Friday, April 29, 2011

A few of my favorite things

These are a few of my favorite things...

Bonnaroo 2007
Space-   Under a tent, or make-shift tent, on a hot summer day. There's nothing like escaping the disgustingly sweaty,2nd degree burn bringing sun by popping up a tent or some tarps and taking a mid-day catnap.

      Object-  My pink utility knife I received for Christmas, complete with pliers, bottle opener, mini saw, Phillips head screw driver, knife blade, and flashlight.  Best of all- it is  pink.

NYC 2008
Building- NYC Subway System.  I would consider this a building because you have to enter it by walking down stairs or riding down an escalator.  I enjoy the thrill of descending beneath the natural glow of a thriving city to a series of tunnels where you only hear loud rushes of sound and wind when the subway arrives, along with the mingled conversations of those around.  I also enjoy the tiny bit of excitement everyone feels when they look down the tunnel and see the lights of the train before the train itself.   I enjoy the people of every color and origin that you may encounter, and even the sketchiest of people because it reminds you that everyone has a story.

Savannah 2008
Place- Savannah, Georgia.  Maybe it's because my first choice college was Savannah College of Art and Design, but I fell in love with the city upon first visit.  The city is so full of history, with each building having it's own story, a school filled with some of the most creative and imaginative students in the country, and an old south feel that welcome's all.  I enjoy the Spanish moss that hangs over every park walkway, the tranquil colors of the houses, and the fresh smell of the river when you're walking along the boardwalk.  The people are so inviting, there are musicians that will play according to your vibes, and the open container law makes everyone outside a little more friendly.  

Savannah 2008

Savannah 2008

Savannah 2008

Friday, April 22, 2011

BP 13- Scandinavian Design

Scandinavian Design
Bubble chair- Eero Aarnio, 1968
    Scandinavian Design is very unique and differs from architecture from other areas of the world.  The design is known for its beginnings as affordable, sleek furniture for everyone, not just the wealthy.  The trend is demonstrated not only through furniture, but also through fashion.  Emerging in the 1950's, the trend focused on minimalism, modernism, and functionalism.  Some famous designers associated with Scandinavian design include Alvar Aalto, Eero Aarnio, Vernon Panton, Arne Jacobson, and Hans Wegner.
 Paimio Armchair-Alvar Aalto

Arne Jacobsen- rodovre town hall, stairwell 1952-1956

               Scandinavian Design is prevalent today through the popular businesses Ikea and H&M.  Both companies are known for mass producing simple products that coordinate well with (almost) everything.  

Scandinavian design also resignates through scandinavian modern architecure, such as buildings Alvar Aalto and Arne Jacobsen designed.  I appreciate the scandinavian design concept because of it's appeal to the masses and is aimed for everyone including the "average joe", which every third world country has.  The products are well priced and are innovative in design and new forms.  

RR 13- the shift to modern architecture

Monday, April 18, 2011

Design Manifesto

Tips for extracting creativity when you think you've run out of creativity to extract. (In no particular order)

*sketch, doodle, document- If you're in class, draw the people around you.  If you are outside, draw your surroundings.  If you have cartoon characters battling in the back of your mind, put them onto paper-make them concrete.  Getting your ideas onto paper is like writing in a diary, some things just need to be made more permanent before we can get them out of our mind.
*learn the rules
*follow the rules- Can't think of a way to spice up your latest idea and make it more unique? Stop thinking ahead and get the basics down.  Do the part you are sure about and add the detail later.  Seeing something on your paper may inspire you more than dreaming it all up ahead of time.
*break the rules- You've learned what you are allowed to do to the form the box, now it's time to step out of it.
*go on a sketch-scavenger hunt- decide what to find. find it. sketch it.
*carry a camera
*take pictures to document the things you see
*take pictures of everything
*if your mind is wandering, sketch its journey
*don't start over every time you mess up
*connect to your work
*enjoy what you're doing
*don't let anyone change your style

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Up and Down the East Coast in 2 days- Field Trip to Monticello and Falling Water

      Last weekend the first year Interior Architecture students, as well as assorted other interested in design and our teachers, traveled from North Carolina to Virginia to Maryland to Pennsylvania and back- in 2 days.  We began Sunday morning at 6 am, after a few sketchy give and go's from the breaks of the bus we were on the road to Monticello to visit the home of Thomas Jefferson.  We pulled into the parking lot and couldn't see the house from the bus.  I have been to Monticello before, but like any other important house or place, when you visit again the history seems to overwhelm you.  We walked up to the visitors center and were immediately drawn to the garden and pool area in the middle of the courtyard of the area.  The visitors center had a small museum and information center with quotes that appeared on the wall and letters that swam around your feet when you stepped on certain words on the floor, all referring to Thomas Jefferson quotes.
Clock located above outside door
     From the visitors center we took a bus to the main house.  When we arrived we had to line up so that the tour guides could count groups and what not.  This short downtime provided an excellent time for a few quick sketches of the interesting people around, including one woman in american flag attire that we deemed Miss America, as well as the surroundings, like the blue ridge mountain scape in which the east facade of the house faces.  Our group gathered and we were greeting by a tall slender man with very circular glasses and a bow tie; he would be our tour guide.  We walked up to the house and stopped outside the East Porch door.  The first thing I noticed was the clock about the door, not because it was particularly noticeable, but how many people put clocks outside above their back door today?  Upon learning that we could not take pictures inside, a general sound of dissapointment was heard around the group (we are the technology generation, of course).
Week Clock Located in Corner
      We toured the house beginning in the corridor in the back of the house where we found the next noticeable clock, which took up most of the wall and some of the wall of the floor beneath the main floor.  The clock was on a larger scale though, and was used to keep track of days rather than just hours.  Also interesting to know, was that the clock was not built large enough and had to be continued to the floor below so that it could fit all seven days.  The hole in the floor was just the beginning of a few afterthoughts the house held, which also included slanted ceilings to accommodate dropped ceilings meeting with higher ceilings and doors.
South Square Room
      We moved through to the south square room, which was my favorite of all the rooms.  The room looked like it could have been designed today with a vintage chic feel and fit in with design today perfectly.  My favorite thing in the room were the hanging picture frames on the walls.  They looked like something I could buy from Urban Outfitters and hang on my tiny apartment walls and be completely satisfied.  I really enjoyed the silhouettes on the photos instead of actual photographs because they made the room more stylish in general and less about the people in the photos.
      We moved through the rest of the house, observing the pink bedding on Thomas Jefferson's bed, the odd circular cut out's in the top of the wall of his side bedroom room, and the horrible yellow room located farther along in the house.  We finished the house tour having learned of the thousands of books that once occupied the floors that we walked on and the string of kids that may have belonged to Thomas Jefferson via Sally Hemmings.
View of West Porch From Lawn
UVA Mall
     We finished the house tour and moved outside where we were free to roam the grounds of Monticello and explore the gardens, the cemetary, the ground floor, and the mall in front of the West Porch.  It was a beautiful day so most of the class explored and then took in the sun on the lawn of Monticello, some playing frisbee and other basking in the sunlight, all of us getting the full Monticello experience.

Original Dorms at UVA
Mall with View of Side Buildings
     After Monticello we hit the road again and were on our way to the University of Virginia's main campus in Charlottesville, VA, which was founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819.  We went to UVA mainly to experience their courtyard first hand, which holds a lot of precedence in the Federal architecture style created and used amongst many federal building in the US.  We ate at a local Irish Pub and walked in a few stores along the main drag in Charlottesville.  When we found the courtyard we were amazed to see that the buildings lining the lawn were still used for dormitories, and though the dorms were small, they were quaint and full of history and stories.  The dorms were originally dorms, which is why it is so interesting that they are still used as dorms today and not especially preserved for historical value.  The lawn was laid out in a style strikingly similar to that of Monticello, and rightfully so, as Thomas Jefferson dabbled both hands in both sites.  The mall was a very active place for students as we observed some kind of sorority-fraternity flag football game going on in the middle of the lawn.  Other students were just reading or doing homework out in the sun on the beautiful day.
      From UVA we moved on towards the hotel in Maryland.  The hotel was old and rustic, with customized rooms, with varying wall paper and decorations in each room.  It had lamp fixtures that were electric but had an old timey- oil burning feel to them.  The dining room in the main house had more of a dated feel than the rooms themselves, with more old lamps on the wall and wooden tables in a dining room that looked like it may have been updated once since opening.
Falling Water from Walkway
View of wading area from outside
Falling Water from afar
     We left the hotel and went to Falling Water, the Frank Lloyd Wright House in Bear Creek Pennsylvania.  Upon arriving we noticed the odd shape of the visitors center and ticket area.  Sparking our interest, we divided into ten person groups to tour the house.  The house was very interesting in design- even more interesting that Wright was so set on his design and what he wanted that he and the Kaufman's often argued, leaving Wright not getting to choose everything, like the kitchen decor, the kitchen table chairs, or having his own chairs all around the house.  Though confusing from the outside, the house is seemingly easily navigable, and it was just fun entering every room and seeing the interesting tough Wright added to each space.  My favorite thing about the house was the wading area adjacent to the living room, because really, who can walk to the river from their living room couch?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

BP11: IAR 221

Hardranger Retreat Summer House
    Located in Kjepsø, Hardanger Fjord, Norway, this summer retreat was built with relaxation and minimalism in mind.  The project was designed and built by Todd Saunders and Tommie Wilhelmsen and was personally financed.  The two young architects bought the piece of land with intentions to build experimental architecture, too gain experience and learn a few things along the way.   After choosing the perfect spot along the lake side, the two built a beautiful piece of organic architecture.  The flat roof, very different from a typical cabin in the wood's tin roof, is a change seeming to blossom among young and rising architects today, but not without thought.  This retreat is made so that the roof is included in the use and is actually used as a terrace.  The retreat is efficient in design, as it houses people, gives them a place to relax, doesn't create eye pollution on the hillside, and is a fun weekend get away.  It is modern in its sleek design, it's minimal use of differing materials, and its attention to the flow of the architecture syncing with the flow of the nature around it.
     By the beginning of the twentieth century, people were working so hard to be modern because the availability of resources made it easier and more pliable to create things that would last for longer periods of time and were worth investing money into.  With the introduction of steel, buildings could now be built with stronger supports, ones that would not wear over time.  Once people realized that they could build things that lasted longer periods of time they also realized they should make the most efficient use of those materials.  Things began to be built with more purpose.  People wanted versatility with a guarantee.  Since then we have interpreted modern as being up to date, sleeker, slimmer, more minimal.  The rise of modernism in architecture is especially apparent in this rendition of a weekend get away; what we once knew as a cabin in the woods, is now a sleek villa on the hillside.

RR:9 A National Affair