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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!

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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!

 

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)

The Week Before Finals: My Laptop Died Edition

This year’s installment of “the week before finals is absolute the worst” is brought to you by: my laptop’s operating system gets corrupted in the middle of final project panic. Yes. In the week when I have the least amount of time to deal with things due to final projects, I have to go to best buy and sit and wait and cry a little on the inside while they tell me that my laptop (which I just bought a two or three months ago) has to be factory reset. Sigh. I do have my final project boards though if you want to see them:

Roane-Hopkins_Z_Activity_3_Gowanus_Canal

Our assignment, which I mentioned in the post You Can’t Spell “Gowanus” without “Us”, deals with a redevelopment concept around the Gowanus canal. I did a large community plaza space thing. I’m not gonna lie, I got a lot of negative feedback on this design but I’m still happy with what I did.

I also presented my final project for photography. My concept was taking pictures from the perspective of a shoe. Here is my final project:

PSUkulele has also been doing some fun things! We had our end-of-year showcase at Webster’s Bookstore downtown:

 

And we played for an event at the Elks Country Club!

 

Now, I am home and enjoying not doing anything at all! I bought a new camera (A Nikon D5300 if you were curious) and am taking up close pictures of my parents and pets with an expensive camera instead of phone so, yeah, I’m moving up in the world. Next week I start my internship with the landscape architect working for DCNR (Department of Conservation and Natural Resources). Very exciting!

 

Longwood Gardens in Bloom

On a sunny morning in late April, we headed down to Longwood Gardens to look at some plants. You probably don’t remember, but we had actually been to Longwood during Freshman year before all the leaves were on the trees because it was still winter. Anyway, this time, there were actual flowers and things blooming and it was so lovely! If you live in the area and have never been, I would definitely recommend it, even if you are not a plant fanatic because it is beautiful and the amount of maintenance required to keep this place perfect will blow your mind.

We were supposed to be taking notes on different spaces and plants for class but I mostly just looked at all the plants and wandered around.

One of the cool things we go to do was go behind the scenes of some of the plant growing operations. We walked through green houses with rows and rows of different plant species.

There was also this tree called a Mardarinquat (I think) which looked awesome but we weren’t allowed to pick any.

They also showed us these crazy flowers they were propagating that only bloom every 7 years and cost upwards of $600 dollars if I’m not mistaken! So I think this picture should be worth at least $50 haha.

Anyway. After getting a tour, we were able to walk around on our own! Yay! I definitely could’ve stayed longer but I still got to see plenty of foliage and flora.

First we took a stroll down the Flower Garden Walk which was planted with over 250,000 bulbs! That’s crazy! Here are some pics:

Pictures of columbine flowers (I think) planted around the fountain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These pictures don’t really do it justice but you can still see all the pretty flowers 🙂

The formal Italian Water Garden is lined with pollarded trees which I personally am not a fan of but they do look rather sculptural in this setting

The meadow. A perscribed burn had just been done to part of the meadow which was pretty cool. These burns are important and mimic natural meadow ecosystem processes that promote seed germination, ecological health, and the suppression of weeds among other things.

We also got to walk around the indoor greenhouses which are always blooming with beautiful flowers!

 

 

And no trip to Longwood would be complete without using the famous greenwall bathrooms!

It’s Too Early to be This Busy

Hi friends who still read this blog even though my frequency of posting is dismal. Three weeks of the semester have already come and gone, and many things have happened since my last post. I haven’t even told you what classes I’m taking!

The most frightening thing about this semester is that all the professors have told us that third year is notorious for it’s difficulty and stress level. Not a great thing to hear right out of the gate. Luckily, I am only taking 14 credits. It was going to be 15 because I tried out for a private piano lesson class but messed up pretty bad at the audition and ended up getting the good ol’ boot. But don’t worry! Something even better happened which I will tell you about later. The classes that I’m actually taking are two LARCH studios that deal with community design and planting design which I mostly enjoy but have some gripes about which will be detailed in the next paragraph. I’m taking some writing/history of LARCH class which is very confusing and vague. And, finally, I’m taking an awesome photography course. It’s an intro for learning how to use a DSLR (Digital single lens reflex) camera. It really enjoy it so far, although I’m pretty terrible at taking pictures and having to manually adjust all the settings.

Here are a few of the pictures I have taken with the camera that are not super terrible:

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Anyway. So my gripe about Planting Design class. I spent my entire weekend in studio working on a project for the class. I had almost no time to do anything else for my other classes, which sucked. We have never had to stay in studio that long so early in the week! Sigh. At least my design looked pretty slick! Here is a PDF of it: roane-hopkins_z_mixedplantingbed I was pretty proud of my renderings.

Other good news. I got a new laptop! YAY! and it WORKS! Very exciting! It’s an Acer Aspire R and it is great! Not much else to day about that but I just wanted to let you know.

Last weekend, PSUkulele traveled to the Hershey Medical Center to play ukulele for people. What a wonderful experience! You may or may not recall that we also went last year and played in the lobby and the cafeteria. Well, this time was a little bit different in a very cool way. Instead of playing in the lobby, we were suggested to play outside in front of the pediatric wing, because it has this big wall of windows looking out on a sculpture garden. Although it was a little misty and cold outside, we stood by that sculpture and sang as loud as we could to the windows. I don’t know if any of the patients could actually hear us but we could see a few little head peeking out of the windows and waving to us and it was so cool. While we were playing, a mother walked by and told us were were cute and asked if we wanted to play up on one of the floors. The woman who coordinated our visit told us that we weren’t aloud but we convinced her otherwise. We weren’t allowed to play in the patients rooms but did get to play in one of the small lobbies on one of the floors. A few patients and visitors came over to listen. After we wrapped up our singing, we went to a local crepe place which was delicious!

In the way of club gymnastics stuff, we have an away meet coming up at JMU and I am no where near ready. haha.

That’s about it.

Oh, the reason I was fine about not getting into a piano lesson is because I got offered an opportunity to do paid research with the Stuckeman School! Yay! Ok I’m tired, goodnight.

 

Suddenly Sickness

If there’s one thing that you want to avoid when first coming back to school, it’s sickness. Unfortunately for many people, this venture proves unsuccessful as sniffling, sneezing, and coughing can be hear throughout the halls and classrooms. And, unfortunately, I am no exception. It was not too lang after arrival that I too became sick. It’s not fun to scooter to and from class while your nose runs faster than you can catch it and constant coughing prevents much productive movement forward. So anyways, I’m finally getting better (although by the sound of my voice you wouldn’t be able to tell).

Living alone in apartment is kinda tough. I think the worst thing about actually being an “adult” is that all you do is dishes. Cooking is so exciting until I remember that I have to actually clean up. Oh well. I guess that’s life.

This first week was rough, let me tell you. It is much more difficult to motivate myself to go to class when I’m all the way down town from where my class is since last year I had a two minute walk from my dorm. I also have yet to do laundry since I have no laundry-doing device and no mode of transportation. Classes seem ok but more than one person has told me and my LARCH friends that 3rd year is the hardest year. yay. That did nothing for my self-confidence. So far, I am not dying of stress but I can’t vouch for end-of-semester Zoe’s state of mind.

Well, it’s late now and I think I’m going to bed.