Sunday, March 20, 2011

Feeling a little blah

I'm not sure if it's because I'm feeling burned out from school, stressed out from last week's expedition to Seattle, stressed out, or all of the above. I'm feeling out of focus and distracted. I'm usually gung ho about my projects but my mind just seems to wander for the past few days. There's a lot of project deadlines coming up in the next 3 weeks and I can't afford to be unfocused. On top of that, I've been getting headaches and my eyes are super irritated from dryness (and sleep doesn't help).

Not sure what to do, I've tried to relax and ease my mind but I'm not making much progress. Hopefully I'll come back over the tipping point, but as of now I'm swimming in a sea of lost and confused.

Monday, March 14, 2011

IAT 233 Seattle Design Charette Day 3 - Post-presentation

Arriving home back in Vancouver, it's a relief and nice to be able to just relax from the exhaustion that set in. The less than 3 hours of sleep for the last 35 hours is ridiculous and clearly showed during our team's presentation.

We didn't win the design charette, though we, the Rem's Righteous Rebels, did come a close second. Ramy and Jason had come up with a solid urban space concept about focusing our space on highlighting the existing landmarks of Seattle, and Mark came up with the design for the current form we have in mind.

The proposal was meant to create a space that helps channel the people from the area to either channel them to the market or at least re-direct them back up the hill so that the flow is not merely going down towards the waterfront. It's hard to sum up the entire concept as there are so many elements that are going into the proposal including movement of people, way-finding and highlighting the landmarks of Seattle, incorporating denial and reward in our structure into the center of the pavilion space, entry/exit flow from the 3 streets flowing into the site, affordances built-in to the structure of the lighting and shade with our light fixtures, and the focus on the citizens of Seattle and the surrounding area instead of drawing tourists.

That's about as succinct as I can put it although hopefully our presentation next week with better fleshed out conceptual renders will be able to elaborate it more thoroughly.

Overall, I think we're happy with what we learned and the bond we've created through our blood, sweat, tears, and sleep deprivation. For me, I'm a little disappointed we didn't win first, though that's a little greedy as I'm surprised we even got second because our presentation was so fractured even though our concepts were mostly(not all) there. [N.B. We left out some key aspects because our slides broke and we forgot to mention them]

The trip to Seattle was awesome. I really enjoyed seeing the Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle Public Library (a Rem Koolhaas building!), and the tour of Knoll's Seattle office. I am sad we didn't get to visit the Chapel of St. Ignatius, especially so because my team did a previous precedent project on a building by Steven Holl. I was really hoping to see and experience one of his spaces incorporating his ideas on phenomenology and parallax.

Rem's Righteous Rebels

Sunday, March 13, 2011

IAT 233 Seattle Design Charette Day 3 - Pre-presentation

Well, it's 10am. Most of our team, Rem's Righteous Rebels, is running on about 1.5 hours of sleep. We're hoping we'll be presenting somewhat coherently and that our proposal is received well. Most of us are fried from the lack of sleep, as well as arriving at our final design concept for our urban space at a later point than we were hoping for.

Monday, March 07, 2011

IAT 233 - Urban Public Space Presentation - New York City / Piazza Navona

This week was supposed to be an "easy week" but our team still didn't finish our presentation preparation until this morning. I still found myself struggling to get through the work just because of other projects with IAT 222 and volunteering for my presentation during the same week as an interaction diagram assignment, just increasing the workload all on to this week. But at least all that is over, and I can focus on final projects for IAT 222 and IAT 235 now, plus 233.

Our IAT 233 project presentation this week was on Jan Gehl's ideas of urban space and design, primarily off the concepts of his book, Cities for People. We started off with Piazza Navona in Rome, Italy as our precedent of a space that works, then continued to use specific examples in New York City where new designs are making NYC more livable, as currently it's still a giant metropolis built from the top-down. My favourite part of our presentation was presenting a conclusion of using Coney Island as a case study where Gehl's concepts were present in its design, however it does not guarantee that it is successful as a public space.

It was also quite weird when we were waiting for Russell to comment at the end of our presentation. We waited for about 30 seconds while he was looking up some PublicEnemy (we mentioned him briefly in our presentation) on his laptop to play. Hahaha. Awesome!

We had a couple of oddities with our presentation. The first, going with a pizza for our citation page. We didn't get much of a response with that though. We were initially going to go with "Ehh, I'm walkin heres!" for our title slide. It's a little cliche about New Yorkers, but it was relevant to our presentation so it wouldn't have been out of context. But we decided against it and went with symbols for our title, (the symbols that we used for our iconographic representations of Gehl's concepts.

I'm also trying to attend all the other critique sessions now so I can see other people's presentations and understand more about the precedents that weren't assigned in my section. I was really surprised after seeing all the other groups' presentation style. It seemed like everyone else was giving a tour of the cities they were assigned and trying to relate Gehl's concepts to those spaces. We went with the opposite approach and started with Gehl's concepts and found examples within the city where the concepts were either there or not and if it worked.

I was really excited to know more about international cities that I haven't been to, as well as seeing some places I've visited but didn't really know about their histories (especially all the places I visited last year), including: Amsterdam, Lijnbaan and Schouwburgplein in Rotterdam, Covent Garden in London. It's also getting me interested in planning out places I want to go visit in the future, especially Milan, Rome, Stockholm and Copenhagen.

At the Schouwburgplein! (May 2010)