Monday, February 15, 2010

My Sister's House

Our studio visited the opening of My Sister's House on Monday. It was great seeing so many people coming together and celebrating this project that IARC had a huge hand in creating. The space will be home to 5 teenage mothers and their children, providing a sanctuary for them. After touring the space, a lot of us commented that it would be awesome to live there ourselves! The design is modern and appealing for young people. Each suite feels individualized and is its own private space, yet there is a sense of community in the rest of the facility. An example that was pointed out in the ceremony is that there are no microwaves in each of the individual rooms, that way the girls can eat together in the kitchen and dining room. This project makes me very proud of IARC and I hope we will get to participate in an Urban Studio project in the future.

Video: Fostering Community

Here is a link to my group's video about fostering community in Greensboro.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


My mousepath! I'm a little obsessed with this thing.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


For the makeshift shelter project, I was a part of the sleeping shelter group. Working in this group was a very good experience because everyone wanted to participate and pull their weight. This made my personal process more successful since I could work off of my group member’s strengths.

As soon as the project began, I started sketching my initial ideas, as well as coming up with the traits our shelter would need. I presented my ideas along with everyone else in the group, and we came up with a “sleeping pod” idea. We searched for our materials together and found everything on group outings. The next step was the physical building of the design, which we all worked at equally.

During the building process, there were moments when I suggested changes to the design to make it stronger. The group agreed on all of these changes and felt it improved the shelter. The final part of this project was creating the banner. I had a large hand in this aspect of our project. I planned out where all of the drawings and images went. I also drew the technical drawings and wrote the statement.

The sketching and writing exercises of this project helped me a lot. Writing about what we were doing made me think about different aspects I might not have thought about before. If you were to look at my sketchbook you would see that every part of this project is sketched out and thought about in detail. It shows many of the ideas we had and how the design progressed to what it is now. It is interesting to look back and see what changes were made and why. Beginning sketches, construction details, and other helpful drawings are included in my drawing process.

This project has taught me more about what I enjoy about design, which is working for a broader range of people, as opposed to the privileged in society. I tried to put my self in the shoes of the users of these shelters and figure out what they would need. For me, this kind of design would be more rewarding and make a larger impact on the world and the lives of other people.

My individual process in this project is very strong and I think I was a very important part to this group. I always make sure that I am putting as much as I can into any project, especially when other people are relying on me. There were many challenges that I had to adapt to in this project. I experienced learning to overcome difficult aspects and figure out a solution, which is how designers grow.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Reading about community

Chapter 5: Housing and Community

This reading helped me understand the complex process of building neighborhoods and communities, and why so many suburban neighborhoods are built the way they are. It also suggests that the larger a community is the less unified people are in them.

One thing I tried to understand while reading this is how communities affect the people in them. The researchers found that members of the community will try to the behavior they see around them, whether it is positive or negative.

The chapter explains in detail how community development regulations affect the building of housing. The strict regulations can protect the quality of a neighborhood, but it can also contribute “to problems of housing affordability and to the reduction of personal freedom to make use of one’s own property.” I don’t think I could live in a neighborhood that controls what color or style my house could be, what kind of fence I could have, or even what the shed looks like. Factors of these homes and yards are sometimes held to a standard that it locks out middle and lower income families.

Also, houses and neighborhoods are built to be further and further apart, which wastes resources. Power lines and other utilities have to stretch further distances, making those communities more expensive.

That brings us to the idea of New Urbanism, which seems like it might be a way to build stronger communities. It says that a neighborhood should be no longer than a 10-minute walk, which gives it a human scale. There should be different family types, income levels, and lifestyles. This means that families can grow and change and still remain in the same neighborhood. Also, having stores and public transportation available in the community means that residents don’t have to leave get those things.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Case Study: Community

Cloyne Court Hotel (Berkeley, California)

  • Student housing Coop located on the University of California at Berkeley
  • Opened 1904 by John Galen Howard
  • Originally designed with 32 suites, each with its own stairway
  • Fireproof walls and doors, which allowed the hotel to house refugees from the 1923 Berkeley fire
  • Was owned as a hotel by James and Margaret Pierce for 42 years
  • Used by university professors at one time
  • 1946-USCA (University Students Cooperative Association) bought the house
  • 1972-62 female students moved in making it Co-ed
  • 1976-renovations allowed it to house 151 students
  • Called the "Animal House" because of parties and drug use
  • National Historic register #92001718

    Community aspects:
  • 14 balconies overlook the courtyard, which allows residents to interact outside of private space
  • Went from a hotel to a home for faculty and their families to a student coop
  • Rivalries with surrounding fraternities (Beta Theta Pi)
  • Muraled walls created by members
  • Members promote individualism and self-expression
  • Hold community service days
  • Members of the Coop manage the community collectively
  • The "U" shape structure encloses the residents from the rest of the campus
  • Hold shows and concerts the bring the community togetherSources:

Carolina Theatre-Greensboro (Greensboro, NC)

  • Opened 1927 as a 2,200 vaudeville theater
  • At the time, considered to be the best between D.C. and Atlanta
  • Holds films, performances, musicians, ballet, seminars, meetings, receptions and other public events
  • On the National Resister of Historic Places
  • popularity started to diminish in the 1960's due to suburban theaters
  • United Arts Council raised money multiple times to keep the structure aliveCommunity Aspects:
  • Interior designed in Greek fashion to give a fantastical experience
  • Cost is affordable bringing people from all walks of life together
  • "Going to the theater signifies participation in social life of the city" (Associates, 24)
  • People arrive early and stay late in order to socialize, snack, and observe
  • Builds up the neighborhood by bringing people to nearby businesses
  • During the silent era, the audience would have sing-alongs
  • Attracts 65,000 people downtown each year
  • Exterior lighting-"At night provides unexpected warmth, a welcome haven in the dark city" (Specter Chapter 7)
  • Stadium, balcony, and orchestra seating allows everyone to a good view, unifying the audience

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Scenes of Discourse

This is a composition created in photoshop for visual communication. I had to make the image give an uncomfortable feeling, while using industrial imagery.