University of Illinois Chicago (Matthew)

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    Week 6... or 7?

    Matthew Messner
    Feb 16, '11 6:40 PM EST

    I hardly know what day it is.

    It is that time of the semester: long periods without blogging, long nights of no sleep, short weekends of no fun (well my house did have a party for Ol'Abe's birthday last Saterday), critiques that start you over, and the looming prospect of the midterm review.

    The euphoria of the snow day took but two days to fade as all of our classes at UIC seemed to hit the fan.

    In Alexander Eisenschmidt's theory class we have been working on our "Visionary Chicago" project. Each member of the class gets a project that was never built in Chicago to research. Last Thursday we were to hand in a packet of information with graphics, drawings and statistics about the projects. The project range from Loos' design for the tribune tower to Stanley Tigerman's Urban Matrix to a slough of towers and airports that either could never be built or would have been amazing additions to the city.

    My project is Frank Lloyd Wright's National Life Insurance Building. A 25 story Goliath that was to be built on Michigan Ave at the end of the Magnificent Mile, Wright's concept involved a pylon core and cantilevered floor plates. It really would have been an amazing structure had it been constructed.
    FLLW's National Life Insurance Building

    That was last Thursday, this Tuesday we were to write, and graphically layout, a short essay relating two movements or figures discussed in our many readings to a single concept that our, above, Visionary Chicago project could be understood through. My choice? Rationalism and the approaches of Otto Wagner and Le Corbusier.

    In Sean Lally's Tech class, "Envelopes and Environments," Eric Hoffman and I have taken on research on the implications of smell and its uses in design. We presented our initial findings on that today.

    Did you know that bees and wasps have such an acute sense of smell that they can be trained and used to detect land mines, cancer and other diseases?
    A very cool precedent we found- Artist Susane Soares and her Disease-Sniffing-Bee-Glass-Apparatus.

    That project will be going through the whole semester so watch for much more on that topic as the year progresses.

    Our structures class is, in essence, a math class. I am finally able to find the moment of force around A in a rigid body. Nothing I ever thought I would know or need to know, but am very happy to learn. Or I think I am learning it, not that my homework or our yesterday's midterm exam grades would indicate such.

    And then there is Studio! Which I am ignoring at the moment to write this post.

    What can I say about studio? Pin-ups every Monday and major reviews every 3rd week are warring us all down. Many have not slept a single Sunday night since the start of school. This Sunday will be no different, with a review on Monday.

    I am happy with my work, but it feels extremely arbitrary at moments. I can not speak for all, but there seems to be a general feeling of this throughout the class. We are finally adding architectonic elements in the form of floor plates to our otherwise diagrammatic models.

    I personally have not had a single critique, desk or pin-up, go particularly well. A plus is that the critique of work has been especially critical this semester, after what many thought was a bit wishy washy first semester.

    I just realized I don't have any images of studio on this computer, so those will have to wait. Not to assume that I have, or will have any, time for editing them in the near future.

    That is the report from the dregs of the middle of a long semester. At least it is warming up a bit around here! Above Freezing for the last few days!!


    • 1 Comment

    • Lian Chikako Chang

      Yep. We were just discussing what week we're in, too. I think we just finished our third, or maybe fourth, week. So you're closer to finishing than we are!

      The bee apparatus is awesome!


      Feb 17, 11 7:13 pm  · 

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