Ryer's Architecture School Blog - 01 | 100+1

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avatar Ryer
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Level 65 : High Grandmaster Architect
Introduction to this project

  So over the years I have discovered a thriving community which uses the game Minecraft to essentially practice and learn about architecture throughout their childhood. I myself am included in this. I would create things that I personally found beautiful and satisfying. I would essentially practice architecture through this game. I decided a while ago that I wanted to devote my life to designing and creating structures such as those I did in the game. I wanted to be an architect, and now years later, I am here in college having started the process of becoming one.

  This puts me in an interesting place. I feel obligated to somehow stay involved in this community, (and I so badly want to as well)... but architecture school is among the more time consuming education paths you can take. I decided that I should simply document what I do, what I learn, and what I experience. Now with this, people would be able to look at my path and decide if they want to follow, or they can simply just observe, watching me as I fumble through all of this.

So here’s the first entry in this blog. I intend to try and stick to a schedule which lines up roughly with the studio projects, at least initially as they remain somewhat short.

  I am currently attending the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio. Its architecture school is by no means the best in the country, but it is definitely above average. It is located in DAAP, which stands for the school of Design Architecture Art and Planning. It is a wonky looking building designed by Peter Eisenman in the mid 90’s, and honestly… it is among the more confusing buildings I’ve ever been in.

  Here though, with the program I am taking, we spend most of our time in a studio, simply working on different projects, and practicing different techniques. I am also taking a class titled “Human Dimensions of Space”, which is essentially a psychology course looking specifically at design and the formation of an environment, and how it affects those inside of it.

  At the beginning, the school intends to teach a lot of the most basic fundamentals, essentially boiling it down to the basics of form, pattern, and other similarly basic concepts. Over the course of the first year though, things will start getting more technical and advanced. Over the next few years, they will continually be building up these skills, and adding new ones on top. They also want to get us experience. In the spring of 2021, I will not be in school, but rather at an actual job, working on real projects with real architects… making some real money. This happens a few times throughout the schooling. It seems like a neat little program that is well developed and established. Let’s hope it turns out well for me.

This is DAAP’s main entrance. Note the absolutely crazy design. It’s almost as confusing as the layout of the building itself...

Project #1: 100+1

So day one we were introduced to this little project. It seemed to me like an interesting place to start. The guidelines are as follows:
  • Create a form out of a repetitive use of a simple object (the 100) and join them using one means (the 1)
  • Try to make it compelling and not easily recognizable as the original objects.
  • No glue, tape, safety pins, paper clips, toothpicks and Q-tips.
  • Present your creation in the Grand Stair (an odd shaped hallway that happens to contain stairs, and traverses the entire building, going up 3 floors in the process)

Before we started, we had to research some artists that are well known for doing things not unlike what we are supposed to do. Artists such as Tara Donovan, Hassan Sharif, Cat Chow, Tom Friedman, Jessica Drenk, Do Ho Suh, Andy Warhol, Andy Goldsworthy, Allan McCollum, Ana Soler, Carl Andre, and Alfredo Jaar, to name the few they gave us examples of. I ended up researching Tara Donovan, Tom Friedman, and Carl Andre. I essentially learned about their processes, and a little bit about their work. Tom Friedman is my favorite out of them… just look up some of his work, it’s either the most obnoxious examples of modern art, or the most sarcastic takes on modern art… it’s sometimes hard to tell.

After that, we did a simple material exploration. I ended up getting some steel wire, cups, pennies, and plastic spoons. I ended up not using the spoons, because there wasn’t much I was able to do with those and wire. This picture shows the results of a few hours of testing… which essentially amounted to a bunch of cup things and some pennies. I had a lot of failed tests. (We had decided to attempt to show some of this stuff off in the grand stair as well):

After that, it was up to us to use the results of our testing to construct a final object. I decided that my best bet was probably the bit of cups that I magically just kind of hung on the wall. I went out and got some fishing line, and started stringing cups together.

Eventually, it started to take on a decent little form when I held it all up…

So I decided after about 350 cups that it was probably going to look as good as it ever would. Plus, it was getting somewhat late and I still had to go and stage this in the grand stair that night. See, we had two days to put all this together. This theme of having very little time to do tasks appears to be a part of this. When we were presenting our original test builds, I noticed the lights in the ceiling. They were of that type where they are flush with the ceiling, and look all modern and whatnot. I was wondering if I could use that to my advantage somehow. See, the cups are slightly translucent, so I figured the light would be this project’s saving grace (I was already not in a good place because of how cliche cups supposedly are, though like 3 people used them). After spending a lot longer than I meant to up on a ladder, staring into a bright light, I managed to tie fishing line above the light fixture, allowing it to act as an anchor from which to hand my object, and it kind of looked cool if you ask me…

This is my original test where I used painters tape to temporarily hold it about where the final placement would be.

And here’s the final placement. I was amused, honored, and a little annoyed by people’s decisions to hang their projects up in practically the same exact spot. I was a little jealous of the red solo cup thing. The way they managed to link all those together was honestly nothing short of genius, and it played with the light really well.

  The next morning we did our first critique. We each went around and presented our projects, and the ideas behind them. I don’t think I was the best, but I think I did alright. It honestly was a matter of me not having all the materials I wanted to have to mess around with. My original test selection was lacking in variety.

  And here are the final photographs I took of this project (with my phone no less, they hadn’t taught us proper photography techniques, so we were free to do whatever pretty much.

  In conclusion, this was a fairly decent project to start with. I was fun to play around with crazy ideas, and there wasn’t much limitation on what we could end up doing. It was most likely meant to help give us a better understanding of the way materials can work together and their properties… as well as how forms work, and what the eye would end up seeing in a grouping of like objects. I feel like given more time I could have come up with a far better idea, and I probably could have picked up some better materials, but considering the physical limitations I had to work with (my schedule was also a fair bit messed up personally… the last color photograph was taken at about 1:30am), I think I did alright. I do not yet know my grade for this project, but I don’t expect to fail.

  This is something a little different from the norm on this website, but I hope you all find something interesting in this. I hope I can continue this for at least a little while. Do a test run at least. I think the self reflection I would do while writing these is something incredibly valuable. I would expect the format of the posts to change a fair bit as I settle in to a system, but you all should at least get the general idea. I hope to occasionally summarize the work done in some of the other side classes I am taking as well, there just hasn’t been too much there quite yet.

Anyway, hope you all enjoy this. See you all next time.

06/20/2020 4:40 am
Level 1 : New Crafter
Hi Ryer. I was not expecting to find a blog about architecture on this site! Takes me back to my days as an architecture student... It was very tough. Only 4 hours sleep for weeks on end. Please post more if possible. PS. Also love the Minecraft stuff that you have done!
10/14/2019 9:32 am
Level 66 : High Grandmaster Architect
I love these, so much fun! Keep it up and post more places if possible :D
09/17/2019 11:10 am
Level 46 : Master Blockhead
Love the work
09/15/2019 1:04 am
Level 41 : Master Architect
my first 3 weeks was playing with rocks and wire to define volume. architecture school is wild dude
09/15/2019 5:57 pm
Level 65 : High Grandmaster Architect
Yeah, first 3 weeks is cups and sticks atm
09/16/2019 12:00 am
Level 41 : Master Architect
That's probably next week for me my professors are wild
09/10/2019 12:11 pm
Level 64 : High Grandmaster Architect
Oh many happy memories of these first architecture projects. Makes me want to dust off my first year portfolios.... These early and conceptual design projects are a lot of fun. It'll definitely be interesting to see how you approach each problem your professors give you. Keep up the great work. For your first entry, great use of the downlight to hang. It's always a good idea when your fellow students take the idea for themselves. While it's a bit annoying, the wise words of Tom Leher ring in my ears: "Plagiarize, let no one else's work evade your eyes, why else do you think God made your eyes, plagiarize, plagiarize, plagiarize.... but be sure always to call it 'research.'" Always made me laugh. It's always a good idea not to ignore a good idea, because you just might make it work better. Again, great work!
09/13/2019 12:20 am
Level 65 : High Grandmaster Architect
This first year certainly has been interesting so far. I'm currently sitting at my dorm after having just finished a step in my next project, but other people are going to be there until 3am doing the same... Some people haven't gotten that time commitment part yet lol.

I only held a silent resentment for those people that copied me there... I would have done the exact same thing to them so it's not really justified xD.

Anyways man, thanks. It's been a busy week with this next project, honestly can't wait to get it done next week.

Also, figured I'd show you this little thing. Today we sort of walked around campus finding places to do some quick 5 minute sketches of buildings, and a slightly longer sketch of a statue from a really low angle. These are the results. I honestly should do a section showcasing this campus's architecture... There's some impressive names and work here... (I.M. Pei, Frank Ghery, Thom Mayne, Michael Graves (his building is ugly tbh), etc...)

Anyway, thanks man!
09/10/2019 10:02 am
Level 27 : Expert Archer
Very cool to have someone writing something like this! Great insights!
09/13/2019 12:03 am
Level 65 : High Grandmaster Architect
Thanks man! I hope to eventually offer even more...
09/09/2019 3:29 pm
Level 75 : Legendary Architect
Good stuff, I for one hope to see more of these blogs. Just finished the uni orientation week myself and began my first Architecture course today.
09/09/2019 4:28 pmhistory
Level 65 : High Grandmaster Architect
I am hoping I can keep up with these. I feel attempting to write out and explain my thinking in a setting where there is absolutely no pressure (like PMC of all places) is a decent place to practice.

  Good luck with your own schooling. Honestly, the best advice I can give after only two weeks is simply to manage your time wisely. If your program is at all similar to mine, you aren't going to have much of it.

Anyways, thanks man.
09/09/2019 1:05 pm
Level 26 : Expert Architect
Epic ness tbh
09/09/2019 9:25 amhistory
Level 75 : Legendary Cake
Very interesting blog! Really cool to get insight on what an architecture student does for projects at school. Seems like it was a difficult task with limited material and time. We love the final result of your project. Thank you for sharing! We wish you luck in your future endeavors and are looking forward to seeing more of these blogs :)
09/09/2019 10:49 am
Level 65 : High Grandmaster Architect
Thanks for your support. An absence of time seems to be the guiding limitation, as well as a standard college student budget, but limitations spawn creativity, so hopefully it works in my favor.

I figured it was an interesting idea for a blog. I have really only seen a similar thing done with a blog by the user Jduartemiller years ago. I found it an interesting read back in the day, and I wanted to see if I could replicate it a bit, and maybe take it a bit further.

I expect the format and verbiage will professionalize over the course of this project, right now I don't exactly know how to describe things in an architectural manner, but that's why I am learning lol.

Anyway, thanks. Glad that there is some interest in this.
09/08/2019 11:15 pm
Level 22 : Expert Miner
A surprise to be sure but a welcome one
09/09/2019 10:44 am
Level 65 : High Grandmaster Architect
Thanks man. It was an interesting idea that I had... Wanted to at least do something.
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