Monday, February 28, 2011

Layered Urbanism

By Rhonda Daugherty

The design thesis location will be in Chicago, Illinois and attached to the Field Museum. Some site consideration is noise, traffic, natural elements. The location begins to investigate the idea of natures meaning with urbanism. Lake Michigan is this beautiful element that allow the mind to feel itself and then there is downtown Chicago; a beautiful, majestic city that has structure, along with cultural and artistic developments. The implication, that a phenomenological museum will enhance the conceptual thinkers and tourists, is very conceivable.

In layered Urbanism, the author composed several sites that investigated a number of problematic elements that was involved in the design of different sites. The Brooklyn site was a design of a stadium by Frank Gehry (Pasquarelli, 2008). The community was concerned about there input in the design process (Pasquarelli, 2008). The community was asked to investigate the problems and concerns involving the design of the site and its location (Pasquarelli, 2008). The students then had to sort through all the documentation and began to make design decisions based off the data observed. The class began to take a Formative Scenario Analysis approach to the data. Their was the case or subject (stadium) then the problems, from the architect, community, and owners (Pasquarelli, 2008). Next the problems went through a Synthesis process and the solution began to reveal itself.

Kansas City International House of Prayer System Analysis

By Ben Temperley

Professor Jon Davey introduced his Architecture III, Non-Western Architecture class at SIUC to analyzing the critical sub-systems of a system. A system, in short, is composed of inputs and outputs involving matter, energy, and information (M-E-I). The inputs are related to the outputs through a network of relationships. The author will examine the Kansas City International House of Prayer (KC IHOP) Prayer Room system by identifying its ten sub-systems (Boundary Acceptance, Boundary Elimination, Distribution, Synthesis, Storage, Converter, Activation, Supporter, Reproducer, and Regulatory) as described by Ellner (1981). The author chose the KC IHOP because a major component of his design thesis is patterned after the KC IHOP prayer room.

The Boundary Acceptance sub-system for entrance into the Prayer Room is the doors and the internet. The live internet web-stream is a virtual entrance for anyone with internet access.

Security guards act as a Boundary Elimination. The Prayer Room is open to all unless there is a security threat that must be blocked from entrance. Entrance via the webstream is disrupted by a lack of internet service.

Aisles, doors, hallways, etc. distribute persons throughout the Prayer Room. Electrical energy is distributed from wall outlets through cables or wirelessly through the air. Sound and video are distributed through cameras and sound recording.

Synthesis is required for units to reach their final form necessary to reach equilibrium. This is accomplished by providing spaces for people to sit, stand, or lie down. Persons must also engage their hearts in prayer and worship. Musically, it is accomplished through microphones, mixing sound, playing together, singing together, etc.

Storage space is required for matter, energy, and information before they are in use. Storage rooms are used for musical equipment. There are other rooms and locations within the building for people who are not currently worshipping in the Prayer Room.

A converter sub-system transforms M-E-I into more acceptable forms for the system. The Holy Spirit performs a work on receptive hearts. The Spirit enhances worship in ways that the human heart alone cannot. The worshipper must submit to the Holy Spirit and engage in the worship process.

Activation triggers dynamic changes in the system's equilibrium. Activation in the KC IHOP involves reading, meditating, speaking, and singing the Word of God. With the Spirit's guidance the singers and musicians of the worship team activate a response of worship by those in attendance.

A stable, spatial relationship is supported by a system of a floor, ceiling, walls and columns. The stage provides a platform for the singers and musicians leading the worship.

A reproducer sub-system is responsible for damaged, destroyed, or deteriorating components of the system. This is the facilities' overseer. Instrument cables, instruments, microphones, lights, recording equipment, etc. need to be fixed or replaced from time to time.

Maintaining a healthy, vibrant Prayer Room needs constant monitoring and regulation. Before singers and musicians engage in a set (a block of time for singing and playing) they brief on what they plan to do under the Spirit's guidance in a room adjacent to the stage. When not participating in the Prayer Room worship, all those involved must study the Word, pray, and commit to holy living if the Prayer Room is to function properly. They must also be open to instruction, criticism, and revelation for improvement of the worship experience.

The KC IHOP is a complex system involving many sub-systems. However, by systematic analysis, one can make sense of it. The author hopes that this example of systems analysis may encourage others to try the same on other systems and make their own discoveries.

About the Prayer Room. (2011). Retrieved February 19, 2011, from Kansas City International House of Prayer Web Site:

Ellner, (1981). Definitions of Critical Sub-systems. Master course in Environmental Design. Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois.

Lakeview at Home

By Tara D. Loughman

For a project I did in my undergraduate studies, I put together a concept for a senior living community. My main purpose was that one that would be inviting and healthy to all. I researched many different cases that accommodate to a person's needs in an environment. In any senior home, the client, can feel taken advantage of and feel that things are only ending for them. No one wants that for a loved one, I want the client to feel as if their patients were at home and in an environment that makes them the most comfortable.

I decided to renovate an existing building and construct a functional retirement and assisted living facility with the state of the art medical care and other great amenities. The concept comes from wanting to explore the healthcare field. I want the space to be attractive and encouraging, with a sense of feeling at home. The space should give the impression of ones residence, not a sterol hospital.

There are three buildings. The first structure will be the main building for office spaces and all administrative services. The building will also occupy a deli and micro-market, credit union, doctor offices, and a fitness center with a pool for therapeutic exercise.

The second building is intended for the retirement community. There are plenty of activities to do in the clubroom, along with the lounge, Movie Theater, and library. Also included will be a restaurant with fine sit down accommodations that allow the resident to the experience of going out to dine and not have a cafeteria style feel. A salon for everyone’s use will be available throughout the community and at cooperative times.

The third and final building is for resident’s that require more medical attention and care. The building will be designed for Assisted Living and Acute care patients. In the building, there are medical offices for easy management, along with nurses and volunteers for everyday help. Like the second building, there will also be a restaurant, along with a salon, game room, and lounge.

The purpose of having so many medical offices, salons, gyms, and restaurants, is to make the client feel at ease and not have to feel as if they have leave the campus. This makes things convenient for the client, patients, and for their families. This is not to be looked at as if they are to only stay in their specific building, but for patients who find it easier or are limited more can still have the independence in doing things they once enjoyed doing.

The concept for the care and homes is to have specific spaces, for everyday, real life experiences, with the grasp for wellbeing and strength for a longer, healthier life. The design, for the three buildings, has been arranged to be relaxing and comforting to all patients and ones who may be visiting. Many effects added are to be reminiscent to the patient and their memories of their "younger" years. A traditional sense will account for most materialized products, but the latest technology will be in accommodation for fast and adequate services to the patients and their needs.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Crematorium Project

By Scott Fisher

In architecture studio, we are often required to design structures that are very interesting. Out of my 5 years of college, the most interesting project came to me last fall in my graduate fall studio….A CREMATORIUM. After four weeks of precedent studies I found out what a crematorium actually was, where they're typically located, what is required in order to cremate someone and much more. Our program for the class was to design a crematorium with a total of 40,000 sf. building(s), 2 chapels, 3 retorts, business area and any other areas needed for the business. Our site was in Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis which houses a large amount of mausoleums and graves. This cemetery has been well kept but it does not have much public activity. To help improve this issue this proposal is to add a crematorium with chapel spaces. The crematorium is designed for the use of cremation needs along with adjacent chapel but the chapel can also be used a community gathering space. This space should be up-lifting for those that are going through a rough time but also be able to be multi-functional. These spaces are to have good connections but yet be able to stand alone. The chapel and its corresponding area should not only be thought to be used as a place to say your “good-byes,” but also a place for public concerts/meetings/gathering spaces. The appearance of the structure will embrace the surroundings but to also incorporate traditional materials that bring stability. After coming up with several concepts, I developed my first crematorium design as shown below: Night shot of front entrance, interior lobby area, large chapel space, viewing room, and enshrinement room.

Category of Site

By Cray Shellenbarger

As the thesis project unfolds, there are many decisions to be made, some more difficult than others. Recently I came upon the issue of site selection. This is especially important for my thesis because it deals with spirituality and a space’s impact on human feeling and behavior. In working through and researching particular site criteria I have come upon what I think, are the four applicable categories of sites for this thesis. Although thesis are in response to my work, I believe that all sites fall under these cultural categories.

The first of these is the Forgotten site. This site is one suffering from neglect. The site will have been developed and maintained at one point but currently fallen into disrepair. These sites may or may not have had significant meaning to their occupants at some point. Examples of this type of site can range from a building to a city. East St. Louis and Cairo, IL are great examples. These sites are often chosen for projects of redevelopment in Urban Studios. In studying these sites the students should not just focus on the current state of the regions but the causes that produced such poor conditions.

The second of the four is the Neutral site. The neutral site has no historical, cultural or spiritual meanings. This could be an open field or a bland building such as an abandon shopping center. This type of the site can be difficult to work with, in that it provides little or no contextual items to respond to. Often, designers look at complex sites as harder to work with. In truth, they should realize that the complex sites provide more stimuli to respond to, thus becoming a stronger project. However, this type of site can allow the designer to create their own idea of cultural expression.

Enriched is the third category to discuss. This site has a high level of cultural meaning. Mecca and Jerusalem are two great examples. On a smaller scale Ronchamp or the Dome of the Rock are fine examples. These sites can be difficult to work with on many levels. First of all, mistakes in cultural interpretations are not tolerated. The local inhabitants of these sites feel very strongly about the beliefs that surround them. It is difficult also for a designer to establish any type of change here. Many of these places will reject change or simply ignore it. If the designer is familiar with the cultures here it can be a great experience working within the cultural limitations.

The last to be discussed is the Contested site. In my opinion, this is the most rewarding to work with. These sites often have a complex history along with the firm beliefs similar to those of the enriched site. Examples of this category include the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The conflict of these sites range from religious differences to political problems. They may be full of violent conflict or simply just separated by class or other affiliation. This type of site gives so many contextual items to respond to that that project will almost always, if responded to properly, come across as a well thought out and developed project.

Anytime we are selecting a site we must look at all of the context. To ignore culture or local beliefs is as bad, if not worse than, ignoring topography or flood areas. In regards to culture, these four categories are a good way to look at your site. Understanding a site from this perspective will shape the building form and functionality and make for a stronger design every time.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Happiness in a Single Family House

By Yuko Aoki

As a graduate student, I want to research happiness in a single family house for my thesis. Happiness is a word which describes a person’s emotional state and/or feeling. Feeling happy is the state most humans want to keep holding. A house is the place where most people start days and end days. I thought it would be good to think about and carry out research about how a house can provide happiness to people.

Happiness all depends on a person. Some people think that it is happy to bake cake in their kitchen, to have parties at their house, and/or just to be with and have a fun time with their own families. A house is only a container to live life. However, if the house is not sufficient enough for the people who live in it, they will not feel their happiness even though a happy event might take place there.

Then what kind of elements or functions does a house need to have? According to the “Happy Planet Index”, the components of happiness are life expectancy, life satisfaction, and ecological footprint. I made a list of functions which will fulfill the three elements of happiness in a housing design.

1. Life Expectancy
- Natural lighting
- Indoor air quality
- Age friendliness

2. Life satisfaction
- Community interaction
- Family gathering
- Efficiency
- Physical environment
- Size of a house
- Spaces in a house (spatial programing)
- Location
- Color

3. Ecological footprint
- Material
- Artificial lighting
- Sustainable features
- Natural environment/ garden area

There are probably more features to add to this list. This is just a starting point of what can be done to make a happy house. Now, I am conducting a survey to find out what people think about their current houses and how their house can give them happiness. I have not sent the questions out to the public but I hope I will collect more than enough answers.

Image from
Reference: Happy planet index

Needing Pre-Designed Solutions

By Shane Healey

Throughout history, there have been events that have changed the way people act, view the world, and/ or interact with others. These events include the earthquake in Haiti, the events that occurred in New York City on September 11th, and Hurricane Katrina making landfall in the Southeast. These disastrous events happened suddenly, in a way that could not have been predicted. However, these events could have had a pre-designed designs and strategies that could have lessened the effects of these disasters. After doing intensive research on the topic of natural disasters and sheltering options for my thesis, when it comes to the events that occurred in Haiti and Katrina, there are many solutions that could have lessened the effects of the hurricane itself, which include: a pre-designed post-disaster temporary shelter that is cost effective as well as suitable from the location, weather, and people’s needs and wants, a location for a pre-designed shelter village that promotes a community aspect, and a governmental plan of what to do before a future disaster were to occur. This would have lead to many changes in the events that occurred after the hurricane and earthquake. Some of these changes would include: lessening the negative view of the government, adequately sheltering the hundreds of thousands of displaced individuals, and being able to create an independent shelter in the case that the area’s water and electricity supple is disconnected for months after the disaster. By doing this, the well-being and health of those displaced individuals would be improved; therefore, in the end, lives would be saved.

Gaza Strip

By Cray Shellenbarger

The Gaza Strip is a small area along the Mediterranean Sea. It shares borders with Israel and Egypt. The population is around 1.6 million people in an area of about 139 square miles. The majority of these are considered refugees. The area is known for
cultural, religious and political unrest. That is why I’ve chosen it for the site of my thesis project.

My thesis deals with spiritual space and the affect it has on people. It goes on to discuss the cultural and biological reasoning for this. The Gaza site was chosen specifically for its location in relation to the three major religions of our time. Islam, Judaism and Christianity all share roots in this region.

The area has gone from Egyptian control to Israel control. Although Israel pulled all military out of the area, they still control much of what goes on in the Strip. Beings that Israel controls two of the borders and the coastal area is under constant military patrol, Gaza is at the mercy of the Israeli government in terms of goods and people coming and going.

Up until 2007 the Strip was under control of the Palestinian Authority. In 2007 elections were held in which the Hamas won. Hamas along with other militant groups began firing Qassam rockets across the border into Israel. This caused Israel to cut off the flow of goods and supplies into Gaza.

The actions of both sides of this conflict have been under scrutiny from many governments. The EU, UN and United States have strongly discouraged actions considered to violate basic human rights laws including the interruption of food into Gaza and the bombing of the only power station in the Strip.

This site is perfect for a project encouraging universal spiritual connection and peace. This struggle which is said to have begun with Abrahams two sons, Ishmael and Isaac, is as complex as a problem one can find in the world.

Image courtesy of

Monday, February 21, 2011


By Micah Jacobson

I was able to visit Chicago this week; it was my first time in the windy city. The city is filled with great architecture. I did not have very much time for site seeing, but was able to walk the streets and look at the giant buildings around me.

Being a pizza lover, I had to have some authentic Chicago deep dish pizza. After searching the web for the best place I went with Pizzeria Uno, the original Chicago deep dish. It was within walking distance from the hotel as well. It was delicious! The crust was thick and the cheese was amazingly stringy. When you got to the outside it tasted like pie crust.

One evening we had time and walked from our hotel to the Willis (Sears) tower. It was about a 2 mile walk. We walked past the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, designed by Frank Gehry. We continued on to Willis Tower and went up to the sky deck. It was great, standing over 1,300 feet above the city streets below. I it great think of the engineering that went into the steel structure of the building. It was designed as nine tubes, terminating at different elevations.

One of my favorite buildings is the Chicago Tribune building. It is a gothic style sky scraper, with flying buttresses at the top. I was not able to make it to the John Hancock building or the Monadnock building. It would have been nice to stay for longer and see more of the city. I am very interested in the history and engineering that created the modern marvels that came from it.

Visiting the Farnsworth

By Jessica Grafton

My junior year as an interior design student, we took a fieldtrip to Chicago and up to Milwaukee. One of my favorite parts of the trip was our stop in Plano, IL to see the Farnsworth House by Mies van der Rohe.

Once we arrived on the property, we had a bit of a walk to the site of the house itself, and I remember it was the perfect day for it. The sun was shining beautifully through the trees, and our guide told us how lucky we were, because very recently, the river had flooded and we would’ve had to have taken a canoe to get to the site of the house. Apparently the Farnsworth has flooded quite a few times over the years.

The tour was really great, along with walking the grounds we were permitted to go inside. To get a sense of scale for a house that is so well known in the world of architecture, was probably the most beneficial part of the trip. As most of you know, the house is all glass exterior walls with a central core that houses the bathroom and kitchen functions. Everything else is exposed including the bedroom, unless the floor- to-ceiling curtains are drawn.

I really admire such a minimalist design; no clutter or unnecessary spaces. It’s remarkable to imagine living in such a house. It was definitely worth the stop we made, and really gave me a better perspective on the actual size and scale of the Farnsworth. I recommend going to see it in person.

Smallest Country

By Scott Fisher

HM Fort Roughs, also known, as Roughs Tower, is one of the few World War II installations that was designed by Guy Maunsell. This Tower was also known as His Majesty’s Fort. Fort Rough’s purpose was to guard the port of Harwich, Essex. Fort Roughs later gained fame and became a micronation named Sealand. Sealand, an offshore platform was constructed in 1942 in England consisting of a floating pontoon base with a substructure of two hollow towers. It is located in the North Sea about 6 miles from the coast of Suffolk and 8 miles from the coast of Essex, England. Sealand is the world’s smallest country but may actually be a British government property. The population of the country infrequently exceeds 10 and has an area of only 5,920 square feet. In 1967 Paddy Roy Bates, a radio broadcaster, and his family took over Sealand. Bates proclaimed the island his own state naming it “The Principality of Sealand.” He then bestowed himself the title of Prince and his wife the title of Princess. Around 7 years later Bates proclaimed the Constitution of the Principality followed by the development of the flag, its own anthem, stamps, passports and gold/silver coins. Unfortunately Bates and his son now want to sell the offshore platform and the rights to the stamps. They don’t really know how much Sealand is worth but some sources have estimated around 8 figures.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Mediocrity in Christian Architecture

By Dustin Stoll

A current trend in many contemporary Christian churches is the adaptation of a generic, “one size fits all” attitude towards church design. Symbolism plays an important role in all forms of religion and one of the most significant symbols for a congregation is the actual building in which they conduct their worship services. One of the first things people associate with a particular church is their building, which means that the building plays a very important role in how an individual congregation is perceived. The design of a church not only affects those who are in direct contact with it, but it can also have great influence on outsiders as well.

Tillich (1987) discusses the importance of an appropriate church building for a church. He does acknowledge the fact that there are many examples of Protestant groups who have taken over old Catholic church buildings, and have still been able to have a function very well as a church, in spite of using an inappropriate building for a protestant group. Tillich (1987) does not have a problem with the mentioned scenario, but instead he is offended by those who create new buildings that are solely based on traditions of the past. Tillich (1987) does not view the idea of tradition as a continual reproduction of designs from the past. Instead, he sees the concept of tradition as a challenge to create new, which promotes a necessity to reject old ideas. There is no particular style or design that can be labeled as religious, so to justify the use of a particular style due to traditional reasoning, is artistically dishonest. “The artistically untruthful repels anyone of religious sensitivity and prevents the experience of the numinous” (Tillich, 1987, p. 212). In the same way that a piece of art does not require a religious theme, religious architecture does not require a particular style or theme to be considered an appropriate religious building (p.212).

Tillich (1987) sees a church building as serving two main purposes. First the technical purpose, which serves the congregation with a place to meet. The second and equally important purpose is to be a symbol for the church. A problem that can arise is that the technical can become separated from the symbolic, or in some case the symbolic can be turned against the technical (p. 211).

Tillich, P. (1987). On art and architecture. New York, NY. The Crossroad Publishing Company.


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.


By Russell Baker

This design thesis project reintroduces the Catalan vault into modern and traditional architectural design and construction. The Catalan vault, also called the Catalan turn, Catalan arch, or timbrel vault, is a type of low arch, vault, or dome made of thin, plain bricks or tiles that are often used to make a structural floor surface. The investigation determines whether or not present day possibilities exist for employing the cohesive system as an alternative to the now, traditional, structural building and problem solving methods, taking into consideration sustainable architectural design and material concerns.

This overlapping tile system differs from standard arches in that it does not rely upon keystones, voussoirs, or gravity for structural strength. Instead, the overlapping tiles, once mortared together, provide cohesive strength between the layers to unify the structure as a single unit. A single layer alone will not stand, but with the addition of each layer of tiles, the structures strength increases. This cohesive system was developed in the autonomous community of Catalonia (a.k.a. Catalunya, Catalonha , or Cataluña) which has its own language, Catalan, and lies in northeastern Spain. The Catalan vault tiling system was introduced to America by the Valencian Spanish architect and contractor, Rafael Guastavino.

This Catalan vault design project is divided into four phases. The first phase includes a literature review and research of the Catalan arch and the works of Rafael Guastavino. More specifically, this phase will explore the invention of the cohesive arch, the use of the arch and its particular history in America, and the "death" of the arch more than sixty years ago due to the increase of labor costs. The second phase encompasses the structural and finite element analysis of the strength of the Catalan arch. The third phase implements and completes an investigation of the cost, strength, and modern sustainable qualities of the Catalan vault compared to traditional methods of building, including steel and concrete constructions, which possibly pose environmental sensitivity issues. This investigation phase raises the question could this model become a contemporary structural solution, sustainably, socially, and culturally, for domains where labor is cheap due to global economic issues in the near future? The fourth phase responds to this question through the employment of the Catalan arch in a proposed architectural project which will be simulated through the construction of an actual model of the cohesive system. The final goal of this architectural thesis project is to prove, or possibly even disprove, the potential values and benefits of reintroducing the Catalan vault into modern and traditional architectural design and construction.

Borneo Sporenburg

By Kang-Hsin Fan

“Urban design projects can provide essential structure for the future city. Many of these structures will manifest themselves physically in the plan of a city” (Waterman, 2010).

This case study project, Borneo Sporenburg, is located in Amsterdam, Netherlands. It is a mixed-use development located on two industrial peninsulas in the Amsterdam Docks. The Dutch firm, West8, was commissioned to prepare a master plan that delivered a density of 100 dwelling units per hectare in 1993. West8 stated their proposal, which included new residential typologies based in the traditional Dutch canal house, adapting the form for a new urban setting. According to West8’s proposal of Borneo Sporenburg, a public, open-space infrastructure was set out to provide bridges, parks and circulation space to connect the two peninsulas. This network of open space has become an essential component of the design, providing public presence while contrasting with the individuality of the private houses. The plan provides a distinctive design that balances repetition with individuality. Therefore, these add to the residential density and allow a greater range of tenants at different income levels.

For the Borneo Sporenburg project, there is an important view of landscape typologies. Emloying the Urban design can provide essential structure for the future city. The physical structures will manifest in the plan of an urban city.

Figure: Borneo Sporenburg
Source: Basic Landscape Architecture: Urban Design. Singapore: AVA

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Springfield, IL Trip

By Ben Temperley

This past summer, the Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (SIUC) Master of Architecture students worked on a project entitled the Barack Obama Presidential Library and Museum. In preparation for our design, we took a trip to Springfield, IL to study the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (ALPLM). The trip was informative and gave us a chance to explore other sites of interest in Springfield.

The ALPLM was designed by the architecture firm HOK. It was dedicated in April 2005. It consists of two separate buildings-the library and the museum. The exterior of both is clad in a tan-colored limestone from Egypt. The entrances of the library and museum each feature a rotunda similar to the dome of the Old State Capitol in Springfield. The design is a mix of traditional and modern.

Our class first toured the library. The library is primarily a research facility. It contains material related to many aspects of Illinois' history. The interior contains beautiful art glass. It has a Prairie Style feel to it. Across the street, the museum contains exhibits and galleries.

The Plaza in the center of the museum is a great place for photographs. You can have your picture taken with life-size statues of the Lincoln family. In the background is the facade of the south portico of the White House. The galleries and exhibits cover Lincoln's life from a boy, to a young lawyer in Springfield, and through his presidency. I particularly enjoined learning about his Emancipation Proclamation.

As part of a visit to Springfield, I recommend walking by the Old State Capitol to the Feed Store for lunch. It is a great place for sandwiches and soups. There is also a Cold Stone Creamery nearby-very tasty. You will also want to visit the Dana-Thomas House which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built in 1902. The house is an example of Wright's Prairie Style. The house is two stories but has a one story feel due to its horizontal emphasis and low sloped roof. It would have seemed rather peculiar when it was built as Victorian was more of the fashion. The eaves have a Japanese look about them. They appear to angle upward at the corners, but that is an optical allusion.

There is a lot of history in Springfield. I only touched on a portion It definitely makes for a good day trip. Who knows, it may one day be home to an actual Barack Obama Presidential Library and Museum.

Impression and Expression…

By Bhakti Shah

In this article, I would like to introduce you with my thesis topic.

The idea of analyzing & preserving the vernacular architectural style in relation with the behavioral responses to the contemporary architecture and globalization within the limitation of the Indian context will be put forward through my thesis. This will reveal traditional response to place and climate to broaden these symbolic identities into a new form with the current trends in the urban fabric. This notion will be further discussed and developed in the form of a proposal for sustainable design solution preserving the vernacular style of Indian architecture.

The impact of globalization and western architectural style in the building industry of India made some negative impact with respect to climate and context which is also responsible to increase in the consumption of energy & ultimate building costs. To study this impact in relation with the critical regionalism and contemporary vernacular setting is important. Each region has its own historical background, culture and identity. Globalization is affecting this identity and attracting it towards homogenization through different mediums such as technological development, communications & cultural exchange. This revolution is turning into loosing the character of the place.

Adaption of western style in aesthetic does not fulfill the psychological needs of space of human beings. Due to this we are losing valuable indigenous design solutions. In the end it disturbs the physical balance of the mankind and environment. Use of traditional techniques of planning and renewable energy practices will create attractive living spaces with open, naturally lit and fresh air movement. Solar passive or climatic design creates a comfortable living which will reduce operating costs of a building just by applying logically design principles. How we can preserve our indigenous design solutions and why it important? This is described in this paper with the study of critical regionalism and contemporary vernacular architecture. The framework of this study also contains the study of works of architects who have succeeded in implementing Indian historic past into present keeping the same pace with the rapid development in the field.

Conclusion of this study will be developed in the form of a design solution which is a step towards creating a healthy livable habitat for the current and future generations. India is currently facing housing need and different concepts are putting forward to make it fulfilled. Integrated Townships are amongst one which is going popular and implemented along with Eco housing concepts. Design will cater the residential facilities and necessary commercial, recreational, educational and amenities for the community with an environment where the in between connection plays important role in the urban fabric. Study and design solution will be composed to focus on fulfilling the residential need and to revitalize the city’s architectural character and making it ecofriendly using traditional and vernacular techniques.

This Integrated Township Development for affordable community will be proposed within the urban fabric of the city Pune in India balancing the social, cultural, traditional and environmental values.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Digital Vision

By Vincenzo Burdi

It's the week of your final project, and you still haven't finished the design of your building. You find yourself working on some mundane detail that probably won't even make a difference in your presentation. So, small you'll even forget to mention it during your critique. Time is of the essence and you're watching the clock wondering where all the time has gone. You find yourself running to the print lab the day of the final just hours before your project is due with little or no sleep. Trust me when I say, YOU NEED TO SLEEP before a presentation. You forget to put money on your SIU card, so you have to run on over to the Student Center, and don't forget the ATM. The print costs thirty dollars and you find out the colors were off, and well to put it simply, your print sucks. Your disappointed cause you know you've spent so much time on your project, but it just doesn't look good. It doesn't even come close to what you had envisioned. I suggest a new method of presentation.

Why not prepare our work to be shown off in a digital format. Please spare me from any more power-points. I'm talking a walk-through of your building. Using the digital model to tell your story. See the cool thing about our work is that it is very technical, people off the street really have no idea of the amount of time it takes to render or design a building in 3d. I've heard one friend tell me a render took over 4 days to finish, and when he got it, the color of his building was hot pink. By preparing your work in a digital format you can focus more on the delivery of our project goals. Selling your final product is essential to any successful project, period. Setting up files to print is such a chore, often requires much time and money. What if you were to deliver the concept of your building through working files. Digital format is a great resource to showcase your work. Spend less time thinking of a print and more time thinking of a flyby or walk-through.

Okay, well maybe we can't completely forget about printing. I mean it is something that the real world requires, whether it's your boss or even a client asking for a hard copy. I am suggesting that as designers it is important to show all of our work. Don't send of few pictures on a 2'x4' board. Sit your audience down and give them an experience. Isn't that what our job is really? To utilize the tools of our trade and offer an experience, maybe a vision of what may become.

Ethics and Architecture

By Tara Loughman

Ethics can be described as a moral theory that specifically raises questions based on what’s right and wrong and good versus evil. In our profession, and businesses alike, we have a duty, in our services, to use our expertise and knowledge towards our client and its services context. Along with this duty, we generate expectations and credibility for distinct judgment and commitment to serve others and our communities. In society we are always learning ethical morals, personally and professionally; how we chose to address the subject matter is how we are preceived and respected. Many times we make these decisions based off characteristic’s from our past experiences and personal influences; religion, social status, power, knowledge, and those who will be most affected by the decision. The NCARB Rules of Conduct and The AIA Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct, were created for these reasons. The board members of each association want to provide their members with the best knowledge and guidance in choosing good judgment. This not only protects the general public, but also the welfare of the association, bussiness, employer, co-workers, and the architect. As graduate students who will soon be entering the field, it’s very important to know and understand these codes.

Here are a few links to help get you started!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sense of Place

By Vincenzo Burdi

Creating a sense of place is not an easy task at all. In fact is hard to come by in world where new buildings spring up in a blink of an eye. Architects strive to understand things like program, material selection, and space planning, that contribute spatial experience. They may not be successful in creating a fully functional yet appealing space, but we can sure try. This is such an endeavor for Architects to tackle considering spaces can and should be perceived differently by the public. Making one choice may lead to series of questions or concerns by a particular group of people. A sense of space is desired by the public for institutions like schools, courtrooms, libraries, museums, any other public areas. For example both students and janitors use and occupy a school, but when an Architect sits down to design a school he or she consequently designs for the student first in mind. That does not excuse the Architect from designing for janitors at all. A "good" Architect considers his or her entire public as a whole, and how each and every one of them may experience the space. So, that is the challenge set aside for an Architect to make his or her building appeal to the greater public.

A piece of advice an Architect once told me was, "If you got them talking about your work after they left your space, well then you did your job...You may not have done it right, but you still did your job." Making people experience your site is the fun of our job. It is truly the design of space that unites Architects together in our profession no matter the size, scale, or cost of a project. So, don't forget to make them experience your space the way you want them to.

Problem Solving

By Micah Jacobson

The problems we face come to us in many different ways. My undergraduate is in Engineering. Engineers and Architects face many similar problems, and many face different problems. I find that the thought process differs greatly. It is important when working with complex problems to have a clear line of thought and understand the way we best solve problems.

When faced with a problem I first try to identify the problem and what is causing it. Sometimes it is hard to figure out exactly what the problem is. As Dr. Phillips of the Professors in the Architectural Studies Department, at MU, once said, “The problem is not the problem, the problem is finding the problem.” Sometimes I think we dive too quickly into a solution before really understanding what the problem actually is. It can be hard to find the real problem.

When the problem is found we can see where the organism breaks own, where the weak link is. It is now that a solution can be thought about. How are we to fix what is failing? I like to brainstorm to try to find several solutions, and then compare them to find the best one. After one solution is selected I like to try to implement it in a small scale application to test it. Then make tweaks if need be. Then implement it on a large scale.

In architecture we solve a wide variety of problems, some small, others huge. These solutions affect people’s lives. That is one of my great ambitions, to solve problems that will bring a positive effect to the lives of others.

One Week Project

By Jessica Grafton

We kicked off this semester in Studio with a quick one week project for the Pine Ridge Boy Scout Camp on Little Grassy Lake. The objective was to design a picnic pavilion with the idea that the drawings we provided the camp could be used in a fundraising campaign to make it possible for one or more of our ideas to be realized.

Day one of Studio we visited the site, which was truly a gorgeous place. It was a peninsula right on the lake, with coves on either side making the views in every direction spectacular. Surrounding the entire area, were 80’-90’ trees that cascaded down all three inclines of the peninsula. It was truly an inspiring place to design for.

The client asked specifically for a rustic pavilion that would blend with the rest of the camp, yet spark a sort of ominance, as it would be used for many different purposes. One of these being a chapel where religious services could be held. The capacity for the picnic area was to be for about 150 people. Plenty of gathering space and room for tables and chairs were important to the client, as well as a BBQ area and the option to possibly enclose the space in the future if funds for the project could be raised.

This was my solution for pavilion. I wanted stick very closely to what the client asked for in this case, due to the nature of the project, and the means by which it would be built and funded. I feel that it is a design that could be built by the volunteers at the camp and through funding could be done in 3 distinct phases, keeping the cost attainable over time.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Space in Time

By Rhonda C Daugherty

Martin Heidegger viewed phenomenology as social phenomena of controlled behavior. In Being and time, he talks about the dasein (Harries, 1990). When he speaks about dasein, he is speaking in a language of phenomena that repeated and social. Simply stating, humans do what everyone has already done before. For example, when one walks through a door, he or she is walking through the door the way everyone has walked through the door before him or her (Harries, 1990). Behavior is trained, controlled, and practical. The design thesis is going to examine the way humans are trained and how perceptions are already perceived.

The design this is focusing heavily on how one engages and perceives objects in space. Martin Heidegger define phenomenology “to let that which shows itself be seen from itself the very way it shows itself” ( (Harries, 1990)128 (Sallis, 1978)). The notion of an object appearing to a person, simply as it is design to appear, begin to investigate the idea of form, materials, and light. One could argue that the bases of phenomenology is to experience objects in spaces through previous thought but what if the object is completely native to human eye (Sallis, 1978). How one does began to rationalize an unfamiliar object in a dimly lit room in comparison to a well-lit room? Does it even matter how the light is adjust in the room. The subject is simply going to analysis the object and categorize the object the way people have already trained the dasein to perceive.

Kitty Café

By Yuko Aoki

Hello Kitty was created in Japan and is popular all over the world. It seems like Japan likes to stick with cats. When I heard about a Kitty Café, I doubted my ears and eyes. It was on CNN international news and they were introducing the fascinating café. Well, I cannot understand what is so fascinating about it.

During my winter break, I went back to my home country of Japan. I visited one Kitty Café which is one of 55 existing stores all around Japan, 11 stores in Taiwan, and 3 stores in Korea. I paid about $9 to enter the café and bought a drink to just see cats in the approximately 18 ft. x 16 ft. room. Most of the cats were bored with toys, so I could not play with them. What interests them the most is FOOD.

The picture below shows you the café is popular and they are doing good business. I also watched people who were in the café and I found weirdness of social activity. Most of the young couples were just inventing a new place for their date plans, so I felt freshness from their atmosphere. There was one family with an elderly mother. The mother was having fun watching and feeding the cats. For those elderly people or people who have limitation to move around, this place might be a suitable place to change their environment and refresh their minds. Somehow this place acts like animal therapy. An adult couple who seemed socially awkward to me was having really few words with each other. They were in the room and kept watching the cats for a long time. Often people say a child is an anchor, but for them, cats are an anchor. None of the people were talking outside their groups this time but it might be used as a place where people meet.

I will never go back to a cat café again because I cannot see the value and I like dogs more. By the way, I googled to see if there is a dog café in Japan. Sure, there is more than one dog café existing!

Image: taken by Yuko Aoki

ARC 592 Professional Practice I - Faux Firm Project

By Russell Baker

For ARC 592, the first of two Professional Practice courses offered at SIU for architecture and interior design students, we were required to create and present a faux (false, imitated, or simulated) firm in the fall 2010 semester. This project has been used by SIU for many years to successfully achieve the objectives of the course. The faux firm was a fun project that allowed students as teams, or individually, to research one of four types of architectural firms including: sole proprietorships, partnerships, professional corporations, and general corporations. The course consisted of both architecture majors and interior design majors, as well as graduate and undergraduate students, so the teams consisted of a diversity of knowledge and skill levels just as they would in a real firm. Individual and team research corresponded with course readings and lectures presented by Professor Swenson, who also met with us biweekly to address any questions or concerns regarding the project.

For the project we were instructed to create four 20"x20" presentation panels along with a visual digital presentation to market our firm and demonstrate the capabilities, functions, of our firm during and up to the end of the first year of 'faux' business.
Each group was to select four projects relative in scale and cost to the capabilities of the firm size selected, and then use these projects as marketing samples. The presentations also displayed things like: location, project types and sizes, firm specializations, project schedules, brochures, business cards, firm stationary, yellow page advertisements, posters, banners, organizational affiliations, business expense schedules and projections, employee salaries, contracts, fees, etc., etc. Also shown and described were firm layouts, floor plans, and spatial considerations, right down to furniture selection. Understandably in today's technological world, many of us chose to market our firm via a website on the internet (see attached picture). Each firm's goal was to try and "sell" their firm's services to the audience as if they were potential clients. As an audience member, it was each student's job to ask pertinent questions critique the firms and decided whether or not they would hire that firm after seeing it's marketing presentation.

Creating a pretend firm exposed many of us, myself included, to a lot of "other" things that firms do, for instance the business documentation and the financial and legal aspects of the job. Watching the other individual and group presentations at the end of the semester was an enjoyable and educational experience. As Professor Swenson said, this project also afforded us the opportunity to hone our acting and theatrical skills, which is one thing that distinguishes this project from other design presentations in college. One of the lessons I have learned from this project perhaps, is that every presentation should be approached and treated as if a real project was on the table instead of just a faux educational mock-up.

Winter Break

By Bhakti Shah

Two semesters of this graduate program are over and I cannot imagine how fast time passes. It feels great when I look behind. Now after a relaxing and wonderful break we are back for our spring semester.

I am sure everyone had a nice break with no stress and workload after a busy fall semester. I too had a wonderful time during this break. I have been living in USA for 2 years, but this was my first Christmas vacation spent in the US. I was excited before the start of the winter break, as I had planned a Florida trip.

I visited Tampa, Orlando and Kennedy Space Center near Titusville in FL with my husband. We had also planned to visit Miami, but due to a sudden weather change, our plans changed. I liked the calm and pleasant beaches, entertaining and enthusiastic theme parks in Orlando and informative and exciting Kennedy Space Center. After seeing the technological advancement in this country, I was stunned. I liked the creativity in the theme parks. I think designing an amusement park is not easy. It includes a very good site planning, landscape designing, architectural design, product design and most importantly designing of different rides. Apart from amusement rides, we a got chance to see live performances of nationally recognized and awarded ice skaters which were organized for Christmas week. The performances were simply mind blowing. I did not get chance to visit all the theme parks in Orlando but I can say that each of the four parks I visited was unique and rich in creativity. I visited theme parks such as Bush Gardens in Tampa, Sea world, Magic Kingdom and Universal studios in Orlando. Magic Kingdom is definitely the world’s best example of Fantasy Architecture. All the parks are entertaining. One can easily forget his/her work stress and other life problems. Also, in Tampa I visited a small town called Madeira beach. It was full of colors and various shops there had different designs for railings. No building had a common widow, staircase, terrace/ balcony railing. I also experienced Parasailing at this beach and I can say that it was the most thrilling experience of my life so far.

Kennedy Space Center was one of the best places I visited in my life. It was so fascinating to see the advancement in technology and intelligence and man’s excitement to explore the universe. I saw the Launch pad and informative shows of all the Apollo missions.

I am looking forward for another chance to explore such wonderful places in this great country!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Lower Ninth Ward Abstract

By Scott Fisher

This past semester and current semester, I have been doing a lot of reading for my thesis topic. My research investigates residential housing and community design for the disabled and elderly housing (my thesis topic), and its ability to provide these parties with a sense of place and value within the population. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina caused massive destruction in New Orleans, particularly in the area identified as the Lower Ninth Ward. Since this event, actor and human rights activist Brad Pitt, has been committed to working with a body of well-respected architects with a shared mission to assist in the rebuilding of the Lower Ninth Ward. The goal of this union was and remains to design and build 150 homes that are green, affordable, and capable of withstanding any future hurricanes. Through this commitment, Pitt, himself a one-time resident of New Orleans, has become an advocate for assisting displaced residents in returning to new housing on lots on which their destroyed homes were once located. These new housing designs, however, are not specifically designed to meet the needs of the disabled and elderly. It is this population that seeks to be addressed by this research. It is the intent of this research to result in the design of three new residential structures that are ADA accessible, green, LEED Certified, and accentuated using the latest technology. One structure/home will be designed for the elderly; one for the disabled; and one that addresses/integrates/combines the beneficial elements of both houses. All will become prototypes for the basis of establishing a new residential community development within the Lower Ninth Ward. To address the needs of today’s society changing; residential, commercial, and industrial spaces are often grouped together to form a sense of security, place, convenience, and fit with the needs of the particular town/community. Each structure/home will be able to operate on its own. Residential communities often design one unit and then copied to various locations throughout the community, as exemplified by “The Villages” (a retirement housing community) in Florida. This often results in a loss of individual identity. The products of this research will provide each structure/home with external characteristics that are unique to the individual occupant(s), while containing elements common to all homes within the community. For this research, a community will be defined as a neighborhood, district, ward, Parrish or a sub division. There exists many solutions that have been resolved to address the residential needs of the disabled and elderly, however, more effective solutions have yet to be designed. One solution is to look at other homes designed for the disabled and elderly that are located around the country, and use this collected data as the basis for my thesis.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011


By Cray Shellenbarger

I think that some of us use words that we don’t fully understand because we heard it from a source that we respect or simply in earnest. The term architectonic is often heard during many of our undergraduate presentations. As architecture students sometimes we are naïve of other discipline’s definitions.

Architectonics is defined, architecturally, as the science of architecture. However, there are other definitions we should be aware of. Two of which are in regard to structure in the case of a piece of art and the other is the science of the systemization of knowledge.

The architectural definition and the more artistic one are closely related. The third definition is the one I am most concerned with. A science of systemizing knowledge is very important to many of us during our thesis work. We need to understand different systems and different times in regards to architecture. As we analyze architecture we must begin to create our own methods of architectonics while understanding cultures of the past and present.

If we think of this example when choosing our words during this presentation it will deepen our understanding of the subject. This understanding will both enrich our projects but our research. We must attempt to understand how people think or thought about subjects they were working in. If we simply attempt to interpret a piece of writing from another period or culture, we are risking missing the point completely. If this takes place, we have wasted our time.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Now and Then

By Shane Healey

Architects are not viewed the same way as they were 100 to 200 years ago. The Bible describes God is the creator of the start, human life, and every living thing on earth. In addition, architects were the only ones who created buildings, town, and entire cities; therefore, some described and viewed architects as “Gods.” The architects would be seen socializing with the kings and presidents. 200 years ago, architecture was viewed as a high status job, and jobs that were only obtainable by the upper class, such as a how brain surgeon or politicians are viewed today.

Today architects are still viewed highly; however, many things have changed. First, the word architect is used for many other reasons besides architecture. The main example is using the word architect to mean “the designer of….”. In addition, in rural areas, if you were to ask some individuals what an architect does, some would not know. Some people think architects are the babysitters for clients, the people who make the pretty pictures, and/or . Also, in today’s economy, an individual should not rely on just being an architect to keep a job. Most people today have engineering or law backgrounds, know all the latest software, and/ or involved in national architecture related organizations, thus making it challenging to gain and keep a job position in the field of architecture.

More on Thesis…

By Tara Loughman

The thesis researched is a study based on our healthcare systems both, in the United States and that of many European countries. Right now, the world, specifically the United States, is in a healthcare epidemic that is not only effecting people today, but also more importantly is going to have an effect on people in the near future, regardless of age, race, and or social class.

As the gap starts to close, people universally are starting to take a closer look at their healthcare and how it works. While for some people, the effects will have no real change, personally and or their families. However, many other American’s will go without the care they need or, more importantly, the care they deserve.

Currently, the most effected by healthcare in our nation are those of our children and elderly adults. Here is where healthcare slips drastically and for the time being will continue to stumble unless adjustments are made appropriately. This is not only because of how the system works for its patients and staff in the field, but is also plays an enormous role in our societies and in completely different ways.

As mentioned before, elderly adults are one of the most effected types of people being affected by the healthcare systems and their uses. The tendencies that are being provided daily are not only expensive, but can be very misleading, especially as we age. The failure in guiding our staff and patients correctly only leads quality care into a downward spiral. Respectively, the lack of quality care can come from our behavior and how we as human beings relate to others and our environments. With out proper and adequate care, either preventative or quality care, the system will continue to fail us when we need it most. Change, a word our country has heard quite often lately, is definitely something that needs to be done to help our elderly and ones to come.

Writing a Master of Architecture Thesis

By Ben Temperley

Part of being a Master of Architecture student at SIUC is writing a thesis. Writing is an often overlooked but important part of being an architect. It is a skill that undergraduate architecture students will want to reinforce in preparation for graduate work. Part of a thesis is a written abstract. An abstract is a brief introduction to inform the reader of what is contained in the thesis. The following is a draft of the abstract to my thesis:


King David received a vision from the Lord around 1000 B.C. of heavenly worship filled with singers, musicians, and intercessors that occurs before the throne of God continually. David instituted worship on earth according to his vision. The result is what the Scriptures call the Tabernacle of David. The Scriptures record God's blessing on Israel when they were faithful to the Tabernacle of David and the consequences when they were not. This thesis will establish the importance of the Tabernacle of David for the Church as it was for the nation of Israel before the coming of Christ.

This thesis will focus on designing a building project to house the Tabernacle of David at Calvary Campus Church in Carbondale, Illinois. This proposal is for replacing the current church buildings with new ones. The design will also require purchasing and redeveloping adjacent properties to the current land owned by the church in order to accommodate the program.

This research will examine case studies from the Bible including Revelation chapter 5, the Prophetess Anna from the book of Luke, and King David from 1 Chronicles. This research will also study prayer furnaces in operation today such as the Kansas City International House of Prayer (IHOP) which is a twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week (24/7) prayer room.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


By Kang-Hsin Fan

What’s urban design? “It is an interdisciplinary practice that is concerned with defining the form of human settlement. It’s a creative process, a collaborative, interdisciplinary process, and a place-making process that involves creating three-dimensional urban forms and space, which enhance the experience of town and cities”(Wall & Waterman, 2010). What is the new settlement for using the community network of convenience store as case within urban design? Employing the concept of community network for the development of urban design hopes to yield a more effective life-place. The community network of convenience stores in Taiwan provides a successful example for the new development of urban design. In Taipei, it’s not unusual to see two convenience stores across the street or several of them with a few hundreds of meter of each other. Modern convenience stores cannot satisfy requirements by only selling products. They promote additionally to the community service center concept, which has to allow customers to satisfy many essential living needs. There are more than 9,100 convenience stores in an area of 35,980km2 with the population of 23 million. In other words, one store offers services to approximate 2,500 people on average. Taiwan has the Asian Pacific and perhaps the world’s highest density of convenience stores per person.

Source: By Author

Why can they develop so successfully in Taiwan? The community service center concept is the central key. By either population percentage or life style habits, convenience stores in Taiwan contribute to the society by providing a wide and ever changing scope of services depending on the local environment and market trends. Through a systemized distribution plan, all goods, from more than 100 suppliers are handled by the distribution center centrally. The store’s task has been simplified to ordering all necessary products on a PDA or smart cell phone. With the combination of financial service and information, the community service center hopes to simplify people’s daily routines through the stores around the province or district. In addition, it hopes that the stores can advertise many community messages, product information and banking services to customers. It offers various services catering to different local’s requirements.

Urban design concerns the arrangement, appearance and functionality of towns and cities. The network of community services concept by convenience store can help urban design to deal primarily with the design, management of pubic space, and life style habits. It will rearrange these infrastructures with strategies as a base for a new urban settlement, including energy exchange, waste management, water treatment, and electric car stations. With the e-system, it quickly collects and analyses customers’ purchase behaviors to offer a higher value-added services. How to translate the network of community services from convenience store to urban design is the main issue for the design thesis. The network e-system also creates an invisible city network to piece people’s life together. 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. With the community network, the void elements will be rearranged to a new green urban settlement.

Falling Water

By Dustin Stoll

During my time as an undergraduate at SIUC I have had the opportunity to go on many different field trips. One of the most memorable of those trips was the one that I went on with Professor Davey’s Architectural History II class. The trip was a three day adventure which I will never forget. Even though most of the three days consisted of riding on a bus with 50 other students, the three destinations we visited were more than worth it.

For this blog, I will only write about the first of the three places that we visited, which was Falling Water; located in Mill Run, PA. If you are not familiar with Falling Water, let me give you a brief history. Falling Water was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, for the Kauffman family in 1936. The home was to be the wealthy family’s rural retreat, and would later become One of Wrights most recognizable works.

Some of the most recognizable features of the house are its large cantilevers, and also the fact that it is built directly on top of a waterfall. I have viewed many photos of this house, but they really do not do it justice. It is absolutely breathe taking how well it fits into its surroundings. I liked the interior of the house even better than the exterior, but they did not allow us to photograph the interior. One memorable feature of the interior was its low ceiling height. People of greater height (over 6ft), do not feel overly comfortable in some of the rooms.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


By Jessica Grafton

Another task chair you may have seen on TV, but in a very different way, is the new Kimball / Interstuhl Silver chair. This chair was used in the new Star Trek movie, and with its space-age aesthetic it’s not hard to see why.

Obviously this chair is not for just any office. Its design sets it apart from most and puts it in a genre of elite. I myself thought it was hideous when I first saw it, but Kimball Office does a very good job of putting it in the right context. Needless to say it’s unique, and I wouldn’t snuff at it given the opportunity to use it one of my designs.

As described by Kimball Office:

“Designed by renowned European architect and designer Hadi Teherani, the Silver line of chairs possesses a design as sensual and emotional as it is simple and formal. It is a work of art. Each piece is shaped by an elegant aluminum or hardwood shell, creating a form that is impressive, yet inviting. And precisely detailed upholstered surfaces are as beautiful as they are powerful. The true joy of Silver is in the sitting. The handcrafted seat and backrest cradle every curve and joint, creating unrivaled comfort. And Silver is equipped with patented synchronous movement technology, assuring optimum support in every position. Silver must be experienced to be understood. But once you know its embrace, you will want it in your life for all time.”

Really makes you want to sit in one, doesn’t it?

All photos and info from