Friday, November 30, 2012

Urban Fabric

1.3 Typical Living area of Newachen

Urban Fabric of the City
By: Jabina Shrestha
The “Newari” House cont………
I have been writing about Newari House-“Nepal’s oldest settlement housing style”. This is my last blog for Historic Newari Settlement where I have described its construction and materials in brief with an example of Newachen, Shrestha House restorated with modern amenities.

Traditional internal finishes and furnishings are simple throughout the house. Floors and walls are usually covered in a red clay slip that dries to a hard finish. In most of the houses, walls are painted blue or white.

Walls: The traditional house is a load-bearing brickwork construction, with floor joists spanning between the front and back walls and the central spine wall. Typically, the overall depth of the house is 6 to 6.50 m. The walls are generally 450mm. thick, with an outer face of fired brick, but otherwise built of sun-dried mud bricks.

Floors and Stairs: The ground Floor may be mud, tiled, other floors are of timber with the floor joists spanning front to back and usually projecting right through the external wall to show on the outer face, and internally lapping well over the central spine wall.

Typically, stairs run at approximately 550 pitches, with flights one above the other and with seven widely spaced open treads. Nine and eleven treads are common with the higher floor- to- floor heights of the newly constructed houses.

Roof: The roof is double-pitched with the ridge on the line of the central spine wall, and a projecting overhang of 900mm at front and back. The structure is of timber and comprises columns on the centre line supporting a ridge beam, intermediate purlins supported on primary rafters, a wall plate, an outer beam supported on angled struts, and then the rafters pegged together over the ridge beam and projecting out over the walls to the outer beam.

1.1 Sketch of typical Newari House showing different elements and spaces.

Nowadays instead of demolishing our ancestral home and constructing cement and concrete high-rise, old houses are chosen to transform it into an elegant house retaining the characteristics of a traditional Newari House.

Few years back I had visited to The "Newa Chén" i a well-preserved example of a traditional Newari house in the Kathmandu Valley. This is a three-storied Shrestha ‘s house that has been transformed into tourist accommodation Inn with low ceilings, mortar and brick walls, warm subdued lighting and tranquil courtyards, but it has been fully modernized.

1.2 Central Wing of NewaChen

Shrestha house now called Newa Chén offers rooms equipped with modern amenities like, among other things, attached bathrooms and bathtubs on some of the rooms, unlike a traditional house, but there has been no compromise on the elegance of the original structure.

The eight rooms in the inn include one deluxe room, five rooms with attached baths and three rooms that have a shared bath. Prices range from US $17/- dollar to upwards of US $30/- for a room. The rooms are minimalist in design and are furnished in traditional Newar style, with sukuls (straw mats) spread on the floor instead of glossy carpets. Rooms are named after the auspicious symbols of the ‘Astha Matrika’ (Eight auspicious symbols).

Newa Chén is an excellent example of how traditional buildings can be preserved through rehabilitation and sustainable tourism activities. “Newa Chén speaks volumes for the preservation of traditional architecture and cultural landscapes that should not be sacrificed in the name of urbanization.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Crunch Time

Semester Crunch time 
By: Chris Pacanowski
       When in college everyone experiences the end of the semester rush. It's the time of the semester when all of the papers are due and projects need to be completed, as well as studying for finals. these times at the end of the semester can become very stressful especially for those who are in architecture. When it comes to architecture students, the finals week isn't that difficult due to the fact that the majority of their classes are design classes which don't have a final exam but a project due for them. The all mighty question is HOW do you survive the end of the semester stretch of all nighters and constant stress? The obvious answer to that is not to leave things to the last minute, but here are some helpful suggestions on how to handle the last few weeks in the semester:
       The biggest thing is to prioritize what needs to be done first and knowing about how long that will take. Many times that time that you think it will take to accomplish that task is way off, so adding some extra time to that as a buffer zone will allow you to maybe get ahead in your mind. Once you have set up what needs to be done first and how long it takes you can start to develop a schedule of when things need to get done by, always have them done at least a day before things are due so that things can be fixed if necessary. With the development of a schedule of when things need to be worked on and finished by things are actually fairly straight forward from then on. The only extra thing that people must realizes is the fact that things WILL go wrong and you just have to work through those problems. one final tip for keeping healthy during the stressful times is to take a lot of vitamins and eat, so that you can keep working but at a productive level, and always remember that this extreme patch of work will only last a few weeks and then there is a time when you can collect yourself and get back all of the rest that you had lost. Got to LOVE crunch time! good luck to all!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

TOD Study Meetings

Public Invited to Next Phase of TOD Study Meetings in St. Louis
By: Chris Harpstrite
 The East-West Gateway will be presenting plans and ideas for possible development in communities around three light rail stations December 11-13. They will present on three different MetroLink stations including East St. Louis, Fairview Heights, and North Hanley areas.
This presentation will greatly help me on my thesis and depending on my finals schedule I would like to attend. The meeting will include a discussion of:
·         What is meant by “TOD” and what could it mean in the St. Louis region
·         The potential to create new development for areas around specific staions
·         Options for different kinds of uses for the land and developments around the stations (retail, residential, office, and other uses)
·         Examples of projects and developments from similar communities that surround a light rail line
Check the East-West Gateway website for more information on times and locations. Until next time..

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


By: Megan Gebke
        Thanksgiving is a time to hang out with the people closest to you, eat a ton of food, and relax.  It is especially essential for college students to get a break from school before finals and go home to be with family.  Well the life of an architecture student differs a little bit from that.  Professors expect you to not have a life and work on homework the entire time.  Well my break did not exactly go how they wanted.  I spent time with the people closest to me and got little homework done.  I know that this week and the following week will be super busy, but I am hoping everything will get done.  On break, I had something planned every day and relaxed the little I could.
        This year I got to see most of my family for a couple days.  It was definitely nice to hang out with them and catch up on each other’s’ lives.  Also, being able to see my parents and brothers was really nice because they both had great news.  My brother and sister-in-law are expecting their first child any day and I am patiently waiting for my little nephew to grace us with his presence.  My other brother and sister-in-law announced that they will be having a baby due at the end of June.  I am one super excited aunt!! 
        My boyfriend, who attends Arizona State University, got to come home for a couple days too.  I was thrilled to be able to spend time with him.  After spending a couple days with my family, we drove five hours north to visit his.  I have not had a chance to visit his family since the summer so it was definitely nice to catch up with them.  We attended his childhood neighbor’s wedding.  The weather was a lot colder there than it was in southern Illinois that is for sure.  Thank goodness it did not snow!!!
        Another big part of Thanksgiving that we can thank corporate America for is Black Friday.  The past two years I had to work the crazy shopping day!!  This year, thankfully, my boss told me I didn’t have to work.  It is such a crazy day, where you feel like you are literally running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to help customers.  This year I got to stay home Thanksgiving night and not worry about waking up to be at work at 12am back in Carbondale!!
        Now that I am done writing this blog, it is back to crunch time for the end of the school year! Saying help to no sleep and LOADS of caffeine!!!!