Friday, September 28, 2012

Student Interview: Kevin Diamond!

Next up in our interview series is Kevin Diamond, a first year student hailing from Stewartsville, New Jersey.  Thanks for taking the time to talk with us, Kevin!

QUESTION: What were you doing before you started school?
KEVIN: Working for an architecture and engineering firm in Hickory, North Carolina doing design for military bases.  I was in charge of detailing.  It was a cool job, but didn't really offer opportunity for creativity, since the client was the military.  

Q: If you could visit one piece of architecture, what would it be?
Kevin: Chicken point cabin, by Tom Kundig. I really like how he engages the site and his choice of materials.  I also like the scale of the project and how he connects you to nature using industrial materials.  Really interested in how he makes industrial materials very normal and warm, one with nature.

Q: What's your favorite tool in the shop? 
Kevin: Oh man, the band saw.  That’s really the only tool I know how to use and I’m freaking awesome at it. 

Q: What was the last thing you cut on the laser cutter?
Kevin: A piece of plexi for my painstaking Charleston city model…

Q: What's a class you’re excited about taking in the future? 
Kevin: Structures.  That was one of my favorite classes at App State, everything I was exposed to then really interested me.  The structural side of architecture, the engineering side of it really interests me.  I can’t wait to learn about it.

Q: What's your preferred method of procrastination?
Kevin: Ah.  It’s very involved. It’s a whole process.  I stare off a lot and think of very unrelated things, I’m a day dreamer.  I sometimes just leave to try and find inspiration to motivate me to get back to do things.  While I’m gone there’s really no telling.  Sometimes I go home and play some music, which gets me back into thinking about order and creativity. 

Q: Do you have any hidden talents?
Kevin: I’m not sure it's a hidden talent, but I am a pianist.  I play piano at a hotel in Chapel Hill three hours a week.  It’s the perfect studio job because it doesn’t require that many hours and I'm doing something that completely relaxes me.  Piano gets me away from work, lets me take a step back and think about creativity, as I'm creating things audibly instead of visually.

Q: Auto-cad, revit or illustrator for plans?
Kevin: Auto-cad. 

Q: What's your favorite non-architecture book?
Kevin: The Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell. 

Q: Favorite architecture book?
Kevin: Pamphlet Architecture 16, Elizabeth Martin.  When I'm sitting on my porch, want quick inspiration, it’s there.

Q: If you could work for one architect living or dead, who would it be?
Kevin: Santiago Calatrava + Bryan McKay Lyons 

Thanks so much, Kevin!  

ps. Do you have a suggestion for the next student interview?  Write it in the comments or email us at!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

ARC 403 Trip to Charleston

ARC 403 journeyed to Charleston, South Carolina last weekend for a site visit - below are some of their pictures, courtesy of Nick Roberts.  Looks like the weather was perfect, the city was engaging, and the BBQ was delicious.  We're looking forward to seeing how their projects for the remainder of the semester will represent their impressions of the city.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Design Build Open for Visitors!

The Turning Point, this summer's Design Build studio project, is now open at the North Carolina Museum of Art!  Those pesky cable railings finally arrived, and the students installed them as their last action item for the project.

So please, stop by to see the fruits of your studio-mates summer labors and to take in the beautiful views!  You won't be disappointed!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

First Hot Dogs + Hot Logs of the semester!

Come by the Ashe House this Friday night at 7pm for some hot dog grilling and general decompressing after this long week!

WHEN: Friday, September 21 at 7pm
WHERE: The Ashe House (205 Ashe Ave, Raleigh NC 27605)

BYOB and toppings/chips/sides, we'll provide the buns, dogs, ketchup+mustard, cheese and firewood. 

(Marshmallow roasting at one of last year's grill-outs)

Can't wait to see you there!
-Team AGSA

Monday, September 17, 2012

Professor Interviews: Burak Erdim!

Last week we kicked off our interview series with student Julie Barghout, and this week we're excited to bring you our first professor interview!  It seemed only fitting that we track down Burak Erdim, our school's newest faculty member and the man trusted with teaching the seminal Modern Architecture class.  A sincere thank you to Professor Erdim for his thoughtful answers to our questions!

Q: Where did you grow up?  What was your favorite thing about growing up there?
Burak: I grew up Izmir Turkey, a little port town on the west coast of Turkey.  My favorite thing was playing hide and seek in the neighborhood... we could still play on the street during summer afternoons and our parents didn’t have to worry. Izmir wraps around the bay so getting around the city you take a ferry to get to downtown, that was also one of my favorite things to do in the city.

Q: Who was your most influential teacher/mentor?  Why?
Burak: I am an architect and an architectural historian so I have two.  First architect Christ Rischer Junior, who was the main important professor at Mississippi State where I got my undergraduate degree.  Second is Dell Upton (@ UVA) for history.  Both of them were independent thinkers and they read a lot.  That is something that is important for us as architects, don’t let go of the reading!  We have to do a lot but reading allows us to engage and not get stuck at our desks, and that independent thinking gave them a vision to way to look at things in a new and penetrating way. Dell knew what I was doing with my dissertation long before I did!

Q: If you could take your history students to see one work of historical architecture, what would it be?  What about one work of modern architecture?
Burak: Historical architecture would be the grand bazaar, or grand market in Istanbul, it’s the quintessential non object space, you know when you are entering it, its like the skin of the city. 
Modern building would be the Whitney Museum of American Art In New York because of its connection to the city.  It creates this unique space between the building and city at the sidewalk; you enter the building through a bridge, and there is a cafĂ© sunken in the space between the sidewalk and building and creates this wonderful urban zone. It has a great relationship; it acknowledges that there needs to be something between the building and the city.
 (Whitney Museum)

Q: If you could sit in on a class this semester, which would it be?
Burak: I still need to get to know more about the classes, but at the new faculty meeting I met Maria Pramaggiore and she teaches film classes in the English department, and I would love to take some of her classes.

Q. How do you take your coffee?
Burak: On an every day basis I will end up drinking anything that resembles coffee, but it you are asking what the ideal cup of coffee is it would have to be Turkish coffee Az Sekerli (which means little sugar) and a cup of water.

Q: Did you take advantage of office hours when you were an undergrad?
Burak: I didn’t know they existed!  I think it’s a missed opportunity.  I have office hours now because I think its important to make time so that students know when you are available.

Q: What are you most looking forward to doing once you finish and defend your dissertation? 
Burak: SO many things!  One thing is that I won’t have to say "I’m going to finish it on such-and-such a date" - I’ll be done.  I also used to go on long runs on weekends so I look forward to using those runs  to get to know Raleigh - it’s a great way to see new things in a town.

Q: As you see it, what is history’s role in the practice of architecture today?
Burak: I think, this is what I try and do in my class, we have to talk about architecture and provide the methodologies for students to be able to think of architecture as a social and economic product, so that when we make buildings or an intervention on a site we can engage those parts of the site, and think about how we engage the larger part of the world.  This allows us to engage our profession as a citizen, how things actually exist in the built environment; laws and zoning, for when we design specific types of buildings, methods that allow us to engage and analyze architecture as a social product.

Q: What’s your favorite non-architecture book?
Burak: It's been a while since I have had time to develop those favorites! I love reading the New Yorker, any type of serious newspaper, but in terms of short fiction, Paul Bowles was a favorite.  He was a self inflicted exile, lived in Morocco, a new Yorker in Morocco. Musician/composer turned writer. He has great short stories that I really like, The Sheltering Sky comes to mind.

Thank you so much, Professor Erdim!  

In the Market for a New Stool?

Before you buy one, you should consult the students from ARC 405.  For their review last Friday, students in Wayne Place and Tim Martin's Design Fundamentals: Building Technology studio were charged with designing and constructing a prototype for a new stool.

Judging by the professors' enthusiastic wiggling on each stool, the joints were pretty important!

Great work ARC 405!  

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Student Interviews: Julie Barghout!

Each month AGSA will interview two students and two professors and post the results here for all to enjoy.  We're hoping that these interviews will spark conversation and help connect us as a school which also uncovering some dirt on our fellow students and esteemed faculty.

First up is Julie Barghout, AGSA president and the last to leave any AGSA event (or studio).  Thanks Julie for letting us ask you these truly riveting questions!

Q. What studio project are you most proud of? 
Julie: I'd have to say it's a toss up between the two projects I did last semester, the Dyptic House and the Sub-Terra House.  Both were small houses, and I'm really proud of the level of detail we were able to accomplish with the designs.  I felt like we were really able to convey both the conceptual idea we were trying to emphasize alongside the construction details.

(Sub-Terra House, and Dyptic House for ARC 500, The Problem with the House, taught by David Hill)

Q. What elective outside of studio have you enjoyed the most? 
Contemporary Architectural History, taught last spring by Roger Clark.  It was a good way to connect my background knowledge from before school with lessons from various studios and finally understanding the theories behind each era.  I feel like after that class I have a solid understanding of the context and time for a lot of architecture and am actually able to identify and recognize it immediately.  The class gave me the sense of 'I’m growing, I’m learning, I have a set of resources to back up my designs'.  And Roger Clark is just an excellent professor!

Q. How many all-nighters do you average per semester?
Five.  Well, wait, what do you consider an all-nighter?  Not sleeping at all, or staying up until 7am and then getting 4 hours of sleep before studio?  Because you know 4 hours of sleep is close to 5, and 5 is close to a good amount. 

Q. Askew vs. Jerry’s?

Q. Favorite method of procrastination?

Q. Auto cad, revit, or illustrator?
Auto-cad and illustrator.  I start in auto cad and then bust some really good line weights in illustrator.

Q. Favorite non-architectural book?
Anything by John Grisham.

Q. Favorite architectural book?
Tom Kundig, Houses I and II.

Q. If you could work for any architect living or dead who would it be?
Mies Van der Rohe.

Thanks, Julie!  Stay tuned next week for the first professor interview!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Nolli Map + Krispy Kreme...

The perfect combination.

Friday, August 31 was the first big review for the Track I students in Sarah Queen's ARC 403 - a study of downtown Raleigh as informed by the work of Giambattista Nolli and his iconic 1748 map of Rome.

This year the students completed not only a Nolli interpretation of downtown Raleigh in plan, but also a corresponding study of numerous sections and a class model.  Needless to say, Professor Queen is not messing around!

To show our support and provide some encouragement, AGSA stopped by their studio on Thursday at 10pm with 2 dozen Krispy Kreme donuts, some coffee carriers and a plate of veggies.  Everyone was hard at work but willing to sacrifice a few hatch lines for some sugar and caffeine.

Nick Purdy

Nick Roberts

Keep up the great work ARC 403!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Fallingwater Site Visit!

This past weekend 3 of our studios trekked up to Western Pennsylvania to tour Frank Lloyd Wright's iconic house, Fallingwater.  While the bus trip was less than ideal, the house did not disappoint.

The tour was in conjunction with a site visit for the Comprehensive Studio (ARC 500 and 501) whose semester-long design project is sited on a swatch of land adjacent to the Fallingwater property.  The day was perfect for tromping through the high grasses and up each hill to experience the site from all angles.  It's going to be a fruitful semester!