Happy Easter. #yellow #spring #shellspotting

Happy Easter. #yellow #spring #shellspotting

Finely aged St. Louis brick. (at Southwood Apartments)

Finely aged St. Louis brick. (at Southwood Apartments)

Tackling the Task of Drawing

I love drawing and sketching. It’s a way to problem solve, communicate, and free the mind. There is a distinct difference between drawing and sketching though. Sketching is loose and imprecise. Conversely, drawing introduces dimension, precision, and even scale. Both are very valuable and I enjoy doing both. However, there are times when one must create a drawing that can seem like a task. Whether its the amount of time, the painstaking detail, or fear of “not knowing,” it can make drawing a scary act. This feeling of drawing as “task” doesn’t necessarily go away and its not important that the feeling be eradicated. Usually that feeling means you’re about to create something great and its the way in which we react to that feeling that will make these types of drawings less of a task and more of a creation of passion. 

Over the past month, an exhibition, Kampgrounds of America: The Commodification of Camping, has been on display in Givens Hall. This is an exhibition by Martin Hogue, an architect and landscape architect. The exhibition is not a comprehensive history of camping, but an analysis of the evolving  cultural experience of camping in America. The drawings in the exhibit are beautiful, simple, and informative. For example, he catalogued every KOA campground location that has ever existed and plotted it on a drawing over 8ft tall (see it here on Cargo Collective). The drawing essentially took a matrix in Excel of all these campgrounds and turned it into a visual history of KOAs existence. The point of this post is not to focus on the exhibition (although we could go on for hours because it is such as fascinating project). I had the opportunity to hear Martin speak last week. He spoke about this exhibition and some of his other fascinating work, but towards the end of his presentation he focused on four “tips” when it comes to creating drawings or what he calls “excessive surveying.” It was these four tips that allowed me to related to his work and how he approached the task of making these beautiful, but information packed drawings. So here are Martin Hogue’s four tips for tackling the task of drawing:

  1. Scope - don’t be overwhelmed by the undertaking. Martin took six months to go through all 360,000 records in the land parcel database for Queens, NY. 
  2. Drawing as Artifact - Don’t try to make the drawing conform to expected norms. As I mentioned earlier, his KOA matrix drawing was over 8 feet tall.
  3. Value -  just because you made it doesn’t mean you should show it. By this he means you may make a drawing and you may have learned something from it, but that doesn’t mean it should be on display.
  4. Time -  You never know how long it will take. This is so very true, because this is my biggest hurdle. I think it will take way too long, and it may not end up being what I want. My new take is, don’t be timid, just draw it. 

I don’t walk away from too many lectures of visiting architects, artists, etc. with something that I can use.  I’ve had the same conundrums and it was comforting to know that even those that do this for a living have similar feelings. So, next time you need to create a drawing remember Martin’s four tips and drawing isn’t a “task” anymore but a creation that no one else is going to do.

Portfolio Update

My portfolio of selected works has been updated to include projects from last spring and this past fall. Check out the updated portfolio!

60 degrees. The angle, not the temp. #architecture #archinerd #franklloydwright (at Frank Lloyd Wright / Kraus House - Ebsworth County Park)

60 degrees. The angle, not the temp. #architecture #archinerd #franklloydwright (at Frank Lloyd Wright / Kraus House - Ebsworth County Park)

Foggy morning. #citymuseum #stlouis #light  (at City Museum)

Foggy morning. #citymuseum #stlouis #light (at City Museum)

Getting inside this conceptual model with my camera.

Studio project conceptual model. Exploring St. Louis rail infrastructures (industrial and light), highways, and waterways,

The Beer Studio

I love beer and I love architecture. This semester’s studio combines the two in an interesting cross section of two crafts, space making and beer making. This is my first option studio semester. My previous three semester’s studios were part of a required core sequence.  It was refreshing to have a choice and have that choice be a clear and easy one. 

We’ve spent the first several weeks of the semester researching everything about beer, brewing, and brewery architecture. St. Louis is rich is beer history, but most of that history being Anheuser Busch. After their merger with InBev in 2008, craft beer exploded in St. Louis. The great Mississippi River has played a vital role in the importance of St. Louis and especially in the importance of beer in St. Louis. Studying beer and architecture in St. Louis makes complete sense because we have every scale of brewery here. The home brewers scattered throughout the city, the small micro breweries such as Alpha Brewering and 4Hands (amongst many others), larger micro breweries such as Schlafly and Urban Chestnut, to the largest brewery in the world Anheuser Busch. Being able to study all of these scales in one city is a unique opportunity.  

Our research culminated in a large format book, entitled “MISI-ZIIBI BEER.” (Misi-ziibi, is the Algonquin (Native American) word for the Mississippi River, meaning “great river.”)  My professor, Derek Hoeferlin, has done extensive research and work relating to the Mississippi River and its relationship to architecture.  Exploring the relationship of brewery to water to river is an architectural problem that we as students are going to push the limits of whats possible. The book centered around asking a series of questions, starting with “why beer and why architecture?” It further asked questions of “why process, why water, why form, why brew?” The intention was not to explicitly answer these questions, but to give a sense of what’s possible. Through each of our brewery designs we hope to be addressing these questions and use the research as a tool from which we can push the limits of possibility in brewing and architecture. 

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Spread from the book “MISI_ZIIBI BEER” exploring the mashing process and relationships to scale from the macro brewery to the home brewery.

We are just beginning our conceptual designs. It’s the hardest part of a project in my opinion but also the most fun. Building models, sketching, thinking, writing all trying to make some sense of the thousands of ideas flowing around in my head. I’m interested in the scale of the home brewer, but I see a problem. There are home brewers scattered throughout the city with various levels of experience, equipment, and knowledge. Most home brewers scour the web for products, answers, and help. Sometimes they get together and brew and exchange ideas. However, I want to make those interactions and sharing of knowledge, equipment, and experience more deliberate. Brining together parts of the process that many forget especially the inputs from agriculture, the river (water), and other people. But also, the outputs back to agriculture, to other people, and to the city. It’s definitely a spatial and design challenge that I’m excited to tackle. 

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Conceptual model trying to connect agriculture to home brewers, to river, to city

99percentinvisible:

polychroniadis:

'Concrete Legos' by Andrew Lewicki, 2010.

Well well well. Just in time for the Lego Movie. 

99percentinvisible:

polychroniadis:

'Concrete Legos' by Andrew Lewicki, 2010.

Well well well. Just in time for the Lego Movie. 

Reblogged from 99% Invisible
Had the opportunity today to check out Urban Chestnut Brewing Company’s new brewing facility with Florian, the head brewmaster and my design studio. #stlbeer (at Urban Chestnut Brewing)

Had the opportunity today to check out Urban Chestnut Brewing Company’s new brewing facility with Florian, the head brewmaster and my design studio. #stlbeer (at Urban Chestnut Brewing)

Beer research presentation. History, culture, process, water, brew, form, St. Louis. (at Givens Hall, Washington University in St. Louis)

Beer research presentation. History, culture, process, water, brew, form, St. Louis. (at Givens Hall, Washington University in St. Louis)

Craft. #studiobrew (at Givens Hall, Washington University in St. Louis)

Craft. #studiobrew (at Givens Hall, Washington University in St. Louis)

Tags: studiobrew