Thursday, January 26, 2012

Urban Agriculture

Hi Everyone!
This week in studio we presented our findings about our topics of interest. Mine was Urban Agriculture. The first page of the document I put together outlines words we associate with the two separate terms, "Urban" and "Agriculture". It then goes on to explore why we as a society grow in one place but not in others. Then breaking that down the document explores precedents that have broken out of the normal box of food production to try something "new" in the urban environment.
The examples on this page explore three different reasons why people decide to grow in an urban environment rather that the traditional rural. The first reason being that in Gaza they are effectively cut off from a rural food supply thus they must grow their own food on their roofs to survive. The second example is of a company intending to make money by eliminating the need for land, soil, and much water through the science of hydroponics land "vertical farming"> Green Green Earth company is based and Japan and serves companies like Subway, Disneyland, and the US Military according to their website.
The last page brings the issues closer to Ballard and shows that the Ballard neighborhood in Seattle has a real desire to move into the area of Urban Agriculture. We can see this in these examples which are very few in compared to the many out in the neighborhood that are currently active.
There are some URL's in the bottom right hand corner of the final page if you want to learn more!
Until Next Time!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

From Beginning to End: Sketchbook

This post is going to be the first installment of projects that I have completed from "beginning to end" meaning the initial concept phase up to the making of a final prototype project. The first project is a sketchbook I made for my girlfriend for Christmas. Alice does all the comics for our website Fluffy-Muffin so I thought I'd give her this to make it a little more official.

The first phase obviously was thinking up what to do in the first place. This is what some of the initial sketches looked like.

I kind of mulled about on this concept for a week or two then ended up going in an entirely different direction and decided to go strait to a RHINO model. First I was going to go landscape orientation but decided on portrait just because she usually likes that better.

I then exported these vectors to autocad and simplified it to make a CNC laser cutter compatible file. All that really means is making the lines you want cut to be red and a 1.00mm line weight and the lines you want etched in blue. everything else should be on a no-plot layer.

The cuts came out fairly nicely.

Then here is the final product after staining, sanding, and glue!

I am definitely going to make some variations of this in the future. My next one I am planning to use cut stainless steel on the front rather than wood stained a different color. I'll let ya know how it turns out!

Until next time!

Friday, January 20, 2012


I finally was able to pick up my books the other day. I'm so happy to be making my library larger. What do I need now? A proper bookshelf.

There are a few things I want to make in the schools woodshop these coming months and I'm trying to prioritize them. There is a stand for my computer monitors so I can free up some desk space. Actually need to make 3 of those. One for home, one for studio, and one for a friend. Next is a coat rack. My little studio is cramped on space and not having a proper coat rack usually just results in my hanging my coats and hats on the door, but then I cant close the door, so a coat rack is needed. Next is the bookshelf, I keep telling myself that if my books are out where I can see them more often I will somehow absorb the information contained in them just by staring... Last but not least, I want to make a shoe rack for hanging my shoes on when I come in the door. I usually take my shoes off but then they just pile up around the door, and since my fridge is by the door I can't get into my fridge....and thus cannot eat....see the issues here? Anyways.

I mostly want to treat these projects not just as building projects but also as finished work projects, and I want to build them all in autocad and Rhino 3D before I build them. I think it will give me some necessary practice in both of those programs. So over the next few weeks hopefully I'll be posting some of those. Right now I'm in the process of taking inventory of all the materials I have (and got for free) so I can minimize spending money on materials. That factor will be one of the primary design influences.

So this week has been an interesting one at school. So far this week we have had only one day of actual class, Tuesday. Its been snowing all week! Me and my buddy here attempted to make a giant snowball but it ended up taking about 2 hours for not that big. Snow wouldn't stick. But, as you can see, I haven't really been getting that much work done this week. Snow is great, but it is definitely a productiveness killer. What I'm supposed to be working on is a precedence study on Urban Agriculture. I've been doing a lot of reading into the subject and now I'm just trying to think of a way to put it in the context of Ballard. One of the first things I watched was The Future of Food It is a pretty interesting film seems a little biased but I highly recommend it. I has certainly changed the way I think about "traditional" agriculture. Anyways this very much fits in with the ideas of Urban Agriculture, the organic movement, farmer's markets, and the like. I am very excited about this whole idea. So the posters I am working on I want them to convey the reason's for Urban Agriculture, the challenges, etc etc and I very much want to look at both sides equally.

Hmm..what else did I want to talk about today...
I think thats it!
Until next time~

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A look at Ballard's Transportation System

This week was a busy week indeed. Apologies for the intermittent posting this quarter so far. On Monday we took a field trip to Seattle's Ballard neighborhood and met with some representatives of the community there to talk about some of the outstanding issues in Ballard and some of the qualities as well. What makes Ballard Ballard?

After the meeting we spent the rest of the week compiling data about various areas of focus on the neighborhood. We then presented our "class findings" to those same community representatives and to the rest of the class. With further input from the community we are compiling all the data into a booklet for the class' use for the rest of the studio. Here are the pages that my group made!

In other news, this Friday we had our first UWASLA (University of Washington American Society of Landscape Architecture)meeting of the quarter.We have alot of events planned and I've renewed my commitment to updating the blog for the group that is meant to give prospective applicants to the program a chance to see the type of work we do and the culture of the studio in general. On top of that we are going to have a mentor-mentee meet and greet in a few weeks for those of us who have been paired up with a professional mentor through the department's mentoring program. I must say I am very excited for the whole thing.

Until next time! Hope you all are having a great 3 day weekend, unless you don't get this holiday off. In that case go let off some steam :)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Mastering Autocad

So today in between classes I've begun to go through my autocad book i mentioned in my last post. So far, its pretty nice. I'm only on page 10 as of now but the pictures and diagrams are very clear and helpful. Even though I'm going through the basics right now I am still learning little things that I didn't know before. And what has it brought forth so far? A polar array of an offset polyline. Amazing, possibilities...

Until next time!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

10,000 Views! A New Day.

Hi everyone! Today my blog hit the 10,000 view mark. It's pretty funny, more people come the more you post...and spam your facebook status. Anyways today I'm just going to give a quick update about the NEW quarter so far, some NEW books i'm getting in, and a NEW view on high organization!

So far this quarter I've had a few lectures, just introductions into hydrology and site engineering, site restoration, and two quick studio sessions on neighborhood design. For the site restoration class we are going through a series of different natural ecosystem types and looking at the best ways to go about restoring them from man made disturbances. Unfortunately this has yet to yield any good pictures...Anyways, what I'm finding really interesting about the class is towards the middle of the quarter we are going to start a real life restoration project as a class at Ballard in Seattle. I have no idea how we are breaking up the assignment class-wise yet but it is going to be a new experience for sure. I will keep you guys updated as we go.


So to compliment all these new classes I've purchased some books that are recommended and one that I've been wanting for a while. That book is Mastering Autocad 2012. I feel pretty confident in my basic autocad skills but in terms of advanced use, I am nowhere near where I want to be.

The other books I am still waiting for in the mail are Site Engineering for Landscape Architects,by Steven Strom, Kurt Nathan and Jake Wolandand and also Soil Design Protocols by Timothy A. Craul and Phillip J. Craul. At first I bought these bad boys at the local University bookstore and they seemed rather interesting at first glance. But of course they were a good 50 dollars cheaper on Amazon so I returned them. I'll let you know how they turn out!

Other News

In other news the Fluffy-Muffin website is coming along nicely. We have fixed a few bugs like getting the images not to flicker when you hover over them. We have also been able to get the links to the Facebook Page and the Tumblr and the Twitter all set up so that's good. The biggest thing we are having issues with now is getting enough content up for google to be able to accept our site as legit so we can get advertising up.... hopefully that will happen sooner than later.

Well Until Next time when I have more pictures to show!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

When the Rhino Terrain Trial Expires.

If your design program is anything like the Landscape Architecture Program at UW then you have run into this dilemma, or one similar. It's this. Some software is free to students, software like autocad, or pretty much any Autodesk software, some is deeply discounted, such as Rhino 4.0, Adobe Suite, and well pretty much everthing. The issue? Sometimes even though the original software is deeply discounted the plugins (ad-ons that make the software a whole lot more helpful) can cost just as much if not more than the software's original price, even when discounted. I've found myself in this very situation when redoing a project last quarter where we used the Rhino Terrain plugin for Rhino 4.0 to import GIS data directly into the model in 3D. BUT now my Rhino Terrain trial has expired...what to do? Well here is a work around that is MUCH more work but gets the same thing accomplished more or less.
First thing you want to do is to get your GIS data properly clipped, oh and if you take any GIS course you can most likely get a year license for free. If not, you might be stuck using a school PC or you are just SOL.

Next thing you want to do is download the trial plugin of Rhino Resurf. Now what Resurf more or less allows you to do in this case is to fit a NURBS surface to a point cloud....something not built into the naked Rhino. Now what I did here most likely isn't the most efficient way but its a way nonetheless that I arrived at through trial and error! I then opened my data set in ArcScene and turned the contour lines into a 3d model and exported the scene as a VRML file. Luckly Rhino cad import this file type, the only issue is that everything comes in unaligned, but with a little tweaking its not that big of a deal. You can then have the 3D contour lines exported form arcscene, using the point tool to make a point cloud, then use the Rhino Resurf plugin to make your nurbs surface! Viola!
Downside? Well with this data I had to raise the buildings manually which can take a while if they are on a slope as shown here but there is another way if you know your way around 3DS Max outlined here where I got some of my help from. Hopes this helps people in the same boat. There is always a work around!
Until I have unlimited funds for software!

Fluffy-Muffin has Arrived!

Hello everybody! The fruits of my winter's break labor has finally been revealed! The website my friends and I have created is now live and ready to be critiqued! I really encourage anybody reading this to go take a look. As of now we only have one article and one comic up but we are adding more content 3 days a week. Ultimate goals? Well in my mind one of the ultimate goals is to have the site grow to a place where writers and comic maker's alike can create and post their own content and have it recognized! Or just entertainment...either way I've had a lot of fun and stress, yes stress is good in this case, getting the required elements together along with my teammates. There is still much much more to add and I cant wait to see where this all goes!
Anyways in another front do you think I should include some of the graphics for the web site, in a portfolio page? I am seriously considering it.
Until next time!