18 May 2011

board of governors teaching award

i received the university of north carolina 2011 board of governors teaching award. you can read about it online at the unc page or with this pr piece from uncg.

the folks from our campus photographic services department kindly made a movie of the presentation at graduation on 06 may 2011. if you'd like to see that...


11 April 2011

monticello + fallingwater

each spring, first year students from our program travel to monticello + fallingwater on a single trip with often quite memorable experiences in dining:

[1] way too much fast food in a 48-hour time frame, balanced by the amish-style country breakfast at the castleman inn (grantsville, md);
[2] entertainments with the on-bus movies (avatar, 27 dresses, and some documentary that i couldn't follow with parrot feathers being withdrawn from live animals);
[3] overnight accommodations in a building that i am quite sure doesn't meet building code;
[4] a 9-hour bus ride back through pouring rain, driving winds, and poor bus brakes...

...but those moments don't eclipse the opportunity to see up close thomas jefferson's great amusement on the little mountain and frank lloyd wright's studies on geometries in the forest...

...a terrific time by all.

i've been experimenting with quick sketch grids for visiting historic sites as a means to capture many details, because there's not ample time for overall sketches. i post the one from monticello and three from fallingwater...both accomplished during the respective tours.

25 March 2011

neighborhood perambulations

i am fortunate every day to be able to walk to work and enjoy my neighbors' flora in the form of flowers + blooming trees. using only ivan, the iphone, i stop to record this beauty...and as many know....post these images on facebook. in the spring, this usually results in friends from the north remarking how far advanced spring is already. i enjoy doing this because it puts a bit of beauty in the world -- something that i see that i can share with others.

04 March 2011

roanoke ladder display

at the art museum in roanoke, i saw a ladder happening made from stepping devices gathered from throughout the city. terrific alternative ladders and more traditional step and extension ladders, fastened together with zip ties, made for an interesting installation.

02 March 2011

studio work continues

headed toward spring break...but the students continue to press forward in teams of three as they work on JENGA 3.0. kara koy + cassie bradfield gather around their physical model, squaring up their ideas...

25 February 2011

coordinating fashion + design

blakeni, one of the terrific students in my second year studio this semester, sports fashion that echoes color selection in her JEGNA 2.0 unit. who says coral can't be both the color of clothing and of a kit of parts within?

21 February 2011

teamwork : anna will climb anywhere

anna (in blue, right), justin + faith gathered as a group in studio this week to marry their JENGA 2.0 schemes into a two story building...the fun continues as students start stacking their work.

cheese update

one week later, and one slice of processed cheese still is with us on the mendenhall sidewalk. no signs of deterioration, other than a slight gray overtone...

16 February 2011

means of egress

what i learned in studio today : a swimming pool is NOT a means of egress...even when your concept is leap.


members of the proud "german" team line up behind their COKE CAN CATHEDRAL, a yearly exercise in my history + theory class. the goal is to build as high a cathedral as possible, accepting the limitations of the cans as the team stacks. this brings home the lessons of all the near failures and failures of gothic construction techniques....and you can "drink" the cathedral after. don't forget to recycle!!

who says teamwork can't be fun? cassandra brunson, left, phillip snider, middle, and nikki ware demonstrate the importance of "setting your goals" (the message on phillips' shirt).

14 February 2011

who dropped the cheese?

on valentine's day, no less, i was strolling on mendenhall headed to school and i looked down to catch the sight of this...

who dropped the cheese? there has to be a story here...

10 February 2011

feng shui cube : new york times

the sleeping space doubles as a night-time lantern.

during the day, mr. liu occupies the top of the cube. PHOTO CREDITS: joe fletcher, new york times

it's always nice when a project similar to the one you're teaching in studio appears in the NEW YORK TIMES...and that was the case today, with this terrific office/sleeping cube for a new york loft apartment. read more about it in the times.

09 February 2011

sausage a-fryin'

i've always liked teaching studio in the morning slot...just seems more right somehow. but add to that prospect a great big opportunity for breakfast, and you've just about sealed the deal. in building community this year, students in section 01 of second year studio have planned monthly breakfasts. cassandra brought sausage and fried it on a hotplate right on the spot. you should have seen the inquisitive noses around the building peeking into our studio space. fortunately the students brought a bounteous feast, so there was plenty for everyone who ventured by.

08 February 2011

jenga 1.0

austin's work deals with the a of GROOVE. this axonometric demonstrates how the two objects he design work together to manifest the concept.

kacie's board (the second of two) pulls together the various drawing elements + deliverables to tell us about the concept, WELL UP....a beautiful, cohesive presentation.

anna shows success with the first of three models due. students have been taking advantage of our woodshop, their own skills at their drawing boards, and our digital making facility, CAMstudio.

based on the classic board game, jenga, my section of this year's second year studio works toward designing very small residential units (300-500SF)....with some great success. check out the work of kacie leisure, anna berendt, and austin loman on their blogs.

acsa paper on activating history

as advertised in the companion blog post, here's the acsa paper "beyond survey + discipline: design history + the first year opus."

...and if you'd like to see the work of first year iarc students on the opus, dial in here.

activating history

ABOVE: in the lobby of the MHRA building looking at floor patterns, architectural forms, and finishes to think about design ideas of the entrance rotunda and the coming together of two axes. BELOW: some finger pointin' at key architectural and design features, natalie in deep thought, as the students look on. photo credits: brian peck.

last year, i gave a paper entitled: "beyond survey + discipline: design history + the first year opus" at the american collegiate schools of architecture annual meeting in new orleans on the practice of activating history from a series of one-way lectures to more experiential forms of learning. this year, my teaching assistant, natalie, and i have pledged to transform iar221 with rich experiences that demonstrate to students first hand the lessons we learn in the classroom. last friday, we went for a field visit to campus looking for circles and axes...drawing on lecture material from ancient rome. despite the drizzle, i believe students began to apply what they had been learning in the classroom. for a copy of the paper, see the next entry in this blog.

near the end of our journey in the music building, where natalie speaks to the class about the notion of architecture as frozen music, utilizing the evidence of the floor patterns in this lobby space between the recital halls in the building. photo credit: brian peck.

04 February 2011

do i smell sausage?

the breakfast buffet, from above. photo credit: brian peck

nothing like some grits + sausage to get the gastric juices (and brainwaves) flowing. one of the lessons i have learned in teaching is that food always seems to get the conversation flowing. as a celebration of finishing our first project in second year studio, students provided an AMPLE breakfast. apparently the smell of sausage frying (thanks, cassandra!) caused a bit of a stir in the building...dee-LISH!

29 January 2011

temples + sacrifice

in history/theory, we continued our exploration of ancient greece and the buildings and objects that come to us time and again as people continue to use these as a model for buildings today. i think the students were a little blown away at the prospect of george hersey's postulation that greek temples, ultimately, represent sacrifice. read more about hersey's book here. and here's a great review on the PILASTERED blog....and one more that links hersey's work to daniel rykwert's THE DANCING COLUMN.
here's a sketch from my greece/italy travel journal that i made in 2006 when wandering around europe with 29 students and another faculty member that year.

kit of parts

for studio this week, students presented their proposals for the KIT OF PARTS project....JENGA 1.0, in which they elaborated three kits in three spaces. claire and i reviewed, along with the class, 36 projects on friday....36 more to come on monday.

because iar202 is a writing intensive course, students have been working on their WRITING as part of the design process. read corry's post and abigail's to get some sense of the work they are doing in this regard. claire and i selected their work to feature downstairs near the faculty offices...

25 January 2011

putting history into practice

one of the sub-themes of the history/theory course is ACTIVATE the practice of history by taking a close look at the campus environment. from time to time, the students forage in their discussion groups to look for elements and principles in our most local built environment as REAL WORLD examples of what they're hearing about in class. in this photo, students pass by the gove health center as they explore...

photo credit : brian peck

22 January 2011

weatherspoon exhibition : 70 years of collecting

i'm working today on the final design elements in the WEATHERSPOON ART MUSEUM's 70 years of collecting show, which opens on 06 february 2011, along with the unveiling of their catalog celebrating this great greensboro and uncg institution. i encourage you to check out their museum's terrific new website and the amazing cultural resources in the collection.

20 January 2011

about brian's chair blog

TWIST CHAIR [jonas lyndby jensen]

i want to be brag a little bit on a student who, for two semesters, has taken up the responsibility of administering the CHAIR PROJECT for my history/theory class: BRIAN PECK. as part of his duties as an undergraduate teaching assistant in that course (12 total in that capacity), brian has set up a CHAIR BLOG as a resource for the students. with a specific interest in the chair as a design form, brian is rapidly working toward a passion in that area. check out the blog here, where you can read stories, snippets of popular culture, and ruminations about design. worth staying linked...and checking back often.

19 January 2011

the implications of inspiration AND imitation


today in history/theory class, we talked about some of the first efforts by humans to make objects, spaces, buildings, and places and the commonalities one can see from a review of sites worldwide. later, i received a link about influence by CORBUSIER on the work of other designers. this link leads you to a visually interesting and thought provoking blog. any thoughts about implications of inspiration AND imitation? where do we draw the line?

11 January 2011

where do good ideas come from?

nosing around online during this snow day led me to the work of STEVEN JOHNSON...he has written a couple of books about thinking and design and creativity. claire and i looked through a couple of his postings on youtube. clearly he's a brilliant sketcher and idea man...check this out:


check out his blog here.

stonehenge : reading response ii

adapted from work completed by iarc history/theory course veterans JEN YANCEY + CATHERINE YOUNG, this stonehenge reading response offers yet another option for students in the current course to report on some of what they are seeing in our new textbook (A GLOBAL HISTORY OF ARCHITECTURE) and in the ever faithful text (UNDERSTANDING ARCHITECTURE).

sources for images on this post :


heliopolis : reading response

in providing different kinds of reading responses, i drafted this hand-drawn READING RESPONSE on the KHUFU pyramid in egypt at giza.

stonehenge : reading response

i fashioned this simple slide show to give students in my history/theory of design course an opportunity to see an example of a reading comprehension. students work through the assigned readings for the course and select one particular object, space, building, or place in the reading and report on it. they are to include a title, concept, a minimum of three images, and writing to document their understanding of the assigned reading. here's my effort...

10 January 2011

the semester begins, second year studio

[in the photo, our "middle" pragmatists are raising hands...one a bit tentatively, those to the left represent the conservers while those standing right assume the role of originators.]

under the organizing principle whole > sum of its parts, the second year studio began this morning with an assessment of strengths for the students via the change style indicator. this rubric helps groups of people to learn who are originators, conservers, and pragmatists. for designers, this is an imperative lesson to learn. as teams assemble, one wants to be sure to balance the boat in the studio. the results from our class? MANY MORE originators than conservers, in a proportion of 3:1. of the 24 students and two teachers, only five people stood to the left of the pragmatists. i'm way at the originator end, while my erstwhile teaching assistant, claire keane stands to the right (third in the photo) in the line up.

originators value NOT following the rules + bucking the system....i'm not quite sure what this holds as far as the semester.