Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My Sister's House [open house]

It was so great to finally see My Sister's House that Robert keeps talking about in class. His Urban Studio did a fantastic job at designing and constructing this transitional house for pregnant women ages 18-21. I loved the openness it presented and the placement and shapes of the windows that sunk in about 6 inches each. The cabinets were self constructed by iarc students and I found them to be interactive and different than a usual knob. I loved how all the bedrooms had a bathroom and their own sink and counter space. One issue I saw in the bedrooms though was how they were going to deal with privacy through the windows that are not of normal/standard sizes. There was no blinds and they will have to figure a way to keep light out of the bedrooms when the girls want their privacy from the outside. Other than that I was amazed at their process and all the hard work put into it. Great job Urban Studio!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Wesley and the Fortuitous Ants

As we are studying communities, we had to get in groups and create a video about our interpretation of what community is. When viewing the video my group made, think about how chance relationships happen. Click here to see the video. Enjoy!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Makeshift Shelter Process

The Makeshift Shelter project was given to us the first day of class and was in relation to the recent earthquake in Haiti. Snacking was our shelters activity that had to take place in our shelter.

During class we gathered as many materials as possible from the free materials bin in studio. Inspiration images of shelters from online started ideas flowing. I started in my sketchbook listing all the materials we had so far, ideas of what the materials could become in the shelter, real food we could put in the shelter, drawings of what the shelter might look like in shape, and words for other ideas. The words included: gingerbread house, garden, windows, circles, tables, bowls, plants, and plastic bottles. These informed the design by figuring out how some of these ideas could be tied together in the shelter.

I imagined the shelter with water bottles on two sides and cardboard as the roof. Benches were a must inside the shelter, as people would want to sit as they snacked. Counter space and a way to store food where it would be secure and not blow away was something that was thought upon. I wanted there to be real food you could pick off of a real plant and eat. As in every design process, things change and so did our ideas. An enclosed shelter with water bottles on the sides shaped like a pyramid was my second shelter idea. In one corner there would be two shelves of foam board and the opposite side would have cardboard shelves that were both indoor and outdoor. I wanted the space to look clean and make you feel refreshed after leaving the space.

My narrative that was written described my second idea. I read my team members’ narratives and realized how different they were from mine. Drawing their ideas together was a fun activity and it helped me visualize their shelters. It gave the group new ideas with having pods in the shelter to hold the food.

There were so many ideas now that I then knew we had to come up with a more refined single idea. It was harder than I thought since we all had several ideas we wanted to incorporate. After receiving palettes, that’s when the idea of having palette walls to stand it all up came in. Stephanie gave us the idea of having an open shelter where people will be less timid to come in. All four of us were on the same track at this point and all made the model together with materials we already had in studio. We then decided to start building since we had a model that we were set on. One of my weaknesses was getting my ideas out to my group members. I feel like none of my ideas in the beginning came out in the end and they just got shot down somewhere in between. I never imagined the walls being made of the palettes and I feel like that idea was forced within the group. One of my strengths was working well with others and being patient in the group when there was controversy.

We hammered the palettes together to form the walls. I had gathered water bottles that I figured out how to link together in an effective way with slits on the sides and holes on the bottoms to link to the top layer of bottles to the bottom layer. Fabric was used to create the pods on the walls to hold the food. It worked very well and I was happy about that.

Our whole group was rushed to get things done. We wanted the walls and roof on the shelter by Thursday night. Construction drawings, nailing the walls together and figuring out the roof situation was split up among our group members. One group member was determined to paint the top of the roof, but some of us said to him it was a bad decision because it would be another material and the paint wouldn’t dry in time and it would weigh the roof down more. Instead we went with the plastic wrapping to go on top of the cardboard roof.

On Friday it seemed like each of us were doing a different task just so we could finish the project on time. I was helping with stapling the fabric together and making the roof more stable so it wouldn’t slide off. Once I realized that the bottle idea for a clerestory window was not going to work, I began to find other places to put the water bottles. I slid them between the bars that held the palettes together and it worked great. As we only had an hour left, our banner was still unfinished so I went upstairs and got things moving for that with some of my group members. I laid out all the pictures on the banner and decided where each drawing and materials should go and pasted them all down. I helped clean up the in the lobby where we left unused materials and we brought down the process banner. I wish we had started it earlier than we did so that it could be more detailed and filled with more drawings from each of our sketchbooks. I was glad when everything was in place and done.

I was happy that the project was over with, but at the same time I wish we could have changed a few things. I feel like our project was put together with several different ideas that came from each of us, but the ideas were not put together and did not work with each other as well as they could have. We had the pocket idea, the water bottle, the palette idea, the cardboard roof with plastic covering idea and the found chairs idea. It seemed like we as a group could have done a better job at being more collaborative with each other instead of making our own decisions at times.

I feel that my water bottle idea that came from inspiration was a strong idea, but it was not as strong in the end in the final product. I learned that working in a group is hard, but all our ideas did get out, just not in a unified way. I have learned that ideas and decisions need to be made early in the project so that there is enough time to execute and time to fix any errors that come up. Our shelter was successful in the way that the space was being used, as there was seating, a bar counter, a window, openness to lure people in, and great pathway/traffic flow.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Neighborhoods and Communities

In chapter 5 of the Housing and Community book, “housing is a durable physical product in a neighborhood setting.” Neighborhoods have both social and physical community aspects. A neighborhood is defined as a place of housing, streets, sidewalks, open spaces, utility lines, and residents. Neighborhoods create community. Social interaction and where these social interactions take place are called a community. In order to have a successful community neighborhood, you must have the social and physical community developments designed well for both to come together as one, otherwise residents might not feel satisfied.

In order for people to feel satisfied within a neighborhood, residents must feel safe, not be segregated as a race, have nice neighbors to socialize with and go to for help when needed, and more. If you live in a noisy neighborhood next to a big street, then people might not want to stay there much longer because of safety matters especially if you have small children. People want to see green trees and grass in a neighborhood, not just house after house with little greenery. I believe that cookie-cutter houses are also a negative when comparing neighborhoods because people are not going to want to live in the same planned out house as all their neighbors. We want to be unique because every family is different.

It is nice to have a variety of different kinds of neighborhoods to choose from to suit personal needs and wants. However, I realized from reading the chapter that if you want to just build your own house in a specific area, there are lots of limitations due to zoning codes and ordinances. It is nice to know that the city can give out special permits though. Some parts of covenants are excessive and not necessary, but they do help with making residents keep up their home and not look like a slob.

Studying the different theories about the people that live in certain areas of a city are good to know because they can help in how you design a community, especially if it is a densely populated community to ensure that you design a place where vandalism and crime don’t occur.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Pruitt-Igoe, St. Louis, MO

· Completed in 1955

· 57 acres of cleared land

· Two segregated complexes one for black and one for white

· 2,870 apartments

· 33 11 story buildings

· Architecture by Leinweber, Yamasaki, and Hellmuth design firm

· Yamasaki also built the twin towers

· Built in the De-Sotto Carr neighborhood a black ghetto in an effort to revitalize the area

· The design proposals were a mixture of walk-up, high rise, and mid rise structures. (American Architectural History by Keith L. Eggener 2004)

· This proposal was to expensive so they were forced to build 33 identical 11 story elevator buildings. (American Architectural History by Keith L. Eggener 2004)

· Skip top elevators

· Glazed internal galleries to create “individual neighborhoods”

· The anchor floors hosted the garbage chutes, communal rooms, laundry facilities.

· Stairwells and corridors attracted muggers

· Ventilation was poor and nonexistent central air

· Parking and recreation facilities were inadequate

· Deliberately small apartments

· In 1956 Pruitt Igoe was desegregated and became a mainly black community

· The quality of the hardware was so poor that doorknobs and locks were broken on initial use… Windowpanes were blown from inadequate frames by wind pressure. In the kitchens, cabinets were made of the thinnest plywood possible. (American Architectural History by Keith L. Eggener 2004)

· The buildings remained vacant and the whole complex was never more that 60 percent occupied

· By the end of the 1960s Pruitt-Igoe was nearly abandoned and had deteriorated into a decaying, dangerous, crime-infested neighborhood. In 1971, Pruitt-Igoe housed only six hundred people in seventeen buildings; the other sixteen were boarded up.

· Died of social isolation

· Inadequate maintenance and increased poverty of residents

· Writers said the not meeting resident’s needs were typical of modern architecture.

This is what part of Pruitt-Igoe looks like today. A bunch of planted trees and weeds.

Darst-Webbe, St. Louis, MO

• The Darst building opened in 1956 and the Webbe buildings opened in 1961
• 6 9 story towers and 1 12 and 1 8 story tower
• A completely African American community
• The St Louis Housing Authority is notorious as the city’s biggest slumlord allowing Darst Webbe to go to pot. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Missouri) November 29, 2003 Saturday Five Star Late Lift Edition]
• The Darst-Webbe complex originally contained 750 units, but at the time of demolition, only 220 of those units were occupied. Of those displaced, 96 families moved to the Clinton-Peabody housing development, while the rest found shelter at other St. Louis public housing sites[St. Louis Daily Record/St. Louis Countian (St. Louis, MO) August 14, 2003 Thursday]

• Discriminatory effect on the basis of race, familial status and gender, because it provided for so few replacement units that would be available to people that are eligible for public housing for very low-income families[St. Louis Daily Record/St. Louis Countian (St. Louis, MO)August 14, 2003 Thursday]
• African Americans occupied 95.62 percent of the neighborhood, which consisted of 78.65 percent of female-headed households with children under the age of 18 years. [St. Louis Daily Record/St. Louis Countian (St. Louis, MO)August 14, 2003 Thursday]
• Of the 560 occupied housing units, renters occupied 541 units[St. Louis Daily Record/St. Louis Countian (St. Louis, MO)August 14, 2003 Thursday]

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Final Photoshop Image

Here is my final Photoshop image of the two words uncomfortable and refreshed. It was hard to portray those two words together, but I think I did a good job because the image to me makes me feel like I am small among the tulips feeling uncomfortable and the colors make it feel refreshed.

First Three Iterations

In Jake's class we are learning Photoshop. This assignment was to use our two words we were given and take at least 3 high resolution pictures and create the feeling of those words using Photoshop. My words are uncomfortable and refreshed. Here are my first iterations. So far I like the third one best.

Iteration 1

Iteration 2

Iteration 3

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


For our first assignment in Jake's class, we had to go to a public place on campus and draw a space with at least 3 people in it. I chose Coffeeology on Tate Street because it IS on campus and it has a lot of objects and people are always coming and going.