Posts Tagged ‘Studio Work’

The America Cup-Inspired Transportation Revolution

My first encounter with the America Cup Competition and Village was in the summer of 2010. The Golden Gate Yachut Club had yet to win, but my summer studio professor was looking forward to the event. My school, Cal Poly, made an exception that year after a fellow classmate’s campaign for a summer studio, allowing my teacher James Doeflour to open a summer architecture class.

Jim set our class project to the America Cup Village, and my class logically took a class field trip to my home city, San Francusco. We first visited the Oracle HQ, then we visited the Golden Gate Yachut Club. Both time, my professor managed to contact someone from the company to introduce to us to their role in the competition. Finally, we visited our project site – China Basin. As the project and site studies continued, I was awed by how a competition could possibly change the entire planning of a city. My class team came up with a revised version of the China Basin masterplan, then we individually used a combination of Revit and Rhino to create a laser-cut sculptural model for the site. Eventually, we finished the final project of that class – a landmark building on the China Basin Pier.

Two years later, I have returned to San Francisco, and the transformation brought by the America Cup is now going full force. The energy is high, and I see the name everywhere. Of course, my information network tends to gear toward the city planning aspect, what with my engagement in the sustainability community and being a Bicycle Coalition intern. As a result, yesterday I met with a group of professionals at a networking session, and is it any wonder how the conversation turned toward AIA when I am an architectural professional and another member in the session is a Sustainability Coordinator? Anyhow, I learned from her that AIA is hosting a presentation about the America Cup!

Thanks to my internship, I learned quite a bit about the role of bicycle in the America Cup, but a view from the AIA point? I was surprised (though I shouldn’t be, now that I think about it) that people are already gearing up to purchase or renovate their buildings to accommodate the crowd that America Cup will bring. Several of the visitors will actually be staying in the city for a few months because of their company business – instead of just the few days that the competition will be held. The competition site, along with the changing architecture and cityscape, goes from the Fisherman’s Wharf to as far as the China Basin, wrapping itself across the west side of the city. The presenter noted that on a architecture level, the ones most influenced would be the Hotel business, in addition to the retail business that the Competition will bring.

The information that excited me most included:

  1. New Muni line and Bikeshare!
  2. This year America Cup has aimed to be the most sustainable Village so far, placing priority on zero waste, bay health, and ocean health.

For number one: While I already own a bike, bikeshare means more people bicycling. How many times have I heard “Safety in Number” when it comes to bicycling? Besides, while I love biking, going all the way from Bayview to Downtown and then back… takes just too much energy for me to do anything else – what’s the point of riding to downtown if I tired myself out first? I would much rather take the T-Muni downtown, then rent a bike there. And Muni line? How can not be happy about more of it? The change in transportation system in 2013 will directly and indirectly change the cityscape, as evident now by the People Plan approved by SFMTA Board Directors (which will affect the bike and bus system around the Waterfront), not to mention the re-pavement in 2015 (AKA, The Better Market Street). I laughed when the presenter say that the message is Do Not Drive to North Bay. When it comes to San Francisco, driving is not really the best option no matter what time of the year. The America Cup will certainly test the transportation system in this jam-pack city.

For number two: Considering that America Cup will cover a significant region of San Francisco, its goal to be sustainable will be a strong influence to the city design and business, and will probably inspire relevant industries (transportation, city planning, real estate, public art, advertising, … architecture) to match the same theme in their design and work. I recall that my class team paid a good amount of focus on the open space aspect of the masterplan redesign in our project, and on how to incorporate greenscape and transportation system.

I am strangely looking forward to watching the race despite my lack of yacht knowledge, and I certainly look forward to how the Competition will redesign the city itself. San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has been doing City Rides to introduce people to the current proposals. Sadly, my schedule has been conflicting every ride. The next one is coming up on May 26, which will introduce the North part of the Bay Trail, but the date conflicts with Homestead Skillshare Festival, which I will be attending and volunteering (The festival itself will have workshops on water catchment, place-making, cohousing, urban gardening, disaster preparation, community work, activist communication skills… and Solar Ovens?). Fortunately, SFBC is doing one last bike ride – introducing the South bike trail – in June, and I have every plan to attend.

Until then, Ciao!


Meet our class’s newest mascot!

Let me present my class’s newest mascot. Actually, is my classmate’s dog. Her pet-sitter isn’t available in the summer. They sit right behind me, so I get to look at it and be close to it the whole time. He’s really obedient too – doesn’t bark, and has recently learnt to not bite (unless the guys in my class tease it. But they are playing around, and the guy doesn’t mind the baby bites). It like to chew on shoe laces and… my sweater sleeve?

Isn’t it the cutest? It’s just a baby, less than a year old. Tiny, soft, and fluffy… It will probably be the thing I miss most from summer studio :D

Well, not true. Studio was fun too. The studio project have to do with making a Landmark Building in San Francisco for the America Cup Yacht Race. It was the first time I had finish a project with ArchiCad. One of my inspiration is the rocks near the pier, with the water flowing up and down around it. I wish I had express it more now, but as one may say, architecture project is never really done. In the end, I even manage to put it in my portfolio. I am pretty happy for now.


Flickr or Picasa?

The difficulty of the decision >-<

My sister uses Picasa, so I am tempting to use it. (since my sister is the photo-manic photo-lover of the house, and probably knows better.) However, it seems more people uses Flickr, so it may be better for me in the long deal. Well, I am going to use it to post photo of my studio work, so I should probably check for quality and ease of use. I can edit with other programs, though being able to edit on the photo-host would be nice. There’s a lot of site comparing the two, so let’s get started with some reasearch *rubs hands from anticipation*

First, we already know that Flickr is more commonly use and know, so 1+ for Flickr.

Picasa is owned by Google. While having everything related to Google irritates me a bit, but it does ensures future improvement and a certain level of quality and reliability guarantee. Picasa, +1!

You can’t hotlink directly to Picasa (meaning I can’t put the image on my blog or other websites), but Flickr can.

……. But it doesn’t matter in this case, so… no points given to either side (It’s a nice fact to know, though)

O.O I just read in Flickr’s FAQ that: “If your free account is inactive for 90 consecutive days, it will be deleted.” ……. Double points for Picasa! +2!

Storage wise: Picasa offers 1 GB storage. Flickr is unlimited… but only shows 200 recent photos… Flickr wins for me in this case, since I am using it just for family and friends. 1+ for Flickr

Loading wise: Flickr uploads 100MB per month. Picasa, none 1+ for Picasa.

Flickr have a easy tagging system (which is a way for you search by keywords you selected for an entry). Picasa allow only a tag at a time, and doesn’t let you view all the tag. I like tags since I like to be organize, so Flickr 1+

Flickr let me change privacy status for individual photos, while Picasa only allow that for each Album. Flickr 1+


>-< They both seem so good! But Picasa seems to be easier to organize, while Flickr is better for friends. I think I will post my architecture works in Picasa, and my random/fun photos on Flickr

Edit: Turns out Picasa is only available to Gmail member.


As if I don’t have enough chaos in my life, I have add other email account to my list!?

I have decided to use NEITHER! Deviant Art is just fine, thank you very much!

Lecturer from Nanjing University of Technology

Today we had a guest speaker – from Nanjing University of Technology (南京工業大學). The guest professor is Huining Zhao (I tried to google for her Chinese name, but couldn’t find it).

It appears that Cal Poly maybe interested in an exchange program with China after all. That would be very interesting, even though it probably wouldn’t effect me unless they have an exchange program with Hong Kong.

During that lecture, she mainly talked about the Olympic stadium, Bird Nest. The designer of Bird Nest is the Swiss firm, Herzog & de Meuron. By the way, this is also the architecture firm that designed the De Young Muesum in — San Francisco! De Young is the huge copper structure inside the Golden Gate Park. Some of you who know me may remember me freaking out about my architecture competition there when I was a high school senior. (My first all-nighter! LOL)

In conclusion, it was a high quality steel, webbing structure that stands WITHOUT columns! The goal was to let it stand without supporting structure. For that specific reason, they had to be so precise in unloading, variations of placement were reduced to the millimeters.

As requested (don’t remember who), all the steel were made in China, and extreme high quality steel was required due to the difficulty of the task. There were also some high-tech environmental design and a strong focus toward safety. One detail that puzzled everyone was a toilet – that don’t require flushing! Bubbles inside the toilet would take care of everything – the idea was quite… amusing? All in all, it seemed to be a rather innovative structure that would certainly go into history as more than an Olympic structure, although it must require a great amount of work to accomplish it.

After that, she also talked about other recent buildings in Beijing, such as the Water Cube.

The lecture material was interesting, but the presentation was not the best. The professor’s English skill wasn’t the problem for me though (I have heard more worse before). I sat at the corner, so I couldn’t hear her speak. I was really tempting to ask for her to be louder, because I really wanted to listen to her lecture >-<.

I ended up reading the text (she’s really just reading her powerpoint). She put it in simplified Chinese and English. I had some fun learning some of the Chinese translation for English, architectural words.

Surprisingly and slightly disappointing, there were almost zero mentioning of Chinese, or even Asian architects. It’s rather ironic that one of the biggest project to showcase to the Western World by the Asian World is almost entirely designed by the West. If possible, I would like to see some modern architecture from native Chinese as well, just out of pure curiousity.

She will have about two more lectures. I am looking forward to learning more Chinese architecture, since I’m from Hong Kong myself. Prehapes I should borrow some books about Chinese design?

School Starts!

It’s just Tuesday, and I’m already worrying..

Once again, I have to take ARCE (Architecture Engineering) class, meaning more math and physic. While I don’t dislike the subject, I will honestly admit that I have no talent in it whatsoever!

My studio teacher also said that my architecture lecture teacher is hard on exams.

With all the classes that I am taking, I am seriously wonder if I will get through this quarter alive (or sane) Q.Q

The good thing is that I have Architecture History this quarter! I have always been fascinated with Art History and Culture, so I should have fun >v< And guess what? It will be from Pre-hist to Medieval – my favorite period! Egypt is such a fascinating era. Both Egypt and Greek has such a unique and distinctive culture that is closely intervine with its art and architecture! *glossy eyes*

Also, my studio teacher is actually my counselor (which I didn’t realize until after I registered for the class, because I associate him with a different name. Apparently, he recognized my face. No surprise though, I see him a lot during counseling.), so this should be an interesting quarter.

For my studio class, we are going to research one architect/architecture firm, then use their design philosphy to create a building on a site in Nipomo, California. I am currently looking into Antoine Predock.

He is an America architect, but he get a lot of influence from New Mexico. I was interested in him because his buildings seems to just sink into its surrounding. Also, he actually have Chinese on his web site because he have buildings in China. His web site not only looks nice, but is also easily to navigate and very informative. I look forward to this project ^v^