Thursday, November 17, 2011

Concrete Bench

Architecture school is awesome! Last week my lab partner and I cast a 150 pound concrete bench!

Formwork made from recycled plywood

Plywood reinforced with scrap wood 

Rebar to support the cantilevered seat. Yep, I made that.

Bennet and I mixed 2.5 60 lb bags of concrete with
water before it was enough to fill the form

Almost there!

Poured! Now we wait... one week until the form is revealed

Final product!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Our good friends recently became feline foster parents. Their first week on the job also corresponded with a very important wedding, leading them to be out of town for 5 days. Of course, we volunteered to hang out with the cutest cat in the world! Eva is her name, she's tiny and has a crooked tail. She does funny things like slosh through her water bowl before she drinks from it, and goes fishing in the toilet.

Hanging by the window looking at some birds, and occasionally a camera

Always drinking with her paw in the water

Most cats don't like water but she couldn't get enough, she almost fell in!

If you are interested in fostering a cat, look for more information at

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hiroshi Sugimoto

After we visited the site in Ballard, we were assigned photographers to present in studio. The purpose of this assignment was to inform and inspire (it worked!). We now know the building program of our site, a photography collective workspace and gallery.

I presented on Hiroshi Sugimoto, a Japanese photographer interested in capturing time within a two-dimensional image. In the series Theaters, he sets the exposure time on his camera to the length of the movie being shown (averaging two hours). The result is this blank image where all the color and movement has overlapped to create this almost blinding block of white.

The long exposure records the planes flying 

These are from his series, Seascapes, also an extended exposure time which produces a calm and euphoric view of the sky and water. He keeps the horizon line at the same level in his photographs, creating a consistency within the composition. These images are so simple at first glance, but when I see them, my imagination gets to work. I see the sun setting, or the fog running across the waters surface. The images change without movement.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Faux Building in Ballard

After our trip to Vancouver, we began a new project! We met in Ballard to visit our site, an empty lot on Ballard Avenue typically used for the Sunday farmer's market. Though nothing will actually be built at this location, it is still very exciting to work within a physical space. 

Walking across the site, approximately 100' deep x 50 ' wide

Looking inwards from the sidewalk

Looking inwards from the street

Street view

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Vancouver Buildings

Last weekend the 1st year graduate class went on an architecture field trip to Vancouver, BC. It was a lot of fun, and we saw quite a few impressive buildings. The more buildings I look at critically, the more it begins to inform my design approach. It is very inspiring. 

The following images portray Arthur Erickson's Museum of Anthropology. This building utilizes a concrete version of post and beam construction, emulating architecture of First Nation's people. The building opens to a field and pond, you can walk a short distance up the hill to see Vancouver's Straight of Georgia. The interior space is light and open, despite the heavy use of concrete. The totem's are the central display of the main gallery, naturally backlit and inserted into an airy vertical space, these carved forms can truly express their magnificence. 

Museum of Anthropology
University of British Columbia
Architect Arthur Erickson
Interior space displaying Haida totems and other native american historical markers

Close-up of the Haida totem

This structure was designed and built by Bill Reid and Douglas Cranmer.
This is what you see when you turn around after overlooking the pond, grass field and building. 

Also on UBC's campus is the Belkin Art Museum, design by Architect Peter Cardew.

The pile of logs in the foreground are cast concrete pieces

Elevation of the Belkin

Interior street at the entrance of the museum

Just outside the Belkin Museum, Rodney Graham's Camera Obscura

After we finished up at the Belkin, we went over to Biodiversity Research Center building and museum. The interior courtyard space feels comfortable and lush, you are surrounded with native plants that flourish in the middle of the city. Even on a cold, and rainy day, the plant life evokes a feeling of warmth. The buildings have been designed by Patkau Architects.

Beaty Biodiversity Museum and surrounding academic buildings

The next day we visited the B.C. Binning house in West Vancouver. Binning was a prominent Canadian artist, and worked as a professor at the Vancouver School of Art, today Emily Carr University. He designed and built his home in 1941, and it is recognized as a leading example of the modernist movement in Canada. The house is completely detached from the street, when you descend into the property you are looking down on the house. It is of modest size, and follows the terraced landscape. Binning painted two murals on the house, one at the exterior entrance stair case, and the other at the end of the entrance hallway. Both are indicative of his style later in his career.

BC Binning House
Walk down the step into the entrance hall

Entrance hallway, bedrooms/studio are in the right section of the house,
the living space in the left side of the house

Binning's studio

View from the living room

Looking back at the house from yard 

This post would not be possible without the photos taken by my classmate Jonathan Konkol - thank you!