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!


Planes and Intersections

Ah the surfaces model.  It begins in a much more difficult way than that of the sticks, but it becomes something so much more amazing and fun.  At least that was my experience today.

I utilized my map very well on this one and really tried to emphasize the parallelogram without being redundant or obvious.  In using the 30 and 45 degree angles from my map, a few really great spaces began to take shape.  I'm assuming that is kind of the point of this exercise, to bend and intersect the planes using the map and hopefully something interesting emerges.  In my case, I tend to look for those beautiful interiors such as this one:

This view reminds me of Yoshio Taniguchi's design of the MOMA.  I have a thing for museums. There is just something so delicate about creating a space that should be the background to the art, but really it becomes more than just a complement to the art.  Steven Holl did the same on the addition to the Nelson Atkins in Kansas City which is a tie for my favorite museum design.

Oh, and I added more than just 5-10 sticks.  It's finished now, I refuse to add anything else because I'm afraid it's on the verge of becoming redundant and there is nothing that I hate more than a design that is so obvious it slaps you in the face.

Eric Owen Moss spoke to us today.  He sort of laid out the idea behind SCI-Arc, I guess in case anyone didn't already know.  I knew, which is why I chose to apply.  Basically SCI-Arc is not a school of ideas in itself, but the idea that everyone should experiment and strive for something new, that has never been done before.  There should be no labels on the work that comes out of SCI-Arc, no systems or rules of particular styles are to be followed, but instead should be questioned.  I liked his example that at SCI-Arc, we wish to get into the cracks that are inherent in the differing styles of architecture and from there see what hasn't been seen.  The idea in itself is incredibly abstract and I believe that is the point.  Basically it goes back to my philosophy for life, which is to question everything.  I think me and this school are going to work out just fine.


Sticks are lines and lines are points, let the model building begin.

Today we began constructing a three dimensional representation of our drawing by using the plexi-glass box as a map.  We used wooden posts (actually bamboo kebab skewers) and manipulated them in such a way as to create a relationship between the three sides and our overall drawing. The piece was then taken out of the plexi-box and more sticks were added to complete a small cubed piece that represents something much larger.

My stick model is not complete, but very close.  I am thinking of only allowing myself 5-10 more sticks, carefully placed to complete this piece before I move on to using planes.  I'm attempting to create spaces that hold significance and utilize the parallelogram shape that my drawing developed into.  Ok, maybe there is a lot more work to do.  Perhaps tomorrow night is my late night in the studio.  We shall see how it goes.

P.S. Check out SCI-Arc's pictures of M+M studio on facebook.  I am in a few of them, working away :)


Mayline vs. T-Square, Mechanical Pencil vs. Lead Holder

Today was the second day of Making + Meaning, a summer studio at SCI-Arc (Southern California Institute of Architecture.)  The studio is comprised of 80 students, half of which are beginning the M.Arch 1 program this fall (that's me!) and the other half are people wishing to gain more knowledge of architecture to:  A) decide if they want to pursue architecture as a career or B) build their portfolios and resumes for grad school applications for next year.

Alexis Rochas is the director and he has a passion for drafting tools.  While I agree with most of his obsession (confession: I've always been obsessed with office supplies) I HATE the fact that we had to have a Mayline on the first day of class and that they cost $220 at the supply store.  Also, why don't they make 48" T-Squares?  Such B.S. really.  The architecture supply market has a monopoly on this stuff.  And they know in today's digital age that you are only going to use that thing for like one semester an then it's gonzo.  Obviously I have an issue with the price of the Mayline, but I admit that it is pretty nice thus far.  I'm highly skilled at a T-Square, but this is nice for a change.  Also given the fact that I absolutely love hand drafting and find it to be a lost art form, I have been quite content in my little studio space the past few days.

Our first drawing was based on a grid system we created the first day with 20 horizontal and 30 vertical lines and dots at their intersections.  Today we had to experiment using other marks such as arcs, curves, dots, lines, etc... This created many intersections and I feel that the important issue at hand is how to address these intersections.  Originally I used points radiating outward in one area, arcs radiating outward and getting more intense on the exterior in another area and then the 30 and 45 degree angles which later became my overall theme.  The original idea, which has now became a background to the angles, was for these 4 different marks to merge in areas of high density and the question of collaboration versus conflict.  I likened the page to a representation of an urban landscape with high density downtown spreading out and converging into the more suburban areas which also have areas of intensity.   Instead it became more about the series of 30 degree angles moving from a few moments of intensity to moments of sparsity and 45 degree angles doing the same but in the opposite directions.  This brought intersections that allowed me to create my own little "weird" shapes, as my instructor told me.  Then this parallelogram shape became my theme with which I completed the drawing, making the entire page visually become one large parallelogram.  When I was finished I realized how three dimensional the piece looked and how my small little weird shapes became almost planes of an axonometric of some sort.

After our drawing was complete we had to chose three 8"x8" snapshots and they were photocopied and put onto a transparent adhesive which we put onto our three sided plexi box that we made.  Tomorrow we get our next step in the design process.  I'm thinking we will use the designs on the plexi to create a 3D piece, though I'm not sure what materials we will utilize, but I am very excited to find out!