Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Senior Studio Happenings

In this posting I would like to share what is happening in Professor Swenson’s senior urban design studio. We began the year studying Mississippi delta cities in preparation for our final project which focuses on Cairo, IL. I studied Little Rock, AR for the first project. The second project involved breaking up into teams and visiting delta cities. My team visited Cincinnati, OH and Louisville, KY. Now, our class is devoting our efforts to urban revitalization in Cairo.

We are working with the City of Cairo Planning Advisory Committee, the Vision 20/20 Committee and other stakeholders in our revitalization efforts. The Cairo Vision 20/20 Committee is striving for a “new and revitalized Cairo by the year 2020”. Our class is broken up into four teams. Team One is working on bringing the Cairo Junior High/Senior High students back to the vacated Junior High building in the center of town and renovating the facility to LEED Platinum status. Team One will also propose an adaptive reuse strategy for the current Junior High/Senior High building should the students move to the other building. Team Two is working on downtown revitalization and riverfront development including a marina. Team Three’s goal is to re-establish residential neighborhoods and give identity to the Cairo Historic District with preservation and infill housing strategies. Team Four will study adaptive reuse of the Southern Medical Center and CHESI Clinic facilities for senior citizens demonstrating LEED Platinum design.

Cairo, IL was once a healthy, vibrant city with a population of 15,000. It now contains about 3,000 residents. Many houses and buildings sit abandoned. Buildings are being condemned. Very few businesses remain open. Our class would like to reverse these trends and help Cairo became a healthy city again. We will build on the work of previous senior studios, and we will also build on the relationships that have been established with the citizens of Cairo as we strive for a new and revitalized Cairo by the year 2020.

--Ben Temperley, M. Arch. Student. Images in this article taken by the student.

Transparency in Buildings

While researching different ways to bring people into the hotel we have planned for studio, some things came to mind. What pulls people in? How can the building, as a whole, pull people in from the street? One major characteristic that drew my attention was a quote from Richard Rogers- "buildings which are full of light, light in weight and which are flexible......can [allow you to]read how the building is put together." Some examples are in building facades, exposed mechanical and structural systems, partial height partition walls, and screens, to name a few. The way each of these aspects helps show how a building works, and how it is able to withstand forces of nature, but also how even a floor plan layout can move people in and around spaces and bring people together -- all of these are aspects of transparency in buildings.

Recently in many "green" buildings, structure is exposed to avoid waste in materials. Where an acoustical drop ceiling used to be hung to cover mechanical systems and structure, now they are left exposed, as in our graduate studio. External stairs, escalators, elevators and moving sidewalks show onlookers how people move throughout the building. People can see the "guts" of a building and visually realize the work that goes into it. After seeing the size of some of the ductwork and mechanical equipment, they might even begin to realize the amount of power that is needed to run one of these systems. This "inside out" approach will help reduce materials, give texture to the building and draw people in by enticing them with a view of the inner workings.

There is a lot that goes into constructing a building. Why not celebrate this by exposing as much as possible? This will also allow for some pretty dramatic lighting as well as shadows in the evening.
--Robert Hildreth, M. Arch. Student

Fast Food Culture Shock!

Why do foreign visitors surprise American culture on first visiting time? Living
style seems to be the best answer. Americans have their traditional culture, fixed habits, and daily pace, so foreigners must try to respect and appreciate American culture.

What kind of differences between American culture and Taiwanese culture is most special? Diet habits. Americans do not like to eat much vegetable. When visitors come to America, they discover an interesting phenomenon: the fast-food industry.

It is difficult to draw a dividing line between fast food with American culture. McDonald’s, for example, has become not only a trademark of today’s world, but also a symbol of American cultural product.

Americans also like to put an amount of ice into their beverage. In Taiwanese healthy concept, this habit will disturb the circle of body’s blood circulation.

To compare this diet habit in Taiwan, people like to taste various vegetables, including cabbage, celery, snow bean, and so on. Taiwanese always focus their attention on health and exercise, so they care about what kind of nutrition they absorb into their body. More meat and fast food will invite more serious diseases and harmful substance into human being’s immune system.

Image above retrieved from http://www.appletreeblog.com/wp content/2008/07/david-fast-food.jpg

--Kang-Hsin Fan, M. Arch. Student from Taiwan

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Distinguished Alumni Lecture

Ms. Kelly Kealey-Mayton, above, presented the 2009 Distinguished Alumni Lecture for the School of Architecture on Monday, October 12. Ms. Kealey is a graduate of the school's fashion design program.

Kelly Kealey is the owner of Dance Sport Designs of Allen, Texas. Last year, she submitted the winning entry in the "Design a Dance" competition sponsored by Macy's for the song "Great Balls of Fire" on ABC-TV's "Dancing with the Stars." Ms. Kealey has been providing high level dance gowns for fifteen years. Examples of her work, shown below, have been on display for the last few weeks in the School of Architecture Gallery in Quigley Hall. Her design sketch and YouTube video of the dance are available.

Ms. Kealey's design are the highest level of couture design available. She drapes every design by hand and individually places beads and other decorative elements onto each dress. Last year, she also designed the Sony Ericsson Z750 purple cell phone dress used in advertising for the phone. The ad was used by Sony Ericsson worldwide.

In her October 12 talk in Browne Auditorium on campus, Ms. Kealey spoke to the students about her journey after college to her present career in Texas. She encouraged students to pursue their dreams and talked to them about the importance of staying positive and networking with other SIU alums.

The School of Architecture was very pleased to honor Kelly Kealey-Mayton as this year's Distinguished Alumni! The Fashion Design and Merchandising programs at SIUC have approximately 100 students earning the Bachelor of Science degree on the Carbondale campus.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Healthcare Architecture

Healthcare architecture is something that is frowned upon by many of the professors here at SIU. And why shouldn’t it be shunned in a school setting? Hospital design adheres to more codes than most professional architects care to learn, they’re too sterile to really get “down and dirty” in designing, and they’re associated with so many negative feelings already, why put students through a project that’s not any fun?

These are all valid points. Yes, there are lots of codes, yes they must be somewhat sterile, and yes, they have negative connotations. But wait, why are we here? Most students are asked that the first year they’re here, and most all of us give that same canned response “to improve something blah blah blah”. Alright, so let’s learn some codes. Being able to adhere to these “so restrictive” codes will not only make us better designers, but set us apart from other graduates entering the workforce.
“But they’re so sterile.” Yeah, they’re sterile, but that doesn’t mean white walls and padded rooms. Hospitals today are opening their windows, planting healing gardens and making use of daylight in a way that hospitals have never seen. And with environmental design so prominent, daylighting, natural ventilation and “greenery” are all making a huge “comeback” (for lack of a better word).
“But hospitals are just boxes of negative space.” Again, you’re right. But, going back to day one, aren’t we, as designers, challenging ourselves to improve spaces, to make them more enjoyable? Then why aren’t we doing it?

I was talking to some of the other grads about this same topic, and they response was that hospitals were bland, that they don’t give you the opportunity to design. There’s a trend in hospital design that notices that there’s not much difference on the patient side of things between a hospital and a hotel. Anyone reading this can think of multiples of awesome hotels, why not hospitals?

We’re here to learn to design so we can solve problems later on. The fact that this project type is actively avoided proves to me that it has problems. Can we do anything about it?
-- Jason Epley, M. Arch. student

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The "New" Library

The ARC / ID Library has MOVED!...

… And moved back. Some of you might know that over the summer, out library was moved into the gallery space. Well, long story short, we’re back in room 104 with a big facelift! Along with our redesign, we have a lot of other things planned for this coming school year.

Among the new things, a blog dedicated to the library. Here, we can show you what’s new in the library, and suggest books that might help you in studio. Also, we’re finally making all of our books and magazines searchable online! – kind of. Due to feasibility, among other things, we can’t make them searchable like Morris Library. So, we’re in the process of getting our own SIU email address, which will make it possible for you to ask us in real-time if we have something in stock.

We’re excited about the new things happening down here, and we hope you are too. Come on in and check out the “new” space!
--Jason Epley, M. Arch. student and library coordinator

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My Path to Graduate Study in Architecture

My path to architecture school has not been a traditional one as this is a career change. I already went through college once at the University of Iowa earning a bachelor’s degree in biology and clinical laboratory sciences. After graduation I was hired as a medical technologist in the Quad Cities where I worked for five years in a hospital laboratory. Not completely satisfied, I decided upon a new career path. My mother was an art teacher and my father was a civil engineer. They passed on to me an artistic and a technical side. I thought to myself, “What career would better suit me?” I decided that architecture would be a good fit because it requires many skills that range from artistic to technical.

Next, I searched the internet for schools in Illinois that had master’s degree programs in architecture. Southern Illinois University appeared to be the best fit, so I applied and was accepted. My wife and I moved to Carbondale and purchased a house. I pictured myself buying a drafting table and learning hand drafting─at least in the beginning. I even asked Professor Norm Lach about where to purchase a drafting table before classes began. He clued me in that I probably didn’t need a drafting table because I would be drafting on a computer. I came in having very limited computer skills, but the training here brought me up to speed in programs such as AutoCAD, Revit, Corel Draw, etc.

The curriculum here is challenging, but the instruction is good. I have taken advantage of office hours and tutors for classes such as Structures I and II. Fellow students are also helpful when I have questions. For graduates with a degree in something other than architecture, Southern Illinois University in Carbondale is a good choice if you want to pursue a Master’s in Architecture. Plus, Southern Illinois is a beautiful area with many lakes and parks, and the peaches are great!
-- Ben Temperley, M. Arch. Student

Thesis Proposal: A New School of Architecture at SIUC

Architects are often influenced by their past and present surroundings when designing a project. In order to have the best solution to a given problem, the environment must be conducive to different design approaches through exploration and research. Giving students a facility that encourages group collaboration and a firm foundation for their studies would allow them the opportunity to form their own view of the architecture field from their experiences here at Southern Illinois University.

Currently the architecture facilities at Southern Illinois University Carbondale are lacking in facility resources for students. The students are unable to congregate and exchange ideas comfortably. Quigley Hall has been renovated many times to adapt to the growing needs of its users. However, after all of the rearranging, the building is still disorganized and does not give the students the proper environment to immerse themselves in design. With the addition of the architectural graduate program, new spaces are needed for the growing population of students. This proposal will discuss the proposal of a new facility dedicated to architecture students, interior design students, and industrial design students both at the undergraduate and graduate level.

In order to create a successful work environment for students and faculty, it needs to be understood what are essential tools is promoting successful design in a university setting The process of design education will be examined to determine which educational approaches are commonly used for a school of architecture. Higher education facilities and their impact on the university community will be discussed as well. This project will investigate other institutions that have a similar program and compare how issues were resolved surrounding their campus facilities and resources. Topics such as the facility’s relation to the existing campus and community, technology resources, green design initiatives, possibility for growth, student interaction, teaching styles, and schools of architectural thought will all be discussed.
-- Laura Widholm, M. Arch. Student

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Shotgun Houses in Cairo

This summer, two students in the School of Architecture at SIUC spent the summer working on the restoration of a shotgun house in Cairo, Illinois. The students earned college credit in ARC 434: Historic Preservation this summer. Historic preservation is a course offered for several years by the SIUC School of Architecture.

The image above shows a shot of the house the students worked on this summer. A shotgun house is so named because it said that you could stand at the front door and shoot a shotgun out the back door without hitting anything the house. The front and rear doors as well as openings from room to room inside the house all align. This house type migrated up the Mississippi Delta from New Orleans throughout the 1800s and 1900s.

The students and sponsor Robert H. Swenson, along with some others, are interviewed in the video available at Flash River Safari.

Friday, October 9, 2009

SoA Lecture Series

The School of Architecture's annual lecture series kicked off last week with an excellent presentation by Mr. Jeff Kovel, AIA, an architect from Portland, Oregon. Mr. Kovel presented his talk "Serious Play" to students of the school. Many excellent images of his work were shown and students often commented on how excited there were to see the scope of projects and how creative Mr. Kovel is in his practice.

Mr. Kovel is shown above visiting the dome home of R. Buckminster Fuller here in Carbondale while he was in town. Professors Jon Daniel Davey and Shai Yeshayahu escorted Mr. Koval on the visit to the dome.

The School of Architecture lecture series is coordinated by Professor Peter Smith of the Interior Design program. It is funded with Fine Arts and Activities Fee Money paid by SIU students. Our next lecture is Monday, October 12 when Ms. Kelly Kealy of Dallas, TX will present the Distinguished Alumni Lecture.

Columbus, Indiana

“The purpose of Architecture is to shelter and enhance man’s life on earth and to fulfill his belief in the nobility of his existence.” – Eero Saarinen

During the sophomore year of my undergrad studies at SIU, I was fortunate enough to travel with Professor Jon Davey’s history class to a city rich in architectural body and soul. Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to re-visit this favorite city of mine—Columbus, Indiana. Unique is an understatement for this breath of fresh air. Columbus houses remarkable works done by renowned architects I.M. Pei, Richard Meier, Robert Venturi and Eliel and Eero Saarinen, just to name a few, as well as beautiful glass sculptures by artist Dale Chihuly. Experienced guides from the Columbus Visitors Center lead daily interactive tours that showcase the broad range of historical and modern architecture and art within the city. I highly recommend touring this beautiful city, words cannot begin to describe the impression it has left on me!
--Jessica Iskrzycki, M. Arch. Student

The image above is from www.columbus.in.us and shows Dale Chihuly's "Yellow Neon Chandelier & Persians."

Studying in the USA

Why do foreign students study in United States? A valuable investment is the main reason. Foreign students can derive professional expertise and knowledge from America. Then, they will find a better paying job when returning to their countries, and they will harvest a high return for their money.

Moreover , they will sharpen their English as fluent English speakers. In today’s world, English is the universal language for everyone and every country. People who are equipped with English ability will work successfully in English countries.

Finally, foreign students will acquire various international experiences because American universities offer a cross-culture environment. For example, about 20% international students study in America, so academic programs and social activities will provide an understanding of each other’s cultures. Students are better prepared for working in many locations around the world.

Therefore, with these useful skills and purposes, studying in America is the best investment to broaden one’s horizon, to enlarge one’s international experiences and to be a fluent English speaker.

--Kang-Hsin Fan, M. Arch. Student from Taiwan

Thursday, October 8, 2009

School of Architecture Gallery

The School of Architecture opened its new gallery in Quigley Hall this summer! Graduates will remember the room as the senior studio. Seniors are now in the former junior studio. Juniors have a new studio on the second floor, sophomores have studio space on the third floor, and graduate students have a new studio on the first floor.

The gallery is dedicated to displaying the best work by students in the School of Architecture's programs: architecture, Master of Architecture, fashion design & merchandising, and interior design. It also hosts school events including graduation receptions, new student welcome parties, and many exhibits of work from those who present lectures in the school's annual lecture series.

Thank You, Rhea...

Rhea Williamson, long time receptionist/secretary for the School of Architecture, passed away October 1 at age 85. She retired from the school approximately three years ago. Everyone in the School of Architecture during her many years as receptionist will remember Rhea for her warm smile and for the candy dish she kept stocked on her desk for students! Rhea loved visits from our students. The candy dish is still there and is kept stocked for those times when students need a quick free snack.

Rhea Williamson will be greatly missed! She was loved by generations of students at SIUC!

Image above from John Dobbins' yard of an Encore Azalea now in bloom.