UC Berkeley (Nick)



Aug '08 - Jun '10

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    no more stabbing

    Nick Sowers
    Nov 17, '08 3:24 AM EST
    There never was a war that was not inward; I must fight till I have conquered in myself what causes war. --Marianne Moore

    I will try to recap as briefly as possible a stellar week. (I'm trying not to be overbearing, hence the lack of thesis stabs in this post) The week started by reading what has been my favorite poet of all the Moderns I've been reading this semester, among Yeats, Eliot, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein. It's Marianne Moore, definitely check her out. She famously wrote in a poem called Poetry: "I too, dislike it."


    On a gusty Sunday afternoon, my wife and I hiked around some bunkers on the Marin Headlands. We had lunch hunkered down in an empty concrete bed where a gun used to be, overlooking Rodeo Beach. Sheltered from the wind and peering through the haze, I wondered what it must have been like to be staring out at the ocean horizon anticipating a Japanese assault that would never come.

    a collage I put together:


    On Wednesday morning, we visited Michelle Kaufmann's office. I was late and biked down to Oakland just in time to catch the second half of her presentation to my construction seminar, Off Site Fabrication. Later in the week, Charlie Lazor who designed the Flatpak House, was kind enough to give me about 90 minutes of time talking about prefabricated housing. He raised a really interesting question, which I've given a lot of thought to lately: why do we think prefabricated housing is a solution for bringing modern design to the masses, so to speak? He is certainly aware that flatpak, and Michelle's houses too, are for privileged buyers. What about Bryan Bell's 98%, Cameron Sinclair's efforts, etc? I just wrote a rough draft paper on all of this tonight so it's on my mind...

    (img from

    Wednesday night Amale Andraos and Dan Wood gave a stimulating lecture about the central question: "What is the role of the architect in the question of sustainability?" I appreciate the way they zoom in and out in their projects, looking at huge urban scales and shaping experience at the bodily scale.


    Thursday was thesis prep, which I am a fan of. They showed us some "thesis-like" projects including Terragni's Danteum, which I found especially funny to see because it was much talked about when I was an undergrad at USC. Funny how these things keep popping up at you. We also talked about analogs or "digestions" of the research that we've been doing. I'll post something more conclusive at the end of this week. We have a lot of professors coming to look at the thesis proposals and help us figure out who we want to work with in the semester ahead (or for me, in January 2010).

    Friday, Renee Chow's exhibit opened up. Head to room 108 to see some really great drawings, field work, and proposals for housing in China. There were a couple older gentleman wandering around the exhibit, popping in for free wine and cheese, I presumed. One of them struck up a conversation with me and it turns out there's this guy named Lowell, about 60 years old, who lives off of social security, keeps up a nice tweed suit and hat, and goes to a bunch of free "intellectual events" as he calls them, around campus. What a life eh? He keeps up a calendar that you should check out if you live around here: Intellectual Events at UC Berkeley aka how to get lots of free pastries and coffee for breakfast and wine and cheese for dessert.

    Saturday I went to one of the events that Lowell suggested about walls and barricades, and the scones were delicious.


    next time: designing a travel backpack.

    • 1 Comment

    • My plan if i made it rich has always been to do something along the same lines as Lowell.
      I figured since i like learning and school so much i would audit classes just for the fun of it in subjects/topics i would never have taken while getting my "real" degree..

      I lik ehis idea almost more though..

      Nov 17, 08 8:21 am  · 

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