May 6, 2008

Critique #1

There was a group in our section who had the same goal as the group I was in. The topic was goal 1: Eradication of extreme poverty and hunger. The area in the world they chose to work with was in China.


Their approach to the goal was significantly different then ours. I felt the majority of their project or at least their presentation was just a listing of facts. They seemed to have done their research but didn't really apply it to a solution to help achieve the goal. I think they could have used their research of the area and applied it to a possible solution rather than just telling what the conditions were and how things worked.

It was however nice to know that a group pick a country outside of Africa. I think a lot of groups directed there solutions towards places in Africa as it is a continent where a lot of people are in need.


Critique #2

The only honors group I really though gave an actual solution to a there goal was the group who did goal #3 Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women. I liked this group more than the others because I felt like they not only researched their topic but tried to find a solution which would help achieve their goal. I think a lot of the groups did a good job of presenting their goal and giving information as to why the area they chose would benefit from their help. I also think that is as far as some of the groups took their project. I think this group took their project to the next level even though their presentation was a little shaky. I really liked how they broke down there solution and used a visual to demonstrate how they would apply there solution to the area as well as why it would work.

April 3, 2008

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March 27, 2008

Social Design Issue - Going Green (a little)

Since moving to Minneapolis it is hard to ignore the hard fact that humans are incredibly wasteful. One of the major differences between my home town of Mankato and Minneapolis is the use of public transportation and bicycles as a source of transportation.

In Mankato, you maybe saw the city bus once, if you were lucky. Public transportation, a side from the occasional taxi (usually only used for a sober ride home after a night of drinking at the bars downtown), is almost non-existent. There are designated bus stops all throughout town with benches, and some even have a shelter, however they are rarely used for waiting for the bus to arrive. Usually their purpose is to accommodate the people watchers or kids who can't drive or have a car of there own who are waiting at the swimming pool, the YMCA and other local hangouts for family or friends to pick them up.

In Minneapolis t is quite the opposite. There are actually two bus stops right outside our apartment building, one for the # 11 and the other for the #2. And there are always people standing outside waiting for the bus to come and take them to school, the train, work, the bus line they need to transfer on to, the grocery store, the Twins game, the theater, etc. The list goes on and on. The point is that buses are used as peoples major source of transportation in the Twin Cities. Aside from the noise from the traffic outside my bedroom and the sometimes overcrowded bus I have no complaints. It is incredibly convenient to have the bus stops right outside our door. We can watch out the window for when the bus is down the block instead of having to wait in the cold and rain on certain days. It is also nice to not have to drive everywhere I need to go and pay for the gas and find a parking spot and pay for parking and find a place to park that isn't 5 blocks away when I get home. For the sixty-some dollars a semester it costs to ride the bus I save a lot of money.

green bus.jpg

What nice is that amazing enough there are even buses that use the major highways to transport people to the suburbs. However it seems that for as many people that ride the bus there are so many more who drive their cars. Some of them car pool, but for most there is only one person in the car. Imagine the affect it would have it have of those people would decide to take the train or the bus to work and school or riding with someone else to save on gas, money and pollution. A lot of people make the excuse that it is an inconvenience to have to wait and spend so much more time commuting on the bus or when car pooling. I say however, why don't we all stop thinking about ourselves for enough time to realize that sometimes an inconvenience may suck for you but it can make life so much better for someone else who will actually appreciate it. And what's more is that if you help out someone and they help out someone else eventually, sooner or later it will help out you.


Sorry a little bit of a rant there, I will get back to the topic. Another huge difference from Mankato is that in Minneapolis there are some many people who have gone to using there bikes as a source of transportation rather than just a source of exercise. Actually its like killing two birds with one stone. What is nice is that there are even some dedicated lanes for bike users which makes it safer for them. However, as I rode my bike to school today and yesterday I noticed that even though there are designated lanes in some places there are none in others. In addition to that, the lanes are poorly maintain and lead to bikers still having to ride out in traffic to avoid massive potholes and drains and manholes.


March 6, 2008

environment 1 to 2: different affects and their reasoning

When thinking of the designed environment I generally think about my surroundings and the routine I go through everyday. One of the best conclusions I can draw from the designed environment around me is how my like has changed since moving to Minneapolis. I am from a smaller city, but I lived in a township of the city so it was pretty much like a little town with no stores, only a golf course and a gas station, and a few other local businesses. Where I live in Minneapolis is also like a little community, Stevens Community if you are familiar with it. We have a gas station, lots of little local stores, there is a bakery down the road and banks etc.

I think a good example of a designed environment would be the U of Mn campus. For the most part I believe this campus is a pedestrian campus. Yes there are places to park and streets on campus to drive on but would a person really take that option. Maybe if you had to go from one bank to the other in less than fifteen minutes. None-the-less, if you want to make it anywhere on campus in a decent timely fashion walking and biking are going to be the best options.

So where do you park? well you can't park for free, each lot has a specific rate they charge per hour. And how do you get to these parking ramps? you have to weave through the pedestrian traffic through campus until you get to a ramp and hope that it is not full by the time you get there.
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What do most of use students do if we live off campus? we ride the bus or ride a bike.

February 28, 2008

Architecture with no restrictions

One thing I would like to try “architecturally� would be to design a building that would probably turn out like one of Picasso’s paintings. I mean I would like to travel and take pieces of several styles of buildings and piece them together like a puzzle. It would probably be ugly as hell abut it could be kind of interesting. It also may be a way to reuse parts of buildings/structures that are no longer habitable or able to be used. And because all the pieces were all from different regions in the world it could be considered the “Melting Pot� of all building styles.

Another thing I would like to try would be to construct a structure like the 3D puzzles I played with as a kid. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could live in a house shaped like your favorite famous person’s head, the Pharaoh’s of Egypt, Mt. Rushmore, or Homer Simpson (there would be plenty of space up top).

Homer Head.jpg


Another thing I would like to try architecturally would be to just cram all the ideas I had for a building all together and to see what I could come up with through deconstruction. A lot of the time this is how I feel when doing projects. I get a whole bunch of ideas and I need to just take of picture of each idea and lay them all out in front of me and then to work on them collectively by adding the ideas together or deconstructively by taking them apart.
Going through two architecture history classes I feel like puzzles are a lot of what architecture is. Whether it is taking old ideas and piecing them together to create something new, or piecing old styles with new styles, or new materials with old techniques or old materials with new techniques. To me it is all one big clay puzzle that you can piece together however you want to fit whatever need.

February 21, 2008

Inluences on choice for research project

"One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the LORD.
Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene he noticed two sets of
footprints in the sand: one belonging to him, and the other to the LORD.
When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand.
He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints.
He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life.
This really bothered him and he questioned the LORD about it:
"LORD, you said that once I decided to follow you, you'd walk with me all the way.
But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life,
there is only one set of footprints. I don't understand why when
I needed you most you would leave me." The LORD replied:
"My son, my precious child, I love you and I would never leave you.
During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints,
it was then that I carried you."


My grandmother gave this quote to me after I had knee surgery for the second time. It has been inspiring me ever since and I have always wished that we as people could be as passionate towards others as God is.

I was super excited to work on the Millennium Goal project. It has always been an aspiration of my to work with people who are less fortunate. I think that if you have something to give, then give it, even if it is only an idea or words of wisdom.

February 1, 2008

Andy Goldsworthy inspiration of energy

"Art as a form of nourishment, a way to understand the energy of life running through everything." Andy Goldsworthy. A quote from the movie that has stuck with me since I heard it. In a way he put into words something I have felt but have never known how to explain. Energy is a communication. It can be transfered from on thing to another; interpreted. It is a feeling you can get from something you see, a building, park or scene. Everything speaks to each other in some way or another. it is almost as if energy is a universal language. We moved into an apartment in downtown that was definitely at the highest end of our price range. It has the same features that the other apartments had but this particular one spoke to me. It is in an old hotel with many years of history, it was almost as if the walls told stories, I like the fact that they have a history. Its funny because this neighborhood used to be really bad so when ever I tell someone where i live they look at me as if wondering how I am still alive. on the contrary, the apartment is so inviting and inspiring. It has great energy that pulls you in and makes you comfortable. like the way on a trip through the woods you come to an clearing and when you get closer you realize the picture you can see is one that should be in a calendar for the month of April.
On the hillside below all the flowers are blooming and bursts of colors appear everywhere and the aroma is so strong you would think you had stuck your nose in a flower. the energy of the scene pulled you towards it, drew you to go beyond and seek out and find how beautiful nature can be. the plants and flowers talked to you with their energy. It is things like this that we can live for. the same can be applied as you come into the Twin cities. I knew coming up here there would be something great. in the suburbs it appears kind of like my hometown, just a little more compact. But there is something beyond, as you continue on 35w and eventually head towards downtown I can see the skyscrapers and they draw me in enticing me to come explore and see what I can find.
Goldsworthy did a similar thing as he ventured into the countryside around his home and looked beyond what was merely in front of him until he found something that called to him to come learn and explore and try new things.
He took things we would normally take for granted and look at then pass by and used them to create something even better. For example, the icicle sculpture he made was beautiful, not only in the structure he made but in the concept as he talked about the sunlight in relation to the sculpture.
It was amazing how the light from the sun illuminated the iced sculpture, but unfortunately it was as Goldsworthy said, "it is what makes it beautiful that also destroys it." The sunlight made the sculpture peak in its abilities but the heat from the sun is what destroyed the sculpture.
Through put the move Goldsworthy used natural materials to create his works of art that would overtime eventually return to the earth. The egg made of stone was the exception to this trend. I think it is great to be able to create something that will be around for years to come that will not have a negative impact on the earth, and will gain beauty with age.