Sunday, September 30, 2007

Let's Pretend

.... that it is June, and Kristie and I got back from our vacation today. Actually, today would be one year since we got back from New England... so I'm not too far off. Sort of.

Wow what a whirlwind trip. We just got back and I feel like I need another trip already. This was the first time I've been to Florida, and Kristie hasn't been there since she was a super little kid (she was born there.) We came away totally impressed, but not so much that we'll ever move there. I generally say no to tropical storms, constant steaminess, and reptiles that eat family pets and small children if they are left unsupervised in the back yard.

We flew all the way out to Orlando, and where did we end up first? Tony Roma's. the Buffet is great if you haven't been. That night though, we had an odd Gilroy moment. We go to Chevy's for dinner, because we haven't been there since moving to Colorado (and we miss the pre-chewed mound of cornmeal stuff the give you with your meal.) and we see this outside the front door:

I'm sure other ex-gilroyans will tell you, that place follows you. When we moved into our first apartment here, there were pictures of Gilroy on the walls in the Clubhouse.

Ok, so we stayed at this really cool place that I have to give credit to Amy for because we got an incredible deal on it through thier vacation club thing, and it was awesome. I need to find the pictures we took of it, and I'll post em. Here is the only one I can find right now.

We totally tried to do nothing on our trip, but there was way too much stuff to try out. Still, we managed to spend the first two days hanging out around the pools, and getting to know Orlando. This place is basically the exact opposite of any other place we've been. We didn't eat in any little family owned restaraunts, and I didn't drag Kristie from famous building to famous building.
Even so, I think one of our favorite memories from the trip will be our regular trips to a coffee shop we found the first day we were there. It's called BAD ASS COFFEE, and by the end of the trip, Kristie was super addicted to it. I managed to find something there that tasted like candy every time we went. This place also had AWESOME cookies, and you know how that goes.

We went to Epcot first, because we read the books on when to go where, and they are totally right. We walked on to almost every ride... and then we spent the afternoon walking through the different countries.
This is the photo we will eventually use to "prove" to our "kids" that we really did "take them" to Disneyworld.

Our goal is to one day visit all the Eiffel Tower Replicas in the World.

Finding Nemo is Awesome. The Finding Nemo Ride is cool. Finding Nemo should have won Best Picture. I am one handsome fellow.
Shortly after this was taken, I was propositioned by several passing US Servicemen. Don't laugh. They ended up paying for most of our trip. Well, $4.72 of it at least.

The next day we went to Cocoa Beach, FL to relax and play in the water. This supposedly the surfing capitol of the world, and I believe it. The waves were big, and the rip tide was just crazy. The water was way warmer than anything I'm used to, being from CA.

If it looks like the beach just keeps going and going, that's because it does.... for like 70 miles.

In case you all wondered what I would look like with my mom's hair. Pretty, Huh?

The next day we took our sunburns to Magic Kingdom (aka Disneyland).

To get there, you take a ferry from the parking lot.

In front of Cinderella's Castle.

Guess who bought pirate swords for Amy's Boys?!! (I'm told it only took 5 minutes for Parker to come up from the basement crying in pain. Tyler followed behind him shouting apologies, and insistent pleas about it being an accident.)

Kristie loves Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

When Scott was 10, he fell out of his bunk bed. Upon landing, he smashed his nose into a lego. Consequently, he spent 45 minutes moving this thing "to a place where it can't hurt anyone ever again."

This was just before "the incident." I'm sure she didn't mean to hit that kid, but she has to admit that repeated ramming into him after he fell, then getting out and yelling "Quit Crying, You $*%# baby!" probably had something to do with our being asked to leave the park.

More to come...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I've never seen anything with him in it.

While taking a quiz from Dave's blog, I found this and couldn't resist. Here are my predictable? results.

You looove him. You really loooove him. You might've missed a question or two, but you never would have scored this well without the help of that special spot in your heart where you store Zac facts. You probably get angry whenever someone spells his name wrong (you definitely got it right when you spelled it out in glow in the dark stars on your ceiling), and you're tired of explaining to people that he can actually sing. You are so passionate about this guy that you're probably about to take the quiz again to see if you can get a higher score. Go for it!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

So, Where were we?

It has become apparent that most people have no idea what an Architect does. I know this because people ask me a lot why I act like it's hard to do floor plans. The truth is that plans are just about the easiest thing I do, but even with plans, you don't just draw them. Architecture involves a long and rigorous process that begins well before a single line is drawn. Before the solution can be articulated, the problem has to be solved. Even before that, though, you have to figure out what the problem is. I thought I would take everyone through an atypical, yet revealing project to both show what I mean, as well as what I was up to from January to May, this year.

I took a really different (different = good + hard) studio in Spring, and ended up with a pretty cool project.

Our first assignment was to design a transparent opaque wall. If this sounds like an inescapable parodox, it is, unless you look at it a VERY specific way.

Not Quite...

This one worked. Of course, right?

So, why did we do this? The "simple" answer is that we were trying to create a human experience of "wall" as the result of an oscillation between opaqueness and transparency. Why? Because we were designing a cinema, and the experience of going to the movies involves a similar experience of space. I won't get into the details. I'll just suffice it to say we spent quite a few weeks identifying and understanding what were going to do, and this was an exploration in how to do that.

Our second assignment was to take the lessons of the wall, and create an infinite room. Similar paradox, similar solution.... Oh, wait, maybe not. I worked on the room for almost 6 weeks, for about 60hrs a week. Here are just a few of the revisions.

Now, if this progression isn't odd enough.... imagine that in the end this space became a movie theater auditorium for 200 people. The seats are broken into 3 sections, and face a screen on the right wall.

To give you a sense of the scale, the model is about an 18" cube. A person would be about 1/2" tall.

Ok, so we got a room, but where do we put it. That begins with the site.

When you take everything about a site(the existing buildings, traffic patterns, histories) and distill it down to its primary elements, you can understand how to respond to it. But you don't just make a building then. You have to block out your primary moves, or parti. Here is the parti for the cinema.

With elaboration and experimentation with the three dimensional aspects of the site, your parti transforms into a massing diagram on a site.

From here, you begin to look at the details, and form a building.

So, why are you at school so much? Because, before you solve a problem correctly, you often have to solve it incorrectly many, many times. Here's the analogy I like: Imagine you're taking a trip from Copenhagen to Beijing. You may speak the language occasionally,but there's no way you'll speak every language for the whole trip. You have a guide, but they can only give you a hint or two every so often. You can ask others for directions along the way, but they might not know what they're talking about, and might even lie to you for thier own purposes. Now, imagine you drive all night, only to have your guide tell you in the morning that you missed a turn somewhere along the way, and have to go back.

That's architecture School. Even with great planning in advance, you often finish a frustrating night of very little progress by having to turn around and go back. See the model I'm holding in the image above. I rebuilt that section 30+ times over a 2 week period, before it finally looked right. That's why I'm at school so much.

So, why stick with it? Surely there are other ways to make a better living that don't involve a lot paper cuts, or regularly stabbing yourself with a quilter's pin. Well, after building and rebuilding, changing and rechanging, ruining and trying to recover, you get to something like a final design. It's hard to explain the sense of accoplishment that comes with a finished design. Somehow, though, it's worth it.

Before Materials were added.

With materials/ finishes.

And then we make floor plans.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Why am I always catching up?

It seems like I am always about 3 months behind on this blog... sorry. I have a lot of pictures I want to post, but they never seem to be where I am when I have time to do this. Meanwhile, Elena, Mego and Hollee are super on top of it.

School ended, started, ended, and has started agian. We went to Florida and California, and I finally finished up the job I had. I'm trying to get the Hollister House finished, and hopefully, I'll be starting a new job soon. Almost all these things will be elaborated on in the next few days. Sorry, again. Hang in there. Oh, and I've made the bed every day for the last two weeks. Without being asked. Who continues to astound his readers with ever increasing levels of adequacity? I think we all know who.