Saturday, January 29, 2011

Catch-up not Ketchup

Oh my Blog its been so long since I've posted on you. You see.....its not that I haven't been doing my thesis, its more like my Thesis has been well you know. All I can say is that it has been such a thrilling ride so far. It's hard to believe that I am now in my second quarter 3rd week and still it feels like I just started. However, when I look at all the work that has been done I couldn't image a better way to end a chapter in my life, only to open a new one. So here is a progress update on Thesis. Originally my project was titled Threshold, and as of the end of last quarter that is what I presented it as. However, as I had another 'lightbulb' moment on Friday the thesis name and direction have changed. If you ask me, I'd say that its all part of the process. Im glad that my thesis has been altered so much, its a sure sign that I'm not getting bored with it. So the project is still the same, well generally speaking, but the specifics have become, well....more specific (stating the obvious). My project has changed names to 'Centropy' Center+Entropy meet "[C]Entropy'.Today I spent all day working on my Topography model and well to my satisfaction looks GREAT! I have included some pictures. It was a long haul and very time and labor intensive but it will look great in my end of the year presentation. So with the change of the name of my project I have decided to construct a prototype for the future of general education with an inclusion of ecology and entropy. During my 'Ah-ha' moment the other night that I have referenced above, this is what I jotted down. It was spur of the moment, typical napkin thinker with a pen moment.
So here is what i wrote down as the ideas came flooding my mind- " ...(my design) should move away from megastructures toward a more 'humanized' scale to realize the grandeur of nature and its importance in the ecology of life. The architecture in human scale sets us in our place in the order of the natural world. We don't need to conquer nature to realize we rely upon it for the very act of living, rather we need to see ourselves in proportion to our reliance upon it."

"We should be concerned with leaving the smallest footprint upon it (landscape/nature) and the design of such a center should aspire to be compact. This in turn will heighten the perception of our natural surroundings, particularly the canyon which was formed by water, which is a grand figure in nature"

Design Goals: Design a structure to be carried into a place where permanent construction is not permitted, erected, then deconstructed after its use (time varying) and have the area look as if the structure was never even there.

So thats where Im at. Hopefully I can come up with a killer idea. Im even playing with the idea of building a piece of it for my final presentation, Full Scale!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Revised and Revisited

I've realized that there is only one constant in the thesis year, and possibly in life, [and not to steal Volcoms branding but its so true...] 'The only constant is change'. So here we go again. This time rather than changing my whole thesis topic like I had at the beginning of the quarter, I'd like to say its become "polished" as time goes on. Under the guidelines of the 1+3+9 Thesis writing format here is the latest and greatest. First sentence is an overall theme, followed by 3 of explanation, 9 of summary.

In an effort to minimize environmental degradation with architecture, a college community focused on living within the realm of renewable resources will enrich students’ education and efforts in finding meaningful solutions to today’s environmental issues.

Global sustainability and entropy have become current popular topics within almost every collegiate learning environment, and educating students to find solutions has become a greater focus. The current Oxford and Cambridge system of colleges at UCSD offers students in the classroom a diversified academic group of individuals with ranging ideas and backgrounds. For passionate students of ecology, current UCSD college living situations don’t offer a place where a hands on approach to live what they learn in the classroom to find solutions to the issues.

In an effort to avoid future problems in the human ecology and entropy chain of events, university lifestyles should comprehensively be seen as an extension to learning. Apart from the classroom, the living arrangements are where students spend the greatest amount of time. These dormitories are seen as a place where a diversified group of cultures, backgrounds, and histories mesh to produce a new sub-culture. Honing in on the subculture and knowledge of its users, living environments can become a laboratory to learn/solve issues of entropy and environmental degradation. Environmental degradation is the result of altering a site to the point that it no longer resembles nature or has a natural thriving ecology. This thesis will propose a 7th college to the UCSD university structure that will focus its general education in the ecology and entropy of human survival. This college will provide a center for regenerative ecology and studies with a building that act as a teaching tool to promote future interaction with nature with minimal environmental impact. Students will have the ability to cultivate land, take classes from inter disciplinary studies about regenerative studies, and experiment with new methods of living off of the natural resources available. Multiple sustainable methods will be explored from water reclaiming, solar power, and local food sources, along with adaptation for future sustainable methods.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Still Here

Well for all of you who were wondering where the consistency went, I must admit I had to slow down just for a short period of time. Thesis research can be quite intense. My topic has been molded into a unique issue and has kept me busy burying my head in books. My critical statement on the issue has boiled down to this. Our reliance on oil has determined how we design and build everything. There needs to be a shift in designing and constructing buildings now, before we exhaust the worlds oil supply. This design will serve as an educational tool to show students how we can live within a new entropy watershed.
Direct, and to the point. That is what my aim will be this year. I am currently doing site analysis and research. I will follow up this post this week with more pictures, sketches. Just wanted to ensure everyone I didn't abandon my efforts.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

On Point

Newschool of Architecture Convocation
My Studio Building

Symphony Towers Convocation 2010

Gus, Janice, Sarah, and Me. Great Friends!

The past few days have brought a myriad of experiences. My friends have gotten used to prime photo shooting opportunities which has been nice, now they just expect it to be on the blog. Id like to welcome the new readers who are just getting a glimpse at what essentially is my last experience of a formal Architectural educational environment. Studio space is feeling more like home as people have set up their spaces (even though I haven't yet) and the chatter of thesis year has begun. I will set up my space this week as I have been constrained to getting all of my things down to school with having my sister here from NYC and her using our SUV, the only car big enough to fit all of my essential 'junk'.
On Monday I decided to change my thesis project from what I had previously planned on doing. Over the summer I played with the idea of utilizing freeway energy to power buildings, but after realizing that I wasn't passionate about it enough to find an architectural problem from it, I decided to change my subject matter to something that has recently captured my attention on all fronts. The idea of Entropy and the paradigm shift that we all must have to survive the future. Entropy is a loaded word full of vast definitions. The focus I'd like to take is the second law of thermodynamics in that the way we are currently building, inventing, and developing is still in a colonization theory. This essentially is that the more we make, invent, and mechanize we waste more material in a faster, more unsustainable manner. Think of it like this, the human being can exert around one tenth of a horsepower of energy, compared to a machine that can exert thousands of horsepower, over time the amount of energy expelled by speeding up the process of extraction is depleting the current entropy watershed ( currently non renewable energy sources). If through that analogy any of that made sense keep following me to the next point. The hunter gatherer era of mankind took theoretically millions of years to deplete their methodology of obtaining food and energy, and at the point where they used up the sources of their energy they were forced to undertake a new method of energy (food) survival. They moved from a hunter gatherer society to a agricultural society. Which in turn took a few thousand years to deplete, (although we still harvest today it is highly mechanized) From that era of agriculture society out of necessity moved to a industrialized form of life. Within the past 200 years of industrialization we have managed to deplete our current entropy watershed (non renewable energy sources). We are now faced with the inevitable task of moving to a new entropy watershed methodology, which is precisely what my thesis will address. Building a science center that not only teaches about Entropy but is experiencing it through living the law of science. This thesis will propose a building that once built will work with entropy using negative entropy (or natural sunlight and wind etc.). The basis for designing for the future is what I am trying to achieve, beyond the so called 'sustainable' practices that are currently being falsely fed with, the entropic methods of the future go beyond a false sense of sustainability and look toward a new way of living in harmony with nature.
I am currently doing extensive research to understand all that entropy is and where it can take me within this project. Since we are all living in entropy and its laws it has become a very interesting topic to explore and learn how rather than fighting against its effects all the time in everything we do, rather we can work in harmony with its principles and return to a more harmonious life.
Now that you might have a little grasp on my topic my Thesis Sketch (which my wonderful sister Leslie, who has the NYC art creativity helped me develop a concept I had otherwise envisioned in a different medium) The model represents the order of entropy we are currently experiencing. The order to disorder is a representation of our current entropic watershed of energy, where the system starts out with a great deal of order and as time and numbers deplete chaos occurs and inevitable depletion occurs. As you can see the project lends itself to being highly theoretical, however I think that it has a great deal of potential because we must move from a 'colonization society' to a 'climactic society' (google the terms for more info).
To finish off the week me and my friends moved my friends cabinet over to our studio and then buzzed on down to Symphony tower theatre to have our school wide convocation ceremony where people were honored and our new dean spoke. I had to leave early so I didn't get to see the whole thing but it seemed to be a great start for another year for Newschool.

Gus's Cabinet
Janice helping us move it
Wheres your seatbelt Mr? better yet where's your SEAT!?

Thesis Sketch Photos:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Don't Block me

My professor told us how his wife is always pointing out Architects in a crowd and perhaps some of you have witnessed me do exactly what his wife was talking about. She said she can always tell who the Architects are because when they walk into a room the first place they look is up, and then proceed to ensure the place is built correctly by observing every detail, and then make sure all codes, regulations, and safety matters are addressed. Usually if they aren't we will begin to point them out. Well on Saturday, I had one of those moments, as I always do and decided to take a picture to show you all exactly what I'm talking about.
I needed to go run some errands and decided to stop off at the Target nearest to my parents house, as I was already in the neighborhood. So, as I'm walking from my car to the store I come across one of the biggest safety issues, and sources of a guaranteed lawsuit win each year. To the average person, clearly I was the only person who saw this, actually the girl pushing the shopping carts continued to just stack them up. Now, yeah, you may be thinking it petty, but if you were the one on the other side of the door during a fire, and that was the only exit.... Wouldn't be so funny would it?
So after I snapped a picture, and nearly informed the manager, I decided to post it on my blog. Aren't you glad someone thinks of life safety, and as usual everyone else ignores it until a disaster strikes. Then guess who is the first person blamed for the occupants idiocracy. ME! the Architect.
On a more positive note, I came up with a great thesis sketch (a conceptual model, collage, diagram....etc.) Im going to be building it in the next few days so look out for that one in future posts. Im excited and hope it works out. As for what my thesis is, well let me try and explain it.
My thesis idea is to essentially produce sustainable energy within San Diego from recapturing wind, solar, and kinetic energy expelled on or near the freeway from technology developed by students and Professors at UCSD, thus designing a Technology and Research center acting as a central distribution Hub for San Diego's future of centralized energy production.

Studio is looking a little more 'Alive'

The idea will me massaged and altered as time continues and essentially brought to a more concentric topic. Right now it is in its infancy, however within the next few weeks it will be a well established topic. Im super excited for this year and have been very pleased with the level of guidance received from my professor and fellow classmates. Well, Im off to go write my thesis essay for the second time. Repetition creates results, so its off to throw another set of ideas out into the universe to see where it takes me this time.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Group 'A'

School is starting to feel a little more routine. Taking pictures at school on the other hand isn't as routine as I'd like it to feel. I'm pretty sure thats going to have to change if I want this blog to get more exciting. Today was reading evaluation, which was an uneventful day in the picture realm. So I snapped two pictures which will be included in the post. I landed a spot in Group A which consists of half of all students from our studio. We were assigned a journal to read on Phronesis, and Aristotle methodology of planning. It was an entriguing article that was pretty deep on many levels. When we began speaking about it our guest instructor for the year Andrea was using a slew of words that we don't typically hear and many of us were sitting around giving that look, you know the one where you didn't understand most of the words the person speaking just said, but instead of saying something you pretend that you just didn't hear them. Well I leaned over to my friend Nate and said, "That went over my head". Well lucky enough the instructor heard and commented, and then I elaborated on how there was a lot of vocabulary that was over my intelligence level, Greek roots, Latin words, etc. Other students agreed that it was a little on the deep side. I guess I didn't want to sound like I wasn't educated but I think we all feel that way sometimes, and perhaps it's a good thing. It leads me to try harder to understand, while at the same time giving me a greater level of humility within the field of architecture

Dont always take the easy way out...
Throughout the discussion a lot of great things were brought into question. One of the things that really stood out to me was the way in which power plays such a crucial role in society which drives the reason why things are the
way they are. Beyond political, social, and economic power there is within the field of architecture a need for a reclaiming of power. 20 years ago when people would ask an individual what their profession was, and architect would be the answer it would be an immediate level of respect. Today it seems that architecture is a 'oh yeah whatever' career. Have we done something wrong to cause that response? Perhaps building crap for the past decade hasn't helped our profession, but let me tell you, there are plenty of bright minds emerging that can really make the difference. I am impressed with fellow classmates who have the vision and the mindset to implement what is needed for the future. Its not about making a name for yourself, rather deciding who we are and what passion drives us to create, individually.

Really, thats what this thesis year is all about. Finding something that we are so passionate about that it will consume who we are, down to our very core. For the next 9 months we must dig deep, find why we are fighting so hard for an issue, and a motive to find a process that can explain what we have to offer as architects. Artists create because they feel something and want to express themselves, architects should be no different. Commissioned by passion rather than paycheck is a good way to sum it all up. Its kind of like I said to my classmates today, 100% of all kids draw, 97% stopped drawing at some point along the way, we are the 3% that kept drawing, and thats what sets us apart from the 97% of the population. People entrust us to create, and we need to live up to that responsibility.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Theoretical Mayhem

Order or Chaos

Today we started off Studio with a lecture from Chuck, who is an outside source that the instructors have brought in for the year. Chuck did not receive his degree in architecture, nor is he connected to the field in the way that we would typically see critics in an architectural setting. The whole point of bringing him into our program is to be a source to challenge our designs. Today was the first opportunity to view the experience Chuck could bring us. He spent around an hour presenting the ways in which he learned about California through a very theoretical standpoint. To say he is smart, would probably be an understatement. He has is own methodology and way of interpreting things that, to be honest I had never preconceived. His presentation of how he explored Los Angeles, alone transported me into a whirl wind of creative thought. He showed us an example of how he would shadow people and the way they commute in Los Angeles, documenting them via video. He showed one particular example of how the subject wanted to go to Ralphs Grocery store. It took 6 mins in the car to go from point A to point B. Then to fully understand the reason for the dependence on the car he took all of the time it took to get from point A to point B and then transcribed that into where he could end up utilizing the same start point but instead of driving for 6 mins, he would then walk for 6 mins and then transpose that place to see where it would take him. Inevitably it resulted in a large theoretical mindset of Los Angeles and the Sprawl that has occurred there.

The Calm Before the Storm
It was confusing at first to follow, but then after asking a question and starting the group discussion I realized where he was coming from and somehow it all made sense. I questioned why he was doing what he did and if someone was commissioning him to do such experimentation? On top of opening up an insight into architecture and the driving force behind what we do as designers, emerged a brief 'ah-ha' moment in the which I discovered what the architecture profession and thesis year are all about. I am not simply trying to discover how I can influence the future through innovative design, but rath
er, grasping this thesis year and implementing a change that can do more than occupy my time, instead initiate a conversational piece and change the way in which things are seen, even if only through my own eyes.
Prof. Len
After the deep, thought provoking presentation it was time to find out who our instructor was going to be for the rest of the year. I immediately felt like a child on Christ
mas day. I was nervous, excited, and a little scared all at the same time. After hearing my two friends names called to two separate groups I knew that I had landed the thesis year with my number one choice for professors. I was excited to hear that I was placed with Len Zegarski for my professor and am super excited for the opportunity to work with him. We met with our instructor and our newly formed smaller group for the rest of the evening where we shared life backgrounds and stories to get the opportunity to form group unity and camaraderie , as we will be each others peer reviewers for the rest of the year. It was an exciting night.

It seems like a great start for this year. However, I know that this is probably the calm before the storm, but none the less I am super excited to be working with a great group of peers who offer so much culture, insight, and background to push me forward in my pursuit and passion for architecture.