Bye-Bye Blog

When my project is complete, it will have given me a chance to experience a watered-down version of being a professional city planner, architect, interior designer, and landscaper. I did this to help guide my future in architecture to a straight path. My projects will look polished and like knock-off designer handbags- almost as good as something made by professionals.

I am now incorporating feedback from two architects and one interior designer. With their trained eyes, they noticed one of my designs lacked unity between the building and a wall of glass. It seemed like they were separate components stitched together. My mentors said if I wanted to make my design more professional, I would need to add lines for the window sill and add mullions (vertical bar between panes of glass). I drew in lines to separate the panes, so each pane of glass is one floor tall and as wide as one side of the cylinder. Because the building has a yellow matrix pattern across it, I made some of the panes of glass match by using two panes horizontally and applying yellow glass “paint”. It was suggested to me to install a green roof instead of the sloped roof I currently have. Using a green roof will help insulate the apartments and counteract the non-insulated glass.

Propel has been amazing this semester and I wouldn’t change it for anything. I reached out to professionals and they replied. I explored the four main fields of architecture. But most of all I found out I’m actually graduating. Graduating was one of those things where I thought, “That’s so far away! It’ll come just not now.”. Convocation is a month away. Like winter in Game of Thrones, grad is coming. As this is the final blog post of the semester, it seems giving advice is called for. So, in the words of Chandler Bing, “I’m not so good at the advice. Can I interest you in a sarcastic comment?”


Chart Tracking and Progress

In Propel, we use an Excel spreadsheet called a Gantt chart to plan our semester and track our progress. The Gantt chart is essentially a hyper-organized timeline. We start by thinking with the end in mind, seeing as we craft the Gantt chart in March, and we need to plan out our entire semester. We brainstorm “Milestone and Action Steps”. These are tasks and steps to achieve the task in Propel-lingo. You assign a length of time for each “Action Step” for how long you think it will take. It’s always better to give yourself more time than not enough. As you complete your “Milestones and Action Steps”, you log what you completed, and the horizontal bars fill up.  Gantt Chart- SBScreenshot (76)

My milestones are Urban Planning Project, Exterior Design Project, Interior Design Project, and Landscaping Project. [insert joke about creative titles]. My action steps for each project are along the lines of develop the concept, make it, get feedback, remake and more feedback, and make design brief. My Urban Planning project is to design a street that uses sunlight as efficiently as possible. My Exterior Design project is to incorporate a curtain wall into a building. A curtain wall is a wall of windows- the Entegra Credit Union on St. Anne’s Road and Bishop Grandin Boulevard is a good example. My Interior Design project is to model the Apple Store in fifty years. Finally, my Landscaping project is to make a 3’ x 3’ diorama of a park with influences from the early 1900s and today.

Currently, I am four days behind. I’ve finished my Urban Planning, Exterior Design, and Interior Design projects. However, I haven’t finished the design briefs- the finishing “put a bow on it” step. I finally reached out to professionals for feedback and have only received their input this week, so most of my time has gone to adjusting my designs based on their critiques. As for my Landscaping project, I have done the “develop concept” steps, I just haven’t crafted the model. I will go to a local hobby shop to purchase materials for my park, like toy trees, bushes, miniature gazebos, and the base it’ll all sit on.   

This upcoming week (May 13-17), the architecture students will be receiving feedback from architecture students in university as well as professionals and professors. This means I will buckle down and finish the design briefs as well as power through and design the park over the weekend. It sounds like a tall order-not that it isn’t- but I’m too stubborn to not complete a design challenge.

Phase Breakdown

I knew I wanted to incorporate the four architectural fields (interior design, exterior design, landscaping, and urban planning) into my project. With going into university next year, I need to narrow my career from the forest of ‘Architecture’ to a path like interior design or urban planning.
I decided to have the four fields as my project. I’ll spend one week focusing on each field, working on a design challenge tailored to the field of the week. Once all four design challenges are complete, I’ll send the end products to university students and professionals for feedback and critiques. We made a timeline that needed milestones and action plans. My milestones are: urban planning challenge, landscaping challenge, exterior design challenge, interior design challenge, feedback week, recrafting, and staging. The urban planning challenge is designing a street to get the most bang for buck out of the sun. The exterior design challenge is to design an apartment building with a glass wall. The interior design challenge is a tie between designing the Apple Store in the year 2070 and decorating an oddly-shaped room. I have yet to decide the landscaping design challenge. The urban planning, landscaping, exterior design, and interior design challenges are like a ‘crafting/making’ phase. Feedback and recrafting are like an ‘adjustments’ phase and staging is like a ‘finalizing’ phase.
Having my project broken down into ‘phases’ per se help keep me on schedule and my thoughts on track. I have given myself five weeks to finish all four design challenges until I send them off for feedback. That breaks down to just over one week per field. When planning, I thought it wouldn’t be enough time. After working on the urban planning design challenge for a few days, I found that it doesn’t take two days to ask for feedback and adjust my sketches accordingly; it takes around an hour
Next on my to-do list is finish my urban planning design, hopefully I’ll be done by the end of the week. Then I can start on my exterior design challenge and unlike the windows, I can’t see how it’ll turn out.

Proof of Concept and Lots of Pictures

My Proof of Concept was to design a bus shelter and remodel my bedroom. One of my designs had to be digital using the 3D modeling program, Google SketchUp, and the other had to be a real-life model made with art supplies.

Because I have prior knowledge about SketchUp from last year, I modeled both my bedroom and my bus shelter using the program. In doing these design challenges, I upped the ante by not allowing myself to use the 3D Warehouse. The 3D Warehouse is an extension of SketchUp that allows users to upload their designs for others to download into their models. I made everything in both of my models, the walls, doors, windows, and furniture.

Once I completed the Proof of Concept stage, the doors were open to test the waters of what our projects would be. My lake was dry. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I only knew I wanted to pursue something in the realm of architecture. We were tasked with making a vision board with at least ten images. A vision board is a collection of images to give an onlooker a view into what your project is and will be. I have a pre-existing Pinterest board for architecture. I have sections about interior design, exterior design, landscaping, floor plans, and color schemes. I went slightly over the ten images rule. My vision board currently has over one hundred and fifty different pictures.

Hopefully, those pictures will come in handy because as of now, my project isn’t defined like it was last year. My project is essentially “exploring and working in the realm of architecture”. I’m excited about the fact that my project is so open. I’m not stuck in a box with exact guidelines. I can examine different styles and bring in as many elements of design as I please. Fingers crossed I don’t get lost in the mass of pictures in my vision board.


First Few Weeks… Again

Propel is many things: enthralling, engaging, and exhibits the worst jokes to exist. Despite the constant dad jokes, I came back hoping to escape “normal” schooling for a semester. After three weeks in Propel, I know I’m as far away from “normal” as possible. The first day was great, as far as first days go. We didn’t have to stand up, say our names and one thing what did over the break. It was great, because I never do anything over breaks.

A letter introducing yourself to the teachers, was due before nine on Monday morning. I was struggling, thinking “They already know me, I annoyed them into remembering me.” So, I looked at my introduction letter and, on Sunday night, took off from there. The end product wrapped together better than I thought one-in-the-morning-desperation would. This is a prime example of why I wanted to escape “normal”. The content of an essay isn’t judged, because something significant to you might not seem significant to someone else. At “normal” school, content is judged because you write about a form of media instead of your life.

Keeping media in mind, our lessons are media-based. One that resonated with me most was “Embrace the Shake”. A TED Talk where an artist with nerve damage embraced his shaky hand and made art out of squiggles. He said “…the ultimate limitation became the ultimate liberation.”. With that in mind, I tried to limit myself in my 3D modelling endeavors. I limited myself to making an apartment first. It was a challenge compared to the house I made for my project last year, but it wasn’t enough. There wasn’t any gear-grinding part of designing an apartment. So, I upped the ante, and limited myself to making a tiny house. The tiny house was the challenge I needed, restricting it to be no larger than 169 square feet.

My next steps are to furnish and paint my mini house, as well as narrow down my project possibilities from five to two. We’ve been given time to explore different project paths. I’ve been splitting my time working on five different project ideas. Collapsing the list will allow me to use my time as well as I’d like. Twenty-five-minute increments aren’t enough for me to delve into a deep enough concentration. I find that I’m watching the clock instead of my work. As for my project ideas, I’m still trying to incorporate architecture and interior design. My project last year made me realize I wanted to pursue a career in those fields.

The jokes, like the workload so far, haven’t been that bad. As the year progresses, I have no doubt that the jokes will progressively get worse. But, if we all “Embrace the Shake” and make better puns and one-liners, the bad jokes might come to an end. Maybe ending the jokes could be my side project…

The “Who” with work to do

Being the “Who”, I am, Christmas is my favourite holiday and the countdown started in September. However, this holiday season I not only will deck the halls of my actual house, I will also deck the halls of my house models. But instead of halls, I need to add landscaping to all three of my models. Everything is planned, so it won’t take long, but along with being a “Who”, I am also a teenager, who procrastinates. A lot. In addition to landscaping, I am also in the process of animating a walking tour through my houses. Two out of three “first draft” animations are done and the third is in progress. Over the break, I will finish the landscaping on all three houses, as well as finalize the item placement and complete all of the walkthroughs. Landscaping will definitely take the longest as there are so many options for backyards and shrubs and trees. Finalizing the item placement won’t even take a me a day to complete, so hopefully I will have that done before the break. Completing the walkthroughs will be difficult because I have an issue with not walking through walls. Let me explain: to animate, you find a good still image of your model, and click “add scene”. You move the camera and click “add scene” again. SketchUp then directs the camera from image A to image B. Sometimes getting to image B from image A involves walking through a wall or a couch, which isn’t that big of a deal but it takes up a bunch of time to redo- properly.

Needless to say, I will be a busy “Who” who has a lot of work to do.

All aBout Colour

At the start of the year, every propel student made an “ABC” task board. “A” tasks were directly related to your project, “B” tasks were assignments due like phys. Ed assignments or hour log sheets. “C” tasks were refocusing activities like go for a walk, eat, socialize, dance, etc. The “ABC” task board worked really well for me until my project started to rolling. I wouldn’t so much as look at my task board in days. I kept my head down and worked on my model. Upon strolling past it one day, I erased it completely and changed the colour from blue to green. This helped but not as much as colour coding the entire thing. How very OCD of me. My eye is always drawn to red, so red is most often my “A” task colour. Blue begins with a “B”, so naturally I use it for my “B” tasks. Green is the final colour available, making green the colour of my “C” tasks.
Whenever my eyes are glazing over from looking at a screen for hours on end, I take a gander at my tasks that are yet to be completed, and look at the time. One of two things happen at this point:
1. I shrug off my uncompleted tasks because I still have time.
2. My eyes shoot out of my head because there’s only ten minutes left and I have four assignments due in order to leave.
Option two (luckily) hasn’t occurred in quite some time, but because I’m me, it will. Option one happens every other day. When neither of the options occur, I’m just staring at my board thinking, “Gee, it would be smart to get some of these done,”. After staring for another century, I’ll get to work and check of most, if not all, of my tasks.