1GA Final Review...days without sleep

I did not add a post for well over a month because I did nothing but work on my projects since then.  A 6 page paper for Gannon's class that required 80+ pages of reading, plus we still had to do the regular weekly readings and writings; assignments for visual studies that we never do well enough for Jonah or Dwayne; major problems with our materials final project at almost the last minute = building a lot of formwork from wood and spending too much time mixing and pouring concrete... And of course the whole time all of the was going on, there was a library to design and redesign, and tweak, and figure out how to represent...  Oh, did I mention I have a husband and a dog and live 35 minutes from campus?
I have done nothing but eat, sleep and breathe architecture the past month.  Time for a much needed break!


a well deserved break

SCI-Arc has a big Halloween party every year because it is just after mid-terms.  Our midterm review went really well.  We had great reviewers including Alexis Rochas, Dwayne Oyler, and Peter Zellner.  Having our review on a Friday was amazing because it meant having the weekend almost all to ourselves!


Library schematics

Love the beginning design phase so much.  This is why I am back in school versus working.  The Principal is generally the only one who gets to do all this fun stuff on a project when you work at a firm and you get stuck doing the stupid construction documents.  Boring.  Can I just stay in school forever please?

Drawing a cootie with geometry.

Finished at 4:38 am.  Now I can sleep for a minute.  Yay!


Deconstructing the violin on a dry erase board.

I am about to show my true inner nerd.  My visual studies instructor Dwayne Oyler drew this on the board in about 20 minutes today.  It is so beautiful to me.


SCI-Arc catch up

M.Arch 1, 1st year, 1GA studio weeks 2-5:

Tony Smith orgy. (thanks Lucy)  That pretty much sums it up.


eclectic cakes take on baby shower

2-4 hours of sleep a night and a few all nighters aren't going to keep me away from my love of baking!  Especially when asked to bake some of my vegan cupcakes for a friend Jessica's baby shower last Saturday. (check out her blog here)  I did vanilla with blue fondant on top and my famous chocolate orange cake with orange vanilla buttercream frosting.  Architecture school will never keep me from baking!!!


Schulzie's (non-traditional) bread pudding

Food Network is my favorite channel.  Dessert is my favorite course.  Put them together and you get "Sugar High" a new show hosted by Duff Goldman.  Each episode Duff goes to a different city on the hunt for their most unique and delicious desserts.  Thanks Duff, for letting me know about Schulzies bread pudding on Venice Beach!

Schulzies is a place you could easily miss in the midst of pot dispensaries, rappers making you listen to their new tracks, and the typical Venice Boardwalk craziness.  However, when you come upon the little stand you will feel happiness, followed by agony over trying to decide on one flavor (there are 108, though probably less than 10 on any given day).  Don't expect your grandma's bread pudding, this is somewhat of a bread pudding/ice cream hybrid.  It is baked traditionally but with different toppings (mine had fudge in it) and then it is put in the fridge and served in scoops.  Yep, cold bread pudding.  Mmmmm, yum.  Makes me want to bike to Venice every weekend.  I think the 12 miles there and back probably burns off any calories present in the pudding.  Next time I'll probably get two scoops!


Tony Smith sculptures ::: tetrahedrons and octahedrons

Week 1 of my work from SCI-Arc 1GA in pictures.

this looks like it was easy, but it wasn't.  what a trick.

playing with the 10 of each shape

playing some more

using a system for symmetry

And then of course there were amazing thesis presentations and Thom Mayne spoke at commencement and now we begin week 2...


Firm Tours

Friday we got to sign up for tours of different architecture firms around the city instead of having to sit through a lot more talking during orientation (totally boring.)  I chose to go to Gensler and H+F.

During my undergrad I had always admired Gensler and wanted so badly to work there.  I never had the opportunity and after working at a similarly ranked large internationally acclaimed firm and hating it, I figured Gensler would be the same and pushed it off my radar a bit.  Yesterday all of my ideals and reasons for wanting to work at Gensler were confirmed.  Gensler is awesome.  That is all you need to know, oh and that they are moving downtown in November and that is really awesome!

H+F is the firm headed by Ming Fung, SCI-Arc's Academic Director and her husband Craig Hodgetts.  Ming wasn't able to be there so Craig gave us the tour.  He is adorable and sweet and compelling.  Basically I love him!  They have a lot of great looking models and are very interesting in pre-fab and got there start in exhibition design.  In fact, he showed us some plans of an upcoming exhibit at LACMA that I cannot wait to go to!  It's going to be fabulous!


i heart farmers markets


1)  Free samples without feeling bad about not making a purchase.  After all, the guy who is shouting "free samples" obviously does not care about making every sale.

2)  Produce that is local, in season, and generally pesticide free.

3)  Hugemongous heirloom tomatoes.

3.1)  Heirloom everything.

4)  Pluots (in the summer, unfortunately the pluot season has almost passed)

5)  Fresh goat cheese.

6)  French crepes, Mexican tamales, and Afghan bolani all in one place!

7)  Year round in LA!!!

8)  Making yummy food like this mushroom ragout with crispy polenta for dinner with mostly farmers market items.

What do you love about the farmers market?


M+M catch up.

Friday was our last day of M+M summer studio.  I haven't written for the last two weeks for two reasons.  The first week was because I absolutely hated our project and had no reason to talk about it.  This week was because  it was far too intense and I have only been home long enough to sleep for a few hours and shower each night.

Two weeks ago we had to use this extremely toxic blue foam to create an entrance, exit, and point of stasis.  This blue foam was to become our negative space when we poured plaster into the boxes. From there we mapped out a part of the negative space that we found most interesting with museum board and this became the basis for a model that we put together with two other people that were chosen to be our group members to make the 1.5" scale model of our 6' pavilion.  That's when we get to this week.

The pavilion was a bitch, but a great project for our final project.  I have never made a full scale structure before and I am really happy that I had the opportunity to do that.  Everyone's turned out awesome.  The show was great and I got to come home and sleep after, that's really all that matters.  Now we have about 2 weeks of break until orientation and the fall semester begins.  I think it's safe to say everyone who did M+M who is entering the M.Arch 1 program is more than thrilled that it's over and we can begin the real studio, but I still say the whole process was really fun and I'm glad to be back in the studio environment.


wine label design

I dig this.  I almost always buy my wine based on the label design.  Side note: brought this to a party and it wasn't opened while I was there, so I have no idea how it tastes.  But it's organic, so I can only assume it is delish.


sequence that shit.

SCI-Arc Making + Meaning week 3?  Somebody help me out, I'm losing count.

Here you go Alexis, I hope I make you proud.  Please don't yell at us all tomorrow about our terrible photographs.  At least pretend that you like them.  :)

I only joke, M+M is going well, some days are crazy and others I stroll in at 10:30 am after swimming laps and running errands.  Today we had to map a 9"x9"x9" section of our 12 cube model with sticks.  I did not like doing that, but I am happy with the end result.  Tomorrow we begin cutting blue foam to fill the negative space which will become the space in our plaster 1.5" scale model pavilion.  Exciting!

Also, I sort of loved doing the above photograph sequencing.  I also love the "levels" and "action" tools in photoshop.  How have I used photoshop for 6 years and not known about these tools?  I love the chiaroscuro effect that my models evoke too.  Watch out Carivaggio!


3 cubes, 9 cubes, up to 12 cubes, now cut it away!!

Cubes ruled my life the for the past 5 days.  Friday afternoon we were given the assignment to make a piece by intersecting 9 cubes.  My concept was to focus on creating a great interior space and to rotate the cubes intentionally so that they would appear to radiate in a gradual manner.  I feel this also helped to emphasize my movement from the exterior space into the interior.  What do you think?


Gehry and Disney. Updated interior design required.

Saturday we had a field trip to the Disney Concert Hall which is a place I have already visited due to my love affair with Frank Gehry (see earlier post).  It was totally worth it though to get an actual interior tour and to learn things I didn't know.  Like the acoustics and how amazing they are and the collaboration Gehry had with acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota.  I also learned that there is such a thing as an acoustician.  Wow, you can really be anything you want to be can't you?  What is the market like for acoustician's anyway?

Ok, so the Concert Hall architecture is amazing, as are the creative ways the graphics are displayed throughout the space, not taking away from the architecture, but really adding something special to it.  My favorite was the felt wall with silver letters embedded in it. Felt is so vogue right now, and this was completed 7 years ago, so forward thinking.

One thing I must say, the only negative but a rather large one:  The carpet and textile on the chairs.  Hideous.  I don't care if it was for Mrs. Disney and that Gehry designed it by abstracting her two favorite flowers.  The colors are awful and distract from the beauty of the hall around it.  I get that when there is a concert, people fill the seats and one probably wouldn't notice the terrible bright floral pattern adorning the chairs throughout the space, but I will notice.  The pattern would not be so bad if it were in a more neutral color, preferably tone on tone.  I suggest a reupholstery party up in the concert hall.  But until then, I will definitely be attending a show to check out those millions of dollars of acoustics up close and personal.


A yummy summer meal

This is very late, but I came across this picture I took of our 4th of July dinner.  It was amazing!  Grilled Heirloom Tomato Caprese, Grilled Corn on the Cob, Grilled Watermelon, and a burger for Danny (salad and extra caprese for me!)

Volume: wood block, bandsaws, museum board cubes...

I have been slightly bored the past few days, which was why I didn't blog about anything.  But today we did an axonometric during drawing time (I LOVE axons!) and in the afternoon we really started playing with cubes.  I'm a nerd, so I think these things are really fun!

the axon was done in pencil, I laid this on top of it so I could better understand how the planes intersect

The other days we cut different curves into three faces of a 4.5" wood cube with a bandsaw, in turn making many pieces of different shapes and sizes, then we were to shear and rotate the pieces to expand it to fit it better into a 9"x9" cube.  Everyone's looks pretty cool, but I thought the process was sort of boring, and I get frightened watching some people operate the bandsaw.  If I saw a finger slice open or fly off, I'm sure I would pass out!

The drawing is fun because you really have to think in 3D and it's very systematic, which is nice sometimes.  The cubes were monotonous at first because we only connected them orthogonally.  Today however, we began rotating the cubes against one another and the result was three cubes intersecting each other at all different angles.  Doing this is not as easy as it may look.  It takes a lot of skill and craftsmanship, but somehow I like it.


1st Critique

This afternoon we had our first critique of our work we completed last week.  I was not expecting this to happen and I am usually quite good at explaining my work, but I would say that I had an epic fail of explaining the procedure of creating my models.  The instructors were not so bad to me but did make me feel like two of my three models need a lot of work, though afterwards I realized the key things I should have said which would have helped my work tremendously.  Oh well, it's over now.  I will work on my models a little more to make them more dense in some areas, though my overall process was to create surfaces and lines which visually interact with one another and to create special spaces within these elements.

I froze up or something.  I think I felt a bit intimidated by the size of the group and the fact that I'd never spoke to the two instructors before.  I think I could have explained it quite clearly to Alexis.  Where were you when I needed you the most, Alexis!?!  :)


Field Trip #1 - Watt's Tower

Saturdays we have field trips, which ensures that we are working every day.  This week they sent us into South Central with a map that was improperly marked, which I feel was a sort of initiation.  We made it there alive, to Watts where these reinforced concrete towers stand.  They are covered in tiles and glass from soda bottles.  This little (4'11") Italian man named Simon Rodia built these in his yard over 33 years.  Now that is dedication!  I think that is partially why they sent us to Watts Towers, to show that a piece can take so much dedication that it is never really complete.  Also it is clearly a stick figure, so that probably had something to do with the choice to go there.  Or maybe they wanted to see how many of us made it back alive from South Central.  In all seriousness, this is a great thing for this neighborhood.  The people have respect for the art and there is a museum with work from a local artist who lives across the street.  This particular neighborhood is a great example why the arts are important.  Keep the arts alive!

My third model and the other two all together.  Do they look like they were created with the same hand?  They are supposed to, so hopefully!