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UC Berkeley (Nick)

 

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Aug '08 - Jun '10

 
  • Back to the Bay

    Tonight "anarchist" urban geographer Matt Coolidge from the Center for Land Use Interpretation gave an informal talk about an ongoing work that CLUI has been invested in right here in the SF Bay. CLUI is "a research and education organization interested in understanding the nature and extent of...


  • Thoughts on design research

    I was having a coffee break this afternoon at Strada Café with a senior undergrad named Ben and a ghost from thesis-past known by the name Shivang. We got into an interesting dialogue that I thought I would extend out here. Ben and I are working on thesis projects that are part of a larger...


  • An envelope to make something good

    Tomorrow is the "first day of instruction" for the last semester of school for the rest of my life. I like to think that thesis is one big blue sky. Not an oppressive thing at all, just something to call that white noise in the background. Thesis is the agar agar in the petri dish labelled...


  • The End of the Grand Tour

    A trip, a safari, an exploration, is an entity, different from all other journeys. It has a personality, temperament, individuality, uniqueness. A journey is a person in itself, no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that...


  • On Walled Cities and Snowflakes

    image by SnowCrystals.com You might be surprised to learn there is a Caltech professor studying snow crystals. (Or if you've ever been to a party at Caltech, it might actually make sense.) He runs a website and owns a database of some strikingly beautiful images of snow crystals. He writes...


  • on site 22: WAR

    I am excited to announce my first published work, a two-page article titled "Military Estates: exact edges" in the current issue of on site, a semi-annual publication put out by the Association for Non-Profit Architectural Fieldwork [Alberta]. On site #22 contains some worthy reading on...


  • WPA 2.0

    While I was out inspecting bunkers and imagining how they might be integrated into some kind of territorial infrastructure for the Atlantic coast/North Sea this past fall, two teams working under Berkeley professors were busy putting together their phase II proposals for the WPA 2.0 competition...



  • Thesistan

    With the fellowship travels now over, I have already been taking the next steps. There is an internal circuit to follow: the ever-lurking thesis. It is the final country to conquer, and what a vast territory it is. Thesis, my own infinite game. I'm trying to heed the advice of one of my advisors...


  • MOUT 2: Jungle Warfare

    Sorry to disappoint: I'm not announcing the title of the latest X-Box 360 game. It's just another day on the Branner Fellowship and only two days from the end. MOUT 1 appeared way back at the beginning of the year when I posted some pics from my first encounter with Military Operations on Urban...


  • Manila Madness

    Manila. This ain't no vanilla. Stinking hot sweat stepping over fish heads pig intestines. Big guy with a big backpack on getting looks getting stared at squeezing through the market crowd. Jeepneys belching smoke choke cover the face no use no way out but through. Swimming through air hop on a...


  • Bella, Bellicosa Italia

    I spend a lot of time looking at ugly buildings. You could say I'm addicted to them. US military bases are not pretty things. One base planner put it to me this way: "We build 'em like jeeps, simple and functional." And there's a certain logic to jeep aesthetics: because it looks cheap and...


  • Berkeley ain't no Bargain

    I interrupt this flow of dreamy travelogues to report on something I feel is incredibly important. I got back to Berkeley a few days ago for a pit-stop en route to my final destination of the Branner fellowship, the Philippines and Guam. My inbox has been inundated with messages bouncing around...


  • Above and Below the Rubble Mountains of Berlin

    If there is a city ripe for post-military exploration, it's Berlin. And what a kick-ass city. Good food, great people, easy to get around, incredible museums, a scintillating soundscape, and fancy architecture to boot. Berlin has been my favorite city this year, and I'm kicking myself for only...


  • The Perpetual Militarization of Germany

    At the end of September, I spent nine days in Germany, a country that easily could have consumed the entire year of travel. You'd think the country is Europe's bunker heaven, full of war-landscapes and museums displaying big guns and stuff. Nope, that's France. Understandably, the residues of war...


  • Sounds and Sketches 2

    Continuing the game of catch-up with more sketches and sounds. As always, headphones are advised. My wife and I have spent a lot of time camping around Europe, to save money but also for the convenience of staying close to our sites. Outside of populated areas, camping next to bunkers proved to be...


  • Sounds and Sketches 1

    One of the requirements of the Branner Fellowship is to give a lecture in Berkeley at the end of your travels. You and the other fellows are alotted 20 minutes each. Unless you give your lecture to the tune of the Johnny Cash song: I've been everywhere man, I've been everywhere. ...Oklahoma...


  • Inside a U-Boat Bunker

    Often we think of WWII disfiguring cities through destruction: Hiroshima, Dresden, Rotterdam, Berlin, etc. But what about cities disfigured by addition in wartime? Such was the case for St. Nazaire when it was converted into one of five U-boat bases on the Atlantic coast of France. A former...


  • Bunker Recycling Services

    There's a missing chapter from all the books on fortification I've had a flick through. While they will go into sometimes nauseating detail on how developments in wartime led to certain innovations, material choices, etc., the authors of these books tend to freeze the structures in that stage of...


  • The Meeting of Three

    Writing from a campsite in Zeeland, in the south of the Netherlands. I've been skipping down the coast with my wife hunting for bunkers from the second world war. A week ago, I met up with fellow Branner fellows Nicolette Mastrangelo and Taylor Medlin in Rotterdam, where I worked one summer seven...


  • Fuzzy Blob Tourism

    For the last week I've been on some islands called the Azores, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. It's amazing to think that a Portuguese community has inhabited these islands for over five hundred years. Houses and walls are built with volcanic rock; scattered across the landscape are shells of...


  • Urban Islands Final Review or My attempt at writing the longest school blog post ever

    Well, when I sat down at my laptop tonight, I didn't plan to do this. I swear. I don't know if it's the longest post ever but at least it is for me. After a few days of being through with the intensity of Urban Islands, and given a couple days respite on our friend's farm back here in New Zealand...


  • Urban Islands day 11

    T minus nine hours to the Final Review. This is a rare moment, folks. How many school bloggers are crazy enough to take twenty minutes in the middle of the final push to give a shout out? Thanks to some abuse of the Cockatoo Island facilities by students of one of the other sections, we all gotta...


  • Urban Islands midreview

    It's been four days since the last update. In this time frame I've managed to escape the studios for a wholesome two-hour walk around the North Beach suburb where I'm staying. A rocky headland separates this beach from Manly, a famous surfing spot and location of the best ferry into the city. To...


  • Urban Islands day 4

    11:59 pm Today was a work day. I would love to report on what's going on, but haha, I'm still working. So if you're wondering what the hell's going on over here in Sydney, you'll have to deduce it from the following three photographs. Interpretations welcome. Mark Smout's group: Geoff Manaugh's...


  • Urban Islands days 2 & 3

    View Soundscrapers Location in a larger map Day 2 Another packed day in Sydney. We all met up at Circular Quay, all set, if a bit bleary-eyed, to embark for Cockatoo Island, the site of the Urban Islands design workshop. First on the agenda would be a crit of the individual design project handed...


  • Urban Islands day 1

    4:01 a.m. Sydney Good morning? If nothing else, this is a welcome return to studio life. I'm at the end of the first day of the Urban Islands studio on Cockatoo Island, Sydney. It's been a huge day that began nearly 20 hours ago with a bumpy bus ride through traffic from my digs near Manly Beach...


  • The Tanks of New Zealand

    Just got into Sydney about five hours ago. I'm here for the Urban Islands intensive design studio which begins tomorrow! More on that soon. In the spirit of serious architectural research, I watched Transformers on the flight over from Christchurch. I hadn't seen the movie before, as a friend...


  • all this talk...

    ...about North Korean missiles got me thinking back to my experience in White Sands. I've just put together my first podcast in five weeks. In the recording, I will walk around and point out various missiles in the park, and then let some of the museum video material speak for itself. You might...


  • Pet Power Lines

    I've spent the last week packing up my apartment, preparing to travel for a continuous four months. And finally, my wife is able to join me! She's taking a four-month leave from her office . Luckily she is in architecture too but getting her to accompany me on 25-mile circuits of military bases...


  • New Desert City

    Just got back from a stellar week in militarized West Texas. I got out to former Fort D.A. Russell in Marfa, went on a tour of the US/Mexico border with homeland security, and spent a day touring one of the largest military construction sites in the world. Just to give you a sense of how...


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