Tokyo! has been saved in my instant queue for months now, undeservedly alone and neglected, but yesterday I finally got around to watching it.

And it blew my fucking mind...away.

Tokyo! is really three short films comprising one unique (bizarre) look at Japan's largest metropolis. And although each story uncovers and probes different aspects of human experience and emotion in unrelated story-lines, the urban context connects all three and frames each tale. Like sister films Paris, Je'taime and New York, I Love You, the starring role undoubtedly goes to the city itself. While there was no collaboration between the directors (director Bong Joon-ho said, "The three of us saw each other’s work for the first time there [at the Cannes premiere.]"), the trailer went as far to announce "Do we shape cities, or do cities shape us?" I couldn't find any information on if the producers of the film were architects in a past life, but creating a montage of urban themes was undoubtedly a scheming goal from the film's inception.

One particularly fascinating detail from Michel Gondry's contribution "Interior Design" conjured up a whole new scenario when the character Akira, a burgeoning filmmaker, gets inspired by a strange urban space...

"Something's wrong with these buildings. They all refuse physical contact with each other. Every night, flat ghosts slide in and out of these gaps and wander about the city. They wander about the city scaring the people shit-less. The authorities fill in the gaps with concrete, but the buildings keep moving apart letting the flat creatures take over."

A premise for a film (or book?) I hope to see (read) one day. Movie stills from Leos Carax's "Merde" and Bong Joon-ho's "Shaking Tokyo" below.



Around the end of this past semester a giant inflatable torus was brought to life on the Kent State campus, a product of the Operative Detailing seminar led by Jason Turnidge. Since I was in Italy, I couldn't be there at that time, however much to my delight, the big plastic fun house was re-inflated this summer here in Cleveland within the courtyard of the Sculpture Center.



Named treehugger: giant torus, the courtyard in Cleveland was not the original site for the project, and even though providing a tree (as did the campus site...hence the pun), a few permanent sculptures required that the structure be roped and suspended over them, re-adapting the torus to the new site.

But after releasing this project to the greater Cleveland area it begs the question, “What are the intentions, if any?” Was the project decidedly satirical, or maybe just purposefully offensive. Is "treehugger" a play on words or is it simplistically and innocently literal? Was the selection of the torus shape an exploitation of design process or explotation of exploitation? By no stretch of the imagination the goal was to provoke not just the viewer but architecture at large; which I can definitely get into.

From the artist's statement: “Doing more with less” -- a Buckminster Fuller ideology in a situation when there is no “more”. No fabrication lab, no CNC mill, no … – only an idea to provide a back drop for an event made feasible through the use of a diagram, a plotter, sharpies, 4 mil vapor barrier, tape, a leaf blower, and time. 36 unique two-dimensional surfaces are hand cut in 4 mil vapor barrier, individually taped into continuous loops, and joined edge to edge on 35 seams accounting for 10,357 linear feet of packaging tape. A flattening of the relationship between representation and actualization through exploitation of design process and fabrication achieves a 1:1 space approachable in the context of a three-week vertical seminar assignment. A torus was selected for its ability to define a closed loop of inside | outside space with a singularly curved membrane that turns doubly curved through the simple process of inflation. A focus on the production of a temporary and mobile space for a particular event-based experience calibrates material selection, precision, and construction. Siting provokes arches, drops, lifts, compressions, and expansions as edits resulting in various modes of access between the outer and inner | outer spaces of the inflatable turned architectural trope capable of making a scene.

Precisely. "Making a scene", not just creating a place for one. Not very often do we at Kent get to design in a 1:1 relationship with the final product, and for that, I'm incredibly jealous of these students. Even if Treehugger leaves you with a sarcastic and bitter taste in your mouth, the efforts of the students and the opportunity this gave them can still definitely be appreciated.

And for that, I commend everyone involved. Good work Kent.


[photo credit | christopher schoenlein]
[photo credit | christopher schoenlein]

Students // Graduate: Eric Pros, John Collett, Diana Kichler, Rachel Crafton, Alex Hosack. Undergraduate: Justin Parish, Justin Gantz, Nathan Bailey, Rachel Pensinger, Jenelle Kuehne, Jeremy Beatty, Paul Adair

Professor // Jason Turnidge.

Note: This post is nearly two months late.  The aforementioned event happened on June 11th, 2010. I also posted this to my Archinect blog.


I just turned 21 two minutes ago.

And by the way, I made it back to the states safely, however reluctantly. More to come soon: semester wrap-up, final presentation, summer plans.

I'm in Kent now for the summer. Hitmeup, friends.

Finality sandwich.

Final reviews were two days ago.

In two days I will be on a plane back to The States.

Europe, I will definitely miss you. Don't make me leave.


[the mountain dwellings by big.]
[the mountain rising over the neighborhood seen from martin's house, taken in winter, obviously.]
[the new city from the top of the mountain.]
[at the 'career cannon' concert, but don't remember what happened here.]
[all photos courtesy martin, my host, seen here in the black t-shirt, his gorgeous family behind him and his friends/roomates beside me.]

For me, traveling to Copenhagen was many things. It was my last trip of the semester before going back to The States, my first solo traveling experience, and my first couch surfing experience. After all the growing I experienced this past semester and all the things I learned, this trip was my final test of myself, the real final exam for this study abroad experience. I had to prove to myself that I could be my own support, that fear is overrated, and that making things happen for yourself is possible.

And I'd like to think I did.

Some of the highlights from my trip >>>

> Living for three days right next to Big's Mountain Dwellings, possibly my favorite building. UNREAL.
> Visiting the office of JDS Architects. I literally went inside and was shown around the studio...still can't believe it.
> Danish bike lanes. They line almost every street making biking the best way to move through the city. The Danish people have adapted bikes in to many different forms...moving groceries, pets, children, etc.
> Having dinner with Martin, his roommates, and his family. They made some sort of fried danish pork meatloaf. Very good.
> Going to a concert with Martin, his entire family, friends, and roommates to see his (soon to be?) brother-in-law perform.
> Bar hoping in Copenhagen. We'll stop there.
> Having wine and bread for breakfast at 1 in the afternoon and watching the final episode of Twin Peaks with the guys.
> Being asked by the owner of a restaurant specializing in hamburgers what my opinion of his hamburgers was.
> The Danish Kroner. About 7 of them equal one US Dollar and since Denmark is a Socialist welfare state with ridiculous taxes, my hamburger cost 187 kr, or 32 dollars.
> Visiting the Danish Architecture Center and seeing the exhibition of 3XN Architecture's work.
> Walking around Copenhagen, getting trapped by canals with no bridges over them and not having a map.
> The CPH metro. The trains are driver-less allowing one to sit in the front to witness the train move through the underground and illuminated tunnels beneath the city. Beautifully futuristic.
> Siting next to Big's Harbour Bath project and reading their monograph. I almost started crying from pure joy and amazement...realizing my whole world was converging in one place for me at that moment.

That's the short of it. I am hoping to get an internship in the city in the future because spending more time in Copenhagen is definitely on the agenda.

De lisboa para o mundo.

[photo credit: john yurchyk, santa catarina market / barcelona]

Spring break is a few weeks in the past, but its effect on me is still fresh in my mind. Really, I can't think of any other experience in my life that has so obviously effected me as that trip. I suppose the words of H. C. Andersen are common, "To travel is to live", but never had I understood them as I do now.

I always thought traveling was about seeing things I've never seen before (and it is), tasting strange cuisines (and it is), partaking in the local traditions (and it is), and broadening your book of experiences (and it is). But more than any of the previously mentioned, traveling is about meeting and sharing with meet along the way. Our second night in Lisbon I was sharing a giant beanbag chair on the floor of the our hostel with a girl from Seattle as we talked to other travelers and locals from Montreal, Melbourne, the UK, and Portugal. How funny, all of us sharing our lives with one another in that moment, in an unlikely place such as Lisbon, from places scattered across the globe. How incredible it is that a country boy from Ohio has an opportunity to have his life shaped by so many different cultures? How powerful a thing to improve the world, if every person from Earth could just hang out on over-sized beanbag chairs and relate to one another for a night. Never before had I felt such an overwhelming sense of content, peace, and stillness. Seriously, I wanted to cry with joy.

That's the true power of travel. To find out that the world isn't such a big and scary place; that the things that divide us maybe aren't the canyons that we think they are; that this life is an unbelievable gift that we have to take FULL advantage of. If not, we're wasting everything.

[haha. a night out in bcn with random hostel'rs.  represented: holland, spain, italy, turkey, and the us.]
[photo credit: brandon zawicki, pavilion of portugal by alvaro siza / lisbon]

[photo credit: brandon zawicki, city of arts and sciences by calatrava / valencia]

To say that trying to convey what I felt that night is difficult would be an understatement. All I can say is I now think travel may be the most important thing in the world to do, and to do often. South America, Summer 2011 perhaps? The travel bug has officially bitten me.

The future looks...

Just saw this on the Archinect salary poll.

62 / Male from Phoenix, Arizona

$64,000 salary

Type of work: Fulltime
Type of workplace: Corporate
B. Architecture
B.S. Botany
I year grad school
Registered Architect, Az, Ca. and
Registered Landscape Architect, Az, Ca.
38 years experience
40 hrs vacation
Health and dental insurance
No retirement program
Took 20% paycut in 09
40-60 hr weeks+

"I have been used, abused, stabbed in the back by co-workers and overworked all my life. My retirement savings is disappearing. I am a very talented designer and project manager. What a depressing profession. The rewards are very small."

Posted: Apr, '10


Pointy things.

In between jet setting across Europe, I've been devoting (some) time to my studio's proposed project for Florence, a new Mediatheque located within the walls of the Fortezza da Basso.

From the syllabus, under the guidance of Alberto Francini. //

"The new mediatheque will have to become an asset to the city at large.  Both in terms of image and functionality, it will have to become a major forum for the public life of the city.  The design will have to respond to the surrounding context in whatever way deemed appropriate by the student, who will have to support his/her own ideas through a strong design rationale.  The design of the open space has to be integrated with the design of the mediatheque and will have to appeal and respond to contemporary culture and sensibility.

Program //

Lobby / 100 sqmt.
Cafeteria + restaurant / 200 sqmt.
Bookshop / 200 sqmt.
Exhibition space (multi-use) / 200 sqmt.
Restrooms / 100 sqmt

Mediatheque / 250 sqmt.
Emerotheque (video/music) / 150 sqmt.
Library + reading halls / 400 sqmt.
Lecture hall / 400 seats
2 conference rooms / 300 sqmt.
Archives / 200 sqmt.
Storage / 100 sqmt.
Administration + services / 100 sqmt.
Management + production offices / 150 sqmt.
Restrooms / 100 sqmt.

I presented my project at its (then) current state about 3 1/2 weeks ago to a jury consisting of my studio professors and two architects from MDU architetti.  Mid-term reviews before this had always been either a) the last thing I want to do after a week of sleepless final production, or b) a chance to look back and reflect at my massive heap of half-mindless work in hopes of pushing my project forward.  This semester took an alternative route, partially because of my struggles this semester, partly because of the typically light work-load here in Italy.  Reason 1:  I haven't been doing much work.  Backbacking across Europe is way more interesting than studio right now.  Reason 2:  I threw this presentation together without much thought and had a wonderful night of sleep beforehand.  Architectural taboo.  Kick me out of the club.

That said, the project below is still in its baby stages, arriving only now at a concept model and general direction to where I want to take it (and in the last 3 1/2 weeks still hasn't pushed much further).  If you feel inclined, visit my Flickr set for more detailed explanations and to view the presentation at a higher resolution.

In the end though, the project has been well received. The only disappointment I have with that is many times reviewers at juries are more apt to criticize and put down students than become creatively involved in the intention of the project and leave one (me) without any input. So, input is encouraged.

midterm presentation

midterm presentation

midterm presentation

midterm presentation

midterm presentation

midterm presentation


Waaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyy too much has been happening for me to be diligent in my blog posts.  My apologies.  I'll try to catch up soon.  To come: mid-term reviews, second trip to Venice, spring break in Portugal and Spain, and much more.

Tomorrow I leave for Paris.  I'm a serious weekend warrior and I mean business.

Stuggle / meditation / acceptance.

This semester has been a strong test of my general approval of architecture, and more specifically, my place within it. Of course, I'm not talking physical architecture here, but rather the industry, practice, and teaching of architecture. To sum it up neatly, I've realized for myself, like so many before me, that architecture is a sham and a general waste of time.

I don't know when my resistance to the whole concept began, but being in Italy has definitely proliferated my disdain for architecture to a higher degree. I think this is because my main grief deals with the authenticity of our practice, and for me currently, the authenticity of architectural instruction. Over winter break I picked up a book randomly from the architecture library at school, Architecture Depends by Jeremy Till. I was only able to get through the first few chapters before coming here to Florence, but in it he offers (among other things) an unapologetic criticism of the architecture studio, often humorous, but at the same time painfully true. The main message of the book isn't exactly this, but Till relates the architecture studio to an autonomous culture, trying so desperately to separate itself from society being both self-referential and pushing its own bourgeois stylistic code.

Unfortunately his critiques are incredibly relevant for me when I consider my current existence. But for me it's not so much the professors expecting students to perform at certain standards, thus assimilating into the “society” by using meaningless words, designing projects with catchy one-word concepts, and accepting the aesthetics and trends of contemporary design to name a few, but rather the students' apathetic acceptance of these ludicrous methods. Because let's admit, passive acceptance better guarantees a good grade, and a good grade will eventually lead to an (idealized) well-paying job. I asked a fellow student a while ago, who had said he didn't come into architecture school expecting what he found (being that architecture to him meant the traditional-style house he grew up in), if he truly believed in what he was now doing. In short, his answer was no, and even openly admitted to conforming to the architecture world in assumption that that was what he had to do. And I know that this doesn't just happen at Kent, but that it manifests itself in programs across the world with schools pumping out “architects” who are merely shadows of unsubstantial ideologies.

I said earlier that Italy has been a catalyst for this realization, and in fact being in Florence at this time has very conveniently lined up with my griefs in that being here has proliferated my hated towards the inauthentic. Here in Florence I have been unexpectedly bombarded with fakery...namely the presence of tourism as an industry and all the atrocious things that spring from it...more so than anything I could have experienced before in Ohio where tourism is admittedly a foreign concept in the realms of coexisting with everyday life. So it bothers me, and I mean this in the worst possible way, that Florence is a Renaissance amusement park. This amusement park is only fun if you remain ignorant to truth, believing that everything around you really is from past eras, traditional, and authentically "Italian" as the people here want the world to believe. In fact, so much here is a sham that the boundaries between what is faking authenticity and truly authentic are horribly blurred and almost indistinguishable. To complicate this, when I try to seek out the authentically Italian I don't know where to start because I don't know what the point of originality is here. But more than that, ironically attempting to study contemporary architecture in a culture that is outright against what I am here to learn would make anyone uneasy and a little bit disillusioned.

So what do I do and how do I reconcile the fact that the world that I am a part of and feeding into is so inauthentic? My response thus far has been a complete lack of motivation or inspiration and the work I've done in studio to this point would reflect that. And what does that say about me if I realize all of this but still remain without a single creative urge? Is the joke ultimately on me, because I can observe all of this in incredible anguish and nobody cares? I came into architecture with a very innocent and naive aspiration of changing something about the world, but I never would have thought that I would end up wanting to change something about architecture. And I find that very disheartening.

Certainly the story doesn't end here, but starts here. In the case of studio, motivation has (somehow) found me again and over the past two weeks I managed to push my project (slightly) forward. My battle with authenticity is just beginning and I think that accepting this is probably the best step I can take at this point. A friend recently reminded me that school is about finding yourself and what you're actually interested in, despite the polluted situation we find ourselves in. I'd like to think that this personal battle is evidence that I'm doing exactly that, but if not, then it at the very least helps keep it all in perspective.

Sketching // a progression from first to last.

I'm currently taking a sketching and drawing course here in Florence.  Freehand sketching and straight-edge permitted.  I believe I came into this course okay at sketching, but having never devoted much time to it, I've never developed a drawing language, a style, of my own.  This course, if worth anything, is at least worth that, and I think I'm finally coming into one....or at least on my way.  

The first sketch (of the Piazza della Santissima Annunziata) was interesting.  It was our first class, and with no direction we were asked to sit and sketch.  Since class is 2 1/2 hours, I technically finished my sketch in about half the time but continued to render and render until I ended up with a fairytale-like scene of the piazza.  You learn from your mistakes.  

More to come.

Berlin, i love you.

We came to Berlin with a mission:  To discover cool again.

Florence was getting old.  The slowly disintegrating renaissance relics were weighing ever more heavily on our eyes and the stuffy streets full of fashionably stuffy people and asian tourists were increasingly becoming a joke and a pity.

The simple solution became clear.  A little r & r somewhere, fittingly, the opposite of what we had become so accustomed to and tired of, would do us all a big favor.  Yes, Berlin had a lot to offer a member of the contemporary world, deprived of that life source that only a big-time city can provide.  First, there was the Berlinale, an international film festival in the glamorous spotlight of movie stars, critics, and film lovers the world over.  The likes of Scorsese, Banksy, Franco, and Russian snow queens (just to name a few of our favorites) meandered about the film goers.  A long break in the Hyatt Hotel Cafe was bound to land us a citing of some high profile celebrity, we were told, but our agenda had other plans.

Like the Berlin architecture.  Pulverized to a pulp in many places by the second world war, the city experienced a rebirth, and I'd be damned to say they might be the lucky ones.  Project after project we passed proclaimed a new hope and a dream, reigning clearly as the Cathedral bells, for a new life and a new Germany.  I gladly joined in song.  But it wasn't just an architecture of guilt, no, something else drove these lyrics.  Something more profound, more sustainable.

A ride on the underground train proved most enlightening.  The Berliners are lovers of life, art, culture, and music, and yet by the look of 'em you would never know.  They act like genuine human beings, not the over-tamed yuppies and bourgeoisie one would expect to find in a cultural scene so alive I almost think I could throw a stick in the crowd and expect to hit a painter or a cellist.

Maybe it stems from Germany's pioneering past, with greats such as Walter Gropius and Mies Van der Rohe heading the subversive Bauhaus movement.  Revolutionary thinkers who paved the way for all of us nobodies to think what we think now.  Walking the displays of the Bauhaus Museum I felt for the first time in my life that I wanted to go back there to the decade of the 30s, just to soak up the atmosphere of the school and learn from the students as well as the faculty.  At the same time, it makes me feel like a good for nothing shmuck who hasn't a creative thought in his body.  How could their ideology be so relevant today? 

No, there's something about Berlin.  And with any luck I'll be back there soon, to discover more of it's secrets, it's unsolved puzzles, and find out for myself what really makes the city tick.  Why, really, are the people so friendly and a daily stroll there so dignified and comfortable?  Why can't I be there now?  Well, I'm what they call a idealist...and idealists never get their way.  They always have to gaze ahead at their vision never quite disappearing over the horizon.  But one day, when I run fast enough you bet I'll catch up.  Maybe it's Berlin and maybe another city I have yet to investigate.  But one thing is for sure...

I'm gonna get there.

Sigh, again.

Yesterday, I smelled the smell of spring.

Today, I ruined a drawing in my sketchbook because of stupid bleeding prismacolors.  It isn't the first time I've been so absent minded.

I guess you have to take the good with the bad.

Questioning the precedent.

I'm not sure that I believe in the concept of precedent studies, regardless, I was asked by my studio professor(s) to compile a study of previous architectural projects to present in class tomorrow.  Around five or so buildings would suffice.

So, here are images of my precedents.  None of them buildings.  Some more architectural than others.


There is a common theme of immersive, interactive environments.  The last image of the reactable is a bit redundant, but more specifically emphasizes how technology can be approached in the new mediatheque.  I think the beneficial aspect of precedents fills my head with inspiration, something I would do naturally, now it's just recorded on paper.  But studying other libraries prior to the design of our own library steps dangerously close to the copy and paste territory of ideas, as well as making me question the whole purpose of the design studio.  It should be a think lab, not a taste filter.

Here are links to the projects above >>>

Blind light
Experiencing the void
The Reactable

I'm gonna be famous.

Today I was interviewed by a reporter for Luna Negra, a student-produced magazine for writing and poetry.  This semester's theme is "The art around us".  The journalist was interviewing architecture majors for a story on how they view design and how it relates to the theme.  Not sure if this is allowed, but here is the unedited interview because I liked some points that were brought up.  Strangely, this is the third time in the past week I've had similar conversations.

Since it was on Skype chat, I just copied and pasted.


Ok, so tell me about how you chose to be in architecture? Or what is it you're planning to do with your major?
i chose architecture because i didn't choose it.  i think it chose me.  i remember being interested in design at a very young age, and sometime in middle school found out about architecture as an industry through a mentor of mine at my church.  he was graduating from osu at the time with his m.arch in architecture.
but i've always had a bizaare connection to "space" a general term.

That's what George said! He had a connection to space. So what do you specialize in with architecture...George said he's a futurist...a new term to me
george?  the fourth year?  cool!


haha, futurist is a great term.  one i would like to describe myself, but now i feel unoriginal. haha.
BUT it brings up a great point for me.  i'm very interested in science fiction, and have been since birth...basically.  i believe architecture IS science fiction in many ways.  for instance, any design is a prediction of the future, it's a fact impossible to get away from.  therefore, i believe science fiction, to be highly relevant in the way i design and approach architecture.
if that makes any sense...
but specialize...
i wouldn't say i specialize in any particular thing.  nor do i want to.  i like to keep an open mind about what architecture (or design) is and what it can be.  this could mean anything from a building to a spoon to a magazine.

interesting....So what are you doing in Italy? Is it related to architecture?

And are you enjoying your space there? 
kent state's college of architecture and environmental design (caed) has their own program here built into the curriculum.  it's a great thing for us architecture majors, because trying to do study abroad on our own would be impossible to fit in without getting behind.
the space different from the us.  much smaller, and colder.

So what have you learned there?
well...i'm taking a lot of classes about the renasaince.  this makes sense because florence is the birthplace of that movement.  many of my classes deal with the forces that shaped that movement with the real-life evidence to back up what we learn in class.  unfortunately, being a "futurist" i'm finding i can only be so inspired from this.  i don't know if it's wrong of me, but it's how i feel.
and of course there are the life lessons that go along with being in a new country...

of course :) 
How are you at italian?
really bad.  i didn't know a single word when i got here.  luckily, i'm taking a language class now so it's getting better.

Awww! Well you are learning!

So what inspires you about architecture? What draws you to it?

You mention being interested in since a young age...why have you stayed with it?
i think it's the possibility that i can see the world around me and make it better.  but it's one of those things that i can't explain why i'm like that specifically.

That's a beautiful answer. No one I has talked to has said that. Well put.
well, thank you.

Ur welcome!
This year's Luna Negra theme is the art around us. How do you think architecture relates to the art around us? What role does it serve as an art form do you think?
well, i think it's pretty obvious that architecture is all around us.  we live our lives in it and through it.  and i like to relate life as an art in and of itself.  so the two go very much hand in hand.  "beautiful" architecture allows one to live a beautiful life.  and it's everywhere.

Agreed. So you mentioned that you see it as a way that you can make the world better. Specifically, in what way? How do you envision it's possible? Maybe an example?
i think a lot of it is re-thinking the way architecture plays it role in this world.  a lot of things are taken as they are because that's the way they've always been.  so i think if we can re-considered the precedent, then maybe another way is better.  or more exciting.  or more economic.  or more efficient.  the list goes on.

Wow. It goes back to what you were saying about a spoon or magazine. You see, architecture isn't just in terms of a building, which I tend to think of it.

It can be an I-pad or a spoon to help someone with a missing thumb eat better.
I have to get out of my box
yes! you do!  haha.
i mean, architecture is such a generic term when you really think about it.  a building in a way is contradictionally (?) such a specific thing.

Is there something you want to build/design that hasn't been done yet? What's out there you think needs to be accomplished?
i don't know if i've ever thought about a specific typology that i would like to design.  maybe self-sustaining homes on the lunar surface.
it really could go anywhere.

That's a good idea...your're right
Another arch student said something really interesting to me.... she said arch is all around us, we can't escape it. it can't be ignored like a photograph or a flower. What do you think of that?
i think she's right.  a lot of people will say that architecture isn't important, all we really need is shelter, anything beyond is pretentious or frivulous.  architecture is one of the rare art forms that jumps boundaries when you consider the everyday person.  most art is kept in museums or galleries, but architecture is beyond that.  i mean, you need architecture even to house art so....i don't know.  i think that says something though.

Yeah..very cool.
Arch majors have such an interesting perspective in the world.
I feel like I'm underappreciating my shack apartment or something
haha.  i mean think about how your apartment controls and dictates how you live and what you do when you are there.  it's kinda mind-blowing when you really consider it.

True! So are you getting your bachelor of science in arch? What's next for you after Italy? Any big plans for the summer?
yes.  i am getting my b.s. arch degree.  after italy, i wanted to stay in europe and intern, but reality is really biting me in the butt right now.  i think i have to come home and save up some money for next academic year.  a let down..

I hope it works out for you. If you can do it take advantage while you can.
thanks!  i really hope so.

So, I think I've asked you everything I've wanted. Is there anything you want to add? Maybe we didn't touch on something you think is important?
hmmmm.....i don't know.  i just think it's important for people to understand the implications of architecture.  how it can transform this world, and how we all have to deal with the decisions made by a very few people (as in realized building projects).  architecture is a field relevant for everyone.

Atlantis exists.

My first impression of Florence:  make-believe city where everything revolves around the past.  Essentially, stuck in a rut.  First impressions of Venice:  make-believe city due to the belief that places like this don't really exist.  I mean, floating cities, waterbuses, grand canals, numerous pedestrian bridges.  If Atlantis exists, this is it.  It hasn't been lost to the sea, yet.

I don't even know if Venice can be called a city.  It is its own typology.

We went to Venice because they were celebrating the Carnival of Venice (essentially Mardi-Gras), world-famous for it's tradition of elaborate costumes and masks.   We saw some things relating to the festival, but almost every single organized event we planned to attend, we were late for.  So, I missed out on a lot.  The opening ceremony, a parade on the canals of Lido, another performance, and another parade in Piazza San Marco.  I'm sure they were nice.

Still, coming to Venice I wasn't sure what to expect.  I remember as a child thinking that the city was probably the nicest place in Europe and it was the only place on this continent I wanted to go.  I liked it because of the canals.  But that childlike wonderment is still relevant for me today.  (Just think if you replaced the streets of any other city with rivers.  It's really an incredible alternative.)  The city has a reputation of being horribly overrun with the point that Italians don't even live there anymore.  I don't know if that's true, but I found it odd that on an island that hasn't had the ability to expand for hundreds of years, just off the main pedestrian thoroughfares existed almost total isolation from the (worse than, seriously) sardine-like piazzas of the carnival events.  The city is mostly comprised of small alleys and courtyards where no one ventured.  (Even this is different than Florence.  The roads less taken here are still pretty crowded comparatively.)

I don't feel like writing....and there is a lot to say.  Damn.

The other important thing about Venice was the mix of modern and traditional architecture.  Oh it was beautiful.  Just this fact alone gave me the impression that Venice was a city less high-strung and more aware of the contemporary world.  The Calatrava bridge is a perfect example.  (physically anyway....the political aspect of the bridge isn't so enlightening.)  As well, I'll take a boat rather than a subway to get around a city anyday.  This form of transportation is exponentially more dignified than going underground and popping up in random places like moles.

We didn't go to any museums, or check out any tourist spots, which was also nice.  Just a beautiful weekend in Venice.  But I can't wait to go back in April with the school.

The floating city exists.