Sunday, April 7, 2013

Winter Quarter Wrap Up

Winter quarter, just like last year, sucked. Big time. The last three weeks of class I would run off 3-4 hours of sleep during the week, sleep a full weekend day, then start over again. The hard work, however, paid off (I think). Now, before my final quarter of grad school starts getting crazy, I figured I should share a little of what I did last quarter.

The project for my urban design studio involved creating a master plan for the St. Vincent De Paul Society in LA. It was a great exercise because our small class, under the instruction of John Kaliski, met with the client and then presented our proposals to the entire SVDP board. It was a nerve-racking, but great experience.

The problem: SVDP runs its LA office as well as a profitable thrift store out of an old building in an industrial area of the city. They want to include housing, address issues with parking and access. The adjacent site to the south is available for lease and potential use by SVDP.

Proposal: "The Backyard." Reconstruct part of the building, create street-facing entrances, and public space. Reprogram the internior building spaces to include offices, retail, and community center. Lease the adjacent parcel for surface parking, and redesign the streetscape. Use a strategic phasing plan in order to maintain retail and office operations during construction.

Here's some of the work my partner and I put together:

Existing Conditions
Site Plan - Existing Conditions
Site Plan - Proposed Improvements

Proposed Building

New "Backyard" space
New entrance from parking lot

Humboldt Street - Exisitng Conditions

Humboldt Street - Proposed Improvements

Friday, April 5, 2013

Public Space Behavior: Toilet Talk

I always find it odd how people can have full blown conversations while on the pot.

My office shares a bathroom with the entire floor of the building. More often than not, there will be another person in the bathroom and quite frequently she is on the phone. Like this morning, a lady was discussing budget reports and then starting talking about her kids. I personally do not talk on the phone in the bathroom for several reasons: (1) I am terrified of dropping the phone in the toilet (2) Sometimes the task at hand takes more concentration than my multitasking skills allow (3) I feel it's just plain disrespectful to the person you're talking to. I mean, you wouldn't talk to someone in person while wiping your no-nos, would you? And the sound of the potty flushing is a bit distracting. Luckily, I'm not the only person who has discovered this odd public behavior trend (see fun infographic below). Technology has created new forms of behavior exhibited in public. Where else has this changed occurred?