Friday, October 30, 2015

The Adventures at Quigley…Part 1

By Casey Bucher

Since coming to Southern Illinois over a year ago, plenty of fun and interesting experiences have occurred in the architecture building.  Transferring here from Murray State, I was expecting much of the same as I had during undergrad and boy was I wrong.  From the building itself to the classes, nothing was the same. There were a few similar features but many differences as well.  Over the course of a year, plus some, I have created a list of many unique experiences I have had since coming here for graduate school.
-     Norm’s Icebox.  My very first class at SIU was part of my leveling classes and it just happened to be Norm’s technical concrete class.  I should have taken the fun little drawing on the door as a sign, it was an image of Norm with a parka on standing next to an igloo.  I learned very quickly that this dungeon never got above freezing temperatures, no matter what time of the year it was.  The entire semester I made sure that I had long sleeves, jackets, and blankets in order to make it through the four hour lecture.
-     Getting an A in Norm’s class.  With two weeks left of the semester, Norm had informed the entire class that whoever had an A in the class was not required to take the final. However, he would not mention who had the A’s in the class and who didn’t. I found out later it was because he wanted everyone to still show up for the final and he would just send the lucky few students home.  I was one of the lucky few, but yet me and two others weren’t allowed to walk in, sign the attendance sheet and leave. That would be entirely too easy. The three of us with A’s were required to clean every chalkboard, desk, and put away every little piece of material he had used throughout the semester.  By the time we were finished, everyone that was required to take the final was long gone.
-     Bathrooms.  You quickly learn in Quigley Hall that the bathrooms do not make much sense. Where a women’s bathroom is located on the first floor may be in a completely different place on the basement level, and may not even exist on the second floor.  It was great fun the first few weeks learning which floors had women’s bathrooms and where they were hiding.

-     Window Blinds. Basically the only thing you need to know about these are: DO NOT TOUCH.

Travelling the world

By Andy Cunningham

Throughout my life I have been fortunate enough to travel to many places around the world, including Ireland, Germany, Italy, a brief time in the Czech Republic, and even a few weeks in Namibia Africa. These have not only been amazing experiences in just being in different places and seeing different cultures, but also in experiencing different architecture as well. When we first start this program, one of the first classes we have is about architectural history. Throughout this first class, and even throughout the first couple years, my professors always told us that if you have a chance to go visit these places, to do it so that you can really grasp the full aspects of these buildings and I never really took those words to heart until I actually got the chance to visit these places.   
 During the first I was in Germany, I hadn’t had much thought of going to into architecture as a major, so I didn’t really look at these buildings or spaces, but Germany is a beautiful place. The first time I was there it was a two week trip for my high school concert band, and the first week we were there we lived with host families in a small town called Bietigheim-Bissingen which is a small town about 20 min north of Stuttgart. This was a very interesting week because it was cool to learn the cultures of the small towns in another country. The second week we spent travelling around Germany and the Czech Republic playing concerts for schools and other band programs. My second visit to Germany was on my way to Africa, and to be honest I don’t remember much of this because of the sleep deprivation of being up for what I believe was around 30 hours at that point because of not sleeping on the plane ride there. Two things that I do remember however is seeing the puppet show that happens in Marienplatz, and having dinner at the world famous Hofbrauhaus.
My visit to Italy was one that I will probably never forget. This trip was arranged through the architecture club, during the summer of 2012, at College of DuPage, where I did my first two years of undergraduate school. This was a two week trip, with 4 days being spend in Florence and 6 days in Rome. While in Florence we had a lot of time to wander on our own around the city while also having a few guided tours. One of these tours was of the Duomo including getting to go up into the dome and looking out over the city. Looking out over Florence was an amazing experience but the climb to the top of the dome was and experience in itself. It was a lot of steps in a cramped space with not always the most circle of walls around you.  In Rome, we got to see the Vatican and even got a tour of the catacombs underneath St. Peters Basilica, we got to see the Coliseum which was a pretty amazing experience just to see the scale of it. My favorite part however was got to the Pantheon. The pantheon is amazing because it has the perfect section, a circle within a square not only in section, but in plan as well. I thought this was a pretty cool while learning about it in school but no picture can give the building justice without being there. This structure is huge. When you step not just inside it, but even just close to it, you just get dwarfed by it amazing size. This building was so incredible that I was there 3 times during that day, partially because of weather and the morning mass starting, but it was still cool enough to go back to multiple times. In the last couple days we were there, we got to go to Trevi fountain, The ruins of a roman bath house, and even got to experience Zaha Hadid’s Maxxi Museum.
For my last memorable trip, it was also during the summer of 2012 and that was to visit my sister in Namibia Africa. This trip was beyond unbelievable, and while this trip wasn’t focused on the architecture aspect the country, I was still able to notice a few things about it. First off in the residential areas of Namibia I noticed that a lot of houses had a very international style about them, and that they all had decent sized fences with barbed wire or fence spikes at the top of them because as our tour guide informed us that there was much more robbery and petty crimes rather than violent times. Another cool architectural thing that I notices was the last two hotels we stayed at, which were just outside of Sossusvlei, and Etosha national park were that the rooms with huts built onto the sides of hills with amazing views of the surrounding areas. Also at these hotel I learned of something that they do there called sun downing, which is basically grab your friends, alcohol, and find a comfy spot and watch the sun go down, which.. Why haven’t I down that before, because it was pretty cool. The last thing that I saw was at the place where my sister worked, all the buildings had thatched roofing with was something that I didn’t see much in the rest of the country. 

After reading this you might be thinking where’s some pictures to go with all of this, well I left the memory car with all the pictures on it at home so in the future, I will do a blog with all my pictures from these trips. Overall if you have the chance to go out and visit other countries whether it is to look at their architecture or just to experience something new do it, because it is definitely worthit

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Chis Downey- An Architect Who Lost His Sight

By Alicia Luthy

Hello everyone! This week I have been further researching my thesis topic. Within my topic I am creating an educational center for the dual sensory impaired, also known as “deafblind.” There are different degrees of sight and hearing impairments. Some people are born with it and others can acquire the impairment at different stages and different levels of severity. Within my design I want to create a great architectural experience with a strong connection to the senses. This design should not only educate the impaired students but also give them confidence to carry out daily routines. While researching I came across someone that is not only impaired, but is also a designer for the impaired.
Christopher Downey is an architect, planner, and consultant that lost his sight. In 2008, on St Patrick’s Day, Chris Downey went in to have a brain tumor removed. The surgery was successful but three days later he lost his vision. He enjoyed 20 years of practice on award-winning custom residences and cultural institutions before he had lost his sight. Downey now works as a member of user engagement team, designer, or client representative. He uses his own experience to enhance the design with more consideration of tactility, touch, smell, temperature, sounds, and new technologies. Downey states that architecture for the blind is like any other architecture, only better. The architecture looks the same and works the same but offers a stronger involvement of the senses. Chris Downey has completed many projects in healthcare, transportation, and others. Some of his projects consist of the Duke University Eye Center Clinic, the Transbay Transit Center, and the Associated Blind Housing.  Downey is not only a designer but also a lecturer. He teaches accessibility and universal design at UC Berkeley and serves on the Board of Directors for the Lighthouse for the Blind in San Francisco. If interested in listening to one of his TED talks here is a link:
In this lecture he describes an experience that he had while being blind. He also answers what a city for the blind would be like. He states that cities are fantastic places for the blind. The blind have a positive influence on the city itself. Similar to what I am studying, he says that he has opened up to all the other non-visual senses. From this information I learned different ways for navigations for the impaired such as textured pathways, the way the sun hits the skin gives you alignment, and the sense of smell. Often with vision, we seem to take for granted some of the non-visual senses.  Chris Downey says “If you design a city with the blind in mind you will have walkable networks of sidewalks, sidewalks will be predictable and generous. The space between buildings will be well balanced between people and cars. If you design a city with the blind in mind there will be lots of jobs.” Designing with the blind in mind can improve any design and not just a building for the impaired themselves. 

Role of the Architect

By Aaron Neal

What is the role of the architect?  If we look into the past, historically architects were the master builder and sole designer and engineer for a project.  This was the case for most of human history and it wasn’t until the past two centuries that it has really changed.   As buildings became more complicated and advanced the amount of knowledge necessary to design them increased.  This increase of knowledge made it harder for one person to be qualified in every aspect of the building.  This allowed for specialists to come in and advance the construction industry.  Two examples of this, The Crystal Palace and Eiffel Tower, were both designed by non-architects.   What then becomes of the architect and their role in the construction process?  As new structural systems and mechanical systems became introduced into buildings, Architects were forced to hire engineers to design those systems.  Throughout the last hundred years, architects have relied heavily on these specialists to substantiate their designs.  As more technologies integrated with buildings, more specialists became necessary.  While it’s true that architects with their current level of training cannot have the certification necessary in all of these fields, hiring specialists poses a serious problem to the field of architecture.  What has become of our role in the construction process?  As it stands now, we are the overseers of the entire project, trying to make all the specialists work together into one integrated design for smooth construction.  This means that we are dependent on these specialists for major projects, and that means that they have a higher value.  With having a higher value these specialist fields – engineers, simulation analysists, etc – can be getting paid more.  As their value increases, our value decreases to the point to which the mass public has no idea what we even do as architects.  This problem will only increase too as we architects demand more technology and testing in our designs.  For example, with the notion of LEED, or Living Building, to get the design to be considered LEED of Living Building, someone with proper certification must say it is so.  As architects we want to push for more sustainable designs – and we should – but this only adds one more specialist that we need to come in to substantiate our designs.  So the question on the table is, how do we increase our value as architects?  As of now, most new construction isn’t designed by an architecture firm.  Instead contractors build up mcmansions, or corporations throw up offices and big box stores.  How to we reclaim our value as architects, to make these contractors or corporations view us as a necessity instead of a needless expense?  Is it with sustainable design?  Is it with our knowledge of basic design?  Is it our skill of networking multiple specialties together on one project?  An answer may not exist, but one thing is for sure.  Architects no longer have the role they used to, and if we don’t do anything about it, we will only devalue ourselves and become extinct. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Formal Analysis of “The Puppet Theater”

By Faezeh Ensafi

Theatres are traditionally very grand buildings. Their ancient Greek forms are still found in today’s theaters. The untraditional parametrical band stand / park pavilion like sized Puppet Theater designed by the collaboration between architecture Firm MOS studios and artist Pierre Huyghe in 2004, stands out differently amongst parametric projects to some extent. The visible relevant link between the formal aspects of the theater and the use of digital parametric medium throughout the project is the main purpose of this essay.

The temporary Puppet Theater seeks the purpose of celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Carpenter Center –where the theater is located at –portraying a sudden simultaneous image of the Carpenter Center by its use of materials and parametrical surface fabrication. The total convergence of the Puppet Theater is a new organ embedded inside the body of the Carpenter Center. Le Corbusier's Carpenter Center is the center for the visual arts at Harvard University, MA. Completed in 1942, it corresponds with Le Corbusier’s 5 point of architecture providing a suitable space for exhibiting art. Various aspects of the finalized form of the Puppet Theater such as the skin details with its merely shining surface on the inside and outside appear well-settled in the modern context of Le Corbusian concrete space. The parametric medium is employed throughout all the stages of design, fabrication and construction. It is due to the constraints of the site that has made this project –as small scaled as it is –a particularly valuable example of parametric architecture. Fabrication is a stage in which diamond-shaped panels are constructed; the smallest but most important adherent elements of the whole structure proposing kind of a coherent integrity. However, it is extremely crucial to acknowledge that these tiny members are neither chosen nor designed through the traditional sketch-and-design process but are emerged via algorithmic configurations in an evolutionary parametric procedure based on a number of parameters such as site limitations: four foot change in grade from street level while the theater was set in a sunken patio made inaccessible from the street by a wall, limit of independency of contact with the Carpenter Center’s structural supports or ceiling overhead which enforces the column grid of the building onto the theater’s design process as a parameter, avoidance of damage to the building thus applying pre-fabrication of the panels to be brought and reassembled on site, and finally the functional limitations: acoustic and stage lighting parameters. Looking back at these parameters, they harp on more than just functionality and formality –the two major concerns involving in architecture in modernity and postmodernity –but bring environmental-cultural effects into the design process making architecture meaningful and rational. As the theater’s architect Michael Meredith himself critiques “…the architectural field’s current use of the parametric (as being) superficial and skin- deep… lacking a larger framework of referents, narrative, history, force… (The advantage of the parametric project is not the) relentless malleability of form… but the complex… relationships that produce architecture (Meredith, Aranda Lasch and Sasaki 6-9). Architecture is primarily a cultural socio-political form, not technological determinism (From Control to Design 5)”.

Schematic Design

My name is Daniel Roman, I am a second semester masters student at Southern Illinois University. As the seventh week of school comes to an end, many more advances in our classes have occurred. As this week moves on pretty quick due to the fall break many projects are being due. Preliminary designs for our actual buildings for studio are due in a presentation for Wednesday and Friday. My group presented Wednesday and I was able to get that out the way. Over all it went well, there where a couple flaws in my building that I realize now. To recap, I am designing a hotel on our site, which is located in Baltimore, Maryland.  The hotel is supposed to be a five star hotel, which program is really complex.
 In my research I found a great quote from architect Tom Wright, “If you can draw a building simply with a few pen strokes of a pen, and its instantly recognizable… have created something iconic.” Even though I didn’t agree with his statement 100% I went ahead and led it lead me in a direction. He gives examples of iconic monuments such as the pyramids of Egypt, the Sydney Opera House, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and then the 7 star hotel in Dubai. I quickly followed with an example of mine, by going ahead and drawing a simple rendition of my proposed building, which is on the right hand side. The building tapers from a wide base to a narrow top. This allows for larger venues and parking on the bottom and more independent rooms on the top floors. The curve lines represent an exoskeleton structure that would allow for additional structure, but it would be more for esthetics. The exoskeleton mimics the close relation to the native dish which is crab that people in Baltimore really enjoy.
            The other classes are coming alone in a very fast pace and it allows for more work to be done. It is over whelming as to how much research can be done for my topic, and all the information that is out there. It seems like every time to read source, that source has a source which has a source, and it really becomes a neve ending cycle some times. I am trying to look into Marlow, whom is the one responsible for the Pyramid of Hierchy. He is the pioneer in this theme.

            Last week we turned in new sheet in the zoning and planning class, they where site analysis sheets, but they where more in details, they had to have soil reports and charts, its interesting being from the city and seeing how much nature effects a building, and how it ca be use to our advantage when used properly. The city is getting better at implementing codes and regulations. Hopefully it all leads to a safer and greener practice. Looking ahead of time, we have a sheet due for this class next week, and its actually our plans, and we will be graded based on code regulations and making sure we meet the requirements. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Thesis Abstract

By Stephen Lauer
In the last decade, 3D printing has become an integral part of many industries. One of those industries is the construction industry in which companies are beginning utilize methods to print and build complete structures using 3D printers. These companies are utilizing different techniques in order to print structures, such as printing off-site and then shipping the printed parts in sections to the site or bringing a large scale printer to the construction site to print the structure in place. Both of these techniques are advantageous over customary construction process. According to National Building Specification (NBS) website, either of these options are advantageous over the customary construction process[i]. Another advantage that the NBS states is that printers allow for faster and more accurate construction, this means that errors rarely arise from construction but instead from the digital model being incorrect or failure in the material or equipment. Printed construction also reduces labor costs because of a minimal amount of human effort required to complete the construction. The NBS states another advantage to be reduced waste generated during the construction process as each component is printed individually. A final advantage that the NBS states is a reduced carbon footprint which is due to less machinery being needed and depending on the type of material used less carbon produced through the manufacturing of the material used[ii].

            The adaptation of 3D printing will change how buildings are constructed and the speed at which they are constructed. According to the developer of Contour Crafting, Behrokh Khoshnevis, our conventional construction practices are inefficient and outdated[iii]. He also claims that they are slow, labor intensive, and very dangerous thus by switching to 3D printed buildings, the construction process will progress at a much quicker pace, require less laborers, and eliminate some danger on construction sites[iv]. These methods alleviate the problems by first having all the pieces either fabricated on site by a printer or fabricated offsite and then shipped at once to increase the speed the building is erected. Offsite fabrication will speed up the process because the components can be printed ahead of schedule or in a factory by multiple printers. Printed buildings require fewer laborers to build the structure because the printed pieces would need to be assembled as compared to customary construction in which studs are erected, sheathed, and finally finishes are added. The printed buildings already have their finished textures printed onto them which eliminates the time it takes to add these finishes in customary construction methods.
                This thesis seeks to define a series of building components when assembled become a house. A building is made up of many different components that when each are put together become a building. By taking each of these components and looking at how they are put together a new method of construction can arise out of the new technology at hand. Printers can build these pieces to allow for the components to fit together and become a shelter.

[i] Husseini, A. (2014, November 1). 3D printing and the construction industry. Retrieved October 15, 2015, from
[ii] Husseini, A. (2014, November 1). 3D printing and the construction industry. Retrieved October 15, 2015, from
[iii] Contour Crafting: Automated Construction: Behrokh Khoshnevis at TEDxOjai. (n.d.). Retrieved August 30, 2015, from
[iv] Contour Crafting: Automated Construction: Behrokh Khoshnevis at TEDxOjai. (n.d.). Retrieved August 30, 2015, from

Digital Fabrication Lab

By Patrick Szczecina
As a worker from the Digital Fabrication Lab for two years and now being a Graduate Assistant for the lab I noticed a lot of students from all years still not knowing how to properly set up a file. Students come into the lab and expect us workers to set it up. We have gone and told students to read what it says on our website, posters hanging up and an RSO that helps teach how to set up files. That is not our job, instead we run the laser cutter, all based off of the file that are given to us. People come in and give us files, and yell and talk back to us for not helping, however we are busy and cannot do this for every student. So in this blog I will be responding on how to properly set up a file and hopefully students understand how it works. First off the laser bed is 18”x32” and that is what the material you cut needs to be. Secondly we use AutoCAD, there is a template (!resources/c1uoi) where you can download and import your work. Inside the file is different scales that you may put your work in, in order to cut to the needed scale. If the scale is not provided a detailed explanation is given on the top right side on how to scale objects. Inside these templates are two lines green and blue, ALL WORK MUST FIT INTO BLUE! Or else it won’t cut. Going along once you bring in your file into the template or make your file, setting up correct colors is next. First off we have red which cuts through the material completely, Blue scores the material (thin lines that don’t cut all the way through the material), and White which is raster (Laser runs back and for and creates score marks that eat away at the top layer of the material). That is all that goes into setting up a file, have the correct material size, set it into the correct template with correct scaling and inside the blue, and have all the correct layers on what you wish to cut. Come to the SIU-ARC RSO when the email is sent out for our first meeting (Possibly in a week), we teach how to use the laser cutter properly with hands on experience and most importantly tips and tutorial basics of programs not thought at SIUC.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Courtyard Design Considerations

By Megan Crider
For an elective course, I recently had to write a research paper… My topic was about courtyards.  I discussed some of their psychological benefits and different design guidelines to maximize their use and advantages to their users.  There was a lot to talk about, but there were a few quick design considerations that I found interesting.  Below is my discussion of these topics, which I found in “A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction” by C. Alexander.
One of the challenges when designing and planning a courtyard is to create one that is alive – one that is engaging and provides use and value to its patrons.  Alexander (1977) writes that “the courtyards built in modern buildings are very often dead.  They are intended to be private open spaces for people to use – but they end up unused, full of gravel and abstract sculptures.”  Alexander gives three critical points to combat the dead courtyard to make it alive.  The first is that there is too little ambiguity between outdoors and indoors.  The change from indoor to outdoor is too abrupt – “there is no opportunity for a person to find himself half way between the two.”  Users need a transitional space between the indoor area and the courtyard.  Examples of this are porches, terraces, or verandas.  These spaces will allow users to transition naturally into the courtyard.  The second point that Alexander reinforces is that there are not enough doors into the courtyard.  He says that if the courtyard lies between two activities within the house, and therefore has multiple doors, then users can pass through it naturally.  The courtyard then “becomes a meeting point for different activities, provides access to them, provides overflow from them, and provides the cross-circulation between them.”  Only providing one door to a courtyard will likely insure that people will never pass through it or use it during their daily activity.  The final statement is that courtyards are too enclosed.  There should always be sight lines beyond the walls of the courtyard; it should “give at least a glimpse of some other space beyond.”  If there are no openings or views to the outside the user may feel too enclosed, therefore diminishing some of the benefits of the courtyard.  This space should provide an escape for the user, not evoke a sense of enclosure.
Alexander, C., Ishikawa, S., & Silverstein, M. (1977). A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction (562-564). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

The diagram below illustrates Alexander’s principles of enlivening a courtyard

Poster for my thesis

          By Kristina Shrestha Hada
Hi! It has already been two weeks since I wrote here. Today, I am going to talk about my thesis and the poster. My thesis topic is sustainable Corporate Building. Sustainability is such a vast topic and it can be categorized in to different topics like Biomimicry, Energy efficient building, Passive solar architecture and the traditional vernacular architecture. I was especially enticed by the vernacular architecture. Vernacular architecture deals with climatic design as we can find many examples of buildings from different climates that provides comfortable living condition to its users. The buildings that are found in hot climates are entirely different from that of cold climate. The use of locally available materials also plays a key role in vernacular architecture. We can find the houses on the tropical regions which has extensive use of bamboos and timbers. There is provision of sufficient open spaces for comfort. Vernacular buildings has very less biological footprint and it takes minimal energy and resources to maintain it. For example: the traditional buildings of Nepal is made up of brick, timber, mud and stones. Stones are used in foundation, brick for the walls, timber for the floors and mud is used as the mortar to join the bricks. There is extensive use of local materials. When the building gets old and gets demolished, the materials like timber, mud, stone, and brick will have very minimal impact on environment. These traditional as well as modern techniques can be used in corporate building to make it sustainable.
I am trying to incorporate creative spaces in corporate building. The work space is considered as a very mundane place. Therefore, the purpose of my thesis would be to make creative work spaces which would motivate people to work. The traditional work spaces constraints the users which affects the efficiency of the company as a whole. If work spaces are creative and inspiring, then it would be possible to increase the efficiency of company. The creative work space would provide an opportunity to create a positive working environment. It would help employees to get self-motivated and creative in their work. My poster is about a traditional work space where an employee jumps in excitement, when he sees the creative spaces that has been created all over the world. The picture on the left most corner is an office which has a beautiful glazed skylight where the employees can see the beautiful colors of the tree outside. It gives the sense of bringing the outdoors inside. The picture in the second left shows that free plan of the workspace is helpful to the people working there as they have freedom to move around. The two pictures on the top right are the work spaces of google where we can see employees working in fancy offices which looks like a ship and the picture on the rightmost is google employees singing karaoke.
Therefore, creative workspace can inspire as well as motivate the employees so that they can enjoy their work and be more productive. Creative work space increases the capacity of employees and in long run is beneficial for the company.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Dynamics in Architecture

By Ken Howder
Solar gain has long been an issue within the architecture field.  The orientation of a building has been deemed the easiest and most ideal way to solve radiation issues.  We orient a window toward the southern light when we need more heat gain within a building, but during hot summer days in temperate climates, we are forced to cover these windows with reflective materials, awnings, and other shading devices.  What if a building could rotate, based on the amount of solar radiation combined with the current indoor temperature, to a degree of optimal solar radiation for the desired efficiency?
This introduces a somewhat new concept in the field:  Evolution and adaptation in the built environment.  Due to the ever-increasing amount of problems that architects and engineers run into while working in the field, using smart technology and sensor capabilities may help to deter some of the problems that arise in and beyond the planning phase for a building or project.  With factors such as climate change, adaptable architecture can become a necessity over the course of a buildings lifetime. 

Through dynamic architecture, a new form of bio mimicry may also arise.  Architecture that can adapt to its surroundings.  Specifically in the form of smart facades that can act as a more defensive skin to a building – smart facades that use sensors to open or close shading devices, possibly move insulation to needed walls, and open tunnels to reduce wind loads.  This form of dynamics in buildings can act in the form of artificially intelligent bio design.  However, the limit to this idea does not end outside of the building – interior sensors can pick up cues to the inhabitants comfort levels.  For example, when a person sleeps, their heart rate lowers.  With a sensitive enough sensor located near the inhabitants resting area, the building can determine whether or not someone is asleep and make adjustments to the interior environment for optimal sleeping conditions.

Planned Community : Re-Purposing Magnolia Development

By Josh West
As urban populations continue to grow, communities will face challenges.Cities have been confronted primarily with two main challenges; residential housingand land use inefficiency. With the increase of Planned Community developments,these challenges can be resolved and the amount of unfinished developmentscan be dwindled to none. A planned community development promotes smart growth principles by encouraging the efficient use of land, public facilities and services in areas that are sustainably developed . This development is then intended to create a community environment enhanced by a mixture of residential, commercial, and institutional uses to provide a stable community. By pushing this type of development, it can improve the growth of the community and enhance the overall vitality. Planned communities provide opportunities for cities to expand their neighborhoods and create greater unity within their city and surrounding areas. In his writing, “Core Form and Art Form,” Kenneth Frampton begins to discuss the simple knot. He describes the knot as an essential work of art, serving as the joint, joining two pieces of either same or different material, creating a connection. In this case, each strand of the string resembles one of the challenges a community will encounter. By implementing a planned community development into an area, it will tie all the strings together, forming a knot. This connection will create greater densities in and around the city, achieving a balance between greater job opportunities and more housing developments. With a mild, year round climate and miles of beaches and waterways, Charleston, South Carolina is becoming a new destination of choice. Known for its rich history and well preserved architecture, the City of Charleston has become one of the most popular cities to move to. New census estimated the Charleston area was the 12th fastest growing metropolitan area in the nation due to people of all ages moving there. As an increase in population growth, the desire to design planned communities has grown exponentially with all of the benefits emerging from it. By improving the lack of residential housing and land use challenges, it will help the city of Charleston maximize population growth and complement the downtown area. This thesis proposes a Planned Community Development just outside of downtown Charleston, South Carolina. Along the Ashley River, approximately seven miles from the Atlantic Ocean, this 182 acre site is the first thing visitors see when they are entering the city. Due to its location, this site has strong potential to connect with downtown and create a pedestrian-oriented community. Creating more housing outside of the downtown area for incoming residents, this planned development will bring new life to the city.
1- PGPlanning. Mixed Use and Planned Communitites. 2014
2- Frampton, Kenneth. “Core Form and Art Form.” 1980.
3- TimeMagazine. Destinations of Choice. 2013.
4- Slade, David. The Post and Courier. “Charleston area among nations fastest growing. 2013.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Graduate level education, the second part continued

By Jeremy Clow
Urban or Rural, the opposite stand points being developed in the current graduate studio. My specific group focuses on the rural environment. We are to design a new development in a small disconnected community just thirty minutes from the great Metropolitan East Coast. The existing area is vast with untouched nature and suburban homes on very large lots. The typical suburb if you will of a major city. The program enlists a variety of infrastructure from public to private. The municipal structures, community center, city hall, hospital, police, and fire station will support the new development as well as surrounding communities. Offices, retail, and dining will provide additional jobs and attractions for locals as well as visitors. Apartment complexes with two thousand units provide a substantial amount of living space for people working in the area as well as commuters. A large hotel, casino, and conference center providing three hundred rooms is the specific building I am focusing my design on. This establishment houses a casino providing a variety of employment opportunities and a major attraction for visitors. The conference center and ball rooms can be used to house multiple types of public and private events increasing the likelihood of increased revenue for the community. Major retail and high end dining located within the facility as well as some adjacent structures will provide a luxurious environment for those who wish to indulge. The new development as a whole faces many difficulties before any of these pieces within can work. The location, disconnected from public transport at its current state would require all residents and visitors to travel via automobile. I began researching all forms of public transportation in the area to find a solution to this problem. The Baltimore area has an enormous amount of public transport, almost too much. There are so many ways to travel however many are very disorganized and hard to use. Successful pieces for traveling the Metropolitan area are the Subway and MARC rail line. I also searched for the nearest Amtrak and Airport for connection to the rest of the nation and world. Through an extensive amount of research and station locations I proposed a plan to my group. The Shady Grove station, a thirty minute drive south west of the site, provided a close proximity and also a path of least resistance to and from the site. The proposal included a new rail line from the site to Shady Grove with one stop in between at the Montgomery County Airport, another commercial hub disconnected from metropolitan public transport. The Shady Grove station however is the last stop on a Subway line; this provides only one form of transport however the station can accommodate the new influx of potential travelers with its lower amount of use at the end of the line. The next stop however provides three major forms of transport, MARC, Amtrak, and the Subway connecting the newly developed site as well at the airport with the Eastern metropolitan area. The new development will provide an array of parking options for visitors the area as well as the residents however our focus is on alternative forms of transport that also increase the social experience. These options aren’t limited by class or financial states and provide the optimal melting pot of people from all backgrounds. Implementation of safe passage for pedestrians and cyclists as well as bike share provides a reduced speed of traffic across the site and a potential increase for social interaction with the elimination of a sheltering vehicle that confines those within. 

Summer Studio Project

By Hunter Wilson

I am Hunter Wilson, a student currently studying in the Southern Illinois University Masters of Architecture program.  I began my education at Vincennes University located in my hometown of Vincennes, Indiana.  After receiving an Associate’s Degree in Architectural Studies, I transferred to SIU where I earned a Bachelor’s Degree and still study today.
            The project for the Summer 2015 graduate studio, here at SIU, dealt with proposing an open-air museum.  The museum displays a specific collection of pieces of architecture around the site at full scale.  This particular project deals with the idea of “Contemporary Tranquility”.  This phrase describes this museum’s architectural collection.  The collection consists of architecture that is meant to give the user a sense of serenity that creates a spiritual experience.  These structures are humble in their design and personal in their feeling. 
            The site is near the banks of Little Grassy Lake in southern Illinois state.  The site is just above 30 acres that is mostly hilly grassland.  The bank along the lake is within the realm of the site that is available for museum use.  A miniature peninsula exists on the southwest end of the site that is mainly partially-dense forest. 
            The ultimate objective was to create an open-air museum that consists of an entry building/hub and a collection of architecture with shared, specific qualities.  The overall design must mimic the ideals and principles used within the collection, whether it be technical or metaphorical.
            The collection of buildings for “Contemporary Tranquility” is as follows:  All Saints Chapel, Chandgaon Mosque, Forest Chapel, Islamic Cemetery, and the Bruder Klaus Field Chapel.  All of these pieces of architecture portray the essence of “Contemporary Tranquility”.
            The All Saints Chapel is a one room sanctuary.  To the side of the structure sits a reflective pool.  This pool is reminiscent of baptismal waters.  Baptism in children usually occurs at infancy.  This though process allows the All Saints Chapel to be a suitable starting point for the journey through the museum.
            The Chandgaon Mosque is a sacred Islamic prayer hall.  Above the prayer hall is a skylight.  When viewed in plan view, the skylight mimics the shape of an eyeball.  This sets the stage for the second stop on the journey.  After birth, during one’ younger years, they are looked upon by an overseer to offer guidance while growing.  The skylight is the overseer.
            The Forest Chapel is located on a woodsy, college campus in Japan.  This chapel is most notable for being a wedding chapel.  Usually midway through life, one finds a partner to spend the rest of the journey.  This allows the Forest Chapel a spot midway through the museum experience.
            The Islamic Cemetery stands in silence in honor of the fallen.  As the journey comes to a close, it is fitting to visit a cemetery where the body is laid to rest for eternity.  The cemetery has a secluded prayer hall to mourn the lost.  Also as is Islamic tradition, the dead are resting on their side facing the holy city of Mecca.

            The Bruder Klaus Memorial Chapel is the most intimate of structures that appear in this collection.  A single ray of light from above shines down into the damp, airy space inside.  This dream-like experience makes it worthy of the last stop on the museum tour.  As for life, this space is almost as if it is a proper space for the spirit to reside.  As the body resides in the cemetery, the spirit lives confined and unable to escape itself.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Magnificent Hidden Red Sand Stone City

By Hanan Rawashdeh
   Petra, “the rose city” or the “red city’’, like how the Arab call it is a historical and archaeological city in southern Jordan, in the governorate of Maan. This famous rock cut architecture has earned the position of one of the Seven Wonders of the World in 2007 and was listed in the Smithsonian Magazine as one of the “28 places to see before you die”. It is the symbol of tourism for the country Jordan, the middle east.
   There are many architectural elements and systems in this historical city that make it remarkably unique. The path that leads to it, the embedded water system, the bulk and size of the cut out structures, the amount of detail in the sculpturing of the elevations and many more.
   The Nabataean kingdom, also named Nabatea, was the Arabic political state of the Nabataeans. Petra city was made by them and was their capital during their period, the classical antiquity, which is possibly around the 300 BC. Te Arab Nabataeans controlled vast expanses of desert in Jordan and with Petra’s highly strategic natural resources and location in a position that controlled the caravan routes that crossed the Arabian Peninsula from the ports of both the Persian Gulf and the red sea, Petra was marked as a center for trade where caravan’s could stop trade change currency and take rest.
   The path leading to the hidden valley city between the high mountains is of approximately 1.2 kilometers with a narrow width that at some points reaches only 9.8 ft wide. This narrow path is carved into the rocks surrounding the city.  With the sunlight refractions on the colored rock changing amongst the hour of the day the journey to the hidden city becomes a beautiful and interesting experience for any visitor . And right before one reaches the entrance of the city, at the end of the siq, a glimpse of the “Treasury” or “Al Khaznah ahead then quickly disappears to continue the siq for a couple of minutes, thus the iconic picture of the red city. The siq’s end opens suddenly to the great fa├žade of the treasury. The facade is a beautifully ornate tomb. It is the most impressive and grandest hand carved Structure in the red sandstone mountain of all Petra’s tombs.


Another impressive element which could be easily noticed the moment one enters the siq of Petra is the carved open channels that flake either side of the siq. Like a perennial stream, this distribution system and water supply of the Nabataean city of Petra had exploited all possible water resources using management techniques that balance reservoir storage capacity with continuous flow pipeline systems to maintain a constant water supply throughout the year.  The ancient City development was influenced artistically, culturally and technologically from Seleucid, Syro-Phoenician, Greek and Roman civilizations. Hydraulic technologies derived from these contacts as well as original technical innovations helped maintain the high living standard of city dwellers throughout the centuries. A demonstration of engineering capability that indicates a high degree of cognitive skill which the Nabataea Arabs had in solving complex hydraulic problems and ensuring a stable water supply.

Tectonic Architecture

By Cole Hartke

“Despite the critical importance of topography and light, the primary principle of architectural autonomy resides in the tectonic rather than the scenographic; that is to say, this autonomy is embodied in the revealed ligaments of the construction and in the way in which the syntactical form of the structure explicitly resists the action of gravity.”(Frampton pg.27)
            This quote holds a lot of truth in it for a number of reasons. The first being that the meaning of tectonics, where the root of it being the mixture between art and construction. With the scenographic element the focus is not that of the building construction but of what the buildings shell or exterior will look like hiding the structure that keeps the building up. When the construction of a building is taking the buildings exterior and also serves as a part of the look an artistic quality of the design that is tectonic design.
            “The tectonic is not to be confused with the purely technical, for it is more than the simple relation of steromtomy or the expression of skeletal framework.”(Frampton pg.27)
            The use of the phrase that Frampton uses in the first quote “Explicitly resists thee action of gravity” took some time for me to come up with a reasoning I could put into my own words. After thinking I came upon the fact that when looking at the structure there is no doubt to what holds it up and to why gravity does not pull it down to the ground. The sudden realization is true in many structures today that show their inner workings out on the exterior of the very dwelling that they are trying to sustain.
            The previous reading lead to a quite similar reading that references the theories and ideas of Kenneth Frampton.
“The thesis Kenneth Frampton advances is not new to us. In “Rappel a l order: The Case for the Tectonic”(1990), reminded us that the traditional mimetic relationship between architecture and nature has been severed for some time now and that this loss of center, among many others, resulted in spiritual and material ruin.”(Kenneth Frampton, edited by John Cava pg. 74)
The statement is clear to see in the world today, people around the world have been losing sight or have already lost what they had of the natural elements that are related to a structure. There is no need to plan a design around what is available to a designer because the recourses are almost unlimited to what could be used. The need to design for a sites region and environment has become obsolete in many ways. Due to mechanical equipment a type of bubble is built no matter where you go oblivious to the world around it. There hasn’t been a push to change the social thinking of this in the eyes of the world.
The biggest influence that I see today is the future designers being steered in the direction of sustainability; this design method is a big tool in helping bring the nature back into design.
            A key characteristic in the research of these two articles is the fact that many aspects in design are overlooked. For that of Tectonic and scenographic, the tectonic is a part of the true nature of architecture, art and construction or as Frampton would say “Poetic Construction”. In most cases it is covered by a mask to hide its structural aspects and creates a scenographic view. With the second part and our separation from nature. The world is out there for us to use but not for us to overlook its true potential. With the newer technologies and materials it is easy for a design to overlook something that is right next to it but never put into the plan.

Foster, Hal. The Anti-aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture. Port Townsend, Washington: Bay Press, 1983

Frampton, Kenneth, and John Cava. Studies in Tectonic Culture: The Peotics of Constructuion in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Architecture. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press 1995

Monday, October 19, 2015

key concepts

BY Casey Bucher

Some interesting articles I have come across since researching information on my thesis. 
There are four key concepts I want to incorporate into my thesis project; harmony, functionality, landmark, and sustainability.  With each of these ideas, a review has been done that focuses on the performance and design decisions made for each concept.

Harmony: Yasunaga, Yodai. “OLD & NEW: CAN CONTEMPORARY AND HISTORICAL ARCHITECTURE EXIST?” MK Think. MK Think, 1 August 2014. 2 October 2015.

In this article, the author gives us an example building where much criticism has surrounded the contemporary addition.  The stark difference between the new building and the Neo-Romanesque existing building has created an unnecessary distraction from what the public is supposed to be appreciating. However, there are some cases where the modern addition gives a new life to the old building. Finding the perfect balance between these two is why “harmony” will be the most difficult concept to achieve.  It cannot only be married in the designer’s eyes, but also the client and the average Joe. 

Bernstein, Fred A. “Where Old and New Collide”. Metropolis. Metropolis Magazine, February 2006. 3 October 2015.

In this article, a couple excerpts caught my eye. “Some kinds of architecture…are most effective when forced to coexist with other kinds of architecture.” This quote as well as the term “urban intervention” seemed to strike a cord. Bonding the new with the old in a captivating way. Again, finding the perfect harmony in the historic urban environment with new architecture.

Functionality: Sun, Feifei. “Extreme Makeover: 8 Inspiring Urban Renewal Projects”. NationSwell, Meet the People Renewing America. Making Government Work, 25 June 2014. 3 October 2015.

This article gives eight examples of turning a worn-down building or a structure that is at the end of its original life cycle and turning it into a completely different building, serving a different program and purpose.  It shows that there can be a renewable aspect to architecture if it is given the proper time and energy.

Landmark: Lubell, Sam. “In Paris, Mixing the Contemporary With the Classics”. Travel, Cultured Traveler. The New York Times, 29 March 2013. 2 October 2015.

In the city of well-known landmarks, Paris architects are taking design of historic and contemporary to a whole new level. This new generation of architects that are taking over the contemporary design of the city simply stated historic Paris architecture is “sleek diamonds in an aging rough”.  It’s incredible to see just how many contemporary works have been designed on the old world of Paris architecture.

Sustainability: Roberts, Tristan. “Historic Preservation and Green Building: A Lasting Relationship”. Environmental Building News. Building Green, 2 January 2007.

This article gives in-depth solutions to creating a green, sustainable structure from an old historic building.  Though these two don’t usually go hand in hand very often, it would be beneficial to implement as much green sustainability that this building will allow.  It used to be known in the architecture world that the greenest building is one that hasn’t been built.  Nowadays, according to this article, it is safe to say that the greenest building is one that has already been built.  Though many standards, challenges, and opportunities arise in these type of projects, the result is one that is well worth the never ending troubles that will without a doubt occur.

Sports teams

By Andy Cunningham

Sports teams are major parts of most cities, but do they help the city economically? Most stadiums that are built nowadays are publicly funded and according to some people don’t really help the economy that much. When attempting to bring in a new team, or build a new stadium there is a promise of new jobs and more money but how well do these promises hold up over time. Recently there have been talks of bringing an NFL team to Los Angeles, and people are projecting that it will generate $800 million dollars a year but a lot of people are suspicious of this total. “A good rule of thumb that economists use is to take what stadium boosters are telling you and move that one decimal place to the left, and that’s usually a good estimate of what you’re going to get,” Victor Matheson, a sports economist at College of the Holy Cross, says.  Since sporting events and really any live entertainment event is getting more and more expensive, new stadiums tend to repel people away because most people do not want to spend that much money.1 One of the biggest impact new stadiums have is creating jobs, at least for construction workers. When the Minnesota Vikings were proposing their new stadium they estimated that there would be over 7,500 construction jobs created over the three year building period, with over more than 3,000 part time and full time jobs once the stadium is completed. The analysis by the Conventions, Sports and Leisure, International estimate that there will be $26 million dollars a year in tax revenue, and over $145 million in direct spending by Vikings fans in Minnesota.2
Having a sports team nearby can be fun, but if there’s nothing around a stadium is there anything that can attract people to an area without needing to spend $50 on a ticket and then an extra $50 on food and drink once they are inside? What if there was a place near the stadium where people could get as close to the arena atmosphere without being there for less money? St. Louis has a place like this called Ball Park Village next to where the St. Louis Cardinals play baseball. Ball Park Village is a multi-use development that houses multiple restaurants and bars, as well as featuring large projection screens so that guest can watch the game surrounded by thousands of other fans like they were in the stadium. According to the economic impact report done by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, once Ball Park Village is complete there will be a steady increase in state gross product, as well as an increase in jobs created for the area.3 Places like this can benefit and area because this type of place can be opened year round making money instead of just being used when there is a game or a concert. A multi-use space like Ball Park Village is also capable of attracting people to the area who don’t live in the area. Forty percent of people who come to Cardinals games come from outside of Missouri, so, it's expected Ballpark Village will draw visitors who live as long as a four hour drive from here.4 What happens during the winter when it’s not baseball season? Baseball can’t be played year round so instead of attracting people to baseball games St. Louis has a hockey team whose home is just a couple blocks from where Ball Park Village stands, and there would be the same effect that it has on baseball games especially since hockey tickets are becoming more and more expensive.
            This project proposes building a multi-use development outside of the United Center in the Near West Side of Chicago. The United Center is the home of the Chicago Blackhawks (NHL), and Chicago Bulls (NBA), as well as multiple other concerts and events throughout the year. One Problem with the United Center is there is not much around it so most people who go to that area are just going to see whatever event they are seeing and then they leave. This project will be able to keep some of those who come to the area there longer because it gives them a place to go. This project will also give more people a reason to go there and be with friends and other fans of whatever they’re watching. The near west Side is an easily accessible place with multiple train stops throughout the area as well as bus stops. If this project is able to draw more people into the area and bring in more money to the area there will be a lot of people who can benefit people from it. This Project will basically work opposite of the way Ball Park Village does in St. Louis. Since basketball and hockey are winter sports, the majority of the business will take place between October and June, but when those sports are out of season baseball is in season and this area is a good ways away from both U.S. Cellular field where the White Sox play, and Wrigley Field, where the Cubs play, so it would be an option to go watch the games here.  
            Looking at area demographics and crime is a big thing to look at when building within a city, especially with all the violence that has been going on in Chicago over the last couple years. The near west ranks 29th among the 77 Chicago community areas in violent crimes over the last 30 days, 3rd in property crimes, and 28th in quality of life crimes.5 While the near west side may not look to be the safest area in Chicago, it is also a very large area and some of these crimes may not take place in the area surrounding the United Center. Even then by bringing in more people, jobs and money to the area hopefully the area will start to improve.