April 3, 2008

Volunteer Entry - Week 7

This entry was for the week of March 24 - 28 when we didn't have to blog. I went to North as scheduled and the program director didn't have much for me except for a little bit of filing. This is also when I calculated my hours incorrectly.

I don't want to say it was a waste of my time -- but by the time I get out there I'm afraid only volunteering for a half an hour seems a bit like a waste.

This week (Week 8) North is on Spring Break so I was not able to volunteer.

Title Pages


This first option is a pretty safe bet -- clean layout, nice alignment. The thumbnails illustrate each of the 5 areas we will be talking about with the goal in the lower left hand corner.


This option illustrates how we would be juxtaposing technological (human) responses to sustainability with nature's response. The lectures on biomimicry inspired this topic, and it would also be a more creative way to present perhaps otherwise dry information on technology. I think our group is seriously struggling right now because we are looking for a greater meaning in our topic. I don't personally believe it's enough, or interesting enough, to simply spit out information about technology -- perhaps a critical analysis of natural processes to human solutions would be interesting.


This final option is a fun take on the color coding system I submitted for the rough draft. If our topics were organized by color the user would be able to easily find which topic she's interested in reading.

Here is a link to the PDF because these JPEGS don't show where the page ends and are of lower quality.
Download file

Overall we're having a few issues communicating and moving forward at this time. I don't see it as anything we won't get past; however, I am just slightly worried about it all coming together. eeek!

when is graduation again!??! i can't wait....

March 13, 2008

Volunteer Entry - Week 6

This week -- I was unable to go to North -- due to personal issues. No problem, I gave plenty of time notice. I plan on making up my time the week after Spring Break.

I did kinda miss those kids -- and the really friendly hall monitor.

I Want to Work at Pentagram

I'll start by apologizing for the repeated posting last week -- MoveableType messed up -- and for some reason I can't erase them.

Either way, I want to work for Pentagram. Along with the thousands of other young designers out there. The following images are my inspiration for the graphic qualities of our projects. All from www.pentagram.com.

Color coding system for ease of organization between topics

Bold graphic qualities

Meaningful images

Editorial-like layout

Strong communication between pages

My initial thought is a collection of 'cut-sheets' organized in a box to serve as a 'go-to' when needing information on environmental technologies. This way the user can take sheets and replace them as they wish, yet it's still cohesive and with a creative quality.



Other options to consider:
Flip book
Comic strip
Bound book
Presentation boards

March 6, 2008

Spit Balls are for High Schoolers - Volunteer Entry Week 5

This morning I went to North. I started my 2 hour Thursday experience by writing in the monthly activities on a dry erase calendar...and it was after this experience that I had to wash my hands due to the rub-off of marker ink.

It was in the bathroom that I first noticed the infiltration of spit balls on the ceilings of North High School. This observation momentarily brought me back to the days of spit balls, pogs, and cooties.

On a more serious note, upon my return from the restroom I was asked by a nice young gentleman to help him with his essay he was writing to apply for a scholarship. I was pleasantly surprised (as help is not always accepted with open arms) and began work on his essay. For the next two hours I was able to brainstorm ideas, proofread grammar, and personally chat with a new friend. The class bell rang and we joyfully high-fived as the essay we crafted was perfection! I was absolutely delighted to be of help at North this morning, and I can only hope that more of my volunteer experiences will be like the one today.

Art Is Like the Plant.

The plant grows from its seed.
The characteristics of its form lie concealed in the potential power of the seed. The soil gives it strength to grow. And outer influences decide its shape on the environment.

Art is like the plant.
The quality of art lies concealed in the potential power of the people. The aim of the age is the soil that gives it vitality. And outer influences decide its fitness in its environment.
To understand life, and to conceive form to express this life, is the great art of man.

- Eliel Saarinen

When asked to explore how the built environment supports or detracts who I am in terms of frameworks, clockworks, phenomena, and oppositions, I find the quote from Saarinen’s reading this week to be quite fitting. If phenomena consist of clockworks, frameworks, and things…then can’t the discussed oppositions be considered phenomena?

For the sake of conversation, let’s just say that comparison can be made, and for ease of explanation allow me to summarize.

Phenomena = a system of clockworks, frameworks, and things.

Oppositions = man vs. nature; climate vs. enclosure; gravity vs. movement; permanence vs. entropy; mass vs. form; material vs. tool.

Architecture = a consequence of an opposition of two domains (human and physical realms).


Architecture = Oppositions = Phenomena = Clockworks, Frameworks, and Things = Life!

So this summarization has become quite confusing both to you (I’m sure) and me. I thought I had this all figured out in my head before I started writing…oh! That’s right, returning back to the opening quote from Saarinen.

“To understand life, and to conceive form to express this life, is the great art of man.?

To me, Saarinen is speaking to the importance of opposition within phenomena through the use and manipulation of clockworks, frameworks, and things to create architecture in order to understand life! Indeed architecture – or art – is a necessity to the understanding and appreciating and life… that’s what I’m trying to get at. So then of course the built environment supports who I am…and more generally speaking, art supports who I am. I believe art (and more specifically the built environment) supports who everyone is, whether they realize it or not.

So how then? How do these oppositions and creations of art affect who we are as a human society. The Oppositions of Materials and Tools and Man and Nature make an interesting connection to the opening quote about the seed.

Whatever the tool (seed, hammer, paintbrush) and whatever the material (soil, concrete, canvas) the opposition of the two THROUGH the means of MAN (building with hands) OR NATURE (natural cycles creating plant from seed) creates art!

An example of how the (tool:vinyl graphics) can interact with a (material:built structure) and with the help of a (man) art is created. This art has the ability to support or detract all those who come in contact with it.

These oppositions that occur every second of every day in the made, natural, or imagined parts of the universe support human society. They begin to let us try to understand and interpret oppositions and forces that are larger than life. And I suppose it is in this creation of the built environment as art that interested me to take this class. While I didn’t know the fancy terminology for each part of the puzzle the fantastic outcomes of their interactions have inspired me since I can remember.

February 27, 2008

Volunteer Entry - Week 4

This week I went to North HS on Monday. (Donecia - my advisor - and I agreed that I would have a pretty flexible schedule - to suit everyone's needs) They had me type up thank you letters and print them. I was in the office, and while the woman I worked for was very grateful and happy for my help, I felt a little useless. I'm happy that whatever I can do helps the organization out; however, I feel like I will get little interaction with the students in this whole experience.

The most rewarding part was seeing how happy my advisor was that I was able to finish all of the Thank You cards in an hour -- a seemingly simple task; yet it was clear that anyone can help out in anyway...no matter how small the task.

The University of the World

If I was released from the constraints of architecture school the first thing I would do is move. Every day I’m bursting at the seams to go out into the world and explore – to learn what school can’t teach you.

How great would a school be that didn’t really have a campus, a university, or a city for that matter? What if school was this universal idea and students could come and go as they pleased on their way to a greater destination: life.

The idea would be that the world we be our campus and we would all be students at the University of the World! Everyone would learn from everyone, and everything, and every place. I suppose you could say that theoretically we could treat the world like that anyway…and a lot of us try to on a day to day basis…I know I do. It’s just so hard when you’re put under the label of a University. I’ve found that I become a slave to the institution…to my professors. Now, I can’t speak for the ‘School of Architecture.’ But I can speak for the interior design program. Who’s working for whom at this University – and why can’t we all work together? Imagine that…an institution where learning, developing, and creating new ideas is the objective…not checklist rubrics, unjustified grades, and unapproachable professors. Imagine that.

So then I think…maybe this imagined place is anywhere but the University of Minnesota – ID program….ha, ha. Or maybe it’s at a non-University research based institution. I don’t know. But for the purposes of this blog submission let’s just say this imagined place is in my imagination.

Examples of the University of Wolrd's campus...

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Either way this idea of a universal university is spectacular!! And I suppose I would attempt to make my path through this universal university by interacting not only with designers, architects, and planners, but with artists, dancers, writers…


The idea of exhibition design is very intriguing to me. To me, the field of exhibition design is a melting pot of all of these disciplines. Going to work to create environments with anyone and everyone, no matter what their educational background, couldn’t be more exciting. And these environments could tell stories. They could generate awareness, poke fun, or showcase art…they could make a difference…spark discussion…or simply get people to think.



Images of how environments can communicate ideas

That’s what I would do. In summary:

1. I would leave Minnesota. (I may come back but for now…I’m gone)
2. I would create a universal academic society that would be conducive to independent, collaborative, and curious
3. I would find a place in the marriage of artistic expression and the built environment in the field of exhibition

February 21, 2008

Volunteer Entry - Week 3

My time at North this last week was short and sweet. I went over orientation guidelines (pretty obvious), met some coordinators who were (pretty nice), and signed some paperwork which was (pretty boring).

All in all, I'm excited for the work to begin. However, I was told that I would be doing more administrative stuff and maybe not working with the students as much. This kinda bummed me out.

I guess we'll see how it goes.

Lions, and Tigers, and Bears...

I find this blog entry to be the most difficult yet. Yet, I suppose it shouldn't be considering it's just talking about my values as a person.

I mean, I could easily do that for hours.

To be perfectly honest, I'm finding issues when trying to relate these values to my Millennium Development Goal #7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability. Don't get me wrong. I'm all for the Millennium Development Goals....especially number 7. Ensuring Environmental Sustainability....along with eradicating extreme hunger...and universal primary education...and so on....BY 2015.

I don't mean to be sarcastic....or rude for that matter -- I'm just having a hard time really understanding the Millennium Development Goals. Perhaps more time researching is the ticket. Or perhaps Ensuring Environmental Sustainability by 2015 will put my doubts about the world at rest.

And why are there only 8 development goals anyway?

I wouldn't say my lifelong values have lead up to my choosing Goal #7. While I've always respected the Earth, a sustainable lifestyle has never been part of me -- up until the past 4 years. Classes, travel, friends, and conversations I've be a part of since my coming to college has definitely changed the way I understand the world for the better.

So images, quotes, and a playlist…huh?


"If you were born a lion...don't bother trying to act tame."
- Ani Difranco

32 Flavors - Ani DiFranco
Waiting on the world to change - John Mayer
Aroung the world - Red Hot Chili Peppers
The cynic - Kashmir

In short -- I believe the world and every experience and contact I've had within her has made me who I am today. And I believe it is up to us...the world...to make the most of these experiences.

February 14, 2008

Volunteer Entry - Week 2

Andy Post, the coordinator for Achieve!MInneapolis, is meeting me for orientation tomorrow (Feb. 15) at North High School.

I'll keep you posted.

Respect the Spoke

Minneapolis, MN. A city I live, work, play, and study in.

*Note – “bike? – has not been included in this list of verbs.*

“Respect the Spoke? is a response to a social design issue a peer and I identified last semester in ID Studio XII. When asked to be an advocate for something in the Twin Cities area, I decided what better than to be an advocate for one’s own passion: biking.

As we all know biking as a means of transportation to combat pollution, gas prices, and traffic congestion – just to name a few – is becoming more and more popular throughout the world. Cities such as Amsterdam and Copenhagen have understood this concept for some time now with infrastructure to support over 500,000 cyclists on the streets every day (this is 36% of 1.7 million citizens in Copenhagen, Denmark). It’s not uncommon to see a Danish man or woman riding their bike, with groceries, talking on the telephone, smoking a cigarette, while toting three small children. Why then can it be so common and appreciated in come cultures while in other societies not even be considered as a way to commute to work, school, or leisure activities?


Infrastructure supporting Danish appreciation for biking in Copenhagen, Denmark.


Upon my return from Europe one of the first things I ran out and did was buy a bike. A real beauty too: an old-time Cruzer Huffy complete with a white leather spring seat. However, to my dismay I quickly learned that my effortless biking abilities in a city double the size of Minneapolis would not transfer back to the United States. I wondered how this could be possible, and after the initial frustration faded, I decided to make a statement last Fall in Uptown.

I installed a response to a social design issue: Respect the Spoke. An idea in support of the biker identity in Minneapolis, MN. Bikers in Minnesota not only have to put up with few (and unsafe) bike lanes, but they also deal with harsh winter elements 9 months out of the year. My design – a new and improved bike rack – addresses the latter of the two concerns. The graphic identity also creates awareness of the importance of biking to the Minneapolis population.

bike 010.jpg
The Problem

bike 001.jpg

bike 014.jpg
Possible Solutions

After the mock-up was installed I watched as passers-by noticed the new design. Responses were positive, and many appreciated my efforts – but did they really?

A simple Google search will bring up countless articles regarding concepts and urban planning solutions to better the biking situation in Minneapolis – my question is “When??

Be an advocate for your right to bike!

Sources: http://cycleliciousness.blogspot.com

February 7, 2008

Volunteer Entry - Week 1

I will be volunteering with Achieve!Minneapolis at North Public High School. My primary role will be working in the college and career services office advising students preparing to graduate from high school. I remember what it was like during that turning point in my life. Had I not have had the support that I did, I would not be as successful as I am today. That's why I chose to help in the college advising office; I hope I will be able to help ease stress during the transition from high school to college.

I am waiting to hear back on an orientation session that works well with my coordinator, but I hope to get started by the end of next week!

Gammel Torv in all of its Glory

copenhagen four 009.jpg

I will begin my discussion with a favorite image of mine from a very special time in my life. The city square shown above can be found in Københaven, Danmark close to the address of Vestergade 7. The name of this special place is called Gammel Torv. While at the beginning of my time in Denmark I would not have been able to pronounce half of these words, now a year later, I dream of these words in my sleep…waiting for the moment I will be able to sit on that fountain once more.

When asked to consider the idea of energy, flow, and transformation through the city, I immediately can’t help but to think of the energetic beings that make the city what it is: people. But it is not only people, but people’s interactions with and within the city that create this pulsating energy flowing throughout.

copenhagen and travels with geoff 265.jpg

Symbolically speaking I believe the most energetic areas of a city are its fountains, church stairs, parks, squares, and walking streets. It is in these areas where the city becomes transformed into a new stage for the street performers, a new canvas for the talented graffiti artists, or a new lectern for the politically charged. And even though these symbols throughout the city are static structures, the interactions people have with them and with each other gathered around them become an incredibly dynamic experience to be apart of.

Copenhagen Two 024.jpg

There are many correlations with my interpretation of the city's transformation and flow of energy with Andy Goldsworthy’s work. Even though one lives in nature and the other can be found in urban areas both ideas are unexpected, temporary in nature, and amazingly beautiful.

So cheers to you, Gammel Torv! Your ability to bring people, ideas, and cultures together day after day is inspiring. Your ever-changing environment is a vehicle for the flow of energy within the city of Københaven. I will be back soon to enjoy the hours of stimulation you have to offer…

January 29, 2008


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