The Only Day the Earth Matters

Final Presentations in Baltimore, Maryland

My final presentation for my Baltimore project happened a few weeks ago. We got up 6:00 AM and drove down in a university-owned creeper van. I slept. We all slept. Because 6 AM is very early for the average college student.

Around 10:00 AM we arrived at the Parks and People Foundation campus and set up our projects in an old, stone house that the foundation refurbished. Our boards were massive and we had to get pretty creative to fit all nine of our projects in the room. Mine wasn’t even in the room but put over some bay windows in a side area. They gave us some sticky dots to use for our posters but we were skeptical they would stay up. In the background, The Big Labowski was playing on the mini projector one of our professors was trying to set up. We finished hanging our stuff and sat around for a bit and talked about nothing. Then we left for lunch at this place called R House which is an “adult food court”. Its pretty good. I recommend it. On the drive over, we bet on how many poster would be down by the time we got back.

2018-04-20 11.20.23Lunch passed and we drove back to the stone house. Our presentations started at 2:00. At 2:30, people started trickling in and we were well on our way by 3:00. Instead of doing a live presentation, we played our recorded power points and stood up at the front awkwardly. I had recorded my power point at my apartment and my chirping birds were pretty noticeable in the background. Oh well. After our presentation ended the audience asked us questions. There were some people from Johnston Square, some Penn State alumni, and a few who work at firms in Baltimore. I am very happy to say that my design was quite well received. The community members seemed very excited about my ideas and my concept which made me very happy. 🙂

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After presentations, we went to an Oriels baseball game. We all wanted to go home, but our professor was so excited about it (and he already bought tickets for us. Don’t worry we paid him back.). Anyway, I had never been in a major league stadium and I gotta say it was pretty cool. It’s like a little town. Our seats looked over right field so it was hard to see what was happening. I don’t think any of us were invested in the game but we had a good time. At one point, I came back from the bathroom and some of my friends were watching something very intently. They said a couple a few rows down had been fighting. The girl stormed off at one point but had now returned, looking irritated and huffy. In the end they made up, and the guy’s arm returned around the girl’s shoulders. It wasn’t super warm but it got colder as the sun set. I shivered a lot because I didn’t dress warm enough. The Oriels won and we went home.

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Earth Day at the Residence

On Monday, I got to talk about my rain gardens for the Earth Day celebration at the Governor’s Residence. It was fun to see the Residence staff and my old supervisor. I got to do it because DCNR was invited to set up different stations around the grounds to talk about plants and other earth day things. There were some local area schools in attendance. Including my old elementary school, Londonderry! I got to see some of my old teachers and a few of the current students. They told me I was “like a million years old”. Thanks guys.

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LABASH 2018 at Penn State

I finally have the time to write some new blog posts! Woo! The end of the semester is quickly approaching! Tomorrow is my final presentation for my studio in Baltimore which is very exciting! Not so exciting? We have to leave at 6 AM (That is early for college students). I guess that’s not as bad as waking up at 3:30 AM to board the plane back to Pittsburgh (But you’ll hear about that in a later post). There are going to be many posts coming your way, but let’s start where I think I left off.

LABASH 2018

Wow! What an insane weekend. And tiring. very tiring. It was basically two full days of presentations and workshops by professionals in our field. And boy did we score some professional professionals. In terms of notoriety, we had a lot. Gina Ford, Susannah Drake, Ken Smith, David Rubin, Claudia West. Lots of important people. And its so strange that they are all here in not-that-exciting-compared-to-the-fancy-cities-they-work-in State College, Pennsylvania. I’m not going lie, part of me wondered what kind of incentives they had to come here. But regardless, it was exciting. The opening ceremony was at the State Theatre and I got to see my logo displayed on the big screen which was supremely cool.

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I also got to design the pin! (remember that?) it looks like this:

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So Logan decided to make a giant wooden seal of my design to display all weekend:

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He is quite a character!

He also helped make this awesome palette wall:

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I couldn’t resist a handstand

The weekend consisted of listening to lectures and running around looking busy and getting shooed away by people more important than I haha.

also notice how all the volunteers had bright green shirts. We were referred to as the green shirts all weekend which then got truncated to ‘the shirts’.

After that was over I finally had time to relax right?

WRONG. (See next blog post)

Its About to Get All Stressful Up In Here

I wanted to post this before I had zero time. LABASH is coming up THIS WEEKEND!!! Very excited! (If you don’t know what that is, it’s a student-run networking event for landscape architecture professionals and students with lots of speakers and free stuff). Except for the whole having to talk with other people and “network” part. At least I will get a sticker with my logo on it haha! Yeah…

Here is the pin that I designed!

Next Wednesday, we are leaving for TEXAS where NAIGC nationals (AKA club gymnastics nationals) will be held this year! Also exciting: LOGAN is coming with me under the guise that he wants to visit with a landscape architecture firm (MESA design group) that is about an hour from where the meet is being held.

 

I’m Famous

Just kidding! But I did get interviewed about my honors thesis project on planting lawns with native plants on reduce all the harmful effects of lawns like gas consumed from mowing, water waste, fertilizer waste, and water pollution. Here is the article if you’re interested!

http://news.psu.edu/story/512275/2018/03/26/impact/landscape-architecture-student-looking-revitalize-modern-backyard

 

Spring Has Sprung (But Not Really)

Here are some nice pictures I took with my cool new lens on Saturday:

And here are some pictures I took on the way to school today:

WHY is there snow outside?!?!

Hire Me Please

Baltimore Site Visit

On February 1st, my studio went on a site visit to the Johnston Square neighborhood in Baltimore. We talked with the Parks & People foundation and residents about the area and design opportunities. It was awesome to listen to how passionate residence are about the neighborhood and I am super excited to design something that they might be able to use! After our meeting, we walked around the neighborhood. Here are some pics:

Career Fair

Two weeks ago was the Stuckeman School Career Fair. AKA the Most stressful, social-anxiety causing situation of my ’emerging professional’ life. At least they talk to me now that I’m a 4th year and not a 1st year. Anyway, it’s basically a bunch of important professionals standing around studio next to informational posters waiting for us to come up and ask about their firm. I really am not a fan of initiating conversations so I would just walk slowly by until one of the people asked me what my major was. It worked out pretty well.

JMU Meet

It’s meet season! Right after career fair, I got the late car down to JMU for the first gymnastics meet of the year. It was a decent meet, nothing too exciting. But I felt it warranted a mention on the ol’ blog. I did get to do my new floor routine which was very fun!

Birds Everywhere

I took my birds out of their cage! I can’t tell if they really liked flying around my apartment but they pooped on a minimal amount of stuff and I got some cute pics!

Staying Busy, Making Cheese

Being Cheesey

I am taking this really cool food science class called “Food Facts and Fads” and our first assignment was to make cheese! Yes! You heard me! CHEESE. A simple cheese that involved adding acid to boiling milk to make the milk coagulate. This came at a perfect time since my milk was about to expire. Anyway, It was super cool (although it didn’t taste fantastic). I have documented the process for your enjoyment (and because I had to for the grade).

And TA DA!!! My plated cheese 🙂

 

Studio Things

This semester, I am taking the Baltimore Ecosystem Study studio which looks at a neighborhood in the Baltimore area that has potential for ecological designs. Baltimore is a “shrinking city” which basically means people are moving out of it and leaving lots of vacant lots (Detroit is another city like this). These vacant lots and buildings have the potential to be turned into so pretty cool community spaces like urban farms, parks, and restoration projects. Right now, we are in the inventory and analysis phase where we look at what’s there and how that might influence our designs.

I looked at environmental educational awareness and green economy for Baltimore and Johnston Square (which is our neighborhood of focus). We got to make lots of maps in GIS. For our presentations, we had to make a 10 minute power point. But it wasn’t just a power point… nO. we had to RECORD our voices and then listen to them IN CLASS. In mine, you could hear my birds in the background. (Don’t worry though, I fixed that). The presentations are to be sent out to people in Baltimore that have taken an interest in the Johnston Square area in terms of renovating areas of the neighborhood. It ought to be interesting.

LABASH

As you may or may not know, I am helping out with graphic things for a big annual student-run landscape architecture conference/networking event being held at the one and only Pennsylvania State University! Things are heading up in the communications committee. There was recently a competition to design an advertisement that will be printed in Landscape Architecture Magazine which is like the official magazine for landscape architects. Very exciting! I was chosen as a finalist with another dude and we basically smushed our two designs together to create one fancy Ad!

Here is my design:

And here is the final design:

 

Pretty Spiffy!

Getting Paid to Judge People

Yes! I am a undergrad teaching assistant for the 3rd year planting design studio! It has been an interesting experience so far, as most people do not actively seek my opinion on things. They had a deadline last night so I figured I should stop by and make sure no one was crying haha. Just kidding that doesn’t happen until the end of the semester! Anyway, they seemed appreciative of my being there which was nice!

Anyway, enjoy the rest of your day!

 

Not My Last Semester

Yeah. Hi. So I’m back at school again. Classes started on Monday. If I were in almost any other major, this would be my last semester. But instead, I still have another year. That’s probably good since I don’t really feel like being a full-on adult yet.

Classes are hard and its cold outside. But not as cold as it was a few days ago! I’m excited for all my classes, although there is a lot more reading than I’ve ever had to do and that stinks because I am a very slow reader. Like painfully slow. But if I don’t read slowly, I forget what I read. I have three classes (Studio, geography, and ecology + design seminar) that will require copious amounts of reading. Currently, I am writing this blog post to continue procrastinating. Anyway, my studio this semester is all about urban ecology in Baltimore! Very exciting! I am also taking Food Facts and Fads which will be AWESOME and also counts for THREE credits of gym. Ha! I beat the system.

Since we are all in different studios, we were assigned to new desk clusters. I moved to the other side of the building. Here is my new desk:

The state of relative neatness that you see here will not remain for long! My laptop screen shows the blog post that I’m writing right at this very moment!

Also note the drawing of the Penne pasta:

All is good so far! But things will pick up soon and I will be very stressed. So yay for that (not really).

Final Review, Finally Home

I DID IT

No all-nighters necessary but still some pretty late nights required to pull everything together for my final project. Oh man, it was rough. But done! and you get to see all the cool stuff I made that took hours to make and were only glanced at for two minutes. It is so nice to be home!
Anyway, ap (according to my mother) there are some adoptee people interested in seeing my final design, as it would take lots of explaining, but will post pictures and do some explaining in this post!

The Inbetween: International Adoptee Memorial Park

First off, if  you haven’t seen it yet, check out my mid-review project which is in an older post.I didn’t explain much in it but you can look at it if you want to. Also, watch the video animation -CLICK THIS LINK- cause it took forever and I’m very proud of it and it also shows some of the aspects of adoption I considered in my design.

Did you see everything? Ok good.

Some notes about the “rules” for my studio’s projects:

  1. It is technically “siteless.” Mine is located in an urban setting and is, in theory, going to be located in every major city in the world. You’ll see why eventually.
  2. Practicality of building materials, scale, cost, technology are non-existent, so no need to scrutinize over pavement joint spacing or funding from private donors and local municipalities.
  3. Hmm

So, here goes. This is the plan view of my design. There’s no scale, but the block is 600 feet by 650 feet, which is absolutely huge for a design like this.

Also here is my site from a birdseye view:

Below is a diagram from my project board that identifies the different parts of the design:

The ground plane pattern was made using the idea of cracked earth as a representation of a not fully whole identity. It also could be thought of as a road map to a city, so there’s is a duality of scale where you can imagine yourself simultaneously as an ant walking across the ground and a giant bounding across a streetscape. I liked this because it creates a sense of placelessness in feeling small in a big world, feeling like the distance between yourself and your birth life is impossibly large. But at the same time, your very existence stretches across continents and oceans. In the center is a slightly raised platform of tiles. It’s shaped like an abstraction of all the continents crammed together. This tiled grid will light up where ever you step. And, if you imagine this same memorial site located in every city in the world, the glowing path of every person walking on the grid will also show up in every other city. Here is another animation I made to demonstrate this point:

Also in the animation, you see holographic paper airplanes that can be thrown into the sky by making a throwing motion. These airplanes explode into a ‘hello’ that is translated across countries. I thought it was interesting to imagine being able to throw a paper airplane half way around the world.
All of this emphasizes the idea of dualities. With the glowing tiles, it is a reminder that there are people out there that you may be connected to, but that feel/are inaccessible to you.

In the plan, you can also see there are areas of water with paths crossing them. There are acoustic mirrors that concentrate sound from a far distance so you can talk to someone across the water. The idea here being communication across oceans (represented by water). The section cutting through one of these paths shows what it looks like:

Now in my mid-review design, I used the mounds to signify all the unattainable knowledge about an adoptee’s origins. I decided to break the mounds up and turn them into active places. These include climbing areas, chalkboard areas, and slide areas.

Here is my model on the milling table

Final model

In addition to redenerings, we also had to make 3D models. I milled mine out of MDF in the wood shop. The CNC miller is like a giant drill bit on moving arms that carves out landform from a block of foam or wood.

My model included some 3D printed objects that were designed in a 3D modeling program called Rhino. Below are images of my final model and close ups of the 3D printed parts.            

Final Review Day (dun dun duuunn)

So it’s review day, and ya know who’s invited??? KEN SMITH. He’s a landscape architect who owns a firm named after himself in New York City! Anyway, he’s famous and important but for some reason came to out little presentation day in surrounded by mountains and deer Pennsylvania. That’s crazy! Ken and five other supremely intelligent people came to our critique as well and they are all important and they all wore black. Everyone wore black. That’s the thing apparently. Although I made a mental note to find some more colorful pants. All in all, our critique (we had 17 students) lasted about seven and a half hours. I was standing for a good majority of that because I hate sitting. My presentation was about half way through, so most people were still awake and attentive. I felt like I was all over the place, probably because I’d forgotten to actually write what I wanted to say. Ugh. It’s ok though because they didn’t hate it. One critique I got was that there was too much going on and the activity needed to be distilled into a more purposeful experience in regards to how one moves through the site and how different people with different life experiences feel in the site. But the best thing was, Ken Smith told me, “you are very good.” I thought I was going to fall over. I didn’t. And I know that no design is perfect but I couldn’t believe he said that to me. I took a super creepy stalker picture of him:

I could’ve taken my picture with him but I was too nervous haha.

Here are my presentation boards (they were GIGANTIC!):

And after all of that, I am home! (actually I’ve been home since Friday)