions:
1. How has nature inspired you?
2. What are some forms that you have made that have been directly inspired by nature?

March 3, 2008

Readings 13 and 14

Reading 13
Nature and the Idea of a Man Made World by Norman Crowe pg 3-28
Key Words
1. Man-made
2. Nature
Definitions:
1. Man-made: the alternative to nature, created by artificial materials and built by people
2. Nature: the heavens, the seasons, landscapes, seascapes, plants, and animals

This reading is about how the man-made world interacts and is connected to the natural world. The things that people build and create all have an impact on the environment. This fact is hard for some people to grasp, so we are not working to create things that are environmentally friendly, and therefore nature is suffering.

Questions:
1. How does your man-made world fit into the natural world around you?
2. Has the man-made world, overall, taken up too much nature?

Reading 14
Nature and the Idea of a Man Made World by Norman Crowe pg 29-69
Key Words:
1. Settlement
2. Order
Definitions:
1. Settlement: the gathering of people into a permenent setting where they build homes and stay there
2. Order: to arrange in a pleasing manner

This reading talks of how the settlements were originally just one home in the woods, or in the middle of a field, and over time, more people would come and settle nearby. In time, a village would emerge and order would need to be in place. There was the ruling family, and the heads of the house from the rest of the families who would keep order in the village. Also, the way the villages were set up was orderly.

Questions
1. How is the need for order recognized in your home town?
2. Is your hometown a big or small settlement?

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 10, 2008

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?

January 30, 2008

Heidegger Says

I found the third reading to be very interesting and thought provoking. It is the philosophy of "place" and "dwelling" and other such terms. I took a philosophy class last semester and absolutely detested it, but this, I found interesting. The German philosopher Martin Heidegger is quoted many times throughout the reading, and much of what he is quoted on I found intriguing. Here are the quotes I liked, along with some from other people.

A Winter Evening by Georg Trakl
Window with falling snow is arrayed,
Long tolls the vesper bell,
The house is provided well,
The table is for many laid.

Wandering ones, more than a few,
Come to the door on darksome courses.
Golden blooms the tree of graces
Drawing up the earth's cool dew.

Wanderer quietly steps within;
Pain has turned the threshold to stone.
There lie, in limpid brightness shown,
Upon the table bread and wine.

Heidegger:
"Earth is the serving bearer, blossoming and fruiting, spreading out in rock and water, rising up into plant and animal..." "The sky is the vaulting path of the sun, the course of the changing moon, the glitter of the stars, the year's seasons, the light and dark of day, the gloom and glow of night, the clemency and inclemency of the weather, the drifting clouds and blue depth of the ether..."

"The way in which you are and I am, the way in which we humans are on the earth, is dwelling..."

"Finally the man-made environments comprise artifacts or 'things', which may serve as internal foci, and emphasize the gathering function of the settlement. In Heidegger's words: 'The thing things world', where 'thinging' is used in the original sense of 'gathering', and further: 'Only what conjoins itself our of world becomes a thing'."

"Spaces receive their being from locations and not from 'space'."

"A boundary is not that at which something stops but, as the Greeks recognized, the boundary is that, from which something begins its presencing."

"What then does ich bin mean? The old word bauen, to which the bin belongs, answers: ich bin, du bist, mean: I dwell, you dwell. The way in which you are and I am, the manner in which we humans are on earth, is buan, dwelling."

"'Full merit, yet poetically, man dwells on this earth'. This means: man's merits do not count much if he is unable to dwell poetically, that is, to dwell in the true sense of the word. Thus Heidegger says: 'Poetry does not fly above and surmount the earth in order to escape it and hover over it. Poetry is what first brings man into the earth, making him belong to it, and thus brings him into dwelling'."

From body of text:
"Only an inside can in fact have openings."

"Character is determined by how things are, and gives our investigation a basis in the concrete phenomena of our everyday life-world."

"To gain an existential foothold man has to be able to orientate himself; he has to know where he is. But he also has to identify himself with the environment, that is, he has to know how he is a certain place.

"Architecture belongs to poetry, and its purpose is to help man to dwell."