Monday, February 15, 2010

My Sisters House

Today was the grand opening of My Sisters House. It is a house that IARC students who took Urban Studio got to build. It was built for teenage girls who are in a crisis pregnancy to live in the house together. This is a great way to have community between the girls who are going through the same thing. The house is very unique and and built nicely, but I don't think it fits in well with the surrounding houses. The inside looks great and I especially like the design of the cabinets. I wasn't a big fan of the green walls although I liked the thought of having the certain walls painted different then just white. I don't know how safe the concrete floors will be for the children who will be living there. They're kids so most likely they will crawl, walk or even run and might trip and fall and concrete floors isn't the safest material. I would be buying lots of carpets to cover the floors. My favorite design of the house was the rectangular window. The windows were a variety of different size rectangles and they were also oriented vertical and horizontal.

It was a very neat project that they worked on and I'm sure lots of hard work went into the house and I wish I would have had the opportunity to be a part of the project. And I hope there will be another Urban Studio that I can be a part of before I finish school.

Friday, February 12, 2010

MakeShift Shelter

For this project, I feel like my team worked great together. We all got along and all had ideas to bring to the table. After coming up with a concept of a pea pod, we all had ideas to share. We drew what we though the shape should be and what we thought of when it comes to sleeping. It should be dark, quiet, and comfortable. Fabrics, soft materials, and plain colors were materials I thought we should look for to make our shelter.

We all were hard workers and helped with no questions. I helped by finding materials, taking pictures, laying out the graphics, and putting the shelter together.

Drawing ideas in the sketchbook helped when we had questions about how the shelter would look and seeing the proportions. It was also easier to see other team members’ ideas on paper when they were explaining their ideas.

An important decision I made was that it would be made for two users. The size of our shelter was an appropriate choice. If it were two smaller people they would fit comfortably. A smaller person and a larger person would fit snug; while a larger person would have some room. The height of the shelter was appropriate because it doesn’t feel too big and open and it is not so small so the person feels uncomfortable.

My shelter was a great success because of how well my team worked together and we communicated well. We got the shelter made and the graphic put up on time with time to spare. I wasn’t stressed for a minute and knew we would have it done because of how hard we worked during the week. I think that the shelter turned out great because the shape sufficed and really mirrored our concept. The comfort was pleasant, the foam worked well and the extra padding added support.

The project has affected my way of thinking by challenging me to consider how a person who has lost a lot could build something for shelter. They can’t just go to the nearest hardware store and buy materials to build a shelter. They have to use found materials and really think about how they will use it. When I was making the shelter I was thinking a lot about how people without anything have really survived and can make a place for themselves.

I will remember this project by having our graphic on the wall above our desks. It would be nice if there was enough room to have our sleeping shelter at our desks for late nights and quick naps or relaxing but since there isn’t any room I will just have to cut a piece of the shelter to keep at my desk.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Who stole the cookies from the cookie jar?

I don't like the idea of cookie cutter houses that they all look the same.
I would like my house to have some character.
This image I found is to inspire me to think outside the box and get creative.

Neighborhood and Community

Neighborhood is defined as an area in which people share certain common facilities necessary to domestic life; while community is a network of social interaction and bonding, usually based on mutual interest.

It talked about in the chapter about the certain guidelines there was for the way one’s house had to look for this particular neighborhood such as what materials it is made of: brick, stone varieties, stucco, wood, vinyl siding. There are limits to roof colors as well as materials; and list of acceptable colors for the outside trim. For the exterior surroundings the landscaping should not become overgrown and it is to be well kept; as well as the houses being kept in good condition. The surfaces of the driveways and walks should be concrete, asphalt, bomanite, or brick payers. Pools must be totally in-ground. Fencing may only be used in the back yard and height should reach no more then six feet. No animals, livestock, or poultry shall be raised, bred, or kept on any lot except for dogs, cats, or other household pets.

I think that these guidelines for this neighborhood are good so that they will all look like a community that goes together. The look of all the houses using limited materials and colors so they tie in together. But I also feel that when a person can be creative and reflect them self in the look of their home is acceptable as well. I feel that when you see the neighborhoods with the cookie cutter houses that all look the same with the same fa├žade and floor plan that they lack character. When the houses are built ten feet from each other to allow for more people in less space then it isn’t as pleasing either. When they are built so close it doesn’t allow for privacy.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Fostering Community

Centennial Place, Atlanta Georgia
Images courtesy of
Above illustration by Brittany Stiles.

This is not a community environment.
  • A community is generally about a group of individuals who have the power to influence each other and their environment. Inhabitants' influential power is minimal when they are a few among 200 other tenants. People have more incentive to engage their community when all/most members share ownership of the community.
  • Complex spans nearly 60 acres ( - does not relate well to the individual.
  • A community is also about some sort of permanence. For many, apartment living outside of large cities is generally reserved for temporary stays. Concern for the local community is minimal when life in the apartment complex is simply a temporary means to another place of residence or a more permanent place of residence.
  • Garage access to the apartments prevents neighborly interaction.
  • Yards maintained by the apartment staff prevent neighborly interaction as well as public identity within the community. One's yard is one's public facade.
  • The apartments have no character or identity beyond their controlled yards and brick facades.
  • Though there is a pool as well as a fitness center most people are too busy to engage in these activities. The social atmosphere of a fitness center is to workout and move rather then engage in conversation.
  • The complex advertises its proximity to city attractions: "Located just minutes from Centennial Olympic Park, Georgia Aquarium, CNN, Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State University, exquisite Atlantic Station, theaters and fine dining" (
  • The purpose of an apartment or any residence is to have a private space away from public interactions.

Dr. Follicles Barbershop
Photos courtesy of Dr. Follicles.
Above illustration by Carlos Smith.

This is a community environment.

  • " 'young blokes' - men in their 20s, 30s and 40s - flock back to the barber's chairs they once wriggled in as kids" (The Age).
  • Barbershops are about familiar faces, and local people.
  • Magazines within the barbershop foster conversation about the current tabloids and political issues.
  • The barbershop is characterized as an unofficial meeting place, therefore a symbol of community (Rengel, 259).
  • The barbershop is tied into the neighborhood's identity, those who visit are part of that identity.
  • Low expense- a meeting place for people of many financial standings.
  • Close proximity's coupled with mirrors and chairs oriented towards each other foster communication; conversations flow freely with all parties within view.
  • Environment that fosters casual conversation rather than forced meetings.
  • Zones of space (isles, rows of seating) relate to human scale (Specter, 21 and Rengel, 15).
  • Barbershops are often privately owned. Patrons have direct interaction with the owner(s) therefore a direct impact on how he/she handles business.
  • The barbershop is an acceptable context for people to socialize at all ages.
  • "A lot of guys don't feel comfortable in a hair salon with all that chrome and pretention" (The Age). This quote represents the natural and casual atmosphere of Dr. Follicles.
  • Music and a complimentary beer come with every haircut (The Age).
  • Conversation in a barbershop compliments the purpose of getting one's hair cut. "It has a specific use reinforcing and justifying its social function" (Specter, 17).
  • Socializing compliments an experience whereas socializing because one lives among 200 tenants is forced interaction. One does not need to advertise places for people to gather. "People gather naturally in places where the action is. The sense of liveliness is the essence of the successful urban space" (Specter, 14).

Specter, David. Urban Spaces. Conneticut: New York Graphic Society, 1974.

Rengel, Roberto. Shaping Inerior Spaces. New York: Fairchild Publications, 2007.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

MakeShift Shelter

Final Iteration

This is my final iteration. I had to illustrate the
mood mysterious by using abstract objects.
I like the way it turned out because
the objects are all mysterious and kind of hard to
see what the images are that I used.