Model in Progress. . .
custumer care my ass
Striped Shirt Week
GSD Whiffle in Piper Auditorium!
Copan Mid-Review Images
Stay (Faraway, So Close)
Images from the trip
My Final Presentation
Me and Becky
May 6, 2006
The One A.M. Blog Entry:
GSD; 12:40:37 A.M. Eastern Standard Time; May 6, 2006
Time Remaining Before Final Review: 6.375 days
I'm currently working on a bass wood model for the final. A majority of my drawings are completed, although I still need to make a computer model for perspectives, as well as finishing up a few section details. Hopefully I can finish those off in a couple of days. I'm thinking of plotting final drawings on Tuesday afternoon after one last meeting with Jorge. I can then spend the rest of the time (Wednesday and Thursday) finishing up the model. At least that's my rough schedule. Usually I write up a fairly detailed schedule of items that I need to accomplish with a very specific time frame, but after three years at the GSD, (if there's one thing I've learned this it folks!) it is that schedules are useless except for telling you how little you've done in the last 48 hours. In fact, in the past, I revised my schedules on a daily basis to conform to my lack of finished work and the need to lower my expectations on what I'll actually finish before the final review. This year things are different; I'm so much smarter. . . I just don't have a schedule and thus I never feel behind. I'll let you know if this plan backfires next week after reviews.
In other news, I have a semi-new phone that I bought off of Ebay for 15 dollars. My old phone, for the past 2-3 weeks didn't get any signal, so I had to either pay 120 dollars for a new phone from Cingular, renew my contract with Cingular for another year to get a discount on a new phone, or go out and find a similar phone for cheaper somewhere else. I obviously chose the latter of the three choices since I'm definitely going to opt out of Cingular to a company that actually works and I sure as hell wasn't going to pay 120 dollars for a cheap phone that will probably break only a few months past it's warranty, just like my last one. Refer to my April 24th rant for more details about that phone.
May 2, 2006
It's that time of the semester again when things get a little hectic, the days seem too short and there's no shortage of stress. Final review week looms over the collective GSD and non-studio classes definitely get cut from the daily routine. I for one completely forgot about my class today because of my preoccupation with studio work.
The end of the semester is always a mixture of stress and anxiety, but I also find it to be the most exciting part of the semester. I watch in amazement as the entire school becomes uber-productive; a collective of some of the smartest designers, watching the gears turn in everyone's head is an awesome site. But I think it's true of most architecture schools, not just the GSD. At Idaho, the weeks preceding final reviews produced a similar mish-mash of chaos and organized disaster. A once in a semester occurance, that can only be witnessed inside an architecture school, I feel it is one my favorite parts of the semester as it really brings together the students in a way only possible in a studio environment. I've bagged on the non-traditional architecture schools such as the BAC before, but I have to reiterate the importance of the studio culture in learning about architecture. Certainly, the majority of the learning occurs amongst your peers, the majority of the support comes from your classmates and the majority of the stress relief comes from playing ping pong or darts late at night (early in the morning depending on your perspective) with your friends at school. This kind of learning environment cannot be duplicated outside of the halls of the GSD or the architecture building regardless of what people say.
I look around the school today and I feel a deep sense of urgency and anxiousness from the top and bottom of the trays. Nearly all of the desks are occupied with people, head phones on, knives out, mouses clicking madly and caffeine product at close hand, working intensely and focused on their projects and I feel so lucky to be a part of it. I can't imagine wanting to be anywhere else right now, except maybe on a sandy beach in the Bahamas. . .
April 24, 2006
I must have something really exciting to say or something really annoying to complain about if I am blogging again this quickly after my last post. Unfortunately, today it is the latter. Please join me as I rant and bitch about Cingular.
So I have this small little Nokia cellphone. It's nothing spectacular, not flashy, doesn't take pictures or movies, it just does what I need it to do which is to send and receive phone calls. That is until recently when the cell phone powers that may be have decided in their infinite wisdom to render my little plastic ring machine a useless piece of. . .
I realize that I'm not the biggest fan of the cell phone. In fact, I usually put it on silent and in my drawer at school, so that when people call, I'm not distracted. But when it's the only means of communication, it kind of sucks when I don't have access to a network. Really, what's the point? So, after about a week (some people may argue that it's been an even longer time) of not being able to make or receive phone calls, messages or texts, I went to their website to see what was up (people told me to call them, but of course that requires a signal to pick up), and it directed me through a series of questions. Email subject: phone. Sub-topic: Unable to make or receive phone calls. Sub-topic Two: Phone is not working. This is the response they gave me: Please call a Cingular customer service representative. WTF? *insert sound of logic flying out the window*
The question now is: why not switch? perhaps it's cause I'm stuck in a contract with them til the end of the year. So thank you Cingular, for nothin' thus I give you the song of the day: Pearl Jam's "I Got S**t!" It's got bad words in it just so you know. . .
April 22, 2006
The last time I blogged, I mentioned the fact that our good friend Christian successfully started a new club here at the GSD dubbed: GSD Whiffle. Now in its third week, the rules are pretty much set in stone and most people around the school know about the weekly event that follows beer and dogs. For next week, Christian hopes to incorporate baseball themed movies in the background, more music and more fun, while the Irwin hopes to bring out the popcorn making machine to really give it a baseball like atmosphere.
Speaking of the IVY, the kid has this shirt. I tried to find it on the Polo Ralph Lauren website, and the closest I could find was this shirt (please note the suggested pink chino pants to go with it). Basically, it's multi-colored not unlike the one in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat." It demands attention and attention it received this past week as five girls bravely wore the shirt for the day and recorded their impressions of what it's like wearing the Amazing Multicolored Poloshirt. Kirsten even wore it on Monday out in PUBLIC while cheering for Becky, who ran the Boston marathon. She successfully completely the 26.2 miles in 3 hours and 20 minutes! All this after a long weekend of working on a design competition and going out late for the GSD Ball. She's a busy girl.
So, it sounds like I'm not doing much school work, but my usual wavering of studio enthusiasm luckily never arose and I've been happily drawing details sections of my facade as well as making 1:100 scale section models during the week. The next task is of course finalizing all the ideas and preparing final models, drawings and renderings etc. . . only three more weeks til the final review. It seems like a lot of time, but it's bound to go by quickly. In the mean time, I will blog some more.
This weekend I'm supposed to finish (start) grading essays for the Dynamics of Japanese architecture class. Unfortunately, the motivation for grading essays falls short of my motivation for sleeping, playing tennis, working on studio and eating food. Speaking of food, I've come across some interesting food websites recently:
1) the bacon blog: http://www.baconunwrapped.com/
it led me to more bacon websites but the best is this one:
2) bacon robots: http://www.baconrobots.com/
completely ridiculous, awesomely funny
3) crazy snacks: http://www.pimpmysnack.com/index.php
we're definitely going to have to try some of these
First off, I have this gigantic chocolate easter bunny that Alec, for some reason or another, gave to me for my birthday. It think it's cause it's called "Leonardo da Bunny," (it came with a set of pens for drawing on eggs) and thought that it some how related to me because i'm an architecture student???? Anyway, regardless of why, I think I could take the bunny and basically do what these guys did:
It'll be sort of like the turducken escapade, only sweeter. I should really think about finding a good dentist this summer. What are my other plans for this summer? Right now, the only concrete fun this summer will be a Pearl Jam concert in July at the Gorge, which means I'm going to have to return to the Northwest. I'm also going to my sister college graduation in Los Angeles in mid May, right after my final review.
April 6, 2006
Whenever I return from Spring Break, I usually feel apathetic towards school work. I generally lack motivation to do any work whatsoever. However, I'm finding things a little bit different this spring, perhaps because the weather outside has been so poor. Regardless of why, I'm finding myself fairly productive, although not with studio work, unfortunately.
I like mid-reviews because they are generally (for me at least) very positive and encouraging. While no where near a complete project, the critics usually see great potential in the directions I can take my project in making it more complete, cohesive and comprehensive. Part of me is very excited by this fact, but another side of me becomes apprehensive as to whether I will be able to sustain the level of design brought up to this point. I worry that all the great potential built up in the project will quickly disappear as a result of my own poor judgement and design skills. My enthusiasm for my current project, while unwavering, suffers because I have so many directions the project can take and I worry that anything new I design for it will detract from the main concept behind the project. I just need to suck it up and do something. In the mean time, I have a lot of other things that have been keeping me preoccupied, such as sleeping and re-energizing.
This past week, Spring Break, was spent mostly doing all the things I can't normally do because of school obligations. The weather was great, unlike the snow we had here yesterday, so I spent as much time outside as possible. The first part began with grading exams for the Dynamics of Japanese Architecture course. I'm happy to say that most people did great. A few people missed a couple of key points about the topics, but for the most part, I think they all understand the material. I find that grading exams when the student understands the material is much easier than when they are really missing the point. So, the grading went by fairly quickly and I was able to do it all in an afternoon, and an evening following what was to become the first installment of Fry Week 2006, which unfortunately never really materialized. What is Fry Week 2006 you ask? Well, it was supposed to be a whole week devoted to frying food. The first installment featured, small chunks of chicken, onion rings as well as Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, Marshmallows and of course, Twinkies. The marshmallows didn't work out too well, just as stated in this website. I must also confess a lack of determination on our part, because the next installment of Fried Foods never materialized. Plus, check out what these guys did to Twinkies.
So if I haven't been pre-occupied with studio, what have I been doing? I'm not entirely sure. Not blogging much, that's for sure. I did go to the Apple store to check out the new Apple MacbookPro's. What a cool computer. Laura just got one, another friend of mine is close to getting one and I'm really just waiting on one more pay check before going out and getting one myself. Especially now that they can boot up Windows XP. I'm a little torn in regards to this information however, because, on the one hand it will open up Apple hardware to people who are stuck using Windoze, but on the other hand, software developers may not want to produce Mac OS software as a result.
Finally, I've been notified by my web server people that I'm close to exceeding my space allotment, so I've removed most songs in the archives section of tetslog. The most current songs are still up in addition to this one that I've added today. It's a Coldplay song called "Proof," that's rarely, if ever played, and only appeared as a B-side to the "Speed of Sound" single. Enjoy.
March 22, 2006
(I've noticed a trend in my blog entries: the first line usually remarks about how long ago I wrote the previous blog entry. So in similar fashion):
I guess I didn't realize how many days have past since I last updated the tetslog, but preparations for our mid-project review took up a lot of time (nearly an all nighter; see image of sun shining through Gund Hall in the early morning. . .) and I figured it would get pretty boring for everyone to read about me working on studio day after day. Also, nothing particularly exciting has happened since the last entry. Actually, that's not entirely true.
I've been offered a position with the Visual Resources Department to help catalog and upload images that one of my professors uses for his class on modern and contemporary Japanese architecture. There are over 1800 slides that need to be uploaded onto a huge database of architectural images. It's another job, but I certainly think I can manage; plus it means more money and I've been eyeing that new MacBook Pro.
Now, don't get me wrong, the new Apple laptop is super expensive, but I've been giving it a lot of thought, and it may be able to make me even more productive in school. The laptop could potentially give me the freedom to start working in places outside of school such as at a coffee shop, in park or even at home.
There are basically two schools of thought, as I see it, for working on school projects.
1) Work only at school and only go home to do non-school stuff
2) Work both at school and at home
For most of my time here, I've been in the first category, partially because my computer is stuck at school, but mostly because there's something comforting about knowing that when I'm at home I can distance myself, if only briefly, from the rigor of school. On the other hand, it means a lot of my rent money is wasted; if only I could pro-rate rent costs depending on how many hours I actually spend at home sleeping, eating and living. While owning a laptop might blur these distinctions between being at school and not being at school, it might make my life a tiny bit easier.
However, if I consider tuition expenses as some sort of rental fee, I guess the high cost of attending the GSD starts to make sense. Thankfully, I've gotten not only my first pick in option studios, but also two very excellent studio instructors this semester and last semester, so I'm starting to get my money's worth. It's given me three trips out of the country as well as the expertise of two of the better studio instructors this school has to offer.
Case in point: my mid-review yesterday went surprisingly well. We had an amazing jury ( a lot of people were talking about how it was perhaps one of the best juries they've had at the GSD) consisting of Scott Cohen, Nader Tehrani, Mark Mulligan and Ingeborg Rocker. They were a bit intimidating at first because of their prominence at our school, but all of them had extremely interesting comments and criticisms, but more importantly, they all brought to the table intelligent architectural dialogue. Include Jorge, my instructor, and you've pretty much got a jury of what most of the students consider the best minds at our school to have on a review and we all felt pretty lucky to sit in and listen to what they had to offer.
Spring break is next week, so I'll have some down time to digest everything they had to say about my project. Unfortunately, I also need to grade some exams for the Japanese architecture class that I TF for. They took their midterm exam today, which basically consisted of image identification, architectural style comparisons and a short essay. I was so tired last night and ready to go to sleep, but I kept getting emails from the students asking about what they needed to know for the exam. I never asked what was going to be on the exam: I generally just studied everything and anticipated for the worst case scenario: what I don't study will invariably be on the exam, so why not study for everything? Plus, how many times must I answer questions that I've already responded to or explained in class or are explicitly written in the syllabus? I can never be a teacher. . .
I've put up some images of the models that I produced for the review. I thought the white contour models were pretty hot, if you don't mind me saying so myself. I must finish up now because I'm a guest critic for a studio mid-review at the BAC tonight and need to get ready. Tonight I get to experience the other side of studio reviews, how exciting is that?
Song of the day? U2's "Stay (Faraway So Close)" from the last show of the Zoo TV Tour. At the begining, Bono mentions that it doesn't even matter if his guitar is in tune because they don't have him mixed loud enough to hear anyway. Enjoy.
March 5, 2006
I haven't blogged in a while, so I thought I'd take this spare minute to write a few things that currently occupy my mind.
I'm listening to the song "Ultraviolet," from U2's Achtung Baby album. Quite possibly my favorite U2 record (depending on my mood), the song did not take over the singles charts like "One," and "Mysterious Ways," but in many respects Ultraviolet is better and probably my favorite song off of the album. So I feature this song as the song of the day.
I'm currently working on a project for Innovative Constructions: Cases from Modern Japan. This class essentially talks about the evolution of Japanese architecture from just after the end of World War II. The response to by the Japanese following the war to redefine their cultural sense through architecture shows the eclectic and enthusiastic attempts to take on an optimistic and adventurous style of architecture that also recognizes the beauty in traditional architectural modes.
Laura and I are researching a building designed by Kisho Kurokawa. One of the founding members of the Metabolist movement, a group of five post-war architects who challenged the notions of a machine age International Style and Modernism through an architecture that symbolizes life and metamorphosis, Kurokawa actively promoted the new movement by emphasizing the symbiosis of cultural DNA throughout the design and envisioning the building as a living organism with various autonomous systems and subsystems coming together to produce and regenerate. For the 1970's Expo in Osaka, Kurokawa designed two pavilions, both of which clearly exhibit the Metabolist theories on design. We are studying in detail the Takara Beautillion Pavilion, by analyzing and deciphering it's basic structural form, how it was constructed and the design ideas that led to its formation. In particular, we're interested in the infinitely expandable unit of the space frame that the Kurokawa utilizes, making it possible to produce the framework off site, and quickly erect the structure on site in a short amount of time. Here are some images of the space frame module that Laura made in FormZ and an image of the actual project. She also cut my hair recently, images of which you can check out at on her February 21 entry at LauraDuncan.com.
I think that's enough blogging for now. I'm going to get back and finish up my part of the assignment now.
February 19, 2006
I'm still feeling a little ill from the trip for one reason or another, but I think it's getting better. I just want to be regular. . .
Anyway, I'm putting up some more images from the trip. My studio mates are all super chill and super cool, so I think it's gonna be another fun semester for me, my last studio course at the GSD!!!! I think it's important to have a fun cohesive studio group and so far in my time at the GSD, I've been fortunate enough to always have a cool studio group. The sense of camaraderie really helps foster a fun studio atmosphere where everyone works and helps each other out; truly the essence of architecture studio culture. This is why architecture cannot be taught online nor why I don't believe schools such as the BAC, which do not foster a true studio environment for students, can be successful or beneficial.
Some thoughts from Honduras:
1) It's very green and very lush. We were given two potential zones for the development of a museum, two legs of the former landing strip for the city of Copan. One is still baren with a few trees sprouting about, the other has been engulfed by jungle. I'm strangely drawn towards the jungle site even though most people have naturally steered clear of the jungle for a number of reasons not the least of which includes the fact that you can't tell where anything is once you're in the jungle. But I think that's why I'm excite by its potential.
2) The scenery is gorgeous and the weather is nearly perfect. While we were struck by unseasonably cold weather, it was still better than the snow and freezing temperatures that hit the north east during our absence. Hooray for the tropics!
3) Everyone is poor. It's quite possibly one of the saddest things I've encountered in my life: the discrepancy between rich and poor without anybody really being rich. Does that make sense? I shall try to explain: usually you find a large contrast between the rich and the poor in underdeveloped countries, but in Honduras it seemed like poverty touched everybody. I felt guilty living and eating excessively because while I'm a poor graduate student in Cambridge, in Honduras I seemed to have an endless supply of money with everything being so inexpensive.
Perhaps in the city of Copan, because of it's large tourist draw did not seem as poverty stricken as other villages we passed on the 2.5-3 hour drive to the site from San Pedro Sula, the largest city in Honduras. The citizens there have managed to make a consistent living off of the 160,000 visitors that make their way to this remote town every year. But along the way, it's very depressing. I wish I could help, but I don't know that there's much I can do. I can only hope that they don't realize that life could be different and that they are happy with the way they live their lives and in living in such a beautiful part of the world. I hope they are able to enjoy looking out across such amazing vistas from their back yards.
On a happier note (speaking of living excessively), I've just upgraded to OSX 10.4. The sole reason for the switch? So that I can use the application Google Earth. It's like Google Maps on steroids!
February 15, 2006
I have returned from Honduras safe and sound, with only a few bug bites and a bit of a stomach ache (not from over eating----I don't think). Becky's gone to Seoul on her studio trip, so I spent Valentines with Julie and Kirsten. I have lots to write about the trip, but I don't want to do it now, so I'll save it for when I'm really bored. Instead, enjoy these panoramas of Copan and the surrounding vista. The scenery just blew me away.
I'm sure I'll have more pictures soon, but for the time being let those suffice.
I also led my first section as a Teaching Fellow this morning. The class is called the Dynamics of Japanese Architecture. I was nervous at first, but soon settled down when I realized that I really did know more about the subject than they did and I had nothing to worry about. In the end, it was almost fun. . . and it pays well.
February 8, 2006
Can you tell that I don't really have anything to do yet? I won't post this often for the rest of the semester, trust me. Anyway, here's a video of people singing from the Turducken Fest '06. Enjoy.
February 6, 2006
The bad new is: the Seahawks lost. The good new is, I still got to eat a turducken. What is a Turducken you ask? It's quite possibly one of the best ways to eat fowl. Now, generally I prefer beef or pork over poultry, but the concept of a turducken was simply too hard to pass up, so we went ahead and ordered one for Super Bowl Sunday. While we were disappointed in the size, it was only about 12.5 pounds total uncooked, it still tasted delicious. With the number of people who showed up, however, the portions were a bit small unfortunately. Next time, we'll do it up nice.
At some point, there were approximately 25 people in the apartment feasting on a roasted turkey, duck and chicken, as well as a wide variety of fried goods (potatoes and sausages) donuts, cake, chips, some vegetables, and of course drinking beer (including some of our own home brew, which, I might I add, is perhaps the best batch of beer we've made so far). Here are the images of Turducken Bowl '06.
On Thursday, I depart for Honduras for a five day studio site visit. I hear the weather down there is NICE!
February 3, 2006
Here are some parting photos from Fall of 2005, quite possibly one of my most successful semesters at the GSD. There were a lot firsts and a lot of new discoveries and a lot of fun times. I'm hoping this semester will be more of the same!
February 2, 2006
A new semester brings a new studio, a new buttmate and a new seating arrangement. This semester I am in Jorge Silvetti's Honduras studio, where we will be designing a museum for Mayan artifacts near Copan. Our trip leaves in less than a week, so I'm super excited.
I actually didn't have to move very far: I'm sitting opposite of where I sat last semester, same pod. I quite literally mirrored locations and didn't even have to unplug my computer. My buttmate is a Grace, who was also in my studio last semester, so she didn't have to move very far either. In fact, she could have stayed in the same location as last semester, but moved to get away from the spray booth. The only problem with this particular location is my view of the north stair case; I get distracted by all the people walking up and down as well as the people walking along the edge of the 3rd tray. It used to be just their reflection in my computer monitor, which I got used to, but now I'm actually seeing them in my peripheral vision, which sucks. I like it better underneath; I can't see people and people can't see me.
My last pair of headphones died on my near the end of last semester, so I bought another pair of them while in Japan. They were cheaper there and I hope of better quality as well. The wires on the last pair were not only disintegrating, they finally just lost sound in one ear. This will be my third pair of these headphones. I really like them, but I wish they were more reliable. But, they are great for listening to great U2 songs such as this version of Bad from the New Years Night In Dublin Concert.