Monday, March 31, 2008


I found some really amazing videos on youtube by this person named touristpictures. Here's one called Food Fight. This video shows different countries represented by their national food at war with the U.S. (e.g. WW2, Cold War, 9/11). See if you can identify them. Here's a website with breakdown of all the events: Food Fight.

This next one is just cool.

Back to the Future

After coming down with a nasty flu a couple weeks ago, I've been seriously playing catch-up at school. Four days away from my model is pretty devastating. To bounce back, I pressed down on the big red emergency button returning to studio, summoning all nearby siblings to my aid. To my shock and awe, the key-phrase "I was hoping you could help me with some manual labour..." was a tough sell. Who knew? At any rate, I successfully bribed an undergrad with beer to help me catch up (a more enticing deal - building on the former lesson). For future reference to all those in town with two hands, manual labour + tedious + totally unenjoyable grunt-work is available......for BEER!!!

During March break, we had an exhibition of student work. Some of the work was from our prof's past studios, which typically include life drawings and the huge 6' drawings of skyscrapers. Our tower drawings should hopefully end up looking something like this one below, but after twelve weeks of life drawing, my pastel drawings look nothing like these ones.

As part of the exhibition, I also found my competition panel for the West End Pedestrian Bridge proposal from 4th year pinned up. Gotta love the bee theme:

Now, after a couple weeks of endless hours soldering copper wires into place, I've finally designed my 3D structure for the tower. At last! (The image at left is outdated). Even though most of the group had no idea how to design such a complex structural system, we knew some basic principles: a triangulated structure is the most efficient form of bracing, the steel columns should intersect at every first, third, fifth, or seventh floor so that they can be pinned into the floor slab in reality. Also, in places of greater stress (i.e. predominant wind loads, cantilevers, south-facing elevations etc) and nearer to the crown of the tower, there should be a tighter web of structural steel. Last rule, don't breathe in the solder fumes...the kids depend on that. Otherwise, the structure can be a very plastic, sculptural expression of the tower.

For the next three weeks that are remaining, we will have to paint the structure, integrate each tower into the overall site which is simultaneously under construction to complete the model. Then, just draw like a fiend to finish a 6' elevation and section, with a flashy video. Crunch time!!!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

All School Meeting Discussion

At the all-school meeting, Director Marco Frascari discussed how and where money will be used to improve the school, following David Azrieli's huge donation to the school.

David J. Azrieli, philanthropist, developer, and architect has just donated 5.5$ million dollars to the school of architecture, bringing his total donations to around 8$ million dollars. Azrieli is a CSA alumni ('97). The donation will become fully active in the next three years, so we won't experience immediate changes, but it means that the new Ph.D program will finally take flight. It will be the second Ph.D program in Canada and the "only one of its kind", based on its emphasis on design rather than theory. The donation also has an impact on concentrating student space in the building, meaning we will at last be able to kick out the computer engineering students from the 5th floor to make space for our currently over-cramped students. Other changes include: better computer facilities, wireless internet (which is long overdue) and big improvements will be made to the Directed Studies Abroad program for grads and undergrads -- even rumours of it being paid for, this year (unconfirmed). Another great change is the revival of the school folio, which was one of the prized documents that the CSA produced in the 80's. Sadly, we will miss the boat on all of the above, but the incoming first years will get the full benefits of these improvements.
Ofcourse, the accumulated donations by Mr. Azrieli is so high at this point that by default, the school is to be renamed in his honour. We are now the Azrieli School of Architecture. All those opposed, tough luck.

Link to full article at

Hudson Yards Takes Form

With a month and a half to go, we've all achieved a fairly decent level of progress in our studio. Most of us have all the floor slabs cut and are now moving on to applying the double skin structure to the building. This basically means a second layer of glass in front of the outer walls of the tower to allow for an air cavity to let in natural ventilation. Remember you just can't open a window at the 47th floor to let in a breeze. It's like Apollo 13 up there. One of the many buildings that use this envelope system is the Swiss Re Tower (the Gherkin) in London, by Sir Norman Foster.

Here's the nearly-finished version of my tower with floor plates cut. Can you feel the explosion happening? Somewhat? Huh, huh?...
The Hudson Yards slowly taking shape on the mezzanine.

To the left of my "Colliding Particle Tower", the "Snowflake Tower", far left, "Slaughterhouse Tower", at the back, "Shark Tower", and to the right, a skyscraper from the other grad studio.
The "River Tower" in front.
Closeup of the "Slaughterhouse Tower"

The Spectacle of Demolition in the Age of Wastefulness

The New Frontier Building, Las Vegas.

Which has come a long way from...

(Thanks Trevor, for the blog link)