Friday, January 29, 2016

Review of Fall Studio Project

By: Ken Howder

As was expected, the Fall comprehensive design studio was fast-paced and loaded with plenty of work.  We were given the task to assemble into teams to fulfill an urban or rural design in two locations in Maryland.  We were also to design separate buildings of our own for the planned urban or rural site.  I chose to design the luxury hotel for my team’s rural design site that was meant to accommodate incoming visitors as well as for somewhat-nearby residents to stay if needed.  The hotel was also designed to hold a restaurant/bar, banquet and ball rooms, and luxury penthouse units.

            For the rural site, we decided to go with a more spread out design that would allow smaller “clusters” of communities within a larger community.  We limited the office and commercial spaces to the outsides of the site boundaries to allow incoming visitor’s easier access and somewhat separate from the serene clusters.  All of this was wrapped around a central area within the site where we planned a few man-made water bodies and the community center as the central focal point of the site.  This entire design lent itself well to the site as a radially organized theme.  Below is a view of the final site plan that we developed.
(Team-Designed Site Plan, Image by Author)
Keeping with the radial theme of the site design, I designed the hotel in a radial pattern of guest rooms.  This allowed the guest rooms’ views to vary across the site from the dense wooded area to the office districts to the serene residential clusters.  I situated the lobby within the outer semi-circle of guest rooms to give a centrally located vertical flow point for the entire building.  I went a little green and artsy for the design within the lobby – The view that arriving guests would first walk into would be a garden within the lobby situated below a giant glass dome of natural light (see below)
(Hotel Lobby, Image by Author)
            One of the most noticeable design elements of this hotel is the double skin façade system that doubles as patio space for guest rooms.  This system utilizes an interior skin of  horizontal and vertical glass separated by mullions to create a grid design.  The outer skin is made of the same sized glass panels, only situated diagonally to fill in the lateral bracing used in the structure – thus allowing the structure of the building to be incorporated into the final design.  This effect turned out much better than I had anticipated.
(Final Hotel, Image by Author)

Overall, the semester was a good learning experience.  We all had such a good time.

Thesis Statement

By: Josh West
With a mild, year round climate and miles of beaches and waterways, Charleston, South As urban populations continue to grow, communities will face challenges. Cities have been confronted primarily with two main challenges; residential housing and land use inefficiency. With the increase of Planned Community developments, these challenges can be resolved and the amount of unfinished developments can 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[1]. 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.[2] 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.
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.[3] New census estimated the Charleston area was the 12th fastest growing metropolitan area in the nation due to people of all ages moving there.[4] 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.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

A pedestrian friendly community

By: Jeremy Clow
            Spring semester has begun, back to the daily grind. As winter arrives the cold weather shows a reality to the site I have chosen for my thesis. Carbondale, Illinois located in the southern parts of the state receives a very diverse climate. Moderate is a modest term for intense warm fronts coming from the south and cold ones from the north. Temperature ranges in excess of forty degrees over a twenty four hour period. The traffic patterns throughout the community change drastically with these conditions. Through my thesis I intend to promote a pedestrian friendly community that provides unity among the residents and students. With cold weather the likelihood of persons being exposed to the elements dwindles drastically. The limited public transportation in the area also promotes the use of private automobiles.
            The private automobiles not only use up our natural resources and pollute the environment, they also take up space. Vast parking lots, which are eye sores surround the university and create barrier from residential neighborhoods and businesses. The green space that could be connecting these attractive locations is diminished with space after space for our auto crazed world. Due to the size of the town however and average income it is understandable that private automobiles are necessary for everyday ways of life.
            Walking and biking throughout the community should also be done with ease. A person who wishes to use a healthy form of transportation shouldn’t be worried about his or hers safety when crossing a street or passing through a dreary portion of town. Increased lighting among pathways to ensure safety and provided optimal visibility would prove worth and increase the likelihood of use among these paths. The infrastructure of these paths should be more diverse as well. Bike paths that end abruptly on certain streets for no apparent reason could be changed into loops linking more locations and businesses. The sidewalks are plentiful in the downtown area and on SIU campus however within a mile in any direction they disappear. Housing and business stretch far more than the sidewalks and all of these locations are disconnected by a safe means of non-vehicular transportation.

            Covered bikeways and sidewalks with ample lighting provide shelter from the elements as well. Florida Southern College for example uses covered walkways connecting about eighty percent of the original campus. These coverings block the beating sun but provide passive cooling during the summer as well. Anyone who walks on campus at SIU knows there is only one building where you can guarantee to see people congregating outside every day of the week. This building is Faner, it has a covered plaza that provides shelter from precipitation as well as the sun all while allowing passive cooling techniques through its voids on the ground level. Multiple buildings surround link via sidewalks to this plaza create and ease of circulation from the educational buildings to the library and student center. 

Fall 2015 – Final 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.
            During this past semester (Fall 2015), we were provided a program that asked us to create a new town near Baltimore, MD as a team of three students.  Along with this new town we were to each design our own building for this new town.  I chose to design the hotel for the new town, which our group decided to name Meriweather, MD.
         The new town consists of a luxury hotel, community center, live work units, apartments, single family homes, senior living center, retail, business, amphitheater, and recreation facilities.  The new town allows for roughly 5000-6000 residents.  Since the new town is located in a highly rural area, the goal was to provide a town center that replicates that of an urban setting.  The town center will consist of the retail and business areas as well as nightlife.  To the west of the town center is the amphitheater, community center and recreation center.  Two bodies of water separate the urban town center from the more rural setting that is adjacent to the forest.  Accessibility throughout the site consists of pedestrian walkways and bike paths.  There are a series of bicycle rental stations throughout the site for pedestrian use.  
The luxury hotel is located on the main entrance road to the north of the site.  As you travel down the main boulevard, you will approach the hotel and continue through the building.  This allows the hotel to act as a sort of gateway to the new town.  The hotel consists of 120 guest rooms and also contains a swimming pool, meeting rooms, exercise room, a restaurant/bar, and a restaurant/function space.  A plaza at the entrance of the hotel transitions into the town center for the guests to easily access those areas.  While the plaza allows guests access to the town center, it also allows pedestrians in the town center to access the hotel amenities such as the bar and restaurant.  Structural concrete walls and steel framing are the main structural elements.  Exterior wood cladding, concrete and glazing act as the main finish materials.

            The experience I gained from working on a project like this is generous.  I also learned a lot about the process and myself after working with partners to achieve the vision of a new town.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Reflective spaces in the eyes of the Teenagers

By: Hanan Rawashdeh

To design a reflective space for young people can be somewhat tricky. One must take into account how the young user will perceive and interact with the space. And before anything answer the question of how the age group reflects?
Pinpointing a single method for self-reflection is a far stretch of reality, as this age group differs highly in their mentality, acceptance and perception of their surroundings throughout these years. It is also out of the question to try to mimic what would be a reflective space for adults ‘use to find comfort.  When looking at the strategies of that age resort to in finding inner peace one finds that there is a wide variation from listening to music, reading, isolating themselves, making art, sports, creating imaginary friends or living in the digital world… etc.
The base of creating a simulating and reflective spaces usually interacts with the senses:
è Smell
 It can be from certain plants, trees that bloom at a certain time of the year and give a pleasant fragrance, such examples are used in health care centers and hospitals. It can also be from the cafeteria, from certain cooking equipment connected to ducts.
è Sound
Like the example of musical steps music can be incorporated and installed in architecture. Other natural elements that are calming can also be used like the sound of water, placing a water wall or letting a small stream run through a certain area.
 è Vision
To create visual legibility at some times and other times there is no visually accessibility this creates curiosity and change in patters (Dynamic barriers) The pleasant view of green spaces intertwined with functions has also been proved to have a positive attitude impact on users.
 è Touch
 By using a variety of materials from rough to smooth also the temperature of the material itself can be a stimulator (creating contrast) the installment of easy tempered materials and placing them in a place where direct sunlight is.
Having said that, the equation of creating a reflective space isn’t that simple. Kevin Lynch stated in his book “City Sense and City Design” : Most environments, however, no matter how stimulating initially, become dull and even “invisible” with repeated experience. In conclusion there doesn’t really need to be a specially defined reflective space which is marked and only functions as a reflective space. The opportunity to make any daily used average space and incorporate it in a stimulating indirect self-reflecting program that is changeable will be the most successful approach.
Installed architecture has been used many times for studying human behavior and interaction. A simple installation such as placing piano keys on stairs for a subway to encourage people to use them was tested. When people realized that when stepping on the stairs music would emit more and more people used the stairs. A simple change in an ordinary daily used element resulted in massive change of behavior. To have more than one Stimulating point for a young users to go through just while proceeding his or her daily routine can accumulate and change the mentality and emotion.. Small shocks of simulative interaction, one after the other will disorient the way of thinking into a direction of that simulator, which is in this case reflectivity. This shows that architecture doesn’t necessarily need to be created from scratch to effect and create a reflective space but can be incorporated into our daily lives. 

Thesis site – Trinity bellwoods park ( Toronto, Canada)

By: Faezeh Ensafi

My thesis building site is located in Trinity bellwoods park, Toronto Canada. Trinity Bellwoods original spatial design can be traced back to its former occupant Trinity College, one of the sources for its name. Trinity College was founded as an independent institution by Bishop John Strachan, opened its doors in 1852 and was bought over by University of Toronto in 1904. Its neo-Gothic design (by Kivas Tully) is said to remind of the famous Cambridge and Oxford. With three more additions to the college buildings, Frank Darling designed pathways to connect the main building to the new chapel and convocation hall. In 1922-25, University of Toronto moved all the buildings to the main St. George campus. The city sought to reoccupy and repurpose the abandoned buildings in search for preservation and failed, hence the whole site was razed in 1956. Over the years the main straight pathway system and the gate (main entrance of Trinity College) were preserved.
Between 1928-1945, the park was home to a small amusement park, a park shelter and later a leisure park, similar to the English Pleasure Gardens. As a part of preservation project pathways were restored, tree-lines were improved on the northern parts and sports facilities were added. Looking through Toronto Archive photos, one can see the shift of activities over the years towards what’s today a community hang-out. The majority of photos include gatherings for sports and recreational activities, winter-slides, football games and so on.
Over the past few decades another social shift occurred in the entire neighborhood affiliated with the park. In the 1990s a gentrification movement started on Queen St West which resulted in low income class(which mainly consisted of ethnic groups and artists) to move to the more affordable west end of Queen St W (now called “West Queen West” or the “Art District”). This are slowly formed a more fused community mostly identified as the creative type. Trinity Bellwoods as the districts new community space now holds gatherings and      events  managed by the residents. The park, so          rich in history becomes an inspiration to many artists to  perform art installations, practice dance routines to finish large     canvas paintings.

Walking in Trinity Bellwoods Park as a first time observer, you will get surprised by non-axial paths, dead-end walkways, straight yet oddly angled paths, irregular yet massive topographic elevations. U will notice elements that do not quite belong to a park ((i.e.       the gateway, a deck in the middle of a giant topographical hole).

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Back to School

By: Daniel Roman

            It is great to be back this semester for our second to last semester of our college careers. It was a fun and interesting break this past break. I was able to see family and friends, have some fun and enjoy myself. But more than anything I was able to land an internship while in the city. I worked for three weeks while in Chicago.
            The firm is called Amphion Engineering, it’s a small office, it was located at a local neighborhood, the office had been around for just two years. They had taken an old body shop warehouse and remodeled the interior to fit an office where clients are able to arrive and meet with the architect and workers. The office wasn’t made up many people, which meant a lot of us had to take various roles and jobs when it came to a project.
            On my first day I was briefed about the firm and I met everyone who worked there. I was assigned a project and I was sent out on the field to take measurements. I was sent out with a co-worker to show me how to take proper measurements. The first day I was already on the field, I was able to meet with the client, for the job was for an in fracture of the city, for the client had a children day care in their basement, the renovation was made without telling the city and obtaining proper documentation for the construction. Someone told the city and the city told her that she had to comply with the city regulations.
            The following week I was sent out to measure a two story building with a basement that had four dwelling living units, a complete renovation had to be created and I was given the freedom to come up with a layout and then adjustment would have to be made according to the client’s request. I enjoyed working at a small firm, you are able to work on different stages of the project. Therefore one is able to work and experience more. I was able to contact clients in regards to their project, updating them and sending them updates in regards to the drawings.
            I was able to use these hours towards my IDP hours, I had already set up an account couple summers prior for I worked for Precast/ Prestressed Concrete Institute in Chicago. IDP is a very important aspect of becoming an architect. I am just glad that I have been able to start setting up these hours. In the office there are a couple guys that are nearing the time of their IDP and are going to start prepping to take the Architecture exam, perhaps I will be able to oversee them while they are studying and going over the material. I am going to be in contact with the office and possibly help them while I am in school.
            I am looking forward to this semester for this semester will be highly based on our thesis, over the break I was able to look more in the topic of Maslow and the site, Cobden IL. This semester is turning out to be a very busy one, for I am also taking a furniture class that I am looking forward to, part of architecture is furniture, come down to be able to build something and create something, many companies spend years making their chairs and tables perfect down to the right angle of incline, and to get the opportunity to be able to start such project is pretty interesting.

            Looking forward the other class I am looking forward to is the history class, with Dr. Davey, possibly mostly because of the professor, even during our first meeting with him, I recall as to how intelligent he is. I am always impressed as to how much a lot of these professors know. What Dr. Davey is so good at is knowing a lot more than just architecture, but he is able to implement that knowledge towards architecture design, and I think that’s what our thesis is mostly about, implementing our research towards the design of our thesis, to really explain the “Why?” aspect of certain decisions.

Architectural Advance

By: Cole Hartke
            The advancements in the technologies in the world have a vast relation in the architecture and the limits they have. With the research in the process of my theses I have found that there are huge additives to create a self-sustainable resort. Some of the advancements involve energy producers and water filtration.
            With a self-sustainable resort power is a big issue to keep things running smoothly. Tidal energy is something that I want to explore for one of the energy producers when thinking about how the ocean, the power it has is never ending. Compared to solar power, which would only produce power during the daytime, the use of tidal energy would work all day and all night. The power produced would fluctuate because of the gravitational pull of the moon but it would be available at all times.
            Wind power is also a great option out on a costal area. The winds blowing over the oceans waves are very strong and on most occasions don’t slow down all too often. By strategically placing wind turbines as an addition to tidal devices the resort could function with no need to be attached to a main grid. Solar power would help but it requires more square footage to produce more power.
            Storage of all this energy is one problem that cannot be overlooked. By producing all the power of a building off a grid, producing and containing power is key. When dealing with the public failure is not an option because if you fail once then people wont be around to see you fail again. If one storage were to fail then a backup storage unit would be an excellent idea and also a must.
            In a state of emergency the power should not be relied on outside the protection of the resort. In storm conditions such as a hurricane there is no telling what freak accident that could happen to equipment out in the water or under it. When all else fails the use of fossil fuels may come into affect. This use is not the first action but merely just for emergencies.
            With all these energy strategies that I plan to put in use in this thesis I believe that the resort would run free and clear with no problems. The issues for the power may satisfy a few problems but there is a large list of problems to be solved from here on out.


Monday, January 25, 2016

Back to school, back to school…

By: Casey Bucher

It’s only been a full day back from Christmas break and I’m already looking forward to the next break.  Unlike several of my classmates, my break was extremely busy.  Since day one, I was up at 6am everyday, making the uneventful drive to Paducah, Kentucky for work.  While I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to work in a design firm over all my school breaks, I also am envious of the people that did nothing but lay in bed and watch Netflix every day.  You lucky, lucky people… However, while they were enjoying the break, I was actually learning over the break.  Working on real projects, for real clients for five weeks was such a tease into what life will be like for me in six short months. 
Working for i5 Design Group as an architectural designer was nothing short of spectacular.  The real world situations that I was put in make me excited about the future.  Though studio projects can be fun, working through everyday problems for a real firm, for real clients is where architecture gets exciting…and partially stressful.  Going out to job sites, meeting clients, designing buildings, picking out paint colors, hanging up artwork, were just a few of the things I experienced in just one day on the job.  All of this makes you feel worthwhile and so happy I picked this career.  In the five short weeks that I was working, my projects varied from a bank remodel, to a complete building gut and renovation, to a new house, to a train car remodel, to a new business building.  This variety in building types taught me so many things and showed me all the details that went into making each building a success. 
In the coming months, as I put my resume and portfolio together, I hope to find several job options that are very similar to the job like I had at i5 Design.  Architecture work and construction documents can sometimes get monotonous.  However, when you work for a small firm the variety of day-to-day activities will make it impossible to become uninteresting.  Though it may be impossible to find a job as great as the one I previously had, my fingers are crossed that there will be one out there for me.  

Proof in Architecture

By: Aaron Neal

Architectures are called upon by society to make certain judgement calls in terms of design.  They are given the responsibility to make decisions that we think will provide the best outcome for the situation.  This might be in terms of how a space is used or how a passive system works.  In both of these cases the decision is made without substantial proof that they work.  In regards to a passive system, we understand the basic principles of how to passively cool or heat a building, but we have no education on how to prove by how much or how exactly that works.  That kind of analysis requires some sort of specialized education with an emphasis in computer modeling and physics.  Most architectural firms don’t have the money to hire a full time or even contract out an expert to prove every design that goes out the doors.  This may not be a big deal when it comes to a house, or a small clinic, but large projects like schools or hospitals should have that proof behind the design.  With such a large budget the client should demand some sort of proof for every decision that goes into the design and we as architects should just include justification with our initial designs. 

            Now in regards to how a space functions, there should be significant studies done as well.  These should include behavioral studies, taking population polls, full scale mock ups and simulations.  This is where a lot of architects fail I believe.  We send someone out to do a site visit and they take some photographs, write down some measurements, and head back to the office.  To fully understand the site though, it would require someone to experience the site at all times and seasons.  Now granted, this would be near impossible to do in a timely manner, but more than a couple of site visits should be the norm in most offices.  Simulations are another thing that could drastically alter how a project turns out.  In some hospital designs, patient rooms and mock E.R.’s would be created so that the actual nurses would work there could test out the space.  Then these tests can be documented and the design can be changed so that the space functions better which could result in more lives saved.  These kinds of tests should be fundamental when doing large projects such as schools or medical buildings.  Other fields completely test their products before release.   Automobiles and airplanes go through rigorous testing to see exactly when they fail and how much they can withstand.  How much do we do in architecture?  There are some testing that goes on such as wall assemblies and structural systems, but what about the more complex issues such as social behaviors or even the thermodynamics of passive systems.  Sometimes it’s easy to say that a design will work without any proof, but what are the consequences behind those actions?  Are we being completely fair to our clients or even society when we make those opinionate decisions?

Friday, January 22, 2016

Entertainment District

By: Andy Cunningham

What’s up everybody! I hope your break was good, and got some much needed rest, I know I did. I did a whole lot of nothing, and it was everything I could have hoped for.
            Looking forward to this semester, I am actually excited about it. Being able to work on my thesis is really exciting, because normally in studios, sites and programs, or building types are predefined, but with the thesis, I get the opportunity to have a decision on everything. I’m really looking forward to the next few months.
As to what my project is, creating an entertainment district outside the United Center, it’s exciting to look around the country and see more types of places pop up around the country, and even around the city of Chicago. The Chicago cubs are currently constructing something similar outside of Wrigley field. These entertainment districts are designed to bring more people to the area and allowing them to experience the game in a similar atmosphere as actually being at the game.
            Although Wrigley field is in a better neighborhood than the United Center, bringing in an entertainment district and giving people more of a reason to go into the area the area will hopefully start to improve. With the sustained success that the Blackhawks have had over the last decade, and the bulls always hanging around, support for both of these teams is incredibly high and giving people the chance to go down and experience the game somewhere other than their house or a random bar, this gives fans a chance to experience the game in another way.

            I know for me, having a place like this would be awesome because it would be cool to go watch a hawks or bulls game there in the excitement of the Arena, and the take the train to city to do whatever.

A trip to Denevr

By: Alicia Luther

Welcome back from the holidays all! It has come to the time to where we really crack down on our thesis project. Over the break, I had the opportunity to travel to Denver. I decided to share some of the architecture that I saw on my trip. My intention of the trip was to check out the area to see if it was a potential location I would want to move to. As I was there, I noticed a lot of residential buildings being constructed and a few office buildings as well. There were a lot of unique buildings and some had amazing interiors.
            As soon as I landed at the Denver International Airport, I was already experiencing the wonderful architecture. The airport was one of the most interesting airports that I have personally experienced yet. As I was coming off the terminal, I thought the interior was awesome. To get from the terminal to the main baggage claim you had to take a train that made 3 stops until you arrived at the claim. However, it is the exterior that is truly incredible. The airport’s exterior has tall peaks that represent the snowcapped mountains. The peaks are a fabric that is held up my steel cables. Attached to the airport is a new extension, a Westin Hotel has been added to the end and it has a wave like shape that is unique.
            As I arrived to the city the Sports Authority Field immediately caught my eye. The stadium looks like a roller coaster from the exterior. The first stadium built there was said to be built for the Denver Bears baseball team and then became extended for the Bronco’s football stadium. Go Broncos!  That Mile High Stadium was then demolished and this one was built just 50’ from the original stadium. The project was a $400.7 million project and only seats 2 extra people than the originally stadium.

            While there, I experienced some of the night life and dining as well. One night we went to the Melting Pot and that was an old library converted into a restaurant. For night light I went to a club called The Church. This was and old church converted into a night club. The venue still had the old stained glass and with the high ceiling it made for an interesting venue. Also, I visited a place called Double Daughters. The interior took on an Alice and Wonderland feel. The railings were all made of axes and the color theme was a dark red.  If ever looking for a vacation destination I highly recommend Denver. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Comprehensive Design Studio

By; Kristina Shrestha

This is the last blog of the semester. This semester has been a great learning experience. We not only had a comprehensive studio this semester but also had to design a new city. A city which will incorporate retail stores, offices, school, community center, senior living, fire station and police station. An urban sites as well as rural site were allocated for the variation of the design. The master plan of the city was designed in a group of three. The main excess points of the city were predefined. Different areas were allocated for the offices, school, retail stores, community center, senior living, fire sta­­tion and police stations. The master plan was refined and elements of the city like nodes, paths, landmark, edges and districts were defined. We also designed an individual building for the purpose of studio. I am designing a high-rise apartment. The building was inspired by sculpture of Donald Judd. In the Environment and system class, we are making panels for the project we are doing in studio. We started the panel with site analysis of the site in Glenelg, Maryland which includes wind analysis, sun path, roads leading to the site and the different site conditions. We made panels for the codes applicable for the Genelg, Maryland site. Similarly, we did a panel for soil condition of the site. We studied different types of structural units which can be applicable for the building we are designing. As I am designing a high rise building, I will be using pile foundation with steel columns and beams. The floors will be made up of precast slab. The steel columns are made up of wide ‘I’ beams. The egress and plumbing fixtures were calculated. We designed mechanical and electrical systems of the building. We made an architecture panel which helps people to understand our design.
In “professional practice” class, we learned about the rules and regulations of NCARB and AIA. We also learned about the internship programs and the process to become a certified architect. One of the interesting subjects was the “contracts”. There are different types of contracts such as Architect Owner Contract, Owner Contractor Contract and Owner Construction Manager Contract.
The other class was Research Methodologies and Architectural theory. It was one of the most interesting and inspiring classes ever. I was working on the research of my thesis. We also had a debate on post modernism versus modern and I was given post modernism. During the research for the debate, I found out so much about post modernism and especially about Robert Venturi and his design. The evolution of post modernism which started with Robert Venturi. I have always found myself supporting for modern architecture. After my research on post modernism, I started looking for the different eras of development of architecture. I was amused by the deconstructivist architecture. I researched about Zaha Hadid and Frank Gehry, two pioneers of deconstructivist architecture.

When I was small I was amused by Galileo. I wonder how he imagined a real shape of the world we live today. I wondered what was inside his mind and why was he was exploring the shape of the earth? When I was growing up I was inspired by Albert Einstein too and his quest to find a single theory of the universe. He spent many years to prove the theory of relativity. He must have an incredible patience as he had to wait for so long to get into what he was searching for. Also, I wondered why he was so different from the other people. People would say things like “thinking outside the box” but I think Albert Einstein was outside the rules that human are in, in terms of his way of thinking and his belief.
When I started my journey of architecture, I was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wrights. I love all of his buildings, the simplicity and the effectiveness of his designs. My summer project was also inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s work.
The only reason behind explaining these is that this class changed my thought and inspired me. This semester I was inspired by the designs of Frank Gehry. I was motivated to design something which was out of the box, at least for me. I decided to design a building which would cry out loud. It was very different from my regular designs. I designed a building such that it could give the viewers the feeling of movement and change. Also, it would look different from various angles.
In conclusion, this semester has been a great learning experience. It has widened the horizons of my thought and made me more creative.

That’s all for today! I hope to post new articles for the spring. I wish you happy holidays!

Technology in Architecture

By: Stephen Lauer
Post 7: Final Touches

The final post this semester will be about finishing touches. There are final adjustments that can be made to alter how the image looks and “feels”. The first is to use the layer adjustments (vibrance, hue/saturation, color balance, etc.). This places a new layer on top of all of the existing layers and adds the adjustment to the affected areas. By doing this it can make the image brighter or darker, create a different feeling all together, or completely invert the color of the image. These adjustments are very simple to make and take nearly no time at all to do. The top image is the unadjusted image from an earlier tutorial of the fog and rain/snow. The bottom image is the same image as above but was adjusted using only the Vibrance layer adjustment and dropping the saturation to -100 and the vibrance to +100. This created a very foggy and ominous look and much more convincing and realistic than the top image in which I was beginning to achieve the same affect only needing one layer adjustment to achieve that. In my opinion the adjustments on sunny or bright images begins to make them look more artistic rather than realistic. But each adjustment is used in its own specific way and has its advantages and disadvantages.
Another way to make these final adjustments are to use plug-ins such as Topaz Labs software,, which has numerous plug-ins that allows for various types of adjustments. A few of their software plug-ins are as follows, Adjust, Clarity, and Detail. Each of these take advantage of different aspects of the image and highlights them. As Topaz Labs has their own software for these adjustments, there are other companies that do the same thing and Topaz Labs is just one that I have personally tried myself and have seen used in other tutorials.

A final word on Photoshop tutorials that I would llike to say is that to use other tutorials out there to learn better ways and more efficient manners of doing things in Photoshop. One specific website where I have learned many things is The person who does these tutorials is very skilled in his work and teaches very well. Some tutorials have just text and process images while others give full video tutorials. Finally do not forget that achieving a great rendering takes many hours of work to learn how to do it and it takes hours to actually finish a rendering to a high quality. I hope these tutorials have helped you and will push you to continue on to learn more and make great things. 

Case Studies for La Milagrosa Chapel, Leaf Chapel, M-Velope

By: Patrick Szczecina

The topic chosen for this week is to build off the thesis abstract that was written before and addition to Case studies The thesis that I have chosen is that of transformative architecture, which utilizes building movement (walls, rooms) to create new spaces.

La Milagrosa Chapel
The concept behind La MIlagrosa Chapel is that to not change any of the site, and to build off the natural features of the environment; wind and the light to create and essential harmony. The largest feature of this structure is that to open to the natural world, allowing for large masses (Open) and private masses (closed). Some of the features include move-able alter allowing for choir space, tabernacle becomes part of the landscape. The structure is made of 4 materials; Stone (rigid), Steel, wood and glass (Mobile). “The relation between a still and a mobile volume represents “the passage between two worlds, between the known and the unknown, the light and the darkness. As the door opens, a mystery is revealed, and has a dynamic and psychological value, not only showing us a landscape, but inviting us to pass through it.” - Daniel Bonilla
Leaf Chapel
The Leaf Chapel sits in a courtyard of Risonare Hotel Resort, having views of Southern Japanese Alps, Yatsugatake peaks and Mt. Fuji. The Chapel has two components, one glass (Stationary) and one steel (Mobile). The glass portion acts as the structure, having the look of a stem of a leaf. The Steel leaf contains 4700 holes, filled with acrylic having a leaf/branch pattern as well as acting as the brides veil. When the Groom lifts the brides veil for the kiss, the metal leaf lifts up (Within 38sec, weighting 11 tons) revealing the pond and the natural world.
The M-Velope is a smaller scale of the M-House, where one is able to live, while the M-Velope is more of an outdoor structure where someone is able to sit. M-Projects are made of wooden panels fastened with hinges to the supporting structure, allowing for each panel to be opened or closed, into one of the two positions. All the panels are different allowing for a variety of options to open the structure. Not just being a home that allows for space to be manipulated, the panels locations along with how they are open allow for control of the climate on the interior and surrounding structure. Both projects where designed to allow variations of configuration along with allowing for relocations whenever it is suited.

Let’s Get Some Interior Design

By: Megan Crider
As we approach the end of the semester, every student begins to plot their studio work to be presented.  Naturally, the workflow in the lab increases dramatically.  During my shift yesterday, one of the other lab assistants was helping me manage the influx of students and plots.  One of the sheets being printed was that of a junior interior design student.  My fellow lab assistant was admiring the renderings on the sheet and made a comment about how beneficial it would be for our architecture curriculum to include an interior design class…
I agree.  Granted I am biased because my undergraduate degree was in interior design.

I doubt our condensed graduate curriculum has room for an additional class.  Well frankly it doesn’t.  I do feel though that in one or two of our classes a little bit more attention could be paid to the in-depth design of an interior space or two…. I feel that architecture students miss out on quite a bit by not having this exposure.  Their focus is largely on the exterior of the building – I get it, after all that is the architecture.  But the design of the interior is a whole other story.  Material selections of everything from the wall finishes to the flooring come into play, as well as furniture, fixture, and lighting selections, all the while color schemes and choices are kept in mind.  Interior design a lot of times is a much more complex and intricate entity that requires a lot of diligent thought and attention.  I am not knocking architecture by any means, but those students are really missing a different and fulfilling experience.  Not to mention I find it kind of fun, in a designy, nerdy sort of way.