Frank Lloyd Wright Exhibit

MOMA Exhibit:

It’s not everyday that I get to go to visit the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. This Saturday was a wonderful excursion to just that place at the suggestion of the history/theory professor Joan Ockman. The exhibit was an impressive array of original drawings, models, and products all produced during Frank Lloyd Wrights lifetime by him. The exhibit was divided into, from what my overwhelmed memory recalls, about 12 rooms. Each room was themed with some of the themes being(not in the original room order): ornament, mile-high tower, NYC models, landscape, designs for Native Americans, and the Japanese Imperial Hotel.

The range of work which Frank Lloyd Wright took part in was amazing. For the Japanese Imperial Hotel alone he produced the building, the landscaped courtyards, fabric for the furniture, chairs, dishes, and detailed finishes for construction. It seems that most of his projects received this same amount of attention. All the project drawings were a stunning use of lines, dots, and color as detailed as the concepts and parts of each project. I won’t go on about the content of the visit but rather would like to encourage you to see it. One warning: you will need more than two hours to really take in the entire exhibit. I spent about two hours there and was just able to skim through every room and spend more dedicated time in a few of the rooms.

Also if you’re in MOMA take time to visit other parts of the museum as well. I chose to quickly take a stroll in the sculpture garden (it was a lovely place to sit, drink some tea, and check my map and transportation ticket before walking back).


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

On the more logistical side of things:

There are many ways to get to NYC from Philadelphia. Below are just a few links to bus and train websites for booking. They are in order of cheapest to most expensive.


Bolt Bus:



Definitely download the Uber App as it allows you to request a ride for a specified time in the future. This feature is particularly convenient if you just want to go home right after getting off the train or bus late at night leaving no wait time in an empty station.

Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Central:

National Hurricane Center:

This past weekend has been a tad stressful for many reasons, two being a final project in studio and, more importantly, Hurricane Irma. A large majority of my family and friends reside in Florida so this storm would have had it’s impact on me no matter where it landed on the peninsula. Thankfully with the use of modern technology (cell phones are a blessing!) I was able to keep in contact with everyone in the state before, during, and, though not as easily, after.

Everyone I know lost power, most had water boil notices, but luckily there was minimal damage to any property. The surge most were expecting, thankfully for us, hit another neighborhood. More importantly nobody was injured by the storm, everyone found a safe shelter to stay in. At this time there are only a few without power still but water seems to be back.

Penn Design’s response to this storm really stood out to me. Last week on Thursday I received an email from within PennDesign reaching out to offer their support in the wake of the storm. This little gesture of kindness was really uplifting. It’s an odd feeling to be so far away, stressing and working towards a small project as if it meant so much, yet anxiously tracking a storm that could well have turned my families and friends lives upside down. I am thankful we have been so lucky this time around and hope that there are no more to come this season.

Penn Design’s post hurricane response, besides the general offers of support, have included a discussion seminar entitled “Harvey and Irma: Where do we go from here?” to be held in Meyerson Hall Lower Gallery on September 26th at 6:00 pm. I hope to make it to this discussion and in time incorporate solutions into my designs rather than keep producing more problems.


First Review: Container Project

One down, two to go! This past Monday M.Arch 501 had our first pin up. We were very happy to be joined by two people from the Penn Museum who had worked with us to produce photogrammetry scans of artifacts from which all our projects were derived. The review went smoothly and it was a delight to really enjoy everyone’s projects. Below are just a few photos from the event and from my own project.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Sidenote: This was my first time 3D printing and I learned so much about the machines and the process of printing. A general rule: check you’re print times regularly and always print a day in advance of when you’ll need it!!

A Landscape Tour: Chanticleer Garden

Chanticleer Gardens:

What better way to spend a saturday than visiting a local garden? None. This trip was organized by the Landscape Architecture Department and allowed 30 students the opportunity to engage in a private tour of the gardens led by two of the gardens staff and OLIN partner\Penn alumnus Dennis McGlade.

Chanticleer is a pleasure garden. It’s sole purpose is to be a natural refuge for people from the city to come garden or stroll about. Each garden, as there are several garden types and designs, is designed, planted, and maintained by interested locals and the garden’s own horticulturists and garden staff. The soils, groundcovers, and plants are all selected to complement a specific site in the garden. Each separate garden is defined not by fences and signs but rather by plant types and design. The transitions are gardened to create a seamless flow between each garden. The overall experience is quite dreamlike.

The garden staff who assisted with the tour was very knowledgeable about the history of the garden, the buildings left standing on the property, and the general garden design. This was supplemented by Dennis McGlade’s input from a designers perspective. Discussed were the ideas of plant form, color, and texture being complementary to emphasize a certain geometry and mood, plant growth creating various types of garden over time, microclimates and their many uses, and general plant knowledge (of which I have much to learn). The knowledge of plant types and their specific requirements can be learned readily at the garden as, both there and online, the garden has a list of all the plants in each garden for reference.

Though I may not be planning to design pleasure gardens the lessons started here are sure to apply in more urban settings. The day was a perfect inspiration, and a lovely insight into the field of landscape architecture.

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

Maintaining a regular eating schedule, let alone eating healthily, can be difficult once studio picks up. I find myself questioning the use of time to find, order, pick up, make, clean up, and eat food versus its use towards work in another class (usually studio). Sometimes it’s less about the time and more about the quality of food which I will be consuming.

Throughout my time in design I have sorted out the logistics of meal time. Below are a few suggestions I have:

  • Set an eating schedule. The more rigid the better! Overtime you’re body will become accustomed to eating at a specific time and will alert you. Having a set time also allows you to better plan the rest of the time in your day rather than having to set odd hours. It also assures that you will be alert and ready to go all day.  
  • Listing food options. If you can set general criteria for what you expect to eat at a set time you will have an easier time selecting where or how to get the food you want. For example if you know that coffee and pastries are only breakfast foods then you will know to narrow your breakfast search to cafes rather than search through every restaurant serving food from 7 am to 11 am (brunch places, cafes, etc). The same can be said for lunch and dinner.
  • Pack snacks. Light snacks such as nuts, fruits, puddings, granola bars, and trail mixes can help keep up energy throughout the day. Some days are more demanding on your body than others. By keeping snacks around you’re assured the ability to maintain your energy levels and to help calm your stomach while you’re training it to a new eating schedule.
  • Pack lunch. While this can be difficult to keep up with eventually packing lunch will save you lots of time and money. Going out every day can add up in dollars and in not knowing the true content of what you’re supplying your body with.
  • Stay hydrated. Drinking water is just a generally good thing to do for your health. It also is nice to have around to help digest snacks, and to wake up a sleepy or bored mind.

Habits take a few weeks to really form and maintain. Try keeping a list or doing a little preparation for these habits to help them develop.

In terms of listing food options below are a few places nearby the Meyerson (School of Design) building on Penn campus:

  • PennDesign Cafe: located in the basement of Meyerson Hall this is a nice place to grab a quick snack or a drink. They are open Monday thru Friday during school hours.
  • Food Court in Houston Hall and the Perelman Quadrangle: Located in the basement, again, this offers a larger variety of food options. There is a small soup section, a salad bar, a pasta bar, a pizza bar, an asian take out option, sushi, precooked meals which change by day, a series of packaged foods(full meals to salads, fruits, oatmeals, yogurts), a Creperie, and Insomnia Cookies. This is probably the healthiest food option in the nearby area.
  • CVS: located across the street form Meyerson right next to the Starbucks. This is great to pick up quick snacks or drinks.
  • Starbucks: located across Walnut Street just in front of Meyerson Hall. I have found that the sandwiches here are quite good and as always the coffee and tea options will please anyone’s sweet tooth.
  • WaWa: a convenience store better for grabbing snacks or a quick sandwich. There are two located on opposite sides of campus.
  • Food Trucks: There are four that are stationed directly in front of Meyerson Hall. There are several others around the perimeter of campus. The food trucks only accept cash however so be sure to have a $5 handy.
  • Shake Shack: just a short walk from Meyerson, this restaurant also happens to be next door to the closest art supply store. Grabbing dinner on the way back from picking up studio supplies is quite efficient!
  • Chipotle: About a 10-15 minute walk from campus west on Walnut Street.
  • HoneyGrow: a stir fry and salad place. This is right next to the Chipotle.

There is no shortage of food options on and around campus. These are just a few that have been convenient in my first three weeks.

Overall please remember that even as classes become more demanding the time it takes to eat, to find food and consume it, is always worth it and can become an exciting break to the endless demands of classes.

Library Orientation!

Penn Library Homepage:

The library is a lovely, quiet place of refuge. Whether one is looking to take a break from studio or simply read/work in a controlled environment the nearest library is the place to go.


Wednesday I attended a short orientation to the Fisher Fine Arts Library on campus. Below are links to the multitude of resources I was unaware existed:


Carrel or Book Shelf in the library: books can be checked out to you and kept within the library at a specified desk or shelf. I find this useful in keeping research materials organized and ensuring all books are returned in a timely manner. Note that books on these desks/shelves can be looked through by other students but not checked out. The book will always be available to you.There is a link at this webpage to apply for a carrel or shelf:

Events and Workshops: This calendar ranges from LinkedIn Photoshoots to 3d printing tutorials. The calendar can be found on the front page of the Penn Libraries website.

Borrow Equipment: The libraries at Penn can provide students with laptops, ipads, projectors, and cameras if needed. Check out times and rules vary.


Every available material on the Franklin search catalog for the Penn Libraries comes with a set of potential actions. This bar is seen after selecting availability upon signing into the library using your Penn username and password.Below are three listed options I learned about today:


Request: This requests the book specifically to you for pick up behind the library counter. If you would like it to be placed on a shelf for you that request can be made at the library counter upon pick up of the book.

Borrow Direct: This is a interlibrary loan system between different schools. BorrowDirect+ is the interlibrary loan between all the Ivy League schools. Palczi is the interlibrary loan between local Philadelphia and Pennsylvania schools and institutions.

Scan and Deliver: This option allows you to request that a particular section or pages of a book be scanned for you by a librarian and digitally delivered to your email. Clicking this option takes you to a form which upon filing out tells the librarian everything they need to find the book, the pages or content (ie intro or last chapter if unsure of page numbers) and process the book for you. This seems like it would be an amazing resource for research especially during weeks of studio finals or midterms when research may still be ongoing.

Database Access: Aside from printed materials the library is connected to many databases, which you can access by creating an account linked to your penn student account. A few databases worth noting are Artstor (image database) and the Avery Index (architectural journals). All databases are sorted by subject category so if you’re looking for something in say chemistry just look for the chemistry subject and all the chemistry related databases will appear for you to further search each one.

Suggest a Purchase: There is a form on each individual libraries page in which you can suggest a book, journal, or other reading which the library may not have in it’s collection.

I hope this quick review of the library helps! Thank you Patricia Guardiola for the tour and tips relating to the Penn libraries, particularly Fisher Fine Arts!

First Week in Review

The first week is often though of as a week to adjust to new surroundings, plan for the months to come, and meet the new people embarking on this educational mission with you. While all this was true for my first week, there was far more activity than originally anticipated.

Monday: No classes were held this day, however, the school still held functions aimed towards the first weeks of class. Studio and electives were presented in Meyerson Hall for most of the day. These presentations were of primary interest to those students entering their second or third years of graduate school. Students entering their first year have a far more rigid schedule to allow for a general base of knowledge to be built prior to the students exploration in the following years.

Tuesday: First day of class! Despite the awful rain, the day was quite exciting in terms of reuniting with students met at the New Student Orientation held Friday, August 25th, 2017. On this day I managed to enjoy a break between classes in the beautiful Fisher Fine Arts Library, a lovely, quiet reading space next door to the school of design.

Wednesday: This day was important as it was the first day of studio! The class took place in the Penn Museum (which is free to students with a Penn ID). We were introduced to the class as a whole, all the teaching professors, and the work to be done in the first project. Naturally work commenced the very next day! That night was spent moving computers, materials, and a few mementos into studio in anticipation of the quick pace the class would be working at. Not necessarily of secondary importance, but perhaps not as immediately pressing as next weeks studio deadlines, was the Career Services lunch and presentation. This event was extremely informative and helpful. A three year career oriented plan was presented for each masters track, all events to come were laid out on a calendar for students to take with them, and the career advisers were present for questions. The sooner you start considering your career path and the steps you need to take the better off you are. Career Services at Penn does not delay in ensuring its students have access to all their career resources and knowledge from almost day one.

Thursday: The first step to the first assignment required another visit to the Penn Museum. Students were paired into groups and assigned an artifact from the museum to photograph in a series of circles with a photograph taken at every 15 degrees. These photos were then uploaded to a choice of two programs, although I am sure there are more, either: Autodesk Recap or Autodesk Remake. The program then analyzes the series of photographs and produces a 3D model which can be downloaded as an OBJ and imported into Rhino. This process is known as Photogramatry. For a more visual representation of this process see the following link: (Note: Link was provided by  MARCH Studio 500 Coordinator Andrew Saunders)

Friday: Despite the focus on studios in most design course, and most likely this blog, there are other classes to be attended. Friday’s are primarily Construction and History focused while each day of the week has another class respectively either History lecture, Structures, or Visual Studies(a sort of composition and graphics focused course).

Saturday: This day was primarily relegated to studio, like so many of the days before it.

Sunday: A 3D Makerbot Print was completed! After many trials and errors a thickened rhino model of my artifact, an ancient lamp from Israel, was completed, prepared to print, and successfully printed after 5 hours 30 minutes. This being my first time 3D printing on my own, and having really been walked through the steps quickly during Digiblast this summer, I was quite impressed with the result. If I learned anything from this process it’s that simplicity can be much more helpful than complexity, a few lines go a long way,  just as a single question can lead to not only an answer but an entirely new path of thought. Naturally the presence of the TA Andrew, throughout the weekend,  was much appreciated for assisting with a broken printer, teaching a quick modeling course, and answering modeling and printing questions.

Monday: Again no class as it was labor day. This was another day spent in studio working on analytical drawings of the artifact and its underlying geometries. Part of the day was taken as a “break” from the constant working on design in studio to enjoy a series of readings for history in one of the many courtyards on Penn Campus. This particular courtyard is located between the Palestra and The Weiss pavilion. It is a fairly quiet area with little pedestrian traffic through it on a “weekend”. I imagine during the week it is a busier place not suited for outdoor studying.

Though a single week, even the stereotypical easiest week, can be quite busy, make sure to take the time to enjoy the moment. The walks to class, lunch outside, reading breaks to stimulate the mind, or cooking dinner and sleeping are all important things that you can do to keep up your health/spirits and prepare you for all the fun challenges presented as your next adventure begins.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.