Monday, May 29, 2006

Sustainability: Building Materials

Assignment 1: Royal American Design Program
"Like any good design, good sustainable design demands informed, caring, diligent, and creative work."

- John Morris Dixon, FAIA
May 2006

"What if we could do anything? What if the questions surrounding design turned out to be the big questions? What if life itself became a design project? What if - as Arnold Toynbee once suggested - we were committed to an audacious, altruistic global project that imagined "the welfare of the entire human race as a practical objective"? What if design turned out to be that project? What if we succeeded?"

-Bruce Mau
What is sustainability and how does it relate to your field and interests?

The internationally accepted definition of sustainability was established by the UN's World Commission on Environment and Development in 1987. It is, "development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". 1 It's a nice, concise definition, but it's too vague to really mean much.

The 2006 AIA convention held last week discussed adopting the following definition for sustainability:
The linked domains of sustainability are environmental (natural patterns and flows), economic (financial patterns and equity), and social (human, cultural, and spiritual). Sustainable design is a collaborative process that involves thinking ecologically—studying systems, relationships, and interactions—in order to design in ways that remove rather than contribute stress from systems. The sustainable design process holistically and creatively connects land use and design at the regional level and addresses community design and mobility; site ecology and water use; place-based energy generation, performance, and security; materials and construction; light and air; bioclimatic design; and issues of long life and loose fit. True sustainable designs are beautiful, humane, socially appropriate, and restorative of natural systems. 2
I love this definition. It is everything I want design to be. I chose my internship at GSBS because their focus is on sustainable architecture. I'm in an office full of LEED APs, and it is my goal to be LEED accredited by the time I graduate next spring.

The most intriguing aspect of sustainability for me is the balance between the environment, the econom
y, and social issues. That is where traditional environmental movements have failed and where sustainable development has a chance at succeeding. None of this is possible without the economic benefits of business and the greatest strides have come from companies who embrace sustainability as part of their corporate social responsibility.

What are the problems that need to be solved with my team topic and sustainability?

Building materials make up the largest amount of material used in a project. They have the biggest impact on the cost and take the largest toll on the environment. The biggest contribution to LEED certification is also found in building materials. This is the worst problem we face:

Buildings need to be designed and built so that they will either last for 100s of years (as in Europe), or be dismantled and upcycled at the end of their lifecycle. All of this ended up at the landfill and it was an incredible waste of materials. The old Merrill Library should have been designed to have a much longer lifespan. It only took 40 odd years to become dangerous and obsolete.

The reality of suburban America is disposable architecture. WalMart and the rest don't care what happens to their buildings when they close a store. If a big box becomes rundown a company will tear it down and rebuild before it will consider a permanent presence in a community it may not survive in. Look at Brigham City. WalMart will build a new monster store before it will convert the empty Fred Meyer, Kmart and ShopKo buildings. What happens if WalMart needs to close? Brigham will be left with another dead store and sprawl that is threatening the downtown district. Logan isn't in much better shape. What will happen if the new WalMart on the south end of town closes? What happens to the Macey's building when they build their new location? What if ShopKo or Kmart close? The companies cut their losses and leave while the community is left with the reprecussions of bad planning and bad building.

As many of us heard at NeoCon West, Karim Rashid spoke of the virtue of disposable architecture. He believes a building should be meant to last a set period of time, maybe 10 or 20 years, and then torn down to be replaced with something better. The average lifespan of a casino in Las Vegas is 30 years. If this is the future then sustainability is more vital than ever. William McDonough's Cradle to Cradle philosophy must be embraced if we are going to tear down and rebuild. A maximum amount of building materials must be designed to be upcycled and waste really must equal food. If not we will eat ourselves alive. What will Cache Valley look like in 100 years?

What solutions are currently out there?

The May 2006 issue of W Magazine has an article about architect David Hertz. He is a hot property among LA celebrities for his innovative approach to green design. Hertz began his career as Frank Gehry's intern and works closely with Paul Hawken, author of The Ecology of Commerce. His current project is a home constructed from the shell of an old 747. He is the inventor of Syndecrete, "an innovative pre-cast lightweight concrete architectural surfacing material which incorporates recycled aggregates extracted from society’s waste stream." 3 Everything from glass to crushed vinyl records can be mixed in Syndecrete, which is liscenced through Interface. 4 Solutions come from innovative people like Hertz who see a problem and find a solution.

Other solutions (and their own problems):

Dimensional lumber is the wood used to construct most homes. Wood is renewable, but the amount we use is straining our resources and affecting our water, soil and air quality. Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood is grown in managed forests that meet strong ecologically based standards. The problem is that there are few managed forests and not many bodies who certify them. It is also difficult to identify old growth wood once it has been harvested. The best solution comes from using regionally grown wood where the supply and demand could be easily monitored, and the local economy could recieve the greatest benefit. 5

Forest Stewardship Council
Forest Stewardship Council International
Sustainable Lumber Production
Illegal Logging
Profile Lumber
Full Cycle WoodWorks

Engineered wood is made from laminating wood chips together and uses recycled and reconstituted wood material. It is stronger and strighter than lumber, and easier to work with when spanning longer distances. These products, like plywood, dramatically reduce waste. 6 The problem with engineered wood is that the resin used to bind the wood fiber together is made from formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals that will offgass into the air for decades. Formaldehyde is a probable know carcinogen, as are xylene and toulene, other chemicals commonly used in the manufacturing process. For engineered wood to be considered sustainable it must use formaldehyde-free and non-toxic binders. There are some products that can minimize this problem by sealing the wood. The health effects caused by these chemicals are significant and contribute to poor indoor air quality and sick building syndrome. Other sheet materials can be made from recycled newsprint, agicultural byproducts (wheatboard), and recycled gypsum, but the same caution must be taken to make sure they don't use toxic binders.

APA The Engineered Wood Association
Engineered Structural Products

Concrete is usually made from manufacturing byproducts and is considered sustainable. Once cured it is stable and doesn't offgass. Flyash is the waste residue caused by burning coal in electrical plants. Thirteen million tons of flyash is produced each year in Texas alone. When flyash is recyled by mixing it into concrete it imporves its workability and increases strength. It also reduces the corrosion caused be reinforcing steel. Flyash concrete is identical in cost to standard concrete. 7

Development of Green Cement
Sustainable Concrete
Sustainable Concrete Structures
Concrete International

Glass is a low emissions material that can contribute to sustainability in several areas. It can be easily recycled and made into many interior finishes. It is available with coatings that deflect sunlight, reducing heating and the cost of air conditioning. 8 Skylights let in natural light and reduce the amount of artificial light needed. Notice the use of natural light vs florescent lighting in the new Merrill-Cazier Library. This picture was taken in the basement.

Advanced Glass Group
Daylighting Collaborative
Daylighting in Schools Improves Student Performance
Recycled Glass Products

Steel provides a flexible building system that is easily modifiable for future use. This extends the building's lifecycle as future tenants can adapt the space for their own needs. Steel can be easily dismantled and reused or recycled without degrading its quality. Steel is manufacured off site by skilled laborers who are paid well and enjoy higher workplace safety than other industries. The steel industry, especially in Europe, has identified several areas that can contribute to sustainability. These topics include: environmental reporting, training responsible contractors, and developing new products that meet the needs of sustainable goals. 9

ISSI World Steel Industry

Sustainable Steel Construction
Sustainable Steel Roofing
Canadian Steel Buildings Case Studies

What areas need more exploration around your team topic?

We need new alternatives to conventioan building materials that are practical and cost effective. There must be more people like David Hertz who are coming up with solutions that haven't hit the mainstream. Research needs to be done to find alternative materials, to identify areas that need further development, and to find creative uses for existing materials.

What conclusions have you found, specifically that you would like to take on personally?

I'm interested in cost analysis. The perception is that sustainable design is much more expensive. What exactly does it cost compared to conventional building, and at what point will it pay for itself? Cost is the biggest concern to the client.

2. "Draft Definition of Sustainable Design", May 24, 2006

Sunday, May 28, 2006

What I Love: 3Form

Thank you, Amy, for asking about 3Form. I didn't think anyone would be interested but this gives me the perfect opportunity to write about one of my favorite materials. Designers get excited about innovative products that change the way they design. This is 3Form:

It's a plastic resin the company can embed anything into. They can put in leaves, flower petals, fabric, beads, lace, metal mesh, pebbles, digital images - anything you'd like. 3Form usually comes in panels, and it can be bent into any shape. You can make furniture, wall partitions, ceilings, and a million other things from it.

The best thing about 3Form is that it's environmentally responsible. Many of it's products are made from EcoResin that has a high recyled content. It's non-toxic and doesn't emit chemicals into the air. They're working on a new material that is 100% post-consumer HDPE, which is the plastic that shampoo and mustard bottles are made from. They are a company that pushes the boundaries of what's possible. 3Form is even a Utah product based in Salt Lake City. It is expensive through, and something you save for the most exciting projects. So you can imagine how exciting it is to have my own set of samples!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

So Far

My internship, and my career in design, has begun. I would love to dish about all that has happened over the last two days, but I've signed a confidentiality agreement. I can't spill all the company secrets, not that I know any.

So far I've spent my time in the materials library getting to know all the products very well. Sorting, filing, meeting sales reps, and getting very dirty. I made the mistake of wearing a skirt and heels the first day, and then sorted through tile samples all afternoon. I was filthy.

What I've learned so far: I don't like much of Maharam's fabric or wall coverings. Maybe it's just because I see it so often. I'm not crazy about Architex either. ArcCom, DesignTex and Knoll have much cooler stuff. I haven't seen any CF Stinson here and they got rid of all their Pallas textiles because they didn't use them. Wolf Gordon and MDC have some seriously hot wallcoverings. The new trend from Kimball Office is a mocha cherry wood and light turquoise fabric. It think it's gorgeous but Julie, the sales rep, says it reminds her too much of the '70s. Bernhadt and Patrician have some really beautiful commercial furniture. Viewnique is a company that digitally imprints wall murals of any size. I hate putting away paint and laminate samples. It takes forever!

I got to take home three boxes of 3Form because the new samples arrived. 3Form samples are as good as gold and now I'm swimming in it!

The key to interior design is knowing what materials and furniture are out there and having access to it. And sales reps really are your best friends.

Monday, May 22, 2006


The Cult of Macintosh can get a little nuts, but no company in the US has pushed modern design as diligently as Apple. Check out how incredible the new Apple store on 5th Avenue in NY is. This is the type of design I want to do.

Ode to an Apartment

Internet access is easier to come by than I expected, so I will take a moment to update you on my new digs. This is my lovely living room:

The couch (I refuse to call it a sofa, and it certainly can't be considered a loveseat) came with the place. The apartment is unfurnished but someone left this behind. The tv and CUTE country bench are mine. I know, hearts! I've had since I was a kid. One day it will be replaced with a Noguchi table. I'm not sure why I brought the tv - I'm too cheap for cable! The couch now has a lovely(er) sage slipcover.

The other side of the room features an abandoned futon.

If anyone would like to visit you can crash here. It's as comfortable as it looks. The bedroom is almost identical to this room, but smaller and minus the stray furniture.

Here is my view:


The kitchen is my favorite:

I wish I could take this drawer with me when I leave. Here is the bathroom.

And here is the clause in my contract that says I can't change a thing.

Don't they realize they could get more money if they let me do something like this?

This is actually a two bedroom apartment. I'm getting a great deal because the managers are using one of the bedrooms as storage. The door is locked but they just came by to get something out of the room. While they were carrying out a suspicious looking bundle I ran back to peek inside. This is what I found:

What in the world?! Should I be scared?

For SLC this is quite a cosmopolitan complex. My next door neighbors are Hurricane Katrina refuges. Above me is a family from Korea who have been here about a month. They're here to learn English and I think they're responsible for the flowers outside the window. Above them is a family from Nigeria. Everyone else are students - married and single.

My sister thinks it's ironic that I'm living here, but working here:

We've all got to start somewhere, and it's a step up from the studio.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Adieu to You, and You, and You, and You

Well, I'm off. My internship begins Tuesday and lasts until July 7th. Then I fly to London on July 11th. At the moment I'm not sure what I've gotten myself into, but it will be good.

On Thursday night Karen, Loralee, Brian and Sherry took me out to dinner to send me off and wish me well. Thank you all! It was a lovely night and I don't deserve it. Read Loralee's wonderful account of the evening. The food was amazing:

And the flowers are still gorgeous:

I don't know how much internet access I'll have for the next seven weeks, but I'll post when I can (weekends at least). Wish me luck, and go have an adventure of your own.

Sketch 12

Sketch 12, originally uploaded by zenroxie.

The last page in the sketchbook. There is a wonderful sense of satisfaction in filling every page! I need to watercolor this to capture the vivid greens and burgandys of the flowers. I will keep sketching over the next week in my new moleskine!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Sketch 11

Sketch 11, originally uploaded by zenroxie.

An experiment with cross-hatching.

Sketch 10

Sketch 10, originally uploaded by zenroxie.

Flowers from friends. I adore peonies!

In March I was at the Getty Center and bought the most adorable (not c.u.t.e) set of colored pencils. A dozen pencils, a sharpener and an eraser fit in a case the size of a credit card. They're a little hard to hold but they lay down color deliciously.

Sketch 9

Sketch 9, originally uploaded by zenroxie.

I've been sketching, but not posting. This is a very quick attempt at chandeliers.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Surprise!, originally uploaded by zenroxie.

One year ago today I was in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. My brother served his mission there and he was showing us the sights. We awoke to this message written in the sand in front of the hotel.

I love that the proposal was written as one word. I hope it worked out.


Donghia is an incredible high-end furniture and textile company. Their products are gorgeous and I use them often in my projects. I doubt I will use them often after I graduate because few people can afford them, but I will dream while I can. Dongia sponsors a monthly design competition through Interior Design Magazine. It's called "Almost Great Moments in Design History." This month's challenge: Georgia O'Keefe designs a tassel, what does it look like?" Hmmm, I'll have to think about that.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Sketch 8

Sketch 8, originally uploaded by zenroxie.

Working on speed. Obviously I need a lot more work.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Sketch 7

Sketch 7, originally uploaded by zenroxie.

A detail from a vintage fabric pattern.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

I would like to thank the judges . . .

I'm still not used to this, but my dialysis center is now up on the IIDA website. Watch out Gensler (or HOK, SOM, Perkins + Will, IA), here I come.

Sketch 6

Sketch 6, originally uploaded by zenroxie.

Playing with positive and negative space.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Sketch 5

Sketch 5, originally uploaded by zenroxie.

I'm using a Pilot Razor Point pen trying to figure out shading and cross hatching. These sketches look quite different on screen compared to real life. Now I can see what I should have done and where I've overworked it.


This summer I am going to be in London during the Utah Festival Opera's 2006 season. I'm so sad. This will be the first summer I have ever missed a production. Yes, that's right. I have seen everything they have ever performed - including Loralee's season - long before I knew her. I love opera and I especially love plays. What I don't love are musicals. I hate Andrew Lloyd Weber (don't even get me started on Phantom) and tolerate Gilbert and Sullivan only in small quantities. I will admit that there are few things better than an excellent production of the Mikado, but I refuse to see Pirates of Penzance ever again. Three times is two and a half times too many. There are many musicals I love, but I'm a writer. I refuse to sacrifice the plot for the music.

My very first opera was La Traviata when I was in high school. This is interesting to no one else but me, but here is a list of theatre productions I can prove that I have seen, by category. There have been more, but I have playbills or ticket stubs for the following. I remember them all.

Operas and Operettas
Barber of Seville
Desert Song
Die Fledermaus (twice)
Don Pasquale
Gianni Schicchi (twice)
Girl of the Golden West
I Pagliacci (my favorite ever!)
Julius Caesar
Kismet (twice)
La Cenerentola
La Traviata (three times)
Madama Butterfly (twice)
Magic Flute (twice)
Merry Widow
Mikado (twice)
Naughty Marietta (twice)
Porgy & Bess
Student Prince
Tales of Hoffman
Trial by Jury

A Really Big Shew
Annie Get Your Gun
Anything Goes
Brigadoon (twice)
Cardigans, The
Carousel (twice)
Cotton Patch Gospel
Diamond Studs
Fiddler on the Roof
Forever Plaid (twice)
Hello, Dolly!
How the West Was Won
I Do! I Do!
Into the Woods
Jane Eyre (with Loralee Burnett as Grace Poole)
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (starring Donny Osmond)
King and I (twice)
Little Shop of Horrors (three times)
Man of LaMancha
Monkey Business
Once Upon a Matress
Peter Pan
Secret Garden
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
Scarlet Pimpernel (twice)
She Loves Me
Song of Singapore
Sound of Music
South Pacific (twice)
Sunday in the Park with George
Two by Two
Phantom of the Opera (three different productions, Weber's twice)
Pirates of Penzance (three times)
Unsinkable Molly Brown
Wizard of Oz

A Bedfull of Foreigners
A Midsummer Night's Dream (three times and a favorite)
A Murder is Announced
All For Mary
An Inspector Calls
And A Nightingale Sang
A Winter's Tale
Blithe Spirit
Blood Brothers
Cash on Delivery
Cherry Orchard
Christmas Carol (twice)
Diary of Anne Frank
Diviners, The
Dresser, The
Foreigner, The
Frogs, The
Goodnight Desdemona
Heiress, The
Henry V
Henry VI
I Hate Hamlet
Importance of Being Earnest (twice)
Iphigenia in Tauris
Jungle Book
King Lear
Lettice and Lovage
Lend Me a Tenor
Lost in Yonkers
Merry Wives of Windsor
Miracle Worker
Much Ado About Nothing (twice)
Night Watch
Noises Off (three times)
Our Town
Plaza Suite
Pool's Paradise
Servant of Two Masters, The (twice)
Sherlock's Last Case
Sunshine Boys
Twelveth Night
Unexpected Guest
Wait Until Dark
Winnie the Pooh
Woman in Black, The

I've also seen several ballets and many, many concerts. I love live theatre and see it more often than I see movies. The only glaring omission is Les Miserables and I must see it soon! This summer I will miss Marriage of Figaro, The Music Man, La Boheme and Man of LaMancha. I'll have to make up for it by seeing as much as I can in London.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Sketch 4

Sketch 4, originally uploaded by zenroxie.

I got too fussy with this one. I should have concentrated on shapes, especially in the shadows, rather than contour lines. I also got bored half way through and had to force myself to finish. It shows.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

A World of Hollies

Several years ago I came across another Holly Murdock online. She was a cheerleader in Texas. I remember thinking, "In what kind of weird parallel universe could I be a Texas cheerleader?!" I can't think of anyone who could live in America, share my name, and have such a different life. No one would ever mistake me for a cheerleader. I've been incredibly curious about the other girls who share my name since then. Holly is common, Murdock fairly common, but how often could they be put together? More often than I thought.

The most famous Holly Murdock is a gymnast from Northern Ireland. I run across her all the time. According to her official site, "Holly is the highest ever British gymnast in World Championships history, with her 14th place all around finish in Belgium in 2001." She went on to compete for UCLA. Her middle name is Claire, so our name similarity ends there. If you google me you will get her.

There is a Holly Murdock who managed the 2005 Lady Eagles soccer team for Faith Baptist Bible College in Ankeny, Iowa. Another Holly is a writer in Friendswood, Texas. A Holly Murdock Ashley received a "B.Tech. Industrial Technology: Industrial Safety" from the University Of Idaho Idaho Falls in 2001. The Human Resources Generalist for Thule Trailors in Winslow, Maine is a Holly. Contact her if you want to apply for a job.

According to Forbes Magazine Holly Murdock installed software for Tom Gores of Gores Technology Group. They married in 1995 and have two children. Holly Murdock of Edwards Technology is on the Board of Directors for the Sebasticook Valley Chamber of Commerce in Newport, Maine. Holly is also a teacher at First-Plymouth Early Education in Lincoln, Nebraska and is part of a research project to "experiment with strategies and technologies intended to promote shared discussion about young children's visual-spatial learning at school and home."

Rattler Athletics at St. Mary's University gave Holly Murdock a post season academic honor in 1993-94. Holly is also in charge of hiring for radio station 101.7 BOB FM in Texarkana, Texas. Holly even took GOVT 2305 at Texarkana College. Holly Ann Murdock received a scholarship at the University of Kansas for her senior year in 2001-2. Her major was Liberal Arts and she was on the honor roll in Fall 2001. Holly is a library aide at Worthington Elementary in Worthington, Indiana. In 2002 Holly Murdock won 2nd place in a vocal competition at the Water Follies Talent Show in Washington state.

Holly Murdock is the main character of a romance novel titled Priceless by Georgia Bockoven. A 4 star review describes the plot: "Getting hit over the head and robbed in Tennessee is not exactly what Cole had planned, but his misadventure does bring the irrepressible Holly Murdock into his life." Irrepressible? I wonder if anyone would describe me that way. Holly is also a purebred Burmese show cat.

And then there is me, an interior design student in Utah. Right now I show up on Google's search on page two with my Statesman article, and on page 3 for the ASID rug competition. We'll see what happens when the IIDA press release comes out. There are a lot of other Hollies out there, but I'm the one who owns the domain name.

Sketch 3

Sketch 3
Originally uploaded by zenroxie.

Day three of sketching. This dress from Vogue is blood red. I love roushing, but I'm generally not a fan of corset detailing.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

A Sketch A Day

Inspired by Justin Clayton's Daily Paintings, I have a new goal - to sketch every day. I draw well, and when I began sketching on a regular basis a year and a half ago I found it frustrating. Sketching is not drawing. It's an entirely different discipline. I found it difficult to capture images or ideas quickly and my attempts were tight and timid. I began to improve only when I realized that sketching is like any other skill. It takes practice.

My sketches will be experimentation. They are meant to be quick and dirty. I will explore different mediums - pen, pencil, marker, maybe watercolor if I'm very brave. I'll sketch from real life, from my photos or from magazines. Sometimes they will be rooms, other times objects. Interiors or exteriors, items or ideas. I want to capture a bit of everything. And they will be bad. I don't pretend to be good, I just hope to improve. But I will do something every day. I'll post them here and on flickr to hold myself accountable.

I started last night. Here are my first two sketches, both from magazine photos.



Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Read Any Good Books Lately?

I am a voracious reader. It's one of my favorite things to do and a huge source of inspiration. The only thing I feel like I've sacrificed this past year in school is my time to read. It's been so long since I've had the chance to pick up a book just for fun that I don't even know what I feel like reading. Does anyone have any suggestions?

I've Never Pretended to be Cool

I am such a nerd! School is out, it is a beautiful spring day, and there is nothing that I have to do. So where do I find myself? The library. And not the public library, the university library! It's one of my favorite places to be. I took back Display Design in Japan and Drawing Shortcuts, and checked out Architectural Drawing, Design Is. . ., and Interiors: Perspectives in Architecural Design. Next time I need to get out of the art section and wander around a different floor.

This is our library:
It opened last fall and was designed by GSBS, the firm I am about to start my internship at. Here is the lobby:

A study area. To quote Darrin, one of my professors, "That is one sexy wall."

A view from the Art Collection. There are skylights everywhere.

The building is a joy to be in.

This is our old library:

It used to look like this :

We've taken quite a step up, haven't we? The old library was dark and inefficient, but it was still sad to see it torn down. It's been here forever. This was my favorite doorway on the building's south side:

It's hard to read, but the sign says "Center For The Study of the Causes of War and the Conditions for Peace." It was an "emergency exit only" and now it's gone for good.

Monday, May 08, 2006

IIDA Student Sustainable Design Competition

The dialysis center I designed in my Commercial Studio class last fall means a great deal to me. The assignment was to design an out-patient healthcare facility and Professor Woolley let us decide what type. After a debate we made the decision as a class that it should be a kidney dialysis center. It was an opportunity to design a facility for people who truly need it.

In October our class visited a dialysis center at a local hospital and saw how depressing and inadequate the space was. The nurse who showed us around told us what they needed and what they wished for. Afterward a friend of my mom named Marianna agreed to speak with us. She underwent dialysis at a center in Ogden and eventually received a kidney transplant. Her experience was very emotional and she made the project real for us.

After my project was featured in a Statesman article Woolley, who is now teaching design at a school in Qatar, wrote me the following. I'm sharing it because he describes the significance of this better than I could.
If you weren't there that day - you don't understand the meaning of this project. If you don't know someone personally who is undergoing dialysis treatment - you won't understand this project. But I was there in class and heard what she said. I saw the pain and appreciate the work the class did because it changed them as designers. Design took on meaning, and that is rare in the educational realm.
The research behind my design also became a year long Honors project exploring sustainability and metaphors for spiritual healing. With Woolley's encouragement I entered the project into the International Interior Design Association's (IIDA) Student Sustainable Design Competition. I wasn't expecting much but he thought I had a good chance.

The judging is now complete and I found out late last week that I received the competition's honorable mention. I am excited and I am grateful. Grateful for the opportunities this award will bring me and the ways it will help me to accomplish my goals. Grateful for everything I learned this year, and grateful for the chance to find a mentor who helped me exceed my own expectations.

Sunday, May 07, 2006


Yesterday I signed a contract on an apartment in Salt Lake City. Ironicaly I've moved out of desk 10 in the studio and into Apt. 10 at this new complex. More (much more) when I move in permanently. My internship at GSBS begins on May 23rd and I can hardly wait! To celebrate my sister and I saw Sigur Ros in concert at The Depot, a block away from the GSBS office.

For those who haven't heard of Sigur Ros this review is courtesy of Salt Lake City Weekly.

Iceland might be green, but judging from the country’s most popular musical exports, its terrain is more like a snow globe—delicate, playful and surreal. Some enjoy the winsome peculiarity of artists like Björk and Sigur Rós. Others find the latter too bizarre. Until recently, the nymphlike quartet wrote lyrics in Hopelandic, a nonsensical language built on high-pitched vocals. With Taak, vocalist Jón Bor (Jónsi) Birgisson switches to Icelandic. Of course, most people still can’t understand a word he’s saying, but that’s really not the point. Sigur Rós creates ambient, aural landscapes where dreamers can escape if only for the duration of one truly magical show.
And magical it was. There is no way to describe Sigur Ros, especially live. Ethereal is the closest word there is. We were right up front by the drums and there is nothing like an intimate venue to experience live music. It was just amazing. Opening act Amina were a revelation as well.

Download some songs and listen for yourself. Their music is featured on the Life Aquatic and Vanilla Sky soundtracks.

I do have a new concert pet-peeve though. Even worse than people drunk talking at the back are the people up front on their cell phones. It's a concert. You paid to get in, turn it off for a few hours and listen!

Considerate Creator

Interesting online personality test. My results feel pretty accurate, and it looks like I'm headed into the right profession. Hover over each square to see the results.

"Your imagination, confidence, willingness to explore, and appreciation of beauty make you a CREATOR."

My Personal Dna Report

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Post Occupancy Evaluation

This is it. The end of the school year. Goodbye seat number 10 in the junior studio of the Lundberg Building. Goodbye drafting table that broke during the first five minutes of my first studio class last fall. Goodbye chair with a ripped seat and window that doesn't latch shut. Goodbye box elder bugs (I named each of them Fernando). Blood and tears have been shed here, and my best work has been done here. I will miss you.

I'm off to Salt Lake to sign a contract on an apartment.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Spring Cleaning

I am moving out of the studio. I've lived here more hours this year than I've lived at home and don't even know where to start. I have a fabulous book by Paul Smith called You Can Find Inspiration in Everything*: (*and if you can't, look again). In it he has a pullout that lists in miniscule print every single item he owns. It's an interesting exercise in urban archeology. I don't have time for that but here is a list of some of the odd things I've accumulated over the year.
  • Sample donations from the seniors: glass, 3form, bamboo and a Sherwin Williams paint deck!
  • My own stash of samples that includes enough fabric from Maharam and ArcCom to make a crypton quilt.
  • A wedding announcement from Susan. Congratulations!
  • A deck of Architectural Vocabulary Cards my dad gave me. He bought it at the Salt Lake Library Store. Now I know the difference between an English bond, a Flemish bond, and a Garden bond (brick patterns).
  • A pair of 4" brown leather boots I took off when I couldn't walk another step. Curse Charlotte Moss and her "I judge my potential clients by the shoes they wear" advice.
  • More magazines than I will ever know what to do with. My favorites: Metropolis, Objekt, Interior Design and Communication Arts.
  • Binders from every project I've done. Even my sophomore binders are here, and they are all huge!
  • Tear files take up 3 more large binders, and I'm ready to expand to 5.
  • An application for the graduate program at the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture in Houston. Hmmm, I think I'll hold on to that.
  • The FedEx Receipt for $18.64 from the internship application I sent to William McDonough + Partners. They said no, but I'm proud of myself for trying. I think I'll keep it so when I'm famous I can show it to him and tell him what he missed out on. ;)
  • My midterm exam from Architectural Systems last fall. I took 17 credits from Steve and he only gave 1 test. I got 100%.
  • All the design development from my dialysis center - sketches, research, programming. I loved that project. It became very personal and very gratifying.
  • A note from Woolley. I still haven't forgiven him for leaving.
  • A box of Frosted Shredded Wheat - the usual breakfast at my desk.
  • Books. I'm addicted - it's what I spend my money on. Some are from the library and need to be returned.
  • The blanket I wrapped up in all winter because the heat doesn't work. I took the space heater home over spring break.
  • Hundreds of dollars in Prismacolor markers - literally! I can't bring myself to throw out the dried ones until I try filling them with alcohol to see if they will revive.
  • The Gandhi laserdisk I got at the awards banquet for being "Undergraduate Researcher of the Year" - by default. No one else is doing research.
  • "Rabbit Shouting Graciously Around the Bicycle" Last fall KC and I cleaned out some old projects that were being thrown out and this needed to be saved. It's been on the ledge in front of my counter all year. Maybe I should send it to MOBA.
  • Two calculators. I try to avoid math but sometimes it's inevitable.
  • Scrap pieces from my dialysis center model I built last fall. I need to clean things out more often.
  • Business cards from sales reps. I wonder when I will get to use them.
  • Empty color ink cartridges from my printer. If you recycle them at Staples they will give you $3 credit for each one.
  • 2 bottles of Sobo glue. Awesome for models and it doesn't wrinkle paper.
  • Needle-nose pliers and a set of screwdrivers. You need them more often than you'd think.
  • 25 ft measuring tape, 3 ft measuring tape, a scale and 3 rulers.
  • My baby maglight. I wondered where that went to!
  • An article I printed out from IIDA: "Design Competitions - Why? And what it takes."
  • Insurance package for study abroad. I have $100,000 coverage while I'm out of the country. I wish I could get it in the country.
  • 4 inking triangles in 3 sizes and 3 colors.
  • Poster advertising Scott Corridan's visit here. I hope I run into him again some day.
  • A note from Darrin. I hope he doesn't leave.
  • More 3Form. Cool!
  • The new Moleskine to take on my internship.
  • A quote from Thoreau I jotted down: "Wisdom does not inspect, but behold. We must long for a time before we can see . . . The question is not what you look at - but how you look and whether you can see."
  • Pieces of stained glass I bought for the Jamie Drake project.
  • The cool messenger bag I got free from Herman Miller at NeoCon West.
  • A postcard of the Getty Center, from before I got to go to the Getty Center.
  • Now Sting's cover of "Ain't No Sunshine" is playing on iTunes. I love that song.
  • Several kitchen size garbage bags. They are perfect for covering projects, especially when it rains. And it always rains the day a project is due.
  • A dime. It's not mine but I'll keep it. I need all the help I can get.
  • A penny. I'll take that too.
The car is full. I will come back tomorrow for another load. This is by no means a comprehensive list. Seriously, where did all this stuff come from!?