09 April 2008

I've been a bad blogger

Wow I've been quiet lately, haven't I? The truth is that this blog is a one-woman operation - as are many blogs - and when I get busy, it gets put on the back burner. The good news is that I have some things cooking (I'm running with this "stove" analogy) that I am really excited about, and when I get more information about everything, I will certainly share it with you.

In the meantime, here's an update on my coursework, complete with pictures, for those of you who are easily distracted.

Urban Landscape Case Studies: Incidentally, that class ended mid-semester and now I'm in a second-half-of-the-semester course focusing on Criticality & Practice taught by Scott Johnson. I really like this class. For my Master's degree, I was intent on getting an education in whole building design, but I forgot how much fun it is to just talk about and look at architecture, which is basically what we're doing in this class. We need more talking though. Actually I think we need more arguing. Even more fun!

History of American Architecture and Urbanism: We've just gotten to the point in the history of American Architecture where we start to talk about skyscrapers. This is the good stuff! One of the buildings we covered is the Reliance Building in Chicago by Daniel Burnham....this guy was way ahead of his time. This is a skyscraper that was built in 1895, with an open floor plan and a facade consisting mostly of large windows....and it's still in use! It was converted to a hotel about 20 years ago. Think about the last hotel you stayed at and if it will be around in another 100 years. I'm thinking that Hampton Inn down the street isn't really built for longevity.


Daniel Burnham's Reliance Building.....image courtesy of Wikipedia.com

Advanced Topics in Environmental Controls: We had midterms in this class last week. I studied the energy consumption of Ray Kappe's Z6 House in Santa Monica by simulating it in six different energy modeling programs, and most of the results were consistent with the notion that it is a very efficient house. Which is good since it's LEED Platinum.


A picture of the Z6 House that I took while stalking it in Santa Monica recently

Architectural Photography: In the time since I discussed this class last, I took some great pictures of the CalTrans building, gave a slide show on it, and then learned how to use a giant 4x5 camera that is better for photographing architecture. And make no mistake....this camera is expensive, complicated, and intimidating. I am working with a group now for the final project and we're taking pictures of a lovely modern Presbyterian Church in Pasadena that was built in 1975. Below I've included one of my favorite pictures from the CalTrans presentation, and a point-and-shoot photo from the church (our fancy-pants photos are still being processed).


CalTrans at dusk


Pasadena Presbyterian Church, built in 1975

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