Sunday, January 30, 2011

Light Box and the power of 4(four)

Back in school finally..... and what do we receive as our first project....  Build a box with a white interior.  divide the space inside into four areas using light.....  Three would have been easy, five not much more difficult, but 4, that's an even number.  I constructed my initial box out of foam core.  The product seemed way to pristine to cut a hole into, so I did just that.  I jabbed my exacto knife in and started carving away.

My first cut.  Creates a kick stand, sort of. This was interesting.  I now had 4 more sides to play with.

cut number two.  This cut was similar to a skinny S curve.  I twisted the cut piece like a louver.  The cut piece was more fun than the light it created.  Time for another cut.

Cut three.  An L shaped indention.  I like the starkness of the light and the depth of shadow.

Time to play with scale.  Here I made a huge cut, creating an angular plane coming into the box.  I like how the scale of the cut piece relates to the box and I am not excited by anything else here.

Large s curve/sail in the back wall.  Kind of like a parabola meets a shark fin.  I enjoy how the fin punctures the space and invites you out of the space at the same time. 

Here we see a huge chunk of one side folded in, similar to the kick stand just on a much larger scale.  Part two you can also see in this picture.  Use bamboo skewers and bristol board to help define the space.  I was still very lost as to what I was doing at this point.  I created some light tables.  Held them in place with some skewers and made a little place in the back as well.  Kind of an unrefined mess.

During critique many thought I needed an opening in the folded structure to invite your view further back.  I started with this small scale window with a light shelf below it.  This really didn't do anything for me.

The skewer jail in the back corner of the box.  I like the panel that comes down from the top and the used of the skewers as a defining tool.  The scale is off though.

This is the back corner in my final piece.  The length of the cut is the same as one side of the box.  The total number of skewers is twice the length of the box.  I enjoy how the light filters down and through the skewer curtain as well as how the top panel interrupts the space.

My final composition.  I worked with the scale of the folded in side panel to make it more relative to the box.  I also played around with the scale of the cutout opening.  Expanding it to include almost all of the panel.  I am very pleased with how the light reflect off of the side panel and how the dark cut out part mimicks the shadow on the opposing wall.

Here you can see the light in a more defined pattern.  The space is divided in half horizontally and then again vertically.  Four spaces total.

Morocco and the lack of social media

Morocco  is a cultural hotbed located in North Africa.  Their close relation to Africa, the middle east, and the Iberian peninsula makes the country rich with culture and diverse with cuisine. The population is mainly made up of Arab and Berber people, of which 98 percent are Muslim.   They are a relatively conservative community.  The country is relative in size to the state of California.
Hassan II Mosque
Spice Market

Morocco has about 13.2 million internet users which ranks them 29 out of 216 in the world, 2.7 million of those are facebook users.  For reference, North Carolina has 4 million facebook users. Other social networking sites include, which is more of a relationship site, and which is a professional site, similar to likedin.
Hassan II Mosque

Researching this subject provided little in the way of good information.  About the most interesting thing that I did find was the story of Fouad Mortada.  He's a 26 year old and was jailed for having a fake facebook page where he claimed to be Prince Moulay Rachidthe.

Hassan II Mosque, interior


BP3, Kennedy, Blog Post #3, IARC 221

In class we have been discussing the Acropolis and the Xianyang Palace. We created a list of Ten ideas to further explore them. These ten ideas are: space, power, experience, principles, precedent, site, order, scale, technology, surface. When one combines this knowledge base with the campus walk that we took similarities and evolutions become very evident. The use of circles, stacks, and groups or groves is almost always in use, regardless of the time period the building was constructed.

s p a c e . . .

The space at UNCG is used for higher education, learning, or enlightenment. When you look at the way the campus is laid out you see three main space groupings. Learning, Playing/Socializing, and Sleeping. All three areas seem to be balanced in the amount of space they take up on campus. For me this says that I should not lump all my time in one area. I need to balance what I do on campus. Time spent studying, should relate to time in class. I should also be active and treat my body like a temple for the knowledge that I am learning here. Based on this hypothesis, Balance in ones life is important.
blue areas are for playing.  orange areas are for sleeping.  green areas are for learning.


How do we view power on campus. Is it by identifying which building houses the individuals with the most power?? Or are we in more of a unilateral environment where Cooperation, Collaboration and Interaction are more important.

College avenue is one of the min axises through campus. Each end is anchored by ideas important to UNCG, Music and Education. College avenue incorporates all three space elements, learn, play, sleep. This is the home of the "important" buildings, that house the Library, Administration, and Alumni. Food and social aspects are also on college avenue. These attributes could deem College avenue as the Power center of the university. Knowledge is Power....


The materials chosen in the construction of the campus buildings all contribute to the overall experience we have on campus. Most of the building are brick and incorporate some elements of stone and glass in them. Bricks emphasize strength and longevity, Stone, permanence, and Glass, alternative views?? The newer buildings seem to incorporate more glass. Maybe glass symbolizes forward thinking and the future.


Classical principles are most evident to me when looking at the UNCG Campus. Most of our building are constructed of brick and have "temple" like entrances.

Alumni House

Elliot University Center
Petty Building

The Alumni House and Petty Science buildings are both examples of buildings that I would say have a temple like entrance.  The Elliott building is a much more modern interpretation.  Most prominent are the grove like columns.  The circular structure behind the columns is suggestive of the triangular pediment that we are accustomed to seeing.  All of these building have an emphasized Entrance which is in contrast to the other parts of the building.


The university is bordered on three sides by major roads and on one side by train tracks.  These create definitive boundaries for us.  Main entrances also have brick "gates" to mark this transition space for us.  Even though the boundaries are not physical boundaries the implied boundaries are very present.    


The campus of UNCG is over 200 acres.  This site is on a hill that puts it somewhat higher than the surrounding areas.   We are bordered by 4 large streets with one major street, Spring Garden, running through campus.  In the past we have removed streets to make the site more specific to what we do here.  College avenue is an example of this.  Other streets like Walker we put a building where the street use to be. We constantly adapt the site to suit our needs.


Order is also related to the site.  There are several ordered areas on campus.  The one that stands out most to me are the dorms on West Drive, Hinshaw, Bailey, Cotten, Gray, Shaw, Weil, Winfield, etc.  They all create a central courtyard which contains a very orderly sidewalk system.  All over the campus the sidewalks create order.  There are patterns that tell us where to go and where not to go.  Sometimes they mimic the architecture of the buildings, such as the library and it's circular walk. 


The university is somewhat of a large scale to the human.  It takes time to walk from one side to another, yet everything is relatively convenient.  To make the scale of the campus more human like we separate different departments into different buildings.  Within these buildings different areas house different specialties.  Specialty areas contain a small group of leaders and a larger group or collective of individual learners.


Here technology is a double edged sword.  We utilize technology in several ways.  Building and designing buildings is one way and another utilizes one central steam plant to heat the entire campus. One of the best examples on campus is our computing system.  Anywhere on campus I can access the internet.  Every classroom has a technology center that makes presenting material to a class extremely efficient.  This technology makes it easier for students to learn, easier for professors to teach, and a much better learning experience.  The only drawback with this technology are temporary technical issues that bring everything to a halt......


Surfaces make the buildings we see what they are.  This idea is the most easy one to utilize to change the way we see something.

Foust Building

McIver Building

Music Building

Here are three buildings that all incorporate brick as a predominant surface treatment.  A secondary surface is stone or concrete.  Both have a similar appearance.  Glass is the third major element shown.  Glass seems to be used more and more in the more modern buildings.

Overall; there is a very definite progression in building styles on our campus.  Foust is our oldest buildings on campus.  Materially it is composed of brick, stone, some wood, and glass.  McIver sits somewhere in the middle of our building progression.  A definitive style is portrayed with this building.  We see a movement away from the classical columns and pediments that we are accustomed to in buildings.  One can argue that the facade does incorporate groves and stacks yet no circles.  The Music building is on of our most recent additions.  Here we see the use of a circular entrance with a wall of glass next to it.  The brick circular entrance contains vertical pilasters that act as our groups.  The window wall also has these as well as horizontal stacks in the structure.  There is also a round pond out front to reinforce the circle motif.

This idea of a circular entrance, with an adjacent flat window wall that incorporates stacks and groves seems to be the way we are moving for new buildings.  Cooperation, Collaboration and Interaction are all ideas that I feel relate to a circular structure.  Even when a circular structure is not used, you will see circular aspects in the landscape and hardscape immediately around the building.

RR3, Kennedy, Reading Response #2, IARC 221

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Dreaded Stairs......_ _ - -

I came across this video of a train station in Stockholm. A group of engineers turned the un-used staircase into a virtual piano. I wish everything was this fun.

Monday, January 24, 2011

BP2, Kennedy, Blog Post # 2, IARC 221

On Friday we took a walking tour of campus.  We were looking for examples of 000oooOOOOOOO's and lllllll llllllll llllllllllll, and ------- --- _ _ _ , Circles, Groups, and Stacks.  We were mainly looking to see how they relate to our environment and our rituals.  From our tour the main idea that we saw was that we use groups to mark the entrance of a building. 

This is the Petty Science building.  We see the use of stacks in the stairs leading up to the "entrance" which utilizes groups.  This particular arrangement also tends to resemble the human form.  The columns emulate the body, the frieze the shoulders, and the point of the top the head, or where it would likely go.
This is a sketch that I drew of the entrance of Weatherspoon Museum.  Here we see the same elements that we saw in the entrance of Petty.  Vertical columns, triangulated pediments, and a circular window.  This is a deconstructed version of what we typically use as an entrance.  This version is not really successful in what it is supposed to do.  This is mainly due to the fact that the entrance is set back from the front facade of the building.  Stairs lead up to this entrance creating the stacking motif, the columns create the grouping motif, and the circle creates the circle motif.

side view of the main entrance of Weatherspoon.  The use of grouping is seen again.

The bell tower.  Shows grouping, stacks, and circles.  Very human like, in an abstract kind of way.

The library and it's stacks addition behind it.  Grouping is shows in the columns on the front as well as the three major planes of the stacks.  The circle can be seen in the rounded portico. Stacks can be seen in the book stacks as well as the stairs leading up to the library entrance.

Here we see the music building.  Grouping is shows in the building pilasters, which is strengthened by the natural trees leading up to the entrance.  Both work together to create a focal point, or a place where we should be going.  The entrance is circular in shape and the windows at the top almost look circular, in fact they are square.

A closer view of the Music building entrance.  Here you can see stacking in the limestone foundation, the brick facade,  and the glass wall adjacent to it.  Grouping can bee seen more strongly in the use of the pilasters in limestone as well as the supports behind the glass wall.  The use of circles here are limited to the pond in the courtyard and the building entrance itself.

From our campus walk it appears that we have created a ritual of how to enter buildings.  This must be a ritual that we have created since we build the buildings the way we do.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A new Semester, A new blog Header

Our first Design Visualization assignment of the semester - design a new header for your blog that represents you as a designer.  I was much more excited about this this time than last time.

I'm still a "young" designer so I chose to focus on skills that I have learned and developed so far.  I have not yet really worked with color.  New tools for the semester were Gray markers.  I chose this as my start and thought that the grays would relate to my current blog design.  I played around with the markers quite a bit, layering, overlapping, just experimenting.  This is how I approach most projects.

I created a background of gray stripes, some light, some dark.  Some overlap, some are multiple layers.  Then I created a rectangular grid overlay, for some structure and definition.  Both of these aspects represent me as a designer.  I tend to layer ideas and develop concepts over time and I feel this represents that aspect of me.

I took this background and scanned it into my computer and played with different fonts.  I chose to use Plantagenet Cherokee.  I enjoyed the structure of the letters as well as the slight playfulness they have.  This represents me as a designer since I like structure and a little irreverence or playfulness.  I usually want this to be understated and not a focal point, just something small that I enjoy.

Overall my new blog header shows depth, character, refinement, mistakes, layers, and a playful attribute.  These are all things that happen in design and embody the designer that I currently am.