December 16, 2006

Final Blog!

Let me first say that this was a challenging read. I’m still not completely sure what Kahn is saying but we’re going to give it a shot anyway.

Gershenfeld’s class at MIT uses knowledge and information as a material in which to build ideas. It is a material that melds into what it knows, which then allows the idea of customization to come into play. One machine that knows one thing, and another with a different knowledge are going to produce to entirely different items. Gershenfeld emphasizes creating with what you already know, which in itself is unique, being that we all know different things to different degrees.

Kahn on the other hand focuses on this uniqueness in architecture. He give the example of light in architecture as, when it is manipulated in different ways, it can give a space a completely different focus or atmosphere. Kahn’s ideas about architecture state that the building comes from the mind first before the first structural foundations are laid. That ideas are art and art is what makes things unique, with endless possibilities.

While both ideas and knowledge are endless pools from which things can be created. Kahn and Gershenfeld have different ideas about where the designed world comes from. Is it the complexity of knowledge that allows precision customization from person to person, or the flexibility of art and ideas that produce a better work? Both are critical on creating. The knowledge in our minds must be paired with the ideas we possess in order to efficiently create new and better works.

December 8, 2006

Oppositions...(finally)

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Every time I hear the word ‘opposition’ I can’t help but think of one thing, a seesaw. The idea that one force pushed upon another until that force which it was pushing pushes back. Its an opposition of forces, of gravity, but can also be seen as a metaphor for many other push/shove relationships we encounter every day.

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We can see this on many scales, for example, in human interactions. One person pushed someone’s emotional buttons until that someone pushes back harder, and vice versa, something we like to call an argument. This emotional tension can be seen as an opposition of permanence and entropy, disorder verses stability in emotions. Much like a pitched tent will blow away with a gust of wind, so can a person be emotionally destroyed by emotions pushed beyond breaking.

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On a more global scale we have the issue of global warming, man versus nature. Man pushes nature by polluting her air, and nature pushes back with abnormally higher temperatures and the natural phenomena that go along with that. Not only is the opposition of man and nature present, but the resolution, in nature’s eyes, is also. These storms and threats of ice cap meltage are all nature’s responses and resolutions via eliminating the opposition that man is. Push, pull, action reaction, two forces against one another that create tension and unnatural phenomena that, without that opposition, would not normally exist.

Just as a building stresses its foundations, or its environment or it inhabitants, these same oppositions can be found all around us. It is important to observe these oppositions and resolve them in our designs so that the least about of tension is created, otherwise the wall just comes toppling down.

November 27, 2006

Technopolies...The Mother of all Blog Prompts!

After reading Postman's work and thinking about just the word 'technopoly' I came to find that the concept is most easily understood when you break the word up into its two components; monopoly and technology.

Monopoly:

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Textbook Definition: the exclusive possession or control of something.
Real World Examples: Wal-mart, Starbucks, DeBeers, local electric companies, cable providers

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Though in economics, it is illegal to form a monopoly on a certain commodity, in the world today we see certain companies, like those above, as poster children for their industries. We also see the devastating effects on other people in those same industries who maybe don’t have the same resources for rapid expansion. For instance, the disappearance of local, non-chain coffee shops, put out of business by the big time Starbucks chain. With the immergence of mass production and mass culture, the need for customized, personal service is slowly and unfortunately disappearing.

Technology:
Textbook Definition: the sum of the ways in which social groups provide themselves with the material objects of their civilization.
Real World Examples: Computers, cell phones, automobiles, anything that makes live easier

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Hand in hand with monopolies is technology. Without it, most monopolies would be unable to grow so rapidly. With the immergence of technology we not only see the remission of old time, hand crafted goods, but also the increased laziness of our society as a whole. We have transformed into a society which needs instantaneous results, partly due to how today’s technologies allow this to happen more and more. Take for instance, the TYME machine. Personal service is completely eliminated, no human contact, immediate results. Perfect, right? Sure, if you like interacting with a robot.

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The pairing of these two things is where we get the term technopoly. What first popped into my head after thinking about this was how robots are taking over the assembly line. Not only is this mass production and instant creation a technological jump, it monopolizes the jobs usually taken by human beings. Technology is a monopoly; it has exclusive control over the human race. This is what I feel a technopoly implies.
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November 6, 2006

Math in Architecture

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Mathematics has been a integral part of the design process practically since the art began. Geometry especially is generally the most recognizable type of math we see in structures. Pythagoras’ theories on geometric shapes and formulas, paved the way to math being a more important part of building.
Perhaps Pythagoras’ most familiar theory is the Pythagorean theory, dealing with triangular dimensions, used extensively in the design and construction of buildings such as the church below.
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Math can also be used in design for a more representational, rather than theoretical purpose. For instance the building below (Central Bank of Kuwait) portrays the basic geometries of Kuwaiti culture.
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More integral mathematics such as algebra and calculus go into buildings with more abstract patters, but none the less, have ties to mathematical theories and shapes such as parabolas, circles, and hyperbolic functions.
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October 23, 2006

Iron Vs. Steel

Iron: a chemical element, cheep and popular material; however it is brittle. Iron was used early on to reduce the need of load bearing walls, but was often covered by more traditional materials.Used primarily in grand projects like bridges and eventually was used without the need of support masonry. However, its uses are limited.

Steel: Iron+ Carbon alloy; hard, strong, and malleable. used for railroad tracks early because of its ability to be molded. Allowed for buildings with vast internal spaces to be contructed. First popularized in the US in the 1880's and first used overseas at the Ritz Hotel in England.

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October 9, 2006

the phenomena of fall

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Fall is a phenomenon that I have observed year after year and never really considered phenomena until I started thinking about it on the ride back to Minneapolis this afternoon. This idea of phenomena with any of he changing seasons is further seen when it is broken down into its components of things, frameworks, and clockworks.
The things, of the fall phenomena are easy to see. The trees, colored leaves, migrating birds, and crisp air are all things that indicate the coming of autumn by how they change in comparison to summer. The trees’ leaves turn from green to reds, oranges, yellows, and browns and eventually fall. The birds, instead of hanging around the local parks are absent, lying to warmer places. The air instead of warm on comfortable, becomes cool and brisk, as the winds gradually start coming from the north.
The frameworks of fall can be considered the types of birds or trees that change. For instance, only the trees that have leaves loose them, whereas pine trees are still standing green. While some birds flock south, others are here to stay, set in the autumn environment.
Clockworks of fall are easily found too, as the seasons are a cycle, one that renews every year. Even the turning and falling of the leaves can be considered clockwork since, after winter, they return to their original state, only to turn again the next year.
Autumn is my favorite, and most beautiful, in my opinion, time of the year. Some see it as a time of dying, but it is dying with grace, with the intentions of rebirth. It’s a cycle, a phenomenon in change.


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October 2, 2006

Genius Loci

For an ordinary old barn, this structure sure makes a statement in the woods of little Waukesha, Wisconsin. Few know its location, but for my friends and I it was a landmark. It was a building of contrasts in both its location and its character.

Its brick red exterior provided a stark contrast to the greenery around it in summer, and added a plash of color to its winter landscape as well. The brush around it fights for supremacy as it grows around and into its hollow interior. It is a playful building that grabs your attention and curiosity. However, its outside presents an entirely different picture from its inside.

The bright busy red is complemented by a dark and empty space, void of any previous use. Of any tools, tractors, or animals that may have been there in the past there is no evidence. The vibrance of its outside environment is completely depleted into shadows and darkness that is comfortable until the sun goes down.

As night falls, though, the entire building takes on an aura of mystery. It becomes a place where people go to get a good scare. Ordinary figures are distorted by the shadows created by its nearly windowless walls. It leaves one walking through and around it waiting, anticipating something to happen. The entire facade of the playful comfortable space is replaced with and almost awkward, uneasy feeling.

The contrasts of this place give it a complicated spirit, one that is changing with its contexts but consistent in that change none the less. It is a place that will always remind me and that I will associate with good times with great friends. It is a place I feel comfortable at, at home in, despite its constant mood swings, and one I will always see as beautiful.

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September 26, 2006

Graphic Design in the "Real World'

After doing a little searching on social design, I came across a group of people who use their skills as graphic designers to advocate and educate people about problems in their communities, called Design for Social Impact. They have a wide range of clients from AARP to Youth Service America, giving them a variety of community experience. Their featured project, which i was especially interested in was dealing with advocating the pros of green housing for both kids and their parents.

Te idea of green housing is particularly interesting to me because it uses the latest tecnologies and strategies to protect the natural world. It would definately be a cause I would enjoy learning more about and advocating myself, especially to the younger generations and new homeowners who have not already become accustomed and exposed to green housing.

The benefits behind green housing are many. They are heated by the sun, and made mostly of recyled materials. Not only does it make for a better environment, it gives its residence better living environments. Another organization, NRDC, is even starting to develop green housing at an affordable price. With organizations like this at work for green housing we will not only protect our world, but create more comfortable and inexpensive residences for people. That is why I would love to become informed and potentially an advocate to organizations who support green housing.

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September 17, 2006

Midtown Market

Simplicity is something hard to find in the world we live in today; or, at least it has been transformed. we invent machines that make things simple transforming simplicity from simple work to simple solutions. I see Midtown Market as a means of reinventing that old simple. It's energry is intricate yet traditional. Venders and customers are again united as the masses flock to buy fresh produce and other necessities. It's a different sort of energy than you see in the metropolitan of Minneapolis; a heartland energy, hard to find in the big city. This positive vibe leaks down Lake St. during its hours of operation as venders and artist share their goods with shoppers. Something like this, to me, is a relief to see. It's a break from the fast paced world of technology that we live in, however it has an energy all its own, no less intense, just more personal, more comfortable.

The way energy, used, and created exchanged at Midtown is equally inspiring. The colors, sounds, and smells of the market create its atmosphere. It's personal, making that hometown energy feel. Exchanges through people, products, crafts, art not only are typical of this market situation, they are used to make aquaintences, start conversations, relay ideas,and inspire others. These exchanges in energy lead to the creation of new energy. That new energy affects the community in a positive way, and keeps people coming back to this small town markent in a big city environment.