December 15, 2006

Fab vs. Silence and Light

These two were very interesting to compare, mainly for me because there wasn't a lot of correlation between the two. In Gershenfeld's Fab, he talks about the science of computers and how it relates the rest of the world. Technically the world is a computer, so computer science is the science of physical science, and all science is related because it's all the same. That was a bold point that I think was very interesting and, based on this reading, pretty accurate. Then he goes into how our machines can make anything, and goes into the story of a class he taught on the subject. However, Louis Kahn's Essential Texts talks about Silence and Light talks about just that. First he argues some interesting points about light saying that shadow is only created by the light, and therefore the shadow belongs to the light. He also says that the sun is the life giver as well as the best light source known to man, so that light can be taken to be the same. That's why most of the areas for life and thinking in Kahn's buildings have an excess of natural light. Then he argues that silence is more of a feeling and a desire than a thing and that it's present in architecture. Unfortunately I think that makes them hard to compare, but they both seem to be teaching us something very important about our daily lives. I think they're both trying to remind us to be human. In the first we can make anything with machines, but we need to remain in charge of what we're making and keep who and what we are in perspective. That extends with Kahn into architecture and explaining that our architecture, through use of light and symbolism, needs to keep its meaning and stay ours. I think that's the correlation between them.

December 14, 2006


This blog prompt interested me because it reminds me a lot of the questions we always ask in response to technology. How far can we take this, or should we take this? How much can we do, and how do we know what to do and when to stop? We keep coming up with more ideas on how to create machines to do work for us, and creating things that do all the work so that we just need someone to operate the machines. How long until we create the technology to make a machine to monitor the first? The further and further that we push this, I think, the closer we get to living the matrix trilogy. Our technology will evolve into the sky and create and self serving, self preserving society that has no more need for the human race. It's a really scary thing to think about.

November 3, 2006

response to prompt 6

Find a series of images (individual or part of a series) that somehow connect design to mathematics. comment

I think that this prompt was certainly the hardest prompt to answer. When trying to find an image that relates design to mathematics, you must first think about what in itself relates design to mathematics. This is where I found my first problem, because I don't see design as related to mathematics, I see mathematics as an essential part of all design. I couldn't help but use this view when finding images for this prompt.


This is the McNamara Alumni Center on campus. I picked this building because the mathematics that were required in this building astound me. Their are obscure angles to every surface of this building, and even when taking every surface into consideration there are also windows on every surface that needed to be calculated and placed onto each face of the building. Everyday I see this building and it never ceases to amaze me because of its ingenuity and push to be what all other architecture is not.

This is the Parthenon, the other buidling that has indescribable math. This buidling is so complex because nothing in this building is mathematically perfect in the sense we know, but is mathematically perfect in a sense that is so beyond any architecture in the Greek period, and arguably up to date. The columns that expand and contract depending on where along them you measure, the way the floor is 6 inches higher in the center than on the edges, the way Greeks used even and odd amounts of columns to mathematically symbolize order, entrance, and passage. This building is another building that just jumps out at me when I think of the complex system of mathematics behind some of our world's greatest architecture.

October 22, 2006

response to prompt 5

Observe and document some oppositions- and their possible resolutions- around you.

For this prompt, I was really interested in how Ozayr talked about oppositions in class, but they were all aimed toward and architectural approach. Because of this, I wanted to study the oppositions that people overcome in daily life. The first one that I found was man vs. nature in the respect of weather. The weather is either hot or cold, and rarely just right to be warm, so we wear clothes in response to the temperature outside. We also wear raincoats in the rain that are waterproof, we wear heavy jackets in winter, and so on. The other one I noticed that was common in the lives of myself and the people around me was man vs. nature, but in the respect of day and night. We all have studying and other things to do at night, so we use light to overcome the darkness of night and keep going with our studying. Most of the oppositions discussed in class as well as in my prompt have to do with nature, so I wanted to find at least one opposition where man is fighting something that isn't necessarily nature, and that is man vs. ignorance. On the University campus, everyone is here to become smarter, more knowledgable, all in the hopes of finally becoming more independent. This is also happening at the Minnesota Internship Center where I am volunteering. Young adults are attending this school to become smarter and more independent, and the response is the entire staff there and also all of the students helping there. Quite possibly one of the most basic and powerful oppositions is man's struggle to grow into a fully independent person.

October 10, 2006

response to prompt 4

Find a document- visually and textually- a phenomena. It should include things, frameworks, and clockworks. Be creative.

When I tried to think about a phenomena, I naturally tried to think of something around me, something that I could fathom and that I could comprehend easily. It was then that I tried to think of the criteria. Then I thought of the Mall. There's nothing that I know better that involves things and clockworks than the Mall. The things that make up the Mall are numerous, whether it be people, or trees, or the buildings that surround it, but I think the most important part of the Mall are the spaces. The spaces is what the things inhabit, but in it's most basic sense, that's what the Mall is. It is a common space that things and people occupy and pass through. It has clockworks because every day, every Tuesday and Thursday, or every Monday Wednesday and Friday people walk through at the exact same time to the exact same space to do the exact same thing, just like clockwork. The only problem, then, was to find a framework, a frame of reference, some type of measuring tool so that someone could comprehend the importance of the Mall. I decided that the St. Paul Mall would be a natural decision, since they are the same type of thing and I spend almost the same amount of time in each space. They are both a large, open, common area that is meant to be a social gathering place. These spaces both have people that regularily travel through them to go to the same place on a constant basis. That is why I think that the Mall is a phenomena, it is a social gathering place with things, frameworks, and clockworks.

The Mall

St. Paul Mall

September 29, 2006

response to prompt 3

Choose a place that you find meaningful. Find its Genius Loci. Describe it in text and image.

This was the third prompt that I was to respond to. As I live on the St. Paul campus, I naturally thought of the knoll in front of Bailey Hall as a place that's meaningful to me. It's very open, and the grass and bushes are very beautiful, and it's always very sunny. These things all make for a near sublime environment that inspires me to think, which explains why I love to study here. The openness of the space gives a very free feeling, making it so that when I am here, it's easy to relax when I study. Most importantly, the free feeling of the space creates in my mind a very open feeling, that way I am very open-minded towards my studies and very good at thinking of new, different ways to approach problems and assignments. That is why this space is important to me, it makes me feel almost sublime in my open-mindedness towards nature, but also towards life. It's very much like a supernatural space.

What surrounds this space is a lot of tall trees that create a natural wall between this space and everything else. There are a couple of pathways through to get there but once you are in this space, the space seems to consume you and break you off from the world. It's very secluded and very beautiful.




September 23, 2006

response to prompt 2

Find a social design issue. Document it. Become an advocate for it.

For this week's prompt, it was tough to find a social design issue that was important to me. After a while, I decided that the issue of cell phones in classrooms is something that is important to me because I think that it has gotten out of hand. Cell phones should not be ringing in class because it is disrespectful to everyone who's paying tuition to receive an education and to the professors themselves, taking valuable time out of their schedules to pass on their extensive knowledge to the minds of tomorrow. I myself have a cell phone because I think that they're very convenient, but it's not that hard to put them on silent, turn them off completely, or just leave them at home. Students should be here to learn, not to expect a phone call.

I think the way to solve this problem is to announce at the beginning of the course the outline of the rules for the cell phone that way everyone is clear on what's going on. From there out if your cell phone rings in class you will be asked to leave the class. If cell phones continue to be a problem and a particular students phone rings in class on three different days and that student has been asked to leave three different times, that student will not be allowed back into the lecture and will be forced into a situation where they must get notes from classmates for every lecture thereafter. It seems extreme but I think that extreme punishment is a threat that will remind everyone exactly what they're here to do.

September 17, 2006

response to prompt 1

Today is Saturday September 16th, and I went to the Midtown Market today. I didn't really know what to expect, but I noticed that before I arrived, I did assume one thing. I was pretty sure that as far as energy in this place, what was going to surprise me about this place was the amount of energy. After being there today and experiencing it firsthand, I realized that was took me by surprise was not the amount of energy that hit me as soon as I arrived, but the kind of energy and how the energy affected me. As soon as I arrived it just felt very positive everywhere, some of the people so concerned with what was on display, and then the merchants and shopowners whose only concern was smiling at me and making me feel welcome while looking at what they had to sell. It was a very interesting experience to see the variety of things on sale, but also to see the variety of people there. The people were a very large variety, based not on color or upbringing, but also preference and the choices I saw them making. I think that this place was very interesting because of all the energy I felt, and I'm very glad that I was "prompted" to do this.

Additionally, I spent a little more time thinking about how I would use, exchange or create energy in a place like this. What I eventually thought of is the fact that all the energy in this place is controlled by the people that inhabit the space, so in order to use, exchange or create energy in the place, you need to interact with the people in this space, and that will create different effects in the energy I think.