Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Community Network of Convenience Stores within Urban Design

By Kang-Hsin Fan

-Part Two-

How can the community network of convenience stores make life-places better? How can it connect the relationships among the government, private sector, and the community? There are three typical settlements traditions: the organic tradition, the formalist tradition, and the modernist tradition. The organic tradition is people arrange their activities according to natural systems, such as water courses, land contours, arable soils, orientation, and climates. Second, the formalist tradition is it has studies geometry at its formalistic base, which is an orthogonal grid of a hierarchically arranged street system. Finally, the modernist tradition is it’s a reliable path which depended on modern technology for meeting the needs of 20th century urban society. Modernists arrange a high value on efficient and mechanical details for life needs. It also offers a way to improve health, to bring parks and cultural institutions, and to introduce light and air into habitations. Therefore, what’s the new settlement for using the community network of convenience stores as case within urban design?

Urban Design is not only a big architecture, but also a slow aesthetic art. They are creating and building over many years, decades, or even centuries. It is underwritten by a set of rules and must work with a limited palette of materials-the form, site, mass, and detailed public realm design. In addition, a city is a composition of solid and void elements. In other word, a city is the physical environment in which is consisted the natural world and the built world. These void elements include landscape, garden, park, and so on. On the other hand, architecture and building are solid elements. Green has also become the new goal in the development of Urban Design. Urban Design has to support sustainable objectives by improving pedestrian and cycle access. How to reach this goal? The concept of community network will provide a best method to save land and sensitive areas by building, and create more effective densities. With these issues, iconic buildings will be attractive spotlight for the development of urban design. An effective arrangement for a city’s development is primary assignment. How to stimulate a city’s economy? The exciting photogenic buildings will be the components, which can attract a good press that in turn attracts visitors.

LST 325

By Scott Fisher

LST (Landing Ship Tank) is a World War II vessel designed to transport tanks and troops during coastal beach landings. Mr. John Niedermair from the Bureau of Ships sketched the basic design of LST during WWII, and with few adjustments the first LST was made. LST’s were usually 327 feet long and “typically had no names just numbers”. There were sixteen shipyards building LST’s including the five shipyards in the Midwest. The purpose of an LST was to carry supplies to battlefield landings and often returned men who had been wounded in action. LST 325 has been brought to a permanent dock in Evansville, Indiana, to memorialize LST landing crafts and their crews, and their important contributions in the United States Wars.

The Structure of the LST 325 consisted of a main deck, tank deck control room, port wind deck, aft crew quarters, tank deck, gallery passage, fantail, LCVP, pilot house, and a main & auxiliary engine rooms. On the main deck composed of light cargo like ambulances, trucks, and jeeps. Mounted on the main deck were clover leaves which lashed vehicles and other big cargo down to the main dock to minimize movement. At the front of the ship was a cargo elevator which was used to move cargo from the main dock to the tank deck which cargo could be unloaded of the ship through the bow doors. Throughout the years of the use of the LST the elevator got replaced with a ramp. Next going closed to the front of the ship are the forward guns and Fire control Director. At this location of the ship, which is also called Anchor Windlass, all of the ship’s forward guns could be directed at a target. Go on to the tank deck control room which is a space where the crew could control various functions of the tank deck including the tank deck blowers, opening/closing of bow doors, traffic signals, and bow ramp. The Port Wind deck was a series of compartments. Those compartments are very similar to each other containing troop berthing areas, lavatories and run the entire length of the ship. In the middle of the compartments was a sickbay. The Aft Crew Quarters was where the entire crew would berth allowing both of the other wings for the soldiers. The enlisted crew would also eat here after getting their food for the dining room above. The hatch in the center of the deck allowed access to frozen and dry food storage and the steering of the ship. Next the tank deck, which was the main component of a LST ship. This empty space is where vehicles, equipment and supplies were stored. In addition to that basic role of carrying cargo to the beach during an invasion, some of the LST’s were remodeled to be floating repair ships, troop barracks, and floating hospitals. Below the tank deck is the engine rooms, fuel tanks, and the ballast for the LST. Moving your way up the ship layout there are different hatches. Inside those hatches contain rooms that house various shops, ammunition lockers, and paint lockers. Across from the hatches is the starboard side is where the electrical shop and machine shop is located. Whereas on the front there is a rectangular shape bow, Bow Ramp, which is held in place by heavy gripes. On the top side of the ramp there are the Bow Doors. These Bow Doors and Ramp works: as the ship comes to the shore the doors are opened by electric motors and once the ship is aground the ramp is lowered with a winch to allow equipment to be taken off or on.

The Galley Passage is where all the meals for the crew are prepared and contains the serving line. The fantail contains the winch to lower the ramp which is attached to the Stern Anchor. This Stern Anchor has two functions: to prevent the ship from broaching which means that it helps keep the ship perpendicular to the beach and secondly helps pull the ship seaward. Moving on in the ship to the LCVP (Landing Craft, Vehicle and Personnel) which is where anyone can get a good view at the ship’s boats, Higgins boats, are platoon boats that carry men to shore. Next there’s a pilot house (Wheel House or Radio Room) where the ship is steered and orders given to the engine room. The Radio room is equipped with the ships communications equipment which is currently still operational. On the last level are the main & auxiliary engine rooms. On LST’s the propulsion comes from the two general motors’ V-12 Diesel engines each delivering 850 horsepower. Electrical power on the ship is provided by three generators, each being powered by inline-6 Detroit Diesel with output voltages of 440 VDC. The places where AC is required, the DC current are converted through use of the Motor-Generator set. Also on this level of the ship are desalination units. These desalination units are voids and all storage compartments of diesel fuel, lubricating oils and fresh water. The ballast tanks can be filled or emptied of seawater to improve the “trim” of the ship; how high or low the ships ride in the water. These tanks allow the captain to adjust the weight of the ship for better sea handling performance and for proper beaching trim.


Firestone Baars Chapel

By Micah Jacobson

I am from the college town of Columbia Missouri. In Columbia there are three major schools, along with several community colleges. The University of Missouri main campus is located in Columbia, along with Columbia College and Stephens College. Stephens College is all girl school. My mother attended Stephens and received here degree in education there in the early seventies.

On the Stephens College Campus there is a small elegant Chapel in the center of campus, the Firestone Baars Chapel. From the outside it has simple geometry and very little ornamentation. As one enters the building a beautiful environment is presented.

In 1939 a group of twenty young women met with the current president of Stephens College, President Wood. He asked them to tell him what building they would want built if it was to be the last building built on campus. They all answered they would like a Chapel. This began the endeavor to build the Chapel on Stephens College campus. That night they all contributed one dollar and placed them in an envelope. It was placed under the door of the student body president with a note that stated the money was to start a fund to build a Chapel on Stephens College. (Schwarz & Brent, 1997, p. 37)

As the design of the Chapel got underway the student and faculty sought a building that would represent all of their many faiths and be used to reflect a commonality of all of their religions. The design would revolve around the line dividing time and eternity and the relationship of man and God with eternity. The architect chosen for this work was Eliel Saarinen, an architect from Finland, who relocated to the US in 1923. His design was to have a round building with a dome that would cover it. This emphasized the idea of eternity that the students and faculty wanted to portray. There was also to be a reflecting pool that would be used to separate the patrons of the Chapel from the outside world and create a place of seclusion and sanctity. (Schwarz & Brent, 1997, p. 38)

Eliel pasted away on July 1, 1950, seven days after the Korean War began. During this time the College was suffering from a shortage of money. Due to these social and economical conditions the plans for the Chapel where brought to a standstill. During this time the college appointed a new president, Thomas Spragens. In 1953 he was able to commission Eliel’s son, Eero Saarinen. Eero had been working with his father for seventeen years before his death and was branching out on his own

The design was vastly different from Eliel’s; the cylinder was replaced with a cube and the dome with a pyramid. As I entered the chapel I couldn’t help but feel separated from the world. The Chapel is located just off of Broadway, a very busy street, but I found piece and solitude in the Chapel. It is a very spiritual place to go. I found myself looking up at the ceiling, at the wood structure, at the skylight and beyond it into the heavens. The Chapel had a different feeling than other Chapels I had experienced. Being void of any religious symbols it is a welcoming place for all denominations and is used by all. It is a small, very personal, and inspiring space to be in.

The Firestone Baars Chapel holds a lot of meaning for many people in Columbia. My grandfather, Daniel Hall, who was a craftsman, was originally asked to build the Chapel. After the redesign and re-commission he was building another project and couldn’t do the job and another craftsman was chosen. He was able to give me some personal insight into the construction and history of the Chapel. Another person affected by this elegant Chapel was Madeline Grapes (1908-1995). She taught at Stephens College and shared here love with many people, including Dr. Schwarz who was one of the authors of the only document I found written on the Chapel (Schwarz & Brent, 1997, p. 46). Dr. Schwarz shared his experience here and the Chapel to a group of students including myself while setting in it sanctuary. Firestone Baars is a small Chapel that has affected the lives of many people in this small college town. It inspired many who went to school at Stephen’s and many who never sat in a class but just visited the Chapel, sat, and pondered there. I hope more is published in the future to recognize this great Chapel and the great people who contributed to its construction.

My First Black Friday Experience in the US

By Bhakti Shah

I knew that the day after Thanksgiving is the biggest shopping day of the year in the US, but I did not know that it was such a big thing. When my husband told me that people line-up in queues for hours outside stores, I hardly believed him. I thought it was an exaggeration. However, the opportunity to clear this doubt came sooner than I thought.

My husband I went to the movie theater on the night of Thanksgiving to watch ‘Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows’. It was past midnight when the movie ended and we were on our way back home when my husband took me to Target & Best Buy to show me how people line up for Black Friday shopping. I was surprised to see long queue at 12:30 AM because the stores were supposed to open at 4 AM in the morning. The sight of people camping in tents outside shops was unbelievable to me. We saw some people dancing to the tune of music and some enjoying drinks to keep themselves warm.

We then went to the Grand Prairie mall, an open construction mall in Peoria, as some shops in that mall had opened at midnight. I thought that there wouldn’t be long queues in the mall as many stores in the mall were clothing related stores. But I was surprised to see a longer queue at Old Navy compared to that at Best Buy! As I walked through the open mall, I was not able to withstand the cold weather & hence we decided to go back home after some time. We rested for few hours and then woke up early morning to visit some stores in another mall and thus I made most out of my Black Friday outing.

Hats off to the American shopping enthusiasm, which is virtually unaffected, even by the extreme cold weather!

Architecture Organizations

By Russ Baker

Wondering what to do with all that spare time as a full time college student? Joining student or professional organizations is an excellent way to keep yourself even busier, and you will thank yourself many times over down the road. The extent to which you involve yourself is generally up to you, granted you pay the dues to keep your membership(s) active. Being a member, particularly holding a leadership role, in a professional or student organization will definitely look good on your resume; but if that is the sole reason for joining, and you remain minimally active, you are only robbing yourself of countless opportunities and learning experiences. Some of the benefits of actively involving yourself in some of these extracurricular organizations are gaining real-world experience; attending meetings and conferences; participating in design charrettes and design competitions; earning awards and/or recognition; receiving updates, news and events via postal mail or electronic mail; receiving discounts on magazine subscriptions (sometimes free), travels, textbooks, and other miscellany; attend various workshops and lectures with guest speakers; and meeting new friends and professional connections. Though I did involve myself in several memberships, in hindsight, it would have been more valuable, personally, had I taken advantage of these opportunities by being more active in each organization. Therefore, I recommend actively joining several of these advantageous groups available to architecture students, some of which offer local chapters or divisions. Here is a list of some of these organizations and their descriptions/mission statements:

The American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS)

“Since 1956, the American Institute of Architecture Students has been the voice of students to the educational system and the profession of architecture and design in North America–and beyond. The association helps to build interest and enrich the educational experience of students (of all ages) and others in architecture and design. The AIAS is an independent, 501c3 non-profit and student-run organization that is more than just a club. This grassroots association is a cooperative between thousands of students in North America (of all ages and academic degrees) committed to helping each other. It provides a sense of community and a forum to share differing views. The AIAS is also a professional organization that is the official voice of architecture students.”

The American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC)

“Headquartered in Chicago, [AISC] is a not-for-profit technical institute and trade association established in 1921 to serve the structural steel design community and construction industry in the United States. AISC’s mission is to make structural steel the material of choice by being the leader in structural-steel-related technical and market-building activities, including: specification and code development, research, education, technical assistance, quality certification, standardization, and market development. AISC has a long tradition of service to the steel construction industry providing timely and reliable information.

As part of AISC's mission, we emphasize:

o Increasing the structural steel industry’s share of the construction market
o Unifying the industry with a common purpose
o Supporting and improving the ability of the structural steel industry to be both innovative and competitive in a worldwide construction market

For almost 90 years, AISC has conducted its numerous activities with a scrupulous sense of public responsibility. For this reason, and because of the high caliber of its staff, the Institute enjoys a close working relationship with architects, engineers, code officials and educators who recognize its professional status in the fields of specification writing, structural research, design development and performance standards.

AISC represents the total experience, judgment and strength of the entire domestic industry of steel fabricators, distributors and producers. The scope and success of its activities could not be achieved by any one member of the industry. The nation shares the rewards of these activities – through better, safer and more economical buildings, bridges and other structures framed in structural steel. There's always a solution in steel.”

Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI)

“PCI, an organization dedicated to fostering greater understanding and use of precast and prestressed concrete, maintains a full staff of technical and marketing specialists. The Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) is the foremost developer of standards and methods for designing, fabricating, and constructing precast concrete structures. It was founded in 1954by the engineers and firms that pioneered prestressed concrete technology in the United States. Today, as the technical institute of the precast concrete structures industry, PCI maintains the “body of knowledge” necessary for the safety, quality, cost effectiveness, and continuous improvement of precast concrete structures. PCI also operates the world’s leading certification program for firms and individuals in the precast concrete structures industry, and conducts a wide variety of educational seminars, technical conferences, conventions, exhibitions, and awards programs.”

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)

“The U.S. Green Building Council is a 501(c)(3) non-profit community of leaders working to make green buildings available to everyone within a generation.”
On the USGBC website, you can certify your green building, join USGBC as an organization, join a chapter as an individual, sign up for courses and workshops, purchase LEED Reference Guides, learn about Greenbuild, sign up for e-newsletters, become a LEED AP or Green Associate, and explore green building research.

The Construction Specifications Institute (CSI)

“CSI was founded in March 1948 by the specification writers of government agencies who came together to improve the quality of construction specifications. The Institute’s efforts were essential in improving construction specification quality so that it could meet the demands of the post-war construction boom. Development of specifications best practices, promulgating standards/formats, professional education, and certification were cornerstones of the Institute. The Institute grew quickly to include specification writers in the private sector, design professionals concerned about communicating their vision in construction documents, constructors interested in delivering high-quality facilities, and material suppliers with unique solutions to construction challenges. These construction professionals continue to work together today as CSI members to effectively communicate the designers’ vision, the material producers’ solutions, and the constructors’ techniques to create outstanding facilities that meet facility owners’ objectives. The mission of CSI is to advance building information management and education of project teams to improve facility performance. CSI is a national association of more than 13,000 volunteers, including specifiers, architects, engineers, contractors, facility mangers, product representatives, manufacturers, owners and others who are experts in building construction and the materials used therein. They are dedicated to improving the communication of construction […].”

Illuminating Engineering Society (IES)

“The IES seeks to improve the lighted environment by bringing together those with lighting knowledge and by translating that knowledge into actions that benefit the public. The IES will build upon a century of excellence to create the premier lighting community dedicated to promoting the art and science of quality lighting to its members, allied professional organizations, and the public.”,

Greenbuild 2010

By Ben Temperley

From November 17 – 19 I had the opportunity to attend Greenbuild in Chicago, IL at McCormick Place. McCormick Place is a huge convention center. I definitely got my exercise walking around the place. This was my first time at Greenbuild. I learned about Greenbuild through the USGBC student group on campus. USGBC stands for United States Green Building Council. USGBC is interested in promoting sustainable building practices.

Greenbuild has a great practice of allowing students to attend for free if they agree to volunteer for 8 hrs at the conference. I volunteered at a recycling station. There were hundreds of stations and each had 4 bins. Recycling may sound simple enough, but one Starbucks coffee cup can comprise 5 pieces which go into 3 different bins. If you are curious, the container is compostable, the lid is a #6 plastic which had to be trashed at Greenbuild, the sleeve is paper, a straw is trash and a wooden stir stick is compostable. I learned quite a bit about recycling and even began to feel bad about how much trash goes into landfills. It is a shame that the Styrofoam cups that places like Dunkin’ Donuts sell end up in landfills. Other volunteer opportunities involved helping people find seats and checking name tags.

When not volunteering, I had the opportunity to attend sessions put on by leaders in sustainable practices. The presenters were all very smart and professional. There were many topics to choose from that ranged from calculating your carbon footprint to urban agriculture.

The convention floor had hundreds of exhibitors. You could spend an entire day trying to see every exhibit. There were great examples of green roofs, photovoltaic glass, rain water collecting systems, insulating concrete forms and water saving fixtures. I liked the toilet with a sink above the tank for hand washing. The water from the sink collects in the tank and can be used for toilet flushing.

I have to admit that my favorite part of Greenbuild was the food. Each lunch was free for volunteers and catered by the convention center staff. The food was all organic. We had lots of healthy fruits and veggies. Even the cookies and potato chips were organic. On the final day the volunteers were treated to some Chicago deep dish pizza. That was probably not organic, but it was very good.
Next year Greenbuild will be in Toronto. You may want to take advantage of the free admission for students while you can. This year in Chicago was a good experience, and I am glad that I attended.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


By Rhonda C Daugherty

The investigation of phenomenology of the sense can only be explain through understanding the actuality of how people experience space while using the senses. For example, Professor Anton talks about sound, sight, and touch as how one perceives space through these senses. Touch as an element that cannot be separated from its source unless the mind uses the eyes to interpret the texture; but it is only through phenomena that we understand why something feels as it does in the first place ( as you touch you are experiencing texture in that instant). Yet vision and sound works differently, Anton uses the example about being in a night club and the listening to the comedian when the waitress steps in front of him. He then notices that although his view becomes obstructed, the sound remains the same. The phenomena of the waitress obscuring his view and yet sound having a completely different affect is how the design thesis investigates and understands the phenomena of the senses.

Ponty defines human mechanism as a way to experience the phenomena of reality. The design thesis is exploring the human condition. More specifically, the element of how people use their senses in an education/ urban phenomena. The human condition is an individualistic social phenomenon. The design, which was introduced by Martin Heidegger, is theory of the social phenomena. The idea behind sensory perception and social behavior conditions will intertwine with each other. How one explores, learns, and behave is social settings relates closely to how one is taught to behavior and initially how one is conditioned to behave. The idea behind learned behavior in phenomena is purely sensory. One visually see’s and then he or she will knowledge. Knowledge is learned and taught they way knowledge has always been learned and taught, according to Martin Heidegger. The consciousness of the learned behaviors, contributes to the notion of socialism.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Designing to the Climates

By Shane Healey

Primitive Responses to Climatic Zones

Throughout history, Eskimo and Native American tribes have adapted their lives and shelters to fit the zone in which they lived. The Pueblo tribes in the Southwest, used adobe as a construction material to delay the heat impact on the interior spaces during the hottest hours of the day. In addition, to limit the sun exposure to the entire tribe, the Pueblo Indians placed their structures back to back, limiting the surface area. In the Southeast, the Seminoles had wall less shelters with high grass roofs, allow for maximum air flow. To deal with the South’s high precipitation, the shelters have elevated floors, and steep roof overhangs. In the North, the Eskimos have adapted to extreme cold temperatures. An igloo’s ability to deflect wind, the insulation value of snow, and locating the entrance away from the prevailing winds create an interior temperature of 60 degrees while the exterior temperature is -50 degrees. Combining aspects of all previous zones, the plain dwelling Indians had to design for harsh winters as well as hot summers. In the Midwest, the wigwam’s pole and skin structure gave protection from the wind and rain, as well as created a shelter that was “easily heated from a central source” (Olgyay 5).

Modern Responses to Climatic Zones

These days, there are more modern techniques to achieve adapting a structure to the built environment. In a hot-dry climate, two things must be achieved when designing a structure, minimalization of isolation and the collection of participation. To minimize isolation on a shelter, thick walls are used to absorb the sun’s energy during the day and release the heat during a cool desert night. In addition, “courtyards are used to trap pools of cool night air for use” during the day (McClure 61). However, in hot-humid climates, some techniques are much different. The most critical elements when designing in a hot-humid environment is air movement and shade. To optimize air movement, a structure is elevated from the ground, allowing air to move under the structure. The predominate technique to provide shelter, is the use of overhangs. Due to harsh temperatures during the day and night, structures are generally made from light materials; therefore, not retaining heat. On the other end of the spectrum, exposure to the sun is mandatory in a cold climate. To compliment the large amount of insulation, heat absorbing materials are used to warm the interior during the cold night. One technique often used, is placing a building near large hills, to both block the winter winds and the sun in the summer. In a temperate climate, buildings would be exposed to climate extremes. Due to coming from different directions, cold winter winds should be blocked, while the cool summer breezes are beneficial. Another way to design to various climates is utilizing vegetation. Deciduous trees, located on the west side of a building, can block the sun in the summer and allowing sun in during the winter; however, evergreen trees can be placed strategically to block cold winter winds.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Exploring Types of Structure

By Dustin Stoll

One of my favorite undergraduate classes at SIUC was Arc 361 “Structures One”. This class involves a lot of math and calculations, but it is also very important in helping one learn how a building is constructed. Arc 361 is all about steel construction, but the methods of calculation taught in this class can also be applied to later structures classes. John Dobbins is the instructor for the course and is probably the best instructor I have ever had. AND arguably a genius!

Part of the course is the understanding of how different types of structures work. For our final project, each of us was supposed to select a type of structure or structural system in which we wanted to analyze extensively.

I chose to analyze the Fink Truss, for my final project.

Definition of a truss: A truss represents a structural system that distributes loads to supports through a linear arrangement of various-sized members in patterns of planar triangles. The triangular subdivision of the planar system produces geometric units that are non-deformable (stable).

The Fink Truss was first developed by German-born, American engineer Albert Fink in the 1860s for railroad bridges. The Fink design was later developed for use in other types of structures, such as roof trusses.


Statics and Strength of Materials for Architecture and Building Construction:
Barry Onouye & Kevin Kane

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Clean the Environment Before it is Too Late

By Cray Shellenbarger

Over time, the negative effects of various air pollutants are becoming more evident. There are an overwhelming number of respiratory issues that have been directly linked to air pollution. The causes of said pollutants are obvious and can be dealt with. Automobiles are the leading cause of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States. Laws have been set in place to counteract this problem and yet the problem continues. A series of Clean Air Acts has been in place since 1967. The human have the technology to control the pollution. There are control devices in place such as mechanical collectors and fabric filters. Is this enough to fight air pollution? Where do the Environmental Wisdom and Planetary Management worldviews fit into this?

Air Pollution has been attributed to an alarming number of health problems. One extremely harmful air pollutant is carbon dioxide. Most of the emission of carbon dioxide can be attributed to the overuse of the automobile. The theory of global warming is becoming more widely accepted. The rise in temperature has been linked to various environmental problems. Some of which being more intense storms and warning of devastating floods. Respiratory issues are another of air pollutions vast affects on the planet. According to, nearly 4.6 million people die each year as a result of air pollution. Indoor Air pollution is a major contributor to these deaths. Many of the common materials used in home construction give of extremely toxic chemicals. For example, both carpeting and plywood emit formaldehyde, a chemical labeled as a carcinogen. Indoor air pollution is an easy problem to fix. In new construction it is a top priority to ensure proper ventilation to reduce the probability of these harmful chemicals building up in the built environment.

The problem of air pollution is not an easy problem to fix. However, it is simple to identify the causes. As mentioned, the most prominent of source air pollution is carbon monoxide emissions (Wikipedia). The finger is always pointed at the automobile as the only cause. This is understandable considering that every gallon of gas burned in an internal combustion engine results in nearly twenty pounds of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (Who Killed the Electric Car?). There are, however, many other causes. Some of which include combustion fired power plants, controlled burn practice, and marine vessels. After researching, one will see that the causes are vast and cannot be singled out as being worse than another. This problem is not one whose cause can be placed on and individual.

Although the causes are many, steps have been taken to control this serious problem. In 1967, the United States Congress passed the first Clean Air Act. This act was aimed at reducing the smog problem in the more populated areas of the United States. This act was amended several times in the following years. These acts set a standard in clean air quality to ensure a better and longer life for the American citizen. As a result of this, every car in the United States was required to have a catalytic converter installed on the exhaust system. This device helped keep emissions down and in many cases actually improved gas mileage in American automobiles. Factories were also impacted by these laws. Industries were required to control the waste that was emitted from the production of their products. Many were required to install mechanical collectors such as dust cyclones. Wet scrubbers were also and are still widely in use.

Is all of this enough to counter the damage done to the environment? Many scientists say no. Much more should and can be done. Over time it would be great to see all consumer driven gas vehicles off the market. Battery technology is advancing well, offering longer ranges on rechargeable vehicles. Most of the major motor companies now offer a “hybrid” type vehicle. These “hybrid” cars combine the combustion engine with the use of chargeable batteries to greatly increase fuel efficiency.

There are two opposing worldviews to be discussed. One of which is the Planetary Management worldview. In this view, it is believed that humans are the most important species on the planet. Also, there is no need to worry about running out of resources because humans will develop more. The success of the human race depends on the proper manipulation of the earth to sever us as a race best ( The other view is Environmental Wisdom worldview. Those with this view believe that nature exists for all species. Therefore, humans are not in charge of the earth. Also, resources are limited. But most of all, the success of the race depends on learning how the earth sustains itself and integrating our actions into that cycle ( It is essential to find a balance between the two of these, for that is where the best solution lies. As a race, we must incorporate the idea that we can develop more resources with the fact that the ones we have are limited.

The most useful thing that humans have is the environment. If the environment were to collapse, the race would fall. Through laws, regulations, and whatever else it takes, we must fix what has been damaged before it is too late. The balance between the worldviews needs to be reach and used in a productive way. The future of the human race depends on it.

Friday, December 3, 2010


By: Vince Burdi

Understanding systems and how people work is an important part of what we do here in architecture school. As an undergraduate we are exposed to all parts of architectural design. Here, undergraduates can develop their skills and knowledge of the architectural profession. A strong foundation will always lead to a great building and hopefully a great architect.

In the work place we will be accepted to know how to implement our education to everyday tasks and challenges that will arise. When presented with a problem we should know how to solve it or at least begin to find a solution. It takes time to develop a full understanding of the built environment (world); we as students will soon be heading towards, but we can use our education to problem solve. We will be joining the work force in hard economic times, but as we know in times of struggle the strong survive. So, take this as an opportunity to step forward in time, to define a new principal in which we hold ourselves to. Architecture can and should be part of a new developing future.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Chicago Cultural Center

By Tara Loughman

While I was in Chicago, IL for the GreenBuild Convention, I was able to go around the downtown area with a friend and experience some of Chicago’s finest architecture. Walking down E. Washington Street, we decided to stop into the Chicago Cultural Center. My first expectations for the center weren’t as positive as one would think, until I first stepped into the building. Once inside I could not believe my eyes; the amount of detail and character expressed throughout the space had me speechless.

The Chicago Cultural Center is located in the downtown loop area across from Millennium Park. Built in 1893, the building was originally designed for the city's central library and Grand Army of the Republic Museum. In 1981, the building then became known as it is today; The Chicago Cultural Center.

The buildings envelope is made up of Bedford Blue Limestone on a granite base with two Tiffany stained-glass domes capping the roof that leave you in awe. Upon entering the 3-story vaulted lobby, a grand staircase, made of white marble, flanks the room’s ornate details. As you begin to walk up the staircase, you begin to see the dramatic and timeless applications used throughout the space. My favorite detail was that of the intricate mosaic tile flooring. The mosaics were made with glass, stone, and mother of pearl tiles. The part that made this my favorite, was not only the tile and its layout, but was the particular pastel-like color mixture applied.

Each floor leads you to exhibitions and or programs that cover a wide range of performing and visual arts. On the third floor, the center was exhibiting a collection of photographs, drawings, and mock models of the late architect, Louis Sullivan. This was very interesting, not only as an architect student, but as a tourist because a lot of his influences were used throughout the city and Chicago’s School of Architecture.

The Chicago Cultural Center was definitely a place I loved seeing. The beauty and history it holds for the city is something I definitely didn’t know about until I was there and I’m definitely glad I was able to experience it.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


By Kang-Hsin Fan

Taiwan is an island situated in East Asia in the Western Pacific Ocean. It is 245 miles long and 89 miles wide. According to an official report, Taiwan’s population was estimated at 23 million in 2010. Taiwan’s quick industrialization and rapid growth during the latter half of 20th century has transformed itself into an advanced economy as one of the Four Asian Tigers. Technology industrial plays a key role in the global economy. About 4,000 years ago, ancestors of the current Taiwanese aborigines settled in Taiwan. The Spanish landed and occupied northern Taiwan as a base to extend its commercial trading in 1629. The colonial period lasted 16 years until 1642. Japanese forces entered the capital at Taiwan, and quelled this resistance in 1895. Taiwan under Empire of Japan rule ended after it lost WWII and signed the instrument of surrender of Japan 1945. Japanese culture influenced Taiwan by 50 years.

With its high population density and many factories, some areas in Taiwan suffer from heavy pollution. Scooters are a very common means of transportation in Taiwan and contribute to urban air pollution. According to official public transportation report, there are approximately 13 million motor scooters and 5 million cars as of 2010.

Electrical power generation is nearly 55% coal-based, 18% nuclear power, 17% national gas, 5% oil, and 5% from renewable energy sources. Nearly all oil and gas for transportation and power needs must be imported. Taiwan is rich in wind energy resources, with wind farms both onshore and offshore. To some extent, solar energy is also a potential resource.

Over 93% of the Taiwanese population are adherents of a combination of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism; 4.5% are adherents of Christianity; and 2.5% are adherents of others religions, such as Islam. As of 2009, there are 14,993 temples in Taiwan, approximately one place of worship per 1,500 residents.

There are two phenomena in Taiwan. First one is karaoke (KTV), drawn from contemporary Japanese culture, is extremely popular in Taiwan. KTV business operates in a hotel like style, renting out small rooms and ballrooms varying on the number of guests in a group.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Stress and Green

By Yuko Aoki

For Master of Architecture at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, students are required to take two elective courses within the core curriculum. We have several choices for electives. The one I am taking is Plant, Soil, and Agricultural System 480- 851 Outdoor Design. This class is an online course and you will have readings as lectures. One of the assignments for this class was to write a seven page research paper. Students can choose their own topics and get approval from the professor of the course. My topic was “Human Stress and Landscape”. I found interesting facts when I was researching for it.

There is a study by Kaufman, and Lohr (2008), which states that people tend to ease their stress just by seeing a picture of green mountains and trees. They said a green canopy makes people calmer, which meant for a less stressful mood. They used other colors like yellow, red, light green, dark green, and orange. The measurement of the research was to observe skin conductance response when viewing trees with different canopy colors. The most effective colors for the stress reduction were in the following order: green, dark green, red, light green, orange, and yellow.

The results could be used as a guide for choosing the color in a room and planning in your yard. When I will design a landscape, I will think about this result and design a mixture of deciduous and coniferous trees because deciduous trees will give a sense of life all through the seasons and coniferous trees will keep remaining green or dark green all year long.


Citation: Kaufman, A.J. and Lohr, V.I. 2008. DOES IT MATTER WHAT COLOR TREE YOU PLANT? . Acta Hort. (ISHS) 790:179-184

Mike O’Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge

By Micah Jacobson

You have probably seen or heard about the new bridge that has been constructed as a bypass to the Hoover dam. When I saw this bridge I was very impressed by its structure, construction and magnitude. The bridge is made up of over 1,000 ft twin concrete arches. They are concrete piers that connects the arch to the concrete piers cap that holds up the steel box girders.

The arches are 14’ x 20’ and spaced 45’ on center. They are connected by concrete panels containing steel struts for bracing. The longest span of the bridge (the span under the arch) is 1,060 ft. The total length is 1,900 ft. This is the longest concrete arch in the western hemisphere and the first concrete-steel arch composite bridge in the US.

The bridge uses 10 ksi of concrete. Typical structural concrete used for pre-stressed highway bridge is around 7 ksi of concrete. The concrete is high strength, but not as high strength as can be made. There is methods today that a produce concrete that exceeds 21 ksi. Half of a decade ago high strength concrete was considered to be 5 ksi. The problem when you use high strength or ultra-high strength concrete is that there is an increase in fragility. Concrete itself is fragile, unlike steel that can yield, warp and bend before failure. Concrete has a low strain tolerance before it fails. There is no yield plateau or strain hardening like you see in steel. As the strength of the concrete increases, the stress strain relationship increases (young’s modules). This is important for structures when it comes to seismic events. When an earthquake happens there is a lot of contorting by the structure. This causes a lot of strain on the structural elements. The area under the stress strain curves its material and of toughness. This is a measure of the energy the material can absorb before failing. High strength concrete starts diminishing under the curve as the strength increases and the stress strain relationship becomes steeper. As you gain strength, you lose toughness or the ability to absorb energy into the structure (such as shaking).

This bridge is certainly a marvel and fascinating piece of engineering to study, as is the design and consideration behind it.

Pictures from:


By Jessica Grafton

New from Steelcase is Media:scape, an innovative new collaboration station. This product line offers multiple meeting environment options, in which all of those present can participate by sharing their media electronically. These hubs, if you’ll call them, have taken today’s technology and inter-weaved it with the functions of inner-office conferencing in a way that is modern and efficient for its users.

According to Steelcase, this is how it works:

“media:scape was designed for a “walk-up and connect” experience. Open. Connect. Share.

Open the media well and remove a Puck™
Connect the Puck to your laptop
Share what’s on your laptop by pressing the Puck™

Your team members can do the same. Sharing made simple, quick and seamless … to increase productivity and innovation.”
This product definitely encourages and incorporates group interaction, changing the face of what the normal meeting looks like. It also is a great tool for video and global conferencing as well, making sharing convenient and easy.

All information and photos from

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sketching 101

By Russ Baker

As children, a lot of us began experimenting with pens, pencils, or crayons to sketch, draw, or color our ideas onto paper. Professionally, sketching may seem in some instances to be a lost art, especially since computer technology is exponentially improving. On the contrary, in the field of architecture, even with advanced rendering programs, sketching remains a very important ability. The ability to sketch, or draw quickly is extremely beneficial and generally expected by architectural clients. It is by no means uncommon to be required to draw a representational idea quickly in front of a client. Translating one's thoughts onto paper can sometimes prove to be a challenging task, so if you are an architecture student, I recommend practicing sketching as often as possible. Ideas don't always present themselves during your spare time, so often I find myself sketching on napkins at restaurants, post-its in bed, and anything thing else that is readily available. It is a good idea to carry a small notepad and pen or pencil with you at all times. After I finish a sketch, I have a tendency to go back and add detail in my free time just for fun and for practice, as you can see in the first four sketches (each was completed in under an hour).

It is always interesting to see initial sketches of ideas or concepts translate into the finished, built product. An excellent example of this is the Hydra Pier designed by Hani Rashid & Lise Anne Couture, built in 2002 in Haarlemmermeer, Netherlands [Two images courtesy of the book Sketch∙Plan∙Build: World Class Architects Show How It's Done, by Alejandro Bahamon].

If you are just beginning to experiment with sketching, here are some tips and rules that I learned years ago in a freehand drawing class:

1. It's almost as important to know when to stop as it is to know how to start.

2. Good beginnings, good ends

3. Never stop short of a guide line.

4. Keep elbows on the table.

5. 50% light, 50% dark

6. Cut the paper out of sketchbook.

7. Leave something to the imagination.

8. Get the proportions correct.

9. Remember the basics.

10. Get up and move around; look at others work.

11. Keep the radio on.

12. Attract the eye to the middle of the page.

13. Keep pencils sharp.

14. Draw the horizon first.

15. Find your vanishing points.

16. Make sure your lines don't go off the edge of the paper.

17. Look at what you're drawing.

18. Know what you're drawing before you put anything down; don't go over anything twice.

19. Good line work - no hen or chicken scratching

20. Don't let anything get in your working arms way.

21. Have fun!!!

Bald Knob Cross

By Ben Temperley

This past June I had a chance to visit Bald Knob Cross for the first time at a Calvary Campus Church Chi Alpha event. The cross is located on a hill in the Shawnee National Forest west of Alto Pass, IL. The idea for the cross came in 1937 when Wayman Presley was chatting with Reverend W.H. Lirely. The two talked about the need for a place for people of different denominations to worship. This led to the first Easter Sunrise service in 1937 on Bald Knob. An enthusiastic crowd of 250 attended. In the following years attendance grew to thousands .

The Cross was completed in 1963. It contained 900 heavy gauge steel panels with a white porcelain veneer that was illuminated from within by 40,000 watts of lighting. The Cross could be seen for 7,500 square miles. The structure is 111 feet tall. The base of the Cross is made of Illinois marble. The Cross can withstand winds of up to 150 miles per hour. The inside is hollow. Visitors were originally able to take stairs to the top. This has been discontinued since 1982.

When I visited the Cross, the porcelain veneer had been removed as part of a restoration process. The website,, has a nice rendering of the finished restoration which is projected for fall 2010. Even without the exterior veneer, the Cross is worth the trip to see. If you like seeing the structure behind a form, this would be particularly interesting to you. You can see the steel angles, beams, columns and cross bracing. You can also see the stairs that the public used to take to the top. The view from Bald Knob is spectacular! You can see miles of beautiful Southern Illinois forest. Bald Knob is a neat place to watch the sunset. As the day turned to night, the lights of the Cross were turned on making for a picturesque scene.

To learn more, there is a visitor’s center on the site. There is also a pavilion that makes a good place for a picnic or church gathering. Hopefully soon the Cross will be restored. Not many places are blessed to have a cross over 100 feet tall!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Spatial Perception

By Rhonda C Daugherty

How one interprets space is a phenomenological experience that goes beyond the limitations of psychological confinement. Smell and taste are consequentially linked to a sense of place by understanding how the brain works and remembers past. To smell and to taste are past, spatial perceptions linking to present; rather visuals, touch, and sounds are descriptive characteristics that exist in the present. Spatial explorations while utilizing one’s senses are indeed manipulated by human behavior which is controlled by social, physiological and his or her physical inadequacy.

Site, location, and intent are the primary concern when designing a project that examines phenomenological perception. Everything plays a key role; for example, in “Invisible Architecture”, the author discusses phenomenological in terms of a physical association to space while; in “Spaces Speak, Are You Listening?” the author challenges the thought of physical association and states that space is subjective. In conclusion, how one perceives something and what it perceived would be impossible without the five senses.

Motorcycles Represent The Major Type of Transportation in Taiwan

By Kang-Hsin Fan

Taiwan’s population was estimated at 23 million in 2010. With its high population density and many factories, some areas in Taiwan, especially the capital city of Taipei, suffer from heavy pollution. Motor scooters are a very common means of transportation in Taiwan and contribute to urban air pollution. According to official public transportation report, there are approximately 13 million motor scooters and 5 million cars in 2010. With the data of transportation, the biggest problem in Taiwan is the omni-presence of scooters. Without the pedestrianization policy by the government, motorcyclists always park haphazardly at the side of the street or in front of shops as close to their destination as they can. The problem is that pedestrians and motorcyclists are in conflict for the use of public spaces. From the view of retailers, shoppers are not able to visit their shops with these hazardous scooters in front of there doors. This behavior clutters up the public spaces, and the development of urban design.

Moreover, some restaurants hope to create an outdoor atmosphere like the cafes of European countries to attract customers, so that they can admire the outside sunshine and the street views. With these businesses reasons, these restaurants extend their service range by arranging furniture on the pedestrian street to shape the outside atmosphere. In Taiwan, the arcade in a building is a public space for pedestrians to walk freely. As a result, who will benefit from the environmental improvement; the pedestrians, retailers, visitors, shoppers, or investors? From the view of urban design, how can they improve the growth of using motor scooters as primary transportation in Taiwan? Can public spaces improvement revive the city center? Hall (2000), states that environmental improvement is considered to be a catalyst, as the essential drivers in the city’s center try and form again.


USGBC GreenBuild Conference and Expo

By Tara Loughman

The U.S. Green Build Council held their annual GreenBuild Conference this past weekend in Chicago, IL. Along with other members in SIUC’s student chapter, I made the trip up North to attend the conference. As a student member, I was able to attend the conference at no charge if I participated as a volunteer. This was a great opportunity for me and many other students. This was a great way for us to attend, but also a great way to learn and network with so many others in attendance.

The Conference was held at the McCormick Center, downtown Chicago, IL. The venue was filled with architects, designers, carpenters, merchants and many well-known key speakers. As a volunteer, I was to work in the exhibit areas and help other GreenBuild attendee’s to recycle their trash while helping them to understand why it’s so important and to show them that they can help make a difference in our world by recycling.

As the conference went on I was able to go walk the exhibit areas and talk to many knowledgeable manufacturers and designers. This was probably my favorite part of the conference because of the conversations made. When going into a booth, you are given an opportunity to talk to the manufacturers regarding their products on display and also to talk to the other attendee’s at the booths as well. Another thing that was great was to talk to the other students to see what they were studying, where they were going to school, and what they were doing in their studio classes.

Over the past few days, I have really seen another vast progression in green design. It’s everywhere! A lot of the things shown and expressed at the conference were really good features that could be used and considered in the design our future projects. I am really interested to see some of the products and ideas created and utilized. Specifically, I would like to see the effects they might have on the environment and to distinguish if some of these designers are really designing for the fact of sustainability or if they are just joining the “green design” bandwagon. Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Diwali: The Festival of Lights

By Bhakti Shah

Diwali, the biggest Indian festival, was celebrated the past week. It’s popularly is known as the ‘festival of lights’ and marks the victory of good over evil. It also marks the beginning of the Indian new year. Diwali is typically celebrated for 5 days and each of these 5 days has it’s own significance.

This festival is of paramount importance and is in a country of over a billion people. Across the country, the people celebrate the important festival with great enthusiasm. Schools, colleges and businesses have official holidays for several days, similar to the Christmas holidays in the west.

The nature of this festival is very social. People celebrate this festival by performing various traditional activities with their relatives and friends. They worship the Gods, visit friends and families, and make a variety of sweets. They light oil lamps made of clay inside the house and in their courtyards. People decorate their houses with colorful lights and lanterns of different shapes. The use of firecrackers is so popular during this festival that the night sky glows with fireworks for 5 consecutive days. There is hardly a moment when you cannot hear a firecrackers noise or cannot see the fireworks lights in the night sky during Diwali.

The enormity of this festival is such that no one can escape it’s aura if they are anywhere in the country during this time of the year. I guess, it would not be an exaggeration to say that no other occasion on this planet is more social and colorful than the Festival of Diwali!

Reference Images:

Monday, November 22, 2010

Modern Architecture Building: Swiss Re Building

By Scott Fisher

Lord Foster and his partner Ken Shuttlework, along with Arup engineers, designed The Swiss Re Building; Skanska later built it. Swiss Re Building or as most know it as the Gherkin. The Gherkin is marked as the most recognizable modern architecture landmark in the city of London. The Gherkin was completed on December 2003 and opened up for business on April 28, 2004. The building is the sixth largest building in London which contains 40 floors totally over 180 meters, 516,100 SF, and is located on 30 St. Mary Axe Street in downtown London where the Baltic Exchange use to be. The construction of the Gherkin helped represent an up-coming boom in high-rise construction in London. In designing the Gherkin, they incorporated energy saving methods, which allowed them to use about half the power that a comparable tower might have used. The main method they came up with was to make gaps on each floor which created six shafts that function as a ventilation system. These shafts form a double-glazing effect - air is pushed together between two layers of glazing and then insulates the office areas inside. The main occupant of the Gherkin was Swiss Re-Global Reinsurance Company. The Swiss Re commissioned the building as the head office of the UK operation. Featured on the 40th floor of the Gherkin, is a bar for employees and guests that have a 360° view over London. The two floors that the bar contains is made up of a restaurant and multiple private dining rooms for special occasions. It has been known for one to be able to see the building 20 miles away, which is where the M11 Motorway is.

Image: Modern Architecture written by Anthony Hassell, David Boyle, & Jeremy Harwood

Chautauqua Auditorium

By Cray Shallenbarger

The following is a summary of a paper I wrote for an architectural history class. It is a good example of a culturally rich piece of architecture that has been preserved over a surprising period of time.

In the small town of Shelbyville, Illinois, examples of unique or even “good” architecture are slim. If one is so lucky to stumble across a unique structure in the said area he should definitely inquire about it. In this obscure Central Illinois town I did just that. The Chautauqua building is located in the center of the town’s park, Forest Park. It’s not an excessively large building by any means. It is merely one hundred and fifty feet in diameter. From the outside the building looks seemingly unimportant. It is a round building with several doors and windows tracing its circumference. When viewing it from the outside it is apparent to one that the purpose of this building is to house entertainment. The building was the center of the Chautauqua festival that consisted of music and prominent speakers of the time.

Throughout time the building has seen good times and bad times. In the early nineteen seventies, the building was in ill repair. There was talk of tearing it down and building a new, more up to date building. This struggle went on for several years. In nineteen seventy seven the building teetered on being destroyed and being remodeled. It was then that a large snowfall caused the roof and part of the wall to collapse. This forced the people of the community to make a decision. Thankfully they made the decision to repair the building and restore it. Since that time, there have been few problems with the building. One electrical fire threatened the then one hundred and one year old structure but the flame was extinguished by the local fire department.

Aside from being a culturally rich building, the Chautauqua auditorium is an excellent piece of architecture. The auditorium was constructed for entertainment purposes. The designer of the building, H. B. Trout, utilized a recent invention to achieve what was required for the building to be functional. The building was to be one hundred and fifty in diameter. Also, they wanted to use little or no middle roof supports. This may have been possible to achieve with the use of arches but the builders of this building went another route. In 1902, just a few years before the auditorium was constructed, a man by the name of Morrison H. Vail of Chicago had designed a ceiling construction method that would do just that. In review of Vail’s patent information, one can see that this invention was well deserving of use. In the specifications for his patent (1902), Vail described his invention and its purpose. It was developed to provide a cheap, safe and durable solution to special obstructions caused by columns normally needed to support a ceiling. He stated that his invention would withstand any strain of wind and snow.

This new method was actually a pretty good one. The patent explained how the load of the ceiling was dealt without using columns for support. It uses tension to keep the roof from collapsing. The roof is not flat. In fact, it raises several feet from the outside edge to the center. On the inside it is obvious that tension is in use. The trusses are fastened down to vertical posts which go all the way into the ground. These are anchored in concrete and have a wrought-iron core. These two are attached by metal straps. The straps’ shape allows for secure vertical down-pull on the truss ends without cutting into the wall plates. The cast iron foot plate is shaped as to bind the members of the trusses and keep it from spreading apart under the strains. The cast iron pin plates are formed as to bind the ends of the struts, being held up in place by the bolts. The position of the ears spreads the outer pair of the tie rods giving added lateral stiffness to the trusses. The wrought iron strap is formed as to bind the pin, the strut, and the truss rafter in their proper position and assist the rafter with the strains on the pin. The straps bind the struts to the truss rafter in their proper positions. The steel tie rods are held immovably in place on the pins and by the pin plates, ears, and nuts on the ends of the said pins.

Two long, steel tie plates are employed at ninety degrees to one another. They are exactly the same width as the rafters. They extend the full length of the core all the way to the opposite truss. These are bound to the rafters by the wrought iron straps which are tightened by bolts. The plates are also lag screwed to the truss-rafter to prevent twisting of the structure. The center, circular core is built up of several layers of planks. Each layer is composed of planks lying parallel to and abutting each other. The several layers are positioned so that the individual planks of one layer will cross the underlying later at an angle. The core pieces are shaped to fit the head plates. Each is drilled as to accept to receive the nuts on the ends of the rods by which the head plates are clamped onto the ends of the rafters. All of the planks are arranged so that when finished, they form a solid body of circular outline. The thickness of this affords a bearing that makes the apex of the roof nearly solid. “Each truss-rafter is built up of several thicknesses of planks, which break joints and are securely bound together by lag-screws, spikes, and bolts.” The center tie plates are two circular steel plates drilled around the circumference. These holes allow a place for the tie rods to connect in the center of the structure. Shims are placed between the two plates to allow space for the tie rods. These plates are bolted together to stop any shifting. The plates hang several feet below the top of the structure. It is crucial that these maintain the same location in relationship to one another. To achieve this, there are steel rods run from the top portion of the roof to the bottom plates which are well above the ground. This center construction is necessary to make the entire truss-work rigid. It eliminates any twisting from uneven loads on the roof. All of the steel rods are adjustable by turnbuckles placed on them. This allows for future adjustments needed because of settling or repair needs.

As one can see the roof of this structure was constructed in one of the most advanced ways possible for that time period. Shelbyville, Illinois does not have much architecture. This building is a symbol of the town and thankfully a great piece of architecture. Not many in the town understand what a great structure it really is. Before coming to school and studying architecture I never really looked twice at it either. It just goes to show that good, sustainable architecture is everywhere. One just has to be willing to look at it with an open and critical eye.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Code Solutions

By Vince Burdi

As defined in the Illinois Practice Act of 1989, "The practice of architecture is declared to affect the public health, safety and welfare and to be subject to regulation and control in the public interest." With this in mind I would like to discuss the importance of building code and its place in the architectural environment.

At first glance, code review may seem like an overwhelming and tedious task, which it can be at times. As you get involved with a project, codes can become more demanding and even require you to redesign certain portions of your design. This often leads to frustrating visits to clients, departments of zoning, a boss, etc. Codes are not here to make your life hard, but if this happens during a project, take a second and step back. As an architect it is important to remember the final product of your building. Codes can help you see the light in this respect. Codes should not be forced into the design of a building, but instead encourage us to think of ways to incorporate systems, technology, and other tools which we study in our education.

Codes have a reputation for dictating how architects, engineers, contractors, anyone in the respected building profession builds and occupies space. However, codes can and should act as guides helping us understand the spaces we our designing for. Building codes have been tested and used in previous buildings before us. The variations in codes exist because architecture is an evolving trade. There is not always one solution fits all. Which is an interesting fact of the code review, which it is interpretive. What may apply in one situation may not apply to another. There is always some new form of building technology that will challenge or compliment our designs. For this reason we can only guarantee that code changes are to satisfy the health, safety, and welfare of the public. Remember, this is why architecture is regarded as a profession. We need to take responsibility for the people that will ultimately occupy our space. Building codes help architects find solutions, not prevent them.

A Walk through Bellefontaine Cemetery

By Shane Healey

Bellefontaine Cemetery, located in St. Louis, Missouri, is a 314 acre cemetery that is open to the public. Located here are the memorials of many notable individuals including: Adolphus Busch, William Clark, James McDonnell, John O’Fallon, and the Wainwright Tomb. In addition to these individuals, The Bellefontaine Cemetery is home to the Hotchkiss Chapel. Also among the sit,e there is a wide variety of plants and animals including: 4, 181 plants and 4, 173 trees making up 155 species of plants, the State Champion American Elm, and dozens of species of animals.

This cemetery, home to 87, 000 individuals, was opened in 1849 by William McPerson, a former mayor of St Louis. Once inside the cemetery, the only mausoleum without a family name above it is the Whitewright Tomb. In addition, above the Busch Tomb, the phrase, “Veni, vidi, vici” – or I came, I saw, I conquered, is engraved. In addition to the gorgeous views within the cemetery walls, the Hotchkiss Chapel was newly renovated, costing over a million dollars to add electricity, an interior columbarium, and making it ADA accessible.

In the grad studio this semester, we are designing a chapel, columbarium, and crematorium for the Bellefontaine Cemetery. With this project I have learned many thing about myself and my designs: to take in consideration every single culture when designing a building of this magnitude, the importance of concept research, and areas that seem like the worst, can actually be the best with only a few modifications.


Working in the Industry

By Dustin Stoll

Since the summer of 2003, I have spent my free time working at Graber Post Buildings in Southern Indiana. My uncle Glen Graber owns Graber Post and built the business from the ground up. He started out in 1973, constructing post frame buildings with his crew of three local Amish men. As the business began to grow, Glen saw the opportunity to expand his business into the wholesale and retail markets by purchasing truckloads of building materials to save on costs. In 1987 he purchased a roll-former in order to produce his own metal roofing and siding panels. After 37 years in the business, Graber Post is one of the leaders in the industry, and selling building materials across the entire continental United States, Canada, and Mexico.

When I began working at Graber Post, my jobs were mostly stationed in the manufacturing departments. I have helped roll thousands of miles of metal panels, bent countless pieces of trim, and helped assemble several wood trusses. Working in the building industry spurred my interest in architecture, and thus resulted in my enrollment in architecture school.

Since 2008 I have worked in the drafting department at Graber Post, where I use Revit Architecture to produce construction documents for some of the many buildings we build each year. It is a satisfying feeling to draw buildings that are actually being built, and it has helped me hone many of the skills needed for school.

Images provided by:

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Spring Furniture Studio

By Ben Temperley

This week I am writing about my experience in Professor Wessel's Furniture Studio class. This is an elective that I found to be well worth the time. I took the class for graduate credit while enrolled as a Master's of Architecture student. Most students take the class for undergraduate credit. It is offered in the spring.

During the first four weeks of class we were asked to build a version of Gerrit Rietveld's "Berlin Chair". Rietveld designed the chair for an exhibition in Berlin in 1923. I would classify the chair design as De Stijl. De Stijl is Dutch for "The Style". It was a movement founded in the Netherlands and lasted from 1917 to 1931. De Stijl was characterized by simple rectangular forms and primary colors along with black and white. Piet Mondrian is a well known De Stijl painter. Our chair designs were to resemble the "Berlin Chair", but we could change the materiality, color, finish, decoration, jointure, and other qualities that we thought appropriate.

My version was made of 3/4" birch plywood. Birch plywood has a smooth finish, tight grain, and cuts cleanly. I could have used oak plywood, but oak is not as smooth and tends to chip when cut. I chose to give my chair a Japanese feel because I like the elegance of Japanese design. I wanted the chair to reflect my personality. I really like art and music, so I stenciled Kanji on the chair that translates as "artist" and "musician". Important to me is my faith in Jesus Christ. I represented this by inlaying three strips of wood that I stained deep red. The stripes are red for the blood Jesus shed. There are three to represent the Trinity. They also represent the stripes on Jesus' back from the scourging He received before being crucified. The Scriptures say "By His stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 53:5) I finished the chair with a clear coat of lacquer.

For the second project we were given the option to design whatever type of furniture we wanted. Students chose coffee tables, end tables, book shelves, etc. I chose to design a music workstation desk. This was my choice because my wife plays piano, and we wanted a place to set up recording equipment. The desk is about 6 feet long to hold an 88-key piano keyboard on one level. There is a second level above the keyboard to hold speakers and a computer monitor. There is ample storage space for various recording equipment. I chose a black and silver color scheme to match the music equipment we have like amps and a pedal board. I used the CNC machine in the blue barracks to cut out the design. That made my life much easier. For the jointure I chose metal dowels and cams.

The chair currently rests in my living room. It matches the color of the room quite well. The desk has been put to good use in my music room. My wife uses it about everyday. I really enjoyed the class, even though it required a lot of work. I am happy to be able to use the projects that I made. Finally, a piece of advice - if you choose paint as a finish, use spray paint if you do not want brush strokes on you project.

Monday, November 15, 2010

House: What it Means to People in Today’s World

By Bhakti Shah

In ancient times, basic needs of man were food, shelter and clothing. Over the period of time, man has developed due to globalization, industrialization and competition in various fields and his basic needs now have taken a larger scope. A house is one of such needs that have changed drastically.

A house has an emotional touch and it replicates the personality of the person living in it. It has an interior as per the requirements of the person living in it. Growing interest in the field of residential architecture and interior design has given a boost to housing design. People are now aware of the trends in house designing. From small cities to metropolitan areas, trend in decorating and designing the house of any scale is taking competitive form. Houses of different forms, materials and interior spaces are being preferred by the people. House is now not only a need but also a status of symbol in society. Creativity is now challenged because people are ready to spend large sums of money on their house. Interior Design and Landscape Design are the two additional fields on which people focus while designing a house. Old houses, bungalows and small apartments are also given ambitious makeovers.

The development in these creative fields is worth appreciation. It challenges the creativity, technology, knowledge and development in today’s globalized world.

Now a days, the awareness and implementation of sustainability concept is increasing. Individual houses are not behind in this race. I came to know about the world’s greenest and costliest house which was recently built in India. “Antilla” – It’s a house in the form of a 27 storied building with exceptionally high ceilings. With ideal ceiling height, it could have been a 60 storied structure. It occupies 35,000 sq.ft. of area with 500+ feet height. It is a private residence of an Indian billionaire industrialist and it is located in Mumbai, India where real estate costs as much as $1800/square foot. Mumbai is amongst the densest cities in the world, with almost 30,000 people per square kilometer. There has been some debate in India about spending a billion dollars to make an Individual home. It’s covered in foliage, with living walls enclosing all four sides, hanging gardens and green rooftop. The walls of plants will increase green space and combat urban heat island effect. But look behind the green fa├žade, and as far as we can tell, there’s nothing else sustainable about the materials or construction. According to writer Sarah Rich, “Sustainability is most commonly defined as the ability to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainability is about humanity as much as it is about greenery. Living walls are lovely, but they’re not a free ticket to environmental integrity. “

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