#82. The Streak is Over.

There’s probably not a better occasion to revive the blog here. This evening in Texas, the Pittsburgh Pirates secured win number 82 on the season, ensuring their first winning season since 1992. Many of you that read this don’t care about that. Many of you might.

Sports are often times scrutinized, rightly, for being too large a part of the American diet. We consume sports more than ever. However, the emotions we have regarding sports often stem from childhood memories. Probably more than any other sports event in Pittsburgh history, #82 means the most to me.

It was October of 1992. I was in Catholic elementary school. I lived with my mother and grandparents at the time. My ‘pap’ was basically my best friend then. I picked up some bad habits like drinking too much pop and eating Pop-Tarts with him, but we spent countless nights in the game room. The game room was legendary. A small, smoke filled basement with a worn La-Z-Boy recliner perfectly placed in the corner. It angled right towards the TV, with a 25 gallon aquarium built flush into the wall right beside it. I normally had to feed the fish. His home-made cardboard and lauan plywood shelves displayed his beer can collection that started during his time serving in World War II. I still display them to this day, proudly, in my own game room. Our favorite past time while watching Pirates games on TV was to play our own style of baseball. Bowling figurine baseball. See, my pap loved his beer-league bowling buddies. They gave each other funny trophies of sorts each season. If you need a visual, they were exactly like this: Image

There were enough to field 8 guys in the field [the game room carpet]. We had made up names for two rosters. Ping pong balls and a 1950’s wooden toy chest created the action. I whipped the ping pong balls at the toy chest at various speeds and angles. If it hit a figurine, its an out. If not, then score as necessary. The proportions were perfect, see, because a fake fireplace sat in the rear of the outfield. Make it in the fireplace, ground rule double. Hit above the mantle? Home run. Knock a beer can over? Automatic out. Can’t risk denting the beer cans.

We sat that night in October of 1992 playing just another game of bowling-figurine baseball when Sid Bream slid in to home and shattered my heart. The Pirates haven’t been winners since. Until tonight.

PS- Today, Sid Bream and I sit in the same row in church most Sundays.

Lets go Bucs.

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Update: MVRDV Project Will Be Built

Well that didn’t take long. One day after I posted the articles about The Cloud, this release comes out saying the project will be built as-is. This blog entry from Architizer seems to be on the ‘inflammatory, offensive’ side of the argument.

http://www.architizer.com/en_us/blog/dyn/35714/mvrdvs-cloud-will-be-built-as-is/

Good for the developer, I say. Its a shame we don’t see truly innovative projects in America lately. When you look down on the buildings like in the image below, tell me, [a] would you ever put 2 and 2 together from that image and [b] you can’t say that’s not a very cool concept.

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MVRDV Slammed for Seoul project design

I started this conversation on Facebook and had to bring it here…designers and non-designers alike, what do you think?

Please read the link below via LA Times. MVRDV is a very well respected, progressive Dutch firm who us designers know of very well. Personally, I can’t make the connection to think these guys did anything premeditated to draw connections to the twin towers. The project is in Seoul. Vertical, high density building typologies are common place. There is nothing new about the concept of an elevated horizontal connector between two volumes. This is part of a larger project which is headed up by Daniel Libeskind – the master plan architect for the reconstruction of Ground Zero.

Does it look a bit inappropriate from the American perspective? Probably. Keep in mind, these guys are not American, nor is the project in America. The Dutch are far from politically controversial. Given how bright these guys are, maybe they should have seen this coming. After all, we are in fact a bit hyper sensitive over here. I’m all for maintaining sensitivity towards an obviously terrible moment for our country, but I have a hard time jumping all over MVRDV here. After this fire storm, this will never be built. But this raises some real questions about how architecture can be influenced by so many forces – international public opinion being one of them.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/world_now/2011/12/seoul-world-trade-center-apartment-towers.html

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203430404577094880424515466.html

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Ice Cube Admires the Eames House

This is pretty awesome. Rapper Ice Cube talks about Los Angeles traffic, then ends up in the woods talking about his admiration for the Eames house. YES

http://video.nytimes.com/video/2011/12/07/garden/100000001212916/ice-cube-celebrates-the-eames-house.html

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Universal Design is a Great Thing

As this video explains, universal design should not be a restraint, but it should become an integral element to the design process in the same way that sustainability has…this video is definitely worth the 5 minutes.

Ed Roberts Campus—Building Community from Leddy Maytum Stacy on Vimeo.

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Designers are Control Freaks

I’ve already quoted this before on here, but worth quoting again:

‘You’re all here in architecture school because some part of you is a control freak.’ – Prof. Justin Hilton

It is so true. Whether it be architects, interior designers, landscape architects, graphic designers, etc, designers have powerful opportunities to control many senses of the users that occupy are utilize the designer’s project. A great example of this is retail, where many studies have been done to prove that through store planning and graphic design, retail sales can be escalated. I came across this great article today about how Whole Foods does this so well:

http://finance.yahoo.com/family-home/article/113511/how-whole-foods-primes-you-shop-fastco

We should take note, however, that this responsibility should not be taken lightly. In the Whole Foods case, design is used to proactively influence a person’s actions. In the case of architects and interior designers, we have the ability to create spaces that subconsciously can improve the quality of life for users in an important living or working space. Remember, people, our legal job description is to protect the health, safety, and welfare of building occupants. It sure is fun, though, being able to say that you’ve positively impacted someone’s environment, whether they realize it or not.

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KSU Arch in the News

© Victoria Capranica

I took a trip up to good old Kent State in May for some student reviews. As I pulled in to the lots near the Architecture buildings, I noticed this amoebic form surrounding the main sidewalk. I left my car and walked right to it, through it, and back through it the other way. It is an inherently intriguing form. Turns out, a group of KSU Archies built this as part of a competition. It also made ArchDaily, a huge architecture and design website. Check it out:

http://www.archdaily.com/161894/2011-matr-project-the-passage/

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