Monday, May 11, 2009


The final result of the NGMS project was my concept of Ratios along with the Situated Learning theory by Jean Lave who says, "Knowledge needs to be presented in authentic contexts - settings and situations that would normally involve that knowledge.  Social interaction and collaboration are essential components - learners become involved in a 'community of practice' acquired.  As the beginner or novice moves from the periphery of a community to its center, he or she becomes more active and engaged within the culture and eventually assumes the role of an expert."  
The concept of ratios goes along with the ratio of light being diffused throughout the space and the ratio of the human body.  In order to create an active learning environment where everyone is engaged with the learning process, I used the concept of the human scale ratio with standing, sitting, and sitting on the floor and how that could be turned into a space.  The projector screen is the area of the room that is lit up the least and the opposite side of the room from the projector is the most lit up of the room to hopefully better the glare issue against the screen.

Northern Guilford Middle School 7th Grade Math Classroom

For the final studio project, we focused on the Northern Guilford Middle and High school and separated the schools into smaller groups of circulation, classrooms, media center, or art rooms.  I worked on the math classroom in the middle school and began playing around with different ideas for concepts through the overall class idea of nature.  I wanted to make the space a more inviting and enjoyable space by making it a relaxing experience the way that nature is.  I started out with the concept closer to the idea of driftwood because of the idea that it starts out one way and the ocean and surroundings shape it into something different and make it a very enjoyable piece still.  I wanted to relate this to the idea of the classroom being a way of shaping the students in it.  

After playing around with the idea of driftwo
od and talking to Patrick about my ideas, I started leaning more toward the idea of Ratios.  This is an idea that relates to nature as well as the classroom itself since it is the 7th grade math classroom.  I began playing with different ideas of ratios and wanted to try and have the room separated into "zones" and use different materials and colors to play off the ratio idea.  

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Northern Guilford Middle School

In efforts to better the environment at Northern Guilford Middle School, I decided to concentrate on a classroom.  The classroom that I am focusing on is the 7th grade math classroom belonging to Mrs. Arnold.  After talking with her I hope to be able to provide some options for the school to be able to make adjustments by changing the arrangement of the room and how the light in the room is handled.  The light shelf, as "economic" as it is, has become a problem for all of the teachers since it is too bright for when they are teaching on the projection screen.  There is no way to control the amount of light that comes in through the windows because there are no blinds or any blockage mechanisms.  There will need to be a way to solve the issues with the seating arrangements - the desks are connected to the chair and are beside each other making it hard for one of the students to get into their desk without bumping up against their classmate. 

Knoll - Atlanta

Perkins + Will

TVS - break room with very interesting modern seating surrounding the stairwell. 

Knoll - Their showroom building use to be a meat packing plant.  This room (more specifically where this window is to the right) is where they use to bring the animals up on a mechanism in the ceiling.  They came in through here and went to be turned into food. (ew)

Despite the thoughts of dead animals hanging from the ceiling this building was very interesting and had a lot of natural light.  It use to be two floors but the second floor has been removed and the ceiling opened up.

A car full of loot and a 5 hour drive

Herman Miller's showroom was very impressive.  They have a very modern twist to the work spaces they design.  Different elements provide privacy but also separate the people's desks.  The overhanging leaflet shapes on the power columns are very interesting and make the space feel very playful and whimsical.  

This is an awesome famous desk and chair that is so minimal but makes such a great statement.  I love the simplicity of the desk and the sleek form.

The Coconut Chair!  SO cool to see one in "real life."  

AWESOME!  I would love to have one of these lounge chairs in my home.  I've never seen one in this color and it is great!

The showroom has natural light pouring in through this windows in the roof.  It adds to the open plan and cuts down on the need for artificial light.

The newer "cubicles" that can be closed completely off but still feels like a lot of room when you're inside.  They also have little sliding windows inside them that open to the people around you and have shorter walls so you can still communicate with people.

The view of Atlanta from our hotel window.  The fast - paced life.

Somehow two people's luggage turned into a car FULL of stuff!  It is true that girls pack too much! 

The trip to Atlanta was a chance to see how successful firms conduct their business and what they have to offer to upcoming designers.  

Poetics of Space Chapter 7 "miniature"

To talk about miniature things in literature is hard to do in a serious tone.  When things are tiny they are hard to be seen as something that could actually exist - especially if it is a house or some other space.  To be able to take miniature illusions seriously we have to let go of our skepticism and cynical realities and allow ourselves to imagine.  Bachelard says that the miniature things remind us of childhood toys and we can make the small imaginary things reality by relating them to the reality of our toys.  Even when things are miniature, once inside a space the interior becomes larger than it really is.  It is very interesting how he points out that a botanist focuses on miniature things like flowers.  They are objective in their description of the flower in telling the shape, color, texture, etc. of the flower.  But when the description of the flower begins to take a shape that gives mental images of real things like soldiers standing at attention and children in a hammock, the botanist is thinking psychologically and using their imagination.  

Poetics of Space Chapter 4 "Nests"

Bachelard, in chapter 4, talks about the linkages of the home and the shelter of an animal.  We are similar in nature since we both take refuge in our comfortable places - like a burrow or a hole - and hide from the frightening or unpleasant things on the outside.  A nest can make us think of a comfortable place in our childhood or a place we would have liked to have known in our childhood.  Not everyone has memories and safe memories and feelings from their childhood, but the idea of a nest that is protective to an animal speaks to the idea that we can imagine what kind of refuge we would have liked to have had as a child.  " a garden, we grow more attached to a tree inhabited by birds."  We feel more of an attachment to something as static as a tree or shell if there is a living thing occupying it.  Our refuge is our safe place where we can feel secure and sure of ourselves.  

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

'roots' exercise

here are my sketches to go along with my experience from the "back to your roots" exercise from last week.

back to your 'roots'

When told the requirements for the "back to your roots" exercise, it was a little unclear why we were going to do so many sketches. I was excited about the chance to do a more free type of drawing but skeptical. However, after working on this exercise, I now see the advantage in doing lots and lots and LOTS of sketches when developing ideas in design. So many times as designers, we have an idea that we think is great and forget to continue developing it. By doing these sketches, something that started as a static object, began to take new forms and turn into something completely different. What started out as a BIC highlighter and the book Vitruvius The Ten Books of Architecture, turned into a passageway of stairs with sculptural elements all around it. The initial sketches of the book were pretty straight forward. It is a book with illustrations in it so there was a lot to pull inspiration from with the forms of columns and the colliseum to draw. The highlighter on the other hand was a little more difficult. I started out drawing it from every angle I possible could and from that some very abstract forms began to emerge. From those abstract images it became easier to develop them into new things and start to see completely different themes in all of them. From the book I had forms that resembled architecture that turned into interesting three-dimensional forms that were whimsical and fun to work with.
The closer I got to the model stage of the exercise the more I started to see design forms in the sketches I had done and was able to come up with ideas of the type of passageway I wanted to create. The end result was a set of stairs - inspired by the accordion-like form that stemmed from the top of a column drawn - with spiral sculptural forms around them complimenting the ascending pathway.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Thoughts on Bachelard's Chapters 2 & 3

Chapter 2: House and Universe

Throughout the chapter, Bachelard makes some interesting references. One being on page 49 when talking about the way that people long for the “poor house” with its simplicity and “bold outlines.” This is something that I have always felt but never really read or seen it brought up anywhere. It is true though, that for some reason the old, poor houses are the more interesting and the old paintings and prints of them strike our imaginations so much more than a newly built house. I believe the reason for this is the fact that the old house stirs up stories in us. Our imagination starts to run wild with thoughts of the people that live/have lived in the house and what their lives are/were like. If it is an old abandoned house with things left behind, we are especially intrigued because we can really start to piece together a story and an image of what the people were like who lived there. It is a comforting environment to be in because there is a certain warmth you can feel in an old house that has been loved already and sheltered people with every day lives similar to ours.

Chapter 3: Drawers, Chests and Wardrobes

When describing a hiding place, Bachelard quotes Milosz, “A wardrobe is filled with the mute tumult of memories.” When thinking about a wardrobe or a drawer – somewhere that you “put” things – I get the visualization of special and important belongings that are usually for your enjoyment. These are memories and belongings that you do not want everyone to see. They are closer to your heart and mind than everything else. If someone else is going to experience these things, then you are allowing yourself to be vulnerable. These memories that we hide in our “wardrobes” may be ones that are painful or they are just so important to us that we don’t want to reveal them. He also talks about the wardrobe not having a lock because locks invite thieves. This is interesting to think about because when a person has a wall or guard up resembling their own wardrobe for their secrets and memories, usually there is no way to see that or tell it is there until you try to get past it. There is not visual way of knowing that there is a blocked territory there - and if there were a way of knowing then people might not ever try to get through the barrier and know the intimacy of another person.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

my favorite teacher

My favorite teacher was one of my English teachers in high school, Mrs. Luke. She was very old when I had her as a teacher and had been at that high school for about 40 years. Many peoples' parents had her as a teacher when they were in high school. The reason that I like her was because she was scary! I had her my 10th grade year when I was a "silly cheerleader" and she was mean as hell to me in the beginning of the year and I remember "hating" her, but by a few weeks after that I started to really like her and only respected her more and more throughout the year. She was the type of teacher that could just look at you and make you instantly shut up and listen and she was very smart too. She made us think about grammar and what was coming out of our mouths so as not to sound like a bunch of "hicks" and taught us good writing skills as well. I always looked forward to her class. She passed away the summer after I graduated and I believe in her early 80s and had a huge funeral with a ton of guests. She was an awesome teacher and mentor that I will never forget.

favorite subject in school

When I was in high school I wasn't always the most "studious" student ever. haha! If that's believable... However, I wasn't bad at school. My grandmother has referred to it as "learning through osmosis" before. This is something that I will not ever quite understand, but in high school my favorite subject was math. I always thought I hated it and would complain about sometimes getting a bad grade on a test or something, but it was the subject that I actually would STUDY. It was a subject that I couldn't learn through osmosis - I had to actually learn it... so the more I learned it, the better I got at it. By senior year I was pretty good at math and ended up acing my Triginometry class and loved it!

favorite quote from bachelard chapter 1

In chapter one, Bachelard talks a lot about the house and how each person perceives it and how they remember their own houses and spaces. A quote that sticks out to me is on page 4 in the third paragraph: "For our house is our corner of the world." This means a lot of things to me. It makes me think about the fact that when I go out in public anywhere I always sit in a corner. I don't ever like to have my back to anything and want to be able to see all around me and be able to guard myself. This is the way I feel safe. I take this quote in this similar sense of a feeling of safety - like in your house you are safe from the rest of the world. You feel comfortable and feel like you can sit in your house - or fortress as it feels like - and watch everything go on outside around you - but since you are in your comfortable place people can't get to you as easily.
Not only is our house our safe place, it is what we always assume to be "our right." We have land and it is ours. It is OUR place to go and if we want, we can tell other people to stay out of OUR place and OUR land. This is our place where we can go to be completely alone with our thoughts if we want. We can do or feel or think whatever we want in the safety of our corner and feel like the world can't see us.

cool stuff specified in beta [room 204] project

During the project for room 204, we found some really cool stuff that we specified for our space. Since, our personal renderings may not do some of the things justice I wanted to put some actual images of these products on here...

This table is actually named the Curved Dining Table by Robert Bernstein. This is a very interested hand-drawn table that is 3/16" thick painted steel. It costs $10,000!

This is the Softwall by Molo Design. They make many different types of softwalls, as well as other "soft" objects. They make seating, lighting, walls, even rocks. For the Softwalls, there is a choice of it being paper or textile and they have the really interesting option of clipping things onto the wall.

The Smartboard is a display screen that can be projected on, written on, and interacted with. While having a projection up on the screen you can similtaniously write directly on it and use infrared pens to "write" with the projection.

perspectives of room 204 - beta

In the redesign of room 204, we used panels around the perimeters of the room in front of the windows. These panels can be moved side to side or swiveled to let light in or block it out to provide a place to project. There are two large tables/desks that are hung from the ceiling with cables and anchored to the floor when in use. When they are not needed, however, they can be lifted to the ceiling to provide more floor space. The room can be sectioned off with the Softwall that is seen in the middle of the room. This is a textile fabricated accordion-like wall that can be stored away when folded together or stretched out to create separate spaces.
What use to be the storage closets has now been converted into one smaller storage closet and space created for a small break-out room for group meetings and smaller discussions. Separating this small room from the larger classroom is two panels that slide in front and behind each other creating a sealed off feeling. The panels are not floor to ceiling leaving the hint that there is something behind them and creating for a more open air-flowing feeling.

finished result of group lectern design

What we ended up with as a group was an ergonomic and ADA compliant lectern. The top surface when extended as far up as it will go is at 3'8" - suitable for an average height - and when adjusted down lower it can be as short as 3'0" for accessibility. The front is open to allow a wheelchair to fit comfortably underneath. The top has a lockable storage area for a laptop. In this area there are two flaps that come up to reveal the cords and cables for the computer and projection systems. There is an interactive podium screen mounted to the inside of the storage door for the top. There is lockable storage to the left and right of the person teaching as well.