Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My Experience and View of the Tabernacle

By Ben Temperley

My experience with the Tabernacle began through a daily Bible reading plan. I found the Tabernacle difficult to picture at first. The biblical language is very precise, but my understanding was lost in the many details and terminology. If one struggles with what the Tabernacle looked like and how the components fit together, there are many fine commentaries on the subject with excellent diagrams and artists’ renderings.

In 2004, I visited Living Waters Bible Camp in Westby, WI. The staff of the camp built a full size replica of the Tabernacle. I helped on a couple of weekends in the construction. The experience helped me immensely to understand what the Tabernacle would have looked like and felt like to experience.

My interest in the Tabernacle was renewed in fall of 2010 when I decided to study the Tabernacle of David for my thesis project. The Tabernacle of David has its roots in the Tabernacle of Moses. This truth plus the fact that the Tabernacle is written about in the Bible and that, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16) led me to pursue a greater understanding of Moses’ Tabernacle.

The truths and symbolism of the Tabernacle are vast. Under the New Covenant, I believe that a deep understanding of the Tabernacle has been revealed by God through the New Testament Scriptures. Bible teacher, William MacDonald, illustrates many truths of the Tabernacle through an understanding of the New Testament book of Hebrews in his Believers Bible Commentary on page 121. I will share truths from MacDonald in the following commentary. The Tabernacle was God’s earthly sanctuary. It was a picture of God’s heavenly sanctuary. The true tabernacle in Heaven is much greater with Jesus Christ as the high priest (Heb. 9:1-5; 8:2; 9:11-15). The earthly Tabernacle had a Most Holy Place that only the high priest could enter, one day a year. Through the blood of Christ, all believers can enter God’s presence at any time (Heb. 9:3; 10:19). The earthly Tabernacle had a Veil that separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. The true veil is the flesh of Christ which was torn on Calvary. The death, burial, and resurrection of Christ give all believers access to God. It is important to note that the Veil of the Tabernacle was torn in two miraculously when Jesus died on the Cross.

The Tabernacle required animal sacrifices. The priests offered these sacrifices daily. They were a temporary means of covering sin. They foreshadowed the blood of Christ’s sacrifice which occurred once for all time (Heb. 9:13-14). The Tabernacle had the Altar of Burnt offering. This was symbolic of Christ, the true altar. Christ himself was the offering on the Cross (Heb. 7:13; 13:10). The Tabernacle had a line of high priests who ministered on behalf of the nation of Israel. The high priest foreshadowed the Great High Priest, Jesus Christ. Christ is the sinless Son of God who always lives to intercede for us (Heb. 7:25). The sacrifices of the Tabernacle were many and temporary. The sacrifice of Christ was efficacious in dealing with sin. “He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself . . . so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many” (Heb. 9:26, 28). The Ark of the Tabernacle was a throne where God’s presence was manifested. It also housed the tablets of God’s law. Under the New Covenant believers can “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16). Lastly, the Tabernacle contained the Altar of Incense. The incense typified the prayers of the saints that ascend before God. The greater reality is the altar in heaven where incense is offered continually “with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne” (Rev. 8:3).

The truths of the Tabernacle are more than I can present in this short paper. The reader is encouraged to study the Tabernacle on their own. There are many great resources on the Tabernacle. Lastly, the truths of the Tabernacle transcend the Old Testament—pictures of Christ and heavenly worship abound.

Photo is by Andy Scott.

The Uber Shelter

By Shane Healey

On a vacation to Manila in the Philippines, Rafael Smith was shocked by the devastating living conditions of those in poverty; when he got home, he began researching the architecture of shelters around the world. With no previous knowledge of refugee camps, he sought the advice of doctors, policy makers, and aid workers. Rafael Smith, a senior in the industrial design program at Purdue University, designed the Über Shelter for his undergraduate thesis project. After he graduated, he entered the International Design Excellence Awards for students and was a finalist in 2008.

Dismantled, the Über Shelter looks like a large gray gurney. But this compact pile of aluminum unfolds into a two-story home, complete with lights, stove, porch and a small refrigerator. Rafael focused on fixing some of the problems that have plagued large refugee camps. The shelter is meant to reduce sprawl. The shelter can hold two families, one on each floor, the camp size can be reduced by half, and he equips each home with solar-powered electricity. The unit, which unfurls to roughly the size of a truck, is made of lightweight recyclable aluminum, so it can be cheaply transported by car or parachuted in to a disaster. Rafael’s Uber Shelter is designed for three phases. The emergency stage provides an elevated floor and a roof to get the individuals out of the elements. This step would cost $200. The transitional stage provides the walls, doors, and windows, completely enclosing the 190 sq-ft shelter. This step would cost an additional $1,300. The permanent stage allows the individuals to expand their shelter to 250sqft for an additional $1,000.

In late February 2011, Rafael Smith took his Uber Shelter to Port-Au-Prince, Haiti to deploy a demonstration model to respond to the displaced individuals from the earthquake in 2010. Their goal with this pilot was to work with the families, living in the shelters, to understand from their perspective how to improve the product, in the future. In the end, Rafael heard directly from the users about theirs wants and needs about the shelter. Haiti’s Transitional Shelter Guidelines state that all shelters must be designed to withstand a minimum of 100 mph wind loads and 25lbs per sq-ft floor load. With the use of a civil engineer, the Uber Shelter is designed to resist a 120mph wind load. Currently the demonstration model is being evaluated by Haiti’s housing and emergency response agencies. In the future, Rafael plans to deploy a community style shelter(s), in Haiti, that is comprised of 4 separate shelters.

After his trip to Haiti, Rafael quickly realized that some of the "emergency shelter" features of the design were not reflecting Haiti’s current housing needs. With Haiti’s strong support, we decided to beef-up the original design to something more permanent. The canvas roof was replaced with a corrugated steel roof, plywood walls were added behind the vinyl fabric on the first floor for security, shelving was added in the interior, and a plywood door with locks replaced the Velcro door.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

AUROVILLE - A Universal Township:

By Bhakti Shah

AUROVILLE TOWNSHIP is a universal township in the southern part of India, located in the state of Tamilnadu. It has a population of up to 50,000 people from around the world. It is evolved on the concept of 'Ideal Township devoted to an experiment in human unity.' It came to the 'A Mother' as early as the 1930s. In the mid 1960s, the Sri Aurobindo Society in Pondicherry proposed to her that such a township should be started. She gave her blessings. Then the concept was put before the Govt. of India, who gave there backing and took it to the General Assembly of UNESCO. In 1966 UNESCO passed a unanimous resolution commending it as a project of importance to the future of humanity, thereby giving their full encouragement. The project is a collaboration of UNESCO & Indian Gov. The project is an experiment in human unity & research into sustainable living & future cultural, environmental, social & spiritual needs of mankind. It is a model city of ‘future.’ It is developing for harmonious living. It has a Galaxy laid layout. Several arms unwind from accelerated core with the spread. It has Residential + Industrial + International & cultural + Green belt zones.

Auroville's planning & development right from its conception to the present day is that there will be an intense and close interrelationship between the City Area and the outside rural area, including the Green Belt, which will be of a synergic in nature. Each would complement the other, and support the activities in the 'urban' and 'rural' sectors, thus reducing the urban and rural divide that has crept into urban planning so far, and encouraging a rural - urban continuum.









Monday, April 25, 2011


By Kang-Hsin Fan

What is the new settlement for using the community network system of
convenience store as case within urban design? Employing the concept of
community network system for the development of urban design hopes to yield a
more effective life-place. Therefore, it will provide a best method to save land
and sensitive areas by building, and create more effective densities.

Taiwan has Asian-Pacific’s and perhaps the world’s highest density of convenience stores per person. The community service center concept is the central key. Either by population percentage or life style habits, convenience stores in Taiwan contributes to the society by providing a wide and ever changing scope of services depending on the local environment and market trends.

A city is experienced in motion. It makes sense that our streets are in part
a measure of these movement systems. A new circulation system should
anticipate future forms of movement in the city. With the new circulation systems
in a city, walking is the other issue for the development of settlement within
urban design. The motion of the city dweller engaging with the spaces and
systems of the city can also measured to inform urban design decisions.
Moreover, for recent years, green has become the new goal in the development
of Urban Design. Urban Design has to support sustainable objectives by
improving pedestrian and cycle access. “The building mass, land use, height,
and street width can combine to create balanced street scenes and successful
urban compositions” (Madanipour, 2010).

Systems shape urban forms. In Basic landscape Architecture: Urban
Design, the author states that “cities are composed of interdependent systems
from the city-wide scale such as transport and utilities, to the microelectronic.
They support urban forms and promote opportunities for growth. These urban
systems can create form in the city landscape”(Wall & Waterman, 2010). 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, these void elements will be rearranged to a new green
urban settlement.

“Environmental improvement is considered to be a catalyst, of the essential drivers in city center regeneration. Successful urban regeneration cannot be examined merely in terms of physical improvement; it is necessary to measure how beneficial the regeneration strategy is in improving the social and economic conditions in the declining city” (Hubbard, 1995). Taiwanese cities now face the challenge of shrinking cities, the increasing scarcity of energy, global warming and relatively little population growth. Therefore, as energy becomes more expensive, city form in the Taiwanese landscape will mutate once again. What might this new recombinant urban landscape look like as urban actors begin to restructure their environment to meet the challenge of the contemporary network city? “Original landscape as the material”, the proposal brings the landscape to the public spaces, pulls the public into the landscape and creates effective living typologies between urbanity and nature.

Job-Hunting for International Students...

By Yuko Aoki

Our Master of Architecture program at Southern Illinois University has five international students in the Spring 2011 semester. They come from India, Libya, Japan, and Taiwan. I believe some of them want to have some working experience in the U.S. before they go back to their own countries.

Most international students come to study with a student visa (F-1 visa) in the U.S. Under F-1 visa status, international students are not allowed to work outside of their schools. However, the U.S. Department of State gives chances to work for a year wherever the students want when they finish their degrees if the international students apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT). At SIUC, international students can get OPT instructions and forms at the International Students and Scholars office (ISS).

Then the students need to read all the instructions, take passport size pictures, fill out an I-765 and I-765 card, get approvals from department advisors, and make an appointment with Carla Coppi ( or Phillip Lindberg (, 453-5774 or 536-7771. When meeting with one of them, the students have to bring their passport, I-94, and I-20 with them.

The final process the international students have to go through is to send checks ($380 on April 12th, 2011) with the forms to USCIS and wait for the official I-765 card to arrive. The process will take 3 to 4 months, so ISS suggests students start filling out the forms 3 months before their graduation. Also, each student is only permitted to work within his or her area of study.

If you are confused by what I am talking about, you are probably in no need of applying because you have a different visa or you are a resident.

Even if international students apply and got permission for OPT, it is difficult to get jobs because of the economic down turn. I hope that I will get a job and be able to start working on August 29th 2011 which is when my work permission becomes a valid.

Resources :

Image :

Friday, April 22, 2011

Fit Chair

By Jessica Grafton

The Kimball Fit chair would probably be best described simply as fun. It reminds me of a baby bouncer for adults. The chair is made of a FlexZone mesh on a simple lightweight metal frame which gives just a bit when sat in, creating the bouncer effect.

When I think of what kind of spaces it would be best used in, campus living comes to mind; dormitories, reading lounges, gaming and tech hubs. The chair could also be great for a think tank type of atmosphere in an office. It’s something much less formal and could bring a great creative vibe to any space. These chairs also nest together, making them easy to clear away for open floor space.

All in all, it’s something different than your everyday office chair. Standing alone it appears to be more of a form than a functional piece, almost sculptural, but in use, it becomes very playful and takes on a distinct role.

-Photos from

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A House for Lady Gaga

By Dustin Stoll

During the fall studio of grad school, we were asked to complete a four week charrette. The project was to design a house for Lady Gaga. This was intended to be a very conceptual project, and to look at the idea of a house in a very different way. Below is a brief description of my design, followed by a few images.

One of the very distinctive characteristics of the Lady Gaga persona is this idea of not conforming to the ideals of modern day society and emphasizing one’s individuality. Lady Gaga rebels against and breaks through the metaphorical restraints that are set by the media and society’s elites of today. This [house] is a representation of how gaga spits in the face of conformity and puts her individuality right under the noses of those who oppose non-conformity and individuality.

Columbus Circle in NYC was chosen as the site, because of its great connectivity to all of Manhattan and also because of its close proximity to the elitist lifestyle that gaga rebels against. All of the site lines that are directed towards the circle allow for the [house] to be visible from great distances and frame the [house] amongst its conforming counter parts.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Masdar City

By Vincenzo Burdi

In recent years, sustainability has become a hot topic of conversation in architecture. People are flocking to organizations like LEED and USGBC, but sustainability has always been a subject of concern for most non-western cultures for many years. Masdar, which means "the source" in Arabic consequently is what the city is striving to become. Masdar City, is a 6-sq-km development in Abu Dhabi, set to become the world's first zero emission city. Abu Dhabi is the fifth largest oil distributer in the world, but is looking to creating a model city of the future.

The face of Abu Dhabi has changed in the last 25 years. Houses made of mud-bricks and palm fronds have been replaced by glass-covered high-rises with very modern or Western orientation. That is why the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (ADFEC) is investing in this city of dreams. They understand the future of urban cities and have taken certain measures to become the first to pioneer a revolutionary idea. The entire city will developed around the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology which will focus on renewable energy bringing together academic and commercial agendas.

The middle east has a particular set of design obstacles to overcome. Due to the very hot and humid summer months in Abu Dhabi wind towers are typically built to provide cool ventilation of habitable spaces. The sun is constant threat but with advances in Solar Photovoltaic Technologies it has become a reliable ally and provides energy for the people of Abu Dhabi. UK architects at Foster + Partners have been asked to draw inspiration from traditional Arabic cities. They have revisited simple traditional methods of shading streets with narrow alleys, carefully planning landscape and water features which will cool air. They have also introduce newer technologies like solar panels source of energy and reflective facades which will bounce heat away from space. The use of both traditional and contemporary architectural methods makes this a great resource. The future of Abu Dhabi looks promising.

Image Source:

FWD: The Most Unique Buildings in the World

By Russell Baker

Glancing back at some of my previous blog entries, I've noticed that several of them are a bit wordy with few images. This time, I thought I'd share several pictures of some of the most unique architectural accomplishments in the world. Inspirations like these are part of the reason I chose to become an architect many years ago. The following pictures were extracted from an email recently forwarded to me. The origination and authors/owners of these images are unknown to myself as they weren't included in the email text, but I would like to clarify that they are in no way to be credited to myself, aside from editing in the titles of each for ease of viewing. Of the locations and sites in these images, I have only personally visited #'s 9, 13, 15, and 28, and it would be awesome to someday have seen them all. This is why I love this field of work. Enjoy the eye-candy!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Conceptual Hierarchy

By Cray Shellenbarger

As we begin developing designs in studio we are taught to follow a concept. An understood and understated criteria is the “real world” modular system. We take for granted the constrictions of the measurements and proportions that are available. There are two approaches that are often taken here: Often we are instruction to either completely ignore these criteria or to build boxes. I have the belief that we should do something different. We need to embrace these criteria as part of a project context. Just as it has been said to embrace the codes as a positive, we should look at the modular parameters as helpful tools in decision making. I have found that projects with complex contexts are always more interesting to develop. In fact, I would say that they are easier projects to complete and ultimately lead to better results. It is always helpful to have contextual criteria. This can include codes, given materiality, culture, climate, site issues, etc. these criteria can and should be viewed as decision making tools. If, as architects, we train ourselves to look at the contextual criteria, our projects will inevitably be better projects. At the same time the design process will be a more pleasant one. Also addressing as many of these criteria will make a strong design. This does not mean that the solution must be complex. However, the process in which that solution is derived should most likely be complex. Some of the above may be viewed as moving in the opposite as design thinking. This is not the case. In fact, I would argue that these types of issues are part of what separates an architect from an artist.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Comparison between the Tabernacle of Moses and the Tabernacle of David

By Ben Temperley

Many people are familiar with or have heard about the Tabernacle of Moses constructed by the Israelites for use in their desert wanderings from Egypt to the Promised Land. However, many people are less familiar with the tabernacle constructed by King David. The author will attempt to clarify the differences between and significance of the two tabernacles.

First, a word of explanation may be helpful. The word tabernacle is not a commonly used word in today’s English. According to Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible, a tabernacle is a “tent” or a “dwelling place”. The Lord desired a place dedicated to worship. He instructed Moses on Mount Sinai to build a portable tent from which priests could perform worship and service before Him as the Israelites journeyed from Egypt to the Promised Land. The heart of the Tabernacle of Moses was the Ark of the Covenant where God’s glory was manifested.

The Israelites eventually settled in Shiloh in the Promised Land and pitched the Tabernacle of Moses. Later, as a result of the wickedness of the priests, Eli and his sons, God allowed the Philistines to take the Ark from the tabernacle. This led Israel to set up the Tabernacle of Moses in Gibeon, three miles north of Jerusalem, without the Ark! Eventually, God brought judgment upon the Philistines causing them to return the Ark to Israel. However, David pitched a tent on Mt. Zion to house the Ark of God instead of placing it in the Tabernacle of Moses. Thus, the Tabernacle of David was established. From the time the Tabernacle of David was established until the Temple of Solomon was built (35 to 40 years later), there were two tabernacles in existence at the same time.

Author, Kevin J. Conner, argues that there are many applications for the Church today which are found in the Tabernacle of David. He illustrates some of these applications by comparing the Tabernacle of David with the Tabernacle of Moses and uses Old and New Testament examples in support of his premise. The author will share ten comparisons between the two tabernacles. First, the Tabernacle of David (TD) incorporated singers in the worship (1 Chr. 15:16-27; Col. 3:16). The Tabernacle of Moses (TM) did not except for a few at Mt. Gibeon. Second, the TD used instruments as part of the worship (1 Chr. 23:5; 25:1-7; Eph. 5:18-19), while the TM had none. Third, the Levites ministered before the Ark (1 Chr. 16:37; Heb. 6:19-20; 10:19-21) in the TD. Whereas, only the High Priest could minister before the Ark in the TM. Fourth, the TD had a ministry of thanking (1 Chr. 16:4, 8, 41; 1 Thess. 5:18). There was no such ministry in the TM. Fifth, the TD was filled with praise (1 Chr. 16:4, 36; Heb. 13:15). Praise was not part of the TM. Sixth, the TD included Psalm singing (1 Chr. 16:7; Eph. 5:18-19; 1 Cor. 14:26; James 5:13). Psalm singing was not part of the worship at the TM (Psalm 90 may be an exception). Seventh, clapping was part of the worship at the TD (Ps. 47:1), but not at the TM. Eighth, shouting was a part of the TD (1 Chr. 15:28; 1 Thess. 4:16). Shouting was not part of the TM except at Jericho in Joshua chapter 6. Ninth, dancing was instrumental at the TD (1 Chr. 15:29; Ps. 149:3; Lk. 15:25), but it was not at the TM (except in Exodus 15). Tenth, worshippers at the TD offered spiritual sacrifices (Ps. 27:6; 116:17; 1 Pet. 2:3-5; Heb. 13:15-16), not animal sacrifices like the TM .

In this brief comparison of the two tabernacles, the author hopes that the reader will understand some of the key differences between the two. The author also hopes that the reader will find applications for the Church today through careful study of the Tabernacle of David.

Phenomenology: The New “Sustainable”

By Rhonda Daugherty

How do people understand space and what does space consist of? The phenomenological response to that question would first begin to interpret how the body perceives space. So, how does the body perceive the four walls, ceiling and floor around us? According to Ponty, the body perceives what is around us through rational of experiences while using our senses. With that, he doesn't just place all the emphasis on the human perceptions; he investigates the ideal of perceptions consciously, using several examples of the human rationale of spatial analysis and understanding. Ponty’s definition of phenomenology is generalized to the study of ‘essences’, then he goes on to say “the essences of perception, or the essences consciousness” (vii). The definition of the study of essences took on an ambiguous meaning, until the notion of consciousness and perception narrowed the ideal down to the individual phenomena which is subject to his or her experiences.

Bucky Fuller Lecture

By Micah Jacobson

The other day I had the opportunity to attend a couple lectures about Buckminster Fuller. I was interesting to learn about the ideas of Bucky and the projects he constructed. We learned about his dymaxian car and house and of course his famous dome.

Let architects sing of aesthetics that bring
Rich clients in hordes to their knees
Just give me a home is a great circle dome
Where the stresses and strains are at ease.

This is a line from ‘Rome Home to a Dome’ by Buckminster Fuller. While setting in the lecture something caught my attention. Bucky said the future of building was in the separation of the tension and compression elements. This is the idea in his dome, where the ‘stresses and strains are at ease.’ This is also the idea in modern day trusses and cable stay bridges, but for the most part building are comprised of members that carry both compression and tension, as well as shear and bearing stresses in them.

The reason this caught my attention was the uncanny resemblance this has to the philosophy of one of today’s greatest architects/engineers, Santiago Calatrava. Calatrava was educated as an artist and architect, and then went on to receive a PhD in civil engineering. He said he wanted to start over from zero and learn how engineers draw and think. That is what I am trying to do right now, but in reverse. Calatrava has had a very successful career, starting of with some very interesting bridges and structures, and continuing on to design some of the world’s finest museums, terminals, auditoriums and sky scrapers.

One of the ideas that shape Calatravas architecture is the idea of tension and compression. You will see in his structure very often a large massive member, usually concrete, that is being pulled by cables in different directions, holding up the structure. The is how he separates the tension and compression members. The large concrete member is right at home with almost total compression, and the cables have to problem coping with the pure tension. This is an example of a structure ‘where the stresses and strains are at ease.’

Calatrava also uses a technique he calls profiling. This is where the cross section geometry and area are constantly changing throughout the length of the member to react to the forces at that point. As we learn in structure class from shear and moment diagrams the forces in a member are constantly changing. This creates beautiful forms that make his architecture great.


Smallest Country in Central America

By Scott Fisher

Have you ever heard of a small country that is afflicted by the struggle of political, social and economic hardships? From the deprived land reform to natural disasters it seems El Salvador gets all the terrifying things in such a small country. El Salvador is a small populated country in Central America. In the past 30 years, El Salvador has suffered tremendously due to the instability of its agricultural sector which takes care of 40% of its labor force. Instability of El Salvador’s agricultural sector applies to environmental conservation by helping to preserve resources before they get destroyed by war or by natural disasters. Destroyed resources in any country not only affect that country but also the whole world in some way. For example, other countries cannot get imports because that country could not export the resources like oil. The major troubles that El Salvador experiences are the security of its poor farmers. The major events that hurt the agricultural economy in El Salvador the most are: deprived land reform program and the damage caused by natural disasters.

Economic Overview:
In the past 30 years, El Salvador has suffered from many economic problems. El Salvador, a country that is a size of Massachusetts seems to be vulnerable to bad externalities. In spite of these bad externalities the El Salvador economy has started to recover and has pegged its currency to be the same as the U.S. dollar. On a good note, El Salvador has free market commitment and careful fiscal management. The privatization of banking systems, public pensions, telecommunications, and some electrical regeneration as well as the reduction of imported duties, the elimination of price controls on a large portion of consumer goods, and enhancement of investment climate through the enforcement of intellectual property rights have all contributed to the recent strengthening of the economy of El Salvador.

Unlike some countries El Salvador’s agricultural economy cannot be neglected. El Salvador’s farm labor composes of around 40% of the country’s labor force and helps out about 25% of El Salvador’s Gross National Product (GNP). In society El Salvador uses about 2/3rds of its land for pastures or for farming. Like the United States, corn is a major crop of El Salvador but El Salvador also has coffee as a main export and chief crop. The achievement and minimal failures of the coffee production has help improve El Salvador’s economy.

The El Salvador community was affected by three factors: the unequal allocation of land and failures of reform the loss of crops, cattle and farmland to natural disaster; and lastly the destruction of property during the civil war time period. First, the faulty land reform left promises of redistribution largely unfulfilled, which means landless farmers remained landless. Next, the natural disasters destroyed the crops and the soil. Lastly, the guerilla warfare that swept the country destroyed valuable farmland and enthralled Salvadorans in the era of violence. These preoccupation helped production rates but it caused the economy to decline. These and some other small issues caused El Salvador to run into economic hardships.

Due to the change in El Salvador’s farming leads to the creation of nationally and internationally sponsored rehabilitation programs to help these environmental conservation issues. The La Coordinadora, an organization founded in 1996, has helped reestablish sustainable, environmentally conscious economy overtime. Of course La Coordinadora faced challenges from floods, poverty, insufficient food production, illiteracy, community violence, and lack of skills, dependency, and the lack of infrastructure. La Coordinadora is a diverse organization that continues to grow in members. Some accomplishments from La Coordinadora include training of farmers in green architecture, development of local leadership, and help organizing over 400 cottage chicken businesses, 150 community farms, and over 10 shrimp farms. The main goal of La Coordinadora is to consolidate the collective and individual organization, participation, capacities, and the abilities in order to advance the process of transformation in the communities of the Bajo Lempa.

From the land reform to natural disasters it seems El Salvador gets all the terrifying things such a small country could experience. El Salvador which is a small populated country in Central America has suffered from instability and needs a more powerful government to help protect its citizens from land reform and natural disasters. Natural disasters cannot be stopped but they can be prepared for. The El Salvador government needs to realize that organization groups are not coming up with good plans to help El Salvador so they need to step in themselves and preserve their country. The major events that hurt the agricultural economy in El Salvador are the deprived land reform programs and damage caused by hurricanes.

The World Book Encyclopedia


By Bhakti Shah

We had a structural project for ARC 532 History of Non-Western Architecture. In this project we had to select a structural detail from any Non Western Architectural buildings. I had chosen a unique fenestration detail from traditional Indian Architecture.

This particular fenestration detail is known as "Jharokhas" which is found widely in the western part of India. It is a type of overhanging - enclosed or semi enclosed which was widely used in not only in traditional Indian architecture but also in Islamic Architecture. In Islamic Architecture it is known as 'Mashrabia'. It has monumental scale and make it as a outstanding architectural character. It mainly represents two architectural styles– Mughal Architecture (Combination of Islamic, Persian and Indian Architecture) and Rajasthani Architecture (Western Indian Architecture). It is most distinctive type of facade decorated with intricate lattice work. It is a projecting window from the wall, in an upper storey, overlooking a street, market, court or any other open space.

It is supported on two or more brackets or corbelling, has two or more pillars or pilaster, balustrade and a projecting chajjah as roof. Sometimes it is closed by jaalis - perforated openings for peeping out on the streets at the same time maintaining privacy of inside. It is more formal and ornamental than English or French “oriel” . Material used for these Jharokhas are mostly sandstone, marble and wood. In contemporary buildings these windows are used in concrete and brick. Jharokha is used due to the aesthetic appearance, climatic aspects, elevation treatment , privacy to allow royal ladies to observe everyday life in the street below without being seen, since they had to observe strict 'purdah' (face cover) as a viewing platform.

Jharokhas are mainly used in Palaces, Havelis (mansion type structure) and Temples. They brings filtered light into the indoor space. Being a dusty and harsh climate within the area, it brings channeled cool air through its openings and jaalis. Direct wind flow inside the building is not desirable. These openings are shaded with projections covered all around with perforations allows cooling of air. It also helps to shade the building façade. This module was used in hot and dry climate zone. Purpose of minizing the area of building surface exposed to sun is achieved using this module in repetitive manner. Covering outer layer of the building facade with these kind of projecting overhangs , jaalis and small openings in it works for ventilation purpose. During the day, outer layer gets heated and radiated to immediate environment. When the building have only one layer. Building gets heated up early by transmitting the sun rays directly to primary spaces. But organizing secondary spaces adjacent to outer layer it acts as transitional space keeping comparative cooler inside the primary spaces. Heat enters the secondary space will dissipate in the streets with respected openings in secondary space before it enters inside. For the structural project, a basic module of Jharokha is selected. Its skeleton is outlined to make the basic body of the architectural element. Its main drapery is its intricate carving which makes it an outstanding architectural character.

Now a days this type of fenestration detailing is being adapted for the balcony overhangs in current urban fabric due to its climatic feasibility.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

An Ancient Way of Building

By Shane Healey

One of the world’s most popular and earliest building method and material is using cob; however, nobody knows where it originated from. There has been evidence that people living the region of Jericho, 10,000 years ago, made buildings made of adobe and earth materials. Along with this area, cob has had major popularity in England, Wales, New Zealand, and Australia. In addition, in 2008, it was estimated that half of the world’s population, three billion people, on six continents live or work in buildings made of natural earth materials. The reason for its popularity around the world is because cob is fireproof, seismic resistant, cost effective, creates tremendous compressive strength, creates no waste, and required little upkeep. The reason cob is so durable, is the materials it is made from. Cob is a building’s material consists of clay (acting as glue), sand (giving strength to the structure), earth, water, and straw (giving its tensile strength), similar to adobe. After research, I found out that Stephen Hren built a 900 square foot cob house that included solar panels, a driveway, a cistern, a septic tank, the foundation, the roof, and all the material to build. This house, with all the items above, cost Hren $19, 500 and took him one year to construct the house. The reason that a small cob building takes a year to build is that no more than one foot should be constructed every two to three days to allow them to dry before adding another layer. In addition, it has been averaged that one person can build a cob wall 25 feet long, 12 inches thick and 4 inches tall in one day, so the more people involved the less time it would take to construct. However, a cob house is only cost effective if you do the work yourself. If you were to hire someone to build it for you, it would cost as much as a traditional stick built house.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Cairo, IL Project

By Tara D. Loughman

While working with the city of Cairo, our fall studio was to study urban design and the community. In the research, we were to look at the areas culture along with the spatial development of human settlement patterns. We acquired an awareness of the diversity of needs, values, behavioral norms, and social patterns that characterizes the different cultures, and the implications of this diversity for the societal roles and responsibilities for architects.

The Medical District of Cairo, IL relates to the city in many different ways. The district deals with a good majority of people and the elderly, including those at Daystar Nursing Home. The district will be able to help them participate with the rest of the community again. It will also provide many new activities for the seniors, along with the rest of Cairo. In the proposal, it will guarantee safer transportation and safety among the residents with the life alert and safety 24/7. In addition to the proposal, it will promote healthy living for all ages and provide a secure area in the community. Not only will a part of Cairo be rebuilt, but it also provides for more jobs. With all this said, the city of Cairo will be united and can start to be the city it once was.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

How to Make a Wigwam

By Scott Fisher

• Step 1

– Select a level site
– Clear ground of any rocks/plants
– Draw a circle on the ground by driving in a stake in the center and tying a string to it that is 7’ long and then tie the other end to a stick and drag that stick around to make a 14’ diameter circle

• Step 2

– Find 16 points around the circle
• 2πR
• _____x12(inches/feet)• # of poles
• So for a 16 pole wigwam with a 7’ radius
• 2 x 3.14 x 7
• _____x12=32.98 inches between poles around the circle
• 16 poles
– Make 16 holes by using a small stick or drill that are 6”-12” deep

• Step 3

– Gather 25-30 fresh saplings that 12-15 feet long and no bigger than 2” in diameter
– Strip off any branches/bark for longer lifespan
– Cut points so that saplings go into holes easier

• Step 4

– Place the first set of poles numbered 1-8
– Bend them over 2 at a time
– Bend 1 to meet 2 and 3 to meet 4…

• Step 5

– Lash ends of each set of 2 poles at about 3” from the ends
– Traditional lashing is done with inner bark of the tree but heavy jute or sisal twine
– Place poles 9-16 in holes

• Step 6

– Bend poles over: 9 to meet 10 and 11 to meet 12…
– Lash overlaps everyplace they overlap

• Step 7

– Use remaining saplings to make loops around wigwam at 3-4 different levels
– Lash these poles to existing poles
– Bottom 2 loops should not go all the way around…must leave an opening for entrance

• Step 8 (Optional Step)

– Place a hearth in center of wigwam about 3’ in diameter for heating and cooking
– Sleeping platforms are mounted on walls on one side and use “Y” sticks to hold up other side of platform
– Lash together platform to wigwam

• Step 9

– Bark sheets or cattail mats are uses to cover the exterior
• Bark sheets are used in the winter and cattail sheets are used in the summer time
– Start at the bottom and shingle 3 layers of material to top
– Lash material to structure
• Leave opening for entrance and smoke hole on the top

• Step 10 (Optional Step)

– Bend 4 more poles over exterior covering to hold bark or other materials on
– Cover new poles in canvas
– Birch or elm bark can be used to temporarily cover smoke hole

Questions: A Design phenomenon

By Rhonda C Daugherty

Design is an ambiguous term that allows people to investigate structural or conceptual possibilities that will result in a building. But where is the connection to the human condition? Often designers search for meaning in a literal symbolic notion that directly or indirectly rips off the form of the SYMBOLIC element. Why? Why is it that the conceptual element of flight sometimes appeals to look like a bird or rings stretching out for example? When did designers become so literal?

Another architectural design phenomenon that has gain popularity over the recent years is material. Many students have recently crowded around a table and decided to investigate material as a building investigation of skin. Skin breaths, grows, and protects the internal organs of the body. When someone defines the building exterior surface to be a skin, I began to wonder how by which definition can it be called a skin. Skin…

Friday, April 8, 2011

Chinese Pavilion

By Kang-Hsin Fan

The 69.9-metre high pavilion, the tallest structure at the Expo, is dubbed "The Oriental Crown" because of its resemblance to an ancient Chinese crown. It was meticulously designed with profound meaning and symbolism. The architectonic feature of the building was inspired by the Chinese roof bracket known as the dougong as well as the Chinese ding vessel. The dougong is a traditional wooden bracket used to support large overhanging eaves, which date back nearly 2,000 years. It symbolizes the unique charm of Chinese architecture and its unity and strength. The ding was a vessel used by Chinese emperors to make offers to the gods. It represents the union between heaven and earth. The Chinese pavilion's four giant columns resemble legs of a ding vessel, while the inverted pyramid body resembles the bowl of a vessel. The rooftop of the building is in the shape of a grid-like pattern reminiscent of Jiugongge when viewed from the air. Jiugongge was the basis of urban planning in ancient China. The exterior is painted in seven subtle shades of Chinese red, symbolizing Chinese culture and good fortune. The different shades combine effectively to illustrate the concept "unity with difference". The overhanging columns of the main Chinese pavilion and exterior of the Chinese joint provincial pavilion are decorated with Diezhuan characters; calligraphic characters used on official seals. The characters for north, south, east and west are engraved on the red Chinese pavilion, while 24 Chinese solar terms are carved into the silver facade of the provincial pavilion.

Retrieved Mar 20, 2011, from

The Why and How of Becoming a LEED Green Associate

By Ben Temperley

The United States Green Building Council (USBGC) is a nonprofit organization made of leaders from all sectors of the building industry that promotes buildings and communities that are environmentally responsible, economically profitable, and healthy places to live and work. The mission of USGBC is “To transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built, and operated, enabling an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy, and prosperous environment that improves the quality of life.” USGBC developed the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System. The LEED rating system has become a nationally accepted benchmark for sustainable design and performance.

I believe LEED is going to be a powerful force in the design and building community for years to come. If you are an architecture or interior design student, you will not want to be left behind in the age of LEED. There is a simple way to get a solid footing in LEED—the LEED Green Associate (GA) exam. Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (SIUC) has a USGBC student group that is studying for the LEED GA exam. We offer study materials and study sessions. We also are sponsoring a LEED GA study seminar on April 8th and 15th on campus put on by Vertegy. If you want to pass the exam, the Vertegy team has a near perfect record for attendees passing the exam.

I will outline the steps on becoming a LEED GA for SIUC architecture and interior design students. First, as architecture and interior design students, you are in a program that addresses green building principles, so you are eligible for the exam. Second, create an account at to receive an eligibility ID. Third, ask Dr. Wendler for a reference letter. The requirements of the letter are found on the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) website. Fourth, study for the exam. The primary reference guides are Green Building & LEED Core Concepts and the USGBC LEED Green Associate Study Guide. The USGBC student group is another study resource. Fifth, register to take the exam at (you will need your eligibility ID from Prometric has a testing site in nearby Carterville, IL.

Once you pass the exam, you will have credentials that will look great on your resume! This will help you get a job. It will also put you on track to someday become a LEED Accredited Professional (AP). The LEED AP credential will bring many opportunities for professional growth and promotion. Some professional projects will require a LEED AP. The highest tier of GBCI professional credentials is LEED Fellow. This is for elite professionals that contribute exceptionally to the field of sustainability.

To learn more about the LEED GA exam and USGBC at SIUC check out our Facebook page,!/group.php?gid=155843984445808; our blog,; and our GroupSpace,

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Wood Design Project

By Jessica Grafton

This semester in Arc 362 – Structures II, we have been working on a wood design project. The project objective was to design and build a small scale structure that would hold both a concentrated load and a uniform load of 150lbs. in teams of two. At the start of the semester we explored, with our teammate, the calculations that would allow us to discern whether or not our structure would indeed support the given weight. After learning the methods for doing this, we then started to play with design.

The parameters for the project were as follows:

The structure was made from one 2 x 4 lumber, supporting columns must sit outside the limits of a 48” diameter circle, while uniform load of 150lbs.(27 bricks) must not exceed the limits of a 36” diameter circle, both load types must pass deflection minimum of 4” above ground, total weight of structure must not exceed 5lbs.

After sketching and debating a suitable design, we then had to make sure that our members would indeed allow for the uniform distribution of bricks to sit in one layer across the structure, within the 36” dia. Circle. Likewise the point load would have to be supported, but stacked centrally two bricks wide. Once each we knew that both of these requirements were met, we went on to analyze the calculations that would tell us what size each member would need to be in order to support both scenarios.

Then the fun part! We built the structure using the school wood shop and then presented it in class by actually applying these loads. Each team stacked bricks on their structure in both load types to see if in actuality it could hold the loads. If the structure collapsed the team automatically received a C for the grade, this was the case also if it exceeded the specified 5lb. weight limit. Points were also deducted for exceeding the min. 4” deflection.

I’m happy to say that my partner and I passed on all accounts despite a lot of nervousness prior to the testing.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Scars From Tsunami After A Magnitude 9.0 Earthquake in Japan

By Yuko Aoki

The eleventh of March 2011, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake hit east cost of Japan. Soon after the hit, an approximate 33 feet high Tsunami stroked Northeast of Japan. The waves reached 3 to 6 miles inland from the shore line. Most of the objects, including houses, cars, and ships were flushed away. The pictures and the link below will show you before and after the Tsunami.

Japan has been known as an earthquake country for such a long time that they are well prepared for them. Structures of buildings were built to resist massive shock. However, they were not designed for 33 feet high Tsunami's. A lot of people are still missing and a lot of people are looking for them.

As an international student from Japan, I am very sad that I cannot be close to my family and friends under this circumstance. What I can do is call or email them and let them know how they are doing. Every time I see pictures of Japan, I feel sadness, not only from devastated images but also the fact that I cannot do anything.

What I can do now is just pray and donate money to support organizations which help people who lost their house, live under threat of nuclear power plant issues, need medical attention, and have stress from spending abnormal daily life.
There are several organizations like Red Cross and Doctor without borders. Please help Japan to recover from the disaster.

Red Cross -

Doctor without borders -

Other before and after pictures

Images -