Sunday, August 28, 2016

helpful rhino commands

Some rhino commands discovered from work over the few months...

merge faces- this will bring a split up shape from lines into one nice looking whole shape
scale 1D,2D this helps to scale an object
Rotate 3d- to help with rotating objects when the normal rotate does not work out...
soften edge- literally softens the edges of an object
extract wireframe- SO helpful if you deleted line work and need it back!
zoom selected- to get really into the details..
fillet edge- similar to soften edges.. but fillet
TAB key- helps to snap to any direction while working
show edges- highlights edges
extract surface- separates or copies a surface

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Hood Loop

At the end of the winter term, I was invited by our studio teaching assistant to work on a competition with her. She is a visiting Fulbright Scholar from Ukraine, and I got to know her much better outside of studio. She became one of the most influential mentors of my education, and I am extremely thankful to have worked with her. 

Iryna Volynets, Mary Protysk, Tyler Duncan and I worked on an entry for Portland's "Hood Loop" competition. Portland would like to integrate a pedestrian/ bike loop to encourage a "green" way of transportation, throughout the east and west sides of the river.

Iryna (Ira), my mentor, and I share such similar visions and inspirations for architecture, it was really great to be able to talk and share ideas so easily. 

The team came up with the idea of using the Mt. Hood form as the guiding concept for our project.
 Within two weeks, we produced our design proposal, below.

We wanted to take all aspects of the topographical lines the rhino model of Mt. Hood produced for us, and integrate it into this "green" loop.

 These curvy lines became a playful way to integrate and create layers of pedestrian, bike, and public/garden space in a variety of ways.

 We all focused on a "node" of the loop, each responding to an aspect of Portland's culture (art, theatre, garden, food).

Below is Ira's node. She took the upper east side of the loop's open space, and created a sort of public sculpture park and outdoor event space, using the mount hood topo lines.

Here is my node. I focussed on the highway underpass near the OMSI/ Portland Opera production space. The idea was to create a flexible artistic opportunity under the highway, for performances, art display, or music shows.

Outside of the freeway underpass, would be an open air performance space, with extrusions taken from the Mt. Hood rhino model to form sloped seating and enclosure.

Below is Mary's work, she created stepped seating, a sort of performance/ amphitheater space integrated with nature.

And lastly, something urban. A rose garden with the topography lines painted 2D on the ground, guiding people into the seating areas.

It was so exciting to work in a group that shared similar ideas and architectural styles. It surprised me that this group experience became much more successful than my last one. We worked with Mary overseas, since she works in the Netherlands, which was much easier than expected. I'm so happy to have gotten closer to my mentor, and to learn from her imaginative style of blending landform with architecture.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Winter Studio 2016

 The studio was about gas pipelines, which made no sense in relation to architecture, at least in the beginning. 
 We created our own projects and programs about these energy transportation lines, which deeply connect within our daily lives, often hidden away from view. We had to take a stance on how we feel about these deep marks on the landscape- do we support fossil fuel energy? Do we not? What about its relationship to other countries that we supply for? What are alternatives? What do we want to say, through architecture, about these lines?

Below are snippets of the pages of my project booklet we had to create at the end of the term.

We started with analyses of a particular pipeline. I chose the Ruby Pipeline, which expands from Oregon to Wyoming. 4 states. 680 miles. about 3 feet deep. 100 yard wide clearance. 
Using Google Earth, I collected images of the visibility of the line, and its relationship to different ecological conditions (trees/ mountain/ river). The images show the landscape before, during construction and after the pipeline was installed. 

I then graphically communicated the human's relationship to the physical aspects of the pipeline, by placing the construction of the pipeline into the environments they were damaging. In color, the pipeline understands nature, whereas in black and white, how humans understand nature.

To narrow our focus, our professor wanted us to focus on three projects regarding the representation of our interests regarding these lines. Beginning with "erasure," or the process of erasing the line, "disruption," or the process of dis-forming the line, and "daylighting," or bringing the public eye's attention to the line. 


The program of my line was quite confusing to be honest. I wanted it to be just recreational nodes with architectural installations in certain areas of the lines that were close to higher populations but also in the context of the ecology types I had studied. My professor wanted me to re purpose the pipeline into a bike path, so that the public may physically experience the whole 680 mile stretch, and I would design shelters. I did a sort of mix of the two, to come up with this "manifesto." 

We have little understanding of the ecology of the environment
surrounding us.  If we are lucky, our transitional spaces provide
landscaping and trees, strategically placed to mimic the beauty of
nature. But our daily activities consist of routines in which we
confine ourselves to desks, chairs, vehicles, shops and streets.

The majority of the energy which supplies our indoor environments
comes from fossil fuels, and arrives conveniently at our light
switches and buttons from the power plants served by the underground
gas pipelines we construct. Most of us have little understanding of
what these long stretches of pipe travel through to supply our
isolated urban worlds.

The natural gas pipeline itself has far more contact with the natural
world than we do. The Ruby Gas Pipeline traverses a rich and diverse
environment, spanning 680 miles of desert, forest, mountains and

I call for an exposure of this division between the spaces of energy
transport and of consumption. I intend to close the divide between our
energy habits and its effects on the environment. With the opportunity
to reinterpret and highlight the regenerative beauty of nature in the
destructive context of the Ruby Gas Pipeline, we may understand our
effects on the landscapes, and the experiential and physical qualities
of space missing in our everyday lives.  We must reflect upon the
impacts of our convenience based lifestyles on both these natural
places and ourselves.

This is basically saying I wanted to make the bike path become a sort of awareness of the stretches of nature we may not be exposed to every day, while also providing nodes that are closer to populations for people to understand the pipelines without doing some 680 mile ride. I wanted to provide the opportunity for people to experience the scar of the pipeline, the beauty of nature, all in one piece, and make their own judgment on what the pipeline means, in regards to global warming and environmental concern, based off the architectural experience I provide.


The first study was to erase the pipeline. The 100' wide requirement along the lines for maintenance purposes was the visual described previously on google earth. I wanted to erase this mark. Thus, I chose the ecological type of "trees" as my first "site", and decided to "restore" the spatial qualities of the environment, through architecture. That is, analyzing the boundaries of surfaces (walls, canopies) that trees create, and build the experience back into the 100' wide space. I decided to create a site of 100'x 100', and created a module of 25'x25' to be populated into this grid by mirroring or rotating the module around.


I then looked at my next project, that is, how to disturb the line. I looked at the forms of the rivers in the desert of Nevada, as they had idiosyncratic twists and turns. Adorable, and interesting and organic! But the line! It was rigid and straight and "man made." Thus, I wanted to disturb this orthogonal rigidity into the fluidity of the curves. I created a sort of ramp that forms along the pipeline until it crosses the river. It then mirrors the river's shape, and curves all the way back down. At the crux, one is able to see the curves wind down (if I had the structure level to the ground, we would only experience the curves in a 2 dimensional way). 


How do I bring the pipeline to light? How will people be able to understand the affects of the pipeline onto the landscape? I wanted to reinterpret the pipeline's experience to human scale. For the mountain ecology, I decided to bring the user up the hill, but enclosed by walls, with equally spaced view points that diminish in width the closer they reach the top. It begins to be a frustrating experience, as you are enclosed and cannot see beyond, the walls being 3 feet above head height (about the height the pipeline is underground).  The viewer reaches the viewing platform at the top, and then takes an open ramp back down. The compressive, uncomfortable qualities of being underground, and the energy needed to climb the mountain, creates a sort of allusion to the aggravating marks the pipeline causes against the landscape, hidden from view below.

What did reviewers think?

People from all sort of professions and backgrounds came to review us, outside the practice of architecture. It was a bit entertaining, to have a textile artist, environmentalist, ecologist/ activists etc come see our work. 

My architectural reviewer had the opinion that something more educational and informational for the user would have been a stronger direction. I think he just wanted some sort of museum, but that completely defeated the direction I wanted. He advised to expose, physically, the pipeline, by revealing parts of it hidden underground, such as Italy does with the Roman ruins, protected by glass. One reviewer wanted my daylighting proposal to emerge from the ground, and then return to earth (which was an appealing idea to me). Another reviewer (alongside the opinions of my professor) thought my strongest point was my initial research, that is, revealing the visibility of the line through time on google earth, and wanted a project that better enhanced this research. 

All in all, most people thought it was extremely playful and intriguing. It challenged so many parts of my brain, trying to piece together the bigger issue of global warming, this abstract issue of architecture's role and representation. Days and nights were spent contemplating and thinking how to create something artistic, but meaningful. Something convincing, and understood. The studio made so much sense to me at the very end, when we all looked back at our projects, and found the accumulation of work connecting to one another. At the time, we had no idea what we were doing, not even at the very start. Looking back, it was extremely amazing to see all sorts of approaches and stances people had, politically, and architecturally towards the design problem. This studio challenged me to see the problem, outside of the immediate realm, and into the larger picture. It taught me how to integrate research, analyses, communication, and graphic representation into a project. It taught me to think of architecture in words and information, and mappings, understanding that sometimes the design problem has a connection to something greater than itself.

Monday, August 15, 2016

I'm a terrible Architecture Student blogger

Its been a while. But I do recall I took a studio in the Fall term...

It was my very first group studio project, and I learned so much about group dynamic.

We were taught by Bill Leddy and Marsha Maytum of Leddy Stacy Maytum Architects in San Francisco and an adjunct professor, Roger Ota, who practices in Eugene. It's completely refreshing to have new professors outside of the school. Working with three professors also taught me a lot about taking perspective, and how to implement ideas from different viewpoints.

And here was the outcome! In a perfect world I would have documented ALL of our concepts and drawings and diagrams... we had so so so many...

We mostly wanted to keep the concept of having an internally focussed hearth, that brought all the researchers and makers together. A place to be, between breaks, for thinking, for collaborating, for learning... It was open to the public, it was a sort of happenstance space where you have connecting views, and you have a chance to feel like a part of something. Our precedent was the beautiful Weiden Kennedy building by Allied Works.

The competition focusses on sustainability. Here, the structural grid of timber beams and columns, economical and efficient.

Here lies the facade facing Portland's waterfront... It has a sculptural-like park to invite community into the site, and an outdoor amphitheater space for learning al fresco style... bringing in the educational substance of the neighboring OMSI building.

Here, the concept of the hearth. We wanted something that brought outsiders in, brought insiders together, but also worked as a hinge point for entrances from the esplanade and the opposite side where transportation (bus) was located.

The site plan and the first level, where you can see the different programs of the site: the garden, the art space, the amphitheater, the park. We wanted all the aspects Portland offered into the site, to bring in all types of people. We tried to integrate rain gardens (much less present from the interior of the building than we wanted). The goal was to keep the building net zero so that all the building's energy and water was produced and gathered on site. Calculations for solar panels and water cisterns were done to figure out how many panels we needed and the dimensions of the cisterns.

The green roof, a connection to the outdoors from the second level incubator spaces.

The third level.

 The section of the hearth, the solar panels, the natural daylighting.
 We used Sefaira to calculate our daylighting analyses. It gave a very rough prediction, but none the less helpful.

I do recall we had reviewers dislike our window placements, as every face of the building was treated by the same window type (where were the louvres? Shading systems?).  Some professors didn't understand the "wrapping" wood skin around the building, in which the wood siding of the second and third floor would come down to the ground at various points, so that the glazed first floor looked more like a glass gem enclosed by a wooden structure. The hearth could have taken on a shape of its own, rather that conforming to the angles of the building mass, as it'd stand out more as the unique focal point of the project. To be honest, we had completed our floor plans nearly two weeks before review, and could have pushed this project so much more.