Thursday, February 26, 2015

MAde Studio Lecture (02.23.15)-- “Playing Lines”

This week we attended a lecture with MAde Studio (Maigret Arquero design Studio) and I was particularly impressed by their use of models and scientific studies into design strategies. Their work was dynamic and full of energy. Particular takeaways for me were with designing playground structures and using innovative technologies, with which they appeared to have great skill. In describing failures in wastewater treatment in the urban environment, they investigated solutions to a wide range of environmental problems through a mixture of research, model-making, and analog investigations in a digital format. The City of Ludington (which I had never heard of up until this point) was a good example of urbanization over time and resource adaptation.

Although perhaps more grand in scale than projects I have been working on, I felt I gained much inspiration from this lecture. In terms of research, from analyzing and inventorying, we as landscape architecture have to strategize planning not only for the current time but the FUTURE as well. We also have to analyze our sites based on the past. In this way, design is timeless. It is articulated through visual limitations and timeless space in ways that are often unseen and unspoken. By researching and investigating the richness of the big data present in the digital age, we as designers also have to learn how to read between the lines while stepping outside of prescribed boundaries. The articulation into charts and graphs can be visually stimulating and informative of the culture and context of a city, as we see in MAde’s scope of work.  

Saturday, February 14, 2015

LAR 560 Conference Call with Jason Hellendrung at Sasaki (02.11.15)

This week we spoke with Jason Hellendrung at SASAKI and learned about the City of Boston: Designing With Water project that he has been working on. He spoke to us about Hideo Sasaki, the principles and aesthetic of the firm, and how these principles were used in the process and implementation of their projects.

Most of our session was spent speaking about their partnership with the Boston Harbor Association and steps they took to use innovative strategies to combat flooding and initiative stormwater management through controlled design. The idea of engaging communities by allowing water to penetrate areas of waterfront and even buildings is not a new concept, but Sasaki’s investigations into this were both innovative and efficient. In investigating further into this project, the twelve case studies were rich with viable information that, when used constructively, could be outwardly beneficial in a wide range of projects to combat natural disasters and environmental changes over time.

There is a strong theme in our society now, especially with the ease of transmission of environmental data, to see environmental disaster as a catalyst for infrastructural change. By researching and identifying particular ways to use urban endurance strategies in adaptation, there can be a transformative quality to the landscape. As professionals, we are tasked with utilizing logical methods of design to help protect the livelihood of citizens while also preserving the productive ecologies of landforms and waterscapes.  Planning (whether in phases or process), resiliency strategies, and multifaceted solutions are all important steps in this process of preservation and investigation and can serve as benchmarks for greater community awareness and adaptability. 


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Jenny Sabin lecture "Between Architecture & Science: Elasticity and Networks" (02.09.15)

Jenny Sabin spoke with us this week about her explorations into sculptural form and different architecture-based projects she has worked on. This presentation was very exciting and Sabin's use of unusual materials with the concept of the polymorph and differentiated knitting typologies were some of the main takeaways from the lecture. Her work for Nike as well as various universities set a standard for experimentation that I hope many of us can continue in future generations of architects and designers.

I felt her work was generally inspiring and her pioneering efforts made beautiful objects that pushed the boundaries of modern technology and provided spatial awareness in sensory ways which will likely inspire my work in the future. I really didn’t know very much about Sabin, but now that I have seen her work I feel greatly inspired by it and look forward to investigating other projects that she has worked on. Projects like Polymorph, eSkin, and myThread were incredibly explorations into creating new materials and finding innovative uses for common materials, such as zip ties. 

What I found most compelling about her work is that she unapologetically created a new style of thinking and creating. As a woman in architecture, it is a very competitive field that doesn’t always offer ample opportunities to distinguish one from the masses. The originality of her work was evidence that this is not always the case. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

LAR 560 Conference Call with Jefre Manuel (STUDIO JEFRE) + Gage Couch (Cadence) 2.04.15

This week we had the pleasure of speaking with two very different firms and received some great information about the profession and how these groups themselves operate. Although I found the work of Cadence impressive, I was most eager to hear Jefre speak and found his presentation very intriguing and personally valuable as he seemed to have a life path that was quite varied (which I can relate to.) As a person who has faced obstacles with health, I can relate to his admission that because we don’t know how long we have in this life, we need to make every day count. 

When I was in the process of moving to Scotland, I had been looking into Graduate school at AA in London, so I found his input about the school and their methodologies to be of great interest. What won me over the most was his enthusiasm about the profession and his willingness to step outside the box. I feel like many professionals we speak with still maintain some degree of consistency in how they operate on a daily basis. Jefre seems to be all over the place both literally and figuratively (in a good way) and the amount of creativity and energy is reflected in the work he produces and the types of projects he goes after.

I have only entered a handful of competitions, but hearing him talk about competition-style production and advocacy for social issues was very compelling. As future architects, I feel like we have a responsibility to enhance the quality of life (whether locally or globally), so it was incredible to hear that someone in my age bracket has not only accomplished so much but is actively working to implement change in the world. 

When Gage spoke, I felt he had an abundance of great information. From an aesthetic standpoint, Cadence wasn’t necessarily a firm that I would probably want to work for because stylistically I don’t think I would be a good fit, but I felt his advice for upcoming professionals was very sound and logical.