Field Trip – Autodesk Exhibit at One Market in San Francisco


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The Autodesk exhibit showcases a Sleeping Bag that saves infants lives – In third-world countries medical baby warmers readily available, therefore the need of innovative ideas is paramount.  There are a staggering amount of premature infants who parish or have serious health problems, because they cannot self regulate their own body temperature after birth. With the help of Autodesk software Jane Chen of TED Fellow were able to create a design that’s safe, portable, low-cost and life-saving. The compact electricity-free solution has a cost of just $200 and safely embraces and warms babies.

The Embrace Nest is a low-cost solution that doesn’t require electricity or  training to use. It was Created by Stanford design students as a class assignment. It has three parts: a sleeping bag, heater, and pouch of phase-change material. Once heated, the phase-change material is placed into a compartment in the sleeping bag and can maintain a constant 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit for 4 hours plus.

Another fascinating exhibit i liked the idea of was the ReMotion knee (prosthetic knee joint) also developed by design students at Stanford University. Modern prosthetics can cost thousands of dollars There are an estimated 30 million people worldwide without the freedom of mobility and in the developing word, over 9 million people are in need of a prosthetic knee joint.The ReMotion Knee enhances the design of a traditional, single-hinge, prosthetic knee joint and does so at a fraction of the cost. Once in full production, each ReMotion Knee is intended to cost only $13. Though the ReMotion Knee only uses five plastic pieces and four fasteners, it allows for a full 165 degrees of movement. It’s lightweight (1.5 lbs) and tough, thanks to a self-lubricating, oil-filled nylon polymer. It is currently in a pilot program in India with Jaipur Foot, one of the largest provider of prosthetics in the world. Thousands of peoples lives have already been transformed by the ReMotion knee with hopefully millions more to come.

These are the type of innovations that can make significant changes in the quality of life for so man people around the globe and it is refreshing to see companies like Autodesk team up with students to address these global issues and contribute.

These are just two of the many exhibits in the gallery at One Market in San Francisco. The gallery is open to the public on Wednesdays from 12 pm to 5 pm, and admission is free

Autodesk Inc. is an American multinational software corporation that makes software for the architecture, engineering, construction, manufacturing, media, and entertainment industries. Autodesk is known best for AutoCAD but has seen developed software for design, engineering, and entertainment. Auto desk is the creator of Revit. Revit allows architects and other users to explore the planning, construction, and management of a space before it is built they also have a Media and Entertainment division that creates the Maya software for visual effects, color grading and editing. Autodesk uses there innovative software to create products that will make every day like just a little easier.



Urban Planner and Industry Professional Christopher M. Pizzi



Christopher M. Pizzi is an Urban Designer and licensed Architect in California. His professional focus is less on the specific architecture and detail of building but more on urban design and master planning. Chris has international work experience in many cities across the globe specifically San Francisco, New York and London.

During his lecture he discussed the fact that urban planners often must wear multiple hats and must be well versed in more than just Architecture and design. Mr Pizzi used the term “Master of Data” to describe one aspect of urban planning that is parking metrics( parking type& density), and how housing costs is tied to parking. Urban planners also take specific statistics and create a housing availability matrix for reference during their planning phase. Mr Pizzi even quizzed the class on how many square feet/ acre (42,560) and how many feet are in a mile (5,280)

Mr Pizzi’s work includes residential high rise neighborhood planning in Los Angeles, and schools. He discussed smart growth design. Smart Growth Design is an urban

planning and transportation theory that concentrates growth in compact walkable urban centers to avoid sprawl.

Smart growth values long tern sustainability with short term adjustments. Its goal is to develop sustainability in communities in a unique way. Smart growth

has the possibility to change the way we look at housing, transporting, and careers. Smart Growth Principles: There are 10 accepted principles that define smart growth

1. Mix land uses

2. Take advantage of compact building design

3. Create a range of housing opportunities and choices

4. Create walkable  neighborhoods

5. Foster distinctive, aesthetically pleasing communities with a strong sense of place

6. Preserve open space, farmland, natural beauty, and critical environmental areas

7. Strengthen and direct development towards existing communities

8. Provide a variety of transportation choices

9. Make development decisions predictable, fair, and cost effective

10. Encourage community and stakeholder collaboration in development decisions

Guest Speaker Micheal Heacock



Michael Heacock is a successful Architect with his own Architectural firm. He spoke to the class about his story and how he found his way into architecture. Heacock had a broad range of experience working in many feilds related in some way to architecture. During his earlier years he worked in multiple different offices doing lighting design specialist work and some construction with a construction company.

He emphasized that in this fiend it is important to be okay with criticism and rejection and that there are literally 100’s of solutions to every design problem (dont get stuck on one solution) take ego out of the equation. Learning different building types was another important task for aspiring architects that he spoke of. Micheal Heacock told us about his tendency to get board easily so architecture was a perfect fit for him because it is loaded with stimulation and a “rich mental experience”. This Rich Mental Experience is what was most compelling to me because I also bore easily and i find myself drawn to what some would call over stimulating situations.

Micheal Heacock specializes in green projects including LEED. He was most proud of the Cate School Pool Facility
LEED Gold Certified and its 60kW Microturbine for combined heat & power

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The Cate School Pool Facility consists of a 3,799 s.f. building, a recreation pool and a competition pool. In lieu of receiving energy to power the building and heat the pools from the grid, a microturbine was installed. This microturbine allows the entire facility to be 80%+ energy efficient versus 30% efficient through CHP cogeneration. The microturbine saves the school $46,000+ annually on heating for the pools, and provides 100% of the pool complex’s electrical needs along with 33% of the campus electrical needs. The building was constructed with 90% FSC lumber, formaldehyde-free insulation, zero-VOC paint, and LED lights throughout. The lockers and benches for the locker rooms were constructed from 50% recycled plastic. The landscaping was created using native, drought-tolerant plants. Ninety five percent of all construction waste was diverted from the Tajiguas landfill.

The focus of Mr Heacock’s firm is ecological architecture, interior design and performance consulting.



Interior Design with industry Speaker Deborah Ogden


Deborah Ogden is a certified Interior Designer (CID) that came to speak to out class about the industry of interior design. She explained many rules and regulations including which exams to take in California to become a certified interior designer, in California the exam is the IDEX California. Throughout her lecture she impressed upon the class how important it is to stay current with the laws in whatever state chosen to practice.

She explained license is required to use the title interior designer or interior decorator, but the Certified Interior Designer appellation is protected by law, so may only be used by qualified persons with current dues.

Deborah Ogden explained the difference between interior decorator and interior designers. in the industry interior designers generally have more training and are qualified to make changes in the actual spaces. Designers tend to be more involved with planning and overall design while decorators tend to be more involved solely with the selection of furnishings, colors and finishes.

The legal definition according to Deborah is ” A competent design professional who is qualified to design, non structural, non-seismic interior construction plans and specifications to local building departments.” Certified Interior Designers have demonstrated through education, experience, and examination, their knowledge of the Ca. Building Code as it relates to space planning, life safety, flammability, and disabled asses code issues, as well as through application of the energy-saving codes in CA t-24.

Certified Interior Designer Deborah Ogden, CID Is passionate about interior design, teaching, and life-long-learning. She served on the IDEX Exam Task Force and serves on the California Council for Interior Design Certification (CCIDC) She is also an Award-winning 26-year design-industry veteran, Interior design teacher at Ohlone Community College and Owner/Principal Ogden Studio Interior Design NCIDQ Certificate 19536

What i found most compelling was how many rules and regulations there are in the field. I feel compelled as a student to cross my t’s and dot my I’s when it comes to the knowledge of what actions/ practices the law permits. Deborah’s slides and lecture covered allot of information to assist with risk mitigation. Here are some of the key slides from Deborah’s Lecture.





HighLine Project


This unique 1.45 mile long park or green way  is built on a section of the elevated retired New York Central Railroad section called the West Side line. This retired railroad ran along the lower west side of Manhattan. This park isn’t the first of its kind. One of the main inspirations for this park was a similar project in Paris a the 3-mile Promenade Plantee finished in 1993

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The re-purposing this section of elevated railroad not only beautifies the area but has also spurred growth in the surrounding real estate market. The designers added modern contemporary touches with the seating and arrangement of the fixtures throughout. A pixelated effect was used in the design that is only realized from an aerial view from either a surrounding building or helicopter (unless you can fly). Highline park also has accent lighting at night although I am not sure if the lights are powered by green means.  The park features artwork, lush horticulture, seasonal food vendors, community programming.  The High Line runs between Gansevort Street to West 34th Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues. Highline park also features views of the Hudson River and New York City skyline. Projects like these revitalize cities and and preserve the local history, more of these projects should be taken on both for their economical and aesthetic benefits.


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Gensler Office Tour


Our Class took a field trip to Gensler’s San Francisco office on April 11 2014. It was very inspiring to see a major architectural firm from  the inside. This was actually my first time inside an architectural firm. This office seemed to be a relaxed but professional environment with an eclectic feel and many different kinds of spaces to have meetings or just have some time to work or reflect by yourself. We did a walk through and got to see many different samples of possible flooring, wall or ceiling materials. The sheer volume of interior materials was inspiring and to sparked creative inspiration within me as I pondered the different possibilities. I  imagined how i could use some of these materials to Enhance or Create an entire new space. Although I don’t believe I will be going into interior design exclusively, I feel strongly compelled to become well versed in  this field of expertise. Based on the resources available within this firm it definitely seems like it would be a powerful place to gain experience and make contacts for the future of anyone who has aspirations of going into the field of architecture or interior design.

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Jubilee Church (Church of 2000) By Richard Meier and Partners

This Church was designed by Richard Meier and Partners its construction was completed in 2003.  The first impression is somewhat futuristic. Three large shell like walls dominate the left side of the structure and pull attention leftward. The outermost shell like wall only has a slim horizontal opening at the bottom that allows natural light to enter and throw light across polished floors.  The shells are made by prefab concrete panels, double curved, (dimensions 400 x 400 x 80 cm). Italcementi developed a type of white self-cleaning cement, called Bianco TX Millennium. It makes great sense to make this huge walls out of a material like this for the sake of maintaining the clean pure look of this white structure. Holy Trinity anyone. The concrete shells are graduated heights from 56 to 88 feet high.


Daylight easily illuminates the entire interior of the building through the full span glass ceiling, front and rear glass walls. The orientation of the church is such that the light from sunrises and sunsets reflect off of the white concrete walls giving a serene lighting effect too the interior. In the evening light emanates from within giving the structure a glow as if the structure has been absorbing light all day and is now gently radiating light outward. Central Decor high above the altar give a light at the end of the tunnel effect as a backdrop the the cross.


The main nave seating area accommodates 240, and a day chapel seats 24. The travertine tile floors are light in color but still give a sense of grounding with their earth tones. The interior as well as exterior is comprised of offset squares and rectangles melded well with partial spheres that make up the left curved walls. Five church bells graduate in size from medium to large atop the right side of the church. Overall the structure has a good balance of curved elements meeting right angled elements with  the glass ceiling breaking up the and giving good tie in for the two.

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Zaha Hadid’s Dubai Performing Arts Centre (Model and Renderings only)

Although this version of the Dubai Performing Arts Center was never built it has many interesting design elements to its rendered model. The model designed by Zaha Hadid and Patrik Schumacher has a organic feel with veins and plantlike structural elements throughout. This structure was to contains 5 performance halls, the main Concert Hall atop the four smaller theaters.

As seen in the external  photographs the observer gets very different views  from different angles in photograph one the internal and external evening lighting favors a self luminous jellyfish like see creature while the second photograph almost seems inspired by a leaf with a stem like structural elements incorporated.



Performing Arts Centre, Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

This Internal view of the main performance hall is quite striking in layout and features a massive, albeit elaborate glass ceiling. One could imagine the complex lighting environment shadows thrown during the day performances. The panoramic visibility of the surroundings will be phenomenal if this project is ever completed.

Since many buildings rely heavily on squares and 90 degree angles in their designs this structure stands apart with very few if any square aspects so it blends well or at least has a natural, biological and alive feel.


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Tadao Ando Church Of Light

While doing some digging on a topic for my next blog entry I researched Tadao Ando and saw his Church of light. The term less is more come to mind when viewing the pictures of this Church. His minimalist approach has strong presence withing its  almost perfectly smooth walls. Observers can tell by looking at the Church Of Light that a great deal of time and care was taken framing up the forms for this concrete structure, there are no ripples and very little texture other than the concretes inherent structure. This smoothness allows for better light dispersion and a more reflective surface which is valuable when the amount of natural light is restricted and has to be used as efficiently as possible. The Narrow rectangular shape of the structure also aids the efficiency of light refraction and reflection within its walls, amplifying the illumination effect. Although the concrete has a flat matte finish then the sunlight hits the surface it almost has a sheen, this is a testament to the precision that when into the construction of this monument.


This Structure is meant to be a place of meditation, self reflection and or worship. Solid concrete walls keep separation between the stimuli of the outside world and allow for individuals to collect and refocus themselves in a silent peaceful space. The lack of traditional religious decorum aids in the same task and keeps distraction to a minimum. One simple illuminated cross is the only religious simple within the interior of the Church. The extruded cross is placed on the east facing facade and allows for light to begin illuminating the Church of Light early in the day and on into the evening hours. The shadowy effect of the church is accentuated by the dark re-purposed wood of the floor and the benches.

The floor and benches were made of re-purposed wood used to build the scaffolding. The rough non finished texture of the benches is parallel to the idea of minimalism and functionality Ando seemed to pursue while designing this project.


The addition of a Sunday school was completed in 1999 to the south of the original Church of light.

Why am I interested in Architecture?

As a child i was always into drawing and making artwork, it was something I always had an affinity for growing up. My artwork always had a level of precision witch in my opinion lends itself well to architecture or at least he type of architecture design I am interested in pursuing. Architecture to me is in many ways one of the ultimate art forms and successful Architects can actually make good money.

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For many years I bounced around trying to figure out what profession I felt was worth pursuing that would keep my interest and evolve over time. Architectural design has just the balance of creativity, attention to detail, complexity and stimulation that would keep my interest throughout the years to come.

I am also a big DIY guy and I have been doing woodwork for many years. Architecture just feels like the next logical step in my professional development. In class our guest speaker Michael Heacock spoke to us about Architecture being a “Rich mental experience” and full of stimulation. This is exactly what i want from a profession because I can get bored easily and enjoy ever changing challenges to i work through.  From my Architectural exposure, discussions, and lecture it feels like have found my future profession but the question of my niche remains in a field as broad as this one.