Friday, March 30, 2012

Wright’s Concrete Block System

By Dempson Haney

In the early 1920’s Wright designed a concrete block system in which he referred to as the textile block system. They were featured in some of his homes such as the Millard house, Freeman house, and even Ennis house. These intricately patterned blocks were design in such a way that they could be manufactured on site with molds. Once the blocks had cured, they would be placed in position one row at a time. Steel rods would then be placed outlining the blocks both vertically and horizontally. This process would be repeated until the wall was finished. The block system suffered from numerous problems, failures, and complications. The dry mixed once cured, was porous and weak. They would deteriorate much quicker from the environment. The absence of mortar beds during erection caused blocks to come out of alignment; which was crucial since a soupy mortar mix was poured into holes between the blocks.

The process I followed was similar to that of Wright’s original plan. Using the technical innovation of digital fabrication, I constructed the molds By first modeling the block in Rhino and then extracting its contours into CAD. The laser cutter then cut out my series of layers which were then glued to form the mold. Because this is a scaled down replica of the actual system, I substituted the concrete with plaster

Different mold releases were used but the one that seemed to work the best was petroleum jelly painted onto the wood mold. After mixing the ratio of plaster and water, then letting it cure for about 24 hours, it was time to open it up. When removing the forms is when the problems occurred, the molds did not want to release. Each of the two castes broke into three relatively equal parts. The wood glued mold had peeled during the curing process allowing plaster to seep between the wood layers. This may have been caused by the heat and moisture of the plaster curing. The jelly also discolored the white plaster very slightly but was easily fixed with a couple shots of flat white paint.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Future of World Cities?

BY Zachary Collins

I ran across an article on MSN that I thought was very interesting. In Seattle, Washington, an office building is in the process of construction that has a price tag of $30 million and will last 250 years! How do you say? By creating a “living building.”

This office building, a 6 story wonder named the Bullitt Center, will cost about a third more than a traditional office building of this size, but it will have an underlying sustainability factor that will pay off that third more cost in very little time. Spearheading this project are partners Denis Hanes and Jason McLennan. The expected completion date is in November of this year.

The sustainability factors used in this building will make it a net-zero building. The building will have power produced from solar panels, with excess collected energy put back into the power-grid in the summer, and then in winter, when there is less solar gain, it will take back that power to be used. Rainfall will be collected for building use, which in result, will make this building have zero monthly water and electric bills. WOW. Also, all sewage and wastewater is taken care of on-site and there will be no parking lot, only racks for bikes.

“We clean up our own messes.” is a quote from Hanes where he explains that what they build will self-satisfy and not put any burden on anyone else. It is a self-contained building.

Hanes’ ultimate goal is for this office building to be certified under the “Living Building Challenge.” And if this is achieved, the Bullitt Center will be the largest office tower in the nation that is a “living building.”

I encourage you to all go to this link and read more about this project. It’s very interesting, and I feel that this should be the direction all architects should be heading in.

Michael Green presents ‘The Case for Tall Wood Buildings’

By Sean Koetting

Driven by the desire to find safe, carbon-neutral and sustainable alternatives to the incumbent structural materials of the urban world, Michael Green, Principal at Michael Green Architecture, has shared with us this highly-anticipated feasibility study, The Case for Tall Wood Buildings. The 200-page document encourages architects, engineers and designers to push the envelope of conventional thinking by demonstrating that wood is a viable material for tall and large buildings and exposing its environmental and economic benefits.

Co-author Michael Green explains, “To slow and contain greenhouse gas emissions and find truly sustainable solutions to building, we must look at the fundamentals of the way we build – from the bones of large urban building structures to the details of energy performance. We need to search for the big picture solutions of today’s vast climate, environmental, economic and world housing needs.”

Mid-rise and tall buildings around the globe have been predominately constructed in concrete and steel, two materials that have served their purpose well. However, in the challenging age of Climate Change, it is imperative that we revolutionize our building industry, as the report reveals that “concrete production represents roughly 5% of world carbon dioxide emissions, the dominant green house gas. In essence the production and transportation of concrete represents more than five times the carbon footprint of the airline industry as a whole.”
The Case for Tall Wood Buildings introduces a new way of constructing tall buildings with a renewable, durable and strong building material that is manufactured by nature. When harvested responsibly, wood may be the best option for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and storing carbon in our buildings.
If you are interested in learning more about the project, Green has generously published the results of his research in an open source paper than can be reviewed in its entirety at the following web address

Thanks for reading,
Sean Koetting

Cite: Rosenfield , Karissa . "Michael Green presents ‘The Case for Tall Wood Buildings’" 27 Mar 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 28 Mar 2012.

Structural Element for ARC 532 History

By Sean Hartman

In our ARC 532 History class we all had to find a structural element or building of our choice and create a mock up model of the element or building that we chose. This had to be something from a non-western architectural setting.

I chose to a Japanese joinery, which connected two beams together. After studying the plans and trying to figure out how I was going to construct this it seemed to me that it took a master craftsman to complete such task. Their joinery techniques were complex and took skill to do. Japanese didn't have the means or resources to create extravagant concrete or masonry buildings, but what they did have was large trees that could create heavy timber frame buildings. But after creating so many large buildings with what they thought was good heavy timber, the Japanese reverted using trees that they had passed over for the larger trees. With smaller trees they had to come up with a way to connect beams and other members together thus the creation of Japanese joinery. With this practice the Japanese was still able to construct buildings the same way as they once did with the timber that they harvested from the larger trees.

I chose the Okkake Daisen Tsugi ( Dadoed and rabbetted scarf joint). This type of joint was used to splice together ground sills, girders, and beams. There are multiple types of joints to do just this. These take a great deal of craftsmanship. "The numerous joints require expert technique to construct. They also give the impression of having been designed strictly for appearance by a master craftsman. However tsugite and shiguchi were developed on the basis of structural principles, to resist shear, bending, and moment during an era when metals were scarce." (Complete Japanese Joinery pg. 173) Below are some pictures of the joinery that I have completed for my structural element project.

Structural Glass

By Micah Jacobson

I read an article recently about structural glass that was quite interesting. Many of you may know that glass, despite its high strength, is very breakable. Glass has a strength of 140 ksi (kips per square inch) and a modulus of elasticity of 10,000 psi (pounds per square inch). In comparison steel has a strength of 35-75 ksi (up 290 for steel cables used in bridges and prestressed concrete, but that doesn’t exhibit the typical steel stress-strain relationship) and a modulus of elasticity of ~29,000 psi. Concrete has a strength of 3-20 ksi and a modulus of 57,000 *SQRT(f’c) psi (f’c is the 28 day strength of concrete). So with glass being so strong why don’t we have any scy scraper with a glass structural system?

Part of the reason is that glass is a brittle material. This means it has a purely elastic response to stress until it’s limit and then has a sudden failure. Steel has a yielding point then experiences strain hardening, in which it gains strength. Through this experience it can endure a certain amount of deformation. This allows it to absorb more energy, referred to as toughness, that’s why steel is so tough. Glass however has a very small area under the stress strain curve, meaning that it has a small amount of toughness, or energy absorbed. Another reason is because of its tendency to fracture. It is very dependent on any surface fractures or defects.
Hopefully architects and engineers will continue to expand the use of structural glass and experiment with the material, and maybe we will have an all glass tower in the future!

Economics Lesson

By Matthew Owens

Now I do apologize because I cannot remember the source of this brilliant list (if any of you know it, please let me know so that I can give credit where credit is due), but I really felt like I should share this information with you all. If any of you have trouble understanding our world’s economies, or our own, have no fear because this list you are about to witness breaks it all down in a simple yet, informative manner. I realize the subject is not architecturally related but it is something that has been discussed quite a bit lately in political conversations, so I felt it relevant and suitable so we can be informed when engaging in such conversations.

A Cow based Economics Lesson;

You have 2 cows.
You give one to your neighbor.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and gives you some milk.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and sells you some milk.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and shoots you.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and then throws the milk away.

You have two cows.
You sell one and buy a bull.
Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows.
You sell them and retire on the income.

You have two cows.
You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows.
The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island Company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company.
The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more.
You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States , leaving you with nine cows.
No balance sheet provided with the release.
The public then buys your bull.

You have two giraffes.
The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.

You have two cows.
You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows.
Later, you hire a consultant to analyze why the cow has dropped dead.

You have two cows.
You go on strike, organize a riot, and block the roads, because you
want three cows.

You have two cows.
You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk.
You then create a clever cow cartoon image called a Cowkimona and market it worldwide.

You have two cows, but you don't know where they are.
You decide to have lunch.

You have 5000 cows. None of them belong to you.
You charge the owners for storing them.

You have two cows.
You have 300 people milking them.
You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity.
You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.

You have two cows.
You worship them.

You have two cows.
Both are mad.

Everyone thinks you have lots of cows.
You tell them that you have none.
No-one believes you, so they bomb the ** out of you and invade your country.
You still have no cows, but at least you are now a Democracy.

You have two cows.
Business seems pretty good.
You close the office and go for a few beers to celebrate.

You have two cows.
The one on the left looks very attractive

History Project

By Laura Thomas

One of our many many many projects for History III: Non-Western Architecture is to create a structural element or a detail ornamental piece of non-western origins. Projects from other students have been Frank Lloyd Wright's concrete building block, mandalas, Japanese joinery, Japanese fence section, miscellaneous detail pieces.
For mine, I wanted something I would keep, something to be displayed. When I moved down here, I left all of my decorative items at home as I only wanted to bring what was absolutely necessary. However after I unpacked, my living room was extremely bare and needed some personality. I went to the mall in Marion and found a oriental shop with all sort of screen printing. I choose 3 black and white prints cuz they were simple but even more so, they were on sale.

As I'm trying to decide what to do for my project, I remember the prints hanging in my living room and decide to make a Chinese folding screen. Folding screens originated in China and were used as canvases for artists, which were then displayed in tea houses, backgrounds for performances, and decoration. It was much later before they were used as a changing screen. Today they are mainly used for decoration purposes and a far cry from their original.

I wanted to build all three panels and create an actual folding screen but as a broke college student I could only make one as it cost $150 for materials. I plan to cut out the remaining decorative pieces on the laser cutter before I leave SIU so in a year or so when I have a job I can finish the other two. Attached is the page I put together for my portfolio. We are to present them on 3-29-2012 and I'm pretty sure they will all be on display for quite some time so make sure to check them out!

Spring Clean Your PC

By Jason Skidmore

Probably the most important tool any of us use is our computer. It is what we rely on to get projects done and make them look good. Over time computers tend to get dirty on the outside and the inside. It is important for the life and speed of your computer to regularly clean both the computer and the operating system you are working with. Most of us use Windows 7 for our operating system, so that is what this blog will be about. Here is a list of things you can do to help give your computer a good spring cleaning.

1. Clean your hardware-Make sure your computer is off and unplugged. Once it is unplugged (desktop) or the battery is taken out (laptop) hold the power key to take any charge out of the components within the laptop. Release any static electricity in you by touching something that is grounded. Some items that are essential to cleaning your PC are; compressed air, a q-tip, and an old tooth brush. The compressed air is really the only thing I use, but the other ones can come in handy if your computer is really dirty on the outside. Desktops are usually easy to access the innards while laptops require you to look up the computer instruction manual for information on how to take it apart. Most laptops have some covers you can take off the back to access the RAM, hard drive, and processor. The main component that I check for cleaning is the processor. It is also probably the most vulnerable component in the system so I take extra precaution in messing with it. I usually just take the heat sink off the processor which usually exposes a thin sheet of build up around the end of the heat sink. This is the air intake and where most lint and dust is caught. It is important to uncover the heat sink so air can flow freely. Computers are susceptible to overheating if this gets clogged and cannot move air through the system.

2. Manage your cables-This just takes time and consideration. Laptop cables are much easier to manage than are desktop cables. I usually keep all my cables that are mobile (e.g. phone cables, hard drive cables, adapters, head phones, etc..) in a pouch with rubber bands around them. My desktop came with a cable management solution built in. It just has some clips built in that hold the cables and keep them from dangling everywhere. You can accomplish the same thing with some bigger binder clips.

3. Update your system-This is probably the most important thing to do. Go to Windows update in the control panel and make sure that your system is up to date. If you have the automatic updates turned off I recommend turning them on for both security and operational reasons. Once your computer is completely up to date move on to getting rid of un-needed programs.

4. Uninstall unnecessary programs-Many of us require a multitude of programs in order to get stuff done. Our computers however have programs preinstalled and we sometimes install programs that just aren't necessary and take up space. You can either use something like the built in uninstaller or an uninstaller like Revo Uninstaller. Only get rid of programs that are truly unnecessary or your will find yourself reinstalling them later.

5. Hard drive space-You can download a program like WinDirStat or Disk Space Fan in order to see a breakdown of what is taking up all your space. The operating system takes up the most space. File management is key here. You want to delete any duplicate files you may have. This includes work files, school files, music, videos, pictures, etc... There are programs that will do this for you (if you trust them). I have used Duplicate Cleaner in the past and it worked rather well for me. You can also do it the old fashioned way and just go through every file and make sure it doesn't have a duplicate. The main file hog I have noticed architecturally speaking is Revit saving a file for every window that is open in Revit. This is usually unnecessary and you can delete all of the files that are labeled something like (myfile.0001.rvt) Usually the main file you want to keep just simply contains the name without any numbers behind it. Make sure you are only deleting files that are unnecessary and not losing any work. If you do delete an important file it should be in the recycling bin for a while and you can restore it at any time. Which brings up another point. The files are not completed deleted until you empty the recycling bin. Do this by right clicking the recycling bin and then clicking empty.

6. Backup your newly refreshed PC-The built in backup software on Windows 7 is great and I have it set to back up weekly. You can also back up to the cloud. I have all my school work saved on Dropbox which allows me to access it anywhere. It also keeps them backed up incase my computers decide to get sick.

7. This is not usually necessary, but is the best way to completely refresh your PC. Do a clean install after backing up all your files and programs.

Enjoy your faster, smoother, clutter free PC!!!

Tight Budgets force more creativity in design

By Debra Eilering

The hospitality industry has been greatly affected by the economic downturn but who hasn't right? We just are not traveling as often and when the opportunities are feasible for a get away, we expect to be pampered. So how can the industry keep the consumer’s satisfied?
“Design is never static,” said the iconic Michael Bedner, CEO of HBA/Hirsch Bedner Associates. “All things morph in 40 to 50 year periods. We are always working eight years ahead of what goes into the market to stay ahead.” The travel consumer is in a constant state of change but one bad travel experience will ruin the possibility for a return visit. That is not good for any business.

Glenn Haussman reported on a conference held in California last week for the BITAC Luxury, “The travel consumer is increasingly finicky with inherently ever changing tastes and desires, it’s as if once their needs are met they immediately change what they’re looking for. This phenomenon has been keenly felt in the hospitality industry as America’s consumer culture shifted to a more experiential culture in the wake of the Great Recession.” This conference was a focused “idea exchange” where buyers and suppliers can work through solutions together to yield both sides more profitable results. It sounds like a successful charette that had one strong message – that tighter budgets are making designers more creative and inspired. “For us it is always about thinking about the trends to see what is coming next. It is all about looking everywhere for emerging trends,” said Les Faulk, Design Director - Technical Services with InterContinental Hotels Group.

Matt Mars, Principal in the design firm Flick Mars, which is working on renovations for projects such as The Windsor Court in New Orleans and The Enchantment Resort in Sedona, said that’s the type of challenge that they crave. “For us it is all about figuring out how to bring the experience and getting guests to talk about it. The upside of tighter budgets is that it makes you more creative. The key for us is working through how to hit the expectation level with the limited money you have to work with. So we are spending time finding new ways to do old tricks, which can be very invigorating creatively,” said Mars.

As for what the attendees were most concerned about with their travel experience, the results may surprise you: only one percent said they can ‘spend what they want.’ An overwhelming 62 percent said they are ‘stretching budgets but same goals achieved,’ while 27 percent said they are “spending less for highly targeted renovations.” Just 10 percent said they are “failing short of the ideal.” And what are they demanding in return for their investment? 63 percent said it was ‘heightened personalization of the experience.’ In all, 17 percent said they thought that next elements was ‘larger rooms/bathroom’ 11 percent said ‘Future Proof Technology,’ and nine percent said ‘Having a signature amenity others don’t.’

Bedner believes it’s the overall environment that makes the difference. “People want better service no matter what the hotel looks like. The old hospitality adage in hospitality is ‘Service, service, service.’

Perhaps the most relevant point was brought home by Roy Kim, Senior Vice President Design with Extell Development, he “agrees with the above trends but cautioned that to really achieve the goal of synergy between design and guest experience it’s important to keep the number of design decision makers to a minimum”. “What you have to do is not be paralyzed by fear. We all face instances of design by committee. There is so much knowledge that can go into a project, but that can lead to indecision. You have to have a sense of conviction and not design by committee,” said Kim.


Importance of Early Childhood Education

By Audrey Treece

I truly believe that people are not educated enough in the importance of early childhood education. I, although an early childhood advocate, did not realize how crucial those first few years of your life can be. If I do not learn anything else throughout my thesis process, which is highly doubtful, I can successfully say that I have a better understanding of what all early childhood education entails.

Neurological research proves that children are born to learn, while absorbing every aspect of their environment. The first three years of life are the most critical to the neurological development of a child. (See Chart) Child care in the United States has been viewed as a domestic responsibility rather than a basic component of a community’s infrastructure and there has been limited concern for the impact of institutional settings on children’s development. It is estimated that children, under the age of six, that are enrolled in child care spend an average of ten hours a day, five days a week, and fifty weeks of the year in early childhood centers. With the overwhelming amount of time that our children are spending in centers, we should be focusing on the importance of these particular buildings and the effects that they have on them.

As designers and/or architects, it should be our concern to find a model for these early childhood centers. These buildings should be rethought and redefined to create an environment that addresses the relationship between children and their built environment. This is a big, open opportunity to make a difference and we should use our creative thinking to create a building model that will foster experiential learning while helping children learn, discover and prosper.

Paper Paper Paper

By Andrew Wyne

This week’s blog entry is about something that architecture firms around the country use quite frequently…Paper…it gets used many times a day. Whether it is for an in office document or technical drawing going out to the contractor, paper is being used. Depending on the firm there are countless checks and rechecks over drawings that get red marked and just thrown away. Well there has been an initiative that was started by AIA (American Institute of Architects), that HKS has taken upon themselves to join up and change their firm to be paperless. This would include cutting down on paper use between associates in the firm as well as giving presentations digitally as opposed to using paper. You can find their objectives here:

With the use of a few different computer programs like Bluebeam PDF Revu it is very possible to red mark and comment on all drawings that are in the PDF format and be able to make necessary changes. The program also has many different options for editing and creating PDF files. You can read more on Bluebeam and how it is affecting the contractors at this website:

Vela Systems is a company that created software for tablet PCs that can be used on job sites where the contractors can have the most up to date information and plans. They can use special pens to make marks directly on the tablet. The software can interpret the pen strokes as well as also be used to highlight any part of the drawing. This way whenever a change order comes through it can be instantly looked at on the job site and the appropriate changes can be made sooner. Vela system has also collaborated with Autodesk for seamless integration in the system and its ability to operate with CAD drawings. Find more information at:

Friday, March 23, 2012

Thesis Update

By Sean Hartman

Well after a rough couple of weeks it's time to get back into the groove of things. My thesis is coming along pretty well. I have a well established program and I am working towards a layout of the facility. I didn't realize there is so much stuff to consider when designing an Emergency Department or trying to correct the flow/problems where my project is located. So far my project has had a lot more research and understanding how things flow and operate so I better understand how things function. One of the things I am trying to accomplish with the redesign of the Carbondale Memorial Hospital is that I am trying to look at it from a patients stand point and how would someone get there and feel in the space in an emergency. I have been to several hospitals and tried to see how they functioned from the one here in town. There is an obvious difference in layout and flow from older hospitals to newer hospital due floor plans being changed to better improve the emergency departments.

With all the research I have done and looked at books emergency departments are a crazy thing to design. You have to take a functionality side approach to designing them to see what will work and what won't. The layout and design of them are very strict and sometimes leaves little to no room for design. There are a couple of areas you can have fun designing from what I have gathered and that is the lobby, and registration area. You can put a little more design into them but other than that it pretty much is a nightmare to get things in the right location. A big thing with designing a facility of this type is the flow has to work almost flawlessly or it could hinder on the staffs performance inside the department. Also the size of the department is another tricky design issue. You can't just say I am going to design this massive new emergency department wing for a hospital there are certain things that control that from happening. One governing thing that helps with this is the annual patient visits per year.

With research continuing and starting to develop a floor plan things are starting to move in a positive direction again. I hope to have my midterm review on my project here this week or next week so that I can get feedback from my committee. There were some circumstances that prevented me from presenting with the rest of my class. I have played catch up and I finally feel that I have a grasp on things again. With being gone for a week and a half to come back for about a week then be on spring break has thrown me for a loop. Spring break was put to good use to catch up on things/projects in other classes so that I wouldn't have to worry about it or have them hinder my thesis work. It's just a matter of getting back into the groove and getting motivated to do things once again. Hopefully revisiting everything and the emergency room will get me going again. Wish me luck on the road ahead.

The Debate over Gehry's Eisenhower Memorial Design Heats Up!

By Sean Koetting

The controversy surrounding Frank Gehry’s proposal for the Eisenhower Memorial has just reached new heights as the Chicago Tribune’s Blair Kamin has recently published a 1,500-word essay, written by the influential neo-traditionalist architect Leon Krier, that bashes Gehry’s proposal and ideology. Krier calls Gehry a “greatly confused artist” who’s “style is a century old” and “seems “innovative” only to the ignorant”. Kier continues to claim the commission who appointed Gehry’s design “shares his [Gehry’s] intellectual confusion and distaste of classical Washington D.C.”

Krier describes the 25 meter-tall woven metal tapestries as embodying a “chain-link aesthetic” that has served as “a widespread formula used since the early 1950s in Germany by Egon Eiermann to dress up superstores.”

Krier states, “The scale and character of the blotted tagged fence relates more to highway billboards and graffiti than to the historic tapestry it declaredly refers to. The giant illustrated screens intend to create a sacred memorial area, but the devotional imagery is perceived like a mere backdrop through a thicket of trees, best read from the outside. The centerless monument effectively amounts to an open-air cinema overtaken by a wild-growth of sycamore. An anti-monument if there can be such a thing.”
Judging on the essay, it is safe to say Krier has joined Richard Driehaus in the campaign for a replacement scheme. Out of fairness, they have requested a response, however there has been no word from Gehry.

To get the full scoop be sure to read the entire essay by Leon Krier on the Chicago Tribune web site.
To check out the counter competition proposals and winners visit

Thanks for reading,
Sean Koetting

Rosenfield , Karissa . "Krier speaks out against Gehry’s Eisenhower Memorial design" 17 Feb 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 21 Mar 2012.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


By Matthew Owens

As a grad student set to graduate this August it is most likely that this past week will be my last spring break before I head into the professional world, unless of course for some reason or another I end up teaching. As I write this I am getting the feeling this is how my article started out after winter break as well as fall break? I guess you could say I am most certainly aware that I will be done with school this year and I might not get any of these extended breaks again. So spring break yea! The time when college students go to Mexico to party! But a more mature grad student such as myself has grown out of the party phase of my life and would care to do something with more meaning and productivity during a week off of school.

So what does this more mature grad student do over spring break? Well for I spent my week out in Arizona, in the valley of the sun. I spent the majority of my time hiking in the mountains around Phoenix where I was staying. I went on three fairly strenuous hikes that led me to peaks overlooking the valley and all of Phoenix. A good work out, of which my legs are still slightly sore, and of course this was a good chance to get some sun.

And or course as a student of architecture I had to see some of Franks work. I was able to take a tour of Taliesin and also walked around the Biltmore Hotel, both of which are in Scottsdale not far from where I was staying. Taliesin of course Write's escape from the cold winter months of Wisconsin. He set up his camp out in the desert of Arizona, outside of what was then the small town of Scottsdale. This being my first time to central Arizona I certainly know why he chose that area for his winter retreat. The weather while I was there was perfect and the desert is beautiful. The Biltmore is another work of Writes that was not far from Taliesin. After my tour of Taliesin I made the short drive over to check out the hotel. I have to admit I did not know much about the hotel. I knew going there that it was going to be bit classier, being a historic building and all. It was certainly beautiful, and more than just a hotel, but somewhat of a resort. There were small villas, and multiple hotel buildings on a campus of lush green grass and spectacular flowers, and of course pools and fountains. The lobby, restaurant and bar being about the extent of the interior I could walk through not being a guest were still amazing. The outdoor spaces were also fantastic, and a joy to be in. So, a mature grad student such as myself had an educational break.

But am I really above partying on spring break, just because I didn’t go party with the rest of the college students? Well….. I actually did end up taking a day trip down to Nogales, Mexico to drink margaritas and tequila and eat tacos. I also had to check out the night scene at ASU, which happens to be a pretty good time.

So, good break! Time to get back to work!

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Humbling Experience

By Jason Skidmore

This week I have been in Harrisburg, IL helping out the victims of the February 29th tornado. I have seen storm damage in the past in my home town. It was nothing compared to the damage I saw when touring the neighborhoods in Harrisburg. I was taken aback by the extremity of the damage. They had already been cleaning up for 2 weeks, so the damage was much worse a couple weeks ago. One family we met with to discuss their new home invited us into their house, or what was left of it. At the same time we met with this family they were being helped by an organization called Operation Blessing. It is very surreal to walk into a house that has missing walls, a missing roof, and debris everywhere. The stories of survival are incredible. As we stood looking at a completely exposed and destroyed upstairs bedroom, one younger couple with a baby talked of how they barely made it down the stairs before the tornado hit. After seeing the damage and hearing the stories it is a wonder that there were not more injuries and deaths associated with this tornado. Talking with the victims one gets a sense that they are still somewhat in shock over what has transpired, yet there is an overwhelming sense of hope and determination in rebuilding their lives. When they talk about the houses that will replace their old ones you can tell that they are ready to move on and get back to a life of normalcy. Hopefully the work that is being done by the SIUC School of Architecture will help boost the spirits of the community and get them on the right track to restoring what was once close nit neighborhood and community. Below are a few pictures of the damage we surveyed during our tour of the community.

Just when you think you have heard it all …. Nursing Homes being used to produce Meth!

By Debra Eilering

Methamphetamine is “is a central nervous system stimulant drug. Due to its high potential for abuse, methamphetamine is classified as a Schedule II drug and is available only through a prescription that cannot be refilled. Although methamphetamine can be prescribed by a doctor, its medical uses are limited, and the doses that are prescribed are much lower than those typically abused. Most of the methamphetamine abused in this country comes from foreign or domestic superlabs, although it can also be made in small, illegal laboratories, where its production endangers the people in the labs, neighbors, and the environment (

An example of a new trend in illegal laboratories was reported, last week in Ohio. Apparently, a vacant room in a nursing home had been in use as a production lab for meth. Firefighters were called in to extinguish a fire that mysteriously broke out in the Park Haven Home in the Ashtabula, Ohio home. Although no drugs were being synthesized at the time, a man was killed in the fire.

National safety and security experts say the lab’s presence in a nursing home is part of a larger trend involving the bizarre lengths meth addicts and dealers are willing to go for their drug. The DEA reported more than 10,000 clandestine meth lab incidents in the United States during 2011. “It’s outrageous to see it happening inside of a facility, but not completely unexpected,” says Stan Szpytek, president of consulting firm Fire and Life Safety, Inc. Szpytek, a former deputy fire chief, says the location for a meth lab is chosen based on the potential for discretion. While these locations can be anything from a hotel room to a parked car in an abandoned lot, health facilities can now be counted among their possible locations.
Park Haven Home’s management has not responded to media calls, and questions persist as to whether or not administration was aware of the meth lab being set up. The nursing home, which has a one-star rating under Nursing Home Compare, was cited last year for serious violations including inadequate care and failure to investigate how a resident was injured. Inspectors had also previously found that the building did not have a written emergency evacuation plan. Szpytek cautions providers to not view the Park Haven Home incident as an “anomaly,” but instead as an opportunity to reevaluate their vulnerability to all types of hazards, including criminal activity, by conducting Hazard Vulnerability Assessments (HVAs). So how do we design for this potential use of a building? “Say the socio-economic culture is starting to change, there’s more drugs [in a municipality], you’d at least put it on your radar screen that this type of activity is possible,” Szpytek says. “So it’s just a matter of long-term care facilities becoming more sophisticated, not just focusing on the common threats and perils—fires, floods, tornadoes—you’ve got to take that ‘all hazards’ approach.” A sprinkler system contained most of the fire.

Jeff Chester, vice president of Advance Catastrophe Technologies, which deals with crime scene cleanup and also serves senior living facilities, says he has never heard of a meth lab in healthcare, but agrees with Szpytek’s call to action on provider preparedness. “We have an epidemic when it comes to meth labs,” he says. “The criminal mind is very unpredictable and usually desperate to find new areas so that they won’t be caught.” Chester says that cleanup of a meth lab can shutdown a quarantined area for up to two days, even if a fire had not occurred. “From a liability standpoint, the senior living operator would want to make sure that the place is safe for their staff and residents in and around the affected room or rooms,” he says. After the volatile liquids and chemicals are contained by the cleanup service, contaminated “soft goods,” such as absorbent hydroscopic materials and cloths, are disposed. Hard surfaces would then be cleaned.

A valuable guide to conducting a HVA ( A HAZARD & VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENT) can be found at

Chronic methamphetamine abuse significantly changes how the brain functions. Noninvasive human brain imaging studies have shown alterations in the activity of the dopamine system that are associated with reduced motor skills and impaired verbal learning. Recent studies in chronic methamphetamine abusers have also revealed severe structural and functional changes in areas of the brain associated with emotion and memory, which may account for many of the emotional and cognitive problems observed in chronic methamphetamine abusers.
Repeated methamphetamine abuse can also lead to addiction—a chronic, relapsing disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, which is accompanied by chemical and molecular changes in the brain. Some of these changes persist long after methamphetamine abuse is stopped. Reversal of some of the changes, however, may be observed after sustained periods of abstinence (e.g., more than 1 year).
Long-term methamphetamine abuse has many negative health consequences, including extreme weight loss, severe dental problems (“meth mouth”), anxiety, confusion, insomnia, mood disturbances, and violent behavior. Chronic methamphetamine abusers can also display a number of psychotic features, including paranoia, visual and auditory hallucinations, and delusions (for example, the sensation of insects crawling under the skin).

Thursday, March 15, 2012

By Micah Jacobson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feng Shui Design

By Laura Thomas

I've been doing a lot of reading and researching about Feng Shui Design and trying to decide whether or not there is something to it. I picked up books expecting to learn ancient Chinese secrets about how to create a wonderful harmonizing space. What I discovered is there is no ancient Chinese secrets. Whoever came up with Feng Shui was just a good designer who understood places and people and how people would react in those spaces. They understood color theory and people responded differently to different colors.

In Feng Shui, the most power is held where people and things are positioned in relation to doors and windows because these provide the entrance and views into the space. Ideally, people should always be able to see all doors putting them in a position of power and unable to be surprised or always on edge. They should always be able to see the view out the window. If these cannot be done then mirrors or landscape pictures should be hung to balance out the space.

I further investigated Japanese Gardens and how to design them. What I discovered is in a Japanese garden, nothing is left to chance. Ever plant, its color, and its placement is carefully considered. Japanese gardens are to be designed to bring out the best of its surroundings by using native plants and native materials. There are many areas within the garden with their own purpose, a sense of space. Open spaces are just as important as any other part of the garden. Pathways are placed to create a journey, not just a way to get from point A to point B. Views are created to inspire and elevate a person's positive Ch'I. The Japanese garden is an ideal landscape meant to be experienced to provide relief from the stress of everyday life.

There is something justifiable to Feng Shui, in the reasoning for why things are done. Whether or not it truly has a deeper meaning, I don’t know. To me, it’s like a child’s security blanket. It’s hold no special powers, does not ward off monsters under the bed but to the child that holds it, it’s the most powerful thing in the world because the child believes in it. Similarly, those who believe in Feng Shui believe that everything good or bad is due to their Feng Shui.

Ryoanji Temple

By Dempson Haney

Kyoto, Japan is referred to as the “Imperial Metropolis of Peace” and from the 8th to the 19th century, it was the location of Japan’s capitol. Kyoto was not always a metropolis of peace. In 1467 a great war erupted completely wiping out the city before being rebuilt. Out of the chaos and hatred rose the Ryoanji Temple, a place of self contemplation and peace. Ryoanji is also known as the Peaceful Dragon Temple. The following research paper addresses the historical, cultural, political, and economic significance of the Ryoanji Temple. A detailed program analysis will be included in order to understand the role of Zen Buddhism within the temple and necessity of each space. Also included will be an aesthetic and structural study of the temple and rock garden.

Nestled within Kyoto is the site of the Ryoanji temple. Before the construction of the temple, the site was originally owned by a nobleman who was part of the Fujiwara family. The Fujiwara family was a powerful family during the Heian period. Over the years the estate was passed from family to family before becoming under ownership of the Hosokawa family. The estate was eventually inherited by Hosokawa Katsumoto in 1430. The Hosokawa estate was known for its lake. Mosher states in his book “Kyoto: A Contemplative Guide” that the lake was of a size and style that had been uncommon within the region for four centuries. The shogun at the time, Yoshimasa, would take refuge to the estate at times when national affairs became uncontrollable.

The story of how the Ryoanji Temple came to be is much like a mythical story. Katsumoto was a general and high government official. Yoshimasa was looking to name his successor and retire. The problem was is that his wife had been unable to bare him a son. In disparate need to retire, he asked his brother, Yoshimi to give up his priesthood and take heir as his successor. In 1464, Yoshimi agreed and Katsumoto was named his counselor. A year later Yoshimasa’s wife gave birth to a son. The dilemma for Yoshima was whether to name his newly son heir or allow his brother to continue as his successor. Yoshima chose his son, and this created a disagreement among the family. To build support another family was brought. At this point the Shiba and Hatakeyama families were already split and fell into opposite sides.

In 1467 the Onin war had begun. Katsumoto’s father-in-law Yamana Sozen held his camp of 90,000 men within the southwest corner of Kyoto. Katsumoto himself had his camp of 100,000 men in the middle of Kyoto. Through seven years of intense war Kyoto was laid to waste. The face of the countryside had literally changed. The sad aspect of it all was that the original reason for ware had become blurred. Both commanders, Katsumoto and Yamana, had passed away within a month of each other. According to Katsumoto’s wishes, he was buried on his estate in the west part of Kyoto and became a Zen sect temple. The war continued for three more years. After ten years of war, The Yamana army, tired and exhausted, abandoned their camp in December of 1477. The next morning when the Hosokawa got word of the other army’s flee, they did not pursue for they also were exhausted and they too left Kyoto. After ten years of family feuding, Kyoto was nothing more than a scar on the earth. Overnight a war had ended and Kyoto had been laid to waste with hardly anything left intact.

After Katsumoto’s estate had become a Zen sect temple, it was burned during the remaining years of the Onin War. The nearby monastery, Myoshin-ji, took the responsibility of rebuilding Ryoanji. Much of Kyoto’s history of the fifteenth century was wiped blank because of the war. It is unsure as to who made the garden. What is known is that it appeared around 1500. Credit for the garden is given to So-ami. So-ami was a famous architect and painter of the time and is said to be the only person with the fineness of skill to produce such a garden. Towards the end of the eighteenth century the surrounding buildings were burned in a fire but the garden remained untouched. Until about 1930 Ryoanji Temple and garden remained out of the main stream public’s eye. When black and white photographs were taken of the garden, they quickly traveled the globe raising interests among the world populations. Today the temple is a tourist hot spot and visited by thousands every year.

Tornadoes in the Midwest?

By Audrey Treece

We spend a great deal of time at Southern Illinois University Carbondale dealing with projects where the site is located in the Midwest. Actually, every project I have ever designed for academia, including my thesis, has been located in the Midwest. When you are born and raised here you often forget about the little things that become habitual in your daily lives. We were all heartbroken over the most recent Harrisburg tornado; however, I have to admit, I was not shocked in the least. After all of the activity that last spring brought us, it has just become a part of life.

I have been working diligently on my thesis project, which, again, is the Early Childhood Center located in O’Fallon, Missouri, and recently one of my committee members brought up the aspect of tornadoes and how I was accommodating their likely presence. I was totally thrown off guard…I had never thought about it. Okay, I have definitely thought about it, but it most definitely was not incorporated in any of my past projects.

Ironically, the day after this was brought to my attention, my work hosted a luncheon and the topic was tornadoes in school design. Our firm had a very in depth conversation, since a large majority of our clientele is education, on how we can begin to accommodate this underdeveloped need.

Before our conversation, my boss presented us with video from the devastating tornadoes from last spring that hit Joplin, Missouri. The video is comprised of live security camera footage that survived the wind and debris within the local high school. The video is evidence that not only do we need to begin thinking about tornado safety but we also need to start redefining our design.

The video can do a much better job than I could ever imagine to communicate the devastation that Joplin’s children would have been through had the tornado struck during school hours. I can almost guarantee that you will be as shocked as I was and I recommend you take a look and start thinking about what we can do, as designers, to solve this problem.

Video can be found at the bottom of this website:

Moon Building

By Andrew Wyne

If and when we are able to regularly travel to and from the moon it would be a great place for many things. Whether that is a space defense station or a second Hubel telescope for viewing outer space; it would inevitably be a place where architecture would be needed. People would need to live there for more than a few months and be able to live to do research for months at a time. Being an Architecture student it makes me wonder who would be qualified to design the buildings that would start to house and support life on the moon. Well as it turns out there has been somewhat of a consensus.

The European space agency thinks Norman Foster should be strongly considered for the position. The British architect is one whose designs seem to have somewhat of a space aesthetic. When it comes to building on the moon there also seems to be a general idea that the geodesic dome, made popular by Buckminster Fuller, would be the most realistic type of construction. Giving the structures a sort of soap bubble look across the moon, it would be able to support itself as well as many other things required for living.

Now even though there are quite a few other obstacles in building on the moon, such as; gravity, transporting materials, oxygen, and many other things. I think the positives far outweigh the negatives and as soon as many of the problems are figured out it would be a great advance to all of humanity. To read more on the ideas and information of building on the moon look to this article:

Monday, March 5, 2012

Architecture for Humanity - Tornado Relief effort in Harrisburg

By Sean Koetting

It looks like Harrisburg luckily dodged more severe weather. This means their recovery can proceed undeterred (for now - storm season in the Midwest is just beginning, and set to break records). Relief efforts are underway. We've enlisted volunteers from our closest chapters to report from Harrisburg. We'll soon be ready to step in for long-term recovery.

We've seen an impressive response to yesterday's appeal for volunteer and fundraising support, and have launched the Midwest Tornadoes Recovery campaign on our website and Global Giving. We got emails and calls throughout the day - we've directly responded to most already and are positioning talent offered for our response.

As is the case in disaster recovery, permanent building won't likely begin for 4 to 8 months. In the interim we'll be fundraising and developing plans for reconstruction. We will keep folks updated, but will not be looking for a strong volunteer presence in the area until then. If you're interested in contributing to the current relief efforts, there are plenty of orgs making local impact.
Whether you're in the vicinity or not, and want to help, you can show your financial support. We have a fundraising goal of $100,000 to launch our tornado reconstruction efforts in the Midwest.

According to the national weather service, 30 tornadoes struck 6 Midwest states hit by a string a tornadoes. In many places there was a severe weather warning but no tornado alert. Harrisburg, a town in southern Illinois of 9000, was most badly hit - 300 homes, 25 buisnesses and 6 lives lost. Illinois and Missouri declared state emergencies and are being assisted by relief organizations.

2011 was the worst tornado season since 1936 and the events of this week mark an early start to the Midwest's storm season. More tornadoes touched down in Alabama Friday morning, destroying several homes and damaging a prison. More continue to touch down as this message is going out. Harrisburg was spared further damage this week, but storm season has just begun.

Currently, community members and the Red Cross are teaming to repair roofs, clear debris and provide emergency relief services in Harrisburg. Branson, MO, launched a similar cleanup. As lightly-damaged homes and households recover, attention will turn to long-term recovery. That's where we come in.

For up-to-date information on how you can get involved with the rebuilding check out the Architecture for Humanity website or contact:

Thanks for reading,
Sean Koetting

Article sourced from: karl Johnson,

Thesis Review

By Laura Thomas

In the gallery, the grad students have pinned up their thesis work, including me. My presentation was more of a conversation and discussion with my committee of where I was having design hang-ups and writing concerns with my thesis.

It was really nice to be able to see everybody individual styles and approaches really come out as our last class was group work. There were also several great ideas that I will use for future presentations. It was also the first time to get a better understanding of what exactly their thesis was on.

When I started walking around I noticed the range of thesis projects. A good chunk of medical and school work, some housing, entertainment and an airport. It also surprised me that we didn't have any industrial or heavy commercial projects. Those are both very specialized building types, in my opinion, really needs a new approach. Nah, I'm not changing my thesis to designing a strip mall but made me realize it's probably why we keep seeing boring strip malls pop up everywhere with little character of the old town square styles.

The main thing the review did was slap me in the face of how far behind I am. Without going into great detail about what I don't have it would be easier to say what I do have. Research, Lit Reviews and Case Studies. I have plenty of that and aside from garden research, I feel very well informed about my project. I have a comprehensive program and working on the masterplan and patient room layouts.
My review has given me direction of what I need to tackle next and some great ideas from other students and professors on how to do that. More than anything about our studio and my classmates is how interactive we are with each other, able and willing to provide good critiques and help when needed. So to everyone, thanks for everything and I couldn't have picked a better group of people to go through grad school with.

Design Trends

By Debra Eilering

Design tends to be evolutionary, not revolutionary. Progress is typically made in incremental steps, tweaking what “is” to change what “will be.” Occasionally, a revolutionary idea comes along, one that makes us stop and reconsider what we thought we knew. There is now widespread recognition that things will be different as the Baby Boom generation enjoys a longer life expectancy. Many of us are already helping aging grandparents or parents cope with later life changes. We all hope that things will be different when we get to that stage. I can barely even think about the phrase, “nursing home”. It is so hypocritical, as ever one that I have seen has been unpleasant.

For the sake of maintaining my sanity and to learn about improvements to how we treat our aging population, I opt to research some new trends in design as it relates to “senior care”. I have found that we are beginning to see a strong commitment in changes to nursing homes. People are increasingly unsatisfied with what we have allowed nursing homes to evolve into-staff-centric institutions that cared more for the body than the soul. Here are a few examples:
2. BETTER BATHROOMS: The passage of the ADA in 1990 dramatically increased the size of bathrooms requiring a 5′ turning radius. However, the ADA Accessibility Guidelines recommended designers put the toilet with the center line 18″ from a side wall. The goal was to make sure the grab bar was in reach of the person using the commode. However, many residents require a one- or two-person assisted transfer, and only having 18″ significantly increases the risk of injuries to the staff. Some states will now allow a variance that permits the use of fold-down grab bars adjacent to the toilet. This puts grab bars within easy reach on both sides of the toilet, a better option for someone with 1-side neglect or weakness. It also allows placing the toilet further from the wall to create more room for staff to provide assistance without injury.
4. LIGHTED GRAB BARS: It is well documented that most falls occur at night, as residents get up to go to the bathroom. When a light is turned on at night, the sudden change of light levels can be physically painful, and the contraction of the pupil is not immediate. If the bathroom light is on, then turning it off before heading back to bed can cause momentary blindness. Both situations put people at high risk for falling. A lighted grab bar provides enough light to find the toilet without having to turn on additional lighting. It also highlights the bar so it is easier to see and use. It is so logical. Debra Eilering


• CMS Interpretive Guidelines for Long-Term Care Facilities. Appendix PP -“Interpretive Guidelines for Long-Term Care Facilities,”
• National Association of Home Builders' section on Universal Design. Available at:

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Temporary Fix

By Sean Hartman

Due to the recent events that happened over night with the severe storms and reported tornados I wanted to find something creative as a temporary shelter for the business and residential sectors. Browsing through Architectural Record I found this article called "A Temporary Fix." The article is about coming up with creative temporary fix for local businesses that were affected in New Zealand after a recent earthquake. As you can see from the picture above a local shop is erected from shipping containers due to a mall in New Zealand being affected by the earthquake. The residents of New Zealand are taking a like to these type of structures since they are easy to erect and can sustain minor earthquakes since the shipping containers can be a rigid structure. They are also finding other ways to use shipping containers to help out in the affected areas. One of the major areas in New Zealand where shipping containers are being used as a temporary shelter would be the Christchurch due to the extensive damage that it sustained in the earthquake. With this idea of using shipping containers has generated interest and has drawn in crowds from all over. The projected disassembly of these structures is set for April 2012 but they are saying that these types of structures may remain open past that date pending approval from the land owners.

I also wanted to see a different ways shipping containers were being used. As I did some searching around I came across an article about them being used as housing. I know this may not be old but it is something interesting and to keep in mind do to natural disasters as they could easily be set up quickly and transported from area to area. I sort of want to compare them to modular home but in a way they are not similar. I know for most natural disasters that families that has had their home destroyed are sometime put into a travel trailer (camper) till they can get back on their feet or have a home rebuilt, but if we were to provide them with one of these shipping container homes it would be beneficial to family because it can provide them a house instead of a camper and if they chose so they could live in it longer than a camper. With the amount of shipping containers there are this is a possibility to future natural disaster shelters.

Resources Found at:

Atmospheric: Preliminary Review Panels

By Dempson Haney

The overall site brings to context the new community center with the future military museum and historic downtown.

The planar approach to the community center allows the intersection of various plane of the site. It is this intersection that creates a relationship with the occupants and environment. The courtyard encompassed by the facility will provide activity spaces for extracurricular activities while still maintaining a separation from the multi-purpose rooms and other spaces of the center to allow different activities at once.

Much of the original visitor center was kept and re-utilized. The long gallery runs parallel with the redbud lined path to the monument and cathedral property. A narrow band of glass along the gallery allows for a 180 degree view of the redbud trees. The dig out behind the center is converted into an outdoor amphitheater.

Architect and Engineer

By Micah Jacobson

A book I have been reading for my thesis research is Architect and Engineer: A Study in Sibling Rivalry by Andrew Saint. I wanted to share a few interesting things about this book to anyone interested in architecture and engineering.
This book by Andrew Saint is a work dedicated to exploring the relationship of the architect and the engineer, primarily the structural engineer. He focuses the book into five chapters. The first chapter outlines France in 1600’s and the role of the two professions. He talks about Vauban, the famous fort builder and states that though he is often thought of as an engineer he would have considered himself a soldier and notes that “His greatness as an engineer lies in process, not in any single act, art or technique.
Saints states “Not that architect and engineer have ever been wholly indistinguishable. Anyone studying the relationship between the two will soon conclude that though the terms and the jobs are hard to prise apart, they correspond to different facts of the human personality.” He notes that the architect was often thought of as someone who imposed ideas upon buildings and was familiar with Vitruvian values and art. The engineer was thought of as someone who was “clever with machines, able to harness, versed above all in the techniques of war.” Many of the structures he outlines are forts, castles bridges and French infrastructure
He speaks of Britain in the late 1600’s making specific mention of Christopher Wren. Wren was not only an architect, but he may be more precisely described as a mathematical scientist. Wren wrote “that the generality of our late architects dwell so much upon this ornamental, and so slightly pass over the geometrical, which is the most essential part of architecture.” It describes Wren as being more of an engineer than an architect and “preferred the display of his mechanical skill to the expression of his artistic feelings.” The author defines engineering here “in terms of skills, not tasks.” Wren mostly did religious and governmental, requiring strong aesthetics and symbolism, thus creating a remembrance of him as an architect.
The author focuses an entire chapter on each of the building materials; iron and concrete. These two materials were very fundamental to modernism and modernization. Iron developments include railways, bridges, and building structural elements. Some of the early developments were not pushed by architects or engineers but by fabricators and inventors. The first iron bridge, built at coalbrookdale in 1777, was not structurally engineered as we think of it today or mathematical calculations, but by the drive of the ironmasters. Saint notes “That the earliest extant iron architecture was promoted from the supply side is confirmed by its most famous symbol, the Iron Bridge at Coalbrookdale.” He adds “Bridges were the aspect of early iron architecture to which specialist engineers contributed the most.”
The first use of iron used as an exposed structural element for a building is in 1692, on the House of Commons building in England. Wren was the designer of this job, and in the effort to improve site lines iron columns were used to accompany the wood carved Corinthian capitals by Grinling Gibbons. Some early uses of interior uses of exposed structural iron are the Drury Lane Theatre Royal (1786) and St. George’s Church in Everton Liverpool (1813). The church used an all masonry exterior with all iron structural members for the interior. Another example Saint uses is the famous Crystal Palace. Iron was also used as ties or chains in gothic masonry structure to hold the large stone together and in place (much like we use rebar in concrete today). A place were iron was exemplified is in the theater. There were large auditoriums that required long spans to cover the audience. The Palais-Royal Opera House in Paris was a good example of this. It used several shallow iron trusses, linked together to span 25 meters over the auditorium.
Andrew Saint covers the history of concrete and motor, from the use of Pozzalane, as advised by Vitruvius, through the use of lime, sand and gravel mix, now called lime-concrete, to the use of Portland cement concrete used in modern buildings. He points out that in the 1830’s there was not only in-situ concrete, but pre-cast and factory made concrete. These factory made concrete forms usually came in blocks, replicating in process the widely used masonry method of buildings. In-situ or cast in place concrete is a very different building technique. It forms a solid, continuous, rigid, load baring wall that can be formed and then poured into place. In-situ concrete can be used to make large monolithic structures that are rigid throughout all joints. A unique use for concrete was used in a pair of semi-detached houses designed by Ernist Newton in 1882. These houses implored the use of concrete slabs hung on timber frames. Concrete was also used for aqueducts and for bridge applications.
Adding functionality to concrete construction was the addition of iron and later steel to add to its tensile strength. The advancing of cement mixtures and substitution if steel for iron made the reinforced concrete building method to take off. The Romans actually used a metal plate and stone lintel to span a long distance, though the metal was on the compression side, not tension. Concrete was a product of material and structural engineers, but as Saint points out “As for architecture, any new building technology usually starts off by abasing itself to the discipline’s traditions and fashions.” This was the case with concrete Hennebique, a developer of concrete frame structures and systems, wooed architects, showing them that his concrete could be used to anything imaginable. And so reinforced concrete was adopted by the architect as one of his many tools for design.
The fourth chapter in the book is about the bridge. In reference of The Bridge on the Drina by Ivo Andric, a novel about Bosnia’s history over four hundred years, Saint explains:
Here is an engineer’s story: about courage, effort and technique; about the benefits a magnificent and useful monument can confer across generation; about amazement at its construction and pride in its endurance. But there is another side to Andric’s presentation of the Drina Bridge. At its crown, the width is corbelled out over the central pier to make a place called the ‘kapia’ – an open terrace, with steps, benches and a commemorative inscription in Turkish. Resting points of this kind, sometimes marked by monuments, were not rare at the midpoint of old bridges. On the kapia take place major and minor events in the course of the novel, as of Viseguard’s history: courtships and executions, eating and drinking, deals, arguments, conspiracies, rituals of welcome and farewell, ogling and idling. In a community riven between mosque and church, the kepia and by extension the bridge itself become the symbolic centre of the town, the focus of activity, memory and cohesion.
The author speaks of the different types of bridges; masonry, suspension, steel, concrete, and compression. All of these types of bridges were conceived by engineers and many of their technologies, materials and construction methods were carried over into architecture. One good example Saint points out is the structural engineer Robert Maillart. He designed many bridges in the early 1900’s. His bridges could be describes a minimalistic, taking the bridge down to the bare bones. He was known for the reinforced concrete arches he designed in his structures. Saint explains that “his early concrete bridges owed as much to imagination as to technique. He ceased to look upon the arch as supporting the deck of the bridge, and thought of the whole as a hinged, hollow box in which all the elements acted together and redundant parts were pared away, to gain the economy and aesthetics alike.” From old cobble stone bridges to new steel bridges such as the Millennium Bridge Andrew Saint points out how the engineering, aesthetics and style have crossed the metaphorical bridge into the architectural realm.
Chapter five explores the collaboration of architects and engineers throughout the twentieth century in Britain and America. He discusses many British examples including the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, works by Ove Arup, engineer, Lubetkin and Tecton, architects and he explores the Sydney opera house by the collaboration of Arup and Jorn Utzon. He then moves on to America and examines SOM, Louis Kahn, Felix Candela (architect and engineer), Earo Saarinen, Frei Otto. The author asks is the engineer subject to the architect, or the inverse, is engineering taking over architecture. He explains that “It is stimulating for engineering as a whole when a few engineers find absorbing enough work on the margins of architecture or the arts to rebrand themselves as artists. But it can hardly be doubted that the present art tendency in engineering reflects a measure of professional anxiety and envy.” He goes on to further explain “Big, emotive public projects like stadia, transport interchanges and bridges deploying structure as their natural medium of expression, are now so widespread that it is sometimes argued that engineering is the true architecture of today.” He concludes the chapter by stating that “they will never meet. Engineering is too focused, too careless of context, too indelicate, ever to be the new architecture. Architecture is too wanton, too irrational, too distractible, to swallow engineering. We need a modest gap.”
The next chapter deals with an essential characteristic that may add to the understanding of these two disciplines: the education of the architect and engineer. He traces this system of education back to French models where a certain number of engineers were needed and required to furnish the country with a contingent every year. The number of artist however did not matter; just the quality of their work. There were, therefore, engineers turned out in masses while artist were limited to a privileged few. He adds that “the teaching of architectural skills has grown up entwined with that of engineering skills.” Saint quotes Dearstyne saying:
The teaching of architecture, or of any other art, for that matter, involves the tediously slow awakening in the students of aesthetic insight; it has relatively little to do with the training of the intellect, however important that may be. It is concerned with the development of wisdom rather than the accumulation of knowledge. Mies van der Rohe had this profound understanding.
Andrew Saint ends with these three questions; were architects and engineers once the same? How and why did architecture and engineering separate? And have the professions been reconciled?
In the middle ages it is not clear if the term architect existed, but it is known that Vitruvius new this term. The building were completed by craftsmen, who had been trained under another. They then graduated from practiced craftsman into ‘master builders.” An architect or engineer “belonged to a growing class of experts who had moved beyond handicraft into more conceptual and managerial activity.” Saint also notes that the term architect or engineer did not describe the individual, but the job he was performing. “If you designed secular or religious buildings and there adornment, you were likely to be called an architect; if you designed forts, walls, towns, ports, canals, or machines for war and peace you were likely to be called an engineer.”
“The division that obtains today between architects and engineers is commonly ascribed to the broad epoch covered by the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution.” With the advancement of science and mathematics and the use of mathematics, statics and strength to analyze structural problems the engineer became someone primarily concerned with structural design and calculations and the architect stressing the aesthetic and form of a building.
He author then explains the reconciliation of architects and engineers. He states:
By the end of the twentieth century, in buildings of high prestige another change had penetrated the architect-engineer relationship. With the expression of structure a wanting ideal, some architects turned to buildings of flagrant imagery, showiness and daring. How to build such designs was as challenging as and maybe more fun for engineers to sort out than the austere equivalent forty years before. But now the relation between structure and architecture stood in danger of losing some of its dialectical discipline. In an art-obsesses world, the architect had dragged the engineer out of the temple of reason and beguiled him to worship in the temple of art.
Saint ends with a summary of the sibling rivalry or as Ove Arup described it, the marriage of these two disciplines. He states “In the worlds of construction, the eternal dual between architect and engineer plays the same role; the two stand for contrasted facets of our common, riven humanity…. The wayward pleasures of the architect can stand as a compensation for the compunctionless efficiencies of engineering.”