Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
Saturday, October 8, 2011
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Saturday, August 27, 2011
It has become obvious to me both in my own personal observations, and the scientific information laid out in Edelstein and O’Connor’s articles that the sun has and will continue to be the dictating phenomenon for all life on earth. Whether we choose to accept the sun’s daily rise and fall as the measure of our waking hours or not there are some risks to be taken into consideration.
The first arises from a study on how the majority of living species respond to changing patterns of light and darkness. These patterned responses measured over the course of a single day are called a circadian rhythm. Humans, regardless of whether we are aware of it or not, work through a series of daily routines and rituals. It is usually not until these rituals are disrupted or changed that we become aware of their significance. The most widely recognized disruption of our circadian rhythm is daylight savings time. The act of moving the clock ahead or backward a single hour has a substantial impact on our health; ranging from common grogginess to heart attacks, or accidents at work. Even those who work the night shift are at risk for cancer due to their inadequate amount of exposure to the sun.
Even if you are an abiding citizen of your circadian rhythm, studies have shown that certain parts of the country like Seattle Washington, and Portland Oregon have increased rates of a form of depression known as SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder in their populations. During winter these regions of the country experience long periods of time seeing only a spot of sunshine. Inadequate exposure to the sun causes people to experience emotional depression, diminished immune response, and even premature aging.
After examining these risks, abiding by the daily cycle of the sun appears to do more good than harm. Even people as far back in history as Benjamin Franklin recognized the benefits of following the body’s natural responses to the daily patterns of light when he said, “Early to bed, Early to rise, Makes a man healthy wealthy and wise.”
Friday, August 26, 2011
In speaking of my own personal experience with light, I will start by saying we can all identify with what Richard Kelly has to say when he describes the three types of light for design. especially when he speaks of focal glow as “the campfire of all time… the sunburst through the clouds, and the shaft of sun that warms the end of the valley.” I think all of us have experienced these moments of light in one form or the other at some point in our lives thus far. Personally, these are some of my favorite moments. I love waking up in the morning and feeling the cool air on my face. As the sun rises I feel the warm rays of light touch my skin. I feel energized, awakened, and alive. These are the almost spiritual moments that keep me going each day.
In addition to these moments of brilliant light, I also feel a deep connection to the soft, muted light of a cloudy, foggy day. Being of Scottish decent, I can imagine on these days that this is what the homeland of my ancestors felt like. The ambient luminescence makes the world feel soft and fresh.
There is also something inspiring about walking in the clouds. As a child I would go backpacking with my parents in the mountains. As I climbed higher and higher there was a point where I could literally touch the clouds, and heaven felt that much closer.
It has always been my dream to travel the world, to cross the ocean and see what lies beyond the borders of the United States. I want to feel a mild Italian winter, the dry searing heat of an Australian summer, and the bitter cold of a Russian autumn. It is interesting to me how the landscapes of many places around the world almost seem to visually describe the type of climate it has. For example, the Australian outback, an ancient place with its rust red, rocky landscape seems to radiate a feeling of heat. In Millet’s analysis of light expressing place, the physical characteristics of a landscape are part one of her two-part system. The second part consists of the particular set of changes within the landscape that take place as the seasonal year progresses. For example, during the summer the Arctic Circle can go for weeks without seeing the darkness of night. I would think this would take some time to get used to, especially for someone who didn’t grow up there. From the very beginning of history different cultures around the world have used the sun to gage time, from months of the year to the time of day. Even with clocks to keep time for us, the temporary loss of the ageless relationship between sunlight and the time of day could prove challenging to overcome. This extensive amount of daylight is similar to summers in Finland, where the sun can shine for up to twenty hours a day.
In Northern climates there has always been a struggle in architecture with how to deal with the sun. Architects have to allow for lots of sunlight in the winter, in addition to keeping buildings cool in the summer. The original design of the Cite de Refuge by Le Corbusier is an example of this struggle. The large expanses of glazed glass on the south façade, combined with no means of ventilation virtually cooked the residents. Alvar Aalto, on the other hand, designed the Seinajoki Library with much success, using a curved ceiling section that rises to the south facing windows to keep visitors from losing all of their body heat in the winter, and sunshades to reflect sun back outside in summer. In an effort to produce a design that is both beautiful and useful, each of these designers was successful in meeting the special needs of their client. As difficulties arose to make the project work within the chosen landscape, one was more successful than the other in comfortably facilitating the task to be carried out.
As we have grown in our modern age of technology, we have grown accustomed to altering our environment to better suit our specific needs. As we continue to move further and further away from our relationship with the landscape, we have found ways to recreate glimpses of the essence of our natural environment. Whether it’s a shaft of light peaking through the clouds, the warmth of a campfire, the twinkle of a clear night sky, or the shimmer of a far away sea, light is the tool we use to recreate these memories of a time when we depended upon our deep connection to the earth.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
In addition to furthering the design of our skyscrapers, in Jenga 7.0 we were to revisit the designs of our individual units as they related to the whole of our new structure. This is a poster I did displaying my initial thoughts.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Through all the writing we have done this past semester, the reflective essay is the type I have found I am best at. I find that through describing my work to others I also gain a true understanding of what my work is really about, while simultaneously discovering the lessons to be learned from each project. Someone once said, “The reason why we fall is so that we may learn to pick ourselves back up again.” It is often through the practice of reflective writing that I am able to think critically about my work and process, in order to improve it for the next project. As a pragmatist on the Change Scale Indicator, one of my key characteristics is that I often don’t make the same mistake twice. It is true; I often strive to see what I could do better, and improve each time I work. Which is why I found the Narrative writing assignments so intriguing. I could often see how they helped me to analyze and improve my work so that it could better suit the client, but for some reason I had a hard time transitioning from simple descriptive language to telling the space as a story. It was through my struggles with writing this semester that I learned just how much I still had to learn about the subject.
Looking back at my designer bio. From the beginning of the semester, I listed writing as one of my strengths. Needless to say those feelings of pride were swiftly shattered when I got back my second WI assignment. As the semester continued I discovered more and more that Patrick made me feel as if I knew absolutely nothing about writing. Though a complement to his teaching abilities, these feelings of knowing nothing inspired me to work harder in order to understand how good writing is created. I often sought his guidance on both in class and out of class writings, all along the way my knowledge increasing on how to think critically about how I write. Even when I wasn’t sure how to put an idea into words, Patrick always knew exactly what I was trying to say every time I came to his office (this is not always an easy thing to do considering I am dyslexic).
Over the past three months I have come to understand writing as an integral and essential part of the design process, not only from the standpoint of project improvement, but from the understanding that as designers we will not always have the opportunity to present our ideas personally so learning how to project them through writing is also an essential skill we must develop. The process of writing in design has definitely been something I have learned a great deal about this semester. It has become an integral part of how I look at my own work, and a skill I plan to continue to improve upon throughout the rest of my career.
As I continue to reflect upon my time spent in studio this semester I have come to find that I have taken significant steps towards discovering who I am as a designer. Through working in teams I have learned different things about myself as the numbers increased. As an individual I learned that I have good time management skills, and that I no longer have the patience for hand drafting. It is safe to say my skills as a draftsman have made a permanent shift to the digital realm. In groups of three I developed my skills as a group leader, as well as beginning my understanding of how to work with people who work differently from myself. It was also during this time that, through working together, I was able my model making skills. As a group of twelve I learned that twelve people is too many. Two heads may be better than one, but twelve heads are not better than six. In actuality, the lesson I learned from working in groups of twelve is what type of people I work best with. I find that I am an open minded person when it comes to new ways of doing things, but trying to work with others that do not share my sentiments make things a bit more difficult.
Overall, I have to say I learned the most being in groups of six. I was able to discover my passion in watercolor, which was a media I had temporarily abandoned for marker and colored pencil. It was through this rekindling of my skills as a painter that I was able to understand and successfully use all three methods of hand media together. It was also during this time I really learned the tricks of the trade in terms of model making by working with Sharon. Additionally, I learned that I hold very high expectations for myself, and I cannot always expect the same from my group members.
Taking into account the semester as a whole, I have compiled a list of lessons I have learned. They are as follows:
· I am a visual learner, I learn best from a picture
· Humility is the best policy
· To be a good designer you must always see everything as a (salient) opportunity
· With great power comes great responsibility
· Sustainability is of substantial importance
· We design for people not just for pretty
In thinking of the many lessons I have learned this semester, I would like to speak bout a few additional goals I have accomplished this semester. At the beginning of the year I compiled a list of goals I wanted to achieve this year. As I mentioned previously I have taken great steps this semester towards discovering who I am as a designer, and I have furthered my skills in hand media. Through the practice of diagramming I can now add another tool to my belt in terms of furthering my abilities to communicate my ideas, also from my original list. The only goal left unaccomplished was my wish to develop new skills in computer work. I was really hoping to learn how to use Podium this year.
Although I am leaving this semester with goals unaccomplished, skills still to be mastered, and ideas still unfinished, I am happy to say that I can still walk away from this semester feeling more than satisfied. Besides, when is anything really “finished” in design anyway?
I have learned more, seen more, and done more this semester than I ever imagined I would. Writing has been the key that has opened the doors to the many opportunities to gain a new understanding of design and being a designer.
I very much enjoyed participating in your end of year critiques for the Writer’s Retreat project. I could really tell you worked very hard on your project from the clarity of your drawings, the effort you put into planning out your space, and your well rendered perspectives. I only have a few notes for you to consider in future projects.
The first, takes into account presenting/presentations in general. Final presentations are a very special moment for us as students, especially when you have been working on a project all semester. This is the time you get to show off your work to the outside world. So be excited about your work (even if you are sleep deprived). This is important because if you’re excited about your work your enthusiasm will most likely spread to your critics as well.
Dress is also an important part of presentations. Although your attire was more appropriate than others, it’s just something to keep in mind. You should always dress cleanly and professionally. It’s just one more way you can show that you know what you’re doing.
The second takes into account your spoken presentation. Just don’t say JUST. As designers we do everything with a purpose. You never JUST do anything. Also don’t be afraid to practice what you say before hand. It shows up later that you didn’t practice very much when you use words such as “like” and “umm”. In addition, never describe your project using words with negative undertones I.E. “congested.” You don’t want to describe your work as being congested. Try words like encapsulated, or compartmentalized. They are much more flattering.
Finally, when composing your board think about it from the viewers’ perspective. Compose your drawings in a way one can see how they relate to one another. This may mean placing your elevations next to the wall they were drawn from (or have them clearly labeled in a font you can see from a distance), or something as simple as placing your second floor plan above that of the first. I would like to commend you on being one of the few, which I observed, to use scale figures. They can really add to your work when done correctly. Be sure that they are proportionate to your space. Lastly, don’t be afraid to do more than what is required of you. Your professors will take notice if you do.
Congratulations on a job well done. I look forward to seeing your work as a second year.
Kelly M. Harris