Monday, August 24, 2009

Architect of the Week #2

OJK Architecture and Planning, San Jose, CA

The Gish Apartments, located in San Jose, California, are on the list of top 10 green projects for 2009 created by The American Institute of Architects. This 35-unit transit-oriented family apartment complex is targeted for a community who's income is 35%-50% of what the medium income for the area is. About a third of the apartments (13 apartments total) are set aside for residents with disabilities. " The complex is a model for the State of California's Multifamily Housing Program for mainstreaming special needs populations. "

"The mixed-use plan includes a convenience store and a beauty salon on the ground floor. Residents have access to a computer center and are provided with services tailored to support low-income families, such as financial literacy training, computer training, and after-school programs. Housing Choices Coalition provides coordination of services for residents who have developmental disabilities, and facilitates communication among these residents, their case managers, and the property management team.

Gish Apartments is a groundbreaking development both for its architectural design and in its use of renewable energy technologies and other green building features. Gish is the only affordable housing development in the U.S. to receive both LEED for Homes and LEED for New Construction Gold certification."

Environmental Aspects:

"First Community Housing prefers to locate housing in transit-oriented locations with access to community resources and services, providing a healthy living environment for residents and using resources efficiently. The development of Gish Apartments was consistent with these goals. By choosing a site adjacent to light rail and reserving 35% of units for tenants with developmental disabilities, the owner earned a major parking reduction from the City. As a result, the project has a high housing density of 81 units per acre. The mixed-use design, which includes a ground floor convenience store, allows residents to purchase basic groceries on site. Other environmental aspects of the project include reuse of an urban brownfield site, a roof-top photovoltaic array, high performance insulation in 2x6 exterior walls, double-glazed windows, and high-efficiency heating and hot water systems. The initial costs associated with energy-saving features and durable materials are being offset by lower operational costs."

Resources and more info:
The American Institute of Architects
World Architecture News

Friday, August 21, 2009

Testing Sustainable Housing

I recently watched a documentary entitled "Garbage Warrior" and became very fascinated (and a bit enraged) at the way our government is processing new ideas about not only sustainable buildings, but new ideas in general. The documentary highlights the struggle that Architect Micheal Reynolds encounters with the US government in trying to create a sustainable housing testing site in New Mexico using his "Earthship Biotecture" technique. He argues that since we have testing grounds for such things as cars, jet engines and even bombs, why should testing sites for housing be out of the question? The documentary also follows Reynolds to an Island off the coast of India that was devastated by the Tsunami, where Reynolds creates a sustainable hut that gathers water for the surrounding village. However, when Hurricane Katrina hits home in the US, the government is firm in keeping Reynolds out of the picture, and not letting him build his "Earthships" for the disaster victims.

What I got out of this documentary is that the US government is very slow to act or listen to problems pertaining to the environment, global warming, etc. Video shots of representatives and state legislators sleeping in meetings and taking 30 minutes to take roll really got me thinking about where my tax dollars are going; not to anything I particularily want it to go towards. For example, I personally think "Cash for Clunkers" is a flop, and we could have made it a much better program by upping the standards of the new car you are to purchase, but I didn't get a vote on it, and my tax dollars are being thrust into something I never had a say in.

It's a sad world when people who NEED sustainable housing, people who live in slums and don't have electricity or running water and live in the United States, can not freely build their own home. Codes and laws command and demand what we live in. Michael Reynolds' "Earthships" did not meet county and state codes, so the government took his license away. These sustainable houses that Reynolds was building were completely sufficient and completely safe, but did not meet outdated codes. Next thing you know, I'm going to need county approval before building a treehouse in my backyard that is "up to code!" To deny hurricane victims who have nothing left, no housing, no furniture, no food or water, the oppurtunity to live in a sustainable house with clean water, self-sustaining tempatures and sewage, and instead putting them in FEMA trailors, makes me a tad bit ashamed of the current state of our country.

"Garbage Warrior" was a great inspirational documentary that made me think really hard about why I want to be an architect. I don't want to just build structures, I want to change them. I enjoy the thought of the challenges that lie ahead for me, and I even HOPE that one day I will have the oppurtunity to challenge our government into thinking outside of the tiny box they sit in.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Response Article #2: "Toyota's Solar Wi-Fi Flowers Stalk American Cities

In response to: Toyota's Solar Wi-Fi Flowers Stalk America

Come on, there is no denying that this is pretty damn cute and innovative. I've never seen an add campaign for a car stretch to such ideas as this. I think the original response article took too literally the message that was given in a press release stating that "This fully integrated marketing effort explains how consumers can get virtually everything they want for themselves in a car – advanced technology, extra power, space, safety and 50 miles per gallon – all while providing what nature craves most: fewer smog-forming emissions." I don't think this message fell off the "stupid wagon" like the author of this article believes, I think Toyota is only trying to give the consumer what they want. People buy SUVs and Hummers just for this reason, they want a house on wheels. Toyota wants consumer too see that their Prius, too, can be a house on wheels, but a much cheaper and environmentally friendly house on wheels.

Toyota also plans on creating solar-ventilated bus shelters to advertise the optional solar-ventilation system on the new 2010 Prius, and several "floralscape" living billboards made completely out of flowers. I think these are all very fun and creative advertising ideas and I gotta give toyota my 2-thumbs up!

Friday, July 24, 2009

"Cash for Clunkers" Program...Will It Be Affective?

The official rules for the "Cash for Clunkers" government program were officially released today, and the rush is now on for clunker owners to scrap their gas-guzzling cars in exchange for $3,500 to $4,500 off the purchase of a new, more fuel efficient vehicle. This is exciting! I'm a little bit surprised that the government signed in something this.....expensive. But hey, it'll help the environment, it will help dealerships (even though I'm sure most people's new cars from this program will be foreign vehicles), and it'll boost the ego of many people who have never gotten into a brand new car before! Here's a few of the main qualifications:
  • Your clunker must be in "drivable" condition
  • Your clunker must have been insured and registered in the current owners name for a year
  • The clunker must have been manufactured before 1985 but not later than 2001
  • Have a COMBINED fuel economy value of 18 mpg or less.
You get a different credit amount depending on how much better the mileage on the new car you are buying gets. If your new car gets a combined fuel economy between 4-9 mpg better than your clunker car, you will get a $3500 tax credit. If the combined fuel economy gets 10 mpg better than your clunker, you will get a $4500 credit.

So I want to bring up an issue that seems very obvious to me. I'm wondering WHAT the point of this program help the environment, or to possibly help save American car companies. I could be wrong, but if you own a "clunker" you are either the person who holds onto a car until it drives itself into the ground, or you don't have the money to buy a brand new car. If you are driving your car into the ground and you have the money to purchase a new car, than this program is for you. If you have a "clunker" because you don't have the finances to buy a brand new car, I don't see this program helping you or the environment. Just for an example, we're going to use my boyfriend James. James has a 1989 Mercury Grand Marquis that gets a combined fuel economy of 18 mpg and he has owned his car for over a year, and the car still runs; James DEFINATELY qualifies for this program. SO, to get a $4500 credit, James has to find a car (that he can afford) that gets an average of 28 mpg.....this is going to be a task. We have the Toyota Yaris (31 mpg), Honda Fit (30 mpg), maybe a Ford Focus (28 mpg, but a little over budget) and....that'

OMG, as I'm writing this blog, a story is on the national news criticising the program. lol.

So like I was saying, James' options are VERY limited. He doesn't have the budget to buy a hybrid car, let alone a hybrid car from an American car company that STILL gets worse mpg than a foreign all-gasoline vehicle (example to the right: Chevy Tahoe Hybrid gets 21/22 mpg, and most other American Hybid SUV's aren't much different except for the $32,000 Ford Escape). He bought the clunker in the first place because it was only about $1000 and that's all he had to spend on a car, and I'm guessing he isn't the only person who has a clunker for this reason.

If people who own clunkers have a tight budget, they won't be buying cars from American car companies. They will be buying Honda's and Toyota's to get the $4500 instead of the $3500, giving money to foreign car companies, and not really helping our economy very much. I don't really even see this program helping the environment as it should. As I just saw on the news, America got the idea from Germany, but the rules for our program are WAY stricter. In Germany, if you traded in ANY car made before 1993, you got a $3,300 credit....that's it. The National News gave an example of a 1993 Mercury Grand Marqui (same car as James', just a few years newer) DIDN'T APPLY because it's average mpg is 19!!! Unless your car is really really REALLY killing the planet, the goverment isn't going to give you anything for your crap car.

This is just my insight into the program. No doubt it will still help very many people get themselves out of their gas-guzzling cars and into more fuel efficient cars (until the government runs out of money for the program). But still, $3500 off of a brand new car that gets, let's see 18+4=22, 22 mpg, 22 MILES PER GALLON! HOLD ON A SEC, HOLD THE PHONES! Is it just me, or does that still qualify as a CLUNKER of a vehicle. 22 mpg? Folks, to the left is a picture of what I drive, a 1994 Saturn SL2. I don't care what the EPA tells me the average mpg is on this car, but I will tell you I calculate 26-28 mpg on each tank (and I'm good at math so I know I'm right, lol). I paid $3500 for this car about 3 years ago. I love my car, and it loves me back. I don't have the money to buy a new car, even with $4500 off, but even with that incentive, I could buy a car the costs me MORE to put fuel in it's tank than my tiny old Saturn?!

I have a gut feeling that there is more to this program than meets the eye, and the government STILL doesn't have it right. 22 mpg isn't going to help the environment AT ALL, and financially supporting foreign car companies isn't going to help our economy at all. I don't see this program working out very well or helping anything in anyway, except for a few people who can afford a $30,000 Hybrid or people who don't care about the supposed point of the program (to help the environment) and trade their clunker in for yet another one. Sorry America, I don't think you got it right this time either.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

This week in school #2

Once again, not in school because it's summer, so we're going to recap about....
Phi (also known as the Golden Ratio)

Anyone in any field that involves people looking at your work (art, architecture, design, advertising, plastic surgery...almost anything I can possibly think of) should learn about phi. If you are in these fields already and have never heard of the Golden didn't learn enough in college, sorry. Phi, or the Golden Ratio, is the mathematical reasoning behind why we find certain things aesthetically pleasing and other things not so much.

Phi is basically this:
(a+b)/a = a/b =phi OR 1+2=3....3+2=5....5+3=8....8+5=13, etc then divided by the previously found number: (3/2)(5/3)(8/5)(13/8)etc....

The exact number of Phi is approximately 1.618

So, how does this all translate visually?

We'll start off with Architecture. Studies of the Acropolis, including the Parthenon, have concluded that many of the proportions of the site approximate Phi, or the Golden Ratio. A more recent architect, Le Corbusier, strongly emphasized Phi not only his structures, but also studied the Golden Ratio in relationship to the human body, emphasizing what Leanardo da Vinci did not. For example: To the left is a picture of the Villa Savoye by Le Corbusier. (I Googled this online and could not find any picture that anyone has ever marked up with the Golden Ratio before, this is my original "Phi Finding.") Not only was the building's width created by the turning radius of Le Corbusier's car, the width of the driveway is phi to the height of the 1st level, and is also phi to the length of the entire 2nd level. The 1st level facade opening is phi to concrete below it. The 2nd level window are phi to the concrete above it. The list goes on and on. Le Corbusier's work was extremely emphasized by the Golden Ratio, that you can almost find it anywhere in his structures.

Now onto something that many of you have probablly seen before; the Golden Ratio of a face. The Golden Ratio strongly effects who we find attractive and who we find ugly. If you Google image search "Golden Ratio face" you will see picture of famous Hollywood start whose face fits perfectly into the "Golden Ratio mask." No matter what culture or color a face is, if it fits the golden ratio, we will find it attractive. I wouldn't be surprised if modeling agents carried around a transparent golden ratio mask so they could figure out instantly if you even have the chance of becoming a model. Not only can the Golden Ratio be found on our faces. Nearly our entire body is composed of a golden ratio! The length of our legs compared to our arms, the length of our body compared to our legs, the legnth of our hand compared to our arm, the list goes on and on and on!

More examples of Phi can be found in nature as well. To the left is an example of the "Fibonacci sequence" spiral. The Fibonacci sequence is merely the name of the sequence of numbers that I stated above (1,1,2,3,5,8,13,etc). This sequence can be found in such simple things as shells, flower, and hurricanes! It can also be found in the growth of a plant. Each number to the left represents the number of stems created in the average plant's growth. Interesting huh?

So if you aren't yet using Phi or the Golden Ratio to subconsciously influence the way people view your work, you should seriously research the complexities of this valuable tool that is found in nature. For some reason, we find Phi attractive and aesthetically pleasing to us, no matter what form it is found in, so you might as well use that to your advantage!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Competition of the Week #1

The Miami Beach Hotel Student Design Competitions hosted by the American Institute of Architecture Students and the Modular building institute:
Deadline for Registration: November 20, 2009
Deadline for Submission: January 15, 2010

taken from
"The objectives of this competition are:
  • To research, respond to and highlight the unique aspects of designing a modern hotel that serves the selected site and community of Miami Beach, FL
  • To learn about and utilize the modular building process to develop a mutli-story design that meets both the program requirements and promotes advancements for future modular buildings
  • To design a facility that utilizes sustainable features in the areas of thermal comfort, indoor air quality, day lighting, acoustics, energy efficiency, resource strategy, aesthetics, and economic practicality (ability to attain LEED certification is preferred but not required)*
  • To develop a design that compliments the existing buildings and natural surroundings of the community both now and into the future
  • To develop a design that reflects the unique culture, history and climate of Miami Beach site

The site selected for the new hotel is located at 6551 Colins Avenue in North Miami Beach, FL. Once the site of the Monte Carlo Hotel (built in 1948), the building was demolished in 2004 after standing vacant since the early 1990's. Plans for a new 20 story building were approved in 2005 but construction has yet to begin. With nearly 200 feet of beach front property, the site is a perfect location of a mordern luxury hotel."

"Sponsored by the Modular Building Institute and administered by the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS), the program challenges students to learn about modular building techniques and systems in the design of a modern and sustainable Miami Beach hotel. The competition is designed for North American design students of all ages. Total prize money is $7,225, including $2,500 for the first place winning design."

For more information on this competition, you can visit

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Building of the Week #1

Since I posted about Norwegian architect Todd Saunders yesterday, I thought I would create a posting about one of his buildings today. I suppose you wouldn't really call it a "building" but it's still a fascinating piece of architecture: The Aurland Lookout in Norway.
The lookout is intended to create the experience of leaving the mountainside and coming out into the air to experience the surroundings. All of the large pine trees on the site were left undisturbed, giving even more of 360 degree experience.

Another piece of this structure includes the public restroom site....
This structure has a more rugged and heavier feel than the lookout. Large windows open you up the experience even while you are on the john! The structure is placed slightly over the edge of the cliff, making "peeping" in the large windows inaccessible to the public.

I think I'm going to learn the Swedish/Norwegian language. These countries look so beautiful, I might start my practice over there after college.

Pictures from:

Monday, July 20, 2009

Architect of The Week #1

Todd Saunders of Saunders Architecture

My friend Landee has been in Norway for the last 2 weeks and has been sending me pictures of how beautiful the country is. Not only is the country beautiful, so is some of the architecture. Norway is such a beautiful place!!! So this week I thought I would talk about a Norweigan architect..Todd Saunders.

From Saunders Architecture website:
"Saunders Architecture is a firm owned by Canadian Todd Saunders who has lived and worked in Norway since 1997. Saunders has worked in countries such Austria, Germany, Russia, and Latvia. Currently, the office is working mostly in Norway, and has projects in England, Denmark, Sweden, and Canada. The office consists of four architects from Canada, Germany and USA.

The work combines a Nordic design sensibility with environmental concerns. Each project is unique and inventive. Every project has a new process. This strategy derives from an ability to be inventive and to constantly question the purpose of our buildings. Depending upon the setting and the program, each building suggest a critique of urban planning, provides solutions to contemporary housing solutions, or creates sympathetic yet robust new forms for residential housing that are additions to the dramatic landscape in which they sit.

Todd Saunders received a Bachelor of Environmental Planning & Design from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax, Canada. While doing his bachelors, Saunders spent a semester as an exchange student at the Rhode Island School of Design, Department of Architecture. He subsequently received a Masters of Architecture from McGill University, Montreal, Canada.

Saunders has been a part-time teacher at the Bergen Architecture School, since 2001. He has lectured at various architecture and design schools in Scandinavia, Canada, and England. In 2005 Saunders taught a one-week design/build course in the International Architecture Program in Oulu, Finland. In the spring of 2006, Saunders was a visiting professor at The University of QuƩbec in Montreal, Canada.

In the fall of 2005 Saunders was a part of an exhibition entitled 20 under 40: Young Norwegian Architecture hosted by the Norwegian Architecture Association beginning in the fall of 2004. Previous awards include a 3-year artist scholarship from the Norwegian Association of Artist, a business scholarship from the National Business and Development Apartment, and an environmental prize for a schoolyard designed and built together with parents and students.

In October 2006, the Norwegian Association of Architects has nominated the lookout for the Mies van der Rohe Prize. The prize is granted every two years by the European Union and the FundaciĆ³ Mies van der Rohe, Barcelona, to acknowledge and reward quality architectural production in Europe.

While studying architecture, Saunders received an American Institute of Architects Research and Special Studies Scholarship and a Canadian-Scandinavian Travel Scholarship. Saunders traveled for 9 months from Paris to China doing research on Ecological Housing. While on this trip he decided that Bergen, Norway could be a great place to live and work."

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Response Article #1-Spending less time and money in traffic?

Original article/blog: Traffic Congestion Dipping as Economy Falters

I haven't fully thought this through, but I might have some ideas on how to help several of these issues:

First of all...cost. Apparently, each of us spends an average of $750 a year sitting in traffic, burning fuel that isn't getting us anywhere, and wasting our valuable time, when we could be at work making money so we could pay off our gas bill from this morning. I have an idea, let's make and buy cars that don't cost us $750 a year to sit in traffic! I would LOVE to see the average cost to sit in traffic from someone who owns, I don't know...a Hummer, and then compare it to someone who owns, let's say....a Prius. If every car operated like a Prius, the average cost of traffic-sitting per year would, I bet, go under $75. As long as that Prius is just sitting there, it's running off of battery power. I'm guessing that this study takes into account lost time at work, and that's where some of the traffic-sitting tab comes from, so Prius owners are probablly still in the hole, but a much shallower hole than the Hummer drivers.

Second of all...time. Even if all of us did drive Hummers, we wouldn't be spending nearly as much money per year sitting in traffic if there was less traffic in the first place. I say we build bridges, and plenty of them! Bridges takes away the need for a stoplight, meaning people don't have to stop, and then use more fuel to accelerate again. If we could also coordinate our traffic lights more efficiently, I'm sure that would help as well. Uncensored lights frustrate me!

Friday, July 17, 2009

No Wonder My Professors Don't Want Us Using AutoCADD!!!!

I recently got hired at Howl O' Scream @ Busch Gardens, which is forcing me to move my Tuesday/Thursday 5:30-7:30 "Building Arts" class to an earlier time. Well, there is no earlier time, so I decided to try and sign up for the Intermediate AutoCAD class instead. When I did that, the computer told me I hadn't met the prerequisite of taking a "Beginning Technology Design" class.....BULLCRAP! I've already finished the Beginning AutoCAD class and taken an entire year of Architectural Design! I'm not computer illerate, I'm part of the millenial generation!!! Anyway, so I said "screw that, I'm CLEPing these exams," meaning I'm going to learn AutoCAD on my own and take the exam to just get the credit hours with no grade, which is fine by me.

Like I said, by now I've already taken a "Beggining AutoCAD" class and have figured out by now that this program has some serious flaws. Actually, let me back up. My PROFESSORS have some serious flaws. Both semesters of Architectural Design, my professors gave us a rule of NO AUTOCAD!!!! I understand the fundamentals behind learning to draw and such, but they wouldn't even let us have drawings AND AutoCAD renderings on our final presentations......ONLY drawings. I found this as somewhat shocking, since I had figured the primary tool in the design industry was AutoCAD. The last project I did, I REALLY needed some kind of design program to help me figure out the floor plans of my building. Since I didn't yet know how to use 3D AutoCAD, I downloaded google sketchup.

I'll start this paragraph off by saying GOOGLE SKETCHUP IS AWESOME. For a beginning architect student like myself, this program will teach you basic comands, let you play around with your creative ideas, and is also very fun and simple! After using this program, I began to think even more about how crappy AutoCAD seemed. I mean, I hadn't yet toyed with 3D AutoCAD, but I was already very frustrated with simple 2D, so I couldn't even imagine how angry I would get with 3D.

Anyway, returning back to the flaws of AutoCAD. The number one thing I have noticed with it is that it isn't intuitive....AT ALL. It doesn't know what I'm trying to tell it to do, where I'm trying to tell it to go, or how I'm trying to tell it to work. It has a mind of it's own. I'm guessing the reason behind this is because it isn't an object based program, but I could be wrong. The point is that a free program that google made is WAY more intuitive than a $3,000 program, and quite honestly, that can be frustrating to those who have already spent that huge wad of cash. I have gotten SO FRUSTRATED from trying to learn this program that I have slammed keyboards, mouses, banged computers, had to restart computers MANY TIMES, screamed, and CRIED for crying out loud! I sometimes feel like I should just rip the monitor right out of the computer and throw it out of the window!!!!

So, I went searching for something else. I tweeted how frustrated I usually am when using AutoCAD and someone replied telling me to try Revit because they understood the feeling. I've heard of Revit before from several profesors telling me that they only use Revit in their offices and that AutoCAD is on the way out the door. I decided to give this Revit a try. I then found a FREE educational download version which made me very happy and learned that AutoDesk is the same company that makes both Revit and AutoCAD. AutoDesk just keeping AutoCAD around for the old farts who can't learn new programs? Try this: Google "AutoCAD sucks." I get 178,000 results, 178,001 by the time I'm done. Now Google "Revit sucks," only 25,500. I think that alone says something.

So my question then becomes, WHY am I being taught AutoCAD and WHY is it a requirement to know the program before I transfer to a University for Architecture? If this thing is on the way out, shouldn't I be learning something that's on the way in? I guess I can't depend on the school board to figure this one out, so I suppose I'm teaching it to myself. Unfortunately I still have to CLEP both 2D and 3D AutoCAD exams to transfer to a University, but I'll do whatever it takes to get there, even if that requires learning a software programs that dinosaurs invented.

No wonder my professors don't want us using AutoCAD for Design Projects...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

This week in school #1

Well actually, I just got out of school for the summer yesterday, so I suppose I'll recap something I learned about in my previous Business Calculus class. I found this interesting because using this would be very helpful in such architectural uses as calculating the square footage of an odd shaped room.
Definite Integrals!
Sounds scary doesn't it! It's actually pretty cool. SO...finding a definite integral means the same thing as finding the surface area of something. However, not every shape has an equation to find surface area like a cube (6a^2), sphere (4pi r^2), or a rectangular prism[box]
(2ab+2ac+bc) does. So to find the square footage of, let's say, an egg shaped room, we would have to use some other kind of method to find the area. Before the AMAZING invention of my handy-dandy TI-84 graphing calculator and the not-so-user-friendly AutoCADD, Reimann's Sum was just about the only way of finding an odd shape's area. Reimann's Sum is basically this: To find the approximate area under a curve, you chop that curve up into rectangulare pieces, find the area of each rectangle, and then add them all together (visual example to the right). OR...
where [a,b] are the limits on the graph, n is the number of times you are chopping up the curve, and f(x) is the area of each little rectangle.
I mean, I'll give it to
Reimann, he came up with something very literal and something that you can make as approximate as you wanted, depending on how many times you chopped your curve up. What else are you gonna do when you don't have computers, right? BUT, the thing is that it just sucks and isn't completely accurate. The more accurate you want your answer to be, the more rectangular area's you're going to have to find, and that's not fun or fast! We have graphing calculators now, so let's use 'em!

So going back to our egg shaped room now! For almost every shape you could possibly make, there is a series of functions that when put together could form a shape very similar, if not exact, to the one you want. Now, I just finished taking a very simplified calculus class, so I'm not going to get into it like it does on Wiki, and I'll skip all of the less
on teaching on finding derivitives and integrating because you don't really need it for this. All you really need is a graphing calculator. So if you wanna play along with me, I'll include instructions. To enter functions for your calculator to graph, hit the y= button and enter in
Now hit graph. You should see somewhat of an egg-shaped function. Now, first you must find the intersecting points of your 2 functions, so hit 2nd TRACE which will come up with a list of calculation options and hit 5:intersect, ENTER, ENTER, ENTER. The X value is 2.236068, which means the opposite intersection will be the same number except negative (these are your "limits.) Now, to find the surface area for the area under the first curve (y1) hit 2nd TRACE, 7: ~f(x)dx. It will say "Lower Limit?" and enter in -2.236068 ENTER, and "Upper Limit?" is 2.236068 ENTER. I will find the surface area above the first curve until 0, which is 7.45356 (the negative does not matter, since there is no such thing as negative surface area.) Now we need to find the surface area of the top of the egg, so repeat the above steps with only the y2 equation graphed (your limit of -+2.236068 is the same). You should end up with 14.904401. Now add the area from the top and bottom of the egg...
And there you have it! Lol, it sounds and looks confusing but really isn't once you learn all the cool stuff a TI-84 can do. But this way, an architect can know the EXACT square footage of an odd shaped room (not that there are very many odd shaped rooms that don't have angles, but just in case there were!). So if I were ordering hardwood for this floor I would order 23 square feet (wow that's a tiny egg-shaped room!)to minimize my cost, increase revenue, and use less resources. Of course, it can get way more complicated like finding volume by definite integrals, as the picture illistrates on the left, but I don't know how to do that.......YET!

Oh how fun calculus can be!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Ugh, that green building "standard" look....

Do you know what I'm talking about? You know, that standard look of a "green building?" It has clean lines, minimal accessories, and an obvious appearance of, well....being green! It's just opinion to say that this expanding style of architecture is "ugly" but I almost feel the urge to yell that it's true! For example, the building to the right is from a Korean architect firm named Mass Studies and it's main feature is the herb/flower garden that is planted on the facade of the building. It's intriguing at first, but after looking at it for a while I just find it awkward and ugly.

I don't think that a green building should necessarily yell "HEY, I'M A GREEN BUILDING!" to an extreme literal sense, like the fashion retail store to the left that looks like something out of Jumanji. I don't think that "green" should become a new style, but rather an incorporation into what already exists. Don't get me wrong, I think very modern architecture is intriguing and can be very beautiful and welcoming, but it's starting to become extreme. Style is an opinion, and not everyone has the same opinion, which goes without saying that everyone isn't going to like modern architecture. Architects nowadays are changing the way they think and build. Green building is on the rise, and eventually it is all we will be building. I'm hoping that one day, new codes will come into place that will require a building to meet a minimal LEED point value to even be built. But in order to do that, we need to learn to build "green" without appearing "green."

An example of what i'm talking about is to the bottom right. This is the new dormatory at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina. This building looks very typical: no fancy windows or grass growing on the walls or stagnant building appearance, but this building is actually the second building on the college's campus to have a Gold LEED certification, meaning that the building has reached eco-friendly benchmarks such as energy and water conservation, reduction of green house gas emissions, and waste that is sent to landfills....but you would never guess. I find this building to not be the most attractive building, but it also doesn't scream "HEY LOOK AT ME, I'M GREEN!!!!"

The point I'm trying to make is that the label of "green building" needs to die out at some point. I AM NOT saying we need to stop green building, what I'm saying is that architects need to incorporate it into whatever type of building they are constructing. The flaunting and bragging of having a LEED certified building is going to get old at some point because there will be too many of them to care. I do think that every new building should strive to be built as a LEED certified one, but I also know that the circumstances, economy, and resources make that goal seemingly out of reach....right now. President Barack Obama is making strides to turn our country into a "green" one, and it has taken way too long. One thing he does fail to mention is that not only will turning our country green provide more jobs, turning our buildings green will provide even more. Major points towards a LEED certified building are won by using materials that are manufactured and made within a certain distance of the building site, which means that more business' and jobs could be made by making our building construction materials in America. More jobs would be needed for the installation of solar panels, water recycling systems, energy efficient circuitry, and much much more. Architecture has taken a sharp turn, and it is a very powerful and well-needed turn too. Now we just need to put our foot on the throttle.

In response to: "The Bad News About Green Architecture" by Cathleen McGuigan of Newsweek