Roads That Generate Power

December 5, 2008 - Leave a Response

Seeing a glimpse of an idea in class about roads that generate power has been in the back of my head for the duration of school. As we all found in out metamorphosis Journal, that almost any motion generates energy, and implementing panels on roadways, or dance floors (another example given), can produce enough energy to power lights or simply decrease the energy bill. I kept on thinking about roads because, roads as we all know in Winnipeg crack and split and are always under maintenance. Our winters are cold and our summers are hot. Could this road be at all successful to our area? Is this technology, only limited to places with little varying temperatures?

Firstly, These solar roadways are a 3 layer system. The upper layer is said to be translucent so sunlight can pass through, and yet at the same time be weatherproof. The Middle layer would hold LED’s and electronics that would capture solar cells. It is said that the electricity could be stored to heat up the road ways in the winter months. The Bottom layer is a protection from soil humidity and hoists communication cables to other programmes. This particular site doesn’t generate power from traffic particularly, however it does mention storing electricity to heat up roads in the winter. This could be beneficial and it could not be. If this does in fact heat up the roads in Winnipeg winter months, it would have to be on constantly to make sure the roads don’t ice over (we all know what happens after a rain fall in the winter time). If this does indeed work, it would be extremely beneficial. Think. Little to no salt on the roads.





December 5, 2008 - Leave a Response

prairie: n.

1.  An extensive area of flat or rolling, predominantly treeless grassland, especially the large tract or plain of central North America.

This blog shall be an second installment onto Natasha’s previous blog concerning Etienne Gaboury. I figure it’s important to familiarize the blog with local architects from the Winnipeg area. Natasha got the ball rolling with a feature on Gaboury, and my extension of this is to get acquainted with the architecture firm, Prairie Architects. Naturally their mission statement  describes what the organization is about way better then I could if placed in my own words, so here comes your standard copy and paste job:

A building is a living, breathing system of parts that is one piece of a greater ecosystem. It is our goal to design and build projects that possess a synergy with the environment, creating integrated living, not a disconnected object in the landscape.

In addition, Prairie architects work with an emphasis on sustainable practices, being the first architectural firm to be LEED approved in Manitoba. 

Some projects of theirs that may look familiar:



Kyoto Protocol

December 5, 2008 - Leave a Response

The Kyoto Protocal is a United Nations agreement on climate change. The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, on 11 December 1997 and entered into force on 16 February 2005. 183 Parties of the Convention have ratified its Protocol to date. (  This agreement is the first international agreement that sets targets to lower green house gases. These measures taken to reduce these gases, and fight against climate change also improve public health, create jobs and cut energy costs.  By reading into Kyoto And Beyond: The Low-Emission Path to Innovation and Efficiency, a greater depth of how Canada can benefit from the Kyoto Protocol can be explored. Not only is the Kyoto Protocal beneficial to our ecological footprint, it also has great benefits towards our Economy. The Protocol stimulates hi-tech and construction industries, reduce health care costs, reduces air pollution, and saves our ecosystems. 

What is very unfortunate is the Government’s role in the Kyoto Protocal. The Previous government had taken action in getting involved with this agreement. A part of our agreement was a mandatory cut of emissions of large factories and power plants; a voluntary agreement with automakers to improve fuel efficiency in Canadian vehicles; a fund to purchase emission reduction credits from Canada and more countries; A partnership fund which would assist provinces in making investments on projects that would decrease greenhouse emissions. The benefits from this Protocol would be substantial in Canada, however, the agreement could not be implemented or improved since the election was lost in 2006.

As of 2006, Canada’s emissions were 22 per cent above the 1990 level. Our Kyoto target is 6 per cent below the 1990 level for 2008-2012. (

The Conservative Government does not believe in the Kyoto Protocol, and has moved us farther behind, rather than forward.

It announced that it would not even try to meet its Kyoto targets, cut funding for Canada’s climate change plan, and cut most of Canada’s climate change programs, including successful programs like the Wind Power Production Incentive, which subsidizes the installation of wind power, and Energuide for Houses, which gives incentives for Canadians to make their homes more energy efficient. (

The Government has a spectacular role in Canada’s actions. As citizens, it is at most important to vote, and be aware of each candidate’s intentions. We neglected such a wonderful opportunity to give back to Canada, and give back to our personal selves.  Our awareness is critical!








December 5, 2008 - Leave a Response

The concept of Lilypad is as amazing as it looks. It takes into account the people who will lose their homes based on the ocean level rising. It is a self sustaining floating habitat and will have zero carbon emission. It accomplishes this by:

a number of technologies (solar, wind, tidal, biomass), it is envisioned that the project would be able to not only produce it’s own energy, but be able to process CO2 in the atmosphere and absorb it into its titanium dioxide skin.

You can actually see all the wind turbines in the photo that I have provided. Lilypad isn’t connected to anything and floats to where the ocean takes it. The project probably won’t be built anytime soon, but it poses a really interesting way to handle a problem that we may need to consider in the next generations.
The images of Lilypad are very beautiful and I actually wouldn’t mind living on it but I think that the idea would be really caustrophobic since there isn’t anywhere to go but THERE and you almost feel stuck. I guess you could go on a boat and maybe explore the seas for a while, but it would be interesting what would happen if you got lost and couldn’t find you “home.” :/

Whale Power?

December 5, 2008 - Leave a Response

The technology is based on the fin of a humpback whale.

Dr. Frank E. Fish studied the unusual bumps (tubercles) on the leading edge of humpback whale flipper and discovered that they create what he dubbed a “tubercle effect” on surrounding fluid: delaying stall, increasing lift and decreasing drag. This discovery allowed a portal of understanding into the grace and ease by which these huge mammals glide through the ocean. By adding precisely formed versions of those bumps to blades or rotors, his designs have proven to easily overcome the scientific limitations once deemed unavoidable by engineers and scientists.

It’s amazing that these engineers and scientist didn’t think of this before as something so simple as seeing a humpback whale and understanding how they work can influence our energy resources.

* Tubercle Technology wind turbines will be more efficient and more reliable.
* Tubercle Technology hydroelectric turbines will open up vast new opportunities in power generation.
* Tubercle Technology pumps will deliver enhanced efficiency for everything from municipal water systems to farm irrigation.
* And last – but certainly not least – Tubercle Technology will truly revolutionize fans. Everything from ceiling fans to HVAC fans to large scale ventilation fans will need less power and will be quieter as well.

If all of this is true, I think that “whale power” is definitely a breakthrough in green technology.


Light Sensors: Good or Bad?

December 5, 2008 - Leave a Response

If you’re not using the lights, they shouldn’t be on right? That’s the idea of light sensors, they sense the presence of movement and based on that, they turn on or off. If there is movement, then they’ll turn on and “theoretically” stay on if there is always movement. If there is no movement, they turn off. This seems like a very green idea; you aren’t wasting energy and you’re only using energy when you need it most. In my washroom I have a vent with a light that has a sensor on top of my ceiling. At times it can be really inconvenient such as when you are taking a shower. The sensor cannot detect the movement while in the shower because of the curtain, and so every once in a while the light will turn off. This is definitely an annoyance as to put the light back on you need to make rapid movements towards it to turn it back on. I don’t think that a washroom is the best place to put a sensor like that in. Maybe a living room? But even then think of this scenario: You’re watching a movie and the light is off because you’re not making any movements.. but the phone rings and you need to get it which turns the light on. Depending on how long the light stays on you need to wait till that time to continue watching your movie. That example is a bit extreme, but it gets my point across. I don’t like light sensors, but they aren’t “bad” per say… they’re just kind of annoying.


Jae’s Last Class

December 5, 2008 - Leave a Response

The last class for Human and natural systems was a treat to watch and hear about some of the works Jae did over the years. Hearing from so many lectures from other informative people was always a great experience, but through out the year, we hadn’t really had any idea of what Jae did. I enjoyed Jae’s humour and mentions of struggles and achievements he had throughout his works. The home done in St Francais would be quite an experience to have. It really shows what a clients’ expectations will do to the overall project. I was happy to see that Jae showed us that the client is not always happy right away, and that you sometimes have to go back and change a couple of things. What I found was quite amazing was the digital models jae showed on film. That not only can you convey a site either as a 3d model or drawing, but as a video. The video was great for showing spaces, and how people moved in them. However, the music choice was terrible. Sometimes the music was closer to a carnival theme or closer to a horror film. Either or, very informative. 

p.s. I want to live in that St Francais cat house!


Renewable Energy: Geothermal.

December 5, 2008 - Leave a Response

Geothermal: “Geo” meaning “Earth” and “thermal” meaning “heat.”
Geothermal is exactly that. It’s a clean renewable energy as it emits little to no greenhouse gases. It’s also situated at your home, thus you will no longer need to be dependent on oil to heat your house.

Geothermal resources range from shallow ground to hot water and rock several miles below the Earth’s surface, and even farther down to the extremely hot molten rock called magma. Mile-or-more-deep wells can be drilled into underground reservoirs to tap steam and very hot water that can be brought to the surface for use in a variety of applications. In the U.S., most geothermal reservoirs are located in the western states, Alaska, and Hawaii.

There are thoughts of drilling further down to magma for geothermal purposes, but it worries me. The idea of drilling that far into the Earth’s core seems a bit dangerous and maybe not a good idea as it may effect the Earth in ways that we do not intend.

Hot water near Earth’s surface can be piped directly into facilities and used to heat buildings, grow plants in greenhouses, dehydrate onions and garlic, heat water for fish farming, and pasteurize milk. Some cities pipe the hot water under roads and sidewalks to melt snow. District heating applications use networks of piped hot water to heat buildings in whole communities.

I think this would be really interesting to havve in Winnipeg as we do have a lot of snow and we tend to melt it by applying salt to it. Applying salt onto snow and ice to melt it has various environmental impacts. Click here to learn more about these impacts. Soils, vegetation, and wildlife are some of the few that are effected by road salt. If we put geothermal underneath roads and sidewalks, this would be a great improvement from road salt.

More information on geothermal.

Etienne Gaboury

December 4, 2008 - Leave a Response

A name that has been coming up a lot for me is Etienne Gaboury.  He is a Winnipeg architect and he went to U of M’s faculty of architecture before receiving a bursary to study at l’Ecole des Beaux Arts in France.  He started his own firm with other architects named “Gaboury Préfontaine Perry Architects”.  Etienne Gaboury has designed several important fixtures in our city including the Provencher Bridge and the Riel Esplanade, the Royal Canadian Mint and l’Eglise du Precieux-Sang.  As the bridge and the mint are fairly well known, I won’t repeat those images today.  The church, however I had not seen before and it’s quite beautiful.  The other two images I had seen before, but never knew they were Gaboury’s work.

Louis Riel by Parole citoyenne.

The contreversial Riel Statue by Etienne Gaboury and Marcien Lemay

Louis Riel

Drake Building

The Drake Centre (who knew? not me)

L’eglise de Precieux-Sang


Winnipeg Love and Hate

December 4, 2008 - One Response

I found a blog site that I really like, I know I already showed it to some of you/some of you might have seen it before.  It’s called Winnipeg: Love and Hate and seems to be by a guy named Bryan Scott.  I like it for several reasons; it provides information on current events in the city (even though quite bias…I’m interested in his perspective on topics), it has links to other interesting blogs and it neat photos.

Granite Curling Club

Isbister School

Legislative Building at Night

I found an interesting section in one of the other linked blog sites about residents stepping up to new developments.  There was an article on a group of people who had just fought and won their case against an upcoming condo development set for the Crescentwood area.  The residents of the area went to city hall last week and protested for the well being of their neighborhood.

In the same section, there is a similiar story however in the East Kildonan-Transcona area.  A Vancouver developper was planning to add two large apartments complexes to an area with an existing two buildings. The residents had been promised with zoning that nothing else could be built there and the area would remain as green space.  Although the existing two buildings on the site had not been a problem for the residents in the past, the people in the area were concerned with what could happen if two more buildings went up.  The residents of the area listed their concerns: annoying construction, bad traffic, dust, danger to children (nearby John Pritchard School) and most of all, the government going back on their word about keeping the area as greenspace.  The residents protests are not yet over and the situation has to go through more motions before a decision is made.  The people do feel hopeful though, according to this article.  It is also mentionned however, that the city will make exceptions and try their best to accomodate out of town developper, which is unsettling.

The past two paragraphs had information from:


Jenny Holzer

December 4, 2008 - Leave a Response

Jenny Holzer is an artist who projects words and ideas to the public realm. Her artistic voice comes out as an architectural form, as her projections encompass areas of mass architectural significance, where such a voice can be seen in high traffic environments. Her work also is shown as t-shirts, LED’s, on billboards, and shopping bags. Her works are often explicit and deeply emotional. Presented in such a minimalistic form, the heavy projections make a statement of their importance. The words themselves are art, a poetry and demands attention. 

Jenny is not just an artist. She is a poet, an architect. She is truth. 

For more of her projections visit-




Vertical gardens taking over?

December 4, 2008 - Leave a Response

Something that I found similar to green roofs was vertical gardens which still consists of the same eco-friendly benefits.  Vertical gardens specifically reduce cooling in the summer by shading the building as well as helping out in heating in the winter by being an additional insulator.  These vertical gardens also absorb noise, help reduce heat island effect, and create a habitat for insects to grow and live in which then helps feed birds and so continues the cycle.  The major difference between green roofs and vertical gardens is that they are visible to the public adding a different feel to the surroundings making your effect to be green definitely noticeable.  If you think of it for every roof there are four walls so there are many more positive repercussions and as people think more sustainable and desire more sustainable options then maybe it will become more popular in the every day environment setting. 


Green Roofs

December 4, 2008 - Leave a Response

From the discussion on green roofs last class we learnt that there are a lot of important features that a green roof provides other than aesthetics.  I did some side research and found that the concept of green roofs didn’t just randomly pop up recently it goes back centuries to turf roofed dwellings of Vikings and modern green roofs were developed as long as 50 years ago in Germany.  I found it surprising that there are fifty million square meters of green roofs in Germany which accounts for approximately 10 percent of flat roofs.  Obviously this must have something to do with the by law that was implemented which was mentioned in class.  In North America it was found only 233,000 square meters of green roofs.  One of the reasons may be that in Germany it was found that it costs twenty dollars per square meter where in North America it is found to be way more expensive.  I found that the reasoning behind the by law in Germany has more to do with the problem of storm water and them trying to lessen it and the government setting up incentives.

            I found it interesting the Richmond, BC is the second municipality in BC to have a green roof by law.  It proposes a point system with its proposed by law that says buildings need a minimum of 100 green points which could be achieved through the construction of a green roof or other green features.  The goal of the bylaw is to make sustainability more of a main focus.  After reading this I was wondering why some kind of by law wasn’t set up like this in more areas.


Fab Tree Hab Living Tree House

December 4, 2008 - Leave a Response

More Information

An image of this project was on a studio brief and I thought it was something to look into further. The idea behind this project was to instead of building a house, to grow a house. The interesting thing is the house is a garden. The house is thus edible for organisms, animals, and it`s inhabitants.
Imagine a society based on slow farming trees for housing structure instead of the industrial manufacture of felled timber.” It’s also insulated by clay and the structure gets its form from prefabricated scaffolds. The structure is integral to water:

“Water, integral to the survival of the structure itself, is the pulmonary system of the home, circulating from the roof-top collector, through human consumption, and ultimately exiting via transpiration. A gray water stream irrigates the gardens, and a filtration stream enters a Living Machine, where it is purified by bacteria, fish, and plants who eat the organic wastes. Cleaned water enters the pond, where it may infiltrate the soil or evaporate to the atmosphere. Water consumed by the vegetation eventually returns to the water cycle through transpiration, simultaneously cooling the home.”

Nature is such a beautiful thing because nothing is wasted, and this housing project is something that mimics the cycles of nature which is something that the typical house does not consider.

Urban Roof Garden Design.

December 4, 2008 - Leave a Response

The last lecture was about urban roof garden designs. What was interesting is that there is a law in Germany that states that you need to live “green.” And a way some people do that is buy adding and/or building with green roofs. This is a really interesting push on the government’s behalf but it is based on the fact that people pushed the government to do this. I think that if the people of Canada pushed our government hard enough, we can achieve the same effect. I think that the public needs to be more informed about how our daily lives effect the environment. Green roofs are an easy way to live a greener life. Unfortunately, Canada’s winter climate may have an effect on green roofs and their effectiveness. Persuading people by refunding money if they buy green technology is something that the government of Winnipeg is doing. I think people see green technology as costly but telling people that they get something (like money) my be a successful way of changing the lifestyles of many people.


December 2, 2008 - Leave a Response

zipline: n.

1. pulley system designed to enable user propelled by gravity to traverse from top to bottom of the inclined system.


Here’s one way to solve fuel consumption.



Parson’s School of Design

December 2, 2008 - Leave a Response

I think it’s important to look at other work that is created in studio, in higher years and else where.  The Parson’s School of Design website has photos from students portfolios that are quite amazing.  For me, it puts what we’re doing in perspective and is inspiring.  Also, I had never looked into Parson’s but had heard a lot about it.  It’s worth reading anyone’s interested, especially as we are all struggling to survive these last days.  The Parson’s school offers a “Lighting Design” degree, which goes to show really how specific you can get in this field.  In addition to the lighting design degree, they have a communication design degree which seems like the commercial/marketing aspect. I wanted to post some photos of the work on here but I can’t get it to work, I’m not sure if it’s protected somehow which might make sense.  Anyway, you’ll have to see the site!


World Without People

December 1, 2008 - Leave a Response

Seen in Kristina Hunters’ class, A World Without People challenged the way we look at earth and our contribution to it. Questions arose from the video about what good have we done for the planet, if any? Without people, the world will bring itself back to the way it was, man made cities and roads will crumble and nature will sprout and take over. Animals dependance will soon vanish, and house hold pets will return to their wild instincts to obtain food. Our ecological footprint will be corrected by the earth. 

Part 1:

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Part 9:

Ideas I got out of watching this movie are: can we use nature instead of engineering solutions to correct our environment? Can we as designers design something that has no maintenance? 


Last Class Reflection

November 28, 2008 - Leave a Response

Today’s class was good for ideas of our next studio project as well as interesting to learn about some of Jae’s work.  It was informative to hear some specifics about green roofs and garden roofs, such as what their differences are and what sort of plants each can grow.  We learned that there are three different types of roof constructions which are: inverted, warm and cold.  The difference in these types is where the insulation is situated.  Subsrate, growing medium, filter mats and a drainage layer are also other important components to consider.

I think a lot of people, even some in our field, underestimate the benefits of a green roof and think of it only in aesthetic ways.  I notice that green roofs also seem to be an element of design that is sometimes tacked on quickly at the end of a project to seem “sustainable”.  It goes back to the first class when Jae talked about people who actually care about designing to care for the environment and people who fake it.  There are a few key words to plug into a project/proposal/concept etc. that seem to usually fool most people who may not know too much on the topic.  Given, the professionals in the field would be able to see through this sneaky technique, but many are fooled by a quick “recycled materials”, “fair trade” or of course “green roof”.  I am in no way saying that any design using these elements is insincere.  I am saying that marketing representatives can do a very good job of with their wording.

It was mentioned that hanging gardens are the most ancient form of a green roof.  Here’s a couple images to start thinking about…ps. the one in Bali I realistically just want to go there

hanging gardens in Mumbai

resort in Bali

idealized rendering of babylon’s hanging gardens, an inspiration for some of green roofs or hanging gardens


November 27, 2008 - Leave a Response

Here are some more examples of flood resistant architecture that I found and just wanted to share with you guys:







Sound and Architecture

November 27, 2008 - Leave a Response

I found it interesting that in the past architecture was formed around the way sound would be affected by architectural elements.  I also found it interesting how or why the relationship between sound and architecture in current architecture seems to not be as huge of an importance anymore and wondered what changed that perception.  It seems that not as much intricate detailing goes into these aspects of architecture anymore.  Things such as ornamentation, columns and coffered ceilings effect and scatter the sound differently.  Modern architecture has evolved through a rectilinear era into a more amorphous era.  All of these can cause modern structures to not have good sound diffusion.  What needs to be changed is that modern architecture need surfaces that can scatter sound appropriately while complementing the design just like how columns and coffered ceilings complemented classic architecture.  Surprisingly enough there is already this software program called the Shape Optimizer.  What the Shape Optimizer does is take the architects proposed shape for the structure and give possible variations of the shape which would then provide a better amount of sound scattering.  Similar to the saying form follows function in this case that would be reversed and now the function would determine and manipulate the form.


Flood resistant architecture

November 27, 2008 - Leave a Response

I found the lecture on flood architecture really interesting and inspirational.  Later on when I had some time to research more about it I found that flood architecture focus’s on

The ideals of settlement patterns in different places around the world that are affected by extreme climate conditions.  These aspects are looked at through the way infrastructure is networked as well as taking into account the way natural and human systems affect the environment.  It was simple to realize that flood architecture works with water rather than against it because really people shouldn’t work against natural systems.  Flood architecture also takes into account that the environment is always in a constant state of flux so that you have to consider these different elements while constructing especially if you are building a community by or on water.  I found it interesting that when I was searching flood architecture options for housing for the Hurricane Katrina area came up.  I found the different options interesting in the way they looked but wondered really if something like that would help an area like that.  The first image of the floating house is called the amphibious architecture designed by the Dutch firm Waterstudio.  An architect called Koen Olthius designs buildings on land that can detach from the ground and float under rising water conditions.       

flood resistant architecture


I also found it interesting that a lot of communities live on water because that is the way their lives are structured. Kompong Luong is an example of a community that lives on water because of fish being the staple of the community.

floating city



November 27, 2008 - Leave a Response

music: n.

1. an art of sound in time that expresses ideas and emotions in significant forms through the elements of rhythm, melody, harmony, and color.

Very rarely have I considered a relationship between music and architecture. In the past, I have thought that the two can compliment each other, in cases such as bars, or even elevators (personally, I have a fetish for elevator music), but to think that the connection can go beyond that, well I can honestly say I haven’t let the thought cross my mind.  Shauna Mallory Hill’s lecture on acoustics and sound introduced to me the  history of sound’s role in early architecture structures such as Rome’s Colosseum and early European amphitheatres. Also, she provided a  lengthy look into classic church design and the modifications that needed to be done to the voice to accommodate these spaces. All of this information I found fairly interesting, however I felt that the studies she presented had more relation to environments designed for performance and theatre. What I wanted to see in this lecture was a not so literal correlation of the two, but rather projects that involve music as a source of inspiration for architecture and how music is communicated onto such designs.

Architect Daniel Libeskind collaborated with his musical background in the design for Berlin’s Jewish Museum.  Libeskind has been quoted to say that he considers it to be the unfinished final act of the opera, Moses and Aron. 


The following is an article of Libeskind, where he discusses the bond shared between music and architecture:

The Independent: Daniel Libeskind


Which Stream Next Year???

November 27, 2008 - Leave a Response

I think we’ve all been thinking a lot about which stream we want next year, either that or worrying we won’t get the one we want.  I appreciated the open house for L&U, it gave me a better idea of what they work on there and a chance to chat with some of the students and faculty.  I still feel very up in the air, and I think that’s okay especially since I think I would feel just as worried if I’d decided on one I want.  From talking to students in higher years, however, I have collected some reflections:

I have heard that in L&U there is flexibility between the two, so that if you are more interested in city planning parse, you could focus your project on that.  A friend recently put it into perspective for me though, and I realized I had been thinking about Landscape and Urbanism the wrong way.  I told her I was really interested in the Urbanism part but that I wasn’t too sure how much I would know to do with “Landscape”.  She explained that they are correlated and you can’t do one without the other, and that landscape can be designed within urban spaces, or the other way around.  This immediately put an image of Europe’s plazas and courtyards in my head and then it all made sense to me.  I think I couldn’t imagine it that way because we see so little of it in Canada and the States, or at least the parts I’ve seen, especially Winnipeg.

About Interiors, I have heard that in this stream you do work that is the most like it will actually be like in the real world than the other options.  I have also heard that it is not as intense as the other streams, but I think that might just depend on the people in your year and if there are people raising the bar.

I have heard the least about Architecture even though it’s the one most people are interested in…I’m not too sure what to think!


David Suzuki Lecture

November 26, 2008 - Leave a Response

I currently attended The ‘Students for Sustainability’ Lecture, with a special appearance by David Suzuki. Suzuki spread his knowledge, shown his emotions, and lectured the importance of ecology, and the importance of our generation for changing the ideals of this world. ‘What is an economy?’ David asked us this with great enthusiasm. The problem with our society is the ideal that the economy is higher in importance than ecology. An example he used was an argument he had with a company preparing to cut down a sacred forest in which a nearby tribe did not want to lose. These trees keep the soil in tact, they produce oxygen so we as humans can breathe, and they provide homes for animals all over the world. The argument was that these trees have no value in our economy unless they are cut down. The truth is that without these trees standing, without any trees standing, we cannot live. Suzuki then explained the ideal that the economy is real. ‘ The economy is a make-believe monster, but yet we believe that it is real, if the economy is not happy we feed it money in fear’.  Another problem Suzuki addressed was money to lower energy and our carbon footprint. Canada is one of the richest countries in the world, and yet Canada explains that we can’t afford to solve the issue of sustainability. How can any other country afford sustainability if one of the richest countries can not? If we let the earth continue at this rate, there will be none of us left. We are at the top of the ecosystem, when all the animals die, we can not survive, and our economy cannot save us. Can we not afford to save ourselves? This is a very important concern to the world as a whole. Suzuki described the world like a tube of bacteria. Regarding population, the earth has become over populated. In a 60 minute cycle, as bacteria grew inside a tube, bacteria had an exponential growth where in between 0-58 minutes, bacteria had filled the tube and depleted to only 3%. Suzuki had explained, we are passed the 58th minute. Our economy is doing fine, but the economy is not real. It masks reality to the point that we still believe that everything is how it should be. Lastly, Suzuki had shown his total dissatisfaction towards the Canadian government. It was well put, approximately 60% of the citizens who voted, voted for a government which provided a solution for a sustainable future, and the 30% who voted for a conservative government, won. He asked us, ‘How many of you voted? The majority of the room raised their hand. Suzuki continued, “How many of you were happy with the election?” Only one person had raised their hand. The problem with our government is the process. The electives are not focused on the environment, and the people of the country, they are focused on how they can get elected. Another point yet made: Has anyone heard about the topic of children in an election? Children are important for our future, but yet they aren’t elegable to vote. Our voting system is based on: the party with the most votes, wins. Therefore parties tend to address issues that apply to the people that vote, and not those who don’t. Our generation has to be conscious to our actions, our government, and issues concerning sustainability. There is NO more time to think about taking action. The time is now



November 22, 2008 - Leave a Response

awareness: adj.

1. having knowledge; conscious.

2. informed; alert.

I realized at about halfway through Edward Epp’s lecture that although he had a major focus on flood design and the concerns that come from that, there was also a underlying message in his material. His discussion dealt with the emphasis of design on a given culture, and the footprint that such design can leave on that society’s landscape overtime. His personal experience in China reminded me of the same form of documentation done by Canadian photographer, Edward Burtynsky. For those you that refuse to come out from underneath your rock, Burtynski captures raw and developing landscapes, while provoking social and environmental issues.

What I enjoyed about Epp’s discussion, and what Burtynsky fails to do, is to show another viewpoint, one where a culture or society end up affecting a design. With the Three Gorges Dam Project, both views exhibit the industrial aspects. This includes massive concreted landscapes in flux. However, Epp also brought to attention a different attitude towards the river culture. His photographs taken in India show the Ganges river  basin as a meeting place for the community, where the environment is organic and accessible.


What I realize from the lecture is that both Epp, and Burtynsky, use their personal reactions and interpretations to bring awareness to the ways in which our society decides to design, as well as alter natural landscapes.





Daniel Levitin

November 22, 2008 - Leave a Response

This video is pretty lengthy but it’s of Levitin to speaking of his book “The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created the Human Nature.”
It’s really long, but it’s really informative and his ideas are very interesting. His prespective is that music shaped our evolution. He looks at nature/animals and how nature has evolved… and uses his research to understand the evolution of humans and music.
As he is a musician and a producer, I feel that he has a bias towards music and his ideas are based on this bias. Since music is such a large part of his life, of coarse he would feel that music is what fuels nature and evolution. I think that evolution is due to many things, not just music. Music, to me, is more of a culture thing. Yes, the body responds to music in a certain way that cannot be explained, but i don’t think that it’s the sole cause of evolution. There are some theorist that believe that believe that “art” caused evolution and they have the same reasoning as Levitin.
There are certain music that I use to calm me down, to excite me, and to make me happy… Music is an emotional thing. It is used in movies to create different “moods.” I guess I have a very Darwinist idea of evolution… I just can not believe music as shaping humans.

Through the Eyes of the Skin + Flood Architecture.

November 22, 2008 - Leave a Response

Dr. Shauna Mallory discussed her second part of the series “Through the Eyes of the Skin.” She discussed sound as a form of architecture. The way music can move us and shape us are the same qualities that architecture provides. She spoke about how architecture shaped music and how music shapes architecture. I found it interesting when she play the music that shaped the various styles of architecture. It was really interesting to see the buildings that were designed to perform the music and how the music changed due to the culture and the style of architecture. In high school, I was in the performing arts and we always had our Christmas concerts in churches. I never thought that the idea behind that was because we needed the reverb to make the music that we were playing more effective. Bach was originally made to be played in churches, but now it’s a very common in high school repertoires. It’s taken out of it’s original “origin” and placed in a place that is not built to play that type of music.
Ed Epp discussed the idea behind flooded architecture. I think flood architecture has a very interesting approach. Instead of fixing the problem, they’re creating a way to work “around” the architecture. By working around the architecture, they build communities that can endure a flood. Due to urbanization, the majority of the run off goes straight into the river causing major flooding. To reduce flooding we should stop building on areas that cannot support the buildings (for example, the image that Epp showed us of the area in China that had to concrete the river bank in order to build on the hill because of the fact that the hill cannot support the urbanization due to the type of soil.) During our studio project and the approach my group has taken, I think it would be really interesting to create “Vertical Cities.” Having a Vertical City will leave more land in tact but at the same time have a high density. The way we created our building was to take away the idea of cars and have all green space left alone, but some patches are highly dense with 100 floor buildings to produce a highly dense area. The buildings are there for “working,” while the outside, to contrast the buildings, are a place to “play” and be free. Cars are eliminated by mono-rail and +15’s that connect all buildings together. I think this would be an interesting way to prevent floods.

How Toilets Work

November 20, 2008 - Leave a Response

We use toilets in our every day routine, but how many of us can say we know how they work? Knowing how a toilet works is an underlying factor in integrating a system in a toilet, such as the turbine and a grey water system.  

3 working systems in a toilet include the bowl siphon, the flush mechanism and the refill mechanism. 

First the bowl siphon:

without the tank, you can still flush your toilet. How this works is the amount of water and the pouring time. No matter How much water you put in, you will notice no change occurs. This is because the excess water spills over the siphon.  If you get bucket filled with aprox. 8L of water and dump it down your toilet fast enough to fill the siphon tube, the siphon tube becomes automatically a sucking device.

Then there is the Flush mechanism:

Going back the the bucket of water strategy, you have to get enough water in the bowl fast enough to activate the siphon. The tank acts as a capacitor. Holding several litres of water, it takes about 30 to 60 seconds to accumulate.  Once you flush, all of the stored water in the tank is drained into the bowl through holes in the rim in about 3 seconds, which then trigers the siphon to automatically flush the water out of the bowl. A chain is attached to the handle. When the handle is pushed, the chain is pulled which is connected to the flush valve. The chain lifts the flush valve, which floats up revealing a drain hole, and then allows water to enter the bowl. The hole is also referred to as a siphon jet.

The refill mechanism:

Once the tank is emptied, the flush valve returns the to bottom of the tank, and cover the drain hole. At this time, the tank is then refilled. The refill mechanism has a valve that turns water on and off. Water is turned on when the filler float falls. The filler valve sends this water either into the bowl, or the refill tube. When the water level rises, the float rises with it and blocks the valve. 

The overflow tube is there to prevent the tank from overflowing, in case of a jam in the filler valve or a disconnected chain. This overflow tube directs the water into the bowl, rather than the floor.

Knowing how a toilet works can determine where a turbine or other programs brought into a toilet will function, and where they cannot be situated. To know where the highest pressure (siphon jet/ siphon) shows where an appropriate place for a turbine mechanism to go. 

If you need to see some more diagrams, or read up for more information on how the toilet works visit



November 19, 2008 - Leave a Response


1. a plot of ground usually near a house, where flowers, shrubs, vegetables, fruits, or herbs are cultivated.

2. a fertile and delightful spot or region

Our lecture with Dietmar on garden landscapes actually presented another definition in regards to gardens. He proposed the idea of a garden as being opposite to it’s existing nature. To be honest, I’ve never considered a garden in those terms but essentially his statement is very true in its simplicity. Realistically, asking yourself what separates a forrest from a marsh is the same as asking what separates a garden from a lawn. I just can’t recall if I’ve ever asked myself that…

The other topic that tickled my thoughts in his lecture had to do with the project study of “Snow White and the Seven Gardens”. What I realized from this project was the suggestion of personalities hidden within the gardens, and that these personalities were indications into the makeup of the people who occupy the properties which these garden reside on. For example, there was the “Half As Wild” garden that looked like it needed some attention and tender loving care. Perhaps the owner of this garden was on vacation?  In contrast there was the “Jealous Neighbors” garden that was well kept and manicured. I wonder if this pattern is reflected on my block, and that I could determine the personalities of the individuals behind them (I have the snow to curse me from following through with this curiousity). 

Are gardens a reflection of our personalities found in nature? Maybe like the all important cliche of, “you are what you eat”, the same could go for “you are what you plant”.


Grey Water Case Studies

November 16, 2008 - Leave a Response

Poverty Alleviation via Grey Water Systems in Jordan:

Many people in Jordan suffer from Poverty, encompassing poor living conditions and scarce water resources.  A project in Tufileh, Jordan allowed the citizens to reuse grey water for their home gardens.  This project saved the people 15% in water usage, equalling a drop of approximately 27% for their costs.  This project is an example of how being energy efficient not only helps financially but mentally as well.  The project allowed the residents to gain independance and pride by learning valuable gardening and food preservaton skills.

Sooke Harbour House in Sooke, British Columbia:

Sooke Harbour House is a well respected bed and breakfast that recently underwent an expansion, made possible by the money they saved by encroporating a grey water system.  All the grey and black water is reused for toilet and urinal water usage.  The excess water saved goes to a garden drip irrigation system.  The cost of designing and constructing the system was $320,000 and reduces the sites water usage by 2,300 m3 a year.  This system also provides water to an area that is normally short of water in the summer months.

Sooke harbour house

Quayside Village Co-Housing Ltd. in West Vancouver, British Columbia:

The Quayside Village is a 20-unit apartment building that will reuse grey water for plumbing systems.  It is a project to demonstrate this new technology for future projects.  It will apply a specific technique derived from CMHC’s Toronto Healthy House project.  The total cost to install the system was $115,000 with an expected cost of $100/month.  There is an expected decrease of 40% of wastewater flows, and 40% decrease of costs.

Quayside village


Local LEED Buildings

November 15, 2008 - Leave a Response

Here’s a few projects currently being worked on or completed in Canada that are LEED certified:

(Note: They are not all as glamorous as the Hydro building but worth noting still, especially the one in Winnipeg because we should be aware of it)

Plaza building at Brock University:

-St. Catherines, ONT

-provides an another entrance way to the building, holds public washrooms, computer labs and classrooms

-sets an environmentally friendly example for new expansion at the university

-Architects are Brian MacKay Lyons and Rounthwaite Dick and Hadley,%202007_jpg.jpg

AA Heaps Building:

-the fourth flood of a historic building on Portage ave., Winnipeg, MB

-the design team implemented sustainable construction while keeping existing infrastructure where necessary

-features include low flow fixtures and reused materials


-Richard Kula is the Architect

(couldn’t find an image)

Entegra Credit Union:

-off Disraeli Highway, Winnipeg, MB

-geothermal heating, waterless urinals, low flow plumbing and large insulated windows

-the site helps to revitalize our urban core

-used locally produced and recycled materials (such as recycled carpets)


Sand filters

November 15, 2008 - Leave a Response

            In the lecture sand filters were mentioned which I hadn’t surprisingly heard of as of yet but was intrigued to research more into it to find out what exactly goes into it and how it works.  As we can probably remember sand filters are used to purify water and there are actually three different types: rapid (gravity) sand filters, up flow sand filters, and slow sand filters.  The first two require flocculant chemicals while the third is free from chemical help.  The bacteria are trapped into the many layers of varying sizes of sand.  The problem of odour can be concurred by including a layer of activated carbon.  After a certain amount of time the sand filters become clogged so to remove the build up it can then be backwashed or pressure washed and the waste material will settle at the bottom of settling tanks.  Slow sand filters work through a layer called schmutzdecke which consists of bacteria, fungi, protozoa, rotifera, etc. and as it ages more aquatic organisms may develop.  This layer provides the purification by trapping and/or absorbing foreign particles it its matrix. Strangely enough the water gained from this process has a bacterial reduction percentage between 90 – 99%.  As the layer of schmutzdecke grows it reduces the rate of water flow getting purified so it is necessary for the top few millimetres to be scraped off therefore to expose a new clean layer of sand and to let it develop schmutzdecke.  While waiting the water can be decanted back into the filter and re-circulated back when the schmutzdecke is ready.  A different but similar method is called wet harrowing which entails lowering the water level to just above the schmutzdecke and stirring the sand which allows the filter process to start up again more quickly.  Exceptionally enough, slow sand filters are recognized by the World Health Organization, Oxfam United Nations, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency.  Slow sand filters are seen as superior technology, not only being the “cheapest and simplest but also the most efficient method of water treatment” according to the World Health Organization. 


Grey Water systems

November 15, 2008 - Leave a Response

I was researching for the proposition paper and found this product called Envirosink which is a sink that sits next to a regular kitchen sink but drains into a grey water storage tank in the backyard instead of into the sewer system.  The collected water can then be used for toilet flushing or tapped for the garden.  Another product I found was called Brac systems which filters impurities from showers and laundry water which is then stored in a tank hooked up to the toilet plumbing.  So that bacteria doesn’t start growing chlorine is dispensed into the water so then it is kept within guidelines which is something that was mentioned in our lecture this week.  Sometimes we have to chose between safety or being green and conserving are valuable resources like water but does it come at a price and is that price safety or can we control it in a system.   But I think with the technology we have today we see that it is capable to make a system that is safe and can still conserve water making a huge difference to water waste.  Like it was mentioned in the lecture, why do we need fresh water in our toilets, it isn’t like we are drinking from them….hopefully!



Pf. McLachlan lecture

November 15, 2008 - Leave a Response

This lecture presented by Pf. McLachlan showed a lot of great projects that produced a sustainable and aesthetic means of designing landscapes. He presented to us 5 main aspects that affect the overall plan of design. He listed these as politics, economics, culture, social and ecological programs. We must consider that our environment is in a constant state of flux, and therefore we must design according to this consideration. Examples of such designers were David Nash and his particular project- the wooden boulder. By studying this for 35 years, it gave us a great understanding of environment in flux, and the idea of erosion, the idea of grains of sand being moved along a river or stream, ideas of different times of year presenting different water flows and different rises in water. By doing such experiments that are intuitive to nature and show how nature transforms, becomes a learning process in which when observing in great detail provides us.  Pf. McLachlan told us to consider every scale as well, in our design processes, since they provide us with different experiences and different biases. Each level of scale brings a new appreciation. 

By teaching us some fundamental ecological issues such as erosion and run off, it gave us a foundation to really think about and think around when designing. Another consideration Pf. McLachlan brought to our attention was water. That is the less than 1% drinking water available to the world, and the use we have of this water, and possible ways to filtrate it and possible ways to conserve it. John Todd was another example Pf. McLachlan had given us about a sustainable project. He uses nature vegetation and ecosystems to filter out polluted water so it is filtered and safe to drink and use. Ideas that had emerged while listening to Pf McLachlan were that ecological design is a design which should represent the future. Instead of producing design concepts that are engineered towards a man made system, what should really be done is learn from the natural environment and study how it works, to work with nature itself. Our mechanics cannot measure up to the significance nature has on our world. We must step back in technology and learn from the land as we did millions of years ago to ensure our futures safety.



5 day water purification

John Todd

November 14, 2008 - One Response

Pf. McLachlan mentioned John Todd as an interesting person to look into.  He said that Todd treats grey and black water through a system he has created.  The water eventually ends up leaving the system as clean, drinking water.  During this process, plants and organisms are fed along the way.

Todd Ecological Inc. specializes in solutions for water planning and management.  They do ecological restoration, environmental planning workshops, lake management, natural waste water treatment, sustainable water management and agricultural eco parks.  They have a design called the eco-machine that is inspired by natural ecosystems, of course.  The eco-machine naturally treats sewage and industrial waste so that it is reusable once again.

An example of some of this technology being put to use is in New Lebanon, New York State at Darrow School. With the help of an eco-machine, the school treats waste water from the school before returning it to the water cycle.  Snails, fish and plants are used to break down the organic waste.  This eco-machine also uses sunlight and solar photovoltaic panels for energy.


Water Supply.

November 14, 2008 - Leave a Response

(This image was shown today during the lecture.)

(This image shows exactly where our limited fresh water is… the small yellow dots represent fresh water)

Many people look at the world and think that water is unlimited and it’s everywhere but the map above says otherwise. This is our fresh water, 2% of our water is “fresh water.” This is definetly an eye-opener to the amount of water we use and the effects of hydro-electric dams. “At least 20 percent of all freshwater species are either extinct or threatened with extinction.” The idea that oil is very scarce right now, image what would happen to the world if fresh water was scarce? Wars may break lose limiting citizens access to fresh water… what then?
Regardless of our need for fresh water, we still treat it as a second thought. Our sewage systems and agricultural practices pollute our watersheds. “Wetlands are routinely drained for strip malls, homes, and plantations. Rivers are dammed to supply electricity and water to cities and irrigation for farms. In fact, fresh water siphoned for agriculture accounts for 70 percent of all global water use. More than half of it is wasted.” Essentially, we need to find better and different methods of how we use water. A compost toilet is one step to the many that we need to take, I just hope we’re not too late.

National Geographic. “Fresh Water Information, Fresh Water Facts, Fresh Water Pictures, Fresh Water Videos – National Geographic.”

Information on Composting Toilets.

November 14, 2008 - Leave a Response

This video has pretty cheesy background music and is promotional, but it does have a lot of information on how composting and composting toilets work.

Here are some highlights from the video
-everything in nature is put back into the cycle, nothing is wasted
-composting is slow; turns back into a usable form
-saves money + efficient
-composting; turns into water or enriched soil
-accelerates natures method
-no smell; fans to reduce smell
-empties as little as once a year
-waterless; no plumbing

This is something that should definitely be considered as an option to regular toilets. It could be used in homes, cottages, businesses, ect. I think the main question everyone is asking is “how sanitary is it?” From what I understand is that it is sanitary and that the microorganisms get rid of “bad” bacteria and turn our waste into a usable form. As I said in an earlier post, designers look to the past for inspiration… In this case we look to nature for inspiration. Composting is a natural process, but with the aid of technology we have been taken away from nature; and now it’s time to go back. In the lecture we saw how Stergeon’s Creek was rid of rocks to make it more aesthetic and “perfect” but what happened was more erosion and so the rocks needed to be put back. I think this is a prime example of how the perfect world is not necessarily a technological one, but is one with nature.

Landscape and Urbanism

November 14, 2008 - Leave a Response

The lecture on Landscape and Urbanism today by Pf. Ted McLachlan was informative.  He gave us a few names like David Nash and John Todd to do some further research on.  I also think his opinions about natural processes being affected by political, cultural, social and economic issues are very insightful.  It’s crazy to think that the our land and water, which get all of our resources from, can be so carelessly misused.  Pf. McLachlan also explained to us about how our water system works.  Up until being in this program, I did not understand that when we get heavy rain, it overwhelms our sewage system and the storm water floods into our rivers.  I’m very interested in designs that would allow us to decrease or even stop altogether the drainage from our homes, roads or driveways into our water system.  Maybe this is naive of me, but I really never knew that flooding of our water system was an issue.  The image below is from a bio on David Nash.  It seems that he does a lot of work with wood and makes a lot of organic shapes such as these columns and the egg, similar to the boulder he made which was shown in the presentation.

Picture of Columns with Palm Egg 1995


Jane Goodall: What separates us from the apes?

November 14, 2008 - Leave a Response

Another TED discussion. this one is from Jane Goodall, one of my biggest inspirations since I was in elementary. Known for her engagement with the chimpanzees of Gombe, Africa, she talks about the sophistication of animals all around us, and the ignorance human beings have of our knowledge, she reflects on the absolute tragedy of such animals dissapearing from deforestation and our economy based lifestyles. How the way we live has destroyed cultures like the Pigme people all around the world, in which values of such cultures no longer matter. She explores the idea that we are abusing such great power that we have, and yet we have all the means to turn our ways around. We are harming ourselves, and mother nature, which of course brought us here in the first place. Roots and Shoots is a program that has developed in over 60 countries, which teaches young children all the way up to university students to live a sustainable life style and help the community around them. The big differences that these children make are shared together and bring hope to our world. Jane Goodall describes the change of the world during her life span as a shameful burden, to bring to the generation of her grandchildren (our generation). IF YOU HAVE THE TIME. PLEASE VIEW THIS. Jane Goodall is one person that brings such hope to times that seem quite hopeless.


British Columbia

November 13, 2008 - Leave a Response

British Columbia: n.

1. Canada’s most awesome province when it comes to environmental activism.

(In Response to Sam’s previous link, B.C. has been taking steps towards a carbon neutral living)

The province of B.C. has set itself the goal of having all residing communities operating together to reach a state of carbon neutrality by 1212. This agreement is documented under the B.C. Climate Action Charter. Some details of the document:


(4) The Parties share the common goals of: 

(a) Fostering co-operative inter-governmental relations; 

(b) aiming to reduce GHG emissions, including both their own and those created by others; 

(c) removing legislative, regulatory, policy, or other barriers to taking action on climate change; 

(d) implementing programs, policies, or legislative actions, within their respective jurisdictions, that facilitate reduced GHG emissions, where appropriate; 

(e) encouraging communities that are complete and compact and socially responsive; and 

(f) encouraging infrastructure and a built environment that supports the economic and social needs of the community while minimizing its environmental impact. 

(5) In order to contribute to reducing GHG emissions: 

(a) Signatory Local Governments agree to develop strategies and take actions to achieve the following goals: 

(i) being carbon neutral in respect of their operations by 2012, recognizing that solid waste facilities regulated under the Environmental Management Act are not included in operations for the purposes of this Charter. 

(ii) measuring and reporting on their community’s GHG emissions profile; and 

(iii) creating complete, compact, more energy efficient rural and urban communities (e.g. foster a built environment that supports a reduction in car dependency and energy use, establish policies and processes that support fast tracking of green development projects, adopt zoning practices that encourage land use patterns that increase density and reduce sprawl.) 

(b) The Province and the UBCM will support local governments in pursuing these goals, including developing options and actions for local governments to be carbon neutral in respect of their operations by 2012. 

If the following ideas and plans happen to tickle your curiously, a full transcript of the document can be found here:
BC Climate Action Charter
Also, I have to applaud the province for taking the neccesary steps in this direction. I think the challenge of reducing the net gas emission in vehicle and building output, in a province with B.C.’s growth and density isn’t not an easy task.

James Howard Kunstler: The tragedy of suburbia

November 13, 2008 - One Response

Jamed Howard Kunstler’s speech on Suburbia describes the american environment as a place not worth caring about. Our ability to define space all comes from culture of civic design- knowledge method skill and principle that we threw in the garbage after world war II. In order to allow us to dwell in a hopeful present, human environments we have made, have deprived us to live in a helpful present. when we have enough places that we cannot care about, our nation becomes a nation that is not worth defending. Instead of America being defined by box stores and freeways, James proposes that public space is much needed to create places we can and should care for. The pattern of old main street America some how cannot be rebuilt. By buildings situating themselves to act as private spaces rather than public. The problem with suburbia is the destruction between rural and urban.  Although suburbia was delivered in reaction to the industrial city, suburbia then has mutated to a cartoon of a country house and a cartoon of the country. Suburbia no longer delivers. Kunstler gets to the reality that we no longer can live in suburbia. We must soon live closer to where we work, we must downsize everything we do. We must get back the ideas of how we plan our cities, to provide us with a new urbanism. We need places that work like a living organism, we need to learn how to compose public space that is large and small. America is not prepared to what is coming. James warns- be prepared to live locally. One further note that Jamed Howard leaves with is the idea that we are consumers. Consumers as he puts it don’t have obligations responsibilites and duties for ourselves and the people around us. We must not be consumers, but citizens who care about our environment and therefore create places to care about. Take a look!



November 12, 2008 - Leave a Response


1. an ideal place or state.

2. any visionary system of political or social perfection.

As of recently, a fascination has flourish within in me in regards to the idea of utopia. Along with the upcoming studio deadline on the fictional city, I find it no coincidence that our concept city has developed in such a fashion that it mirrors certain aspects and ideals related to utopia. What is our approach? Well, it seems that our city has established itself on principles that deal with forming a harmonic existence between nature and man. A city where man approaches all aspects of city lifestyle with a respect to nature and to preserve it’s beauty to the utmost capacity. Realistically, as most of us glimpse into the future, we imagine high-tech robotic landscapes. What I wonder is why “progress” naturally means moving forward in a direction where we really just develop a stronger dependence on technology? This doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. Progress can mean that as designers, we reverse our current developmental practices and start reverting back to the ancient approaches of organic living. Could taking steps backwards actually be seen as moving forward? 

“It is good to remember that utopia is nothing but the reality of tomorrow and that today’s reality is yesterday’s utopia.”—Le Corbusier, Modulor

In addition, I wanted to share this small blog article that examines different concept utopias:


New Urbanism.

November 12, 2008 - Leave a Response

New Urbanism was also introduced in the last lecture. Most of us know about it by another name, Smart Growth. On National Geographic they have a flash animation that takes you through a new urbanist world.

It’s interesting how everything goes back to the past for influences such as fashion and music… now urban planning. You can see some of the aspects of new urbanism happening downtown such as mixed use buildings. I think smart growth is something to consider and it can definitely work but needs to be pushed more. Smart Growth depends on the amount of high rises to increase the density of people but in a more compact space. People tend to like houses more due to the “privacy” and the sense of calling something your “own,” which is something some people will have to give up.

How YOU Can Become Carbon Neutral.

November 12, 2008 - Leave a Response

The ideas behind buildings being carbon neutral was presented to us last class. I searched carbon neutral on google and found a site that told you how a person can be carbon neutral. No one can ever net a zero carbon level, but the idea is to strive to it.

“1) The first and most important step is to reduce your emissions as much as possible – for example, by switching off the lights when not in use, turning down the thermostat, driving less, taking vacations closer to home so you don’t need to fly as much, etc. See the ‘Resources’ section for tips to reduce your energy use. Each tonne of emissions that you reduce means one fewer tonne you need to buy offsets to neutralize.

2) Choose which remaining emissions you wish to offset. For example, you might want to start with just your air travel, or an event you are organizing such as a wedding. Or you may choose to offset all of your major sources of emissions, like air travel, driving, and home electricity use.

3) Calculate your emissions. To do this, choose an appropriate online carbon calculator for each of the emissions you have identified in (2) from the ‘Resources’ section. Some carbon calculators are specific for just one emission source like air travel; others will allow you to calculate the emissions from more than one source. Note you can use any of these calculators without making a purchase. It should also be noted that some carbon calculators will give slightly different results; this is because different methodologies may be used (e.g. factoring in all greenhouse gases released during air travel vs. just the CO2). Don’t worry too much about this when selecting a calculator; the point is to get some sense of the emissions you’re responsible for.

4) Once you know how many tonnes of emissions you produce, you can then purchase the necessary offsets. There are many vendors online that sell offsets; see the ‘Resources’ section below for a list of some vendors that can be found online. There is some variability in price depending on the vendor you choose (and whether it’s a charity or a for-profit company), and the type of offsets they sell. But as with any purchase, it’s important to consider the quality of the offsets you support, rather than simply looking for the cheapest option. See our What is a Carbon Offset page for things you should look for when shopping for offsets.

5) Review your strategy annually. This will include finding ways to reduce your emissions even more. Also, if you started with just one emission source (e.g. air travel), you may choose to broaden your approach and look at other emissions you generate.”

This was taken from

I thought this was very interesting and it seems like it takes a lot of energy and effort to become carbon neutral. I think it comes with teaching it at a young age and to make it “fun.” I understand that when you are purchasing these offsets, you’re supporting energy efficent companies, but it almost seems like you are buying your way out of being energy efficent yourself. Someone with a lot of money can just use excessive amounts of energy and then buy a tonne of offsets and say “oh i’m carbon neutral;” I just don’t see how it helps the environment.

Jean Trottier

November 11, 2008 - Leave a Response

I found Jean Trottier’s presentation really interesting. His presentation is very relevant to our current studio project. I thought it was really interesting the fact that slope is a big part of understanding a landscape since slope is introduced to you at a young age and you figure you’ll never have to use it again in your life, but then people use it everyday. As shown in the present ion, slope is a very big thing to consider before building on your site as with soil. The slope and soil of the site may in the end jeopardize what you’re building. I never thought that soil would need to be considered, but after seeing the presentation it is something to definetly consider before building anything.
It was also said to “never building on the best part of your site.” This is definetly true with respect to many building projects. If it is the best part of your site, don’t build on it… enhance it and create a building space around it.

This is an image of the Barnes House by Patkau Architects. This is the same example that was used during the lecture. This house uses the landscape to create and enhance the space. When entering the house you are drawn to the highest point of the site and when there you are overwhelmed by the space.

This is an amazing view and it is a good example of thoughful architecture. It is evident that a lot of thought was put into this house and if only all housing projects looked into these minute details as Patkau Architects did.

Focus for Design: Dr. Mallory’s Lecture

November 11, 2008 - Leave a Response

Dr. Mallory’s lecture was so relaxing and nice, maybe because I was so tired.  I think though even had I had enough sleep I still would have appreciated as much as i did.  I liked relating architecture to sound and music.  Both music and architecture are disciplines that date so far back in human history.  Especially in the middle ages, the two really went hand in hand.  They still do in other parts of the world, but like usual, in Canada we don’t see this as much.  (ps I really want to live in Europe) The topic of designing a building and the acoustics for a specific reason (ie. music, gregorian chants) makes designers have a focus.  It’s similiar to saying : I’m designing a space that has to be quiet and relaxing for cancer patients.

For example the grace hospital hospice is carefully designed with the patients in mind.  My sister is in nursing and did a tour of the space after working in the main hospital for the term.  She said the difference between the two was so noticeable, and that it was such a relaxing, inviting space.  For the people working there and the patients with long term illness, it’s a well designed place to rest.

images from :


Jean Trottier

November 11, 2008 - Leave a Response

I enjoyed Mr. Trottier’s lecture.  Aside from his pertinent information, he spoke very well and held my interest which is important for me when I might be half asleep to begin with.  He emphasized to “not build your site on your best piece of land”.  This seems like a simple statement but it clearly needs to be emphasized as developpers do this all the time.  Obviously I don’t know what their job is really like, but I can imagine a developper picking a site, thinking its perfect and thinking their work is done at that.  I can only imagine (from what we’ve already worked on in studio) what sort of work goes into assessing a site.  It’s also a sense of respect for nature, we’re already building on natural land, at very least natures most beautiful parts should be kept in tact.  I wish the developpers of kenaston village would have heard this lecture.


Porour Pavers in comparison with bioswales

November 10, 2008 - Leave a Response

            I found this really interested article called porous paving and thought it fit well with our lecture this week with Jean Trottier mentioning bioswales and how they infiltrate storm water and 60 % of water polluting solids are captured and suspended in the swales topsoil.  These pavers I read about are designed in mosaic-like modules to efficiently collect and dissipate storm water runoff.  Natural bacteria in the combined layers break down pollutants in the water, filtering and cleansing it as it passes to the ground below.  A brand called KBI flexi-pavers use the same idea but the pavers are made from recycled rubber tire.  This is a good solution to use instead of asphalt because it doesn’t crack and is strong enough to be used as a sidewalk or a driveway.  Another brand called TerraFirm made their paving system out of post-consumer recycled plastic all of these examples can be covered with gravel or grass which allows the underlying layer to disappear from sight and work invisibly to support heavy traffic loads.   


Jean Trottier’s lecture

November 10, 2008 - Leave a Response

            I very much enjoyed Jean Trottier’s presentation because I found it very useful for giving us another method of how to look at sites and what to focus on.  He emphasized the importance of the site planning process and when he was going through the difference steps it reminded me of the process of our current studio project.  At first we had to figure out the nature of the project – break down the brief and identify the main components.  The second step being site documentation and listing an inventory of things we gathered from our site tours for our map templates.  The third step being site analysis which is the combining of all the information you have gathered so far and adapting your layout for the current templates.  He also mentioned a lot of good questions that should be asked when analyzing a site to get you thinking in a different mind set.  After it all you come up with different alternatives and concept plans and proceed from there.

            I also found useful his explanation functional diagrams because I didn’t know what they were before.  But the way he illustrated them made me fully understand the importance when using them because the way it is organized can make the layout turn out many different ways.




November 8, 2008 - Leave a Response

sustainable: adj.

1. capable of being sustained.

2. capable of being continued with minimal long-term effect on the environment.

The last few lectures have dealt with sustainable practices on a large scale in terms of neighborhoods and communities as well as site planning. Projects, such as the community of Dockside Green in Victoria, is one just one examples of these. These types of projects require major leadership and a change in attitude from everyone involved and I do believe that its worth admiring. Here, in the vibrant city of Winnipeg, we don’t hear to much word of such projects, however is goes without notice that most of the lecturers find a moment in their presentations to give props to the Mountain Equipment Co-op facility located off Portage Ave. It is because of this that I have decided to look into a the details of the building.


Case Study:

The three-storey, original brick MEC Winnipeg store played a key role in the City of Winnipeg’s downtown revitalization efforts. It was built on land occupied by condemned derelict buildings. One of the pre-existing structures was renovated and incorporated into the new building. The others supplied a significant portion of the project’s materials.

-40% new construction, 60% renovation of a 1904 building

-Rating: U.S. Green Building Council LEED-NC, v2–Level: Gold

-uses radiant floor heating

-24.1% savings of electricity, 75.9% savings of natural gas

-motion sensor controlled lighting in public areas, daylight is provided by large central skylight

I figure this list could go on for a while so I’ll end it there. Do make sure though to check out the government site on Mountain Equipment Co-op. It goes into detail on land use, water use, energy, materials, resources, awards, and environmental setting.

Mountain Equipment Co-op

picture source:


COR in Miami

November 2, 2008 - Leave a Response

The COR tower is a green project in Miami. It’s is (understandably) criticized for it’s cheese grater look but I think it’s really important to look beyond the appearence of the building, but the ideas behind it. Cor uses “wind turbines, photovoltaic’s, and solar hot water generation” to power the building. The interesting part of the building is that the wind turbines are actually integrated within the building. As said in the following video, the “green” ideas in the building are not hidden, but are part of the architecture, thus making a statement about the time that we are living in.


Dynamic Architecture.

November 2, 2008 - Leave a Response

I’ve known about this project for a while, and when i first saw the video i thought it was a joke. It didn’t seem believeable, but it’s real, and it’s going to be build.

It’s the first building to change it’s form with time. The building makes it’s own energy and power other buildings around it. It also is pre-made in factories for faster construction.

The design almost seems surreal and is something you would have to see before you believe it. I’m curious about infrastructure and elevators and how they’re incorporated in the design. Also the quality of air and the idea of motion sickness. I’m not sure if i would feel comfortable in a space that is always moving.

The green aspect to the building is really interesting. The idea that it can produce enough energy to power itself and other buildings is a really important design feature.

Sustainable Housing?

November 2, 2008 - Leave a Response

This video discusses how “change of phase” can cool and heat a home. Resin of pine trees go through a change of phase and thus, can be used to heat a house.

It’s an scientific approach to building houses, but it’s very flawed. Yes, it’s natural but it’s not sustainable. If we start building ALL of our houses out of pine trees… well that’s not very sustainable at all. The title of the video is “as green as it gets” but I don’t think it’s green at all.


November 2, 2008 - Leave a Response

decision: n.

1. the act of or need for making up one’s mind

2. something that is decided

“Who here has done the Dragonboat? I have!” – Camin Militano

The above quote would have to get the award for my favorite moment of Camin Militano’s lecture. Really beacause it didn’t seem as though he had any intention to here if someone would answer. I say this due to the modest .001 second s of silence he gave before proceeding into an all enthuastic response of “I have!” I viewed his instinct to answer himself as rather abrupt, however, at the same time it was very insightful.

 His lecture dealt with fast problem assessment and how to arrive quickly at the most beneficial solution. For some, the art of decision making doesn’t come so natural. What Militano demonstrated without realizing it, is his ability to not dwell on a decision for too long. The material presented was his means of translating this tool onto us. His method of doing this was effective in that he had short lists that basically went through the run-downs of a situation, similar to a pro-and-con method of sizing up a situation. In the long run, it is essential to have this ability in all fields of work and education.

Specially, I believe it a useful tool for us, as design students, to master….specifically applying it to the limited time frames we have to work with in Studio and the amount of time spent trying to settle on one choice. I see his lecture as a means of streesing the importance of a cognitive editing when developing projects.


Fredensgade Block: Retrofit

November 2, 2008 - Leave a Response

I wanted some more information about Thursday’s lecture by David Von Vliet about Fredensgade block in Kolding, Denmark.  I found a really good article, and read the whole thing before realizing it was David Von Vliethe who wrote it!  It was kind of funny, but works out well because I couldn’t quite hear the whole presentation.

David argues his case about projects considering not only the environmental concerns but also the social and cultural issues.  It’s becoming a trend to be environmentally friendly, which is great.  However some designers only incorporate environmental elements to their products or projects to appear “environmentally friendly”.  In result, their projects often has little sustenance since there is no real passion for ideas such as waste management, energy efficiency or sustainable design.

This article goes more into depth about some of the social issues.  For example, the designers of the block had a goal of making the community financially self-supporting.  This required more up front costs for the new infrastructure, however these costs were gained back for the residents over several years.  The residents saved money by consuming less with lower utility bills, the government awarded them tax-cuts and reduced chardges on municipal charges.  Most importantly, as there was a mix of types of people living in the block, the residents are happy with their new community.

The community has reduced its waste by over fifty per cent by using three different waste deposit areas and two compost stations.  The community also uses grey water to wash their cars and they have a battery charging station for electric car recharging.

The glass pyramid “bioworks” in the center of the community is without a doubt the most inspiring part of Fredensgade block.  The bioworks is a series of water systems that decompose waste water in a natural process.  The pyramid takes advantage of the natural methods of ultraviolet light and ozone killing pathogens and germs.  This system uses other natural processes such as algae and aquatic species to mitigate the waste water.  The water is eventually pumped into a marsh area, returning to its natural cycle.

I can see why David Von Vliet is so enamored with this project.  It is an inspiring community and a great project to model others after.


Carmine Militano Lecture

November 2, 2008 - Leave a Response

Presenter Carmine Militano had a great set of data to present to us regarding steps in process. A great point was brought forward. We as humans seem to use methods engineered rather than natural. Laws of mother nature are irrefutable and immutable. All of our systems that are engineered leak. As designers we need to minimize alterations.  

We are living in a new era:

climate change, pollutant prevention, managing environmental impacts, an internet explosion, cost management and asset management, dematerialization, waste and emission minimalization, technological innovation, process optimization and resourse use efficiency

Carmine Militano also proposed to us the top ten reasons why decisions fail. 

Lack of decision process, lack of leadership, lack of commitment, wrong stakeholders, inadequate information, wrong problem, politics, insufficient time, company culture, and insufficient interest

Suggestions for decision process:

1. Leadership and commitment 

2. Frame the problem (defining what’s in what is out)

3. Develop goals, models and alternatives

4. Collect valued information

5. Manage risk and decide

6. Develop implementation plan

Everything Militano said was useful for process, however his attitude while presenting was quite arrogant. He had a clear strong voice, but had no room for comments or ideas from the class. When he asked us questions, he did not wait any moment for us to reply, and proceeded with what HE thought. If Carmine Militano hadn’t come off as arrogant, and he enjoyed his own voice a little less than he did, I might have enjoyed his lecture more. 


Images of Reactive Garments

November 2, 2008 - Leave a Response

Here’s the image it didn’t post properly earlier…

Reactive Garments

November 2, 2008 - Leave a Response

            I came upon this article called Fashioning the Future which reminded me a lot of the last studio project discussing are personal body buffer zones the only differ being that in these garments they are an exploration into emotional sensing.  They are called reactive garments which combine technology with various stimuli which could be light, touch or heat.  These garments show the interaction between the human body and the clothing.  The middle picture called the skin probe dress which picks up on emotions and movement.  Our skin carries a lot of useful information and is like an electrical network.  So the fabric is embedded with sensors that react to bio-signals such as temperature, moisture and heartbeat. The image on the left shows the garment called “Blush Dress” which has two layers, an inner one with built-in sensors that detect the wearer’s emotions and an outer one that projects emotions with 18 mini projectors that change colour and light patterns.  The image on the right is the Frisson interactive bodysuit which is made up of copper wires that have LED’s on the tips which light up when it is touched or blown.  I found this garments out of the world and couldn’t even believe that such things actually now exist it just shows you what can be invented and designed with the latest technologies.




Design Solution to a Socal Problem/ Sustainablity

November 2, 2008 - One Response

            I found a really interesting article in June 2008 AZURE magazine and I thought I would post it because I thought it relates to our last assignment for this class.  It links to the idea of creating something sustainable by not adding something to people’s every day to day activities but by incorporating them.  Designers at IDEO created this bicycle that while you pedal it filters water being ideal for Third World countries where people have to walk far from home to find water and usually it is contaminated and takes hours and lots of resources to get it drinkable.  The mechanics behind the design are shown in this youtube video and its only 2 minutes long so I think everyone can take time to watch it because it’s quite interesting.  It just shows you how thinking about social or sustainable problems that occur in every day life can be lessened by these design solutions.  It gives you hope that maybe some day you can make a little difference like that.  Here’s the youtube video,   Enjoy!!



Bill 15

November 1, 2008 - Leave a Response

Carmine MIlitano from Stantec stressed the importance of bill 15 in his lecture on Thursday.  I did some research on the document to understand it properly.

Among many goals, the province wants to:

-Reduce Manitoba’s emissions to 6% lower than they were in 1990 by 2012

-Have all new government owned or funded buildings projects meet green standards (set by province)

-Have any government used vehicules meet a fuel efficiency standard (set by province)

-Have any owner or operator of a landfill submit to the province a proposal on how much they think they will put in the landfill, how they plan to reduce their emissions and any other information the province requires (the Minister will approve or deny their proposal)

-After 2009, cease coal use by Manitoba Hydro, except for emergency support

-Prohibit anyone from importing a car older than 1995 into Manitoba to sell

-Allow low speed and zero emission vehicules on highways, with the possiblity of making alternatives highways specifically for these vehicules

-Award grants to municipalities that support regular or rapid public transit

In addition to these goals, the province can add other standards as they see fit.

Personally, I am very happy to see this in the works. I hope that it will affect and inspire people to be concious of their emissions and lifestyle.


eco nest

October 30, 2008 - Leave a Response

This is somewhat off on a different topic, but my aunt and uncle are building a house outside the city. They’re building it in a pretty interesting way by using clay and straw to insulate the walls, which is one of the oldest ways to build a house, and a very natural way to do it. They’re actually calling it an eco nest (which is kind of cute), I guess because of it being made from straw and also because of the circular composition. They will have a family room in the center of the home, which is just one storey, no basement. Then there will be 4 or 5 rooms surrounding the family room. The placement of each room was chosen carefully for different reasons such as southward facing windows, or windows that would highlight the sunrise for my aunt’s yoga room. Jae’s comments about room placement seems very relevant to anyone planning a house or building for themselves or others as it was for my aunt and uncle.


Dual-flush toilets

October 29, 2008 - Leave a Response

Toilets have been a main concern with the theme of water waste management. In 1994, Low-flush toilets have been designed to reduce the amount of water waste and in the end, reduce your water bill. However, these low-flush toilets were produced without proper research and had been proved to cause problems with clogging due to the lesser volume of water. This also led to the ‘double flushing’, which of course didn’t save any water at all. Because technology and better research, these 1.6 gpf toilets are now more efficient, however, people are still skeptical. The difference of gallons per flush (gpf) of old to new toilets is a minimum of 50% less water used. Now technology has led us towards the ‘no-flush’ toilet, which does have its benefits but generally doesn’t save water although they only use 1.6 gpf. Benefits are: less germs spread, and that the toilet is flushed at all times. The sensors however don’t always flush at the right time, and can flush up to 3 times per person.  Solution: Dual- flush toilets give you the choice of using 3L or 6L depending on whether your flushing liquids or solids. They do pose the same problems of the low-flush toilets, but a high quality toilet can solve this. The amount of water saved makes up for the price. These would be excellent for high traffic places like the University Centre or for the whole U of M campus 


Renewable Energy from Plants

October 28, 2008 - Leave a Response

This article talks about getting energy from plants, for example through the process of photosynthesis.  It could be something we could consider for the project.  Some of the comments at the bottom are interesting, after the article, for example the topic of using Cannabis as a resource.


Lighting + Colour

October 28, 2008 - Leave a Response

For Ecology and Design I have been researching lighting and colour for one of the projects and some of the information that I have collected are very relevent to the past guest speakers.

Colour has psychological effects and they can also encourage personality and work ethic. In a previous post I talked about the various colours that I’ve painted my room. My room was once orange and blue; according to the websites I’ve looked at, they say that orange “keep the occupant awake when used in a bedroom,” while blue “prevents nightmares… [and] promotes intellectual thought.” Essentially, orange isn’t a very good colour for a bedroom, but also blue is good for studying… so the combination of the two colours is pretty good if you want to pull an all nighter. The idea of blue being a good colour for studying makes me think that on campus we should reconsider the white walls and maybe through in some blue to encourage good study habits.

As for lighting, it is a very large part of our lives. Lighting can effect the way we work and the way we feel about work. Day light is very important for human development, but the glare that is created on a laptop or computer screen is not healthy for the eyes. Overhead lighting is the worst lighting for a computer screen because of the way it is reflected and unfortunately overhead lighting is what we have in most classrooms and in studio because of the amount of space that it can cover. To create a good work environment one needs to be able to control where the light is coming from and the amount of light being produced.

End of the World

October 27, 2008 - Leave a Response

I took an interesting Biology class last year, it was called The State of the Earth’s Environment. We learned the basics about some of the current environmental problems. The professor (Micheal Shaw) said something interesting about our world, and I suppose it was an obvious statement but it really stuck with me because I hadn’t ever thought about it that way.
We were talking about some of the resources that are currently at risk for depletion and he explained that the earth can go through cycles and regenerate, however we’re the ones who are ultimately going to suffer from our actions. It’s a common sentiment to have a detachment from environmental issues as though they won’t affect us. We can turn our backs on the issues all we like but it will only come back to us in the end. Nature will be fine. (When I say “The Earth” and “Nature” I mean as a whole, and as a planet, as opposed to plants and animals as they suffer in a vast number of ways because of us). Nature doesn’t need to worry about filling the gas tank of it’s huge SUV to get to the nearest Walmart. It’s us that need that. We depend on our planet in many ways to keep us alive, but all we are to the earth is an irritation. The earth has the power to kill off our infestation. Nature can regenerate itself. Even if we deplete important resources, the planet can take all the time it needs to come into a new cycle. The human race would be gone by then of course, but that doesn’t matter to the earth.


Our natural environment

October 27, 2008 - Leave a Response

            I was interested in gaining more information on how an environment can change the way people feel there by causing a change in their productivity, mood, and behaviour.  I learnt that all of this can be explained through biophilic design which is the theory that says that “humanity evolved to have an organically connected relationship with the natural world and that the disruptions to this relationship caused by the modern built environment can be mitigated  through the use of real or simulated natural elements.” (  These ideas are very similar to Smith Carter’s idea of creating an environment that increases employee satisfaction in doing so causing a gain in business production.  An idea was brought up on the same site that I found very interesting stating that maybe we have evolved so much that people have grown used to their built environments, such as, their enclosed office cubicles therefore then becoming our natural environment.  It is possible that we have evolved away from our ancestral ways originally designed as organisms to be integrated with nature. Raising the question if there would be a difference in regaining this lost connection but through all of the research and statistics shown through different source it has been explicitly proven that we as humans react in positive ways when we are connected to our original natural environment being nature.



Jen Weld & Red River College

October 27, 2008 - Leave a Response

The Jen Weld and Red River College field trip showed two different scales of sustainable design. The Jen Weld collection was beautiful. I really appreciate how they welcomed us while they were still under construction, and the fact that they kept the beautiful and historical building in tact. I was surprised to learn that doors and windows are one of the most expensive parts of the home. This gives me a better appreciation for the craft and value put into all of the models shown. These doors and windows took on a style or their own, and I could imagine the way they would look in different settings. The way the store was modeled brought a coherent and simplistic way of showing information. The metal rods which held information about windows and doors were works of art in themselves, and how some of these were situated behind doors brought a sense of curiosity. Making my way to the Red River College, which i had yet to see, brought a spectacular, calm setting. The Atrium combined new with old, in a sophisticated, modern way. The way that the daylight made a spotlight within the area also created a warm and inviting environment. Exploring other areas of the Red River College, and speaking with people, it was evident that they were proud of their school and the design of it. Keeping the old volts as apart of the building brought a heritage and culture to the building’s past uses, and brought an interesting artwork all found throughout the school. The sounds around the building were very minimal and created a feeling of solitude within the school. One thing I was very excited and some what jealous of seeing was the studio for graphic art. A neat, well kept room with order and personal space is what we need in our studio- which has no personal space, is not well kept and is sporadic. By just merely the design of Red Rive College, I would go to school there. This is how strong the design is.  


Red River Experience

October 26, 2008 - Leave a Response

            I found that Red River College had a way different feel than any other school structure.  Even something as small as the presence of fake plants brings tons of life to the whole setting of the building.  As well as the openness of the campus provides this remarkable flow from one area to the next, including saving land by designing vertically rather than horizontally.  This is very handy because it’s rather quick to get from one space to the next as well as reducing the campus’s footprint.    While walking through I realized how much design thought process must have been put into the building.  It seems that even the smallest details were considered, for example using the old support beams as benches to preserving the old building façade.  They didn’t just remodel, renew and redo which would end up resulting in a loss of all the important features but instead they saved and appreciated the downtown heritage. This shows the amount of planning that was needed to bring the old and new together, the main goal being to reuse, reduce and recycle.  I loved that instead of sending the old parts to landfills they were instead carefully thought about to be incorporated into the new design.  You see the importance of where and how you get the materials for a design project and how much of an effect it causes when you do something like this.  I think my favourite aspect of the building was the old vault doors, they aren’t really put to use but rather used as a piece of art to create more interest and character in the space.  Another thing that really stood out to me when I was in the space was the amount of natural light that was coming into the building, it has so many large windows which provides the best environment for students and faculty members.  All in all I think Red River College is a great environment for everyone and anyone. 


October 24, 2008 - Leave a Response

revamp: v.

1. to renovate, redo, or revise.


I found myself, along with fellow colleagues, stunned at the fact that we all have spent great amany day by the Red River College Princess St. location and yet have never let our curiosity lead us inside. No, it took another exciting field trip to eventually get us to venture beyond it’s exterior walls. We saw, we touched, we “oooohed” and “aahhhed”, and I have to admit that by the time I had left the building there may have been a little part of me that considered transfering into the graphic design program, just so that I could experience a space such as that on a daily basis. Personally, I find it intriguing that buildings can provoke such feelings and not to mention such curiosity. I was soo curious of the structure that I spent fifteen informative minutes in conversation with a random staff member I met in the elevator. Some interesting facts that I can remember from this discussion:

1. The main foyer was actually a back lane that was situated between the 2 existing buildings.

2. Lighting is automated on a sensor system to conserve energy.

Further more, while adventuring we stumbled upon their studio space, and quite frankly I am insanely jealous. I had no idea that it could be so neat and tidy. The highlight/sad-realization would have had to been when the discovery of the in-studio photocopier utterly blew my mind.

To wrap things up, more information of the campuss’ sustainable design and technical aspects can be read on the following site:


Jen-Weld and Red River College Field Trip

October 24, 2008 - Leave a Response

Both of the buildings we saw today were beautiful and inspiring.  I love to see the old buildings in the exchange or downtown be revitalized while still keeping the original frames and character.  I’m always glad to see a company setting up a new shop or office in a once vacant building because it’s another small step towards improving the area.  I appreciated the effort the people at Jeld-Wen put into having us visit when they are still under construction.  There were a few doors in the showroom that I really loved, I could already start to imagine a foyer around them. The following website has some interesting blogs about Winnipeg’s downtown and exchange district, and also some of the businesses there:

This next website is about urban sprawl, and it compares Winnipeg’s density to the density of Hong Kong, London, and other large cities to show how sprawled we really are.  There are so few people living downtown in comparison to all the people packed into suburbs on the exterior of the city, or even outside the perimeter:

An interesting point that one of the bloggers makes on this site, and I have heard before however before that never considered …. is that Winnipeg has no geographical constraints as other cities do.  Many other large, succesful cities have an ocean, mountains or some other barrier to physically stop the growth of a city, at least on one end if not more.  Winnipeg, on the other hand, is in the middle of the praries.  All we have around us is cheap, flat land…perfect for urban sprawl.  It’s much easier for developpers to purchase that land and build a new suburb than it is to take the risk of buying downtown.

This image is from the manitoba historical society.…/38/exchangedistrict.shtml

I find it very interesting, and sometimes a little sad to see what Winnipeg used to look like.  I find it sad because it was considered to have so much potential to be “the center of Canada” and that really didn’t happen as we all know.  However, it used to be very beautiful, and parts of Winnipeg still are.  Historical Winnipeg should be an inspiration for developpers today.


CN Tower

October 22, 2008 - Leave a Response


Perhaps an “unsuccesful” use of colour in architecture?




October 22, 2008 - Leave a Response

I was interested in both of the guest speakers last class, they both had insightful research to share which they held my attention.  I hadn’t thought of the effect of shadows on building very much before, but learning more about it now makes me realize how important it would be to consider when designing a structure.  I would imagine that it would be even more challenging in Winnipeg since our sun levels (if that’s a term) fluctuate so much.  It must be easier in parts of the world that have a more consistent pattern.  I found a website that explains some basic techniques for planning buildings with consideration to shadows.


What is better?

October 20, 2008 - Leave a Response

            I was reading AZURE magazine and found it interesting how after Thursdays class I came upon this article that talked about lighting but it took a different view on it which I thought would be interesting to share with everyone and get people’s opinion on it.  The article brought up the same fact that Shauna mentioned, which is that the incandescent bulb is planned to be banned in Canada by 2012, but what I found interesting about this article is that it then went into the problems that may occur with the others that we had not thought about yet.  We all realize that the compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are taking over the sales by being advertised as more energy efficient as well as having a ten times longer lifespan than traditional light bulbs but what seems to be slipped out of mind is that fluorescent lamps require mercury to conduct electricity and the problem with that being where it is all going when they are burnt out and what kind of damage it is going to cause to the environment.  It has been reported by the US Environmental Protection Agency and Natural Resources Canada that the actual risks are minute because the amount of mercury in CFL’s is very small, only four to five milligrams but if there is a massive pile up of discarded bulbs it has to eventually add up.  However I thought a really brilliant idea that was brought up in the article is that there are some retailers that have begun collecting CFL’s for recycling such as Ikea and Home Depot. These retailers than send the bulbs to a special facility that draws out the mercury and phosphorus before crushing the glass.  This one manufacturer Megaman partnered with Thykier’s advertising agency and came up with the idea of creating packages that have return-post ready for recycling CFL’s.  I thought this idea is grasping the problem at hand and solving it in a simple way.    


October 18, 2008 - Leave a Response

daylight: n.

1. to suffuse (an interior space) with artificial light or with daylight filtered through translucent materials, as roofing panels.

Windows just aren’t for when you creepily want to watch you neighbours as they walk their dog. Nor are they there for the sake of spying on sweaty shirtless landscapers as they cut you1r grass in the hot summer heat….although they do prove quite useful for this type of window-behavior abuse. For designers alike, windows are means of bringing together all elements of a structure. They act as a connection between people on the interior to the outside world. They act as a disconnecter for when solid walls make a space feel enclosing. Windows are a means of  bringing in the natural light, light that as humans, affects are moods, of feelings, and comfort. 

I did some digging on architect, Santiago Calatrava earlier in the semester for the paperfolds assignment. During that time my focus on him was mainly centered on the geometry and shapes found in his work. Now, when revisiting his work, I’m shocked that I paid no attention to the involvement of daylight in his designs. In addition, Calatrava has the tendency to combine strong amounts of filtered in light alongside the use of white backdrops. While applying natural light into interior spaces is relatively high on the design list, color must also be have a role in consideration with light to compliment one another. Calatrava works the tools elements and the result are light infused spaces that function harmoniously with the interior and exterior environments.



picture sources:


Reflection on Lighting

October 17, 2008 - Leave a Response

           I found today’s class to be especially interesting and informative.  I knew lighting was important in order to be able to work in environments but I didn’t come to realize until today how much is really involved with it.  For example, the idea of how the lighting can totally change the perception of a space, or how it is important to take into account the positioning of windows on a building and to consider what is around the building and how the reflections of those objects are going to affect the space.  It made me come to realize how important lighting really is to a space and how it shouldn’t be an afterthought but rather an integrated thought through-out the design process.  Especially with the ideas that Dan brought in about it being a continuous thought process and how problems that are found later can be solved before they even occur by using the methods he explained. 

            I found Shauna’s information on the eye and its abilities and properties very helpful as well into understanding how the eye works and how it can affect how we perceive things.  I found this phrase when I was researching more about the effects of lighting after class and thought it fit perfectly as a summarization of today: “Light can alter the appearance of a room or area without physically changing it. Light directs our view, influences perception and draws our attention to specific details. Light can be used to divide and interpret rooms in order to emphasise areas or establish continuity between the interior and exterior. Light distribution and luminance have a decisive influence on how architecture is perceived.” (

Architectural lighting Lecture

October 17, 2008 - Leave a Response

It was really informative to learn about the extent that lighting has in architecture. What I found really interesting was the example of how different positions of light can trigger different emotions and different narratives. By having a basic sun chart, we can conclude where to put windows based on the positions of sunlight. Another interesting thought about light is the basic source of lighting. How daylight includes all colours of the rainbow, while incandescent favours warm colours and flourescents favour blue/cold colours. Lighting is an extremely important factor into creating a wonderful environment. If you look into starchitects like Tadao Ando and Jean Nouvel’s works, you will see the attention to detail to lighting. 

Church of Light.jpg

This is an example of Tadao Ando’s Church of light. 


This example is from Tadao Ando’s Historical Museum. The lighting compliments the artwork on the wall, but depending on time of day, the light moves across the wall and floor in a stunning way.
Jean Nouvel’s works use light and colour together to make beautiful spaces. His works of the Guthrie Theatre in Minniapolis, and the Quai Branly Museum show a great mixture of vibrant colour and light.

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These are just a few examples. If you want to look for great architectual lighting, these two architects have several of works that are fantastic examples. 


October 13, 2008 - Leave a Response

Much like the Theo Jansen’s kinetic sculptures that walk and live on their own, the exo skeleton suit, the GINA bmw car, the Big dog Robot is something that is very interesting to take a look at. Made from Boston Dynamics, this robot was made to carry heavy equipment for military I believe, but the amazing thing about this robot is it adapts to all conditions. It can walk on any surface, including ice! Very cool, and very innovative. take a look!


Body Metabolism Thoughts

October 12, 2008 - Leave a Response

The body metabolism journal was definately an eye opener with respect to the amount of energy we consume. The majority of my consumed energy was fuel energy… driving, on the bus, ect. Despite the fact that the bus is “the better choice” it still consumes a lot of energy. Buses use a lot of fuel and even though there are 30-40 people on the bus, it consumes as much energy as a car if you’re driving alone. It is a better choice, but there is still a lot of energy being consumed. Water has embodied energy; it needs to be processed for us to use it. I usually take 10 minute showers, and if approx. 10 litres are being used per minute… that’s a lot of energy/water being used (100 litres). Due to that idea, I’ve been thinking that I should start taking 5 minute showers and cut the amount of energy being used into half. Although water is still being used, it’s significantly lower than 10 minute showers. (And, I could probably sleep an extra 5 minutes everyday, so it’s a win-win situation). Due to the difficulty of finding all of the materials we consume, I chose to focus on toilet paper. Even with just one material I found that there was still a high amount of energy being consumed and thus, if I were to be able to calculate the amount of all materials that I used, I can only assume that it would be a lot. I think we’re very privileged in the Western Society and we should really reconsider the amount of energy that we consume. The world is going to change and we may not be as privileged as we are right now.

Colour Therapy Video

October 12, 2008 - Leave a Response

Hey guys,

I know you’re all stress out and got a lot of work to do this long weekend, but check this video out if you have 8 minutes to spare. It uses colour therapy to heal the body. Maybe it will relax you? Don’t stress out to much, take care 🙂

Healing Architecture

October 12, 2008 - Leave a Response

Before this week’s class I had heard of healing architecture and found it so inspiring that something as simple as color and orientation of a building could make such a difference in a person’s life.  I was glad to find out that a lot of hospitals are starting to take these things into consideration when in the design process.  For a local example, St. Boniface hospital opened up an art gallery for its patients and others.  I noticed in healing architecture there is a blend between nature and architecture.  Since patients are left alone for most of the time and are only visited from staff a few times in the day the environment plays a major role to their sense of well being and recovery.  It is proven that patients have given higher ratings to actual treatment and the way they feel in these surroundings.  Data was collected from South Downs Health NHS Trust in Brighton, UK and I was surprised when I read that there was a two thirds drop in patients injuring themselves.  Just like how it was mentioned in class that colors make you feel certain ways, a room can have the same quality.  For example if a room is too large for its function then it can feel empty and exposed.  On the other hand if a room is too small it can feel cramped and enclosed.  As one can see even the simple aspect of the relation between the size and function of a room is quite an importance.  On top of that natural light, sound, smell and visuals all play significant parts in healing architecture.  I found it quite inspiring that healthcare professionals, hospital administrators, interior designers, architects, landscape architects, and environmental scientists all work together to form this perfect assemblage of healing architecture. 

Water bottles

October 12, 2008 - One Response

            I was doing the ecology paper on the process of how a product is made and decided to research the water bottle.  I found this project related to the body metabolism journal in that we don’t realize the impact something we use has until we go into the details of our every day activities and see what kind of an affect each thing has.   I was quite disgusted when I read the information and had to put it on the blog for everyone to read.  Then maybe it will make us realize how bad even the simple water bottle is to the environment and will make us WANT to change our ways.  First off for every litre of water sold three litres of water went into the production of it.  In addition it was estimated that the total amount of energy used in the production of water bottles is equivalent to filling a plastic bottle one quarter full with oil.  Furthermore for every litre of water 3.4 mega joules of energy were used up.  Now if this isn’t bad enough it also takes three tonnes of carbon dioxide to make one tonne of PET (polyethylene terephthalate).  So all in all one can notice that it really isn’t worth having water bottles and that we should be one of the places that stops the production of them and decides to use water dispensers or tap water.  Anyone can notice that it really doesn’t take that much of an effort to make a difference.

Mellow Yellow

October 11, 2008 - Leave a Response

mellow yellow: n.

1. a song and single release by Donovan.

(NOTE: Allow song to play for desired improvement in reading abilities)

Now I know that this maybe slightly off-topic, and I am clearly aware that Donovan’s use of the word “yellow” may not have translated onto me in a way that he wanted. The proper meaning of the lyrics have been critically debated over time, to a point where several interpretations on “mellow yellow” are now cicurlating through the theories. And now, for the sake of the blog, and of the recent thoughts of color influence that I have been churning, I shall giveth my meaning on the matter:

The color yellow, to me, means happy. It reminds me of those perfect summer days wasted on the deck as I sun-bathe myself into a cancer proned future. It’s a color that disappears from my memory come winter, and returns in the spring with a warm, nostalgic feeling. It’s Donovan’s calm, low voice filtering through my ears and soothing my mind into a state of sublimity. 

Frankly the song can take on whatever meaning all the intellectually cynical critics want to give it, but for me personally, it doesnt neccesarily need to be so complicated. Donovan captures the essence of yellow with the song’s arrangement, and it takes on a form of therapy. I, in response, feel greaaaaaaaaat.






The End of Suburbia

October 9, 2008 - Leave a Response

The video we saw in class regarding suburbia and its origins really got me thinking about how fast ones ideals can be manipulated and changed. If you look at the sign in Charleswood, it describes the district as ‘suburb beautiful’. The word ‘suburb’ no longer has meaning it had back when it was implemented. 

Headingley Interurban.jpg

This is Headingley (notice the name spelt wrong) back when it was a street car suburb. This is close to home considering Headingley is a place i have lived my whole life. When I was growing up, the suburb meant simply residency. My house was custom built by my dad, as many homes were. All of the houses had their own identity. Now, Headingley, along with other Winnipeg surrounding towns have become this:

This is not a photo from Headingley, this is actually in Las Vegas. However, this photo is a definition on how we recognize what a suburb is. The suburbs found south in the states are very much the same to what you would see in and around Winnipeg. There is no longer an identity. Each home resembles the other. 

Suburbs once began with good intentions. At the time of Industrialization, the city was a terrible place to live in. By presenting a place based on an idea of a manor in a park, people had the opportunity to flee the polluted city and engage themselves with nature. The first people that moved were fairly wealthy, and the only means of transportation to these suburbs was the street car. By the 1920’s, the great depression had arrived, and soldiers were promised post World War 2 living was in suburbia. As the suburbs began to flourish in size, there was no longer any country living. Shopping, offices, and retail followed the movement towards suburbs. Cars played an important role in the suburban tragedy.  Without cars, suburbia could not work. And without cheap oil, suburbs would not exist. 

Today, oil is almost or has already hit its peak. To live in a suburb today is unsustainable. In 2003, industrial, commercial and residential areas reached an 100% capacity for A/C, causing a black out in Toronto. This black out could be looked at as a fire drill. Future growth is not possible if we continue at the rate we are going. If we do not find other sources of energy, if we do not find new means of transportation, our future looks nil. A prediction of inter-dependancy will have to be put into action in our nation due to the end of economic relationships and oil. Without power, China no longer can supply us with needs. An even more startling prediction is what our reactions will be like. There will be an immense amount of stress on political candidates. There will be global conflict and violence, a political and economic ‘shitstorm’. 

We are a society addicted to oil. There must be an end to suburbia.


EQ3 Field Trip

October 6, 2008 - Leave a Response

I liked the trip to the EQ3 Office/Warehouse.  I think it was important for us to see a different side to design.  As much as design is creative and free, it still is a business.  There are still many objectives to meet such as price points and current trends.  As we saw in the chair designing exercise, one of the main reasons why the winning design was chosen was because of its simplicity, making it a cost effective piece of furniture.  The comments from the product development team gave a good perspective of what we could expect (roughly) once we graduate.  I notice in myself and others, that it is easy to get too caught up in your specific degree, and we tend to forget that just because you are studying design for example, doesn’t mean that your career won’t require a fair bit of business knowledge.  One of the employees putting on the presentation mentionned that several people she knew from the program did not go on to work in the design field.  Maybe other students consider these things more often, but for me it was helpful to take a step back and think about all the directions i could potentially go from here.

On a side note, it was interesting to hear that they still use cardboard cut outs as models at EQ3…although I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or bad after project 2.



October 5, 2008 - Leave a Response

furniture: n.

1. the movable articles as tables, chairs, desks, or cabinets, required for use or ornament in a house, office, of the like.

As fabulous as the EQ3 field trip was their furniture designs border much on the safe side. The site Web Urbanist deals with rather unconvential and creative ideas that have sprung up on the urban design map. The one post, “90 Unusually Awesome Urban Furniture Designs” dives into the market of funky, and animated furniture. My one critique lies in whether some designs have more expressive personalities than that of their possible owners. Like really, it’s a little sad when your furniture one ups you at your own house party.





October 3, 2008 - Leave a Response

I found the tour at EQ3 quite interesting, and informative. It made me really look towards ergonomics in a whole new light. The ‘design your own chair’ exercise was really a challenge in designing a chair comfortable, aesthetically pleasing and cheap. It was through this exercise where I understood the difficulty in designing something as small in scale as furniture. After the tour of EQ3 I began to really look into contemporary furniture design and came across Sintesi Furniture. As the designers at EQ3 were explaining to us how far behind North America is with the styles of Europe, I really wanted to look into what they were speaking of. Sintesi has a great collection on modern furniture that I think you will all like.


Interesting Chair Design

October 3, 2008 - One Response

I thought this would be relevant to the little assignment we had earlier to design a chair.

I’m not sure how comfortable this chair would be as it is made out of cardboard and with respect to ergonomics, but it’s a neat design nonetheless. I like how versatile it is, really interesting. What do you guys think of the chair?

Field Trip

October 2, 2008 - Leave a Response

field trip:n.

1. a trip by students to gain firsthand knowledge away from the classroom, as to a museum, factory, geological area, or environment of certain plants and animals.

Unfortunately, the above map is to blame for my tardiness on today’s EQ3 field trip. Therefore the following blog entry shall be related to all things seen or heard approximately one hour after the official start of said field trip.

To kick things off….

What I learned from the presentations Q & A:…

     1. The design process is a much longer time period than our current studio time limits. This leads to exasperated feelings come the products completion.

What I learned from the chair design challenge…

     1. A chair that incorporates human hair is not functional with the EQ3 aesthetic.

     2. Be aware of the company’s design philosophies and take that into consideration when designing products for them. 

What I learned from the EQ3 factory tour…

     1. I wasn’t as overwhelmed by their main office/design space. Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean I was underwhelmed, however I found their space to be quite modest, and in a good way…. it wasn’t as intimidating as I had thought it would be.

     2. I imagined  more heavy machinery, yet surprisingly this was not the case. The construction process   appeared to be fairly hands-on. 

     3. The office attire seemed to be rather casual. This definitely put me at ease, instead of creating some superiority complex between us and the tour guides.

     4. Their designs are very clean and versatile. The simplicity makes them compatible in an array of environments.

Overall, the experience was enlightening.



September 30, 2008 - Leave a Response

google: n.

1. widely used internet search engine.


So our currently culture has gotten so obessed with being environmentaly concious that now, The National Geographic is suggesting I consider my energy consumption when using Google. Wait, Google? 

Seriously? What could Google possibly be doing to the environment that a shun may be neccessary? It never crossed my mind that Google can do wrong. The first time I typed in a topic search and saw the 374, 000 hit result, gosh, it was like the first time I heard The Beatles….blisssssss.

Some quick facts picked up form the article:

personal computer energy consumption equal the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions as burning 32 gallons of gasoline.

-answer to this: blacked-out background, that in comparison with the white Google background, has saved 963,115,453 watt hours of energy since 2007 launch

Now it turns out that Blackle is powered my the Google boys, so technically my beloved search engine isn’t as guilty as intailly I had assumed.  However Google may just get the shaft upon this new discovery of mine, Blackle is starting to grow on me.



September 30, 2008 - Leave a Response

cardboard: n.

1. a thin, stiff pasteboard, used for signs, boxes etc.

The current studio project has left me with very little love for cardboard. After numerous attacks from my exacto knife, dry hands, and cardboard dandruff littering my body, I was faced with a burning desire to rid my life of any cardboard related thoughts or interactions….until I discovered two amazing artist who manipulate the material into forms that I could not dream of.

The first is a man that goes by the name Mark Langan. He has the tendendacy to create more pattern-like cardboard pieces, rather than objects.

113__photogal  7__photogal










The second artist is Chris Golmour. His work with cardboard has taken on more of sculpture-esque forms. Extremely talented, his strength lies in the “awe” factor where  I, myself, am bewildered as to how he created such designs.





My experience with Colour

September 30, 2008 - Leave a Response

The ideas behind colour and the way they make people feel is a large part of design. When I think about “colour and design” I think about how many times I have painted my room and how each colour represents the type of “room” it was. When I first moved into my house the room was white and had a troll wallpaper border… I quickly took that off because it scared me. The idea of trolls circling me made me feel uncomfortable in the space. And so, I had a white room. I wanted to do something with my bedroom because I didn’t like having white walls; it didn’t feel like MY bedroom. So I painted it light blue; which was okay for a while, but it still didn’t feel like my bedroom. It was a calming space, due to the nature of the colour, but it wasn’t a space that i was active in or that I spent time in. After a few years, I got sick of the light blue and thought I’d paint it orange and blue. I liked the way orange and blue contrast, but after someone told me that my room looked like Winnipeg Transit I knew I needed to change it. The orange and blue made my room feel like a significantly smaller space. And as they were both bright but at the same time dark colours, they changed the lighting in my room; making it very dark and difficult to do homework and read in the space. That brings us to the new and current colour of my bedroom: jade. Very different from my previous painting choice… I wanted something that would be relaxing (for sleeping) and calm (for studying). I also wanted something bright, but not too bright (like the orange). With my current bedroom colour I feel like it’s a good place to relax after a long day of school and isn’t too dull that it almost acts like a “white.” All in all, I’m pretty content with my bedroom and I don’t think I’ll be changing it anytime soon 🙂


September 27, 2008 - One Response

Beginning with the thought of natural and human system the hypothesis of Gaia is a prime example that human beings cannot always be in full control even with all our new machinery and inventions.  James Lovelock hypothesized that the earth is alive and is in control of its own regulatory systems making us come to realize that there will always be other systems out there that have greater power and control.  It makes us succumb to the thought that we are small and insignificant compared to the universe. The earth adjusts to the impacts we as humans cause and makes us contemplate that the earth at any point in time could adjust to our forced impacts and either reduce the number of people or just exclude us all together.  All of it depending on what the earth needs to take care of itself.  Leading to the question will the earth be the end of us or we be the end of the earth?



Colour usage in Architecture

September 26, 2008 - Leave a Response

The lecture given about the effect colour has in architecture was more of a recap than a learning experience. 


Recap of colours:

Primary: red, blue, yellow   Secondary: purple (red + blue), orange (red + yellow), green (yellow + blue)   Tertiary: red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green, yellow-green, yellow-orange

Secondary involves combining two primary colours, while Tertiary involves combining a secondary and primary colour.

Hue: defined by the underlaying colour. ex. sky blue, royal blue.

Value: Adding black or white

Tint: Colour in white

Tone: Colour in shade

Shade: Colour in black

Intensity: Brightness of colour

There are relationships between colours when they are put side by side. 

these relationships are called complementary, contrasting, or adjacent colours

  color wheel contrast

complementary colours are those that are diagonal from eachother one the wheel. pairs of red and green, blue and orange, and yellow and purple, are all complementary

contrasting colours describe colours that when put together create vibrancy. As you can see in the chart above, is how effective blue and yellow are when placed within each other, and how red and orange are not effective when placed together. adjacent colour schemes explore colours that lead to either warm colours or cool colours. for instance adjacent colours would include reds and oranges, or greens and blues. 

I do feel that colour is an important aspect when dealing with architecture, and an understanding of the basic colour wheel and colour schemes can enhance understanding towards the relationship between colours and emotions. 



September 25, 2008 - Leave a Response

color: n.

1. the quality of an object or substance with respect to light reflected by the object, usually determined visually by measurement of hue, saturation, and brightness of the reflected light; saturation or chroma; hue.

2. something that is used for coloring; pigment; paint; tint; dye.

When was the last time I considered the influence of color, or at least its significance, in my everyday life?? Well never really. Possibly I’ve overlooked it in the past, however this mentality may be subject to change after Vaike’s lecture. Although I found her material rather simple in terms of color origin and it’s historical background, it did successfully manage to get the wheels in my brain turning in terms of the influence color has on my own personal level. Color impacts the clothes I wear, the shoes that compliment that dazzling outfit, and how those clothing colors silently communicate to others around me. It impacts which foods look appetizing to eat, what car I want to purchase, the trivial decision of choosing paint colors and how a specific paint color can affect the mood of a room. Subconsciously, color choice has been secretly influencing many decisions I make, day in, day out, only now, I like to think that I’m a little more aware of it.


Algae as Fuel?

September 25, 2008 - Leave a Response

This article talks about the new idea of algae as an alternative energy. I think using algae would be a very “green” idea. The problems with algae as a new biofeul is that it needs a lot of CO2 to grow fast, thus it cannot be just taken from ponds, but needs to be biologically engineered. (It would be best if the algae could be taken from the wild.) But with the right conditions “algae can double its volume overnight.” With that said, algae seems to be a good alternative to diesel. If the manufacturers can produce this new biofuel cheaper than diesel then algae might have a pretty good future as corn is not energy efficient.

As you can see from both images, they’re both very similar. I hate the idea that we’re so dependent on our oil, and to have a world without oil almost seems unbearable. These images represent the idea that we cannot live fuel and how far and what we will do to nature to obtain it. Not that algae is a bad idea, because it isn’t, it’s a very good idea… but i think we should think of using consuming energy that we would already be consumed. (ie.) The Air Car.

The Air Car is a very interesting idea as it uses something that we already have… it’s not like we have to “make” air. Click here for video on Air Car I think that the air is better than algae as it’s something that I don’t see us running out of very soon… and if we do, then we have bigger problems than running out of fuel.


baraka video

September 25, 2008 - Leave a Response

I could barely watch as the baby chicks were thrown into the heaps of others as they descended on the belt to be captive in cages for the rest of their lives. But as I shut my eyes as many others did, I thought to myself, ‘when they are showing me reality, I turn my head’. It makes me realize one great big issue found in our society. The majority of our society is naive to the reality around us, not just because we aren’t fed with information about such topics as this, but because we choose to be. We are all very much evident of the issues concerning energy and waste, we understand the consequences without changing the way we live, and yet what action has been done?  For example, when seeing a man throw baby chicks like they were an object made me feel terrible for all the animals I eat since they too are treated in such a manor. But as a choice, I resume to my normal life. It is easier that way. 

Easier. Easier is a term we are all very aware of because it defines the way we live. We as North Americans have concerns about things in our interest, rather than the worlds. Yes, I personally do want to change the way we plan our cities, and yes I do want to contribute to the environment, but I do the tasks that need to be completed such as school work, which takes up all my days and my nights, my weekends and spare time. North Americans are always busy, and we really don’t want to occupy our spare time with making a difference in the world. Anything that makes life easier fits best into our lives.

And then there is the matter of the leading theme and question- is there a defined line between man, and machine? ‘Baraka’ made me look through a whole new set of eyes. The scenes of the fast-forward cars and people as they raced across our screens, the factories where the human was in fact the machine they used to assemble parts for yet another machine to be made. This expands my ideas of such a question, even though we as individuals do feel, we do have our own stories and our own experiences. And yet by population, where the individual no longer matters, we are non other than a collection of machines, where feeling is out of the question. The scenes of traffic only communicate to me that we are mindless. 


Box Store

September 24, 2008 - Leave a Response

box store: n.

1. a retail store.

I was avoiding any form of being productive in class today and felt like ranting. Studio time well spent?..


1. They feel overbearing, even to my 5’11” frame.

2. Walking past more than three-linked box stores is rather uncool…No, I think I’ll just hop in my car and drive the 2 min. distance instead.

3. Their ceilings are obnoxiously high and silly.

4. In relation to #3, couldn’t we conserve on construction, material, and labour costs by not building such obnoxiously silly ceilings.

5. Curiously, what might the cost be to heat/cool all that unused space?

6. And what might the cost be to light it as well? Perhaps they consider ditching the whole colossal ceiling fad and open up the space with a nice cheery skylight? 

7. An ultimate personal beef of mine with the WhyteRidge/Lindenwood box store community: It possibly has the most awkward Tim Hortons drive-thru ever. Officially, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve ended up at the Wendy’s window by accident.

8. Sometimes, you just want to support the little guy (local retailers). This isn’t always easy when he’s competing against a Spartan that oddly resembles the Urban Barn box store.

9. …I was in a box store community once and gazed out, across the horizon. All that met my eyes was a sea of empty parking spaces.

10. This last one is more of a playful thought….. but why not take these bare lots and smack some more stucco crusted clone homes down in them?

Lack of trees? Check!

Lack of grass outside your front door? Check!

Plenty of places to park the four cars needed for the family to make their daily commute into civilication? Check!

Yes, I do believe that qualifies it for a suburbia housing site.


photo source:



September 24, 2008 - Leave a Response

change: v.

1. to become different.

2. to become altered or modified.

3. to become transformed or converted.


Change? No, I don’t think that is quite effective….

Massive Change: How can we benefit ourselves and future generations through design?

I stumbled upon while doing some research on Bruce Mau. Upon my initially reaction, I honestly thought that the site seemed a little boring. With not to much visual layout or graphic design going on, I quickly was contemplating whether to further explore what the site had to offer. That was until I found the mission statement:

“Design has emerged as one of the world’s most powerful forces. It has placed us at the beginning of a new, unprecedented period of human possibility, where all economies and ecologies are becoming global, relational, and interconnected.

In order to understand and harness these emerging forces, there is an urgent need to articulate precisely what we are doing to ourselves and to our world. This is the ambition of Massive Change.

Massive Change is a celebration of our global capacities but also a cautious look at our limitations. It encompasses the utopian and dystopian possibilities of this emerging world, in which even nature is no longer outside the reach of our manipulation.”

The people behind Massive Change have taken into account the importance of smart design in today’s world, but what I find truly attractive about them is their modesty. They are aware of the problems in design, and react to them realistically. Lately, I’ve found myself reading endless amounts of blog posts that speak of new technologies and designs. However I am often skeptical of how realistic they seem. Are we really going to start the process of completely redesigning our cities to be more sustainable, and while it’s nice to be that hopeful, some come off a tad far-fetched. Massive Change emphasizes the realistic capabilities of design and present us with that information, devoid of any smoke and mirrors.

Also check out the Incomplete Manifesto for Growth. It’s Bruce Mau’s way of provided a different thought approach to design and process.


The Right to a City

September 23, 2008 - Leave a Response

Social theorist, David Harvey, wrote a paper titled,  “The Right to a City”. It’s a solid read that discusses the functioning of urban cities. 

“Examining the link between urbanization and capitalism, David Harvey suggests we view Haussmann’s reshaping of Paris and today’s explosive growth of cities as responses to systemic crises of accumulation—and issues a call to democratize the power to shape the urban experience.”

“As in all the preceding phases, this most recent radical expansion of the urban process has brought with it incredible transformations of lifestyle. Quality of urban life has become a commodity, as has the city itself, in a world where consumerism, tourism, cultural and knowledge-based industries have become major aspects of the urban political economy”


baraka video

September 22, 2008 - Leave a Response

I found the baraka video that we watched in class very sobering.  It highlighted a lot of negative aspects of our mass consumption life.  The clips of the women assembling parts immediately made me think of humans as machines in the way that they repeated the same motions with no expression.  I think the video portrayed aspects of our culture that we don’t like to be associated with, and understandably so.  To me the video seemed to be mocking our way of life, and also showcasing cruel practices, maybe to try to make us all more aware of what is happening around us.  I’m not even sure what they were doing to those chicks, but it looked horrible and made me sad and I believe that was the desired outcome of the makers of the video.  However, it made me realize that I shouldn’t have been so shocked as I was to see those images of the chicks.  It’s hypocritical of me to feel disgusted by those images when I support that market.  I have to admit that I do buy things without always thinking where they are from or how they were made.  I am trying to be more conscious of the world around me so that something like the images of those chicks, horrible as it was, doesn’t come as a shock to me.


first class

September 22, 2008 - Leave a Response

I’m excited about this course as well as the one on Tuesday afternoons.  I learned about some of the topics that I think we might go over in a Biology course last year but there’s still a lot to know.  I’m very interested in the discussion of natural/machine systems.  It might have gone a bit over my head but the idea that I got from it was that we need to accept the world we are living in.  The majority of the earth has become industrialized or somehow controlled by machines and therefore almost nothing is strictly natural anymore.  That being said, this does not have to be a bad thing, as it usually gets a negative connotation.  Once we accept that we are more machine than natural, we can find the beauty in machine and also still appreciate some of the natural elements that may still exist.


Ectomorph, Mesomorph, Endomorph

September 22, 2008 - Leave a Response


Design is a social act, we design for human beings, not for ourselves. Jerry introduced us to the word Anthrometrics, which is the measurement of size and proportions of the body. There are three body types. Ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph. I looked further into this because Jerry just touched on what these body types are. 

An ectomorph is defined physically as fragile and delicate. 

on this is how they described an ectomorph

The extreme ectomorph physique is a fragile and delicate one. The bones are light, joints are small and muscles are slight. The limbs are relatively long in proportion and the shoulders droop. The ectomorph is a linear physique. Straight up and straight down, and may appear longer than he or she really is, due to the length of limbs coupled with lack of muscle mass developed on those limbs. The ectomorph is not naturally powerful and will have to work hard for every ounce of muscle and every bit of strength he or she can gain.


A mesomorph is defined as athletic. 

Mesomorph is sport and athletic built, has more muscular looking, healthy, good physical attributes, broad shoulders, visible defined muscle-packs, good stature and build, making a good impression, exhuberating vitality and energy.

The Endomorph is characterized as often having big bones, round face, and a large trunk and thighs. Endomorph body types have a naturally high degree of body fat, especially around the midsection. When you see the usuall endomorph body type, your thinking in the shape pattern of a pear.

The difference of these bodies are significant to the way we design around people. Someone may be 6’6″ and someone may be 4′. Someone may be petite, and someone may be large. How do we design for everyone? Can we? These are questions raised by Jerry in his Ergonomic lecture. 



September 21, 2008 - Leave a Response

scale: n.

1. a relationship between objects, in terms of size and proportions.


Powers of Ten, although seemingly simple in initial concept, after giving it some thought, I realised that extent of it’s complexity. At first the film started in a mild manner, with a couple having a scrumptious looking picnic accompanied by the voice of an ethuastic narrator. I quickly made the assumption that the rest of the short documentary would enviel along the same straightforward timeline…and it did. The images that followed were similiar in their direct style, however the information soon evolved to be much more intricate. Maybe it’s my fear of space, one that comes from thinking about its end and beginning, and the broad knowledge we have of it. Throughout my life I’ve found myself feeling clasthrophic when the topic of outer space arises, again I felt the fimiliar sense of overwhelment by the information presented in “Powers of Ten”. I realize that perhaps this fear is really a phobia I have in reagards to scale, and further the scale of the universe. What Ray and Charles Eames presented in the film is the scale of the human form in relation to the space around it, which, based on their depiction, extends to encompass all things living and inanimate, and up into outer-space. 

To consider this in a design sense, it challenges us to first consider design on a small human scale, then to proceed to think of the scale that involves objects interacting with the human scale. This extends to the scale of the environment and then onto the relationship of that environment inside an even larger environment, etc. It’s alot to consider, and although the film publication dates back to 1977, the issue and idea is still adapted into contemporary design.



September 21, 2008 - Leave a Response

             The Charles & Ray Eames and Baraka movie we watched in class on Thursday really emphasized how fast people are moving.  This makes you see how caught up we get with our own lives that we don’t really care to notice other things that may be happening around us.  In addition to making us not really notice the effects and scale of our actions.  Personally I thought these movies had similar relations to our journal project, tracking our daily life which makes us slow down and focus on the details of everyday.  On top of this it makes us comprehend the amount of waste we produce, how much water, food, and electricity we use, etc.  Through it all it can serve as an eye opener as to how much we use and the kind of environmental impact we produce.  Maybe making us re-think the way we think and live.



First class

September 21, 2008 - Leave a Response

           It was interesting to think about the ideas that were planted into our heads after the first class and how there really isn’t any clear defined median between natural and human systems.  The conversion of natural into the unnatural and where this conversion begins and ends is somewhat of a mystery.  From this class I noticed that we are so connected to machines that we are sometimes manipulating and changing our environment for the worse and don’t even realize it because at the time all we can see is the positive reaction.

            One of the major used words in the first class was regeneration and I think all of us have been exposed to this through-out our schooling realizing how much of an importance it is to start making changes to our every day activities and begin to give back to the thing we take so much from being the earth.  It is eye-opening to everyone when they realize that we can’t just escape from what we’ve done because there is no where to escape to and no such thing as turning back time.  This makes us come to comprehend that our only option would be to re-think what it is we are doing, looking at our actions and the reactions to those actions. 



September 21, 2008 - Leave a Response

From this class and our studio I believe everyone has learned a lot about the importance of anthropometrics, and how it influences design.   In my studio group we focused on not just a couple of people’s measurements but on our whole studio group as a whole.  Looking at the averages and noticing that not even one out of thirteen of us fit into Vitruvian man expectation, the Golden Ratio, or Le Modular.  This made me begin to wonder why these numbers are “ideal” if not even one person could match up.  This lead me to the thought that maybe there should be a more individualistic way to design similar to the way clothing stores are designed to different sized people.  This all relates to the talk about the chair in class and how it doesn’t critically fit any of us in the spots that are most useful for making it comfortable.  My final thought being that maybe we should re-think some of the ways we design to not fit this “average” idealized person but more for the common wealth.



Social Theory

September 21, 2008 - Leave a Response

social theory: n.

1. the use of theoretical framework to study and interpret social structures and phenomenon within a particular school of thought.


I have to say that the intro lecture has left me with a little fear. At moments I found myself in mild states of panic/confusion in regards to what was being said, and at other times I was content and interested in the material. Perhaps these states of panic can be chalked up to the philosophical way of Jae’s teaching. I can embarrassing admit that my brain goes slightly haywire around philosophical conversations, its uncool, I know, but try as I might, philosophy and me just don’t go hand in hand. So here shall be my best attempt to interpret the thoughts presented by Jae, please forgive if I go naively about it…

Jae brought up the concept of our current nature and it’s relation to a machine-like theory of existence. We’ve grown to a point in our evolution where a dependency on machines influences much our daily interactions and mechanisms . In a sense, we have created our own means of slavery, where we are the slaves, whether aware of it, or not. And while this thought is intimidating, the idea of escaping this patterned lifestyle isn’t really that inviting. No, because we have come so far in technological advancement, humanity’s future will most likely proceed to follow this path. Hell, I’ve accepted, even though consciously I wonder whether I may have been better without all of it. The phenomenon of  airport psychology that Jae presented, further ensured me of this doubt. To really consider how strictly airport times schedules are, and the amount of control that comes out of enforcement of these schedules, realistically is a rather easy way of metaphorically summing up the daily lives of most cultures on the planet. We become slaves to time, to routine, and at moments to stress. It’s a robotic world.

picture source: 


Powers of Ten

September 20, 2008 - Leave a Response

This video from Charles and Ray Eames starts out with a scene of two lovers having a picnic in a park, where the scale is at the frame of 10 to the 0, 1 meter distance away. This scale connects on a personal level. It is the scale in which we walk through our everyday lives. The camera quickly moves upward, revealing new powers of ten fitting the screen. By the 2nd power of 10, we are already in a 100 meter cube frame, the distance a man can run in 10 seconds. By ten to the 3rd, we find ourselves in the scale in which a racing car can travel in ten seconds. Ten to the 4th (10 000 meter cubed), is the distance a supersonic airplane can travel in 10 seconds, and at 10 to the 5th, becomes the distance in which an orbiting satelite can travel in 10 seconds. By 10 to the 7th, we see the whole sphere of the earth. As the powers of ten increase, we find ourselves in completely different scales and interpret the pictures in much different ways. 10 to the 16th is the distance of a light year, and by 10 to the 19th, a view frames the milky way. 

The camera brings us back to the lovers at a picnic and goes in a reverse. This time the camera leads us into the negative powers of ten. 10 to the negative 1 frames 10 centimetres, 10 to the negative 2 at one centimetre already shows the surface of the mans hand. Negative 3rd power: one mm, the skin’s surface. The Negative 5th power brings us to enter the white blood cell. Ten to the negative seventh we already begin to see DNA. The negative tenth power is a scale amongst electrons. By the negative 14th power of ten we are viewing a single proton. 

What Charles and Ray Eames indicate by this video is that scales present us with different experiences and different information. That what we may not see at one meter away, is still there. We must account for things in all scales. The views of an insect perhaps, or the views from a satellite orbiting earth.