Monday, October 14, 2013

Shack-a-thon 2013

Once again the NC State contingent of USGBC Students participated in the annual Shack-a-thon fundraiser this past month helping to raise more than $25,000 for the local Habitat for Humanity chapter.  From September 23 through September 27th, members of university organizations took turns living in shacks they built themselves on the campus brickyard. Students stayed in the shacks 24/7 to help money and awareness!

The annual event is held by the NC State Habitat for Humanity club to increase awareness of poverty housing and raise fund to help build houses in impoverished areas. Take a look at the some pictures from the event below and check out the awesome shack designed and built by some of your College of Design classmates!

For more information about Shack-a-Thon and other events hosted by USBGC Student organization on campus contact 

Great job guys!!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Student Interview: Sahar Golabi

For this weeks interview we are talking with one of our new 1st year Track 3 students, Sahar Golab. Sahar took a break from studio to sit down and talk with us about classes, her background, and a certain four-legged friend who's been seen around studio - hope you enjoy!

Q: Where are you from?
Sahar: Athens, Georgia

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself, whats your background? What did you study in undergrad?
Sahar: I went to the University of Georgia (UGA) for undergrad and studied Interior Design. I really liked it because the school is located close to downtown Athens; right in the thick of things. After graduating undergrad I came straight to graduate school, and I have a strong background in digital programs including Autocad, Revit, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Sketchup.

Q: What brought you to NC State?
Sahar: One of my undergraduate professors, John Byron, was an alumni and he highly recommended NCSU and told me about Dean Malecha. I also knew about some of the other highly regarded faculty at the school, including Paul Tesar, who I knew of because I referenced one of his books during my senior design project. I did apply to several other schools including Boston Architectural College, MassARCH, Georgia Tech, and Ohio State, but ultimately decided on NC State. 

Q: Why did you decide to go into architecture?
Sahar: In interior design we were taught how to do floor plans, sections, and elevations, but we were always told 'you need an architect to do it' and I wanted to be able to do it myself, have more control over my projects. It was a step up.

Q: What do you want to do with your MArch degree?
Sahar: Pass the AREs! I would like to intern in Raleigh because I like the city. It is a nice change of pace from Athens. Maybe after that somewhere a little bigger like Austin or DC.

Q: What kind of architecture do you want to practice?
Sahar: I really love sustainable architecture but also vernacular. Passive solar, something sustainable without having to use technology, where the sun is oriented, siting, stuff like that.... Smart Architecture.

Q: Who is your favorite architect?
Sahar: All of my professors. Sara, Oz, David, the Dean.

Q: So you have a dog... what's up with that?
Sahar: Fred. I have trained guide dogs for 3 years. He is a guide dog to help visually impaired people. My main job s to socialize him, teach him how to act around people. I had to go through training, there is a huge manual, and take a test. When they are under 6 months you have to teach them basic commands like sit, stay, etc.  Now I teach him how to find doors, stairs, elevators, things like crossing the street. 

Q: How long have you had Fred?
Sahar: About 14 to 16 months, I get to keep him for 2 more months. I usually keep the dogs for about a year, I train to socialize the animals and after that they go onto more specialized training.  

Q: Do you get another dog after Fred?
Sahar: I could, but there is studio. Studio is great for Fred because he's a great dog and he's older. If I got another I would start with a puppy and that would be crazy. 

Thanks for talking with us Sahar! Coming soon to the blog, updates on recent studio reviews, information about the start of the Fall AIA/College of Design Lecture Series, and our next professor interview. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Professor Interview: Jason Hart

AGSA student and faculty interviews are back! Throughout the semester AGSA will be interview a handful of students and 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. 

jasonFirst up is one of our newest studio professors Jason Hart, co-founder of CUBE design + research who is currently one of the graduate students sections of ARC 503: Comprehensive Studio.

Question: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where did you grow up? Where did you attend school?

Jason: I was born in Macon, Georgia but grew up in Charleston, South Carolina and Central Florida. I first started college at a junior college in St. Petersburg, Florida and received my Associates degree in Architecture at St. Petersburg College, I then attended the University of Florida-Gainesville where I got my BA, before getting my Master's of Architecture at MIT.

Q: Why did you decide to do architecture?
Jason: I was one of those kids who at twelve decided they wanted to be an architect without really knowing what it was and then stuck with it; for better or for worse. 

Q: Why did you decide to start your own firm?

Jason: I think I wanted to stretch my own design abilities. I had worked for about 10 firms, both in the US and abroad. The last firm I was with I was a project manager for 5 years on large scale buildings, and I had been doing things in the background, my own projects, and desired to do my own thing. 

Q: What was your favorite firm/architect to work in?

Jason: The most impressionable was Renzo Piano, from a professional standpoint; culturally was Japan, I was there for 4 months  and the cultural shift [in Japan] was fascinating, both personally and in the work environment. Renzo really learned how to work with the clients and hot to emphasize the quality of architecture. 

Q: What brought you to teaching?

Jason: I started teaching about 12 years ago at MIT, first as a TA and teaching a sketching class. I have taught studio at Boston Architectural College and here at NCSU. I like teaching, it keeps me fresh because in an office you kind of get into a string of 6 month or 1 year projects and there isn't a lot of in-depth design aspects to it for the better part of the projects. So I like coming in here and seeing what you guys are doing and thinking about your projects. 

Q: In one sentence what is your approach to design/architecture?

Jason: Architecture in the end is always about the people, so I believe that thoughtful design can have a great impact on the daily life of people. 

Q: What is one piece of advice that you would give to students?

Jason: To any student it would be - Be persistent and tenacious in whatever drives you.

Q: What is your favorite building?

Jason: My top buildings in the world that I have experienced are: Couvent de la Tourette, Le Corbusier; The Pantheon, Rome; Hagia Sophia; and the Blue Mosque, Istanbul.

Thanks for talking with us Jason! Coming up next in our interview series, our first student interview of the semester with one of our new Track 3 students.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Nolli Map Review

This years Track 3 MArch students had their first review of the semester this past week, with the quintessential Nolli Map. The Nolli map project has been a long standing tradition for the College of Design's Master of Architecture students. This years reviewers were; Kristen Schaffer, Sara Queen, and Rebecca Osborne.

This year students deviated a little from the traditional pencil and paper maps of the past, with some pretty beautiful and thoughtful results. Great job guys!

Cornering Interaction by Melissa Todd

Cannon to Cannon by Joseph Burkett

Sunday, September 8, 2013

ARC 500 - Comprehensive Studio Wall Section Review

This years Comprehensive Studio hit the ground running and had the first review of the semester with their Precedent Wall Section review. This semester students in comprehensive will be designing a Performing Arts Center and their site is the North Carolina Museum of Art campus. The first project was to analyze and draw a significant wall section of a selected building precedent, all of which incorporated some type of auditorium or stage. 

Each group created a board which consisted of 1 wall section, at least 2 details, and one 3D illustration.  

The precedent building options were: 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Welcome Back!

Welcome back to a brand new year here at the NC State College of Design! With the first couple weeks of school behind us classes are starting to kick-it into gear as it ramps up to the usual organized chaos that dominates the majority of the semester.

This semester AGSA is working on putting together some great events for all you Architecture Grad students! In addition, we are working to revamp our blog to include more updates on studios and their reviews so you can keep up with what all your friends are working on, and we're also looking to bring back our student and professor interviews, and new this semester we're hoping to get some guest bloggers to write about local design events, opportunities, issues, and anything else you think your fellow graduate students should know. If your interested in being one of our guest bloggers or hear about something you think we should look into just shoot us an email and let us know.

Stay tuned for everything that's new to come! And as always we are here to help so shoot us an email or come find us!

Fall Semester 2013 Officers :
Julie Barghout - President  | Brooks  114
Katy Liang - Vice President  | KAM 300
Adam Ward - Treasurer  | KAM 300
Patricia Chenery - Secretary  | Brooks 114

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Studio Royale!

A great group of students turned out this past Friday to participate in AGSA's 2nd Annual Studio Royale event!  
Mario Kart 7 Font

Held at the always welcoming Ashe House (thanks guys!), the event featured a night full of friendly competition, food, and fun.


Top 5 Things learned at this years event . . . . .

1. Not everyone boils hot dogs, some people fry them. . . . who knew !?!

2. Mariokart is not as easy as it looks, and no matter what people may tell you it does
    matter what character you are and what car you drive

3. Our fearless leader is a tad competitive at Mariokart......though in her defense she did
    kick everybody's ass!!

4. We have some serious gamers in our midst.

5. Cards Against Humanity is hilarious. Roll on the floor, split your side, pee in your
    pants funny. Check it out.

A big shout out to everyone who came out and participated in the event, thanks for making it a great success!


Friday, February 8, 2013

Join AGSA at the Alley on Monday at 6!

AGSA is excited to announce our first event of the semester! 

We are Bowling at the Alley on Hillsborough Street this Monday February 11th. Take a break from studio and join AGSA for a chance to hang out with your fellow graduate students and blow off some steam at the Alley. 

WHEN: Monday, February 11 at 6pm

Free bowling and pizza for everyone who can make it!

Hope to see all of you there!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

NC State Students Participate in ULI Competition

A big shout out to all of the students that participated in the 2013 The ULI/Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition. The competition challenges graduate students from various disciplines to explore new ways to engage urban spaces and redefine responsible land use. For two weeks, M.Arch, MLA, MBA and City Planning students collaborated forming 8 teams to represent NC State. During this time students worked tirelessly to research, design, and propose a design and development program for a real-life large-scale urban situation. The ULI competition has been an annual opportunity for students at NC State. Interested students are highly encouraged to participate next spring. The final proposals and presentation boards for the 8 teams are displayed in the Brooks Gallery in front of the COD library. For those of you who have not already seen the work on display you must! During the final push of the project, AGSA officers supported the participating students’ efforts by delivering 8 gallons of coffee and baked goods. Don’t forget to check out the amazing work in the Brooks Gallery while it lasts! 

AGSA members deliver coffee and cookies 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A New Semester, A New AGSA Board!

By this time, everyone is settled in to their new studio spaces, getting the rhythm of new schedules, feeling out their lecture classes (and exactly how much reading they will require), and starting the downhill slide to Spring (ignoring for a moment tonight's snowy forecast).  The new semester also marks a transition for the Architecture Graduate Student Association, as we welcome two new members to our ranks and say goodbye to those moving on.

We're excited to have Patricia Chenery taking over as AGSA Secretary (look forward to her witty and substantive emails in your inbox) and Kevin Diamond taking on the freshly minted position of Communications Chair!  As part of his new role, Kevin will now be responsible for maintaining and populating this blog, something I am both excited to move on from and sad to let go!

Thanks for continuing to check in here to learn about the inner-workings of NC State's architecture program.  This month will see posts about the ULI competition, discussions with recently-returned Prague-ites, the continuation of the student and professor interviews, and of course details on all the fun events we have up our sleeves.  If you have any ideas for content, things you want us to highlight, or glowing reviews of our posts so far (there is no place for criticism; let's quarantine that to reviews), don't hesitate to email us at ncsu (dot) agsa (at) gmail (dot) com.

It's been fun!
Holland Ward

Monday, January 7, 2013

Professor Interviews: Pat Rand!

Welcome back!  Today's convocation marks the start of another rousing and raucous semester for the College of Design and our beloved School of Architecture!  We hope you spent your holiday in various states of relaxation, managed to see some cool buildings, and are returning ready to dive in to the icy studio waters, polar bear club style!

Back in December we were lucky enough to interview Pat Rand, FAIA, professor of many sought-after classes and the author of numerous books, with another currently underway.   We saved his interview to kick off the spring semester of the blog - hope you enjoy it!

Q: Where did you grow up? 
     Well, I was born in Kentucky, then I lived in New Jersey for 6 years during grade school, and I spent high school in Richmond, Virginia.  A variety of places. 

Q: What’s one thing you would tell your college self?
     I don’t know... I wouldn’t change anything necessarily.  I think I seized opportunities pretty well, I think I was optimally serious, but not too serious.  Maybe I'd tell myself to be prepared for the unexpected.  I think I expected to follow a certain path toward practice, and now I’m not practicing primarily.  So maybe be alert for certain opportunities, and be prepared for adjustments.

Q: Your book “Materials for Design” features case studies that exemplify different materials.  Which of the buildings you selected would you go see tomorrow if you had the chance?
     The one that’s on the cover, which is a glass house, is a ridiculous proposition; that one would build an entire house out of glass!  So I guess I might like to see it simply because of its unusualness, not because it’s exemplary.  I would never suggest that anyone do that ever again.  It’s called Laminata. 
     I was talking about the German Foreign Ministry in class just yesterday, describing some of the things that Jamie Carpenter did in the glass wall that I cannot see in even the really high quality photographs that we’ve got.  That’s one where I think he was doing some unusual things, putting in some partially reflective glass and some spectrally reflective glass that you can’t really photograph.  That’s one that would like to see in real life because I don’t think you can capture the glass qualities even with really good photographs.

Q: What’s something that surprised you while researching your most recent book?
How many really amazing projects are out there!  We picked the projects because they were engaging architecturally in general and they also used some material in some interesting way.  When you have a photograph that you keep zooming in on and it keeps revealing to you more stuff, that's inspiring.  How they invent a way to connect materials in a way that doesn’t interfere with the appreciation of the quality of the material.  Invention, by a good designer, occurs at every scale. 

Q: How do you take your coffee?
Black.  Strong and black.

Q: You have a free morning; no meetings, no student interviews, no classes to prepare for – what do you do?
     I don’t have too many of those.  When you’re working on a book it basically fills every free moment you might have.  If I have time I would take care of myself a little better, exercise a little, take the dog for a walk. 

Q: If you had to recommend a few books from your shelves to an aspiring architect, what would they be?
     Ching's "Form, Space and Order".  "The Visual Dictionary of Architecture" by Ching. They both explain concepts in a clear way.  Those aren’t terribly new books, but they do get across significant ideas and celebrate hand drawing as a way to communicate something about architecture.
Those are what I would recommend for the novice.  Start really simple and try not to scare them.  That will come later.

Q: Who is a contemporary architect whose work you look at and think “they’re doing it right”?
     These questions are so reductive, it makes it hard, because there are so many really powerful people that are doing really wonderful things.  Let’s see, the firms in the first book that impressed me a lot are a European, Despang Architekten comes to mind.  They do small, socially responsible, high quality designs that I admire.  Not over the top cost-wise, very environmentally respoinsible.  I look at their work and admire it greatly.  I really appreciate architects who tempt me with a big idea, with a big move but are worthy also at the close scale due to their rigorous refinements. 

From the new book we're writing there is an affordable housing project from South Africa that brings together a wood frame, packed sand bags as masonry, and an applied stucco surface.  The design boasts good proportions, small footprints with space to store bicycles, hang laundry, have space for a dog.  They way they built the walls, the occupants participated in packing the sand bags for their own home. It's not a textbook solution for how to make a cheap house, and it's very inventive.

Thanks so much, Pat!  See everyone at convocation this afternoon!