Hard Core Foam Core, A Million Post-Its, My Dumb Lamp

It’s been so busy. What the heck. Anyway, I gotta catch you up because an insane amount of stuff has happened since my last post.

First. It’s Hard Core Foam Core. Where we have a week to build a giant model out of foam core and tape which we present to a small audience in the form of a rap. It’s a whole event that happens at the end of a very sleepless and stressful week and all the students taking this introductory model building class all perform and then there’s a vote. But the underclassmen teams always win because they know more people. You can’t find any videos of this online because apparently YouTube thinks it’s porn hahaha. Anyway, our prompt was to create an “exoskeleton” or suit that served a specific function. Our exoskeleton was for all terrain exploration and our rap song was to the tune of Thrift Shop by Macklemore. I wrote all the lyrics. We had every surface in the grad bench room covered with foam core and we spent many a night in there after midnight but finally we finished.

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Here it is on our model!

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And here the suit is on our form after the event:

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But yeah, sorry, I don’t have a video. Even though my rapping skills are tight, yo.

After the Hard Core Foam Core, we had to make elephants out of REN foam. It was an ungraded assignment but I made them look real cute.

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A few weeks ago, my cousin and his wife were in town! So I got to spend some quality time with them and my aunt. It was nice. I got to show them around the Gulfstream building, including our Hard Core Foam Core model that is on display. We then enjoyed an evening at the picnic in the park event in Forsyth Park. We listed to the Savannah Philharmonic.

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In my design theory class, we’re doing a project on reducing single-use plastic during travel. We had to interview a bunch of people and every little “data point” or notable thing that someone said was written down on a post-it note. We then had to read through all the post-its and group them into categories. Then we took those categories and grouped them into more categories. This process is called “affinitization” and it was kinda cool at first but then it was real boring.

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In model shop, we’ve been working on this very annoying lamp project. I was very excited about it at first because I wanted to make a very cool lamp but the project quickly sapped my self-confidence and became a burden for all of us by the end. Still it was a pretty cool process and I learned a lot cool model-making techniques. So first we planed a board and cut it into five pieces and glued it into a block. Then we turned that block on the lathe into our lamp shape. Here’s a pic o’ that:
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After that, we cut the wooden lamp in half. Yes, in HALF on the bandsaw and then do this really cool thing called vacuuforming. It’s a machine that molds a heated plastic sheet around the lamp half using a vacuum table. It’s really cool! It’s what they did on Mythbusters a lot to build models so I’m basically on Mythbusters, thanks for asking. But unlike Mythbusters, our machine is not very high tech. I’m not very good at explaining what it is, but here’s a picture.

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So the halves of the lamp (they are called plugs) don’t come out that easily after the vacuuforming so I had to cut the excess around the edges with the bandsaw and then kinda hammer it out with a wood block.

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Then I glued the halves together with a glue that smells like something that no one should ever be smelling probably. Then I sanded down the glue on the seam and drilled a hole in the top of the lamp. When I drilled the hole in the top, the darn lamp split in half along the seam and so I had to glue it again. After I fixed that, I had to fill all the seams with Bondo, which is a scratch filler used for cars. Then I sanded that down and painted it with primer. In between each coat we had to sand the primer down. Then I coated it spray paint which, if applied incorrectly, caused dripping, which then had to be sanded after it dried. We were supposed to choose an automotive spray paint because it gave the best finish but I really wanted an orange lamp and there is a lack of orange automotive spray paint, due to the lack of orange cars, so I bought non-automotive spray paint which was probably a mistake. It was a lot of waiting around in between coats and I am a very impatient person so this was not my favorite. Also it dripped all over the palace and the sanding made it worse. So I kinda gave up before the clear coat and went home.

Here is how it turned out in the end, but you can’t see all the scratches:

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Yeah, it’s a hanging lamp. I have no idea where I’m going to put it but at least it’s orange like I wanted it to be.

Today, I had my 8AM class even though we usually don’t have class on Fridays because our professor was out of town on what was supposed to be the second makeup day. So I’m sleepy. Also, I had to go to the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum to look at model ships. I really wanted to be interested in what the museum guy was telling us about all the ships but he went on for quite some time and I had not idea what all the nautical and ship-building jargon was about. I did learn that the Mayflower hull got turned into the roof of a barn outside of London. So that’s cool! The boat models were also very impressive! But there were so. many. boats.

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Good thing is after the boat museum, we went to all get dinner as a little friend group together at the Little Duck Diner. Then I went to the Gulfstream building to work on my current project which is to make a replica of one of our pink foam models using any of the modeling techniques we’ve learned so far.

It sounds like there’s going to be a big storm coming in tomorrow so it’s batten down the hatches for me! Also sidenote, I just spilled some tea on the carpet in my room so I better clean that up.

Pink Foam Everywhere, Don’t Talk to Me Mr.

Since we last spoke, things have gotten busier. Like WAY busier. This is largely thanks to my model making class because our assignments are all overlapping so there are always multiple things due that all take up a lot of time. The project I finished last Tuesday was replicate not one, not two, not five, not ten, but fifteen objects in pink foam. In a week. If you can’t tell, that’s a lot to do in a week. He suggested that we pick objects that relate to a theme so I decided to pick objects from my days as a busker on the streets of downtown State College. The only thing is that I thought it would be really cool do a ukulele, even though the professor said that anything too detailed or larger than a shoe box would take too long. But yeah I did it anyway.

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I didn’t do the string though because I really just didn’t feel like it.

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Here’s the setup for my presentation. I tried do make it look like it did when I played downtown, except I had some extra items so I could reach 15 objects.

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I brought my real ukulele to class since we had to have some to the items we were replicating and my professor let me play a song after my presentation! I play Can’t Help Falling In Love because it’s a classic.

I’m also working on carving four elephants out of a material called “ren foam” which is really dense foam that is more enjoyable to do than the stupid pink foam that got scratched really easily but it is still really time consuming.

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I rode my bike to Gulfstream yesterday and it was actually a really nice ride. The street I go down in pretty calm on the weekends at least and then I don’t have to wait for the dumb bus to come. SCAD really needs to step up it’s game with the buses because they are absolutely not reliable. (Hey Mom, see my cool lock?)

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The other thing due very soon for model shop class which I should really be working on (but I took the day off) is for an event that SCAD has every year called Hard Core Foam Core. All the students taking this model building class are divided into teams and tasked with building some insane thing out of foam core which we then present in the form of a song or rap during a big event. If you don’t know what foam core is, it’s like thick poster board that is paper on the outside and foam in between. Our prompt is to design a robotic exoskeleton that a person wears and it is oriented toward a specific task. So a lot of people are doing combat exoskeletons that have all these weapons attached and such. Our group is still kinda figuring stuff out and I’m hopeful they figured some more stuff out today while I wasn’t in the bench room. (For future reference, the bench room is basically like the grad studio space where we work on all our projects. Did I already say this? I don’t remember. Anyway, it’s an ok space but there are no windows. Honestly, Stuckeman was way better but you didn’t hear it from me).

Don’t worry, I wasn’t slacking on my day off. On top of all the work I’ve had to do for all my classes (and I have group projects in all three classes), I’ve been sick for the past week. I have the coughing kind of sickness that is just really annoying and throat-irritating and loud and disruptive, both to me and all the people around me. A few days ago I took a nap in the bench room because I had a meeting there later but I was too tired to work on anything. I guess my coughing and complaining was pretty bad because my classmate felt so bad that he – unprompted- offered to drive me to Kroger so I could get soup and then drove me back to my dorm. My best buddy Logan also did a nice thing and ordered me a whole pile of Chinese food to my dorm when I got back from Gulfstream (where the bench room that I am not too fond of is located). Thanks Log, you rock.

I’m still sick and coughing all over the place but I felt a lot better today so I went for a run. It was hot and sticky difficult but at least I did it. I was walking around Forsyth park afterward and a random guy started talking to me. He seemed nice enough so I tentatively chatted with him for a while. It was ok but then he asked if I liked motorcycles and I said “no” and he said “that’s too bad because if you said yes I would ask if you wanted to take a ride on my motorcycle with me”. Yeah no, I don’t think so mr. weird fat guy. I told him I had a lot of homework and gracefully exited out of that very uncomfortable situation. The best part though is that I told my parents and my mom said, “you know not to go with him if he asks you that, right? Even if he’s a nice man.” Yes, Mama I know. I’m 23 and have a well-developed distrust for most people I encounter, especially man strangers.

Speaking of parents, mine are definitely best. Is the love your parents feel for you quantifiable by the amount of Regionally specific snacks sent to you while away from home? Because my parent’s love is. And the the answer is, they love me A WHOLE LOT. This package arrived for me unexpectedly. I had complained that I was out of chips and they said that they would send me more but I didn’t think they would buy all the chips in Central, PA!
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This afternoon I returned to Forsyth park to talk to more people, but on purpose. In one of the classes I’m taking, my team project focuses on researching sustainable tourism in Savannah and part of the research involves interviewing people and asking them questions about our topic. So of course we had to talk to a bunch of tourists. It’s actually really fun to talk to people but I probably need to be a little more assertive because I didn’t want to bother anyone. I did end up talking to a number of people though. No one offered me a motorcycle ride.

Right now, I’m just chilling now and pretending that I don’t have a butt load of work that I should really be doing. Have a nice evening everyone.

There is No “I” in CoLab

My semester long studio project was not done all by myself. I took the collaborative studio (also known as CoLab) where I worked with a team of seven to design a campus for the sustainability institute at Penn State. On our team was an architect, 4 architectural engineers (each specializing in a different discipline: Mechanical, structural, lighting and electrical, and construction management), and two landscape architects. I was lucky, because I got a pretty awesome team. We called ourselves 4SIGHT. Don’t ask why. Each team had a “pod” – a special area designated mostly for our use. Our pod was in the Immersive Environments Lab (or something) which is basically a very dark, windowless, black room. Here we are chilling in our pod, late in the semester. We made quite a mess of the space.

 

It’s been a long and tiring semester. Working on a team is cool but also kind of difficult. I got called “landscaper” a bunch in the beginning. It was difficult to coordinate times to meet outside of class. There were also things that are typical of most studios like unclear objectives and general confusion during desk crits. The site we had is a short bus ride from campus where the existing MorningStar solar home is located. It’s in pretty bad shape though. Logan and I took a walk around it and found a lot of trash, invasive species, and ticks. I’ve looked the solar home up so many times that it’s the first thing that appears when I type “m.”

Here is the existing site from google maps. Our site boundary is outlined in red.

Our final design focuses on connecting people to food through design. We used the idea of a “farm-to-table” dining experience for a large part of our programming. We also have an education building and more passively-programmed areas like a pollinator garden, event lawn, green houses, and an outdoor amphitheater. Here is our final plan (courtesy of me ūüôā

Late Nights

If you’ve been following me for a while, you probably know that I am not an all-nighter studio work kind of person. I get my stuff done and leave. But not this time. The last week before presentations was a rough one. I was in studio until at least 11 every night and when it was really coming down to the wire, we had some 2:00 AM nights. I know it’s not as bad as some people have it (there is a crew who routinely stays in studio until 1 or 2 AM) but I was still tired. After finishing our presentation on the night before the big day, we had to run through it a couple times and that doesn’t really go over well when we are all tired and hungry. We ordered pizza and that helped. But eventually, we all were tapped out and it was time to rest.

Final Presentation Day

Our group was dead last. Each group had 40 minutes to present in front of a panel of critiquers and 20 minutes for questions and comments. After everyone presented, the panel picked the “best” presentation from made up criteria that they decided on. The winner got a small piece of paper (Some call it a certificate) and they had to present again for 20 minutes. So you can imagine that this wasn’t much of an incentive to win. And, we didn’t even know about the piece of paper. We wanted a good grade but we didn’t really want to win. I thought it was going to be a long and terribly drawn-out day of presentations but it wasn’t too bad. It helped that they provided us lunch. We practiced one last time after lunch but everyone still seemed pretty nervous.

The good new is, our presentation went pretty well! Surprisingly well! I’m very proud to have such a great group for my last final presentation ever! Also, we didn’t win! We lost out on a certificate but it was worth not presenting again. Here is the whole gang, relieved to be done with presentations.

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)

Pre-Fall Break

Hi everyone! First of all, Happy Thanksgiving!  But this is not my fall break post.  Anyway, Here is what went down since last time you looked at the internet:

Virginia Tech Meet

Yes, a fall meet. You remember the last time we went to a meet in the fall and the car I was in broke down half way to Syracuse? Well that didn’t happen this time. Which is good. Because we drove aaall the way down to Virginia Tech. It’s like six hours.

Being shuffled outside from the fire alarm

So we are at the meet, warming up when the fire alarm goes off. Hooray, we all get to stand outside in the cold. It wasn’t too bad though. We sang a bunch of songs and were generally very obnoxious while all the other teams kinda glared at us and some prospective student tours struggled to wade through the sea of warm-up clad gymnasts. Fifteen minutes later and we were back inside. The meet went well. Nothing spectacular. BUT Penn State Men and Women clenched first place for teams! Oh yeah! So that was fun. Also I won first place! Yay!

 

Hmm… What else…

Anonymous People Judging Me

We had our portfolio review “showcase” before break where all ofour portfolios are spread out on tables and everyone is invited to come write things that we need to fix on them. The only problem is that no one knows who wrote the comments so I don’t know whose advice to listen to and whose to ignore. Haha I’m kidding I listen to the criticism. I’m actually pretty happy with how my portfolio turned out. You can’t see it, however, because the internet crashed when I tried to upload it.

 

Ill-Advised Food Choices

Remember that place Momotaro that I wrote about last time. Well Logan and I went back there to get some of these cool chocolates that didn’t look edible but apparently were. They were pretty pricey at $2.50 each but we were curious. But as cool as they looked, they were just not worth the money.

Above you can see the two chocolates and the macaroon

On an unrelated note, my friend Haleigh had come over to my apartment to watch TV and we decided to eat a whole box of farafelle noodles with butter and shaky cheese. Here is a picture of that:

P.S. The header image is irrelevant to anything in this post. It’s just a cool leaf with water droplets.

 

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.¬†[EDIT: PDFs take up a TON of space that I can’t spare so it has been replaced with images]

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.