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Learning Portfolio Eric Trinh Arch 21 Spring 2011 Midterm

Introduction This learning portfolio is a demonstration of my work, the thought processes and analyses behind it, and my reflection on it as I’ve progressed in my critical thinking, self-learning, and mind regarding the creativity behind architectural design.

Time and Memory First day of class and there’s already an assignment due on the next one. Lovely. The icebreaker was to compile images that represented time and memory respectively, creating a relation between each other. I thought of time and memory as simply analyzing moments from time and remembering something about it that made it memorable.

Time and Memory I thought about the Back to the Future films fairly quickly and used images from the movie to show how time and memory related. In the end, it was a little too obvious of an approach.

Time and Memory After the next class, I started to understand a bit about time and memory. Something more personal would evoke a better presentation. I decided to go with something that was more conventional and that was my hobby of playing video games. Technology of video games advance with time and always have something unique and memorable because of this technology, so I wanted to present that.

Time and Memory I had something to start with, but I had to progress further from there. It wasn’t enough that I had the game system and images of memorable features of that system. In the iterations following, I added text and more images, creating a narrative about how these games and fictional characters were tools to take me to adulthood and beginning to think and act for myself.

Time and Memory

I learned that showing a relation between time and memory wasn’t enough.

Evoking a strong sense of growth and experience is what made time and memory stick out. In the beginning I wasn’t sure what to do; I was lost. In the couple of weeks, I began to see that I overestimated the contents of the box instead of what’s outside it.


I took images of floors around the city, each one with different material serving different functions such as indoor flooring, rough ground, and raised tiles.

I learned from this exercise that beyond the physicality of the material, the flooring is a medium utilized for pathways, indicating direction, or placed to indicate a static place or node.

Floors The next assignment involved finding places with flooring that served a deeper purpose than just for being a floor. I had a hard time thinking of what places had a strong sense of floors and walls. Through Google and Wikipedia, I eventually came to use the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the California Academy of Science’s “Living Roof.”

Floors Exploring these floors brought out a lot of information I never would have thought of before like symbolism or metaphors and even the significance of where it is placed. For example, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial’s walkway is placed between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, serving as something that is part of American history. The path that people walk while looking at the names on the wall acts as a guidance to those that have lost their loved ones. It’s a form of healing.

Model - First Iteration Concept: “Loop de loop” structure with stairs. The narrative was the satisfaction of overcoming a difficult obstacle. The stairs were an “easy way out” path that, going through this way, does not give satisfaction.

First Iteration I had only put this together to start out with something to build on. The model had practically no walls and one path. The structure was framed by a rectangle held by small columns. There was no rhyme or reason to it, but the idea of walking through paths with peculiar structures would stick in my mind.

Second Iteration Concept: The struggle of maintaining a living; decisions on money use, labor, and time management. The decisions were represented as multiple paths, each one different structurally and part of a maze-like design. This iteration had quite a messy look, weak logic in the design, and didn’t look like part of a landscape.

Third Iteration Concept: Different points lead to a tower where there top can be reached by following a multitude of paths, either from the structures around the tower or an elevator that goes straight up and down. About everything in the landscape can be viewed at the top.

Third Iteration

This iteration lacked strong intricacy in its design as the focus was very static and large which made the paths surrounding it insignificant in appearance. The pathways were what I really wanted the focus to be on so I decided that I had to make them more noticeable.

Fourth Iteration Concept: a Point A to Point B path first by going through stairs to a tilted circular platform with smaller rectilinear platforms “gravitating” around it. I wasn’t sure where to go from there so I just placed material around the model.

Fourth Iteration

Fifth Iteration Concept: Same as the last, but now had the floating platforms appear as if they were once part of the circular platform. I reintroduced the multiple paths but tweaked the story behind it. I rushed through this so the end result was completely out of what I set out to do.

Fifth Iteration Before I put everything together, I placed the material where they should go first and marked a few things, such as bridges or high/low elevations.

Fifth Iteration

Fifth Iteration

Though I set out to create what I planned ahead of time, I lost a lot of time and material and was stuck with what I had to work with.

Sixth Iteration Ever since the fourth iteration, I had this strange fixation on the stairs stacked in a zigzag-like pattern and wanted to stick with this to represent the act of following a decision in life and staggering and taking caution in the steps you take. My classmates gave me great ideas and suggestions on how to improve my model. I decided to play around a bit with the idea of deception, though not entirely about deception itself, but the feeling of being aware of what you may be getting into because, in life, it’s unpredictable what happens. Sometimes there’s no gold at the end of the rainbow.

Sixth Iteration

Sixth Iteration My model now had more logic behind its structuring. All the shapes were rectilinear and I made clear pathways with one end directed towards another. Nothing looked completely out of place. Though I had cut the materials earlier on, I used Bristol board at some parts to save time. The only problems left to solve were the empty space, which I decided would be best for more walls and paths and also some landscape.


Having gone through about two months on the models, I remember why there’s a lot of time and effort needed input to for a better output. Initially, I didn’t know what to expect of myself because I wasn’t sure what I was doing was right. I realized then that there weren’t any wrongs nor rights when it came to your perspective and imagination. From there, it’s how to build your creativity into something fascinating, unique, and outstanding. Something that makes you feel there is more to it than just how it looks or sounds or anything related to the five senses. I also had to have a fresh mind of ideas flowing and active in order to work at the fullest to create something extravagant. In retrospect, the most difficult thing I had while doing everything was my time management. Had I put more time and effort into the assignments, they would’ve been completed with less problems and more refined. It definitely didn’t feel very fun with the limited amount I had left to work with. With more time I can see how that would leave strong memories, just like when we broke the ice.

Learning Portfolio  
Learning Portfolio  

Eric T. Arch Design 21 Spring 2011 Midterm