UC Berkeley (Nick)



Aug '08 - Jun '10

  • A farewell

    We-ell, I can't quit you baby, but I got to put you down a little while We-ell, I can't quit you baby, but I got to put you down a little while --Willie Dixon, 1968 I can quit this baby. A student no-more, I reckon it's time to finish this school blog. Graduation was a month ago. I can probably...

  • Branner Lecture video: Military Atmospheres

    Before we get to the concluding report from this past Monday's Conference Echo Red, check out this video from my February 10th lecture titled "Military Atmospheres" given in the main lecture hall at UC Berkeley's College of Environmental Design.Military Atmospheres from nick sowers on Vimeo.

  • The Sonic Archivist

    The following report is an abridged version of "Ears Eyes Nostrils Open!" to be presented today at the Conference Echo Red: Military Archaeologies and Architectural Trajectories.Ears Eyes Nostrils Open! The soundscape of Guam has undergone a profound sonic metamorphosis. Listening today, we hear...

  • The Ornithologist

    The following report is an abridged version of "Ornithology and Camouflage: A shroud of Swiftlet-space" to be presented at the Conference Echo Red: Military Archaeologies and Architectural Trajectories on 31 May.A Shroud of Swiftlet-Space Guam is an exciting place to study birds due to the varied...

  • The Forensic Engineer

    The following report is an abridged version of "Mechanisms Behind the Failure of the Jet Noise Barrier Structure" to be presented at the Conference Echo Red: Military Archaeologies and Architectural Trajectories on 31 May. The National Park Service has brought me to Guam to measure the progress of...

  • The Landscape Preservationist

    The following report is an abridged version of "Toward an American Military Pastoral" to be presented at the Conference Echo Red: Military Archaeologies and Architectural Trajectories on 31 May. Military bases help to preserve landscapes from development and thereby produce valuable spaces of...

  • The Geologist

    The following report is an abridged version of "Zones of Military Speleology and Laminae Along a Linear Band of Uplifted Karst in Northern Guam" to be presented at the Conference Echo Red: Military Archaeologies and Architectural Trajectories on 31 May. [Fig. 1-1: Pacific Faults. Guam lies on the...

  • The Archaeologist Presents

    I am standing at the edge of a precipice. From below the dense jungle of new growth rainforest sweeps away toward the horizon, where the island of Guam ends and the ocean begins. The rainforest is consuming the remains of Andersen Air Force Base, once part of a global network of United States...

  • It's over

    Thesis at Berkeley has come to pass. With the fossils found, the evidence exhibited, the towers toppled, mysteries not solved but muddled, terrains trespassed, and infrastructures inspected; I think we can all go home now.

  • prnt dsk 7

    Graduate student Taylor Medlin can only see the world through a fisheye lens.[prnt dsk 7, photographed by Taylor Medlin] Take a quick look at his thesis work which is now taking volunteers for a research expedition to Antarctica. [more] The end is nigh.

  • prnt dsk 6


  • prnt dsk 4+5

    no time to talk. two weeks to go. constructing space with sound. this morning two weeks ago see ya later.

  • Printing Concrete

    I am rapid prototyping concrete models using Ron Rael's hijacked starch printer. It's stronger than starch and achieves an identical resolution. One potential drawback is that it's extremely water soluble, which means I could have a lot more fun with melting these things.... after the presentation.

  • It's Alive

    At about 3:20 am Pacific time on Monday, April 5th, a monster was born in the thesis studios of Wurster Hall. It was short-lived. Following an attempt to build a bigger monster, the woofer was blown. A blown speaker is a very anticlimactic thing. (Strikes one and two) Strike three: It's time to...

  • I'm a sonic reducer

    I got my devil machine Got my electronic dream Sonic reducer Ain't no loser I'm a sonic reducer Ain't no loser -Dead Boys

  • The Minimum Maximum

    There are 24 days until final thesis reviews here at Berkeley. This fact has many of us letting out prolonged sighs. The pressure to produce something which culminates our time here is mounting. To make things worse, the pressure is coming from yourself. We all fumble half-blindly for the release...

  • to Sejima

    and to Ryue too i cannot send you flowers but shisendo, spring

  • November_Red

    [Image: Okinawa, delineation of beaches for the Marine landing on 01 April 1945. Map prepared by the Intelligence Section Amphibious Forces Pacific on 20 Jan. 1945.] Almost sixty-five years ago to the day, 60,000 Marines landed on the island of Okinawa, meeting little to no opposition from the...

  • Because destruction is more fun

    Preciousness of models does not interest me. If I am producing models, I am interested in their decay and destruction as much as the opposite condition. Certainly, in this thesis which examines the life-cycle of a US military base on Guam, what happens when the resources of construction and...

  • Desert Obscura

    I'm back from three days in the Mojave desert. We drove six hours from Berkeley last Thursday, and the moment we pulled up from the Central Valley floor to the high desert, I felt the strangest feeling--it felt like home. It is the wide open horizon that I love, the clear visibility of objects...

  • Thesis = failed experiments

    The Cornstarch Monsters fall down like cymbal crashes two blo-wn speakers

  • prnt dsk 3

    I am building a machine for refining jet engine sound.[enlarge]

  • Ninjas must be good listeners

    Today was a day of recovery from a midterm thesis binge that was immediately followed by a Korean BBQ/karaoke binge in Oakland. By the way, Koreans can lay down some legit rap. And typos in the lyrics also significantly boost the entertainment value. Now that I have a chance to breathe, I can...

  • prnt dsk 2

    Faysal from the AA school blog is doing a great series called prnt scrn so I thought I'd continue my own series started here.view full size And, this from a 1972 interview of Bruce Nauman with Lorraine Sciara: They gave you a studio and said fill it up, and you didn't have to do anything else. You...

  • IN[ARCH]

    I am teaching undergrads architectural drawing this semester, which is a pretty fun task in these times. It's their first studio, and so whatever tools and techniques you teach are necessarily influencing the way they think about design. That's an awesome thing, actually. With what tools does one...

  • Infiltration

    There's a guest here on the 9th floor of Wurster, a University of Michigan grad student named Dan who is visiting his buddy here at Berkeley. It's spring break for Michigan, though he has tons of work to do. So he's occupying a desk in the middle of Thesislandia, laptop open and cranking away in...

  • Glacier/Island/Storm pt 2: Super/Typhoon/Wall

    In the opening pages of Sonic Warfare, Steve Goodman cites a newspaper account of a "sound bomb" created by Israeli low-flying jets over the Gaza Strip, painting a sonic image of "broken windows, ear pain, nosebleeds, anxiety attacks, sleeplessness, hypertension, and being left 'shaking inside'."...

  • Glacier/Island/Storm pt 1: Design to Fail

    This is the first of two posts which are part of Geoff Manaugh’s “Glacier/Island/Storm” studio underway this Spring at Columbia University. Be sure to follow the online conversation as it unfolds this week! I have been invited by Geoff to write something in response to the studio...

  • What's around my desk

    Thesis is an atmosphere. It's a condition you inhabit, with its own climate system and rules of physics. The beauty and the death of this atmosphere lies in the fact that it's you who is in control. Only you get to say "yes, this belongs here" or "no, I will ignore that." You define the...

  • The Branner Lecture

    I've been absent. Both the thesis and preparing an exhibition and a lecture about my travels in 2009 have kept me pretty busy. If you are in the Bay Area, I hope you can come out to hear a talk that I will be giving this Wednesday titled "Military Atmospheres" in conjunction with the other two...

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