Saturday, January 31, 2015

LAR 560 Conference Call with Jane Amidon (01.28.15)

Jane Amidon is the professor and director of Northeastern's urban landscape program and I was really looking forward to her speaking with us. I imagine it is really difficult to speak to a faceless crowd articulately, yet Amidon had great clarity and wisdom in speaking with us about her profession and the challenges and opportunities in urban design and landscape architecture. What I found particularly fascinating was that as she dissected her own writings and explained what she felt was most significant, she also offered us very real applications to a more academic path than we had encountered in previous conferences with other professionals.

Something I find ironic is that many of those that do not intend to go into architecture often end up choosing a more academic route. It amazes me that so many people claim to have always known exactly what they wanted to do with their lives from a young age, yet I doubt that makes them any more capable of architects than those that do not know. In my own experience,  I never had any thought of being capable of going into architecture-- in fact, like Amidon, I had a diverse palette of interests, so it was difficult for me to focus on just one. As she described her path, I found it inspiring. There is still a rather wide gap in the existence of women in architecture and it is wonderful that someone like her is representative of how intelligent and resourceful a woman can be. 

In reading her work and browsing other articles, I find a high degree of brilliance present that is very impressive. Her awareness of our social and environmental issues-- the idea of these interdisciplinary sustainable cities-- are very intriguing viewpoints. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Paul Sacaridiz lecture (1.22.15)

1.22.15 // Lecture
Paul Sacaridiz, presented by VADSCO
A+A 109, 7:30pm

Paul Sacaridiz is a very interesting individual with a passion for art and form. Influenced by the Colombian Exposition in Chicago and “Windmills of the World,” his evolution of sculptural style ranged from the ornamental to streamlined. He feels his art is a combination of the weird and obscure and the weird historical moments become underpinnings for his work and have served as an aesthetic strategy. His process was initially centered around large objects in abandoned fields, which became urban art forms that invited visitors to appreciate them in their sculptural form. His work is greatly influenced by the Plan of Chicago and oddly enough, Martha Stewart Magazine. 

His earlier work is centered on ornamentation and one of the unique projects was “Minor Ornament.” This art project created small-scale ornaments on regular houses and buildings and challenged the notion of traditional ornamentation (such as the plastic ornaments of Louis Sullivan’s idealism of the a city surrounded by ornaments helping to create a more democratic society.) Paul’s work resulted from putting two moments together in different ways.

The landscape of the form was very important to him and he began shooting small objects in a way that was monumental, in contrast to the Colombian Exposition causing large objects to look smaller. He began playing with scale and found inspiration in bakeware with forms like Jello molds. As his work progressed, he began moving towards looking at issues of sprawl and interconnected, closed systems of surrounding objects and wooden platforms (inspired by Utopian communities.)Exhibitions such as “Overthrown” showed ceramics being utilized in new ways. He thought much about sculptural logic, presence, form, and the way things are made. I feel he is successful in making objects pragmatic with elusive logic. There is a quality of beauty inherent in his designs that even as he moved towards digital fabrication, was still reflected in the fabricated pieces. They have a spirit that speaks for themselves. 

LAR 560 Conference Call with Nick Gilliland + Carmine Russo of NBBJ (1.21.15)

This week we spoke with Nick Gilliland and Carmine Russo of NBBJ. We spoke at length about the differences between landscape architecture and planning, as well as the growing awareness of the public in green design and how this has affected their work over the years.

It was interesting to hear about their individual journeys and choices they made that influenced the paths they took throughout their careers. While the idea of working for a 750-capacity firm sounded daunting, their work was incredibly impressive and I was most impressed with how organized and thorough their resource-base was. 

The use of social media (such as the nbbjX blog) in particular was very innovative and offered clients and those interested in the firm something beyond the normal discipline of architecture. Blog posts and interactive web design invite the user to investigate the professional and academic realms in a more informed way.
Their advice for job-seeking was particularly informative and helpful. The importance of clarity, crispness, narrative, process, and personality in being chosen by a firm like NBBJ seemed like very rational advice. Process especially seemed to be a great emphasis, which surprised me because many of my classmates that I have spoken to have strictly focused on the finished project and renderings and less on how they conceptually arrived at that point. Their advice to push the envelope on what good design is and isn’t was also greatly appreciated. They also mentioned that when they interview, they look for growth potential and the capability of adaptation, which was also helpful advice as we begin looking towards the interview process for the upcoming Career Day.

“There’s a fine line from showing everything on a project to showing the right things for a project.”

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The contemporary landscape architecture professional is:

1. Responsible
2. Moral
3. Intelligent
4. Engaged
5. Respectful
6. Innovative
7. Skilled
8. Conscious (environmentally, socially, etc.)
9. Honest
10. Experienced

Sunday, January 18, 2015

LAR 560 Conference Call with Shawn Balon (01.14.15)

For Professional Practice this week, we spoke with Shawn Balon, PLA, ASLA and I was very impressed by his extensive work history and methods of approach to design and practices.  I found his messages and candid accounts to be very striking and effective in demonstrating practical applications of his history in the field and his commitment to involvement in bettering society as a whole through architecture and education. Being a life-long learner myself, I could connect with his concepts about the need for constant challenging yourself and ultimately expanding your worldview. 

There’s always a chance to go back, but you’re going to learn more by going forward,” Balon said when discussing decision-making and pathfinding when navigating new professions and opportunities. 

I felt it was an incredibly positive information session and he had a great deal of information for us about his life path and the profession. His genuine frankness about the decisions he made and how he arrived where he was today was both inspiring and transformative.

Some great takeaways from the meeting were his lists of common pitfalls and some sage advice that struck me as very wise and practical. 

His “Common Pitfalls as a New Professional:”
1) Ask a ton of questions, but you need to ask more. 

2) Prepare more. We often feel underprepared. 
3)  To not be frustrated with ones’ self for not knowing all of the programs. 
4) Don’t be bashful.
5) Don’t be afraid to challenge the ways that things have always been done.

One of the best takeaways, for me, was: “Take advantage of the moments that you have.He had this vibrant, infectious enthusiasm about the transitory state of life and finding your purpose.

Saturday, March 23, 2013




 one// My architecture story started out with a line, a square, and a rectangle. A building, like any good story, is a composition of structure, variety, and moments of threshold. For me, the act of creation is relative to any other instinctual quality. The creative energy is something that is as fluid as breathing to me-- I could not exist without this act of transformation, nor could my creations exist without my activity. These qualities are indeed paramount to the very existence of spatial dimensions.

I don't believe in perfection in the sense that most people do. I believe perfection exists mutably within the parameters of imperfection. Imperfections are often far more intriguing than the affluent sense of infallibility that perfection itself transmits to our psyches. It is a great love for the underdog that drives my work. A crooked line often has far more character than an orthogonal one. The challenge, therefore,  is to find a balance between the two.

That being said, my love for architecture, as with many other forms of artistry, is very much contingent upon the creation of beautiful objects. I don't believe there are simply pedagogical processes that exist in architecture as theory and form. I believe there are more dynamic aspects that manifest themselves by their own merit, often through the act of creation more than the process itself. This infrastructural approach is more concrete in terms of establishing a less refined by more honest form of built environment.

Design is evolutionary AND revolutionary, to put it mildly. While uniformity was once a mainstay of architectural design, there is a constant pressure to push the envelope. Developing new forms, new processes, and new materials is essential to evolving into a new mode of architectural design. The ideologies of regulation and symmetry that were once prized, while still valid today, have been distorted into a more future-forward ideology. The very foundation has been shaken. A new world is vastly approaching and we must rise to the challenge.

I feel frequently challenged by architecture, and within it encompasses the drama, intrigue, and metamorphosis that spurs my creativity. Like a great marriage, it challenges me to become a better designer and fundamentally has changed me, and I it. I feel as if I evolve with it, and will aid it in its evolution as well. When people ask me "why architecture?", I feel unabashedly that I am not only here to master it, but also to change it.