January 31, 2008

Site analysis


In the beginnings of history, human created dwellings to inhabit the little corner of the gigantic world. Humans were too powerless to confront the mighty nature and the series of disaster was an endless mystery. A dwelling was the smallest unit of environment that human can control. In relation to this tiny fortress, humans were always conscious of surrounding nature, seasons, and their neighbors.

Now we are highly equipped with the technology and knowledge. As a result, performance expectations toward the spaces we occupy seem to require more than decent comfort. Architectural experience now is more diverse and stronger than ever. Formal complexity required the advancement of technology, and available technology pushed the boundary of formal expression even further. However, as people’s consciousness shift toward an architectural piece itself, on the other hand, their awareness of the larger context is fading away. This thesis seeks the type of architecture which is not about sculptural expression, but about the context it emerges.

Architecture is traditionally concerned with external phenomena such as environmental issues, social conditions, and cultural values. Dislike an art piece that can be displayed in a museum against white walls and neutral lighting, inherently, architecture is not to be perceived independently from its context.

1. What does it mean to belong to the larger context, a city? a country? or universe?

2. Do we even NEED to perceive further than our routine livings?

3. What can architecture do in order not to isolate people from the context they belong to?

INhabit/ habit/ HabitAT
As people live in a same city or in a certain building for long time, they tend to lose their honest reaction to the context. I’m interested in this process where the human desire for comfort gradually habituates people to ignorance. At the first time a person inhabit a new place, s/he discover many awkwardness and unfamiliarity. It is a fairly honest reaction to the new environment. As s/he becomes more comfortable with the place, s/he starts creating habit and finally the place becomes his or her habitat.

Comfort is what humans are chasing after, but inability to renew ones interest detaches people from the surrounding world where they belong to: physically with walls and mentally with unawareness. Architecture should not isolate people from the larger context; rather it should be the medium of experiencing the context.

When I explain about architecture as medium of experience, I have to mention different ways of perceiving architecture. In a city living, we are surrounded by thousands of buildings, but majority of them are mere facades in that we never get over the surface.

When people experiences architecture, especially in a city area, they could be categorized in three different groups: Observers, Explorers and Residents. Observers perceive buildings externally from distance; Explorers experience inside and/or perimeter of the building; and Residents occupy buildings comparatively longer than other two groups. Each category has different experiences in relation to a piece of architecture.

4. What can architects do to create the experience to affect all three different types? Observer, Explorers, and Residents.

January 27, 2008

Regarding H-1b visa

Buro Happold 内定です。

For International students to work in U.S. we have to take the following steps.

CPT_OPT_H-1b_Green Card

CPT is the permission to work during semesters before graduation. OPT is for one year after graduation. H-1b can be applied with Bachelor degree whose deadline is 4/1 every year, which I cannot make this year, because my graduation date is 4/18/2008. Many people uses OPT as a bridge to fill the gap between graduation and H-1b. H-1b is only effective while working for a certain company. So if I want to work as a freelance, I apply for Green Card.

The problem is I cannot use OPT to fill the gap while I'm waiting for H-1b. If I start OPT in 5/01/2008, it it will expire in 4/30/2009. Even if I apply for H-1b in 4/1/2009, which requires high competition, is going to take effect in 10/1/2009. There is a good five month gap between 5/01/2008 to 9/30/2008. I 'll lose the permission to work in U.S. nor even just staying without working.

But at this point, I've run out of stuff to do to fight for it, so let's see what happens. Maybe going back to Japan to work, or going Europe to be trained in another Buro's office.

最近 H-1b 獲得のために奮闘していましたが締め切りの 4/1/2008 の時点ではまだ学位を頂いていないため、今年の応募は断念しました。問題は来年の夏に五ヶ月間まるまるアメリカの滞在許可が無くなることであって、卒業後一年間は OPT で働けるのでヒトマズ今は卒業設計に専念します。

高校の頃は、今日まで学生明日から社会人、という就職活動によって定められる明確な区切りがあるものだと漠然と思っていました。でも本当は学生時代から (関係のないバイトではなく) 少しずつ出来る仕事はこなして先につなげる準備をしないといけないですね。チャンスと見れば飛びついて、それが Jackpot (大穴) だったり。ガツガツしてたからこそ得られた経験によって、やることをやっておけばガツガツしていなくても自然にチャンスは来るって実感した。ロスに来られてよかった。

January 17, 2008


Currently updating my portfolio.

I've made decent 12 pages in two days. Pretty quick compare to before. Now I think of it, it was really a valuable experience in SCI-Arc that I worked with Ye for a semester. I gave him hell of hard time, but even if I had a chance, I'll ask him again. Without the semester that defeated my spirit, I can't imagine myself being this comfortable with doing thesis or making quick portfolio (layout). And I feel I understand "designing" a bit better now.

Testa Vertical, Degital Project, Smith Vertical, 4A, 3B, 3A

。Buro Happold。まさかお声がかかるとは思っていなかったので誘われた時は嬉しかった。面接というよりは事務所見学なので緊張することもないかと思いますが、やはりジーンズでは行けないしせっかく買ったスーツ着ていきましょう。印刷と製本間に合うかな。

January 14, 2008

Thesis Finally

In front of the print center door. Nice view up there.

I've lived in five different places in these five years. Love keep moving forward and leave piles of garbage behind. Same in SCI-Arc. Every semester, studio location changes and I throw away a lot of garbage, and then I feel being light and ready for a next step.


人は己をつづまやかにし おごりを退けて財をもたず 世をむさぼらざらむぞいみじかるべき。昔より 賢き人の富めるはまれなり。/徒然草十八段冒頭

January 1, 2008

Happy New Year

Happy New Year dishes to my lunch buddies!