Thursday, March 31, 2016

Thesis Case Study

By: Patrick Szczecina

            The topic chosen for this week is to build off the thesis abstract that was written before, in this case I will be writing development of my site and what my project is turning into. The thesis that I have chosen is that of transformative architecture, which utilizes building movement (walls, rooms) to create new spaces. As my site has been chosen (Seattle Pier 91), I found the need of further developing the area around. This idea came from the aspect that my site is very large, and that site I am on is owned by the city. The city also owns the northern plot of land which is half the size of the piers that was the original idea.
            The idea of developing the northern section and connecting it with the piers comes from the idea that the site is located between two neighborhoods and is in a valley. The original idea was of building an apartment complex, but now the idea is to include an urban space. The urban space will stretch 2900 ft and then another 2500 ft (Pier), which will allow for a stretch of space that interacts with the neighborhoods and the sites. The upper stretch is 400 ft similar to peers, which will allow for green space, and buildings that could act as retail. The reason for retail is for the fact that the neighborhoods don’t have anywhere but the downtown area to go for shopping. The idea for the site is to put pedestrian bridges with greenery on the edges of the site while the central piece would contain buildings. The reason for this is to mimic the bridge next to the site along with an axis to connect the neighborhoods. Next to the northern site is a railyard, which is a bonus to the site. It will allow for the addition of train station that connects this area with the downtown area. The building portions will incorporate multi story stores, and possibly residential, which would also allow for the pedestrian bridges to be a multi-story structure as well. The idea fits since Seattle is one of the wetter cities in the United States, therefore the upper levels could be used for warmer weather while on rainy days the ground level or middle bridge.
            In the end the addition of the northern section allows for a further push of urban planning with new technologies. The difficulty will come with the size of the site, and the programming that will be asked for. However the addition to the northern section and creation of an urban retail community will benefit the surrounding areas.


Software in the Profession

By: Ken Howder

Software in the Architectural Profession (and Lacking Thereof), Part 2

            The previous section merely pointed out an obvious problem (and it is a somewhat seriously productivity-effecting problem) related to ‘yet another’ confusing, frustrating, and time-ineffective topic about the current state of architectural academia, I would state an obvious solution to an obvious problem in a school setting: A specialized class, or classes, designed to inform students on the pros and cons of the several available packages.  However, this would not quite be enough due to the lack of access for some students to get these programs to use on their own.  This series of classes combined with the “student” license versions of each available to students would be an immense step taken forward for any architectural program. *I recently read an article that led me to the MIT school of architecture divisions website and their server/software/hardware setup that they offer all students in the division.  If you have never thought about what an “ideal learning environment” would look like, this is it – The MIT CASA server system.  
These programs are going to be around for the rest of the architectural field, and they are going to get to be more and more complicated tools.  I just strongly believe that this should be addressed in academic programs that offer architecture/other building fields.  I also firmly believe that access to actual computer labs equipped with proper equipment is a must as well.  With that in mind, a freezing cold room with Dell Inspirons (Inspiron class are, at best, capable Facebook and word document editing PCs) and unreliable printers in not an ideal place for students to learn some of the things needed.  Side note: especially when they run slower than my old Toshiba 1gb-ram laptop.  I brought one of my own projects that I work on into the lab one time, once was all that I needed to know that this lab in question is extremely outdated to a learning-environment suitable for technology majors such as architects.  I would ask that they upgrade at least to entry level workstation class computers, but I already know how that entire conversation would end up.  
Other factors to take into consideration for an effective computer lab in these types of fields include: Clustered computers for heavy CPU tasks (rendering), Graphic card upgrades/bridges for faster viewport rendering while doing work, and access to the different software that can be used in the field – All of the parametric and their corresponding suites, Rendering specific programs for M/V/I-Ray and of course the capable hardware, and – potentially the most important – simulation software such as IES-VE (having 4 computer licenses is not adequate, although if the hardware within the lab that you run it on can’t handle complex CPU load, then don’t even bother to offer any at all rather than 4), the virtual reality based software’s that are coming into play (such as Unreal Engine, etc.), and possibly the most important – Programs such as Mat Lab that can allow students to change the variables of their simulations in any way.  I say “such as,” because I am just getting into learning Mat Lab, and while it looks like a viable solution to run simulations (more accurate than IES-VE, Vasari, etc.) on dynamic building elements (currently static-only on the architectural simulation software).  Maybe my next post will describe more in detail on the pros/cons and what can actually be achieved by using Mat Lab in the architectural field.

Japanese Carpentry

By: Josh West

Japanese carpentry is distinguished by its advanced joinery and its finely planed wood surfaces by using several different methods. Among all of the different tools they have used, the Japanese saw, plane, chisel and gimlet were the most popular. Almost everywhere, you can see their impressive woodworking skills from chairs and tables to their largest buildings. All Japanese carpenters have shared the practice of this special talent from generation to generation. A carpenter will usually identify with one of the four distinct carpentry profession; Shrines and temples, residential, furniture and interior finishing carpentry. All of these professions show the elaborate wooden joints and how they relate to their wooden structure or building. As it is not uncommon, most of the Japanese carpenters will work with multiple professions.

The most important thing to a Japanese carpenter is his tools. They are found within a multitude of variations and specializations geared toward certain tasks. The Japanese saw, one of the most used tools, cuts on the pull stroke, unlike the usual European style push stroke. This gives the carpenter a more precise cut and allows the blades to be quite thin. The next tool is the Japanese plane; which is the most commonly a wooden block. This is similar in respect to the archaic type of European wooden plane, in which the blade is fixed in place by tapping down upon a wooden wedge. Next is the Japanese chisel. These come in a larger variety of types and gradations than a normal chisel. There are bench chisels, paring chisels, striking chisels, heavy timber chisels and slicks, and steel construction. Like the planes, the blades are of laminated hard steel/soft steel construction. Bevel angle varies from 20 to 35 degrees typically, with mortising and heavy chisels featuring steep angles. Lastly is the Japanese gimlet. The gimlet is used for boring circular holes in a timber, often as the first stage in the hollowing out of a mortise. Though it may seem easy to use, the gimlet is considered one of the most difficult tool to learn. Some other tools that are not used as much are the Japanese axe, hammer and a bamboo pen used for marking and measuring. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

My Trip During Spring Break

By: Jeremy Clow

            The wonderful spring break, during my undergraduate meant a week for relaxation and catching up on non-education based tasks.  This spring break I decided to take a mini vacation however this did more than set me back with the everyday tasks and my graduate work. So much busy work can be completed in just a few days, it is amazing how crucial every minute is in one day. Time management is key for anyone who intends to thrive in this day in age. Being able to manage yourself on a personal level with family and friends, while keeping up a day job to stay financially sound, all while furthering your education might make you a superhero. The much needed break however provided me the opportunity to take a fantastic journey. Catching up with family, friends, and loved ones alike for a few days made a great start to the journey. I decided to take a cruise over break, capturing the opportunity of visiting three additional countries as well. I cannot stress how important the multiple cultures, experiences, and especially architecture are to my way of thinking. A diverse and profound way of life lies beyond our borders, it truly provides and understanding and a sense of respect for all the benefits and accommodations we take for granted here in the United States. I set a goal for myself at a young age to see the world and by this I mean every country possible. Doing so I don’t want to just see the major cities and the tourist hot spots. While on the cruise I booked excursion opportunities through a variety of local partners in each country. In Mexico the ship ported in Cozumel Island, from there a tender boat took me to the mainland, Playa del Carmen where I took a charter bus about an hour South to visit the ancient Mayan city of Tulum. This particular Mayan civilization was the last to exist 100% Maya. After the migration from this community the Maya mixed with other indigenous cultures. The ruins in Tulum are also the only Mayan construction on the coast. The large limestone constructions still stand today anywhere from just a foundation to the walls, roof, and all portions left intact.  The next country I visited was Honduras, only the island of Roatan however. Due to in climate weather I was restricted in my travels to one day and could not access the mainland of Honduras. On the Island I was able to do some snorkeling on the second largest reef in the world, next to the amazing Great Barrier Reef. I also kayaked, swam with a few sea turtles, ate an authentic Honduran cuisine, and enjoyed some time in the sun. Upon leaving Honduras we set sail for the Country of Belize. Amazing enough the same reef I snorkeled stretched to this country as well. The high points of the reef and shallow waters created some nautical difficulties for the cruise liner’s making them set anchor over two miles from the shore. In Belize City, Belize I took a water taxi from the main pier to a river that runs from the main part of the country. Uniquely this river provides a variety of wildlife from its freshwater portion to its saltwater. At the mouth of the river a few manatees could be spotted coming up for air. Farther up river we saw crocodiles, monkeys, fruit bats, and loads of iguanas. A wonderful experience on the river for over two hours ended at a local restaurant. At the particular location a series of picnic benches and small shops were provided outside, with a line lunch style for serving the cuisine. Fresh chicken off the grill, rice, beans, and some extremely spicy salsa made for a great lunch. I booked a charter bus from here to take us deep into the jungle to visit the Altun Ha Mayan ruins in Belize. Almost an hour of transport via the bus provided a unique view of the countryside. Everything from single homes, neighborhoods, industrialization, to large commercial complexes could be seen mile after mile. The unique zoning in Belize allows the property owners to build whatever they please on their land.

…To be continued. 

Thesis Site Decision

By: Hunter Wilson

            The creative arts incubator for SIU is the project for which I am creating a thesis design.  Some considerations were viewed when determining a specific site in Carbondale for the incubator.
            To the north of SIU’s campus is Carbondale’s Arbor District.  This district is inhabited by both students and local families.  The area can be considered when determining the location of the creative arts district.  It holds adjacency to SIU’s main campus to the south, and Carbondale’s downtown (The Strip) to the east.  It already has set boundaries that accommodate an area large enough to house a creative arts district.  The location is directly across the street from SIU’s main campus.  The Arbor District is a part of the national historic registry which provides the area something to market.  Though the area has a few positives, it may not be the best location.  Relocating student housing is not as difficult as uprooting single family homes.  The Arbor District contains many single family homes.  This is an issue that is best left alone.
Another option for the location of the creative arts district is just to the east of The Strip on the opposite side of the train tracks.  There is adequate space to allow for such a district.  This area would keep the proximity between the district and The Strip to a minimum.  The main issue with this location is noise and vibrations.  With delicate activities such as audio recording and sculpting, the noise and vibrations would not be ideal.  Along with interrupting these activities is the fact that the noise from the train tracks could easily disrupt live performances or outdoor congregation areas.  Providing sound dampening between the tracks and the district would only serve as an extra obstacle and increase cost that would be unnecessary with a more proper site location.

After searching for a site that can accommodate a close proximity to SIU’s main campus as well as The Strip, the site located at the corner of W Mill Street and S Illinois Ave proved to be sufficient.  The site contains roughly 130,000 square feet of space with the possibility of relocating the Wesleyan Foundation located on the southeast of the site.  This adequate site also happens to be located within the confines of university property.  Having the site located on campus would mean that the district would need to directly influence the university in a major way.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Pigeon Loft Transformation

By: Patrick Szczecina
            This week will be another case study, however it will be taking a different aspect. Instead of transformation on the exterior of the structure, the transformations occur on the interior. The thesis that I have chosen is that of transformative architecture, which utilizes building movement (walls, rooms) to create new spaces.
            The owner of this unit is Christian Schallert, the architect is Barbara Appolloni with the help of Christian. The idea was to mimic the compartments inside a boat in order to save space. The unit is only 258 square feet, and went it is not in use it is an empty space. All of the furniture is hidden either in the walls or floor. This apartment has the bare necessities that a human needs to live; kitchen space, bed space, bathroom (shower), and dining / living space. All these spaces aren’t visible when one enters the unit, besides the shower which is in the open. Starting off the bed is located underneath the balcony when not in use are steps with some cushions, in which the homeowner rolls his bed out from. The stairs that led to the balcony now become bed side tables. The following is the kitchen which is located inside the wall, with one click spring-loaded door swings open. In the kitchen is double-burner, dishwasher, sink, countertop and microwave oven. Once the meal is prepped a dining room or a place to sit is needed, which comes from the opposite wall where a table (concrete) is folded out. A chair that is sitting around the room is used as well as the stairs to the balcony. The final piece, the bathroom, is located in the far corner behind a door, which when opened reveals a toilet and sink and the required space around.

 The purpose of this case study is to show that apartments don’t NEED all that space, it is preferred to have it in the means that people want it. It shows that one space can be utilized to create different activities in the space, in this instant it was sleeping, cooking and eating. The thesis will tend to follow these ideas of hidden spaces with open areas that can transform, however it will be at a slightly larger scale (room size).

Neuroscience and architecture on spaces for thinking

By: Hanan Rawashdeh

Ever wonder why you can focus better in a particular space more than another? This is what Jonas Salk claimed while working in his basement lab. It wasn’t until after he went to a monastery with colonnaded walks and a beautiful hillside view that he felt serene enough and capable of solving the puzzle of polio. After feeling strongly about the architecture of the monastery with its harmonious elements, textures and colors in inspiring him and clearing the mental obstacles that he hired the architect Louis Khan to design the Salk institute.
It is clear that there is a connection of how much we interact with our surroundings and our mental processing. This has been an argument that many people have claimed, especially architects half a century later research such as the ones made at the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture in San Diego are being done on this topic. An introduction to neuroscience is even added classes to the architecture program. Experiments have been done to fill in the gap between the mental processing and architecture’s impact upon it.  Joan Meyers- Levy a professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota reported that the height of a room’s ceiling affects dramatically on how people think. In 2007 she assigned 100 random students to a room of 8 or 10 feet ceiling giving them a task of categorization of a subject , the same task was given to another group whose setting were in a much lower ceiling height. The results showed that those who were in a room with a higher ceiling had more generic categorizations where as those who were in a low ceilinged room were more specific and focused on details in their categorization. With her past study  indicating that elevated ceilings make people less restrained physically this allows them to think freely, which may lead to make more abstract connections as they will see the “big picture” of things. Almost like literally saying “thinking out of the box”. This doesn’t mean that all spaces acquire high ceilings. It depends on the task. For instance a more detail demanding and complicated task at hand would require a low ceiling to ensure a more focused environment. Furthermore space can be manipulated to look spacious and less constrained by mere manipulation either in the use of light colors or mirrors, something one notices in the grocery section of small stores.
Spaces that increase creativity also are linked to nature. Having a space visually connected or within a natural setting such as a garden has been proven to motivate focus and attention. This has been proven through a study done on children who moved house. The children with greener views from their bedroom windows scored higher on the standard test of attention. This is a notion that having green space in educational spaces can help those with ADD.

In conclusion it is vital to understand the influence of architecture on the mind in order for architecture to respond to people’s needs.

How to take a problem as an opportunity – “KOHSAR HOUSE”

By: Faezeh Ensafi
The project came to Alireza Taghaboni’s studio after a year of being on hold due to the client’s dissatisfaction.
The skeleton and barrier walls of the structure were thoroughly constructed. There was a central, octagonal void surrounded by columns, which was exactly what had made the client unhappy due to its shape and size, this void could not exhibit the wide, bright interior he desired.
The architects realized the only way to revive the project was to take this problem as an opportunity rather than an obstacle to progress. Accordingly, expanding the central void and discarding the southern part of the balcony provided a wider view of the landscape. Next, they enhanced the structure and attached the south cantilever to the existing balcony. Doing this, and removing the lateral slabs and gazebo roof structure, transformed the overall volume to a cubic form.
Next, the southern-facing façade wall stretched in an elastic manner towards the interior void, where it covered the columns and made a smooth connection between in and out. This allowed the southern wall to perform a fundamental role as a flexible element that not only responded to structural necessities, but also attempted to engage with the aesthetics, functionality, and spatial organization of the both interior and exterior.

In the end, the façade’s surface would satisfy the requirements of the plan and insert a sense of dynamism and fluidity throughout the house. This organizational strategy would propose a body in which a strong vacuum action applied to the façade could convey the light, air flow, and vistas inwards to demonstrate the innovative qualities of this highly distinctive work.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Bamboo School in Philippines and the Green School

By: Patrick Szczecina
            When looking at an indigenous population, their need for using renewable resource is very clear. I looked at two areas that seemed to use a technique of bamboo construction in the Philippines and Indonesia. In history both areas needed to use resources in the immediate area to survive the heat, cold, rain, wind and earthquakes. The resource that is used is mud brick from surrounding creeks, straw from dead plants / bark and bamboo. These materials combine are able to create a versatile and flexible structure that can withstand the environment.
            Bamboo school in Philippines is the first of its kind that utilizes brick along with bamboo to create a sheltered space. In the past the people living in the areas had to construct with bamboo and straw in order to create shelter, and that is what the school represents. Recently the use of bamboo appears in construction, however with areas that have the renewable resource have been using it for a long time. In times the structures created from bamboo acted compact in order limit the amount of damage strong winds can do. With resources dwindling the need for renewable resources is vital, therefore a look into the past with bamboo construction is apparent.
            The Green School in Indonesia is another example of Straw and Bamboo. However these structures are more open framed and large. The reason behind this is the fact that it’s a school and not a housing area. The spaces are large, with bamboo acting as columns and trusses, while having straw to tie the pieces together and for roof top covering.




By: Daniel Roman
When the roll of an architect was created into civilization, his or her role was to create a structure that would house and serve a purpose of shelter. Along this job the architect had to work with its surrounding. Material had to be from within the region, since big machinery was not invented, sites could not be manipulated extensively as they are today. At the end of the day these first architects worked with the environmental, which allowed for sustainable architecture and had little impact on the world. As construction methods where invented and after the industrial revolution, architecture took a more modern turn. The way architects used to work with the site to optimize solar gains, and used the land to manipulate the structure so that it could be efficient. All of that went out the window as soon as the air conditioner unit was invented. After many years of non-efficient practice the consequences are showing. As stated by Frampton, architects need to know what type sustainable methods are available as oppose to building in construction methods that can harm the environment even more. Fortunately there is a lot of resources that talk and show various of ways to construct in an efficient way, but the unfortunate manner is that many architects do not do them. According to the book “Sustainable Construction”, by Sandy Halliday, there are six different guidelines to design and build in a sustainable manner; those are Enhancing biodiversity, support communities, use resources efficiently, minimize pollution, create healthy environments, and proper management of the construction process. It is relevant in the manner that one must work with its environment, and possibly use resources from which are local. The unfortunate event is that in today’s construction, materials are being brought from other states or regions of the country, just because it is cheaper than having a local provider.
The argument is to how to change the mindset of the designer to design in a manner from whom which they can be more efficient and sustainable. The issue is always money, it’s always about the money and usually budgets are what determine many decisions on the job site. Possibly, it is important to educate clients in the practice of sustainable design. By educating a client, and allowing them to grasp on to the concept of sustainability and how that will benefit them in the long run, they will be willingly to be open to the idea of investing more money into a building project. Various materials are being created to manipulate construction methods and have them be more beneficial in the long run. Prefabricated concrete panels are a construction method that has been around for a long time, just with the past years it has risen to be a very versatile method of construction. As Frampton mentioned in regards to building in heavy mass walls or light frame, these prefabricated concrete forms have become the best of both worlds. They have been able to fabricate panels with full insulation that could efficiently wrap around a building as its skin. The use of different materials to optimize their strength, and efficiency of rapid erection, will be very beneficial. As a result money will be saved and could be reinvested into a project to allow for more ecofriendly building components. We have the technology and knowledge in regards to why and how to build in a sustainable manner. Perhaps the designer not how has to educate the client as to why invest in to it, but they must also educate themselves along the way of various methods to improve the quality of the system and environment.

Halliday, Sandy. Sustainable Construction. Amsterdam:

Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann, 2008.


By: Cole Hartke

During a furniture project I had the opportunity to experience the manipulation of materials in the design. From metal to wood I create a link between the two. The requirements for the project are that we are to construct a table that was fifty-four inches long by twenty-two inches wide by fourteen inches tall. The table must have a digital fabrication aspect and a recycled element.
            The design first started out with the decision of my recycled material. In this case it was to be an old piece of rustic tin. The tin was acquired at my grandmother’s house off of an old barn she had. While pulling the tin off of the barn I had to get up higher to get it. I stood on a pile of old board all covered in dirt and grime that I never would have taken a second look at to use for construction. I picked them up anyway in hopes to make use of them.
            The old boards that I found in the barn were leftover barn siding that they used to cover the barn itself. After paining them down I actually got to seeming I could use, and keeping the old look seemed to work well with the tin so the design kept its base around the recycled tin piece.
             Something interesting happened while working with the wood, I came across a board that looked like all the rest but when all the dirt was cleared it had a rich red color and a nice smell to it. This board turned out to be a piece of aroma red cedar. This rich red color played perfectly into the color scheme of the rusted tin with the red color.
            With the woods color working nice into the design of the table I needed the shape of the table to mimic that of the tin. With a simple cutout in the tabletop for the tin to sit in it created a curved inlet matching the shape of the curve in the tin. But that didn’t capture the almost playfulness of the tins structure. With some rater unique methods.
             The legs of the table were thin cut strips of oak that I wanted to curve in the playful shape of the tin to match its characteristics. To do this many things were needed to make it work. For one I had to construct a steam box so that I could put planks of wood in them to be able to bend them.
            To get the shape I wanted I had to make a form for the set wood after it came out of the steam box wet. Keeping it in this form for a period of time let the wood dry to keep the form I had created.
            With the construction of the legs and all of there curvy nature, I needed something to tie them together. I decided to use more of the red cedar that I used in the tabletop. This accent wood pulled the top and the bottom of the table together

             With all of these methods in place and all of the materials I have selected, the table was finished. The manipulation of the wood mixed with the selection of the color creates a strong link from the metal to the wood.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Thesis Programming

By: Patrick Szczecina

            The topic chosen for this week is to build off the thesis abstract that was written before, in this case I will be writing the programming that I came up with. The thesis that I have chosen is that of transformative architecture, which utilizes building movement (walls, rooms) to create new spaces. As I further propel my thesis project, the need for a strong program is apparent. The main focus of the programing is two areas, the apartments and the park. Since my site is located in Seattle, WA, with the useable area being 1.8 million square feet, the need to develop a well thought out program with a need to address the surrounding areas.
            The first aspect is the park program, which I want it to bring in the surrounding neighborhoods, since there isn’t many parks around. When looking at the parks around they aren’t kid friendly nor are they to much of a park such as Millennium Park or Central Park, instead they are filled with trees or open fields. The program that I came up with is as follows: Information center, pavilion, outdoor classrooms (with cover) (4), outdoor exercise areas (2), playgrounds (2), restrooms (2), trails (1-2 miles) and parking for non-residents. This will fill 850,000sqft of the available land. The park will not feature any fields as the park would be located on a pier next to water. The park is to act as a green area for people to come and enjoy, attempting to create a high populated node outside of the downtown area.
            The second portion of the programing is that of the apartments which have to parts to them, the residences and retail. The retail portion would be located along the first floor or entry of the building where individuals can go. With the park being on the site the idea of both interacting with each other is vital. The retail portion will consist of restaurants (6), clothing (8), café (2), rental (kayak/boat/bike) (2), which will take an estimated 145,000 sqft. The non-resident parking goes with retail as well, as individuals will have to walk a fifth of a mile. The resident portion will consist of 3 different type of units: studio (520sqft), 1 bedroom (890sqft) (Capability to turn into a two bedroom) and a 2 Bedroom (1190sqft) (Capability to turn into a three bedroom), along with parking for residents only (350,000sqft). All of these units have the following assets: kitchen, dining/ living (1 – 2 bedroom have separated areas), restrooms, storage, laundry, bedroom (studio doesn’t have a bedroom), and open space to manipulate and area. The residence will take an estimated 100,000 sqft, which the three different units have a 40 units a piece.

            In the end an estimate 1,345,000 sqft of land will be used, while 1,449,600 sqft will be used for all built portions. The input of a park which will bring people in to be outdoors along with retail will bring people to this pier. It will become an area where the surrounding areas can thrive by having so many people visit. The residents and surrounding neighborhoods will have immediate amenities, that aren’t there at the moment. Residents will be able to travel within a short time to downtown area. 

Boutique Hotel

By: Casey Bucher

My thesis is centered on a historic building preservation in the downtown St. Louis area.  Once I found the perfect building to be restored, I worked on developing a program for its new use.  However, finding a fitting new use for an abandoned elementary school in the Soulard district was a challenging problem.  The historic area of St. Louis boasts plenty of mom-and-pop type shops, neighborhood restaurants, and plenty of residential townhouse options that make you feel as if you are walking along the streets of Nice, France. This makes finding a unique use for a large 62,000 square foot building quite the test.
After a few weeks of research, the solution became clear.  A semi-large footprint with large windows, early 1900 design characteristics, and a prime location for visitors of the historic district of Soulard: develop this space into a boutique hotel.  Boutique hotels are defined as “an intimate, design-led property which distinguishes itself from larger chain/branded hotels by providing guests with ultra-personalized service and accommodation.”[1] This type of hotel is a unique experience for the guest, gained through the atmosphere, personalized service and aesthetics. Too large to be considered a bed and breakfast but too small for a chain hotel, this type of hotel is a great option for the area and the visitors it brings in by giving guests the feel of being at a home away from home.  The individualized and unique luxury will keep guests coming back for more.

An advice for your thesis

By: Andy Cunningham

Hey everybody how it going? I hope everyone’s spring break was good, and is ready for the final run to the end of the year. I didn’t end up going anywhere exciting, but I did use it, as a former classmate said, to recharge and fin some new inspiration in a place somewhere other than Carbondale. Just being able to get away for a while was super beneficial for me, I think I’ve made more progress over the last 7 days than I had in the previous couple weeks. Each decision that I’m making is making me more and more excited about this project. In the beginning I’ll admit that I was working because I knew I had to had certain things done for our first review, but now I’m moving along and I want to work on it because I’m excited to see where it’s going to go instead of just, I need to have this much done for a review, and its making things a lot less stressful. If I can say one thing, it would be to not work on a project just because you have to get it done, I’ve been there it doesn’t make the project as much fun as it could be, but to do it because you want to see where it will go. I know not every reading this may be even pursuing architecture after they get there degree, but working on a project for you and not just the class will give you a better result overall, and give you a product that you can use as a portfolio piece in the future.

Sometimes it’s good to take a break for a while, and try to think of a project in another way. It may not seem like it at first because there a chance you’re scrambling just to get it done, but if you can do it. I know it helps me. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Structure of a Yurt

By: Alicia Luthy
Hello all! Here we are with only 55 days and 20 hours left until graduation in May but who is counting? This week was spring break and I spent some of break doing some hiking and homework. On Tuesday I took a trip to Garden of the Gods and watched the sunset. Then on Wednesday I took a trip to my site for my thesis in Naperville. Visiting the site was very helpful and will allow me to make better design choices. While up north, I and a few other classmates took a trip to Starved Rock. It was very beautiful with multiple waterfalls and definitely a site to see. As the semester is now on the last half, I have started working on my structure project for Professor Davey. For this construction I chose to do a Yurt.
A Yurt is a round portable structure that originated in Central Asia. They have been a distinctive structure for nearly three thousand years.  These tent structures are round and popular for their portability. The yurt’s frame is known as a “living” structure.  Since the structure is round and has no flat surfaces wind does not push the structure, it instead just passes around it and over it. Yurt structures are believed to handle up to 95mph winds.  A Yurt structure is made up of wood or bamboo lattice, a door frame, rafters, and a wheel. The roof structure is typically self-supporting. Modern Yurts are still being built today. These structures are typically inexpensive, but the more permanent structures can become a little more costly. I plan to construct a Yurt for the class. Below there is a picture of the construction process and a finished Yurt house.

Wolverhampton Development

By: Aaron Neal

The Wolverhampton Development – a student dormitory designed by O’Connell East Architects in 2010 – is one of the tallest modular buildings in the world.  This project was the first modular multi-story development that the firm worked on.  Formed in 1996 in Manchester England by Paul O’Connell and Gary East, the firm has had a long relationship with the Victoria Hall – the client of the Wolverhampton Development.  The office’s first project was another student housing for Victoria Hall in 1996.  Along with a student accommodation buildings, the firm has a strong portfolio in residential, education, and office buildings.  Since Wolverhampton Development, the office has used off-site construction multiple times “to promote alternative construction solutions which offer wider environmental benefits.”
Coming in at an impressive twenty four stories, the tower showcases that prefabrication does not necessarily need to be limited by size or height.  The development was created using 805 embedded steel structural modules that were craned into place over the course of 27 weeks.  This accelerated assembly process allowed for the building to be completed one academic year early which was one of the biggest reasons for choosing modular construction.  Not only would the reduced construction time lower labor costs, but it would allow the client to start generating revenue one entire year earlier.  Originally designed for traditional construction, the building retained its own aesthetic without being overly driven by a modular concept.  Most of the changes in the conversion from traditional to modular were structural and planning, not the overall form and look of the building.  This concept showcases that the prefabricated nature of a project does not have to drive the overall design as is often the case with modular buildings.  Other concepts to be taken from this project, is that prefabrication can be used successfully on a high rise project resulting in benefits such as less waste, a more predictable cost, and quicker occupancy time.  The most important concept in regards to this thesis research, is that the building actually changed construction type midway through the project.  As this research will compare different construction types used for one particular building, this proves that a smooth transition can occur and that the building can retain its original design and shape.

Monday, March 14, 2016

As If I Wasn’t Busy Enough…

By: Megan Crider

Since I chose a new thesis topic in January, I have found it quite difficult to make significant progress (or what I personally feel is significant progress) on the design.  This is partially due to the fact that I will have to rewrite all of my thesis paper over again, thus I have been trying to conduct research and design simultaneously.  I have been struggling to find the balance between these two; if I am reading and researching then I am not designing, and if I am designing I am not researching.  Looks like I am going to have to suck it up for a night or two and buckle down to really knock out some research.  From there I should be able to design much more efficiently and with more knowledge and research to support my decisions.

            On top of all of this, did I mention that I am planning my wedding as well?  I am a genius, my fiancé and I have planned our wedding for two weeks after my graduation in May.  Two weeks, that’s it.  I must be some sort of masochist.  So in addition to juggling things at school, I am also juggling them at home.  I still need to order bridesmaids dresses, invitations and RSVPs.  And I need to go to Hobby Lobby and elsewhere to purchase more flowers and decorations.  Oh and I need to begin to even think about my bridal shower, let alone plan it.  Planning a bachelorette party would be a nice thing to do as well.  Ahhhhh! Is it June yet, so all of this will be over?  In less than three months I will be wrapping up my thesis, graduating with a master’s degree, and getting married. I am excited; what a busy and thrilling ride this will be! Let’s do it!

Parametric Design

By: Kristina Shrestha

The world of architecture has gone through many years of eras, which starts from the Neolithic architecture after 10,000 BC, Ancient Mesopotamia, Ancient Egyptian Architecture, Greek Architecture, Roman Architecture to the modern architecture. Nature has been the source of inspiration for artists and architects all around the world. There are many examples of building which has been inspired by nature. Many intricate designs of the buildings are inspired from nature. With the introduction of modern technology there are endless opportunities for the design of the buildings. The buildings which were considered to be impossible to design as well as build has been possible with the help of new technology.
The building like Guggenheim Museum at Bilbao by Architect Frank O’ Gehry has been one of the significant building which was considered to be very different than the buildings that were designed in that era. It was the building which was very different but at the same time it grabbed the attention of public. People were bored with the modern and postmodern building they were looking for something different and parametric design was the answer. The Parametric design is a process of designing buildings which are generated by computer programs with the help of different constrains which are created by algorithms. The algorithms can be changed and repeated to create unique designs. These designs has been used in various degrees like creating façade pattern of the building to designing the whole building. For example: In British Museum, we can see the use of parametric design in the great court which was designed by Sir Norman Foster. Parametric designs were used by Architect Zaha Hadid for many of her projects like Heydar Aliyev Center in Azerbaijan, Sheikh Zayed Bridge in Abu Dhabi, Bergiselschanze in Austria, Dubai Opera in UAE, to name a few.
The use of parametric design can be found during 1960 with the “Endless House” by Frederick Kiesler. Neil Leach and Patrick Schumacher are the forerunner in the field of parametric design.Parametric design defies the traditional architecture of designing columns, slabs and wall to form the building. It is a stable form in itself. Nature has been the creator of complex forms and we were able to use it for architecture to some extent but parametric design helps to open many opportunities which were not possible before. Parametric design, with the help of three dimensional printing provides endless possibilities to the design of building.
Heydar Aliyev Center in Azerbaijan by Zaha Hadid

5.  Accessed on March 3, 2016 at 9:00 am

Friday, March 11, 2016

Software in the Profession

By: Ken Howder
Software in the Architectural Profession (and Lacking Thereof), Part 1
            As probably everyone in the world is aware of, the technological advances made on frequent intervals can be somewhat overwhelming.  This is exceptionally true in the construction/building industry and industrial applications.  The common technological-indulgent person can now go out to pretty much any convenience store and pick up a new ‘cutting-edge’ (relative to the following, however most of these pre-paid phone packages and cheap laptops aren’t the ideal solution that one might want in regards to reliability and performance) cell phone package or laptop that would put the top-end products from a decade ago to shame.  The same is true for those who work in professions that require advanced software tools such as modeling, drafting, and simulation within the architectural/civil/landscape fields.  In fact, one might even find the numerous options available to be overwhelming – (i.e. What programs should I use/learn to provide an edge for myself in the market?  What programs should I use for drafting, for modeling, for numerical database setup? Etc).  This is a tough topic to discuss with someone due to unfamiliarity of their strong and weak points when it comes to computer software tools.  If someone translates their design in 3d, or ‘think’ in 3d, using a parametric program (Revit, ArchiCAD) would be ideal.  SketchUp, Rhino, 3dsMax, Blender, and the rest of the typical 3d-modeling (non-architectural-parametric) can be just as effective for a 3d thinker, but several of these programs do not have those architectural-specific features that makes the design process within Revit/ArchiCAD so effective for time management and productivity.  It should be noted that there are work arounds for all of these programs that can bring them up to speed for architectural purposes – plugins for these software packages are created for almost every need on might have while using these programs. 

            What is becoming more popular, it seems, is the use of simulation software (IES-VE, Vasari (project was halted and incorporated into Revit), grasshopper, etc.) to help kick-off their initial design process by evaluating different solutions by their desired properties.  This is a great way to start a project.  It is an even better method to use your native software for your designs, and test the initial concepts, adjust, and repeat.  However, these programs run into similar and independent disadvantages as choosing ones native 3d modeling software (for 3d thinkers) or 2d-vector based program (AutoCAD, Vector works, Illustrator, Sketch up Layout, etc.).  Which program to use for their work?  Most people probably aren’t willing to put the time needed to actually test all of these different programs just to find the ones suitable for them and their work, so they typically pick a package and gamble on its functionality – but even more, on whether or not the specific firms that they may want to apply for, use the programs that they have chosen to learn as well.

Spring Semester

By: Jeremy Clow

            The times have proved rough, trucking through this semester and the graduate thesis. Each day provides a challenge and every week a deadline. With the traditional work load dedicated towards the thesis project and paper additional work can be over whelming. Keeping ahead is by all means necessary, realizing the due dates and working towards them weeks in advance can save from many “all-nighters”. With the global architecture course many projects are due throughout the semester. I find this particular course very interesting with the combination of culture and architecture. The papers, projects, and readings are very interesting as well as intellectual. The information soaked in throughout the course is detrimental to design and research for potential foreign sites. The understanding of the outside world is very important as well, realizing that not every location in the world has the same economy, climate, or social infrastructure that we have in the United States. The professional practice course involves a large amount of reading along with the weekly lecture. The assignments, readings, and quizzes provide a wealth of information regarding the legal structure for Architect’s post-graduation. Though some students may disagree with the usefulness of this information I find it very informative. As a business owner I understand how useful this information would have been prior to opening or getting involved in contracts, legal, and major financial decisions. The design-build elective course, the first one for the School of Architecture, proves to be worthy of its three credit hours. In one semester the team and I in this class will have done every aspect of the job from start to finish. Site analysis, client meetings, designing, construction documents, and actual construction. Before entering the field as a graduate each and every one of these courses will provide some necessary expertise and expectations. The work load can be very overwhelming at times as will the profession. Preparation for a career could not be addressed in a better fashion. I feel I will almost have mastered time management by the end of the semester. Three jobs, four classes, a family life, and being on the Downtown Committee of Carbondale my obligations are at all extremes. Making this far and still trucking is a feat in itself, especially after the loss of my laptop last week due to a corruption of the hard drive. Getting projects done from one class to the next, being on time for a meeting, getting a head in class, they are all things done by us graduate students as if it were natural. Losing my laptop for just a day proved problematic, once I realized I had to order one and was without it for five days I began to wonder if I would ever recover. The amount of due dates, deadlines, obligations, and potential work that could be done in those few days cannot be measured. Pulling and infamous all-nighter to sweep my crashed computer and start it from scratch to complete a few minor essentials gave me the ability to get a few minor tasks done while waiting for the new great piece of technology on its way. Now with the new laptop here and the old one working about as half as good as it used to, I am knocking as many things out as possible. Starting every day at 8 am and ending at 10 pm it is amazing what the human body can do. The information and abilities at our fingertips are endless, it’s amazing we can truly be anything we want to be. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Garden Cities

By: Josh West
The garden city movement is a method of urban planning that was initiated in 1898 by Sir Ebenezer Howard in the United Kingdom. These cities were intended to be planned, self-contained communities surrounded by greenbelt towns. These communities contain proportionate areas of residences, industry and agriculture. The garden city was to be the best of two worlds: large enough to have the benefits of concentration but small enough to remain close to the countryside and Howard wanted to blend urban and rural advantages. Howard was also interested in both political economy and urban design, but it is the latter that has gotten the most attention. He envisioned a set of free standing towns encircling the metropolis, connected to each other by a circumferential railroad and to the city by radial rail lines. As the first circle of towns filled, he envisioned the development of a second circle. In every case, the towns would be separated from the city and from each other by undeveloped rural land; which is a greenbelt town.

For each Garden city, Howard proposed a 1,000-acre core to house 30,000 people, surrounded by 5,000 agricultural acres supporting another 2,000 people and supplying food and dairy products. There would be a strong town center with a park, library, hospital, theater, town hall and a shopping center. Six distinct neighborhoods would each center on a school and industrial sites for the self-sufficient town would be on the edge. Howard always had hopes of the site would be owned by the community and the increase in land value would then be able to fund community activities and services. Within the United States, there are plenty of Garden Cities, from the planning of Ebenezer Howard, the town of Radburn, New Jersey, was a more substantial American application. The plan used many design elements now common in planned communities. Superblocks provided uninterrupted pedestrian access from every building to a large recreation area withi the center and pedestrian underpasses at major arteries. Radubrn was intended for a population of 25,000 people. 

Thesis Site Context

By: Hunter Wilson

            The downtown area contains business important to the community of Carbondale.  An organization exists, called Carbondale Main Street, which seeks to improve and promote Carbondale’s downtown area.  This organization works to offer design assistance grants as well as promotional tools.  The group hosts major events that bring people from inside and outside the community to the region.  These events include Main Street Night Out, Light Fantastic Parade, Friday Night Fair, Downtown Walking Tours, Planting Days, and Halloween on Main Street.  These events look to bring more people to the downtown area and promote local business.  It would be highly valuable for the Creative Arts Incubator to be able to cater to Carbondale Main Street vision.  The Incubator will look to work in conjunction with Carbondale Main Street for promotional purposes.
            According to the Downtown Carbondale FRAMEWORK Plan, the city wants the downtown region to be the “focal point and regional center for Southern Illinois”.  Carbondale is looking to encourage shopping, dining, cultural resources, and host civic buildings in the downtown region.  This will create a central location for the citizens of the city as well as residents from around southern Illinois to visit.  In recent past, community focus has shifted away from downtown.  This can be seen entering the city from IL-13 East.  Big box business and commerce has shifted to the outskirts of the city to accommodate the steady stream of people entering the city from the highway.  The University Mall is a good example of commerce shifting to the outskirts of the city.  While coined, The University Mall, it sits nearly 2 miles away from SIU’s main campus.  So students who are walking from the main campus usually have to take public transportation to reach a major shopping destination.  This public transportation will often make multiple stops along the way as well creating a longer trip to this destination.  Carbondale is looking to bring more commerce to the downtown region which is only about .5 miles from main campus, an easy walk for most.  While downtown has seen some recent decline, it is still very much alive.  For the Creative Arts Incubator, a major goal is to connect SIU’s main campus with the downtown region which will bring more students to the area.  Allowing students to easily access downtown will hopefully increase liveliness and business.