December 12, 2006

Architecture as Space

Bruno Zevi states that "architecture has a 3 dimensional vocabulary which includes man. Architecture is a sculpture which man enters and apprehends by moving within it. Essentially Architecture needs man to exist and to be whole." Without man, the spirit that connects to a buildings design, architecture would be empty and soulless. This idea also has a great deal of opposition to the architectural idea of pre-fabricated housing. Opposition to the idea of using computer generated models to entirely develop a building, therefore lessening the spiritual contact with man.
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This house feels empty and souless and a majority of it's planning has been done with the contact of
man.

Zevi also states that "architecture doesn't consist in the sum of the width, length and height of the structural elements which enclose space, but in the void itself, the enclosed space in which man lives and moves." The physical dimensions of the building don't necessarily make or break the building. However, if the building doesn't properly interact with it's surrounding environment than it can never live up to it's full potential. A building needs to properly coexist with the opposition between man and nature in order to be a piece of beautiful architecture.
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These houses in Santorini are beautiful not only because of their color and size but also because of how they each fit into the cliffside differently and fill out a beautiful trail for the eyes.

Zevi states that "internal space...can only be grasped through direct experience." This is very important in the design process because it is as important as possible to simulate the inside of the building in the beginning of the process. One needs to have as much "interaction" with the inside of the building as possible before knowing that it will be effective. However, one could use a computer to simulate the inside of the building...but will this be real??
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Zevi states that "the container and the contained are mutually interdependent." The container is dependent on what is contained and the contained is shaped by the container. This is something very important in architecture because it completely reinvents the general idea about architecture. This is that the outside of the building must be beautiful in order for the building to be an architectural achievement. However much the outside shapes the contained, the outside is only there because the contained needs a home.
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Zevi also states that "time...is the fourth dimension." It is a dimension in which in infinite number of perspectives are considered from an infinite number of angles. This is not realistic because there is no way that someone could take this task on. However, it does provide insight to the fact that the important perspectives of a building are not just about the front, back, sides, and top. The view from the sidewalk looking up is important, just as important as the view from the building next door. These are things that need to be considered by the architect so that the entirety of the building is looked at.
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December 4, 2006

The Science of Life

Gershenfeld talks about personal fabrication and how personal fabricators are personalizing "our physical world of atoms" (3). Personal fabricators are computers that act like a printer, except they print out 3D objects. These machines not only make things but also create a sense of "logic, sensing, actuation, and display" (4). These machines completely revolutionize the way that people interact with the environment; through having machines create our environment. As in virtual reality these objects stimulate our brains in the way that the real world would, through electrons and brain waves. BUT, this isn't a real environment because it's not being created by man. Man understands not only the physical environment but also the emotions that an environment can instill.
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This is what I feel Kahn is trying to bring across, that computers cannot understand emotion or beauty. A computer can't anticipate or see that way that light would fall on a building and create a shadow. A computer can't realize the spirit within a building or within the architect who designed it. Man seeks to understand and learn what NATURE provides him with to help him in his designs. Design is natural, emotional and spiritual...this is something that computer can never understand!
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This is similar in my mind to Pre-Fab houses because they are designed as a whole and the thought about how they act in their environment is not given consideration. These houses are mostly designed by computers and are boxed up and sent out to their "home".
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This is not the case for Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water house. If this house was built by computers it would not invoke the amount of beauty and inspiration that it does. This house has a spirit that comes from it's human designer...Frank Lloyd Wright.
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November 27, 2006

The Internet-Destruction in disguise

A Technopoly is something that affects us everyday. It affects how we communicate, how we travel, how we interact with others and how we view words and values in society. Technology is constantly changing but often times we don't think about how it will change us before it is run rampant through society. A new technopoly can not only be physically dangerous, it can change the way our society is run.

Some very current technopolies that affect our society today are the i-pod, laptops, and cell phones. lady with cell.jpg
The cell phone is something that affects our communication with other people, some think for the better and others for the worse. Cell phones are good for people that are constantly on the move and need to be able to get in contact with others at a moments notice. However, cell phones are not good for those who wish to escape the hectic lifestyle of always talking on their cell. Everywhere one turns they are bombarded by cell phones and constant conversation. In my opinion cell phones have taken away from our ability to be by ourselves. People walking by themselves on the sidewalk are almost always on their cell phone, in the mall-cell phone, sitting at dinner waiting for the other person to get back from dinner...cell phone. Instead of being a convenience, the original intent, they have become an accessory and a necessity.

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Laptops are also a technopoly that has begun to change our society. A Laptop was originally thought of as a necessity for business men and women who need to travel with their computer. This has now changed into something that much of society wants for itself. A Laptop is small, accessibe, personal, and doesn't weigh alot. Laptops were made as a convenience for easy access to information (the internet) but now are a tool for distancing oneself. Everytime I walk by Espresso Expose and look inside the entire place is filled with laptops. It becomes a sub-culture where people come together, but still end up introverting and not interacting.

pug with ipod.jpgAnother modern technopoly is the ipod. This is a technology which immediately converts it's user to an introvert. The ipod pulls the listener away from social interactions and away from environmental interactions. This provides an outlet for escaping reality and everyday human occurences. It is also ironic that many people today either have an ipod or want one, they are in very high demand, but if used properly they can be physically damaging. Honestly, how many teenagers or people in their early 20's turn their ipod down because they are worried about their ear drums? Not many. Something that is valued in society and held in high regard can actually harm it's users, probably not the original intention.

I also thought it was very interesting when Michelle brought up a good point about architects and technopolies. That one day, we will be choosing whether or not to create an environment that embraces technology or rejects it. I would like to think that we live in a society where technology can embraced in building design and not have it's users run away with it. However, I sometimes think that technology runs through us like a virus, no cure and constantly evolving.

November 7, 2006

Creative Mathmatics

It is ironic that architecture and mathematics can be so related. I think of architecture as being very free flowing and interpretational whereas I view math to be very strict and precise. To think of two very different disciplines being interconnected is an interesting idea which allows us to open our eyes to other disciplines or ideas we might also think of as being disconnected. Maybe now we can find the connection.

The Freedom Tower, 9/11 Memorial
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This image is a mesh of mathematics and architecture because of it's purpose and structure. The shape of the building, the mass of materials, the height, the width, the "guts" of why the building stands are all based upon mathematics. Based upon equations and shapes, things that have specific answers and solutions. However, much of this building is based on architecture. This building is designed for rememberance and to signify moving on in a more informed manner because this happened. It is designed to provoke thought and feeling while still fit in with the culture of the surrounding area. This is something that can only be achieved through architecture because there is no set answer, only any interpretation of one solution.


Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao
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The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao is also an excellent example of the connection between mathematics and architecture. The mathematics of this building are very important because of all the lines and curves and how they support the structure; how the shape, weight and base can affect this buildings for better or worse. However the mathematics allow the building to take shape of a beautiful organic form which one would not think comes from math. Math allows the natural architecture of this exqusite building to be possible and architecure allows for math to generate a feeling.

The Louvre, the inverted pyramid
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This is one of the places I dream of seeing in the world. I think the inverted pyramid with the Louvre behind it is absolutely breath taking. After the lecture on Tuesday I now see this as a duality between mathematics and architecture. The Louvre itself is old architecture which is meant to look like a grand museum, reflective of the treasures in the inside, and channeling the past. I view the inverted pyramid as a feat of mathematics, of form, strength, geometry and lines. I think that this structures by themselves would be beautiful but combined they create something that is beyond description.


October 23, 2006

Oppositions

After the last couple lectures listening to Ozayr talk about oppositions I began to think about the world a little differently. When asked to write about oppositions I immediately thought of humans and our opposition against nature. That as humans our population is growing so fast that we are displacing nature. Sadly enough, nature is what provides us with the power and energy to continue to grow. In essence we are biting the hand that feeds us.

My first example of this is the rainforest and it's destruction. It is estimated that every year 10 to 12 million acres of rain forests are being completely destroyed. If this continues than it is estimated that by 2010, 50 percent of the world's rain forests will be detroyed. Humans need trees for oxygen, paper, fire, shade and many other things. We CAN'T destroy the rainforest because we need it to survive.
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There are many resolutions to this opposition but something needs to be done now. We could protect the rainforests as an endangered "species" because humans need the rainforest and the animals living in the forest need the trees and environment to stay the same. If this changes than these animals will disappear as well. We need to make an effort to protect the rainforest before we can expect change to happen. In my mind it is also very necessary to begin conscienciously building our houses. We need to try and cut down on suburban sprawl and especially work on not destroying our environment. This may mean building up instead of out. It could also mean building a house that encompasses the trees and supports its environment. Working around something instead of destroying it.
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Another opposition is between little corner store treasures and the construction of Condiminiums. I grew up in Minnetonka and one of our corner store treasures was a restaurant called Gold Nugget. Gold Nugget is a teeny hole in the wall burger joint that has been in the Glen Lake square for a very long time. Recently there have been alot of developers building condominiums in Glen Lake and they bought Gold Nugget and are going to turn it into condos. You may ask yourself, what is going to happen to this restaurant? To this jewel that everyone in the surrounding area loved and felt as if they had discovered it? As of right now nobody knows if Gold Nugget will move locations because there is no place for them to move. Minnetonka lost its jewel to some more condos.
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And lastly, it never ceases to amaze me how much the Gophers stink at defeating their opposition (every football team in our division besides Tempe and barely NDSU, wow)
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A resolution, fire Glen Mason.

October 9, 2006

The Devastation After the Unimaginable

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I chose the Tsunami which happened in the Indian Ocean in 2004 as my phenomena. I feel that this is something that greatly affects the people of this world and changed many lives. A phenomena is something that impacts peoples lives whether spirirtually or physically. This tsunami impacted people's lives both physically by destroying the places where people lived and interacted and by destroying their beings. Their families, lives, and feelings were ripped apart and demolished in a matter of minutes. People's entire lives changed.

The tsunami falls into the category of things because one can feel it, hear it, and see it. It is graspable in the physical realm to human beings. The tsunami also displaces space by both displacing the cities it destroys and changing the way of the ocean. The tsunami has mass, size, and is measurable. The tsunami in the Indian Ocean measured a 9.0 on the richter scale.

The tsunami also falls into the category of frameworks because it has a relationship between it's power and the destruction it causes. It's power also has a relationship between the size of the tsunami.

Clockwork is also an aspect of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The tsunami rose out of the ocean, destroyed it's target than disappeared back into the ocean. This is also timewise and because of it's physical properties it can be potentially be predictable. Although, the 2004 tsunami was not predictable and very sudden. The tsunami also has a retreat and rise cylce which occurs every 30 minutes during the tsunami.


A beautiful day.
The sun shining down,
while children play.
All smiling faces, not one frown.

The water began to swell.
People began to run for higher ground.
Screams and cries make me feel I'm in hell,
Our lives suddenly not so sound.

After the tsunami died away,
The sun was still as bright as a yellow school bus,
But the children didn't play.
The destructed silence fell upon us.

October 2, 2006

Home is Where the Heart is

There is a difference between house and home.

My home is a place with feelings and character connected. It is what creates the emotions that I feel when I think of it. A place which is where my family gathers, everyone supports one another. My home is a meeting place and my rock. A place where I have personal stabillity; guarenteed support and love. My home is open, warm, caring and inviting.

My house is a space with walls and ceilings and floors. The wood floors are a honey brown color and the walls are warm colors of cream and butter. The house has peaked high ceilings and large bay windows. The house allows for sunlight to seep into my home and to look out over the nature surrounding it. My house is a remodeled rambler and has that updated look.

My Orientation at this place is knowing that this is my home. This is where my childhood took place and where my family meets. This is where I will always be welcome.

My Identification is that my house is in Minnetonka, a small suburb in Minnesota. My house is located on Spring Lake Road. A small, curvy road that is dense with trees, flowers, and shrubs. A road where the houses aren't packed in tight, where everyone has a front and back yeard.

My house and home are a place specific for me but general to everyone. It's Genius Loci are all of these things bonded together into one thing, mi casa.

September 25, 2006

Ignoring the Masses

When I was told to find a social design issue I immeidately thought of the lack of mass transportation in Minneapolis and it's surrounding areas. Mass transportation can mean anything from buses to taxis to above ground trains to subways, but in Minneapolis it means the light rail and the bus system. Even though we have these two systems they are more than inadequate and greatly need to be improved. What happens to people who choose or can't afford to own a car? How do they get around or city as fast and efficiently as possible? The answer is they don't.
I have experienced this as a student at the University of Minnesota and not having a car here. I bought a bus pass and enjoy taking the bus and light rail places. It is way less expensive than what I would pay for three weeks worth of gas. However, on a weekend (Saturday or Sunday) day it would take me about an hour to get from the University of Minnesota to the University of St Thomas. The University of St Thomas is about three to four miles away from the U, so why does it take that long?? Because there aren't enough buses running multiple routes. This means that I have to ride all the way into downtown St. Paul and then loop back towards the campus. This is so inconvenient!!! Something that should be so revolutionary in the way we get around is so time consuming.
If we could change this and get a better and more elaborate mass transportation system than there would be less car traffic and emissions. This would benefit everyone, no matter if you were riding the bus or driving a car.
We can change this. In November we will have the oppurtunity to vote on whether parts of our tax money will go to expanding mass transportation. However, what many people don't know is that this money is already being taken out of our taxes. Right now it is being used to balance our general state budget, they took it away from mass transportation. This fall we will vote on whether or not the money will get swapped back into the right place. A lot of people don't know that this is the case and this needs to be changed. This proposition requires a 60/40 vote and if one doesn't vote than it is an automatic nay. We must make sure that the general public knows about this and votes yes because this is the time to change it.
We must not think that the mass transportation system affects only lower class people who can't afford a car. This is something that affects everyone within this city who needs to get around. This something that will benefit the lives of everyone and needs to be fixed.
Talk to legislators, fellow citizens, talk to them about the issue. Ask them if they have ever tried to use the bus or the lightrail after 7 or on the weekends and if it was convenient. My guess is that most of them will say no.

September 16, 2006

The Energy of A Community

An instant rush hit me as soon as I stepped foot off the light rail and saw the Midtown Market below me. This place was vibrant with energy; energy produced by the people. Energy is often a word that most people use to explain heat, water cooling, atoms bouncing off each other and many other scientific terms. However, as soon as I stepped into the market I felt a different and more tangible energy. I was welcomed into the makrket by vibrant music, beats, and dancing. However, this was only the undercurrent to the flair of the people. The energy was not confined by walls or doors; the energy was not confined by prejudices that can often times rule people's lives. It radiated through the people, the compassion and the understanding that we are never as different as we may think. Scurrying about the market were fathers with their sons, friends, couples, teens, a grandpa and grandma. People were welcoming, engaging, thoughtful, and very kind. It was one of the few places that I have been with people of many different ethnic and religious backgrounds where they made me feel as if I belonged there too. Everywhere I turned there were people holding hands, talking to vendors and each other; interacting with people through the environment.

Energy can be felt through the people of the market but it is created through the environment that we engage in. The market is a place that brings many different kinds of people together to share in the joys of food, music, and handcrafted goods. It is a very positive environment filled with the unescapable smells of fresh vegetables, rhythmic dancing, drumming, and bright colors everywhere your eye can rove. Even the sky being cloudy and gray couldn't take away the light the radiated from this place in every direction.

I took pictures of the market hoping to captivate the essence of it but I'm afraid I am not looking into photography as a major. While I was taking pictures I came across a man and a group of small children. The gentleman informed me that this group was a group of young children that went out into the community and jumped in feet first. They met adults and other mentors outside of their neighborhoods who helped them with different projects and guided them towards a finish line. When he heard that I want to be an architect he told me about an architecture project he's working on. The kids, architecture students, architects, and volunteers will meet in a park and build a model of a lighthouse. The lighthouse will then be on display somewhere in the community. I found it comforting and inspiring that if you put yourself and your energy out into the world, something very positive and meaningful can be created.


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