The leaves have changed...

Somehow it's almost November, and although I keep thinking fall has just begun, the last few days I've realized it's almost over as the trees are starting to lose their leaves entirely now. I don't think I'm yet ready for winter here (so thankfully I'll be home for a few weeks at Christmas), especially since I can't seem to kick getting sick over and over again this semester - I seriously think my body doesn't like change of seasons.

My studio class was cancelled today, so I went over to the Jefferson Memorial (which pathetically, I never had seen more than passing by in a paddle boat while at Georgetown). I have to write a paper about it for my history class for next week, so I took my time taking in what's left of the leaves this afternoon - which was pretty nice since it wasn't very crowded.


Solar Decathlon

I, along with a small group of architecture students braved the rain and cold last Saturday to hit the Mall to see the Solar Decathlon. The competition consists of twenty teams building solar powered houses that are on display on the Mall for about two weeks. There are different categories of judging, including architectural design as well as comfort level (a temperature scale, which turned out to be pretty important since it was so cold). I had heard about the competition before, but had never been. And, despite it being freezing outside, had a really good time - well, at least seeing the houses...

Winner - team Germany - their entire facade was covered in solar-paneled "shingles". The inside was neat too, with a bed that pulled out/tucked away into the stairs.
Team California came in third. I really liked this house, and could definitely see it fitting in to a street in Venice.


Framing the Masters

I had my second studio project due last Friday, and I actually got around to photographing it as well, so I thought I'd post a bit about what I've been up to the last few weeks (now Eric, I realize you would have shot this much better, so I might need some tips for future photo shoots).

My first project for studio this semester was to do A TON of research on a contemporary building and diagram the hell out of it. I was assigned Giuseppe Terragni's Casa del Fascio built in 1936 in Como, Italy, and despite all of the politics surrounding a building designed to house the Fascist Party, I actually really enjoyed researching the building.

Front facade of Casa del Fascio

Terragni employed traditional building principles - a grid system, a courtyard parti, but what I realized was for him it was really all about playing a game of facades. Each of his 4 building facades were different, and yet elements of each facade rotated around the building. In addition, he left it ambiguous as to the interpretation of solid vs. frame - in each facade there could be dual readings of the varying elements.

From there we went into Assignment 2, titled "Framing the Masters." Given a site of a certain size and with predetermined masses, heights, and walls, we were to take elements of our Master and interpret them for an art gallery space. Continuing with the idea of playing with facades, I treated both of the existing walls as windows into the architecture, playing with layers of frame and inside/outside perceptions as the visitor entered and engaged my site. All in all, it went pretty well with the judges' panel last Friday (although, I also drew the last presentation spot, so being the 13th person to go in front of them, who knows, maybe they were just tired and counting down for the weekend ;)). Here's a peak at my project:

Entry from the southeast corner of the site, down a set of stairs (I apparently just can't escape making stairs since 504 this summer).

Northeast view of gallery.

A little bit closer - I've become the "laser girl" for the M.Arch III class, as this project definitely honed my skills on the laser cutting machine, and I have since taught most of my classmates how to use it.


Ms. Marines goes to Washington

Yay, the weekend is finally here and Karen's in town visiting! We had a really nice dinner last night at Cashion's Eat Place in Adam's Morgan, followed by a night of dancing with a bunch of Europeans we met.

The weather changed from hot and humid literally overnight to cold and a bit rainy, but we're going to brave it today to shop around Georgetown, then plan to head over to Alexandria for their Ghost and Graveyard tour later on tonight.

A bit sweaty, but having a great time