Kent State University (Micah)



Sep '09 - Feb '12

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    Ohio City.

    Micah McKelvey
    Nov 9, '09 1:43 AM EST

    I have no idea what 'Loop' we are technically working on currently in this project. If I had to guess, I would say I'm in the loop where one swirls around in a confused stupor, much like a giant toilet bowl, before being deposited into a heap of disappointment and well, shit.

    I've pretty much lost all motivation. Yes, that excitement seen in previous posts...gone. And it's not just me. Pretty much everyone in this studio is finding it hard to care about the project....or anything at all. Which is strange because it's not simply the semester weighing on our mental feels different this time. Most likely the visions of Italy have us all seduced into the prospects of a less intense semester experience. Italy-itis. It is literally so fact, only two months from today my plane leaves Detroit for Paris.

    Recently we received the final program brief for our final project, sited in Ohio City, a neighborhood of Cleveland located on the outskirts of downtown directly west of the Cuyahoga River. The project is a culinary institute of sorts and calls for a Fast Good Restaurant, El Bulli Restaurant, Kitchen, Restrooms, Business offices, Library and Reading room, Food Culture Department, Social Department, Scientific Department Laboratory, Multimedia/Conference Area, 6 apartments for visitors, a public garden, and a private kitchen garden. In addition the site requirements include 3 interconnected freshwater aquaponic fish hatchery ponds encompassing an area of ¼ acre, feed storage, and waste disposal.


    Here are images from the recent site visit.

    fast good storefront site.

    the west side market, located across the street.

    interface between culinary institute site and west side market.




    downtown across the river.


    We have another site as well. We were asked to investigate a formal dining event, much like the informal eating event explored at the beginning of the semester. Myself and a group from studio went to Lolita located in Tremont, Cleveland. I set up my camera and took a time-lapse video of the event and investigated the structure of the formal meal (courses, ordering, etc.) in relation to time-space and the varying perception of those time-planes.

    time-lapse flipbook.

    [meal mapping > to be completed]

    I don't really know where all this is going...just that 4 weeks isn't enough time.


    • Micah...

      I envy you for two reasons...
      One, for being in the greatest studio you will ever take part in...
      And two, for being so close to a visit to Florence, where I can only hope and hope and hope for the chance to go back soon.

      I full-heartedly can understand your lack of motivation, but do not let lust for your future trip diminish the quality of work for what will be the spotlight of your portfolio. Although you may be confused, the project will all wrap itself together like a crazy Tarantino film and leave you spellbound at the process and work that you produced.

      And that's it...this project is all about process. To finish it out there are a few things to remember...
      >> You will not end up with a "building." You will end with a concept of organization/form/structure of a building.
      >> Look at the program in organizational ways. Don't look at it as a kitchen that needs a stove, ovens, and sinks and apartments that need beds and showers. Instead, let your previous process and concepts form the organization of the program and let it fall into place to make it all work.
      >> All of the work you have done should inform every decision, and if you follow through with those limitations and rules, the concepts/form/structure will all fit together in the end.

      The final stretch of this project is not a test to see if you know how to draw a plan with 4" interior walls and proper door swings. Instead, these final weeks will be a chance for you to pull all of your research and process together into a working system of design that follows and informed set of decisions that you have set up throughout the entire semester. And although you may only end up with a handfull of cartoon plans and sections (for the "building portion"), this project may be the most complete thought process of systematic design that you will ever achieve.

      So stay motivated and excited until the end. Don't be overwhelmed with what you THINK the end result should be. Just let it happen.

      All the luck in the world to you.

      Nov 9, 09 3:26 am  · 

      By the way...
      Loving the use of time-lapse photography/video and the flip book. Hells yeah.

      Nov 9, 09 3:29 am  · 

      From another who's been there (and is there).

      I remember a point in the semester where I got super-fed up with all the loop bullshit. Where is the project going? How is this relevant to architecture? all felt fake and "wrong."

      Oddly, I'm at exactly the same position here. I feel really lost and unwilling to progress. I'm completely unmotivated and disenfranchised.

      In 3rd year, I remember having a moment of clarity, where I essentially "stopped giving a fuck" and did pretty much the stupidest thing I could think of (intentionally). It actually became a pretty interesting and pivotal part of my project.

      And I suppose I should probably do the same thing now to re-track my project instead of moping on internet forums rather than mayaing.

      So...chin up and try to dig yourself out.

      Nov 9, 09 7:58 am  · 

      I only wish to give a few words of advise on your semester abroad in Florence with Kent State having attended the same studio 2 years ago. I didn't go to Kent State but used them for my semester abroad because my credits transfered perfectly. There will probably be 4-6 kids from my school in your arch./italian classes in florence, it will be pretty ease to figure out where i went. Anyways...

      Don't simply follow the proffessors around your visits. Ex. For the Milan visit, they wanted everyone to go back to hotel (20 minutes outside Milan) at 7pm on both nights we were there.

      Why they wanted us to sit in a hotel with nothing better to do than get wasted at the neighbooring restaurant i dont know.
      Some friends and i personally said F-that and figured our own way back to the hotel so we could stay in Milan later in the night.

      On the trip to Venice, please don't be a lemming following Prof. Smaves (haha) around. As much as you think you will learn, you will learn and experience alot more with just some basic research and an agenda.

      Be sure to get the italian proffessors for your studio. They are alot easier and alot more fun. I actually became friends with mine and is a referance for me now.

      Have fun. Just get Thru the rest of the semster.

      Nov 9, 09 3:28 pm  · 

      Kent does seem to have a way to somehow not see things on their tours.

      I specifically being in the courtyard of the church where the last supper is (in Milan)....and we were all like "'s right there? you didn't get us reservations?"

      They did not. or tell us about it. and that we would be right there.

      We did get a poorly photocopied map of the Giuseppe Terragni houses

      Nov 9, 09 5:32 pm  · 

      Another Kent Alum who spent the spring in Florence (Spring 2005). You think that you have a lack of motivation currently, wait till the fall semester following Italy. You think the summer will ease those memories and hunger pangs for the culture, people, history, and so forth, but it won't it only adds to it. Italy-itis is a sickness that will run with you for the remainder of your life, and will only be subdued with additional visits. Unfortunately, unless you do the Masters program with Kent you will more than likely never get the chance to spend 5 months there again. You are in for the trip of your life.

      As for your project in Ohio City. It sounds like a great deal of fun. Good luck with it.

      Nov 9, 09 8:43 pm  · 

      jake, your realism is refreshing.
      nice to know you're 'there' as well.

      and deep, god you make it sound so...depressing, in a way. i should just skip out and not deal with the torment for the rest of my life.


      Nov 11, 09 7:20 pm  · 

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