It's already begun! All those rumors I've heard about architecture school turned out to be...true.

But there's nothing wrong with that! 

The semester started in September and it's all going to wrap up in a month. It's weird to find time flying by so fast. 

So is some of my fresh far:

  • 1. It's a slap in the face- You won't find yourself easing into the curriculum. It will come at you like an ice-cream truck going 100 mph, but instead of ice cream inside...there's black licorice! 
  • 2. It's a team effort- If you got by in high school without collaborating with your peers you'll have to change this up now. The most important resource you have is the dude sitting next to you. He may never be your "Let's go to the movies Saturday night" friend ever, but he will get you through an all-nighter in the studio. Your peers share in your frustration, so let's work together!
  • 3. The work load. Yep. I think that says it all. 
  • 4. Forced Time Management. I've had to force myself out of bad habits. If you were good at time management all along, you won't be petrified. But for those of us who've done "last-minute" assignments---GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER, MAN!
  • 5. The professors. Choose wisely. However, even if you have complaints with your professor, know that they are there to help you. You're paying to go to the school, so build relationships. You'll need them to write you recommendations in the future. Just remember that you CAN be FRIENDS with your professor now. This isn't high school people. 
  • 6. The computer is a tool. If you're planning on going to architecture school (you better be if you're reading this blog) then familiarize yourself with Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign, SketchUp and other programs. You'll be using them A LOT, so it won't hurt to just look at them.
  • Some of the ones we looked at this semester were:
  • -Photoshop
  • -Illustrator
  • -Indesign
  • -Rhino
  • 7. Google Images, Pinterest, and Tumblr are your friends. It always helps to look at other work. Plagiarism doesn't really exist in architecture so use the examples all around you to better your own work and get new ideas.
  • 8. Architecture School will strip you of your social life. So you thought medical school was where this happened, huh? NO. It's happening right here, right now and you have to deal with it. Surprisingly, architects in the field HAVE to be social. We're not engineers behind computers. In the field we have to meet with clients and build lasting relationships. It's too bad that the schooling you have to go through makes socializing virtually impossible. Hey, but its all good. Odds are that you will go to a party here and there and make wonderful friends. I have :)
  • 9. TURN UP THE MUSIC! It's good to have all your favorite songs around. I've made a few playlists on youtube already. So when you're drawing, lose yourself in the music and continue "thinking with your hands". 
  • 10. Learning new words. You will hear words you have never heard before. I'm trying to keep a list, but it's difficult. I'm sort of an English geek so I don't mind it much. "Iterations" is an especially nice word. It shall become your best friend! 
  • 11. Model making is time consuming. A good 1/8 inch model may take up to 4 or 5 hours to make. Maybe even longer! So be prepared. 
  • 12. YOU HAVE TO PHOTOGRAPH EVERYTHING. Just do it. With a black background!
  • 13. Coffee? Hasn't happened for me yet, but chocolate works!
  • 14. Crits can be brutal. A critique is supposed to be constructive so take what you want and dispose of the rest. Think positive and keep your goals in mind. 
  • Alright....I could go on and on but I feel as though this post needs pictures. 
There we go!

Our cardboard room is amazing and it made me realize how satisfying seeing a completed project can be. The gallery features a wonderful mounting of a 3D deer, a book case, a woven carpet, coffee table, lounge chair, and bench ALL made out of simple cardboard. I thought the organization of the space worked well to emphasize each project and everyone seemed relieved. This photo shows a broad view of the space. Everyone is posing in an interesting and relaxing way to highlight the casualness of the space. My favorite piece, by far, is the lounge chair in the far left. It resembles a musical note and looks amazing. Sitting in it looks very fun too. 

Our initial assignment was to choose a piece of furniture to design and build using cardboard and no adhesives. There were five groups and each group chose an interesting piece to design. My group designed the two-seat cardboard bench. It's right across from the zig-zag coffee table. We had close to two months to complete this assignment and each minute was spent wisely. Some of the final products vary from what the initial prototype was, which serves as evidence for how ideas change for the better sometimes. Every group met design challenges, but worked hard to solve them. Each piece, in my opinion was aesthetically pleasing and functional. Overall, the project was enjoyable yet frustrating, but being able to see our designs in this room proves how cardboard furniture is both innovative and practical.

From Left to Right and Top to Bottom: Front + Side, Side View 1, Back, Side View 2, Eagle Eye, Front Only

These images show various perspectives of my dream house. The exterior is made of wood with blue-tinted windows. My house is huge and it would not be incorrect to call it a modern mansion. I really wanted to stick to angles, squares, and rectangles because I think the crispness of sharp edges is an indicator of simplicity and provides the most area. I would give anything to live in a place like this someday. Three floors and tons of natural light make my dream house heavenly. 

Discover Design holds an annual design competition. Hundreds of students from across the country submit their sketches, designs, and renderings. Last year's competition involved redesigning the school cafeteria. No student wants to eat lunch in a place that looks like a cardboard box or a jail cell. so implementing positive design elements to promote healthy and happy eating is VERY important. Looking at the winners from last year, I was very impressed and could see the effort each individual put into their entry. 

Stephen Hsueh was the first prize winner and I really enjoyed looking at the design process that led to the completion of his final design (pictured below). I loved his design and I think he did deserve first prize. He chose a very simple, realistic design that promotes healthy eating. The cafeteria is also sleek and modernistic on the inside. The color scheme is light, so it's not too overwhelming and helps to emphasize cleanliness. I thought he solved many problems most cafeterias have including lighting, spacing, and health. Having a garden right outside of the library is unique and will remind students of the benefits gardening has on a community. 

I thought the multiple levels the cafeteria has was interesting. Our own cafe only has one floor, but having three levels is something I have never seen. It gives students a sense of freedom and space. They are free to move about in an expansive space. The color scheme was nice also. Green and yellow remind me of vegetables and the sun and grass. Choosing these colors lightens the mood and highlights the importance of nature. Lastly, the garden was probably my favorite part of his design. I've learned from multiple sources that gardening is like printing your own money. It truly is and students should realize how important it is to know how to grow your own food and eat healthy. 

Would you pick a different winner? Why or why not?
I wouldn't pick a different winner because Stephen's project excels all expectations. He clearly put a lot of effort into this project and came up with a brilliant design that meets the need of high school students. The other winners just shy away of presenting an exceptional entry like his. I think his renderings gave a really good idea of the space that the other winners did not achieve. 

Here are all the winners:
Statement of Purpose: Our class was assigned to design and build cardboard furniture. My group chose to design a cardboard bench. Our bench had to 1) Be Function and withstand considerable weight 2)  The entire process was arduous, but worth it. 
Define the Problem-  The main problem was to build a functional and innovative bench. How tall would the bench be? What shapes will we utilize? How many people is the bench supposed to hold? How will the bench sustain our weight? Another problem was the methods of attachment we would use because the use adhesives was prohibited.  

Designing this bench was quite a challenge because being its function is so essential. The bench needs to the weight of 2-3 people. The hardest part was figuring out what to do for the inside of the bench. What supports we should use and how do we manipulate the cardboard to do this? Another problem we encountered is the base. We went from having one piece of cardboard to having 2 legs. Figuring out how to keep the bench flat on the ground was also difficult. 

Collect Information- We collected a considerable amount of information by looking at websites and by looking at our surroundings. The first problem we aimed to solve was the shapes we would incorporate into our design. An important factor in this process was looking at our resources and the size of available cardboard. From looking at what we had to use, we decided that a "modern" rectangular design would be appropriate with an array of triangular supports. The next problem we has was determining dimensions. We measured the height of the stools in our classroom (roughly 18 inches tall) and decided to use the longest piece of cardboard we had for the length (roughly 64 inches). We also searched the internet for preexisting cardboard furniture for inspiration. The information we collected from these websites gave us the idea to not have a back to our bench (similar to the headboard of a bed). Instead we will have a rectangular piece will various aesthetic and functioning pieces within it. 

Brainstorm and Analyze Ideas- Our brainstorming consisted of quick sketches and writing down dimensions for smaller pieces. The main idea we agreed on was the use of large "staples" at either side of the bench. These staples would stick out at the top for aesthetic purposes and were intended to be converted into arm rests. Another major piece of out design was the "accordion" underneath our seat. This would be the supporting piece, composed of vertical triangles. The base of our bench was an introverted version of the top (seat), which would go through the staples. 

Develop Solutions/Build a Model- Building our prototype was more difficult than we imagined. Our initial ideas failed because we did not know a good way to attach the "accordion" piece to our structure. However, we attempted many things, but in the end our prototype lacked stability. It still incorporated our staples. We also had trouble with the base. At one point we cut the base into two separated squares. Each "leg" had a base. Within our staples we used interconnecting diagonal pieces to support the structure. We inserted an upside down triangle into the upper "V" of the "X" support. Underneath this we has a horizontal piece inserted from into one "X" and extending to the other. These methods provided good support, but our triangle supports were futile.

Present Your Ideas to Others for Feedback- After having an around the table discussion with our classmates and instructor we decided to scratch the "accordion bench" idea and began to use cubical supports. This was a sign of success and we chose to move onto the construction of our actual bench, hoping to improve our design along the way. 

Improve Your Design!- Building our actual bench was just as difficult as building our prototype, but surprisingly followed the design of our prototype, almost exactly. The only changes we made was repeating the "staple" design underneath the seat of the bench to provide support. 

Summary/Reflection: I do not think that our group had a defined leader. Instead each of us took on leadership roles on certain days. Some days I would initiate the task for that day and then instruct my team members on what to do. I also helped in discussions. Before doing anything we would discuss the issue with each other. However, overall I believe that I had more of a designing position. I helped come up with a few ideas for supports and sketched out the bench. I was very happy with what my teammates contributed. Essentially, the three of us were constantly coming up with revisions and always had something to bring to the table. We were great problem solvers and paid attention to detail. In the end there was a great sigh of relief. Our bench was functional!!!

This article by Creative Bloq highlights "20 famous buildings that you MUST see" Here it is: Blog

Many of these buildings are innovative and works of art from the modern age and even from the past, but what stood out to me was Fallingwater designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1934.

Regarding the structure, the article states, "Fallingwater is quite possibly the most famous private residence in the world." Just by looking at Fallingwater, an individual gets the perception of it being HUGE. It combines elements of nature and modernism to create a structure that blends into the environment, instead of forcing itself into the plane. 

The building's original purpose was to serve as a getaway, mountain retreat for the Edgar J. Kaufmann family of Pittsburgh. However, in 1963, it was entrusted to the Western Pennsylvania Conservatory. Now Fallingwater is a national landmark and a work of architecture admired by the world. Since opening up to the public, it has had millions of visitors. Someday I hope to visit the structure as well.

I truly admire the piece. When I am an architect I want to focus on researching how to blend design into nature to create harmony instead of juxtaposing nature with technical design. My favorite features about the design are the angles and balcony-type structures that extend outwards from the structure. I also love the water fall element which helps to create a scenic atmosphere. Overall, I really admire Wright's work on this piece and hope to see more buildings like this one in the future. 

Zaha Hadid was born in Iraq on October 31st 1950. She was from a very conservative part of the world where women seldom get opportunities to receive a good education. However, she had the support and inspiration to go above and beyond. Hadid received a degree in Mathematics from the American University in Beirut and then went on to study architecture are the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London.  She went onto become licensed and has since been apart in the design and construction of various buildings across the world. She has also taught at prestigious universities like Harvard. Most extraordinarily, Zaha Hadid was the first female to win the Pritzker Prize in 2004. About her inspiration, Hadid has asserted, “My father took us to see the Sumerian cities. Then we went by boat, and then on a smaller one made of reeds, to visit villages in the marshes. The beauty of the landscape—where sand, water, reeds, birds, buildings, and people all somehow flowed together—has never left me. I'm trying to discover—invent, I suppose—an architecture, and forms of urban planning, that do something of the same thing in a contemporary way.” She has accomplished her goals because her work is evident of modernism with a natural touch. A few words to describe her buildings would be fluidity, innovative, natural, and spontaneous. 

This is the Phaeno Science Centre in Wolfsburg, Germany. The design and construction process for this building lasted from 2000-2005. In my opinion, this structure seems like something from outer space. The design is very fluid and innovative. The structure seems to have a honey-comb design and scattered windows. I'm impressed about the fact that the structure has angles but still maintains fluidity. 

This is the Galaxy Soho in Beijing, China. This building was completed in 2012 and, in my opinion, is the most impressive Zaha Hadid creation. The structure here actually does resemble honey combs and takes advantage of "bursts" and movement. It's almost as if the structure sprung forth from the Earth. It truly does look like a work of Mother Nature when compared to the rest of the sky-line. 

This is the BMW Building in Leipzig, Germany. It was completed in 2005. The function of this structure is to serve office workers for a reputable company. It's very different from the skyscrapers in Boston and also has a very unique design. I liked the simplicity of this building and the color scheme as well. I think I would enjoy working in an innovative and interesting space like this. 

This is the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art located in Cincinnati, Ohio. I really loved this building. The structure superbly reflects the function of the structure. Some parts of the building are protruding outwards and it reflects the modern art style of today. The materials used are not too flashy, but very appealing to the eye. Unlike her other work, this piece uses a lot of angles, rectangles, and squares. However, it still creates a sense of movement and harmony. 

This is the Zaragoza Bridge Pavilion in Zaragoza, Spain. This structure is absolutely gorgeous. The surrounding area is a lush green and the structure does not take away from the natural environment in the least. Rather, it adds to the environment around it, reflecting the scenery. This structure was completed in 2008 and functions as a pedestrian foot bridge. I would love to see something like this in the U.S. 

As an aspiring female Muslim architect, I admire Zaha Hadid greatly. She reflects all the qualities I hope to possess someday and I admire her perseverance. Her work is beautiful without being ostentatious. I hope one day more women will come into the spot light in this male-dominated profession. She has opened the way for other women to follow and then branch off as they discover new concepts and innovative designs. 
The interior of my dream home will include many, many features. First of all, I want my home to be both modern, tech savvy, and sustainable. Here are some features that will surely be included:
1) Wooden Floors
2) Ceramic tiles in the kitchen
3) Rough, stone floor in the bathroom
4) Optimal natural lighting, so many tall, wide windows
5) Bamboo walls
6) Bamboo carved bed frames
7) Cardboard lighting
8) Many Storage Units
9) A personal art studio
10) Decorative furniture with fluidity 
11) L-shape sofa set
12) Glass tables
My exterior will be very impressive and it will include:
1) Geometric shapes, sharp angles
2) Wood theme
3) Large Windows
4) Marble steps
5) Large front and backyard
6) Sections will be unleveled
7) Japanese Pond/Garden
8) Marble Steps
9) Exterior green lighting
10) Solar panel roof

As a prospective Architecture student, I found the trip to Bergmeyer Associates Inc. in Boston very helpful. I can't accurately express how wonderful I found the field trip. Our host was former BHS student, Dan Ricardelli. He had graduated from Northeastern's Architecture program recently. One of his colleagues, Bill Spaulding, was giving us a thorough tour and presentation of the firm. I learned a couple valuable things about architecture, work, and Boston:
  • Many architecture firms today are focusing on sustainability. The Rocky Mountain Institute defines sustainability as "Taking less from the Earth and giving more to people." In essence, sustainable architecture is eco-friendly design which implements innovative materials and design elements to make a structure functional, lasting, yet still aesthetic. 
  • LEED is an internationally recognized Green Building Program and there are different terms architects apply to their buildings. Bergmeyer has worked on a few themselves and mentioned working on a Platinum project.
  • Architecture is collaborative. An architecture firm is not solely made up of architects, but they also have space for engineers, human resource specialists, construction associates, interior designers, and marketers. The whole process is very interesting and interdisciplinary. 
  • Boston is a wonderful place to study architecture. The urban environment provides architecture students with a lot of great examples of design. There are dozens of firms in Boston and Massachusetts so students have many opportunities to look for internships. 
  • Working in an office has its ups and downs. Bergmeyer noted how they were fortunate enough to have open-minded staff, but many people in the field may turn out egotistical. Architects with big egos make a day's work harder than it should be. 

The BSA Space influenced me as well. I had no idea that the architecture community in Boston was so close-knit. Making contacts, connections, and new friends will be easier with an organization like the Boston Society of Architects around. The space itself was very eye-catching and economical. The exhibits, however, did not solely focus on architecture. Many were design-oriented and very interesting. Their goal is to get the public involved with architecture because, like our host had said , many people don't know what architecture is, even though it is all around them. Overall, one day I hope to be working for a firm like Bergmeyer's someday and I will definitel
This semester's assignment was to recognize issues with our current lockers and then design a more innovative and effective locker. The project was very interesting and many of my classmates broke away from the mold and looked to more unconventional designs. 

Here is my locker presentation:
Here are photographs of the final prototype: