Thursday, April 28, 2011

Jenga 7.0: Back to the Units

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.

Jenga 3.0: Book Presentations

Each of us chose a book to read this semester to present to the class. This is a poster I made for my book that I read, Heavenly Mansions by John Summerson.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Writing Intensive 10: Writing=Designing

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.

First Year Reviews

Dear Paige,

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

Monday, April 25, 2011

Jenga 7.0: Portmanteau

Jenga 6.0: first there were chair cards.. now we have door cards

As part of our individual work for Jenga 6.0, each of us was to design a door for our individual units that both displayed our individual concepts while also tying into the design of the facility as a whole. This is an image of my door that I designed for my unit "Pendulate".

Jenga 6.0: the Site

Jenga 6.o introduced us to the process of picking a site on which to build a structure. Normally this would already be determined before the the designing of the actual building even begins, but that was part of the challenge. We were to take the structure we designed in 5.0 and find a site to put it on without making any changes to the buildings current form. My group "Trepide" chose Pauanui beach, New Zealand as the location that we thought would best house our building, and further support our concept. We felt that a tropical climate would be best suited to support the open-air nature of the public spaces in our facility. It was also helpful to our concept of dematerialization to be close to a body of water because the reflections from the water onto the glass help heighten the experience of a building that progressively looses its structural frame.

It was also during Jenga 6.0 that we were to incorporate the use of a specific Eames textile, and chair into the public spaces. The chair and textile my group was assigned were the Eames Circles textile (Khaki), and the Eames molded plastic chair (white). The textile pattern had to be used in two different was in the public spaces, so we chose to use the actual textile as a wall panel for display and aesthetic interest in the meeting room, in addition to an etched pattern on the glass-top dinning table in the outdoor communal space.

Jenga 5.0: Programming....

It was during this section of the Project that the majority of our class was exposed to the task of specifying materials, furnishings, and finishes for the first time. Needless to say it was a bit overwhelming at first, the amount of detail you, as a designer, have go into in order to ensure that the right object, furnishings, finish, etc. ends up in your space. These are copies of the programing documents, and the finish/furnishings specs for the public spaces in our building.

Jenga 5.0: An Architecture of Illusion

This is the prospectus document for section 5.0 of the Jenga project. It was during this project that I was to work on the Sketchup model, produce an exterior perspective of the whole structure, and help with the physical models we were to produce for this project. The two models we created for this project were one of the exterior of the building as a whole, and a detail model of the publics spaces within the building. The exterior model was built at 1/4" = 1' scale, and the detail model was built at 1/2" =1' scale in order to show the relationship between floors in the structure, to display use of material, as well as give the viewer an understanding of the feelings of lightness and a perceived dematerialization of the structural frame of the complex. The viewers understanding of the moments of capture and release we created throughout the building experience were also one of the primary goals of the larger scale detail model.

Note: To view these pages at a larger size please simply click on the image. Thank you