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WI-10 Connections

With the fall semester coming to a close, finals completed and studio cleanup underway,  taking time to reflect on successes and failures over the past year seems to be in order.  I would first like to offer up my thanks and gratitude to Claire and Patrick for a really difficult BUT exciting semester. Completing many of the projects required really tested my skill, design ability and sanity but I can honestly say I am a better person, a better designer and a much better listener than when we began.  Thank you.

Learning the skill to write well is not an easy task and certainly not one that can be mastered in one semester, however the tips and assistance I have received from both my instructors and peers has been an invaluable lesson.  Building upon my renderings with the appropriate amount of text descriptions was not something I saw the true value in prior to now.  I learned how to build a prospectus, programming and various other writing requirements to complete the design package for presentations.  Initially writing in a more free-form format, it’s now understood that it is not always the best way to get your ideas across in design.  With that being said, I will move forward with this last assignment utilizing free-form and non.

During the onset of the semester, I learned how my design thinking effected my work and how I worked with others.  It really was an eye opening experience to learn of the things I needed to work on and realize how true they really were.  Relaxing on some of the details and how I communicate were things I executed outside of design, but I didn’t realize it translated over to this realm.  Knowing the areas that needed help was the first step in growing as a designer and I was mindful of that as I moved forward into the semester.  Setting goals and learning time management were two additional things we discussed and in  reflecting back, it has been certainly an additional area of growth for me.  One of my main goals was to learn which design focus to pursue and it was a struggle for me until the end of the semester.  During our teams of 6 and 12, I began to discover how passionate I am about community outreach and social justice.  Giving back to a community is so important and moving forward, I am excited about doing more design-to-build work in whatever community I settle in.  I have done much volunteer work for Habitat for Humanity and would not only like to continue that on the side, but also immerse myself into a non-profit design/build company that focuses on local issues.  Coming to this conclusion had me also reflect on the final project of my 2nd year fall semester.  We designed for a woman who wanted to open up a wellness center for children recovering from cancer on her own property.  Putting a face on design and presenting the project to her on our final critique day, as well as knowing that our design could quite possibly be selected for construction was so rewarding.  My only wish is that more community projects like this continue to happen during the years spent here at UNCG and I would like to challenge my professors to make it happen.

Pinnacle & Synergy Models

The group work was pretty dynamic this semester.  It was the first time many of us worked in as large of a group as we did.  12 people working on one project means that not everyone will have a say in what goes on and that is one of the challenges for someone who cares about creating meaningful design and being involved.  Learning how to give up some control was very difficult and struggled with it until the end.  It was one of the reasons I chose to be involved in so many projects on Jenga 7.0.  Prospectus, programming of private and public spaces, lighting plans, circulation boards and time sheets were my focus and as much input I had, in the end there were things I did not know about our building, such as room placement and reasons for where they were placed.

Building Circulation Board

It was quite uncomfortable but understanding when to let things go and trust your teammates was the end result of my experience.  I really learned different strengths (and weaknesses) of my peers and believe that we worked extremely well together.  We understood the need to be organized, communicate frequently and effectively, in addition to relying each other to do our tasks in order for other people to complete theirs.  The “whole > sum of its parts” has been our motto this semester and although it is true, it is important for those parts to effectively work together to make the whole successful.  It was achieved with our team, I believe.  My largest growth came from technical work and learning new photo manipulation programs.  Photoshop, illustrator and in-design were programs that I had no experience in.  During Jenga 1.0, it became clear the need for me to step up my game when I was one of very few that presented a hand drawn presentation board. In the end, I felt comfortable with my ability to produce a digitally manufactured presentation board on my own.  Thank you to my peers for their assistance on that.

Personal Beehive Space

Moving forward to third year has me knowing I made it over the dreaded second year hump and I feel pretty proud of myself for doing so.  Going back to school later in life was a big leap for me and a bit intimidating at times, however as each semester goes on, my life experience gains an additional chapter that I can reflect on with pride and the confidence knowing that I am a good designer.

Posted in jenga

Jenga 6.0

For our next Jenga piece, we were required to choose an area in the world (outside of the U.S.).  Our team chose Darwin, Australia. 

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With residents from over 56 countries, the capital city of Darwin, Australia sits on the remote tip of the Northern Territories linking trade to Asia.  Named after British evolutionist, Charles Darwin, many regard it as a modern but mellow metropolis with approximately 130,000 residents. The area gained forty percent of the population within the past 40 years
Darwin, just 12 degrees south of the equator experiences a tropical climate, with a wet and dry season, although the average temperature doesn’t fall below 70 degrees. Darwin can see up to 400 mm of rain in the summer (Dec – Feb), which contributes to its lush landscape and beautiful parks.[1]
With a history of renewal and construction, Darwin sustained World War II bombings and a destructive cyclone in the early 1970’s to emerge as a community with a prosperous, growing economy and access to vast mineral wealth, a booming tourist industry and an important military base for northern Australia.  With new port facilities, an improved airport, all weather roads and the opening of the railway linking Darwin to the rest of Australia, the city expects continued growth.[2]
Rebuilding the city multiple times has helped Darwin maintain a youthful spirit with multiple outdoor public spaces.[3]  Built on a low bluff overlooking Darwin Harbor and Beagle Gulf, a wide variety of activities enliven the waterfront such as Skycity Darwin[4].  Skycity offers a casino, restaurants and hotels. Additionally, visitors have characterized Darwin with an active nightlife, markets, outdoor malls, festivals and cultural events, all within a walkable community.


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Jenga 5.0

On the next iteration of our Jenga project, our group “Interlocking” was paired with another group of three named “Circuit”.  Together, we named our group “Pinnacle” and based our idea on stacking of structures and twisting and turning through public areas, we chose to keep our public areas open to the outside, blending the exterior to the interior spaces.
During this piece of our Jenga puzzle, we were also required to assemble programming for elevator sizes, furniture, fixtures and equipment for the required additional public spaces we designed.  (gym, manager’s office, mail room, pubic restrooms and laundry).  Below, you will find not only this program, but also our digital presentation.

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Jenga 4.0

Moving forward from Jenga 3.0, Jamaan, Brian and I were required to duplicate our individual spaces and move our added spaces to a different level, resultig in a total of four floors. (including ground floor)
   With this cluster of six buildings, we started to think about context, location, materials and enhanced building placement.  To follow, are our drawings and our final board layout.

Jenga 4.0 Instructions
Jengas 4.0 site diagram


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Jenga 3.0 Proposal

For Jenga 3.0, we formed groups of three people that had context words that fit together appropriately.  I was paired with Brian Peck, who had twist and Jamaan Simmons who had tilt.  Together, we formed “Interlocking Ambiguity”.  After comparing our individual books we read on design, we came up with commonalities within the three.  Order and structure.  Our books were:
Brian: “10 Books on Architecture” by Vitruvius
 Jamaan: “The Nature of Order” by Christopher Alexander
Audra: “delirious new york” by rem koolhaus

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[iar 202] REFLECTION

Reflecting back on your previous work helps us move forward to making our future work more successful.  In each step, a time for reflection is required for me so that I learn from my mistakes and take my successes to a different level. The learning process will never be complete and in knowing this, I welcome each ability to not only express myself in my work, but also to gain knowledge from the critique process and use it as a path for growth.
With this last project, I have certainly learned a lot about my ability.  I was fortunate to learn some new digital techniques that helped me immensely with my time management  and implementation of a more successful project than my previous. Managing my time allowed me the ability to make a completed model and plan my board layouts.  I felt less panicked and more rested going into critiques and it helped all along in creating my design.
I am excited about moving forward to Jenga 3.0.  I work well in a team environment and I’m thrilled with the team members I am paired with.  We are all on a great path of discovery and our final project will, no doubt, be amazing.

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Jenga 2.0: kit of parts + 1

Jenga 2.0 was a one week project focusing on one of my spaces from Jenga 1.0 concept word “Beehive”.  For 2.0, I was provided with the opportunity to expand the original space by 50%, adding a second story and adding another kit of parts.  My idea was based on a man made beehive that has the appearance of a chest of drawers.  I originally chose to use two solids in my space, and I added an additional solid as a ceiling detail on the top floor of the space.  This detail resembles different levels of a honey comb that have lights hanging from them to resemble dripping honey.  
Here are my boards:

My floor plans in more detail:

first floor plan

second floor plan (loft#1)
third floor plan (loft #2)

 My sections:

main section

right section

ceiling plan


And here is my model:

Overall I am pleased with my progression from the first project and I’m looking forward to moving forward to see where we end up.

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Kit of Parts Review: Kacie Leisure [well up]

Kacie created three different spaces using “well up” as her concept word.. With her models and professionally completed drawings, she was able to clearly communicate each space.


Kacie’s first space, she chose the idea of bursting to be represented in her long and narrow space.  Her idea around bursting, was that when something wells up, it eventually gets to the point of needing to burst.  In this space, she used a wall and two columns.  The wall in the space is separating public and private space and one of the columns has shelves that are stacked on top of each other until they “burst” at the top of the column near the ceiling.  Kacie used materials (wood and granite) to help the shelving unit stand out as the focal point to her concept word.


Her second space uses the idea of well up by incorporating elevation, verticality and linear forms. Entering the space, you are surrounded by a vertical posts that support a loft space.  The use of deep mahogany woods for the solids draw your eyes upwards – thus welling up.  The loft space is used as the private space, and the main level houses public spaces.  The concrete floors contrast the woods in color and luster, thus keeping your focus on the verticality the space has.


Kacie’s third space is the largest space at 32’4 x 22’. She used the idea of extreme and overwhelming feeling or emotion.  She has said that this space was the most difficult for her to design because she needed to base it off of something that wasn’t physical.  She went with “designing to provoke these feelings and emotions involved in welling up.”  The materials used are white marble for the walls and very dark strand bamboo for the floors. There are free flowing, circular walls that create the barriers between public and private spaces.  The idea of family get togethers was behind one of her ideas for this space and incorporating a fire place is appropriate – having a hearth of the home.

Kacie’s grasp of successfully laying out her boards in a clear concise fashion really help her with her presentation and I enjoy viewing her ideas.  She has a good command of digital modeling and using the cam studio to have her physical models look crisp and clean.  All in all – a really professional look.

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Kit of Parts Review: Justin McNair [spark]

Justin created three separate spaces based on the word spark.  Each space represents a different interpretation of the word and his models and drawings clearly communicated his concept word.

energy and tension to create a spark

Justin’s first space is based off of the precursor of energy and tension it takes to initiate  a spark.  This space was the most narrow of spaces and his intention was to have it appear that the space was being pulled in two separate directions. Using platforms on opposite ends of the room emphasized that pull and tension.  He states that “this directional pull is an indicator to spaces of comfort and privacy.”

outward radiating nucleus

His second space is centered around an nucleus that radiates outward.  The spark begins at the center and pulsates away from the center and he used his kit of parts to help communicate this. 
Justin created a large rounded glass block wall that would not only provide light throughout the space but also give a sense of privacy.  A shorter rounded wall was opposite this first wall and a column sat in the center, representing the nucleus.  He used different layers in this space as well which acted as layers of ripples defining spatial functions.

rawness of a spark

Justin’s third space is based on the rawness of a spark, “where materiality and abstract form play a vital role.”  He uses glazed concrete floors to represent a raw crudeness in the space. Lofts and angular walls give the effect of claustrophobic spaces while still maintaining its exposure to the rest of the space.

Justin has a very interesting way of coming up with his ideas for each space and his drawings and renderings were really great. He shows a good command of both digital rendering as well as hand drawing.

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One word can take on a multitude of meanings from one minute to the next.  With Beehive, I was drawn to a few different meanings which I have incorporated into my spaces.
To use the word literally, I think of an actual man-made beehive with a frame and multiple draws that pull out of the structure for my first space.  I took this concept and expanded it into making modular units of rectangular form and sliding glass walls to help break up the space in the room.  Each modular unit has multiple compartments, some open; some in drawer form but all for storage.  Each space that is separated by these units can take on dual purposes since there are no solid walls to completely enclose them.  The sunlight from the long bank of windows on the opposite from the entrance flood the space with natural light that bounces off the polished concrete floors and natural wood tones. This creates a warm space, creating implied walls from the shadows the solids create.

Beehives are also a place where bee’s come together during the pollination process.  Using that idea, I created a space with a glass curved wall to simulate the flight of the bee that intersects the opening of a rounded space.  This curved wall, which has voids mixed in sporadically for storage, flows into the round bathroom space where it not only creates a space for a closet, but also acts as the privacy wall for the open shower.  I use the idea of the center of a flower where the bee gets its pollen as the inspiration for my rounded form.This curved and round walls create a separation of space between the public and private area.  The lighting effects created from the four windows in this space, creates wisps of light onto the walls creating a flurry of motion resembling the flight of the bee in a second way.

Beehive also brought to mind the beehive hairstyle popular in the 1960’s.  This hairstyle was all about height and poof and made quite a statement.  It was not only used to help create more height for a shorter woman, but It was a way to be noticed.  Both of these are reasons I used this concept in my third space. Using the full 14’ height of the space, I created a loft above a section of the room which is accessible from a large sweeping circular stairway curving around the support column of the space. This creates that the ability to make a grand entrance into the space from above;  a “look at me” moment.  Using colors and period furniture from the 1960’s, the entire space takes on a retro feel that is all about self reflection and grandure.