Thursday, February 28, 2013

Brehm Preparatory School


Thesis Site Location: Brehm Preparatory School
By Kyle Miller

Brehm Preparatory School is the only accredited junior and senior high school in the Midwest specifically designed to meet the academic, social, and emotional needs of students with complex learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder. Brehm was founded in Carbondale, Illinois in 1982 and has many direct relationships to Southern Illinois University. The resources that Brehm can receive from the University include teacher or tutor to access to any activities that happen there. Brehm bases their program on a family model. For my thesis, I chose Brehm as my proposed site because it demonstrates a structured learning environment for students who have ADHD. This structure environment pairs well with the environment of a martial arts studio. From my research, there is a large population of ADHD kids in the United States that have been diagnosed with this condition and they live in spaces that are contributing to the issue.

The campus is laid out to feel like home and to encompass every student at Brehm. The dorms have sit down kitchens which promote the family atmosphere. The student dorms are separated into junior high, freshman/ sophomore, junior/ senior and fifth year seniors. Five years ago Brehm had an enrollment of 55 students; the enrollment is currently up to 90 students and projections look good for future growth. The student classrooms are small and the class size is 8 to 10 students. ADHD students need a structured learning environment where there are no distractions in the classroom. Therefore, the hallway walls in Brehm are purposely more stimulating than the controlled classroom. The students schedule includes waking up and getting ready by 7am. At 7:15 am breakfast is served in their rooms. At 8:15am, their seven-class period day starts which include classes of English, Math, Social Science, Science, Physical Education, Fine Arts, Foreign Languages, computers, learning cognition or transition electives. They pride themselves on project based learning where the students work together on projects. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday the students meet with their advisors at the end of the day and on Tuesday and Thursday the students meet with their advisors after lunch. After school there is recreation time from 3:30pm to 5pm. Brehm is a controlled environment as the facility is live-in for the student population. They are an Apple database campus in which everything runs through a central database which predicts student behavior. With this technology, the teachers know if the student has done their homework and where they struggled with it. The students at Brehm are creative free-thinkers and since they work well in a controlled environment, martial arts is an example of how to help these students develop better learning skills.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

EPVC Capabilities


EPVC Capabilities for Bucky Domes
By: Josh Rucinski

      As part of a project in creating a buckydome that is at least half scale, there has been a drive to create the dome as inexpensively as possible.  A major crux of the whole endeavor has been the materiality of the connector pieces.  Metal is expensive and difficult to fabricate.  Wood is inexpensive, easy to fabricate, but it is weak when subjected to cross grain stresses.  The connectors would have a lot of cross grain stresses due to the geometry of the connector piece. 

      The image shows the basic connector piece form.  Since there would be so much machining to make this out of wood, the basic shape, which is only about 6 inches in diameter would lose integrity.  Therefore, a new material has to be introduced.  Web searches for a material that would be easy to machine, strong enough to function as intended and be reasonably cost effective.

      Expanded Polyvinyl Chloride is that material.  It is a plastic, and has a cellular 'foamed' nature, so it is less brittle than solid PVC and lighter too.  Unlike a lot of other plastic choices, it will not melt when machined, so the edges will stay crisp.

      EPVC is used largely in the sign industry as a substrate for silk screen printing because of its superior dimensional stability as opposed to wood, and it's weathering characteristic are also superior in regards to water and wind.  The Sun's UV light can destroy the plastic over time, this has been somewhat mitigated with admixtures allowing a six-fold increase in UV durability.  Durability can be increased with coatings and this might be explored further as the project matures.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Thesis


Thesis Update 
By: Jonathan Smith

I recently wrote a paper in my Sustainable Development elective class, in Geography, and the topic is very applicable to my thesis. The research I managed to find brought forth a great deal of light as to where influences on my design should come from. The following not only gives a brief summary of the articles and journals, but also compares the types of sources as well. This gives an idea as to the credibility behind the information I am providing.
Developing Sustainably for Rising Sea Levels in Coastal Regions
Sustainable development is an approach to living as a society that meets the needs of the present inhabitants, but does not undermine the needs of their environment for generations to come. It has been viewed with mix opinions throughout the time of its conception up until the present. The methods and ways that countries are applying sustainable development vary widely all over the world. One key issue that many coastal areas around the globe have in common is the danger of rising sea levels. Some of the newest examples of these developing regions are written about in popular magazines as well as technical journals. The information provided in these corresponding magazines and journals can vary greatly. Some of the most beneficial articles are those that have any sort of geographic perspective behind the information given. This involves the desire to improve the health of the environment and the human condition of its inhabitants.
One example of a mainstream article that has good information about adapting sustainably to coastal flooding can be found in the New York Times. It is titled " How Cities Plan to Keep the Sea at Bay in an Age of Climate Change" and was written by Christopher F. Schuetze. The article opens with a reference to Hurricane Sandy and the possibility of future worst storms as a result of coastal waters rising roughly six inches per decade in the years to come. Schuetze also notes that New York City was considering a system of levees and surge barriers. Tactics such as these will need to be implemented in order to prevent flood damages to the underground infrastructure of the city. Another in depth model that consists of physical barriers such as dams, would follow in the footsteps of Amsterdam and cost roughly $10 billion. Extreme versions of these projects are mentioned in the article. The first, in Venice, is a system of gigantic movable floodgates that will be put into place in 2015. Another example he mentions that is possibly going to be implemented in Durban, South Africa will keep important infrastructure pieces away from floodable areas. The article then finishes up with talking about a couple of other minor plans for redistribution of flood water in New York.
The audience of the article seems to be a wide range of individuals. Because the article was published shortly after Hurricane Sandy, is most likely appealing to citizens in the area interested in how future flooding disasters can be mitigated. The article is very broad in the way that it is written, but comes off as very scattered after further analysis. Schuetze jumps ideas quite a bit without giving thoughtful input regarding to the information provided. The article does hold a sizeable underlying value and is significant in regards to giving the public ease of mind that future storms and coastal floods can be better prepared for. Schuetze does utilize a geographic perspective in the sense that he is portraying information that connects humans to their environments and the ability to develop coastal regions sustainably. A good follow-up to this article would be in ten to twenty years to write about the success of the sustainable models mentioned.
Another interesting article that covers a similar topic was published in The Institution of Civil Engineers Journal. This institution began in Scotland and consists of 80,000 members worldwide. They are devoted to delivering sustainable development "through knowledge, skills, and professional expertise." The journal has five officially cited authors, all of which can be found in the works cited, and is titled: "How the Dutch Plan to Stay Dry Over the Next Century." The majority of the paper explains the protection plan that they have researched for protecting the Netherlands from eminent future flooding from rising sea levels. At first, the authors illustrate the drastic economic impact that not implementing a plan will have. They state that roughly 65%  of their economic wealth lies in flood-prone areas, therefore the outcome could be catastrophic. The journal then proposes and explains a series of complex mega structures recommended by the Netherlands Delta Committee. This committee was developed to research flood disaster defenses in the area. The plan recommended a total of 12 major areas that the Netherlands could address in order to develop sustainably against flooding. The costs of these projects varied widely, but are were  consistently estimated to total billions of dollars. The paper concludes that these recommendations and developmental plans could be very successful by implementing them slowly over the course of time in order to promote a gradual transition.
This paper's audience varies quite a bit from the previous analyzed article. It seems as though this journal was intended to be written for a more technically based audience. The journal could definitely appeal to anyone interested in sustainable development, but has more use for readers looking for ways that countries are dealing with coastal flooding problems. The research to find this journal was very specific. The general public would most likely not stumble over the article without using a filtered academic search engine. Although the writing style is technical, it flows very well and is very straight forward to read. Similarly to Schuetze's article, this paper utilizes a geographic perspective in the research provided. The authors of the paper give a great deal data that would help to improve the sustainable development of not only the Netherlands, but also other regions in which this information can be applied. An appropriate journal to follow this one could be about how the Dutch are doing with implementing the recommended plans of development. This could determine the overall success of their planning and research.
In conclusion, both articles provide good information intended for very different audiences. The New York Times article provides a general overview of the covered topic, whereas the ICE journal gives the reader an in depth analysis of the topic applied to a very specific area. The ICE journal seems to be more useful in regards to the amount of information given and how it can be applied to what the reader may be looking for. Although there are many different articles and journals regarding sustainable development, the articles covered are two good examples that seemed to vary greatly but cover a similar topic. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Empire State Buiding

Architectural Wonders; The Empire State Building 
By: Jabina Shrestha 
The Empire State Building is a marvel of engineering and architecture, which was a tallest building in the world with 102 stories, until the completion of the first tower of the World Trade Center in 1972. After the terrorist attack on World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, the Empire State Building again became the tallest building in New York. The Building was designed by Gregory Johnson and his architectural firm Shreve, Lamb and Harmon. The cost of the building was $ 40, 948,900 including land, where as cost of building alone was $24, 718,000.

The construction of the building began in March of 1930 and was completed after 15 months, April 11 1931. The building has 6,500 windows and 73 elevators and there are 1,860 steps from street level to the 102nd floor. The base of the building is about 8,094 square meters and the total floors are of 257, 211 square meter. The building has 113 km of pipe, 740,000m of electrical wire and 9,000 faucets. The building was one of its kinds at that time and still it is architectural wonder.

The architectural firm Shreve, Lamb and Harmon, produced the building drawings in two weeks. The building was design from the top down. The bid of construction was won by general contractors Starrett Brothers and Eken. The construction was unique, proper type of equipments were introduced according to need as per site condition. “The Starret Brothers decided to take a different tack. During the interview process, when asked how much equipment the construction company had on hand they answered that they did not own anything that would be useful on this project. They explained to the investors that the size and scope of the Empire State Building would create unusual problems. Ordinary building equipment would not suffice so they would have to design and purchase all new, custom pieces. They would sell that equipment and credit the investors with the difference when the project was complete. Their opinion was that this would cost less than renting secondhand equipment and would be more efficient. The investment group agreed.

The schedule of this project was very tight, which has to be complete by eighteen months. During the construction of The Empire State Building, the technique of fast track construction was introduced which was first in commercial construction project. The fast track construction technique consists of starting the construction project before the designs are fully completed, which reduce the time and inflation in materials other things.

During the construction, Starret Brothers determined that more than 60 different types of trade people would be required and most supplies would need to be ordered to specification. The supplies had to be made at the plants in as close to finished state a possible to minimize preparatory work needed at the site. In addition to this most of the construction activities had to be overlapped in order to minimize the time. Excavation for the new building began in January 1930, with the double shift (day/night) of 300 men. After less than two months, in March 1930 construction of steel skeleton began. The installation rate for the construction was about a story a day, which was fast compare to other building construction. Which shows that the proper management of logistics and skilled organized workforce.

As mentioned earlier, the supplies that reach on site have to be in finished state. The 60,000 tons of steel for the framework arrived at the site marked with their place in the framework and with the number of the derrick that would hoist them. So, the workers could then rivet them. Hence, reducing the construction time and managing the limited storing space.

To reduce the construction time and to overcome storing space limitation, Starrett Brothers employed convenient techniques at that time. For example, to move materials quickly and in less effort a railway was built at the construction site. Likewise they used larger derricks to move the girders from lower level to upper level. Also, 10 millions bricks needed for the job site were handled with the help of a chute that led to a hopper in the basement. As a brick arrived by the truck, dumped down the chute, and according to need, the brick was released from the hopper and dropped into carts and then hoisted up to the appropriate floor.

The Starret Brothers managed a workforce of 3,500men, who put in seven million labor-hours including work in Sundays and holidays. Most of the activities were carried out in parallel sequence. Hence the project was completed ahead of schedule and under budget. The construction of building finished under fifteen months than the estimate time of eighteen months, was completed on April 11, 1931, one year and 45 days.

References:
1) Empire State Building History and Facts
2) Construction Company.com – Historic Construction Project; Empire State Building
3) Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia; The Empire State Building

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Thesis Research


Thesis Research
By: Chris Pacanowski
                Research can be hard to do when the project has such a large scope. Some interesting things that I am coming across when I was researching for my thesis project, was what was already done. What I mean by that is that a lot of sites especially if they are in a large city, already have designs that were designed for it. My research had started with looking at old city plans, some of which did have a design for my site. Looking at old city plans is a great way to see the development of ideas. After I had analyzed all of the city plans that I could find I went on to trying to find out who exactly owns the property that my project is going to be located on. Originally when I had looked at the site I had thought that it was just owned by the train yard, which it may have been, but finding out if that was true was becoming a harder task than I had thought it would be. Some helpful places that I had looked at were online zoning maps, these zoning maps had specified what my site was, a PD 904, meaning it was a Planed Development, 904 was the designation number of what planed development it was. The best thing about looking online is that the map is an interactive map, so you can just click on the site and it brings up information about the area. By doing this I had found specific plans there were designed for the site that I am doing my thesis on. These plans went into detail in written form as well as in visual for what the development could be. In looking at these designs I had seen some interesting connections between the ones done by this firm and the ideas that were starting to come in my project. Both plans had accounted for the use of mix use buildings and a variety of different types of housing. The greatest thing to do research on is multiple different case studies, and if there are case studies for the site in which the project is on, all aspects of the case must be examined and fully understood.  By looking at possible solutions to a project you can pick out the best things that were apart of each project and implement them. It's a win-win situation!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Successful TOD

What Makes TOD Successful? 
By: Chris Harpstrite

There are many reasons that make transit-oriented development an ideal way to advance community development. The question city leaders and developers are asking is if transit-oriented development is right for every community. A recent study done by the Center for Transit-Oriented Development (CTOD) has plotted a formula to determine whether TOD will work in a particular community. There are five core elements that are factors in the formula to analyze a community’s success. 

· Places – nearby amenities such as restaurants, retail, grocery stores, etc.

· Proximity – travel time and distance to employment hubs or a central business district

· People – population density

· Physical Form – block size, street layout, and similar factors that affect walkability

· De(P)endence – ownership of and reliance on private vehicles

There are two examples that used CTOD’s formula on stations in Pittsburgh, they show the “pentagon” formula functioning showing what community is more car-dependent versus a more transit-oriented community.






As you can see Chatham Square is a more transit-oriented community with high levels of amenities, proximity, people, and walkability with low dependence on vehicles. Casswell on the other hand does not possess the people, proximity, or amenities to support transit oriented development. In a later post I will show how my thesis site rates on CTOD’s scale. Information for this blog post was provided by Citizens for Modern Transit and Center for Transit Oriented Development.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Water and Architecture-Cambodia

Water and Architecture – Cambodia 
By: Brad Hoepfner

With my continued research on floods, floating things, and the history of water and its relationship to architecture I stumbled upon homes built upon stilts. This has been a very common solution to the problem of water, rise above it and stay dry.

In Cambodia lies a small fishing village known as Kampong Phluk. This community has to deal with the extreme when it comes to wet and dry seasons. During the wet season, the village seems to rest atop the local river and the houses give an impression that they are floating on the water. Most of these homes are built on top of stilts that range from 6 to 8 meters in height. But during the dry season the lack of water exposes these tall stilts and the buildings are lifted far off the ground. In this time some of the villagers move to temporary homes until the wet season returns.

The village itself was built in Tonle Sap Lake and the Mekong River flows out of the lake. During the wet season the River becomes extremely bloated with snow melt and runoff from the monsoon rains and causes a hydrologic phenomenon which reverses the flow of the river and fills the lake. Tonle Sap Lake becomes one of the largest freshwater lakes in Asia during the wet season.

Water and architecture seem to have always been intertwined throughout history and even now we are seeing the affects of global warming and the rising sea levels. How will we adapt as a species to the very near problems and will we look to our past for solutions?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Rain Garden


Rain Garden

NAME: Andrew Ewing

LOCATION: Seattle/Puget Sound, Washington, United States

CREDITS: Aaron Clark, Stewardship Partners, Washington State University

WHERE/HOW DID YOU FIND IT: Web Search http://www.12000raingardens.org/about-the-campaign.html

WHY DID YOU SELECT THIS ONE: This is a really ambitious project.  The Northwest gets a lot of  rain every year,  and they are typically leaders when it comes to environmental practices.  As a result, it makes sense to look at the ways they are creating and using rain gardens.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION: This isn't one project. This is 12,000 rain gardens that form one regions campaign to help clean up the pollution that ends up in Puget Sound.  Rainwater from streets, driveways, lawns and rooftops primarily end up polluting Puget Sound, and they effect the health, environment, and economy of the region. Stewardship Partners and Washington State University are working in conjunction to help solve this problem. Another major problem is a lot of the wooded regions are being clear cut and replaced with roads, parking lots and commercial industries that lead to even more runoff close to the shore lines.  While rain gardens aren't the perfect solution, they are a good alternative and certainly more cost effective than other methods.
The location of these rain gardens is primarily on main streams and marine shorelines caused by untreated, uncontrolled runoff where pollution is the worst.  However anybody willing to create one is encouraged to participate.  Workshops are provided regularly.  Also certain areas have rain garden incentive programs in place where you can be eligible to receive a refund on part of your expenses.  The most successful areas are places where clusters of rain gardens have been implemented.  "The SEA Street project in Seattle resulted in the removal of 98% of contaminants from the street." That is extremely successful, and if more areas can get on board with this type of planning, other areas can see the same success.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Faner Hall II


Faner Hall II
By: Adulsak "Otto" Chanyakorn
            When Faner Hall appeared to the public eyes, professors and students had given it a few nicknames, such as “the aircraft carrier” and “the concrete zeppelin.” Faner Hall finished a year behind schedule, which led to other complaints by professors and students like the confusing building layout, leaking pipes, and temperature control problems. Most of all, people did not like the appearance of Faner Hall with exposed concrete. It did not merge with other buildings on campus, which were mostly constructed with the vibrant red and brown bricks for their exterior appearance. However, the complaining did not lead to demolition of the building. Instead, Faner Hall led to in-depth discussions and considerations for future buildings on campus. As we see, all the buildings that have been built currently must contain the harmonious characteristics of the campus by using bricks on their exteriors.
While it is good to be concerned and to care about the unity of campus, nevertheless, it doesn’t mean we have to imitate the form of existing buildings around the campus and apply it to new buildings. Those buildings were built around the nineteenth century when the constraints of building technology were different. Keeping the same form and material doesn’t mean that we are successfully unifying our campus as a whole. In contrast, we are now living in a different context than the past. The ways we use our buildings have changed, so understanding users and context is significant for designing public spaces on campus.
              Despite the exterior appearance of Faner Hall, it is one of the most active buildings on our campus. Especially, the ground level of Faner Hall allows students to walk through it from Morris Library to their dormitories.  On rainy or snowy days, students can walk underneath Faner from the northern side to the student center without getting wet. Furthermore, a lot of students use the ground level of Faner Hall as a social place, a space used for meeting friends, promoting their clubs, selling things for charity and so on. Also the internal courtyards of Faner Hall allows natural light into some rooms on the second, third and forth floors which reduces the use of artificial light in the daytime. In my opinion, Faner Hall is one of the more successful buildings on SIU’s campus. The designer understood user behavior and the context and he analyzed and synthesized them to create proper spaces, especially on the ground level. Hence, the building space interacts with its users successfully. I agree with the university’s decision to demolish the ramp on the eastern side of the building because it opens up the pedestrian traffic flow from the northern and southern sides very well.
           Finally, Faner Hall is a good case study for our campus. There are a lot of good examples that we can learn from it which will help us be aware and carefully select architects who will design our future buildings. I believe all of us as students, staff, and professors love SIU’s campus, and I also believe we would like to see our campus be a beautiful place to live and learn for us and for the next generation as well.

References:
Jordan, M. (2010). Faner Hall: Faux pas and follower? Legacy, 10 (1), 37-48.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Moments


Moments
By: Van Dwinnells

One of the wonders of life we have been so blessed to have has been our cognitive ability to store unique moments in time as memories.  Some can be recalled slightly fuzzy or interrupted; others can be played back in the highest of detail almost as if we are watching a movie.  A beautiful aspect of our recall is implicit in how we actually reminisce.  It doesn't always occur in the same way.  Sometimes this action occurs as a quick recollection as we associate something we are experiencing now with something in the past, almost like a replay in super high speed.  Other moments can slow down immensely so as we appreciate all the detail of all that is actually becoming around us.  As we grow older these experiences will guide us through life.  They are what we rely on to make judgment calls, manipulating our current path based on the good and bad experiences we have had.  With this concept in mind, notable changes in  our environment can affect our recollection of a situation and in fact alter it in a manner, possibly, preconceived.  In psychology this notion or "planting the seed" is called priming a situation and in a social context it is possible to insinuate behavior, attitudes, or even specific actions according to how you manipulate the space.  As architects we have the capability to modify the built environment and we have to consider the consequences of our actions and how it will affect the inhabitants of the space.  Spaces can change moods and over time even change values.  Imagine the possibilities of such.  Imagine the effect if we were able to reduce discrimination, prejudice, or even poverty.  What if we were able to create a better community; to take something that once was falling apart, redesign it, and develop a functional and supportive life system bare of the problems that once were faced.  Granted these things take time, but it only takes a repetition in small changes to often time make a large difference.  Remember this.  Remember this notion the next time you "redevelop" the context of a larger situation.  Take the ramifications of an action and weigh them against the social, cultural, and economic notions of the place against a historic, present, and future model.  Way of life can change.  We can start the change.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Visualizing Architecture

Visualizing Architecture 
By: Sam Harshman 

This semester, I had to take an elective. About a year ago, my wife and I, invested in a digital single-lens reflex camera (dslr for short.) We've used it a few times for special occasions but we have never really learned how to use it. So this semester, I enrolled in a class called Visualizing Architecture. Our first project this semester is called "Barn." We are supposed to take photographs of an old barn in a series. The first in the series would be the whole barn in its entirety and its context. Context, meaning surrounding landscape, sky, trees, etc. The following pictures in the series would be based off of this one picture. The next picture would be maybe just the barn itself with no context, or maybe just one side of the barn. Following that would be just a door of the barn. The last picture would be focused on one nail, or a detail that small. The idea of the project, is so that a viewer will get a better feeling of the building itself.

Personally, I think I am going to do the project in reverse order. I feel that showing a smaller detail first, gets the viewer more interested in what they are looking at. and then they can "zoom out" and then get the whole picture. This way they feel more like they are a part of the photographs.

The following pictures are my start on "Barn."





Thesis Research

Thesis Research 
By: Megan Gebke

My thesis project has been trucking along quite well. While researching, I discovered how diverse the neighborhood was over all those years. The earliest settlers were the French and the British who built series of mounds. Some of the mounds still existed called the Cahokia Mounds. Immigrants came to and near the St. Louis area from 1860s to the 1930s. Germans were the first to take over. They liked the Missouri area because it reminded them so much of their homeland. They came for work and so their children could go to closer schools. The Irish, Russians, Polish, and Italians were soon to follow. With different ethnicities moving to the area at different times, the architecture was also diverse.

From the 1850s to the 1870s, two and three story red brick homes were built. They featured wooden stairs in the back of the houses for the people living on the upper floors. The homes had cast iron porches in the front and wooden porches in the back. The porches added to the space and also became handy in the summer time when residents would sleep on the porch to keep cool. The foundations were made of stone and the front door was leveled with the street. To give the houses character, they would have decorative arched or flat stone lintels. The roofs were usually gabled or pitched. Most featured dormers to make better use of the upstairs space. The buildings in this era were to be known as urban vernacular classical architecture.

From the 1870s to the 1880s, it was known as the Renaissance era. Homes were still the red brick but the lintels were far more intricate around the windows. Also, L-shaped brackets framed the top floor to really give it character. The roofs were mansard style made with slate. In 1905 up until 1925 were the last home built in the area. They were designed for multiple families. Almost set up into a duplex, the front porch had two doors set at an angle for a separate entrance. By the 1950s, there was no demand for housing so there is no architecture style from that period.

This neighborhood has such a rich history. My goal with this thesis is to develop new places that respect the buildings next to the site. I want it to compliment the bright red brick and not take away from it. I am going to have to do several fa├žade studies to really get it right. I plan to add some color to make the red brick really pop. The neighborhood now looks dreary due to so much red brick, with color to compliment it, I hope to make the neighborhood look brighter and in turn feel like a safer place to go.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Morgantown


Morgantown 
By: Lucas Shubert

Morgantown is a small West Virginia City with a population of about 30,000, according to the 2010 census, which is similar to that of Carbondale. The student population at West Virginia University (WVU 2013), located within Morgantown, is almost twice that of SIUC. Another similarity between Morgantown and Carbondale is that both are the economic centers of their respective regions due to the related universities. Morgantown and Carbondale also share similar demographic income levels, with as much as fifteen percent of the population living below the poverty line (City Data 2013).

WVU has been employing an operational personal rapid transit (PRT) system since 1975; it is currently in a period of continual operation that has lasted for over 30 years (Wright 2005). It is difficult to derive the effects on economic and population growth, and usage rates of other transportation systems a functioning PRT system has had on the area. WVU’s initial demand for a new kind of reliable public transportation was spurred by its expansion, which was complicated by the topography of the mountainous region around Morgantown (Anderson 1996). Like Morgantown, Carbondale will be challenged by space limitations in developing new transportation systems. However, Carbondale’s limitations are caused by the existence of previous development instead of topography.

The electric vehicles within the PRT system are pods which are about 15 feet long, with a designed capacity of 20 people (Wolfe 2005). A fleet of 73 vehicles, which can travel up to 30 miles per hour, carry approximately 15,000 passengers per typical school day (WVU 2013). While the system is completely automated, the vehicles operate on rails set into separated pathways (WVU 2013). The system is free for Mountaineers (WVU students and personnel), and costs 50 cents per ride for the public (WVU 2013). The system includes only 8.2 miles of track that connect five stations throughout Morgantown and the WVU campuses (WVU 2013). The system outlined above can potentially lend its principle design characteristics to Carbondale and SIUC. A new system of PRT tracks and stations suggest a considerable capital cost. However, operational cost in Carbondale should be lower than that of the Morgantown PRT because of the flatter topography and more temperate weather of the Southern Illinois region. Another way to reduce operational cost would be to eliminate the electrified rail within the tracks in lieu of guided navigational systems that have advanced with PRT technology.

References
Anderson, Edward J. 1996. “Some lessons from the history of personal rapid transit.” Last modified September 21, 2009. Accessed January 15, 2013. http://faculty.washington.edu/jbs/itrans/history.htm.
City Data. 2013. “Crime in Carbondale, Illinois.” Accessed January 15.
            http://www.city-data.com/crime/crime-Carbondale-Illinois.html.
West Virginia University. 2013. “Facts about the PRT.” Last modified February 16, 2012. Accessed January 15. http://transportation.wvu.edu/prt/facts_about_the_prt.
Wolfe, Billy. 2005. “PRT Cram” The Daily Athenaeum. November 10.
Wright, Jeff. 2005. “PRT Sets Trends across the Globe, Transports Thousands at WVU.” The Daily Athenaeum, November 10.

Horyu-ji Temple

Horyu-ji Temple 
By: Kyle Miller

For my thesis, I wanted to research a structure that was influenced by the Tang Dynasty. The Horyu-ji Temple is located in Asuka, Japan. It is a Buddhist temple which was founded in the seventh century c.e. by Prince Skotoku, who dedicated it to the memory of his father, the emperor. In 607 the temple was completed but burned down in 670 due to a lighting fire. It was reconstructed from 676-700 but shifted to a different location on the site to the northwest. The materials of the Horyu-ji temple is said to be the oldest wooden building in Japan and maybe in the world. The Horyu-ji temple is made up of two areas which are the Sai-in, on the west and the To-in on the east. The Sai-in includes a two-story Kondo which is also known as the Golden Hall and a five-story pagoda. The To-in includes the Hall of Dreams or Yumedono.

The Kondo resembles it prototypes, Buddhist art galleries in temples built by the China Tang Dynasty in the seventh and eighth centuries c.e. The Kondo roof form is simple, double roofed with upcurved corners. The roof protrudes more than 13 feet and had to add extra supports in the corners. When looking at the structure it looks like two stories due to the two roofs but on the inside it is only one space. The ceiling is coffered around the edges. In 1949, there was a fire that destroyed the Kondo wall paintings which were among the earliest temple murals known in Japan.

Next to the Kondo is the five story pagoda which was completed around 700 c.e. Its style is that of the Tang dynasty. The architectural details include brackets, capitals, railings, are almost identical to those of the Kondo. The pagoda function as a comic axis diminished as the images of Buddha. The pagoda holds the pattern of relic chambers and mast found in Indian stupas. The pagoda has a massive stone foundation that is set 10 feet into the ground has a hollow for holy relics and from the ground to the base to the spire is 107 feet.

The basic to Japanese structural component is the brackets support the projecting tile roofs which articulated the structure of seemingly ornamental repetition of detail. Bracketing was used in Japanese temples because there was an abundance of supply of wood from Japan forested mountains.

There are unique historical cultural treasures of Japan can be found throughout the 187,000 square meter grounds of the Horyu-ji temple. There are more than 2,300 significant articles and structures are housed in the temple including 90 items that are considered as pieces of National Treasures of the country. It was the first in Japan to be chosen by UNESCO as part of their list of World Heritage on 1993, due to its function as a significant architecture housing Buddhist culture.

Traditions in Architecture: Africa, America, Asia, and Oceania / Dora P. Crouch and June G. Johnson

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Preparing for the semester

Preparing for the Review 
By: Josh Rucinski

Preparing for a thesis review should not be really that stressful. Just keep in mind a few things. One, it is likely that you are investigating something unique, so don't be too critical on yourself. Two, keep a couple of key notes on a notecard, this will help if you begin to stumble. Three, take a recording of what the criticisms are, or take notes. The whole point of the review is feedback. How you use that feedback to strengthen your work is critical to the design work.

Preparing for the rest of the Semester 

It can be a little scary when you begin to sort out all the things you have to do, but the most important thing is to continue to take action. Although I have a drafting job, a GA job, and a family with a wife and two children, I am still finding free time to spend with them. There is no real secret behind it, just simply continue to take action on your work. There is no rule to put off things to the last day, so don't fall into that trap. It is common to get real sick of working on a project. It might be because you are not liking an aspect. Stop working on it and design something else that needs to get done. Work on the laser cut template for Architectural History Structural project. All of us live exciting lives full to the brim in the Master's program, chalk it down to a source of personal pride, not an unsurmountable goal.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Thesis Update

Thesis Update – Spring 2013
By: Jonathan Smith

Recently, I gave an updated presentation for my thesis that helped to clarify the scope of the project. The highlights of the presentation are shown below in order to update readers on the progress of the research.
Project Overview:
This thesis project was initially intended to be directed towards designing a city on water based upon the research of rising sea levels and environmental changes. After a great deal of research, it became more and more apparent that the parameters for designing such a fictitious city are too difficult to apply to multiple situations. I then decided to alter the project towards developing a model for current coastal cities to follow in order mitigate rising sea levels. This will be more beneficial because it is applicable to our current environment and is not arbitrary in comparison to the previous project. 



Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Thesis Review


Thesis Review
By Jabina Shrestha

Entering into the 4th week of spring semester, it seems like everyone has started to become busy with  thesis project along with other class works. Time passes really quickly, so fast it's already the week of our first review presentation of thesis. I am doing a re-designing Southern Hills housing complex enhancing sustainable environment that is on the south- east of Southern Illinois University Carbondale IL. I won’t say fantastic but it went pretty well with lots of good crits from my committee members. It’s a good start to move into another step. First stage of research, observation, data collection and analysis on site study, precedent study has helped to understand about the project and move further with developing area program and architectural design. Today after the first review presentation, I just got stuck and started thinking over those days of my final presentation of undergraduate .It’s been already four years but today’s presentation has brought  all the memories of good and bad times and how the final product came out to be a fruitful one.
So I just thought to share my undergrad thesis and also to help myself as a reference to what I did. My thesis topic was Genetic Resources Management Complex, Kathmandu Nepal. Agriculture is the main stay of economic activity in Nepal. So the concept of Gene bank was developed for the protection of genes and seeds. The need for such gene bank increases as agricultural land impinges further upon undeveloped areas, with subsequent loss of species and strain of wild plants.
The site is located at Khumaltar, Lalitpur district at a distance of about 0.8 km from Satdobato road junction, 6.38 km from Kathmandu city centre and 3.73 km from lalitpur city Centre. The aim of the project was to design a complex that helps to preserve the natural flora of diverse species found in the Himalayan belt of Nepal. The project was a primarily conceived as a gene storage facility with a high degree of technical monitoring. The project also helped to throw light on energy conservation and rain water harvesting.
Talking about area programming, the project being a live project the program was prescribed by the Nepal Agricultural Research Council, Khumaltar.The main component of the complex was the gene bank which mainly consist of storage spaces of various sorts, laboratories, seminar and conference halls, auditorium and exhibition spaces. Provision should be kept for a cafeteria which will cater to both officials and visitors alike. The complex was also required to house a residential area with basic facilities like mini shopping mall, health club and play areas for children. Ample car parking provided both at ground level. Enough open spaces were provided for plantation of various flora species within the site.
Total land area: 9.2 hectares
Total built up area: 14,144 sq m
Ground coverage: 33% of the buildable land
Every project starts with the word CONCEPT in architecture field. With that note, I started developing 4 concepts which are:
INTRODUCTION OF LARGE GREEN SPACE IN THE VICINITY OF SITE: This means that the rate of development will increase over time and there will be a huge shortage of open green space in the vicinity. And with our case of initiating a green project, it is a must to establish a green space in the site.
INTEGRETATION OF BUILT AND OPEN: The concept of integration lies in the outlook of the society and its culture. The architectural interpretation can be considered in the integration of different properties of spaces, open and built. This unity of built and open spaces signifies the integration of the society.
         EXTENSION OF LANDSCAPED AREAS IN BUILDING IE “BUILDING IN THE GARDEN”: This means that open landscaped areas extend within the building which also helps to visually link the building to the green back drop towards the west and north. The roof of the main building is sloped towards the central space so that it can be viewed even from the entry area. In addition the roof form gives a new meaning to the local context of the region.
         INWARD AND OUTWARD LOOKING SPACES: In local context, the inward looking spaces are more reminiscent of public buildings and large houses which belong to the higher strata of society. The idea of having both inward and outward looking space was to achieve a balance between the two typologies of built spaces in Kathmandu. The idea also lends a hand to better integrate built and open spaces as well as improve the lighting and ventilation condition in the building.
I was able to accomplish good innovative design with all the hard input day and night. I am hoping to work on my thesis even more with good quality of work in terms of design, presentation, renderings, and model making skills.
Here are some of the model pictures of it.



Monday, February 11, 2013

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat 
By: Colleen O’Malley 

Prasat Angkor Wat is located in Cambodia. Angkor Wat is the largest Hindu temple complex and the largest religious monument in the world. The temple was built by a king Suryavarman II in the early 12th century. The modern name, Angkor Wat means “Temple City. Angkor Wat combines two basic plans of Khmer temple architecture: the temple mountain and the later galleried temple, based on early Dravidian Architecture, with key features such as the Jagati. It is designed to represent Mount Meru, home of the devas in Hindu mythology: within a moat and an outer wall 3.6 kilometers long are three rectangular galleries, each raised above the next. At the center of the temple stands a quincunx of towers. The towers symbolize the five peaks of the mountain, and the walls and moat the surrounding mountain ranges and ocean. Angkor Wat is made of stones, as smooth as polished marble, without mortar with very tight joints. The blocks were held together by mortise and tenon joints. Enormous amounts of sandstone are found in the monument, transported 25 miles to the site. All surfaces, columns, lintels, and roofs are carved.

There are many features of Angkor Wat which includes the outer enclosure, the central structure, and construction techniques. The outer wall is 1024 by 802 m and 4.5 m high, surrounded by a 30 m apron of open ground. Entrance to the temple is by either the earth bank on the east or a sandstone causeway on the west. There are gopuras at each of the cardinal points which both hides and echoes the form of the temple proper. Under the southern tower is a statue of Vishnu. The central structure contains a temple that stands on a terrace raised higher than the city. It consists of three rectangular galleries rising to a central tower, each level higher than the last. The galleries are interpreted as being dedicated to the king, Brahma, the moon, and Vishnu.

Unlike most Angkorian temples, Angkor Wat is oriented to the west; scholars are divided as to the significance of this. It is led many to conclude that Suryavarman intended it to serve as his funerary temple. The temple is admired for the grandeur and harmony of the architecture, its extensive bas-reliefs, and for the numerous devatas adorning its walls. The inner walls of the outer gallery of Angkor Wat bear a series of large-scale scenes mainly depicting episodes from the Hindu epics the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The eastern gallery has one of the most celebrated scenes, the Churning of the Sea of Milk.

The temple has seen continued conservation efforts and a massive increase in tourism. The Cambodian government has been encouraged to protect the site. The building continues to be repaired to prevent any further collapse. I personally believe that the temple is architecturally stunning and all the hand carved decoration is unbelievable. I find the layout of the site very interesting and complex.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Urban Design

Urban Design 
By: Chris Pacanowski 

As I progress through my thesis, I realizes certain things that keep coming up when looking at the project. Urban design is not just designing an area or a building in an urban environment, but it is truly looking at the urban environment and letting that do some of the design or initial steps for you. As I look at my project and keep realizing the great potential for an area in which people can flock to and enjoy, I am realizing it because of a few key elements. The connectivity to the surrounding area, the possibility for access to public transit, the direct connection to the Chicago River, and the locality to downtown Chicago. Look at the surrounding area, when doing any type of urban design its surrounding areas help you/ tell you what needs to go in the site, or what can keep going in the area depending on the success of the initial typology. What I mean by this is that when you notice that an area has a lot of residential buildings, you can take that in two ways. One, well there already is enough residential in the area so let's focus on commercial. Or two, the residential has been so successful and people are wanting to move to the area, so we should build more residential. When looking at my thesis project, residential buildings are going to be a key element of my urban plan, but it won't be the only element. Commercial and retail elements are always a key element when it comes to urban plans. The great thing about cities is that there is everything you need to live all within a close walking distance. Entertainment, restaurants, grocery stores, retail shops, access to public transit, community centers, all of these elements are needed in an urban environment, not only are they needed, but they are what make the area successful or a failure. My final comment on urban design is when designing don't just take in the information of the surrounding areas, look at how your design will affect the surrounding area. It is a relationship between the two ideas which cause people to notice a new area.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Light Rail


Dena Belzer – Economics of Building Around Light Rail
By: Chris Harpstrite

Today, February 06, I attended a luncheon in St. Louis at the Hilton Hotel hosted by Citizens for Modern Transit. The luncheon brought in Transit Oriented Development expert Dena Belzer, from Berkely, California. Her hour presentation discussed the economical side of building around light rail and some of the benefits of doing and also some of the hardships of trying to get it done.
            
She discussed St. Louis’s economy and some of the challenges we in particular face. Some of these are: St. Louis is in a slow growth region and how local governments around the state are currently in a fiscal crisis themselves. But she also discussed how trends in America are looking up and how these trends potentially positively affect transit oriented development around the nation. Currently, almost half of the households in the nation are single, and most of those are single women. There is also almost 76 million baby boomers in the nation and 75-80 million mellenials. All these groups are the primary users of mass transit and transit oriented development properties.
           
Dena also spoke about the benefits of transit oriented development in communities. There is a consumer saving from being able to ditch one or more of their vehicles, and of course there is an environmental benefit. Bust most importantly from a city point of view, it is very efficient land use.
Overall I thought it was a great lecture and I really learned a lot. CMT tries to do a lecture like this every couple months, so hopefully I will be able to make it to another one soon.

Disasters

Disasters
By: Brad Hoepfner

Disasters and disaster relief research has been a huge portion of my recent studies. As many of you should know, a massive earthquake hit Haiti in 2010. Efforts to help Haiti have come in all sizes from FEMA sending loads of tents, other small structures and food, giving the children of Haiti some general education they crave, and attempts to create new architecture or remake the old.

One piece of important architecture in Haiti was the Port-au-Prince Cathedral. It was damaged extensively during the earthquake and only the damaged exterior walls stood while the roof and bell towers were completely removed. Complete reconstruction was the only solution for this, so the University of Miami’s school of architecture program partnered with the Archdiocese of Port-au-Prince, and Faith and Form Magazine. These groups held a competition to completely remake the cathedral and 134 plans were submitted for the project.

“The first place winner was headed by Puerto Rican architect Segundo Cardono, while third and fourth places went to local Miami architects Steven Felt and Christopher Glapinski. Plater-Zyberk (Dean of the college) led a panel of six judges that included architect and former minister of tourism for Haiti, Michael Crosbie”(themiamihurricane).

With efforts like this and many others, people start to truly help the ones affected so harshly by disasters. Allowing student and professionals to work together or compete against each other may help resolve or even bring to light the many difficult situations that surround architecture and disasters.

Much of this information came from http://www.themiamihurricane.com/2013/02/06/architecture-students-inspire-reconstruction-of-haiti/ if you want to find out more.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Downtown Memphis Part 2


Downtown Memphis Part 2
By: Andrew Ewing

The results for Memphis so far have been positive. "Over $5 billion in new investment in downtown over the past decade, including $2.5 billion in current projects underway or nearly complete. The residents of the downtown increase an average of 7.3% annually, and almost 10% of the Memphis working population is located downtown. (Kitsinger)

Tourism could be the biggest factor  of the success of downtown. Its estimated over 4 million people visit every year.  A few of the attractions include:
-Beale Street
-Cannon Center
-Orpheum
-Ballet Memphis
-Opera Memphis
-Fed-Ex Forum
-AutoZone Park
-The River
-300 Acres of Green space and parkland
-16 museums
-3,000+ hotel rooms                                                                                     

Memphis like St. Louis is a river town that in the last decade has seen its downtown improve dramatically. Both downtown communities have developed around their Professional Teams new Stadium/Arena, and struggled with how to do this. Looking at how Memphis has accomplished this will provide insight on how to successfully do this in St. Louis.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Faner Hall

Faner Hall I
By: Adulsak "Otto" Chanyakorn

I have heard people refer to Faner Hall (Figure 1) as the “Monstrosity on Campus” while I was studying English before I entered the School of Architecture in Carbondale. The first time I heard that name, I was surprised that people called this avant-garde building of its time by that name. Then, I realized that I am a person who has spent my life studying architecture since I was eighteen years old. Thus, people who have a different background or dissimilar field may look at Faner Hall in a different perspective than me. I was fascinated by this nickname of Faner Hall. Hence, I spent my time to do some research about Faner Hall or the so-called “Monstrosity on Campus.”

When the university decided to build the new building for Humanities and Social Sciences department in 1967, the university hired Geddes, Brecher, Qualls , and Cunnigham as the architectural firm to design the project. Geddes, who was a leader of the firm, was a well-known figure in the American architectural field at the time. He was commissioned to design campus buildings in many universities. He tended to apply the same philosophy and principle to the buildings that he had designed. They were similar in appearance of form and materials (exposed concrete). For example, the Graduate Research Center at the University of Pennsylvania can easily be compared to Faner Hall. However, Geddes was not the only one who employed this design methodology to his buildings. This trend of campus architecture style was started around 1950 or so after World War II. Also, it was the time that International Style became the main focus for architects in the western world. They tried to create architecture that escaped from traditional buildings. Likewise, it was the time that architects wanted to express their individual architectural style instead of dedication to the campus as a whole. In addition, this type of architecture (Brutal Architecture) was brought into America when Le Corbusier was commissioned to design the Carpenter Center for Harvard Design School in Boston (Figure 2). Since then, this architectural style became widespread throughout the country. Obviously, Faner Hall was influenced by Le Corbusier’s architecture as well. Before the Faner Hall was finished, it received a lot of criticism from faculty and students which I will elaborate on more in the next article (Faner Hall II).

References:
Jordan, M. (2010). Faner Hall: Faux pas and follower? Legacy, 10 (1), 37-48.
Anulfo. (2010, October 22). “31 in 31 of your favorite buildings in Boston: #22.“ The Evolving Critic:
Exploring the Arts and Architecture around Boston. Retrieved from http://exploringvenustas.wordpress.com/

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Inspirational Rant

Inspirational Rant
By: Van Dwinnells

Inspiration can come from almost anything. An incomprehensible amount comes from our environment, the things around us. Just taking a few seconds, taking a close and almost isolated look, can unleash an insurmountable quantity of details so rich in variety, that if the secondary look had been squandered one would have never even noticed. Architecture is our opportunity to bridge this gap between this information and focus the attention on the details which can so often be overlooked. The shear vastness of data that we take in per minute, whether we be conscious or oblivious is no less than no less than staggering. It is easy to overlook the most beautiful and illuminating aspects of life simply by failing to recognize, especially in this day and age.

Time is exponentially growing, its net worth becoming more vital and more sparse. As responsibilities and obligations battle for you undivided attention, as technological advances make it easier for us to multi task, we constantly battle each other in a competitive manner. we strive for each other's place in this obscure world of monetary continuity. The complex and yet sporadic personality of our temporal existence constantly drives us to do more with less; to do more in less, really just to do more. It is easy to glance when we should be looking. It is easy to hear when we should be listening. It is easy to touch, when we should be feeling. We are given so much. These sensations that we communicate with our environments offer an unlimited number of possible scenarios for us to incorporate and utilize within our designs. We can learn so much from those and the things around us if we only took the time to observe and utilize what we have all around us.

As a world, we are moving in a back-assword fashion. Our movements and our decisions should be made with consideration, caution, and care in lieu of hasty decisions based on the constraints of deadlines and monetary encouragement. Understanding the social complexities of the culture as well as the local context and the environmental situations should be key as to what should serve a community better rather than biased opinions of monopolizing and self centered corporations and individuals. Economic standpoints should exist. We have to abide by a system "preinstalled" in which drives many of our subsidized functions. The way things work now is as if Band-Aids are being tossed down from the high and mighty elite groups. We have to help the people that make up this great country. Those that live in impoverished ways. Our government is suppose to be one of the people, by the people, and for the people. This current system will eventually erode from within forcing inevitable collapse. This would segment our nation more so creating compound fractures throughout. We don't have to wait for a calamity in order to make repairs. And where the repairs are too great, rebuild. Any push for change, even small ones, can inevitably create large impressions. As concerned citizens, we should be in a state of restructuring. There is so much corruption and litigation to go through to make any changes socially from a top down approach that the only real, time appropriate solutions for most of us in this country is to attack our problems in a dyadic fashion. We need to begin restructuring from the bottom up simultaneously securing our foundations across the country while attempting to repair the roof. So what if we get a little wet, at least we won't fall down.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Blog8: Winter Break


Blog 8: Winter Break
by: Sam Harshman

Winter Break lasted a long time but ended shortly.  If that doesn't make sense to you, it's ok.  It didn't make sense to me either.  I did get to witness a big snow during break though.  In Southern Illinois, we would say we had a blizzard, but I know northerners would just laugh at us.  The first snow we got was a total of thirteen and a half inches.  The next morning there were many snowmen going up, snow angels going down, and a lot of shoveling.  I even had to help someone get out of a ditch.  They thought they were the one who was smart enough to be able to drive through thirteen inches of snow in their Chevrolet Impala.   Two nights later we received another eight inches.  Still people were trying to drive their way through with no progress.
This made me start thinking about why people just can't cope with the conditions they have been dealt.  People are too worried about their jobs and making money that they risk lives, their selves' and others.'   People are on one speed: fast forward.  It's rare to meet people who just sit back and "play the cards they are dealt." 
A story that gives me some hope is the flooding in Venice, Italy.  Venice is built, surrounded by water.  They use the water to get around to most places.  Eventually, Venice gets flooded, but people don't freak out, and "drive through thirteen inches of snow."  The people there use the water, or put on their wading boots and walk,  they cope with what they are dealt.  In an ever-changing climate universe, we should all be like that.  Allow whatever happens, happen and just cope with it. 
Stories like Hurricane Katrina or Hurricane Sandy never make me feel bad.  (There are stories within the big story that get to me, but not the big picture.)  Humans built places like, New Orleans and Lower Manhattan, in these low areas, susceptible to flooding.   Also they are along the coast, so they are always susceptible to hurricanes.  We built these cities almost for the purpose of being destroyed and flooded.  There's really no other way to look at it. 
This is why people should just slow down and play the cards that are dealt.  Take everything into consideration before moving forward.   

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sustainable Land Lab Competition


Sustainable Land Lab Competition
By: Megan Gebke
Because the economy is in a recession, many vacant lots have just remained vacant leaving a sore eye to the buildings around it.  St. Louis has around 10,000 parcels that have fallen back to the city’s Land Reutilization Authority.  A competition is being held in Old North Saint Louis to come up with an idea for six different lots called the land lab conducted by Washington University.  The competition is narrowed down to fifteen different ideas.  The winner receives $5,000 and a lease for two years to develop their idea.  One of the finalists, Josi Nielsen, wants to develop a series of greenhouses, in which the products will be dispersed throughout the community dining establishments.  “We looked at St. Louis through the lens of our having so many vacant lots,” Nielsen said. “It’s a terrible thing, but we have this amazing stock here that if we can shift our perspective, this becomes a great advantage.”  The vacant lots may be a site for sore eyes now, but it allows the chance to redevelop that area while everything around it is redeveloping and adapting.  It is about using the areas where people have given up on and transforming them to a positive use for the community.  Creating something that attracts people allows for the buildings around it, which may be vacant, to get potential owners and before you know it, the whole block is being occupied. 
The main landmark of Old North St. Louis that has withstood the economy and all the depleted buildings and land is Crown Candy Kitchen.  People would go get their milkshakes and take off as fast as possible to get out of the neighborhood.  Buildings around Crown Candy Kitchen began to become occupied and now people are more likely to walk down the street and look to see what else there is.  Also, around the area, they have made a better use of the vacant lots and cleaned them up with paved sidewalks and benches. 
                The land lab competition is meant to find a creative temporary application to make it an asset to the surrounding community as the community begins to get back on its feet.  “As neighborhoods like this continue to grow and develop, there may be a demand for construction or longer-term uses, but in the meantime, you’d like to see something nice here.”

Articles:
https://www.stlbeacon.org/#!/content/28825/temporary_transformation_of_lots_011012
https://www.stlbeacon.org/#!/content/28764/vacant_lots_010713