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.

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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.