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What the Food

Sep 02 2011

Like everyone, I took a few pictures of the stuff I was eating.. A lot of the food, I actually made myself, but the ingredients were so fresh and it was so tasty that it was worth capturing.

Investigating my cafe… The cheese is so fresh and perfectly salty.. delicious.

After a long day, the best way to get a big meal is at the bar. Its called appertivo, and for five euro you get a drink (Cosmopolitan pictured) plus all you can eat of whatever they’re serving.

I ate a lot of gellato while in Italy. A. Lot. Of. Gellato.

If I had room in my bag, I would have bought one of these… they retail for about 30 euro.

The first of these two shows the caprese I got in Pienza, which was absolutely stellar. It was a good discovery on a side street, the only place that wasn’t totally packed.
The second image is my imitation in Siena, not quite as good, but still delicious.

Another “Matthew see, Matthew do”. this time with tagliare pasta and seafood. I used zucchini for mine because it was cheaper, in season, and I wanted to learn to prepare it.

These are my absolute favorites. Alec and I had this running experiment, anytime that we went out mapping, we’d find something to pick and try. Sometimes it was fresh peaches, other times it was black berries, and one (very unfortunate) time, it was blueberries (which tasted like chalk).

The only part of Firenze that I really liked was the place we grabbed lunch, everything came in a bread bowl and they had some great wine.

And finally, once I was in Berlin, I kept cooking, this is one of the meals I whipped up for myself. I love cooking, its almost as soothing as eating.

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Confused? Good, that is step one of mapping.

Aug 29 2011

Final Workshop:
After a lot of traveling it was nice to be able to somewhat settle into one location for a decent amount of time. For us this location was the city of Siena within Tuscany which we came to love and appreciate. Our final workshop was focused on a critical examination of the Sienese Urban condition, both within and beyond the walls. Through mapping and analysis we came to understand that a lot of Siena’s future relies on its ability to expand outside of the walls. With that in mind our goal became determining how it can grow in a way that is both intelligent and sustainable.

We we’re able to compile a final proposal that is comprised of three main components: Mapping, Proposals, and the Performance. The combination of all three gives a cohesive understanding of our view of Siena and its possible future. Through our rigorous mapping we were able to understand not only the past and present of the city but it’s potential for a future especially outside of its walls. This mapping was packaged into a proposal of changes as well as additions extending beyond the walls. Through our performance we were expressing the city now, which lead to the proposals of why exactly changes and additions were necessary for the cities growth. It is through the combination of all three elements that we were able to produce and comprehensive proposal which looks to guide Siena as it further expands outside the limits of its city wall.

The most important component of the final workshop was the collective mapping done amongst all four of us which allowed for our proposals to be created. Mapping was done throughout the whole workshop and is something that is done in parallel with design. In essence mapping can never really be finished but continuously adds to the project. Each one of us took different findings out of each time we went mapping and allowed us to provide multiple points of views as well as direction for the proposal.

Without the mapping the proposals would have never been possible. It took time and effort to understand what had occurred, was occurring and what needed to occur in the future to help the city expand. Many see the city of Siena as bound to the limits of the city walls when there is so much possibility beyond those walls to help keep the city thriving.

Much of our mapping can be seen as our process work which was able to lead us to our proposals. A majority of our focus was centered on signage and symbols in and around the city. We became aware of any and every ‘way finding’ tactic that is used both within and outside of the walls for the different networks in use. It was through this focus we were able to see disconnects and absence among and between networks. Fixing as well as adding to make the networks and their connections became the primary focus for our final proposal.

Our final proposal is comprised of a Directional Boundary, Networks, Primary Nodes, and Secondary Nodes. These elements can be found on our group website as well as other project images. It was important that we as group defined these elements as we saw them, which are written below:

*Directional Boundary: A layer and or elements that is understood to allow for way finding in relationship to the city
*Networks: Understood connection between two points
*Primary Node: Major Intersections that occur between networks along the directional boundary
*Secondary Node: minor intersections of multiple networks

When mapping the different signage and symbols related to the major networks we found that several of the networks were frustrated or frustrating and therefore in need of modification or recreation. Along with the additions was the creation of a directional boundary that allows users to keep in reference to the city wall. The changes made to networks were also in parallel with the creation of a multitude of primary and secondary nodes in and around the city. Many of the proposed interventions are small and most are only suggestive of what is possible for the city in the future. By beginning to integrate these changes, Siena can continue to grow while being continuously tied back to its beginnings within the wall.

Overall it is seen that this compilation of networks and nodes can be activated and occupied by both tourists and locals. Their relationship and ties to one another may not be directly understood by a user visiting the city for the day however they become a part of the system none the less. The goal for the future is that this system of networks and nodes will continue to grow outside of the city while still having a relationship back to the walls where it all began. All those encountering the city are not only drawn inside of the wall but become a part of everything occurring outside of the wall.

In order to enact the idea of nodes and networks that were a strong part of our findings we instilled a performance into our final presentation which simulated these elements. Through what we named Anti-Tourism we had our guests and critics experience our ‘city’ in the way a tourist might normally do. This experience however was in opposition to how tourists are normally lead through a city. Without a map the users navigated through the building follow arrow markers with no map to confirm where they were or even where they were going. Along the way they encountered different rooms with documentation but no information on the documentation. The guide was not giving any information but rather documenting how the user ventured through the building. Each of the users was eventually lead to a final room which held our final proposal.

Each of the four different routes that went throughout the building correlated to four of the networks found in and around Siena. Those on the blue path were following the car and therefore had the least number of stops en route to their destination. Second to this was the red route, or the bus, which had just a few more stops than the car. Thirdly was that of the green route which was simulating the bicycle. They had more stops than the bus but not as many as the orange route which was that of the pedestrian. The pedestrian was the longest and most time consuming route with the most stops before arriving at the final destination.

There was a level of confusion amongst all of the users as they were wandering through the building, which was exactly what we had intended. We as guides had experience much confusion when we we’re navigating the actual networks that exist outside of the walls of Siena. This sense of confusion and frustration was a major tool for us in our final proposal. The goal being that by connected networks and creating new ones any sense of confusion would diminish. Each of the networks would work on their own but also in relationship to one another especially upon their intersections at the various nodes.

1. Follow the direction markers on the floor that correspond to the color of the card in your hand
2. You will be encountering maps and documentation of Siena
3. You need to collect one map on your journey. It will be marked by a square with a star on it that corresponds to the color of your card & directional markers
4. When there are no more arrows you have come to the end

Blue = Car (1 stop) Valeria Barra
Red = Bus (2 stops) Matteo Vigni
Green = Bike (3 stops) Roger Smith
Orange = Pedestrian (4 stops) Jim Dart

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This is how we map.

Aug 28 2011

Maps for Final Presentation (Who says being a code-jockey isn’t useful :] )


And we also have these quick summations showing the paths our professors took through the building (to get to our final presentation):


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Jamm Presents: The JAMM Anti-Tourism Agency

Aug 26 2011

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Free Water in Italy

Aug 25 2011

One of the great things about Italy is the free water. In most cities, fountains like these are scattered around in public spaces. The water runs non-stop and is delicious and cold. Plus they have these beautiful little designs that are really wonderfully functional. (These particular fountains are in Roma, right near the Colosseum)

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Jamm Goes Mapping: Crawling Through the Bushes!

Aug 25 2011

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Urban Space Analytique

Aug 24 2011

When I first visited the Pinocateca Nazionale, it struck me as being fully integrated into the urban fabric… Which is to say, not terribly monumental. It’s compositional qualities are subtle, and in my analytique I tried to suss them out and make them obvious.

The Pinocateca is composed of three parts; two masses (each with their own set of clear axis) and a “leftover” trapezoidal courtyard. The resultant quality of the courtyard is most clearly expressed in its columns. I interpreted these columns as a simple field condition, and featured their irregularity with the intention of calling attention to the mediating nature of the courtyard space; it bridges the two disparate set of axis.

Moving outward from there, I wanted to represent the public nature of the street, which is codified in two ways. First is the banki (benches) outside of the Pinocateca, and the second is the steps outside of San Pietro alle Scale.

I used the street (in plan) as an organizing element, and drew sections such that the street wall lined up in section and plan (see the drawing). This basically created a “San Pietro side” and a “Pinocateca side”, which I reinforced by adding the sculpture of Saint Peter to the former, and the Pinocateca sign to the latter.

The facades were the next element to be fit into the composition, followed by the site plan. I actually wish I had extended the site plan further. If I had drawn it butting up against the edges of the other drawings, the whole composition would probably read more holistically.

Overall though, I’m really pleased with how it came out, I am a hundred times better with watercolor now then I was a month ago, and I can see marked improvement in how I think about graphic presentation.

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Ciao, Siena!

Aug 19 2011

This picture is from our final group outing, when we crawled through some bushes (see the video in another post) and discovered an incredible lookout, which later became a part of our final project.

This has been absolutely *the* best team I’ve ever been a part of. We worked well together and played off eachother’s strengths. Everyone was very committed to the project, and I think our hard work paid off. Everyone contributed something to the project’s development, and everyone carried their own weight when it came time to prepare for a presentation.

This entire studio has been a great experience, I feel like I learned so much. I don’t think I will ever forget any of the names or dates of the places I’ve visited; being inside of a place is so much different then just reading about it in a textbook.

In terms of skills, I accomplished two things I set out to do:
I’ve seen my sketching ability improve drastically.
I learned watercolor, also drastically improved from the summer’s start.

Also worth mentioning: I learned a language!

And I feel as though I’ve also gained something else, something that is a little harder to describe in concise terms. Simply put, I’ve had a really broadening experience, and I can’t wait to see how all of the things I’ve done begin to fold into the way I think and design.

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Random Piece of Art

Aug 17 2011

Most of the pieces in the Pinocateca Nazionale (probably 96%) dealt with either Christ’s birth or crucifiction. A majority of these feature people looking very unhappy, if not outright dour, which is strange, though I suppose happiness (or any approximation of it) probably wasn’t in fashion until the counter-reformation (when the Catholic church started to have viable competition).
I digress.
This was my favorite piece. Technically it was in the Spanish gallery, but I like how the artist represented of Christ’s divinity as light emanating from him, instead of using a traditional two dimensional halo.


Artist: Lorenzo Lotto
Title: Christi Geburt (Birth of Jesus)
Date: 1527-1528

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Mid-Review: Don’t Mind the Wall

Aug 14 2011

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Pop Up Piazza: Santa Maria de Selva

Aug 14 2011

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Assignment #… Something

Aug 14 2011

The assignment was to analyze Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s famous ‘Allegories of Good and Bad Government’ and then to use collage to create our own. This was probably my favorite review so far, the discussion went way beyond the work and the entire class ended up discussing philosophy.

– In my collage, I tried to use allegorical figures similar to Lorenzetti’s to represent the characteristics that make for good government or bad government.
– I creatively interpreted the rule about only using one sheet of A3 per collage by cutting the sheet in half and making each twice as long. This was in responce to Lorenzetti’s compositional strategy; which relied on a linear + horizontal reading to portray so many figures and scenes without them becoming incoherent.
– There is a lot of symbolism, some of which manifested sub-consciously.. Check them out.

In Good government, the clearly defined city and country are both held in check by the allegorical figures of design, education, liberty, and security. Within the space these figures carve out, children are playing, representing a positive future. The overall aesthetic is selectively minimalist adhering to approximate symmetry.

In Bad Government, the opposite is true. The composition takes cues from Good Government, but reads more chaotically. The sprawl of the city creates a texture which spans the entire sheet. Imposed onto this sprawl are the figures of waste, drunkenness, censorship, and anti-liberty; looking quite seductive.

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Typology Study 2: Venice

Aug 14 2011

Last weekend, we went to Venice to see the Biennale. The city is beautiful, and it *might* be my new favorite.. These are the sketches I did out on the streets.

And these are sectional sketches, Venice has some really unique sections, because it’s streets and canals come in literally EVERY shape and size.

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Trick of the Sun

Aug 05 2011

Who says you can’t get nice photos with an iPod touch? I captured this near Fontebranda while fountain hunting.

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Il Campo!

Aug 05 2011

It felt sort of Architecturally Sacreligious to be in Siena and not spend any time sketching the Campo, so I decided to try my hand at watercolor. I’m not terribly pleased with the result, but I did learn 3 things:

First, decide on masses and stick with them. Watercolor relies on a slow build-up of color, and if you try to expand something halfway through, you’ll never match the tone correctly.

Second is that you should never use pen on a watercolor painting. It completely destroys the subtlety of the watercolor tones. Pencil is ok though, especially if you use multiple lead weights, or have a lot of very light lines, they look great underneath the layers of color.

Third is that people get really interested when you work in public. I had a group of three little kids “secretly” watching over my shoulder as soon as I took out my watercolors. Which was cool, because I’m always happy to be a part of the urban spectacle.

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