Main | March 2008 »

February 27, 2008

Blog Prompt #4

Prompt:

If you were completely released form the constraints of the "architecture school" program, what would you do architecturally, artistically, bodily, lyrically, etc. that woud still have an impact on your environment. Describe a real or imagined place which might allow you to do this.
Explore through images and text.

Ahhh, what would I do if I was free from all constraints?
Artistically?
Architecturally?
Bodily?
...Lyrically?

Well...I am not by any means an Aretha Franklin, so I will rule out any singing that's not in the shower right now...
Poetry lyrics would be nice though...

Anyways, back on topic.

To start off with, I don't think I would do away with the constructed form of a "school" completely. I like "school" and I like to learn. I like being in an intellectual environment where everyone is in search of knowledge and education. It's moving and motivating. If I had a choice, my desired place of study would still be a campus. It would, however, be in a different place and of a much different form...

For some reason, I just find living in the city stressful. Overwhelmingly stressful at times. Most of my days here have been rushed and confusing. I wake up at 6:00 a.m. (or earlier) and walk twenty minutes in the cold to go through an hour and a half of weightlifting four days a week. Then, I have to rush/run to take a bus to class, either on the west bank of campus or St. Paul. Following that, I have more classes, all involving me running like a mad woman around campus. I might make it back to the dorms to (hopefully) have time for lunch later before I have to walk over to Bierman to get ready for track practice. Then, I either have practice (or more class and then practice) which concludes with me walking back to Bierman to ice down and change. Next I walk all the way back to the Superblock for dinner. Then, there are several hours of homework before me. And all throughout this madness, I am dodging traffic, avoiding bikers and angry horns, and slipping by the masses of people (while trying not to slip on the ice). I'm actually getting a headache just thinking about it. I like the excitement and opportunities that a city can offer, but I dislike the noise and commotion.

My ideal locale for my architectural education would be somewhere peaceful, serene, and beautiful. It wouldn't be completely in the middle of nowhere, but on the edge of it...and on a lake. I can image a grand cabin with light flooding every room. There would be millions of interesting books and rooms in the building, housing great teachers that are more like friendly, wise grandparent-ly figures than intimidating professors. It would be quiet when it needed to be, but happy and chaotic when it was called for. There would be lots of breaks for recreational activities like boating, running, camping, or biking. Naps would be encouraged. Ice cream consumption would be required. "Family meals" and social gathering would also be advocated since there would not be too many students. There would be classes on all kinds of subjects, from fencing (I've always had a strange desire to try it..) to psychology to to computer science, music theory, ecology and art. There wouldn't be any need for strict grades or due dates, really. The only individuals that would stay at the cabin would be those personally seeking knowledge and answers, and would thus be driven to learn.

Voyageurs, jump team, tante birthday 045.jpg

It would be located near a small community and not too far away from the big city life, as to take full advantage of the things both have to offer. There would be many, many outings into town to perform volunteer work and on-site learning of building construction. We would be able to shadow some of the great architects of our era and learn all about their innovative thinking and practices. At the same time, we would also work with small independent architects, learning the ins-and-outs of their trade and client relationships. I think that these small "mom and pop" architects are just as important as those getting commissions for huge skyscrapers and museums.

SanDiegoArchitect.jpg

040820_timacheff_AthensOlympicFencing_3502.jpg

pho_ice_cream_sundae.jpg

Since money would not be a problem (hey, no constraints, right?), traveling would be a necessary ingredient to my architectural education. The most far-away, exotic place I have ever been is Winnipeg and South Dakota (it actually was pretty exciting) I would be extremely disappointed if went through my entire life without experiencing different areas and cultures. Therefore, we would organize trips to everywhere and anywhere across the United States and globe. Australia, Russia, South Africa, Mexico, France, Greece, Brazil, Scotland, India - we'd see them all! While in these countries, we'd always have our cameras with us, photographing what we would see and experience. Famous museums, architectural wonders, and cultural centers would all be on our sight-seeing list. It would also be necessary for us to spend time in the poverty-stricken and destitute areas we visit so we can better understand how we, as architects, can do our part to improve the lives of everyone across the world.

Mostly, my architectural learning would be "free". We'd be free to experience the land and culture around us, to flow in and out of different subjects and topics. By allowing us to become diverse in knowledge and in spirit, I think we would be better prepared to create designs that would improve and advance the environment around us.



(photos from http://www.careersserviceni.com/NR/rdonlyres/DC75518C-E716-4A6A-B0AA-FBE850F3FCE0/0/architect1.jpg, http://www.washingtonfencing.com/, http://www.paddlin.com/Voyageurs.htm, http://www.uec-hawaii.com/images/pho_ice_cream_sundae.jpg)

February 24, 2008

Reading #10

Discussion questions/keywords/summary from/of:

"Mr. Palomar" by Italo Calvino
pages 3-18

Discussion Questions:

1.) What do you picture Mr. Palomar to look like?
2.) What do you think about Mr. Palomar's thought processes?


Keywords:
1.) contemplating - In this text, contemplating is a thought process that requires the "right temperament, the right mood, and the right combination of exterior circumstances."
2.) neurasthenia - I was confused on its meaning, but according to www.dictionary.com, it is defined as "nervous debility and exhaustion occurring in the absence of objective causes or lesions; nervous exhaustion."


Summary:
The text is very detailed, describing fully nearly all possible thought processes you could have about a certain thing. It follows the character of Mr. Polomar as he tries to observe everything there is to see about a single wave, as he tries to determine the best way to view a naked women's breasts, and as he seeks the true meaning of the light "sword" cast by the setting sun.

Reading #9

Discussion questions/keywords/summary from/of:

"The Image" by Kenneth E. Boulding
pages 3-18

Discussion Questions:

1.) Boulding says that "part of the image of the world is the belief that this image is shared by other people like ourselves who also are part of our image of the world." What would the world be like if this were not true - if there was no shared image anywhere?
2.) Can you give an example from your life where your culture has a produced in you an image different from another? What do you think could have made their image different?


Keywords:

1.) universe of discourse - This is a term used to describe the growth and development of common images in conversation and linguistic intercourse.
2.) Image - Image is what governs our behavior. It is the image of the world, created by our changing knowledge of things, that we use to guide us through life.


Summary:
Boulding describes in "The Image" how it is a changing knowledge, contributing to an overall image, that governs our behavior. Behavior depends on whatever image of the world we hold. We are constantly receiving messages from everything around us, but they are not necessarily impacting our overall image because our image is resistant to change. Messages undergo a personal value-check when they enter our perception, and we judge their validity and stability in relation to our previous image. Depending on the frequency or source of the message, it may completely overturn an aspect of our image, induce doubt, reinforce it, or clarify it. Though we all have our own value systems and image of the world, we work with the understanding of a shared reality.

February 18, 2008

Blog Prompt #3

Prompt:

Propose a set of images, quotes and a playlist of songs that influence your values with regard to your selected Research Project Millennium Development Goals.

Explain.

*Note: Some of the visuals in this entry are graphic. Disturbing as they are, images like these occur around the world each and every day. They are part of a horrible truth that, sadly, some choose not to acknowledge or are simply unaware of.



"Save the Children" - Sung by Essie May Brooks



"There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child.

There are seven million."

- Walt Streightiff




cutechild.jpg





"Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see."

- John W. Whitehead, The Stealing of America, 1983





PicBaby28.jpg

darfur_child_starving-1.JPG





"If we don't stand up for children, then we don't stand for much."

- Marian Wright Edelman





hiv-aids-south-africa-large.jpg

1378594Small.jpg





"It takes a village to raise a child."

- African Proverb





1075268040_c5e6f4bca8.jpg

hunger.jpg

07_poor_children.jpg





“Children are the world's most valuable resource

and its best hope for the future?

- John F. Kennedy




HPIM0828.JPG

Palestinian+Kid+with+Gun.jpg

pict66.jpg





"Nothing you do for children is ever wasted.

They seem not to notice us, hovering, averting our eyes,

and they seldom offer thanks,

but what we do for them is never wasted."

- Garrison Keillor





lg_kids_playing.jpg

13child-600.jpg

10 dead-child-2.jpg





"Live not for your tomorrow but for the tomorrow of your children."

- Evangeline Trevino





asian_girl.jpg

dirty kid_hor4.jpg

0021172.jpg









Millennium Goal #4 - Reduce Child Mortality

Nearly 11 million children under the age of 5 die each year across the globe.
That breaks down to over 1,200 children perishing every single hour.
That breaks down to 20 children passing away every single minute.
By the time you have finished listening to this song, almost 140 children will have lost their lives.


Keep in mind – these are just children under the age of 5.


And here's the clincher - nearly all of these deaths are preventable.


Starvation, disease, unclean and unsafe living conditions, contaminated water, abuse, neglect, lack of medical care, war, and violence are claiming the young and innocent.

Every year, across the globe, children are dying from these avoidable situations.

Look at the faces of these children above. Some are happy and joyful, but you just can’t shake the pleading and helpless form of the children who are desperately thin and frail. The faces of all these vulnerable human beings (and the songs and videos of earnest sorrow concerning them) are my influence and motivation. Currently, in an impoverished country, mortality rates for children under the age of 5 are as high as 1 in 10. For wealthier countries: 1 in 143. Regardless of race, gender, or class, every single one of these children deserves to grow in a safe and healthy environment.

This is the aspiration of the Goal #4 of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals created in September of 2000 – to reduce child mortality. By 2015, the aim is to decrease the mortality rate by two-thirds. It’s objective is to provide a world environment more greatly committed to increasing child survival.

On of the mottos of the MGD is “No Excuses.? It is featured in everything from their advertisements to their white rubber support braces. When you look at the faces of the young children above and see their contentment, pain, and defenselessness, you cannot conjure an excuse for their suffering. There simply is none. Thus, we need to do everything in our power to help those who cannot help themselves. We need to reach out our hands and work together to save lives and reduce child mortality.

No excuses.





Also on the playlist:



"Angel" - Sung by Sarah Mclachlan





"Where is the Love?" - Sung by Black Eyed Peas featuring Justin Timberlake





Child mortality and a beautiful song - "Breathe me" by Sia



Very sad video - graphic content





Videos from Unicef on child mortality and current progress toward Millennium Development Goal





millenniumcampaign.org millenniumcampaign.org

Banner ads featuring celebrities from the Millennium Development Goals Campaign





(Quotes and pictures from : http://www.wisdomquotes.com/002062.html, http://religion.beloblog.com/archives/darfur_child_starving.JPG, http://www.public.iastate.edu/~jwcwolf/ClassSyllabi/hunger.jpg, http://www.ourworldfoundation.org.uk/effects-nof.htm
http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1312/1075268040_c5e6f4bca8.jpg
http://www.carto.net/neumann/travelling/china_tibet_2001/19_pass_kampala/
http://www.ehponline.org/docs/2005/113-12/cutechild.jpg
http://quotes.gaia.com/topics/children/
http://www.cehl.org/elements/uploads/asian_girl.jpg
http://www.crsattic.com/archives/2005_09.html
http://iraq-kill-maim.org/kid-kill/pict66.jpg
http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2007/09/13/world/13child-600.jpg
http://thinkexist.com)

(Child mortality statistics from http://www.millenniumcampaign.org/site/pp.aspx?c=grKVL2NLE&b=186384)

February 17, 2008

Reading #8

Discussion questions/keywords/summary from/of:

"All you Ever Needed to Know..." by Allan Chochinov
http://www.core77.com/design.edu/09.04_chochinov.asp

Discussion Questions:

1.) In his "1000" words, Chochinov gives some pretty good design advice. In your experience, is there any advice you think should be added to this list?
2.) Do you feel that teachers and professors here at the University of Minnesota truly are "working for you" and not the other way around?


Keywords:

1.) gossip - Gossip as used in this article is essential to a designer. It is the "word on the street." It is important to get the down-low on different classes and topics that might be of interest/trouble.
2.) "auditing a class" - Auditing a class means "attending a class and doing the reading" but basically not getting credit or doing homework. It is recommended by Chochinov.


Summary:
Chochinov gives exactly "1000 words" of important design advice in bolded sections. He stresses to:
-pay attention to gossip
-do your homework
-get the most out of your money by putting in extra time for class
-remember that teachers are there to work for you (you already paid, right?)
-work on your speaking/presenting skills
-document/photograph all your design projects/processes
-audit classes
-keep up to date in current news events
-explore design life off campus
-work in groups and cooperate
-and finally, to take any opportunity/job you can get in the design field. The more experience, the better.

Reading #7

Discussion questions/keywords/summary from/of:

"The Profession and Discipline of Architecture: Practice and Education," in The Discipline of Architecture, Julia Robinson and Andrzej Piotrowski, eds. by Standford Anderson
pages 292-305

*I'm sorry this is being posted so late. I went home for the weekend and the weather on the way back to the cities was pretty bad, so the ride back took longer than expected :(

Discussion Questions:

1.) In this article, Anderson basically says that a doctorate in architecture would not be beneficial to anyone or anything. Do you agree or disagree? Why?
2.) Anderson also says that architecture, though it stands in relationship to many other areas of knowledge like science and art, it cannot be called a composite of those areas. However, I know someone who double majored in art and math as an undergrad and is now in graduate school for architecture. Couldn't you argue, then, that architecture is truly a composite of many different subjects?


Keywords:

1.) architecture as a "discipline" - Architecture as a discipline uses a "collective body of knowledge that is unique to architecture and, though it grows over time, is not delimited in time or space." It more involves the research and study of different architectural elements/aspects and is not about synthesizing them in material buildings.
2.) architecture as a "profession" - Architecture as a profession involves synthesizing a physical artifact (a.k.a. a building). In the profession of architecture, you must pay attention to concerns that are not "intrinsically those of architecture while certain forms of architectural knowledge are strategically excluded."


Summary:

This excerpt covers the key differences between architecture as a discipline and architecture as a profession. Though varied, the two are directly related. They are described as running perpendicular to each other, with the profession running horizontally and the discipline intersecting vertically. The key difference (as I see it) between the them is that the profession deals with the actual application of architectural skill and other knowledge into building and creating while the discipline is concerned more with covering research and specific aspects of architecture. It is not concerned with producing structures. Standford also touches on the subject of a potential doctorate in the field of architecture. While some are all for this proposal, he describes it as an "unfortunate example of degree inflation." He says that the architectural education already overqualifies its graduates and that striving for a doctorate is not necessary and could even be detrimental to the profession and discipline aspects. He does say, however, that additional research in architecture could be beneficial if proper funding is generated and if the architectural society would be willing to accept and embrace it's findings.

February 10, 2008

Blog Prompt #2

Prompt:

Find a social-design issue - here in the Twin Cities.
Document it.
Become an advocate for it.

Stop for a moment and consider this:

• In a recent research study, it was calculated that there are approximately 3,000 homeless people in Hennepin County and more than 9,200 in Minnesota.

• A third of these people are children.

• More than half of the homeless people said they'd been homeless more than once in the past three years.

• In the 2005-2006 school year Minneapolis Public Schools worked with 4600 children and youth that experienced homelessness at some point during that school year.

• About 28 percent of homeless adults have a job.

• Nearly 40 percent of homeless people said they lost their housing because they couldn't afford rent. Mental health issues, chemical dependency, lack of education and incarceration were also cited.

• One in four homeless men is a military veteran; about 625 veterans are homeless on any given night.

• Nearly half of all homeless people in the Twin Cities are black.*

Homeless cuddling dog by Kirsten Bole 100 dpi_Full.jpg

In truth, these numbers did not shock me.

I have lived in Minneapolis for less than four months and have already seen these statistics firsthand. I walk through Dinkytown daily and it is not uncommon for me to see the homeless. There are countless reasons as to why they are without shelter. The bitter-hearted may argue that it is their own fault and a direct result of their poor decisions. But this is simply untrue in most cases. As these statistics show, many homeless do have jobs but simply cannot afford rent. Others find it nearly impossible to obtain a job, due to unfair racial profiling or given their criminal past and health/education issues. Whatever the case, by direct fault or not, these people have as much of a right to safe and secure housing as anyone else and cannot find it currently in the Twin Cities.

In the summer of 2006, the city of Minneapolis and Hennepin County passed a plan entitled “Heading Home Hennepin.? In this collaborative and ambitious effort, thousands of volunteers and community and government organizations are seeking to completely eliminate homelessness by the year 2016. Centered on six major goals and more than 50 “action steps,? this pressing social issue will hopefully be eliminated within the next ten years.

Minneapolis and Hennepin County are taking positive leaps toward ending homelessness, (which is certainly a lot more than what some cities are doing), but it will take some time and great effort from each and every one of us to achieve the final result. Rome wasn't built in a day and housing for those in need unfortunately won't be either. It may be ideological to think that homelessness can ever be completely eliminated, but the only way we can ever have a shot at it is through programs like these. Heading Home Hennepin presents a lofty but necessary goal. If we collaborate and unite for this common good, we can give it a fighting chance. Hopefully, in a matter of years, every person from Dinkytown to all reaches of Minnesota will have somewhere safe and warm to reside.

The Heading Home Hennepin Plan - full PDF
Download file

An update on the Heading Home Hennepin Plan as of August 2007 - PDF
Download file


(*statistics are from the Star Tribune – www.startribune.com - and the Heading Home Hennepin website - http://wwwa.co.hennepin.mn.us/portal/site/HCInternet/menuitem.3f94db53874f9b6f68ce1e10b1466498/?vgnextoid=ed9be74bbcbb3110VgnVCM1000000f094689RCRD&vgnextfmt=default)

(Photo from http://www.ehow.com/how_2031974_help-pets-homeless.html)

Reading #6

Discussion questions/keywords/summary from/of:

"In the Scheme of Things" by Thomas Fisher
pages 91-102, 115-122

Discussion Questions:

1.) In these chapters, there is an argument presented by Robert Gutman of Princeton University that architectural education should be removed from university affiliation. How could this affect the value of an architect?
2.) Thomas Fisher also presents that architects must learn to create under tight deadlines and speed the creative process. Do you agree or disagree with this? Should architects have more expandable creative time?


Keywords:

1.) "virtual" firm - A virtual firm is an organization that exists across a wide territory without having central office or even a central firm. It can be a strategic alliance or affiliation between several smaller firms or professionals to work together to compete on larger projects, share information, and achieve economic gain without being face to face.
2.) teaching office - The teaching office is an educational idea for architecture in which students would learn history and theory in school and then work under architects and teachers in select offices for credit. This would allow the office not to pay the students and would bring the educators and practitioners into close contact.


Summary:

These chapters discuss an unrest towards the education of the architect and his place in the world. According to Fisher, architectural practice has become one of the major design problems of our time. The duties of the architect and even the context around the architect have been demoted, resulting in architects adding less value to a project and "so commanding lower fees and less respect." Thus, there is a push for architects to become involved in all aspects of a building throughout its lifetime so that they can hold clients and gain major commissions. There is also a push for architects to re-establish their boundaries, gain a wide breadth of knowledge (yet still be able to specialize), and to begin offering more services. With this push on the architects, it is also presented that there is a desperate need to change the way that architects are educated. Fisher elaborates on the need for a greater relationship between architectural education and practice. In the stressful and pressured world of commissions and projects in an architectural firm, some balance needs to be reached between allowing students internships and education without risking the legality, competency, and profitability of the firm.

Reading #5

Discussion questions/keywords/summary from/of:

"In the Scheme of Things" by Thomas Fisher
pages 1-12

Discussion Questions:

1.) To quote the text, "Universities have traditionally been bulwarks against the most extreme aspects of the marketplace, but even here, survival of the fittest has begun to take hold on many campuses. Departments are increasingly valued according to the amount of money they bring in..." In your day to day life, how have you seen examples of this here at the University of Minnesota Twin-Cities?
2.) The world calls for architecture grads that can recruit and lead the most versatile teams and be entrepreneurial in the application of their knowledge. As undergrads, what can we do to be entrepreneurial in our knowledge now?


Keywords:

1.) "world of flows" - This term is used to describe our world today. A "world of flows" has no boundaries and work/capital can move across the globe to areas where it can be best produced or used. Information travels within seconds to anywhere and people drift in and out of jobs without much stability.
2.) transdisciplinary - Transdisciplinary means across many disciplines. It is used in the text to help illustrate the needs of modern architects to have a broad range of knowledge and to be able to collaborate with many other professions.


Summary:
Thomas Fisher talks greatly about how our world is changing and what that means for the modern architect. There is a growing skepticism of professionalism and a socioeconomic drift to a state more like the natural world. Even the universities, which have previously been firm against such change, have become a more "survival of the fittest" and darwinist environment. But stemming from this, there has been great innovation. There is a call for designers and architects to participate in more project based learning and to be engaged in the all aspects of the life cycle of a project. It stresses that architects need to depend more on their ability to cross into other disciplines and to become counselors to clients, even if there is "no major construction project on the horizon."

Reading #4

Discussion questions/keywords/summary from/of:

"Is Design Political?" by Jennie Winhall
http://www.core77.com/reactor/03.06_winhall.asp

Discussion Questions:

1.) The main focus of this article is based on discussing how design is, in fact, political. What are some arguments that could be made against this statement?
2.) This question was brought up by the reading, but never fully answered: "Are designers responsible for the consequences of their designs?" What do you think?


Keywords:

1.) "designers as facilitators" - In this article, they describe designers as facilitators or enablers of design. This illustrates the concept of design projects being done with and by users instead of strictly by specialists dictating what the people want to do.
2.) consequence - It is the result of action or effect. As used here, the presence of consequence is a key element to making something "political."


Summary:

The center of this article is on how design in our world is always political. As the text claims, "Design is political because it has consequences, and sometimes serious ones." It illustrated that the two subjects are greatly interwoven. Politics challenges the "status quo" and seeks to make the world a better place. Many designers claim the same motive. Politics is about values. Design is ultimately a means of embodying values and ideology. Designers, like politicians, have the power to help shape society in both negative and positive ways.

VICTORY!

I figured it out! Whoop! Whoop!
maybe?
test test test....
Yay! I am going to go celebrate and eat a banana...

February 9, 2008

Reading #3

Discussion questions/keywords/summary from/of:

"Genius Loci" by Christian Norberg-Shultz

Discussion Questions:

1.) In the text, the author is quoted saying, "We have pointed out that
different actions demand places with a different character. A dwelling has
to be 'protective', an office 'practical', a ball-room 'festive'.." Is this
always true? What would it mean to defy this point?

2.)The author is also quoted saying that character is "a more general and
concrete concept" than space. Shouldn't the opposite be true? I always
thought that the character of a place was determined by the discretion of
the viewer, while space is a more set area of different sizes (large
outdoor space, closet space, etc.).


Key words:

1.) Phenomenology - As used in the text, it is a sort of study of our "life
world," a "return to things." It can combine aspects of ontology,
psychology, ethics, aesthetics, and architecture.

2.)Genius Loci - Genius Loci is the spirit of a place. It is the "sense"
you get of a place from it's culture and character.


Summary:

This excerpt discusses the phenomenon and structure of a place. Character
is described in great depth as an aspect of all places. It is a result
of the place's material and formal construction. Places can change with
time and the structure of a place is ultimately not fixed. However, the
"genius loci," or spirit of a place, can resist change and live on. It is
valuable for a person to experience different places and feel different
spirits and characters. However, we cannot be "free" from dwelling and
calling one place home. All people have some sort of orientation toward a
particular environment and identify with it. When they are away, they feel
uneasy and lost. Inevitably, it is a part of them and they are a part of it.

Lame-o

I've spent countless hours battling my computer illiteracy this past week by reading up on the Movabletype platform and html and I still can't figure out how to italicize or bold a sentence. Go figure.

Blog Prompt #1

Prompt:

Inspired by Andy Goldsworthy (and our discussions today), document and investigate, through text and image - this idea of energy, flow, and transformation through the city.

While watching the "Rivers and Tides" documentary on Scottish artist/sculptor Andy Goldsworthy, I am sure most people couldn't help but think that dear Andy was a bit....creepy. From his talk of art "given to the sea as a gift" to his fanatical obsessions with black holes, meandering curves, and the "violent and shocking" color red, each scene depicted him to have an odd and very peculiar sort of character. Some might have even concluded that Goldsworthy was a few bricks short of a load (if you know what I mean..) and slightly off his rocker.

I would agree that Goldsworthy did come across as being a bit eccentric. The film and music was gauged even to present him in this way. But the only thing I believe that separates us from Andy Goldsworthy is an extreme awareness of nature. In the film, his behavior came off as bizarre when really it was just a deep demonstration of the great appreciation he has for nature and the flowing energy it exudes. He is so incredibly in tune with the natural environment that he is able to channel this understanding into creating works of art that are more of an extension of nature than anything else.

goldPebbles1.gif

Yes, Andy Goldsworthy was fascinated by the processes of nature. In his enthrallment and captivation in it, he cleverly noted that the real work behind it all is change. The sea and the rivers ebb and run, undulating in energy and constantly flowing and transforming. In class, Professor Saloojee also gave us a quote that stated “the real work of nature is change – a creative agent, force, or principle in the universe, acting as a creative guiding intelligence.? Keeping along this line, I feel it is important to discuss how I think it differs from place to place – specifically, from the pureness of nature to city bustle.

Coming from a small town, I feel like I have a pretty good sense of nature and the change that rocks its world. I live on 40 acres of land, miles outside of any town, and all my life I’ve been aware of the changing seasons and environment that time has brought. I’ve seen firsthand the subtle work brought about by flowing water, sunlight, and gentle breeze. I’ve seen gardens grow, apple trees blossom, and observed nature die only to be reborn again in spring. There is certain energy about nature. It is calm and steady, constantly there. It flares in violent blizzards and thunderstorms, but dies down to an ever-present hum of life. These are the things I have come to realize since the beginning. They are very much a part of who I am.

Now that I am here in Minneapolis, living life in the city, I feel a kind of energy, flow, and transformation that I have never encountered. In a single day in Dinkytown, I have heard more blaring car horns, roaring buses, and screeching brakes than in my whole existence. And this howl of energy has a much different connotation that I am used to – car horns in my hometown mean a friendly greeting or that someone has just gotten married. They are not a sign anger and frustration.

Nature has its own way of getting things done and affecting change. It is gradual for the most part, slowly and steadily doing its tasks. The city has an urge to speed this process through human control. In the city, this energy and driving change similar is to nature, but incredibly different. It’s accelerated a million and a half times, harried, anxious, and suppressing – adrenalin-ridden. Everyone here is going somewhere, doing something, needing, wanting, and searching. The basic change and energy of nature is still there, silently working, but the concrete and steel force of the city flow masks it, surging powerfully forward, never stopping and never ending. Sometimes, I find myself just longing to be in a forest or field, smelling rain and damp earth instead of car exhaust and garbage.

I wonder if Andy Goldsworthy feels as out of place in city life as I do.


Excerpts from "Rivers and Tides" - Music well chosen.



Change in nature.



Hectic city life of Tokyo.

February 6, 2008

Confession

I admit – I have never been a reader of blogs. Okay, occasionally I have stumbled across them when the all-powerful Google Search has displayed them in my results, but I have always felt slightly out of place reading them. Kind of like…I was secretly reading someone’s diary. Stealthily. Behind their back. In addition, I can’t help but have some feeling of displacement when I do in fact read them. It’s almost as if I have been plopped down in the middle of a continuing story. I have to seek out the beginning to find out why I am here and exactly what the heck is going on. Rather unsettling.

But despite these feelings of awkwardness and unease toward blogs, I also have to admit – I have entertained the idea of writing my own. Not really seriously, mind you, but I have thought about it. For a short period of time when I was younger, I used to religiously keep a journal. Each night before I went to bed, I would compose a handwritten scribble of the day’s events (I remember a particularly long entry I wrote in fifth grade when we had a cruel and tyrannical substitute teacher. Oh, the drama.). After I’d finished, I would expertly stash it behind my bookshelf, away from the devious intentions of my three younger brothers. I stopped after some time when I became “too busy? and “too tired?, but I was always amused when I took the time to look back and re-read what I had recorded. It would help me to remember things about my life that I had long forgotten. I enjoyed looking back and rediscovering my childhood self.

Now, I view a blog as a sort of “online diary,? there to publicly document life from anywhere a person is in the world. I would never really expect anyone to read my writings or care about my lonesome thoughts, but I like the idea of having it there to reflect upon – to recall life as I once knew it. As I find myself in a class that directs us to create our own personal blog, I guess today is as good as ever for me to begin.

So here it is. My blog. My life. My chronicles. Brought about through the requirements of Architecture 1701, but spiked with my own random thoughts and ramblings. Read it if you want. Skip over it if you’d rather not. Regardless, it will be here - a document of my trials, tribulations, and mandatory assignments.