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It is an interesting topic when thinking about the quality of our food; especially when looking at production and location. After World War II food production and distribution received a serious revamp. Prior to this action was rotting at ports; food distribution efficiency was increased and this problem was omitted on many levels. Doing this created other problems that have greater effects on our quality of life. We replaced rotting food with rotting bodies and man-made waste. Efficiency on large scales with profit motives spells out preservatives, steroids and in general, man made food products. Our bodies are designed to work well with particular diet formulas. The market is designed to give us specific products; ones that if consumed in excess, deviate from our bodies designed formulas. If the United States were to face a food distribution problem, the country would be in serious danger. We are dependent on our food being at the grocery store when we need it. In most cases, if a town in the states contact for food failed, it would no be able to support itself. We are so dependent on other cities, states regions and countries. We need to start to consider these facts and design self sustaining communities. If youâ€™re a part of what is going on in your body you are more likely to cherish what you eat.
25.05.2006 We started our day by touring ARUP’s “squashed spider” building (No. 13 Fitzroy Street). It was their own building so they didn’t bother to do their own calculations with it; it took them six months to get their building’s environment moderated. The building contained a double skin glazing and the squashed spider consisted of exterior use of duct work on the outside of the building. We discussed their thermal wheel (heat recharger). An interesting topic that we looked at was the small power and computer use. Just by using more efficient machines, a building can make drastic energy savings. We also discussed the idea of servers and computer heat produced to be used for heating energy for the building. We also looked at “evaporative systems” which basically just use water to cool air. From No. 13 Fitzroy and visited ARUP’s sound lab for a presentation. We discussed a museum that ARUP is testing using TESTO (which looks at humidity and the temperature controlled environment). The bottom line was that the building had a problem with thermal mass. Later we visited ARUP’s architectural portion of their company where we went to three presentations. The first presentation was on a development ARUP is working on in Shanghi called “Dongtan Eco City” – which is equivalent to the size of Manhattan. The factors go as follows. 1. It is a constantly growing city due to silt deposits, therefore they will not develop east but rather as land grows. 2. Providing social and economic benefit. 3. Low ecological foot print. 4. Waste and food management 5. Agricultural production. 6. Energy Production, use and emission reduction. 7. Accessibility and transport. 8. Construction impact. A town of 3 villages of mixed use and open and closed space. I learned that a sense of wealth creates carelessness. They have been commissioned to do the same kind of project in London but it I do not think it is big enough for the same exact ideals of scales. The second lecture was on the Druk White Lotus school in Ladahka. The climate is a high altitude desert with a strong presence of the Buddhist culture. It is off the grid and local construction strategies had to be used. They used lots of direct passive solar heating; and it was also designed for the areas of high seismic activity. We concluded with a lecture of stadiums and their sustainable legacy, including theGranada Cricket Ground Barbados Cricket Ground St. Vincent National Stadium
26.05.2006 Lou Cristofferson and I traveled to Burmingham today. We were scheduled for BRE but a miscommunication resulted into some impromptu itinerary that turned into a great day in Burmingham and further into Edinburgh, Scotland. In Burmingham we started our day by visiting the airport followed by travel to the shopping epicenter of Birmingham from here we headed in whatever whimsical direction or part of town we wanted to investigate. I found that many of the shopping centers were well day lit and some were even open to the outdoors and the elements. Later we found ourselves at the “spirit of the world exhibition”. It contained mini profiles and images of animals. It put the life of the earth in great perspective. With this quote “If the Earth had formed a year ago, on January 1, life would have appeared on February 26, dinosaurs would have arrived on December 10 to vanish 16 days later, and Homo sapiens would only have showed up very late on December 31 a few minutes later, in less than one minute, man would have drastically altered the fragile balance between land seas and atmosphere.” After the spirit of the world exhibition. We visited Self-Ridges – it is a blob that evolves from a less daring piece of architecture in a very elegant way. The façade is covered by aluminum discs. It also contains reflective elements that interact with its neighboring cathedral on other surroundings creating an interesting contrast. Once inside the building we discovered the famously published escalators. We were fortunate to be there on a very sunny day where the space was very well day lit in particular spaces. I also took note of the exposed HVAC and duct work. This ended our trip to Birmingham, from here we headed up to Edinburgh, Scotland. The English and Scottish countryside quite breathtaking. From the train I was able to see the ever so often small town pod of density, followed by countryside, followed by trailer park. This was a reoccurring theme with noted spotting of a nuclear power plant and a skate park.
27.05.2006 The days are so long in Scotland, I woke up this morning and thought it was time to start my day but it was only 4:30 AM. Once I got my day started Adam, Matt, Lou and I headed to the Scottish Parliament. The building is amazing. Architecturally speaking it was one of the most breathtaking buildings I have ever encountered. It is crazy that it went 800 million dollars over budget. All the rooms contain daylighting; some better lit than others. Lots of materials were used that can be found within the area. My favorite part about the building was the public garden, this is where I discovered the green roof. One can tell this outside space is designed for the people. The cultural interaction was amazing. The site plan itself seems to have many contextual links to the surroundings, this becomes very apparent when viewed from the neighboring hill. From this hill there was a very good view of Edinburgh. The Scottish are not afraid to mix the new with their old urban fabric creating and great mixed urban fabric. The locals emit an aura of pride for their heritage. It is a surreal experience to be embraced as a temporary part of the demographic of the history melted into tourism. On our way back to the hostel we visited an art exhibition on the human body. I had to be rushed so I Hope to visit it again before I leave. We ended our night with some drinking and discussion about finances this was a great ending to my first day in Scotland.
28.05.2006 Today we went on our tour through the Scottish Highlands all the way up to the Loch Ness. The Scottish countryside and highlands were beautiful our tour guide “Hamish” was very informative. I retained about 1% of the information that he had to give. There were just so many facts that he knew. We visited Stirling castle, the lands of the Macgregor’s and Campbell’s, Ranach Moor, Great Glen, Glencoe, Inverness, Grampians and the Forest of Athull. It was great to see Loch Ness since I had seen it so many times and had heard so many stories. The lake was definitely not as gloomy as I had seen it on TV . It was actually a very beautiful. The air in the highlands was so fresh and the volume of Loch Ness was unimaginable. The series of lochs that connect to the ocean with a series of canals are very interesting systems of lochs that transport boats to different levels. Ben Nevis in Glencoe is beautiful and the highest peak in the United Kingdom. The highlands were created about 4 million years ago. An interesting animal I discovered in the highlands were the highland cattle One can tell they are a result of years of evolution; furthermore the result is a very interesting animal.
29.05.2006 Today was our last day in Edinburgh. We stared our day rather low key because we were very burnt out from our highlands tour and traveling as a whole. We checked out of our hostel and went on to the Edinburgh Dungeon, we decided we didn’t want to do that because it seemed rather cheesy so we headed up to St. Giles Church. It was amazing, a Gothic Cathedral with some elements dated back to the 12th century. It contains large groin vaults and flying buttresses. It is amazing how long masonry buildings last. We just do not pay attention to craft and detail like we used to. Our buildings today will not last or be remembered like such old masonry craftwork. After St. Giles, we headed to the Edinburgh Castle. Personally it was kind of a let down, but it did provide for some great views of Edinburgh. We also got to see them fire the canon at 1:00 PM – (signal for people to get back to work from lunch). Finally we got to see the jewels. From the castle we headed to the shopping district. We spent the rest of the day exploring the stores and closes’. Before we caught our bus back to London, we enjoyed some Corona’s on sale and got to hang out with a drunken Scottish man. This made a great ending to this Scotland trip (but definitely not my last).
30.05.2006 We started the day visiting Sue Roaf’s house. A view of the house from the street makes the house seem like any other in the suburban area; but one must never judge a book by its cover. Once in the home we were greeted by Sue’s hospitality. Her house consisted of an array of south facing PV’s. Thick walls for thermal mass and “micro-climate” options. This house really describes sustainability at a very simple level. Everything ran off the notion of free energy. It was really just about understanding and controlling the built environment you inhabit. The house is all about catching as much free energy as you can and spreading it throughout the night and day. Our Co2 emissions are way high; this house is a simple solution to Co2 emissions that we need to reach. One of the most interesting facts that she made was our society and the forgotten concept of operable windows. If your space is set up correctly you should not need air conditioning. The microclimates set up on the north and south sides retain the sun’s energy and if you need more heat you just open up to the microclimate; this is of course if climate conditions pertain to the needs at the time. Other absorbed factors: 1. With windows you need more options. 2. Thick Pot flooring system. 3. She was very persistent. Now she sells her power that isn’t used back to the grid. 4. Air tight is key. 5. Bio-Mass stove. Later we went to Titus and Pronicus; a play that I wasn’t very fond of.
31.05.2006 Today we met with Anne Thorne. It was nice to meet with the face of the firm. It was an all female firm; it was nice to see there are firms building more opportunities for woman in architecture. The firm is strong advocates for the “POE” (Post Occupancy Evaluation). They were strongly concerned health in the materials that they use. They do lots of school child projects and use glue safe timbers. BedZed is an example of what sustainable living could look like at semi high densities. It is a great footstep in the direction and role that architects need to make towards sustainability. The accommodation to the sun, private and public gardens and my favorite off all; the wind scoops. They really are informative to the habitants in explaining how wind really moves. This gives me new insight on how the lines that I have been drawing in my funny diagrams are totally wrong. So overall the building seems to be an icon of awareness more than anything. There are so many ideas thrown into the development. Some are not being maximized to full capacity and some even failed completely. (Example: Black water treatment plant). But at the bottom of all lines this development proves that people will live in this sort of place. Owning one of these places is comparable to market prices. People want these spaces. BedZed may not accomplish all these goals, but it is a step in the right direction. Overall the representative of this project didn’t please me. He acted like he didn’t care that all the things he did, did not end up as planned. Well, I think he did care.
01.06.2006 The day began with waiting in line for a Vittel Water, ice breaking competition. I had ten seconds to try to reach a water bottle. Adam and I both failed but I managed to break an ice pick. But that is all I wanted, to leave my mark. Canary Wharf was an interesting business district. It is crazy that the whole economy that built and developed into these high rises started with an economy based on the Thames. This became more apparent when I visited the 1802 Museum. It was amazing to see that the timbers in the old retro fitted warehouse. The museum was a good refreshment on elements that I touched on in World History in Junior High and High School. But overall as a whole it was a lot to absorb, I took in what I could. Later, on the way to Laban, we saw the Cutty Sark and the Grenwick visitorsâ€™ center. From there we made our way through the derelict town until we found Laban, a jewel in the rough. It is on a Brownfield site. But the disappointment was the attention to detail. It is a common thing I see with modern buildings. Also I was disappointed that I didnâ€™t get to see the Brown Roof that I am so fond of. But overall Laban is a great accomplishment. It is great that there is a opportunity for people that love to dance can study it as an art in an institutions. (If you want a Tech-Spill, check out my case study.) Later we went shopping and then Ivers and I performed some great karaoke.
02.06.2006 Chiswick Park was a great thing to see after Laban because I was very disappointed how the details and the attention to them turned out. On that regard Chiswick Park was a complete opposite. Every detail seemed to be followed all the way through until the end of construction. You can tell there are some really wealthy and powerful people behind this project. I think it is a very great development for business, use and overall a great place to work. The whole promotion for a “healthy worker is a good worker.” The open floor plan is great for reuse. Another great approach to the design is whatever they dug up for the construction was used to create a pond and its surrounding landscape. The trees on site are pre-developed so when they are brought on site they are not babies. The Pre-Fab construction takes the on site constructions scale from hours to minutes. They used a raised floor system. The technological feature was elegant looking, motorized external louvers. The columns had to be very stiff to hold the louvers; this was engineering accomplishment in its own. The structures provide for non-segregated entrances for multi-use-options on each floor. Each development learns from the last constantly improving. Later we visited Kew Gardens but decided we didn’t want to pay the entry fee. So we ended up sketching at a near by coffee shop. We ended our night and work week by drinking Coors Light and Hanging with the crew.
03.06.2006 We started our day a bit slower than usual we all needed a bit of rest so we slept in and overall decided to stay in London rather than go to Dublin, Ireland. It was a great choice, I was exhausted and the funds were not there to begin with. We ended up starting our day at about noon and then started to make our way to the Tate Modern. On the way there we found a few Banksy pieces of graffiti art. One including his famous “Girl with a Balloon.” Unfortunately most of it had been painted over. Once we made it to the Tate Modern I was amazed…..What a great reuse for an old industrial building. We then made our way to the “Albers and Moholy-Nagy” Exhibit. From the Bauhaus to the new world exhibit. It was very interesting to see two pioneers and icons of this idea of linking fine arts and traditional craft. My favorite piece in the exhibit as the “Light Play Film” created by Moholy-Nagy. That was such a creative idea at the time. Personally I would compare it to the Matrix of our time. From the Albers and Moholy-Nagy exhibit I tried to take in as much of the other exhibits that I could. The Tate Modern is definitely a place the one needs to visit a few times to take it all in. We ended our visit by eating at the Café at the top. What a great place to eat. From the Tate we visited the Swiss Rey and the Lloyds Building. Both were very interesting buildings. One looks like an egg and the other looks like a clip out of Terminator. My favorite of the two was the Lloyds Building, it really celebrates the machine. I would love to see the Lloyds Building on a busy day in action.
04.06.2006 We started our day looking for Banksy pieces. We found a few and then ended up at the Greater London Authority Building (GLA). It was cool to be able to experience the awkward steps; I felt privileged since you can only do that one weekend a year. The view was also great from the top of the building. Once we were done with the GLA we crossed the Tower Bridge and on to the bus station. We ended up at the Victoria and Albert museum (V&A). Once at the museum we checked out the modernism exhibit. I would like to think that I am a modernism expert, but the more I learn, the more I realize that I only know a little. Modernism is so interesting when looking at how it started with an idea of life and how to live until it eventually evolved into a style that is commonly used today. After the exhibit we waited for Ivers to finish and enjoyed the V and A lawn. Later we made our way to Hyde Park, it was so cool, I had never seen so many roller skaters; I thought it was a lost art. They were doing stunts through cones. The Park is absolutely huge and there were so many people. The park creates a very nice dent in Londonâ€™s urban area. I think big parks are so much better than suburbia and the idea that everyone has their backyard. I would much rather prefer the idea of everyone sharing.
05.06.2006 St. Paul’s was a really beautiful cathedral designed by Wren. I cannot believe how brilliant of a mind Wren must have had. He seemed to be so intuitive of engineering elements. The staircase on the south west corner as phenomenal, rather than using a cantilever to hold the weight of the steps; the weight was carried down in a radial manner. It was good to see that they were in a drastic renovation that will be done in 2010. Our tour guide was a walking encyclopedia on the topic of London and St. Paul’s as a whole. The dome in the middle was designed behind a catenary curve (the curve a chain makes when it hangs). From St. Paul’s we walked all the way back to the ISH, on the way we stopped the British Museum. The space inside is amazingly day lit. I can’t believe the space previously was storage. While at the museum we visited the Modern Art in the Middle East Exhibit. Once at the ISH we had to rush to Lord Foster’s human machine plant. The office had great views of the Thames and I don’t think the employees even get to enjoy it. But one great privilege is the workers have to go home at 9:00 PM (company policy). The thing that I liked about the office was that I got to snoop in on their Dubai Project. I really think Dubai creates an interesting thing in the architectural world. It is everything that architects should be against. But if you are an ‘Architect’, you are doing a project in Dubai.
06.06.2006 The Richard Lorch tour in Islington put the developments in town and evolution in perspective. Islington was an interesting edge where all the land wasnâ€™t owned by just one entity. So there were interesting individually developed hubs that all linked together in an odd juxtaposed urban synergy. The development commonly started with a home with a garden in front and in back. As time persists, roads take away the front stables and garden, then development is built on top of the original structure and then sometimes the back of the structure gets filled in. In the end you have a nice composition of different generations and additions. After the tour I got to have a nice discussion with Mr. Lorch. We were able to discuss the pressure for work and how firms are outreaching to the Far East for associates. Also he explained an idea that he wants to catch on. It was called trading; in essence everyone would be allotted a particular amount of carbon use. If they use more than allotted, than they have to buy more. If you use less, you can sell it. If you think of anyone with profit motives they are going to try to use less. In the end, carbon use will go down. Later in the day we visited Richard Rodgers office. I really liked the layout of his office. What was really awesome was that we got to see the man himself ride off on a bike. I really like the use of color in their projects. This trend shined through in their office.
07.06.2006 The Angeltown Project seems to make great progress in a town that seemed to be more like a slum. One of the developments we saw was built on an old demolished block called “Pimp Block.” On that level this project has been a great success. On another level it is great that they are trying to build awareness for its occupants of the site’s sustainability. But this is where I draw a line of discontinuity it seems like some of the sustainable factors get lost. I did not quite like anyone with the idea of breathing walls (permeable) it just seems like you want the environment air that so you have more control with windows and their operations. Later we headed to Granville in Kilburn Park. It was a great place to help kids get on the right path and understand society. It’s important that early in life kids and their parents understand what they need to do to develop a healthy life for the child. More towards the evening we headed to ARUP to see Jo DaSilva. She brought some issues apparent that are really big issues but for some reason we seem to ignore them time and time again. Natural disasters are really a global issue that will in some turn effect many globally. Its all about premeditating these incidents and saving more money and human life and economy in the long run. She presented the fact that 7$ in the aftermath could equal 1$ prior to the incident.
08.06.2006 The size of an Olympic project is very hard to comprehend; and what is really cool is that on of our very own alumni, Jack Lemely, is in charge of a big part of it. We were able to receive a briefing of the project from Joanna Averly. The London 2012 Olympics are not for a while, but when you look at how big the project is, it is not a long time. The Olympics are a great thing for cities, it is the opportunity for a city to make drastic improvements to itself. The Olympics take up 2 months. This is a very brief amount of time when looking at the life of cities. London’s approach to their Olympics is a really great one. Their goals really approach it to improve some of the derelict parts of London. The only unfortunate thing (which goes for any large revamping) is you know they are going to have to move and relocate people and their business. They make it seem like its an even exchange. But you know the Olympic crew is going to do what they have to, even if it is at someone else’s expense. One prime blue print that they are using is Barcelona’s Olympics. Later we had a nice little recap lunch with the class. It was really nice to just sit and relax with the whole crew and talk about whatever we wanted. In the evening back at the ISH we all went out for karaoke night. I think we all had a blast.
09.06.2006 The Bill Bordass discussion we had was great closure and ending to the London tour minus South Hampton. Bill was a walking encyclopedia. He does trouble shooting on buildings and made it very apparent that there is a big void between how buildings are planned to work and how they work. As architects we have to know as a rule that we will understand more about the systems then the occupants. The simpler the better; either way we have to educate the occupants. Also we have to reinvent business strategies to get a more accommodating formula. We also never compare what we are doing when we have perfectly good examples but we never take advantage of the opportunity to do post occupancy surveys. Right now green in architecture seems to be just a face or ad campaign. We need to actually carry our ideas all the way through and continue them through the aftermath also. After eating lunch and drinking beer we headed to Regents Park. We walked to one of the highest points in London, it was great; from here we walked through the zoo after this Adam and I separated from Alice, Bill, Bruce and Tisha and headed back to the ISH. Later we headed back to Regents Park and had a sweet Frisbee session until it got t windy. We returned to the hostel and went to the bar and watched Argentina beat the Ivory Coast.
10.06.2006 Our day was really low key we started by getting our entire Europe Travel itinerary finalized. We got all of our trains booked for after the UK seminar. It took 2 hours but it was nice to get it off of our chests. Later we walked around Oxford Circus and checked out the shopping malls and centers; then we ate at McDonaldâ€™s. After Oxford Circus we went and spent our latter part of the day and afternoon at Regents Park. It was way fun, it was what I had been waiting for all week. Matt, Lou, Adam and I all threw the Frisbee around for a long time. We got a lot of exercise and sun. I couldnâ€™t have asked for a better Saturday. It was nice and warm.
11.06.2006 Today we went to the Peckham Library by Will Allsop. It was very cool. Before I actually went in the building and saw how the library worked I was very confused to how the building worked from the pictures that I had seen. Once in the library I thought it worked really well; it seemed like a real anchor point for the neighborhood it was in. After the library we made our way to the Imperial War Museum. It was very neat to see all the war equipment. Then we experienced the Holocaust section of the museum; no matter how many times I hear about what happened in WWII I still have a hard time taking it every time. After the Imperial War Museum we made our way to a buffet where we all ate fake meatâ€Ś. I thought it was alrightâ€Ś The others disagreed. Finally we spent some time at Regents Park and then booked some hostels and went to bed.
12.06.2006 Today we started out by finalizing some final elements for our itinerary. Once we got all done with itinerary work we decided to head to Camden Town where we were going to find some of Banksy’s famous graffiti art. Without a lot of struggle we found his famous piece of the maid sweeping dirt under the brick wall. From the Banksy piece we made our way to the British Library. The first thing that I noticed is that it was huge; my favorite thing about the library was the statue in front of a man with a compass. (I think it was Newton if I remember right). From the Library we went to the St. Pancras Station just to see it covered in scaffolding. After our site seeing for the day we rushed back to the ISH to catch the Czech – USA game…. What an upset.
13.06.2006 Today was a really stressful day we had to spend our whole morning to get all of our stuff ready to continue our journey after the UK. It started by all of us spending a lot of money to send some of our stuff home that we didnâ€™t need for the rest of our journey. Once we got done with all of the necessary things on the to do list, we headed to the British Museum. Once there, we experienced the Egyptian portion of the museum featuring the Rosetta Stone. After the museum we went and ate burgers and then headed to South Hampton. Once there we checked in and met the bed and breakfast owner, he seemed a bit off tempo but all together he was a good guy. We spent the latter portion of our evening in a bar watching the Brazil â€“ Croatia game. Later that evening I came to find out the owner of the bed and breakfast was actually a bit of an odd ball.
Rather than document day by day about the Eco-Conference I would like to just regurgitate some of the ideas that the entire England and Europe trip got spinning in my head. This is not a paper, there is no thesis, and this is just one train of thought to the next without any rhyme or reason. Green….Green…..Green. If only everybody in the world could agree on our little sub-culture of architects among others and our ideas. The numbers and factors are apparent; we are running out of oil. Whether we have reached peak oil or not we are in need of a drastic revamp to the ideologies we believe as a whole; and no matter what happens when it comes to sustainability, USA seems to be one step behind the UK and Europe. I believe this is about to change. The United States is built on money, it drives the way we work and think. Now that there is a big enough mainstream demand for sustainability in US business many are going to begin to capitalize on this demand. This is good and also scary at the same time. It is good along the lines that we finally have a drive in the states for sustainability. But it is bad along the lines that it will be driven by economics and financial gain. Business will do its best to get the most out of doing the least. Sustainability in the states will just be a face or front to something that might in fact be very deceptive. It is our job as architects to not succumb to the powers of financial gain. To elaborate on what I’m try to say we can look at Post Occupancy Evaluations (POE). Once a project is done, we collect our paycheck and move on. This in architecture is a big mistake, especially along the lines of sustainability. If we design a building with all sorts of new systems and gadgets and then ignore the final product whether it is good or bad we are not doing our jobs as architects. According to Bill Bordass, there are so many times that he goes in to check out a building and its performance only to find out that the systems are not working the way they were planned or designed. This is something the architect and engineer should do; it should be our responsibility to educate the users that occupy our buildings. Especially when we are trying to take such large superman, technological leaps. This is also when I begin to think that maybe the best solution is the easiest. This solution is simplicity; there are so many old adages and simple solutions and frameworks for low cost systems that have proved to work for centuries but we always rather choose to try something tricky and new. I guess it is just human nature for us to always want to be heroes; this does include myself, I am guilty as any other for taking the complex approach. That’s why I am so curious what our solution for the fuel crisis will be. The solution for the fuel crisis should pertain to taking a step back rather than technological advances but this does not correspond with human nature; we rather hurt our earth for more human comfort.
14-16.06.2006 Ideally I believe the solution would start with the creation of self-sustaining communities and cities on a local level. This is on an ideal level with the earth as the number one priority. What I believe will happen though, is the human way…Which I personally like to call the American way. Rather than taking a step back it will be more superman steps forward. Before we know it I believe we will be all nuclear. The only way I can see this trend stop is if we as designers can show mankind that there are other ways to live life and other luxuries that do not pertain to some of the more common and popular ideologies. But at the same time I find myself curious if there such a solution that can give us infinite amounts of energy. Of course I know the common response would be nature. Like Sun, Wind, Fire and those sorts of things…But I am talking about fusion. (The American solution to an energy crisis). Right now scientists are working on a machine that is trying to create fusion which in the end, scientists claim could provide for infinite amounts of energy. The machine is set up so there are somewhere between 150 and 200 lasers directed on 2 cubic millimeters. Hmmmm…. Sounds interesting. But that is all I know about that, one must start to question if this creates any sort of waste… I don’t know. I just heard about this the other day from friend who is studying nuclear chemistry. As for other solutions for the energy crisis, the USA is the greatest for what I like to call the “vehicular placebo.” For example, ethanol based fuel; for this to work we would have to use tons of land to harvest corn and the machines that harvest the crops would have to be powered by something different than gasoline or it is a contradiction within itself. Also on the line of placebos, hydrogen fuel cells crosses my mind, it is energy stored in batteries. How does that energy get created? Fuel. It’s when you start to look at the embodied energy of things when red lights start flashing…. Hmmm… Embodied energy, an expression that I had never heard of until I went to the eco-conference, since then, I have heard it a thousand times. This is not a bad thing; it is more of an alarming thing. Dang… Being an architect I realize that I have to think about a lot more things than what I thought I did prior to this trip. It is an interesting time to be beginning my architectural life. Moving on from our hero phase into more of a crisis period. The plethora of interesting materials being invented everyday such as recycled Levi insulation; outreaching for work to the far east for rendering work. This spider-web of factors in the states is definitely always going to be driven by $$$$$ money, or at least that is what history goes to show. I guess green architecture is really the color of money, and what I am going to try to do is sell that idea while deviating from common ideologies that embrace that concept.
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17-20.06.2006 Paris, France is a huge city; it felt like Adam, Lou, Matt and I walked the whole thing. We visited the Eiffel Tower, the Pompidou, Notre Dame, the Triumphal Arch and the Louvre. At the Pompidou we visited a Morphosis exhibit, an interactive internet exhibit and an art in Los Angeles exhibit. At the end of the trip we learned that their Metropolitan system works well; I will use it the next time I come. But I am glad I walked it the first time.
20-24.06.2006 In Barcelona I got the sickest I have ever been. I got dehydrated, food poisoning and the stomach flu. Besides for being sick this part of the trip was great, I love Barcelona. We saw Calatravaâ€™s Olympic piece, a few Gaudi pieces including the Sangrada Familia. We saw Gehryâ€™s Olympic Piece and a Richard Rodgers piece from a far. We experienced the beach, some local celebrations and Flamenco dancing. We also saw a food market that I believe is by the same architect that did the Scottish Parliament.
24-25.06.2006 The trip was quick so here are some “Quick evaluations of Nice, France”: -Rock beach. -Tourist town. -Salty ocean, a bunch of people got stung. -Great hamburgers.
26.06.2006-2.07.2006 When we first arrived in Italy we briefly visited Milan where I saw some fascist architecture. After Milan we went and stayed the night in Vicenza. It is a really cool town with a USA base on it. The town is surrounded by Palladioâ€™s architectural works, we visited the Villa Rotunda; which was really cool to see since all the students that had done the Italy program had seen it. There was a very cool self serve restaurant that we ate at. From Vicenza we went on to Padova where we stayed the rest of our trip. From Padova we deviated out to Florence and Venice. Italy is definitely a trip that I will have to take again to take more of it in. The cities are so old and the catholic history behind some of the giant cathedrals is amazing.
2-6.07.2006 Switzerland is very cool, we stayed two nights in Zurich and two nights in Valz. Our US dollar is valuable compared to the Swiss Frank but everything in Switzerland in general is just more expensive. While in Zurich Adam got a tattoo, which was very cool. From Zurich we went to Valz which is a very small mountain town in the east of Switzerland. In Valz they had bath houses where we stayed; the bath houses were designed very well and were very beautiful. This was one of my very favorite parts of my European part of the trip. There wasnâ€™t that many people and it gave me some time to finally absorb parts my trip. The people in Switzerland are very cool.
6-9.07.2006 In Holland we first visited Amsterdam and then went on to Rotterdam. Amsterdam is a very interesting place. If I were to describe Amsterdam I would have to say it is a huge party city with a red light district and a Van Gogh museum. The Van Gogh museum was very cool I had always wanted to see “Potato Eaters” and “Starry Night.” Well….I got to see Potato Eaters; unfortunately Starry Night was in a touring exhibit. From Amsterdam we went on to Rotterdam which is a very cool place. Most of it was destroyed in WWII so all the architecture is very new. Also, Rotterdam is home of the NAI which was one of my favorite places of my trip that I visited. At the NAI they had an exhibit on modern architecture in China, an exhibit on the history of Dutch architecture and then an exhibit on architectural folleys.
9-10.07.2006 Brussels in Belgium was the last check point for our trip in Europe. We only stayed there one night but it was the night of the World Cup. It was seriously the craziest celebration I have ever been a part of. Europeans really love soccer. Belgium being so close to France was home to so many sore losers. We all stayed up late and had a great time. The next day we went and spent our afternoon at a bar called Delirium. At one time it was in the Guinness Book of World Records for having so many beers to choose from. I tried their own brewed beer and it was delicious. It was here that we recapped on our trip because this was our last stop. From here we went back to London and flew out the next day. Talk about an amazing summer.