Archinect - University of Minnesota (Aaron) 2014-04-16T12:25:28-04:00 Processing for Architects Aaron Westre 2008-02-13T16:49:03-05:00 >2011-11-24T09:05:52-05:00 <p>I'm writing the software for my thesis project in <a href="" title="The Processing website" target="_blank">Processing</a>, an <a href="" title="Wikipedia definition" target="_blank">integrated development environment</a> created by <a href="" title="Ben Fry's website" target="_blank">Ben Fry</a> and <a href="" title="Casey Reas' website" target="_blank">Casey Reas</a> as a tool for artists and designers to explore software development as a part of their creative work. Processing employs the <a href="" title="Wikipedia definition" target="_blank">Java</a> programming language along with <a href="" title="Wikipedia definition" target="_blank">code libraries</a> that provide a quick start for creative types to build software that deals with visual effects and interaction.<br><br> In architecture, while two dimensional images are useful, being able to produce and manipulate three dimensional data is even more so. Luckily Processing includes the capabilities of <a href="" title="Wikipedia definition" target="_blank">OpenGL</a>, industry standard software for visualizing and creating 3D scenes. While most development environments require a fairly deep knowledge of the mechanisms within OpenGL, Processing takes care of these intricacies for the developer. Perhaps even more importantly, there are a growing number of Processing users who contribute code and help to those who are new to the tool.<br><br> To get...</p> Fall 2007 Lecture Series at the University of Minnesota Aaron Westre 2007-09-01T17:49:39-04:00 >2011-09-23T13:01:13-04:00 <p>Lectures at the College of Design<br><br> Manuel DeLanda, adjunct associate professor, <br> Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University (New York) and professor for contemporary philosophy and science, European Graduate School (Switzerland)<br> Cities as Historical Actors: Ecological, Linguistic, and Economic Aspects of Urban Life<br> Cass Gilbert Lecture<br> Monday, September 17, 5:45 p.m., 100 Rapson Hall<br><br> Rob Jongman, landscape ecologist and senior researcher, Alterra, Wageningen University and Research Centre (Netherlands)<br> From Concepts to the Real Landscapes of the Future: The Role of Landscape Ecology <br> H.W.S. Cleveland Lecture<br> Monday, October 8, 5:45 p.m., 100 Rapson Hall<br><br> James Timberlake, founding partner, Kieran Timberlake Associates (Philadelphia) and adjunct faculty member, University of Pennsylvania School of Design<br> Sustaining Architecture<br> Monday, October 15, 5:45 p.m., 100 Rapson Hall<br><br> Eric Jolly, president, Science Museum of Minnesota<br> The Diversi...</p> Archi - what? Aaron Westre 2007-08-08T22:45:33-04:00 >2011-11-24T09:05:52-05:00 <p>The lecture series will be forthcoming... the department(s) are always late on the uptake, we're College of Design now.<br><br> What's in my dead-tree pile? <em>The Projective Cast</em> by Robin Evans, <em>The Definitive Guide to Symfony</em> by Fran&ccedil;ois Zaniotto... architecture... all of it.</p> Amy Landesberg workshop concludes Aaron Westre 2007-03-07T21:11:59-05:00 >2011-09-23T13:01:09-04:00 <p>The catalyst workshop was a smashing success with blinkin' lights applied virtually to unassuming curtainwall structures around Minneapolis. My group grafted a double-layer mesh LED screen onto the facade of the Carlson School of Management, here on the U of M campus.<br><br><img src="" alt="Carlson School of Management" title=""><br><br> Photo by Evan Hall<br><br> Tension cables would run vertically a foot and two feet away from the glass curtain wall. LED cables (think rope lights) would then be secured onto the tension cables.<br><br><img src="" alt="LED Mesh Structure" title=""><br> Rendering by Keith Little<br><br> The effect would be a two-layer screen that could display any variety of digital raster graphics. We were envisioning multi-step process of automatic image and data collection by computer, follow by a mediation process in which people could "train" the system to show information of value to them. Ideally the graphics displayed would evolve according to the whims, desires, and politics of those mediating.<br><br><img src="" alt="Carlson LED Screen" title=""><br> Rendering by Evan Hall, <a href="" title="Flash animation" target="_blank">Full Flash animation</a><br><br> I made a 3D visualization of the double-screen system in...</p> Amy Landesberg workshop begins Aaron Westre 2007-03-01T16:59:18-05:00 >2011-09-23T13:01:07-04:00 <p>Today is the start of a workshop called "Between Image and Architecture" taught by [Amy Landesberg](<a href="" target="_blank"></a>/). We'll be working with curtainwalls... selecting a particular building to perform an intervention on. The scenario is that we will be "collaborating" with a conceptual artist to arrive at a proposal. The artists whose concepts we'll be working with: Ann Hamilton, Thomas Demand, Agnes Martin, Mel Chin, Josiah McElheny, Dan Flavin, and Jenny Holzer. More than just form or method, we will be using the works of these artists as conceptual inspiration. Ideas like "haze-making", interactive graphics, color, glass technologies, and more will come into play.<br><br> I'll be working with a few others to mutilate the corporate masterpiece that is the [Carlson School of Management](<a href="" target="_blank"></a>/) here on the U of M campus.</p> New is a relative term. Aaron Westre 2007-02-28T23:14:10-05:00 >2011-09-23T13:02:16-04:00 <p>A new semester started here at the University of Minnesota some six weeks ago and just now I remember I have this blog to post to. There are busy people in the world and then there are architecture grad students... can I get an amen?<br><br> Anyway, I somehow managed to put together the most radical-est semester ever this go 'round:<br><br> * Studio is focusing on digital fabrication techniques and small spaces with [Charlie Lazor](<a href="" target="_blank"></a>) and [Garrett Finney](<a href="" target="_blank"></a>/).<br> * A great seminar with [Robert Ferguson](<a href="" target="_blank"></a>) called poetically "The Cave and the Light" in which we're tracing the slippery concept of the grotesque through architectural history.<br> * A directed study with [Lee Anderson](<a href="" target="_blank"></a>) exploring some generative methods for creating forms.<br><br> More on my progress along these lines of inquiry soon... now that I've got my...</p> Review what? Aaron Westre 2006-11-16T13:46:35-05:00 >2011-11-24T09:05:52-05:00 <p>Review tomorrow for studio and I've got nothing but ideas. I've increasingly found, however, that this is not such a bad situation to be in. Some prefer have a building, but no ideas, which is much worse from my perspective. Some good quotes from a Cedric Price book I'm reading for studio:<br><br> Notes on<br> Cedric Price: Works II<br> Architectural Association, London, 1984.<br><br> p. 36: Architects should constantly recall the uses of buildings - namely, use, misuse, reuse, disuse and refuse.<br><br> p. 37: The built environment is becoming a generous repository of buildings for nervous minds rather than a three-dimensional manifestation of a current optimistic civilisation.<br><br> p. 54 Indeed an overwhelming desire to 'get it right the first time' in architecture and planning encourages the safe solution and the dull practitioner. As this sequence has become increasingly clear to the rest of society during the last thirty years, architecture has moved further and further from the areas of human endeavour...</p> Model Transport Method #223 Aaron Westre 2006-11-08T01:20:51-05:00 >2011-11-24T09:05:52-05:00 <a href="" title="photo sharing" target="_blank"><img src="" alt=""></a><br><br><a href="" target="_blank">Model Transport Method #223</a> <br><br><br> Originally uploaded by <a href="" target="_blank">aaronwestre</a>.<br><br><br><br><p>Necessity is the mother of invention. Let's hope it doesn't rain. Seen outside Rapson Hall (architecture) on the University of Minnesota campus. Minneapolis, MN, USA.</p> SmartGeometry 2007 Aaron Westre 2006-11-08T00:54:58-05:00 >2011-11-24T09:05:52-05:00 <p>The <a href="" target="_blank">SmartGeometry</a> conference is coming up again, this time in New York on the 31st of Janurary, 2007. The most intriguing part of the conference from my perspective is the <a href="" target="_blank">workshop</a> that happens over the four days preceding the conference. If it's anything like last year's, which I assume it is, attendees will get a chance to play around with <a href="" target="_blank">Bentley Systems</a>' beta software <a href="" target="_blank">GenerativeComponents</a>. GenerativeComonents is an application for modeling in a parametric or associative way. A designer using the software develops a set of components and defines relationships between them, such that a change in one part of a design alters the rest accordingly. This means that one could set up a sun shade component that would change its angle when the building orientation changed, or panels that form the skin of a building could rotate or morph to meet a changing structural system. Essentially the application creates models that are themselves software applications, responding to changes in ...</p> Bruce Sterling Keynote at Idea06 Aaron Westre 2006-11-02T17:41:30-05:00 >2011-11-24T09:05:52-05:00 <p>This is why I dig <a href="" target="_blank">Bruce Sterling</a>. He starts off <a href="" title="keynote speech in mp3 format" target="_blank">his keynote</a> at <a href="" target="_blank">Idea 2006</a> reciting a list of quotes gathered during the conference and winds up with some great analysis of Rem Koolhaas' <a href="" target="_blank">Seattle Public Library</a> (where the conference was held). In between he talked about the new <a href="" target="_blank">World Changing</a> book and the open source/free culture economic model.<br><br> This is the kind of scatter-brained, broad-based modus operandi that I can really relate to. It suggests a way of functioning that disregards disciplinary boundaries, treating each specialization as a neighbor from which new tools can be liberally borrowed.</p> Hip hop in the bath Aaron Westre 2006-10-07T11:09:15-04:00 >2011-11-24T09:05:52-05:00 <p>A must see. A hip hop video filmed in Zumthor's Therme at Vals:<br><br><a href="" target="_blank"></a><br><br> Via: <a href="" target="_blank">Gravestmor</a></p> Area Student Still Lost in Rapson Hall Aaron Westre 2006-10-02T14:13:57-04:00 >2011-11-24T09:05:52-05:00 <p>Why is it that, after wandering around this building for over 5 years, I can still get lost? <br><br><img alt="DSCF0575.jpg" src=""><img alt="DSCF0576.jpg" src=""><br><img alt="DSCF0577.jpg" src=""><img alt="DSCF0578.jpg" src=""><br><br> (south, west, north, and east basement corridors in Rapson Hall)<br><br> As you can see, the basement of the old part of the building is truly problematic. It's got a perfectly symmetrical plan. The same enameled block on all the walls. There's almost no indication of location here. I've even gone around one full circle before finding the classroom I need. Truly a dumbfounding experience.<br></p> Architectural History Student Symposium Aaron Westre 2006-09-16T13:45:37-04:00 >2011-11-24T09:05:52-05:00 <p>I'm at the first annual student symposium, sponsored by the Minnesota Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians. It's more interesting than it sounds. There are talks on pattern books, vedic influence on modern Indian architecture, art deco in the Twin Cities, the architecture of White Castle... and a lot more. <br><br> Student work is usually rather invisible. People get a grade in a history seminar for a paper they've spent months on, then no one ever sees it again. It's great to be able to see and hear some of the rigorous and innovative work that that students are doing all the time. </p> On Choosing the Right Graduate Program Aaron Westre 2006-09-08T12:23:58-04:00 >2011-11-24T09:05:52-05:00 <img alt="DSCF0278.jpg" src=""><br><br> You know you've found the right graduate program when the material requirements for your first assignment closely match those of a student aged 5. M.Arch. Year 2 Aaron Westre 2006-09-08T12:22:04-04:00 >2011-09-23T13:01:05-04:00 <p>This year is shaping up to be a good one. My courses:<br><br> Thermal Design<br> Lighting and Acustic Design<br> Architecture in the Enlightenment (with Robert Ferguson, who has a great mind for history)<br> Studio (with Jennifer Yoos of <a href="" target="_blank">VJAA</a>)<br><br> In the enlightenment course we'll be primarily writing a research paper.<br><br> Studio will center around the notion of "interactivity" and how digital tools can help bring interactivity into architecture.</p>