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Saturday, March 24, 2012
In order to identify the key issues that will govern the design context of our studio redesign projects, the class conducted research in several areas including: contextual analysis, users/ needs, social/behavioral factors, precedent studies, teaching pedagogies, and other activities. I will touch upon four of these.
Contextual analysis was meant as a study of the existing plans as compared to the building as it exists today (as built). In terms of the issues with sound pollution being a problem, we have come to find many of the acoustical products had been “value engineered” out of the building.
Thinking of the users and their needs for the space, aside from the usual complaints (no acoustical privacy, lack of storage, poor task lighting, etc.), there were several other areas within the studio that were asked for. These spaces include a napping area, a rendering lab, acoustically private meeting areas, and a full café. The café in particular was seen as an opportunity to bring the art department, and iarc together. Through the power of discussion the café has the ability to bring these two groups of students together, and thus continue learning outside of the classroom. Continuing student learning was a concern of the professors that was brought up under our discussion of teaching pedagogies.
The social and behavioral factors group looked at the space in its current state and how we, the students, currently use it. They brought up the point that we should redesign the space from the perspective of taking the “band-aids” we have placed on the space, and making them into permanent solutions. This entails actions such as: taking the walls we pin drawings to the sheetrock on, and put up pin-up boards; taking away the mini-fridges and microwaves, and make a place for a full kitchen or café; and taking the pictures taped to the windows and the objects placed on the sills, and giving us proper pin-up space and storage. As creative persons, we have the need to personalize our spaces because we see our desks as a reflection of ourselves. This is why I suggest that we do the same with the third and fourth floor studio spaces as a whole.
Currently, there is no representation of the iarc logo, or even a scrap of the signature orange or blue so often seen in our departments printed graphics to be found in the entire space. I propose a series of environmental graphics be created and put on the walls of studio. These graphics would include the iarc logo, the four core values of iarc and their definition, and “the Rules of iarc”. These graphics, I believe, would not only serve as special beautification, but would help to inspire and enliven the students working there, but would also be a reminder to all students of the way we are expected and taught to live and work with one another, and the communities around us.
Sunday, March 18, 2012
As defined by the North Carolina State University Center for Universal Design, Universal design is the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, with out the need for adaptation, or specialized design. The seven principles of universal design help lay out the steps to be taken when producing such design work. Each principle focuses on different design considerations to be carefully thought out through the design process. The seven principles of universal design are:
1) Equal Use (design is useful, marketable, and appealing to persons of all abilities)
2) Flexibility in Use (accommodates range of personal preferences and abilities. “I.E. works for left and right handed people”)
3) Simple and Intuitive Use (no manual required to understand)
4) Perceptible Information (uses different modes of communicating info: verbal, tactile, auditory, etc.)
5) Tolerance for Error (“fail safe” features)
6) Low Physical Effort (used with a minimum amount of fatigue)
7) Size and Space for Approach of Use (easy to use regardless of persons body size, or abilities)
From the definition mentioned above, the phrase “… without the need for adaptation or specialized design,” really stood out to me. Being left-handed, I am a frequent user of these “adapted” products. These include left-handed scissors, left-handed can openers, left-handed spiral notebooks, just to name a few. I don’t know how many lefties have ever tried using a right-handed manual can opener before, but I assure you it is almost impossible. It is from these small moments of struggle in my every day life that I have derived a true appreciation for universal design.
In my eyes, a universal design is a more complete design than those products and environments that are conceived without taking these principles into account. Universal design, as I understand it, is not the creation of one single design determined for all people to use, but all design that carefully and thoughtfully considers all of the different types of people who would want or need to use the product or space being developed.
Thursday, March 15, 2012
From a social perspective, I think of a community as a group of people who inhabit the same geographical area, with these persons having shared experiences, and often a shared moral code or system of values. Communities are also a place of learning. Someone once said, “It takes a village to raise a child,” which speaks to the idea of communities as a place that fosters learning, growth, and development. This is evident in the children in the image above as the intently observe, and attempt to contribute to the group activity. A community is also a place of familiarity (in terms of both people and place), and a place where all members are treated with mutual respect. This can be seen in the close-knit groups that embrace each other.
From a philosophical perspective, it is said that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. A well-oiled machine cannot run if it is missing a single nut. All parts are necessary for life to carry on, and we all have our unique roles to play in both the local and global community.
I chose this image to represent authenticity because ice fishing is a skill unique to only geographic areas that endure extreme cold. This sort of fishing especially is a skill that must be taught, with the craft often being passed down from generation to generation. Something that is authentic can be described as raw, natural, or unenhanced. It is what it is; it does not try and be something it isn’t. For example, the fisherman’s fishing pole is no more than a stick. Yet, the man did not carve the stick to make it smooth, or paint it to look like steel, he simply let his pole be a stick. Learning to respect the integrity of objects, places, buildings, and materials is a key lesson learned in design school. This lesson is also a part of learned ethics in relation to perceived value of the product. By adopting these values it is unlikely the students might be tempted to falsify said value. Adding to their personal value as a genuine, true, and trusted professional.
Innovation, in a general sense, is challenging the traditional way of doing things to improve for the future. As designers, the art of innovation is our profession. It is our job to look at the task/problem from an outside perspective in order to provide a unique solution that improves upon the former. Through the design of objects and space, we are better able to improve upon, and create new experiences that enrich and streamline our daily lives.
I chose this image as both an example of what happens when innovation stands still, and as a picture of how innovation has changed our lives across time. In terms of politics, when innovation stands still, or if reform is restrained, eventually out of necessity there is a forced push forward or revolution. Although there are more peaceful alternatives, war is an example of this push toward a reformed system that is relevant to current values, and is more efficient. This image shows men armed with guns riding horses. The horse are an example of where innovation stopped early in history in terms of transportation, while the firearms show where innovation has progressed the development of weaponry.
My first thought, as it relates to stewardship, was of being a good steward of the earth. It reminded me of how the Native Americans never took more than they needed to live, and what they took they used every part. In today’s modern world, we have begun to see the damage our current way of living has done to the environment. In an effort to save the land and water we live off of, new technology has been developed to lessen the negative impact on the earth. The wind turbines featured in the above image are an example of such technology.
From a social perspective, stewardship can be defined as helping those in need, are less fortunate, or who are simply different from ourselves. Stewardship can also be taking care of something that belongs to someone else. The bible speaks of all of us being given different talents, and that it is our job to take said talents, develop them, and use them for the betterment of society. Thus, using our individual strengths for the good of the team.
The community breeds and molds the individual, making them anauthentic, contributing member of the local and global community. Likepollination, innovation is bred from the sharing/exchanging of ideas, and pastexperiences between people from different backgrounds. Stewardship is takingwhat we have learned from our interactions with the business and learningcommunities, and using those tools to give back to the community from which we came.
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Sunday, February 5, 2012
On the first of February my CAD class took a trip to Durham to get better acquainted with the South Regional Library, whose drawings we are working with in Revit. Freelon group, a local design and architecture firm, making their office our first stop on the trip, designed the Library. While we were there we were taken on a guided tour around the office, meeting with various members of the firm who talked with us about different aspects of how the firm works. They also showed us a few examples of current and past work, including the South Regional Library. The thing that most impressed me was the fact that most everything is done in house. Ranging from computer rendered perspectives to intricate hand crafted scale models, Freelon Group does it all. Freelon Group does a lot of commercial projects, consisting of libraries, museums, etc. Another quality of Freelon group I appreciate is their emphasis on community-based projects, and how they take a lot of care in remembering the people they are designing for. This was a key element that I felt was missing from Paula Carr’s, of TVS Design, presentation from class a few weeks ago.
While Freelon Group is a smaller, local design firm, TVS Design is a larger firm whose work has international influence and can be found all across the global community. But that’s just what was missing from the presentation, the community. There was very little talk of how successful the projects were from the client’s perspective. Much discussion was held on concept and form, but it was disconcerting to me how little she talked about the users perspective of the project. This would seem to me to be very important when doing cross-cultural work. TVS Design is also involved in commercial design, with projects ranging from retail design to air port terminals. Unlike Freelon Group, who takes a more architectural approach to interior design, TVS Deign has a more conceptual approach, using fantastical forms and unique concept work as the basis for their designs. The subject of LEED certification as a design goal was also apparently absent from the conversation. It also surprised me to hear that TVS also will ship out their renderings to be completed over seas for international projects. Being in design school and completing my own computer renderings, this had never occurred to me as an option within the design process.
I feel I identify more closely with Freelon Group in terms of design values. In terms of style, I hate to set up preconceived notions about what type of design style I have, but if I had to say, it would be a mixture of that of both TVS Design and Freelon Group. My style consists of a bit of whimsy and nuance combined with clean simple lines. My design style also has an emphasis on sustainable design that keeps the project users and community in mind. A design language that is not so obsessed with form as it is with the people it serves. In the end, we as designers are providing a service to both client and community. It is up to us to be sure that we properly account for both groups in all of our work.
Monday, January 16, 2012
The key difference between Revit and any other Building Information Software program I have used in the past is that Revit specializes in change management. This means that when a change is made in one document or view of your project, that change is made through out the set of documents or views. This is made possible through Revit’s parametric change engine that allows the program to understand intelligent relationships between objects. For example, when you draw a wall in CAD it is represented as two parallel lines. Revit understands that those lines represent a wall, and that that wall is connected to that square that represents a roof, and so on. Because Revit works with parametric objects, with distinguishing and separate features, this makes customization very easy. As an example of the difference lets look at how to change the height of an object. In CAD you use the scale tool, which subsequently changes the size of the entire object. In Revit, you simply change the height parameter of the object.
Another major difference between Revit and CAD is the ability to view your project in multiple dimensions. Unlike CAD, which only allows you to describe your project in two dimensions, Revit actually assembles a three-dimensional model of your project. Thus allowing you to have a more complete understanding of what it is you are constructing.
Is the act of creating a space or an object using a set of defining parameters or relationships. It is through these established parameters that the object is both given its defining characteristics, and its editable/customizable properties. These relationships can appear within a single object or in between multiple objects.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
“Computing in Architectural Design” by Yehuda Kalay is essentially a history of how computer technology came to exist in the design profession at the level at which it does today. This article highlights some of the key struggles and landmark accomplishments encountered during the development of these technologies.
Kalay begins with a brief history of computation in general. He talks about the use of geometry in architecture to calculate areas, sizes, and volumes as they related to the built environment. Proportion was also of critical importance when Kalay spoke of the Renaissance, the Vitruvian ideal, and the quest for architects to create designs using the most “perfect” geometrically proportional relationships, between building components i.e. the golden section. The development of perspective as a calculated method of drawing was also an important step for architects as a means of communicating their designs. In addition to space planning and effective design communication, Thomas Young developed calculations and computations as tools for predicting structural performance and building safety in 1807.
Kalay also writes that the first computers used in building design were used for engineering analysis, and to study the transfer of forces within a structure. The first software program used to do this was developed at the University of Michigan. The program they developed, abbreviated CAEADS, and was a system that conducted habitability, engineering, and building specification verification analysis. Another example of analysis software, called Building Design Advisor (BDA), was developed at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory for performing energy related building performance computations, which took into account climate data, building material characteristics, etc. One might say this was similar to a primitive version of Ecotect.
It wasn’t until 1963 when computers were used to actually aid in the design process. This began with Ivan Sutherland’s Sketchpad system, which took the designers sketch and made it into a perfect architectural drawing. The idea of computer aided drafting, though a good one, didn’t step out of the laboratory and become practical for professional use until the creation of Macintosh in 1984. Along with the development of the personal computer, software was created to make drafting and modeling on these machines possible. With the appearance of the PC, multiple view ports were also added to these types of software.
As it was mentioned earlier in this essay, perspective-drawing techniques were developed as a calculated means of visual communication. Companies such as Revit, and Graphisoft, among others mentioned in Kalay’s article, have developed computative rendering software for the design profession. These programs, like perspective drawing, added another element of realism, and dimension to developing projects. Reading Kalay’s article helps one to appreciate and respect the power technology gives us as designers to understand our designs, and communicate our ideas.