What Package?

The alarming trend of package theft has made its way to Philadelphia. Until last semester I hadn’t heard of one problem with packages being delivered to my apartment, to any friends place, or to the school. Sadly the sudden increase in package theft has changed the way we order and pick up items.

Most of my classmates have really important packages sent to the School of Design, which so far has had no issue with lost or stolen packages. Many have started sending packages not related to school work to the Amazon lockers on campus. It has gotten so bad that my apartment building posted the following notice in the lobby right in front of the elevators:


I find this really sad since you have to have both a fob and a key to enter the building. So either people are letting in anyone waiting at the door or the theives are living amongst us. Luckily I don’t get many packages. The few I do I am warned about and have the ability to track. I pick up my packages as soon as the tracker lets me know it has arrived.

Honestly the community will adapt to avoid these thefts. It’s just sad to have to see that kind of adaptation rather than an adaptation to too many good mornings or paying forward coffees.

A Day of Preparations

Today is a long day of cleaning, washing clothes, grocery shopping, filling the fish tanks, sweeping, mopping, vacuming, washing the bathroom and kitchen, emptying the fridge, returning books, checking emails and supply lists for class, etc. I may even set up studio later tonight.

Even the books are under scrutiny. I have looked over tuition payments, savings, and month to month spending. I am testing a new method of budgeting which I am sure to blog about more once I have given it a try.

Between each chore and the occasional email I stop to take a break to water my sad garden. Several of the plants have already begun to spring back. Hopefully by tomorrow they will be bright and lively.

Frankly the only thing on the list left for tomorrow is the haircut.

By tomorrow I’ll be back on track for the gym, a good breakfast, a beauty break, school, competition, maybe even work (?), dinner and a good nights rest. Here’s to another semester!


Externship: Day 11

Today was the last day in the office. Aside from the goodbyes and well wishes it was business as usual. I looked over the SketchUp model once more to add a little more detail. I completed the carrying case for the model, even reworking a portion inside to keep the loose pieces from moving if carried upside down.

I had written on Thrusday about the construction site visit and my interest in reading a field report which I can reference with experience. I was very happy to find a rough draft completed by lunchtime. I even spoke with the project manager who gave suggested a few different projects field reports I could read to compare the level of management and detail required on a few projects. I can say it was much shorter, neater, and more detailed than the reports I had written in class last year. I thought the template was very clear. First came all the writing detailing site location, weather, project status, then all involved members of every team working on it, then lists of items discussed, followed by lists of things to check on, and lastly photographs with simple captions.

Soon after this mini research I reported back to the team members I was working with asking if there was anything else I could help with as I had plenty of time. I was given the task of reviewing floor plans in each of the revit models checking that floor area boxes were properly aligned, that the area equaled or exceeded a given amount, and to check if there was allowable square footage to increase any of these areas by. Soon after finishing this up I said my goodbyes and headed home to pack.

Thankfully I took a good break for dinner and some gift shopping with my host. I really appreciate the wonderful accomdations and the hospitatlity of the host who stayed during my time in New York City.

I enjoyed my time learning over break and am excited to start school again. January will be crazy busy! With the ULI Hines competition in the first two weeks, my boyfriend coming to visit, the start of the Womein in Architecture Mentorship Program, revising portfolio, resume, updating job sites, and the search for summer internships. For now some sleep and a busy prep day before class starts.

Externship: Day 10

Sunday was a pleasant as could be. I started the day a little late around 10 AM. A bowl of cereal, a quick cup of tea, and a warm wardrobe for a long days walk. I walked several hours bouncing between Goodwills on the shopping trip of the year. Finally I found skirts that fit me and are appropriate for work. I also found a few nice dresses which could double for work or a nice evening out.

Between the shopping I stopped to see Bryant Park and the Public Library. The park held a some stunningly beautiful surprises. The fountain was running but frozen below the bowl. The park was now a skate rink circled by food stands and heated pavilions. Considering not many of the parks I walked by were in use I figured this one wouldn’t either. It was a lovely use of the space for such cold weather.

The library was much nicer on the inside than on the outside. But it wasn’t that way on every floor. Some spaces were grand, well detailed, lively while others were tiled and so small and dark it didn’t feel like a library. Sadly, like many old buildings, any courtyard space has been transformed into an enclosed space which can be used as additional square footage. In this case the space was closed into two spaces: one a light entry hall and one dark theater space.

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By comparison one of the older spaces was maintained quite dark to preserve and showcase prints of dried plants. These prints, from the victorian era, were unique. They were printed on blue paper leaving the algae and seaweeds ghosted in some details clear some not.

Overall it was an interesting collection. It was also probably the quietest location in all of the library. Rather than stay and read I decided to continue on my shopping spree. I walked back home on a different street searching for thrift shops of any kind.

After a long day of walking and shopping I was glad for the bowl of ramen and a good nights sleep.

Externship: Day 9

The weekend is for relaxing. I have enjoyed my Saturday catching up on sleep, reading, and tidying up the apartment.

I have also done a little research to plan out my Sunday. Seeing as I am not sick this weekend it would be nice to get out and enjoy a full day out and about rather than those few hours on the weekdays. I have decided I will try to squeeze in a trip to at least 4 thrift shops, the NY Public Library in front of Bryant Park for a little tour and reading, and then a long walk back towards the apartment with a stop for coffee and more if anything fun shows up.

Having finished planning tomorrow I can return to relaxing today. Later tonight I am sure I will review everything I have brought or bought while here to determine packing.  I leave on Tuesday and don’t plan to spend my Monday night here running about throwing things into my suitcase. If anything I would like to spend Monday out to dinner and walking around the neighborhood in search of coffee and cake.

For now a little quiet and some warm dinner to keep a calm day going.

Externship: Day 8

Today I finished cutting the templates I had made for the traveling box needed for th model I had done. I included an edit by a team member who sat behind me to leave an opening as handles to help carry the box. With only a little glueing left and the front piece connection to consider I am glad that the entire model and case will be complete by the time I leave.

I also recieved some alterations needed for the SketchUp model. It seems the instructions are a bit confused but the edits simple. I just need to move everything to a particular layer and adjust some of the groupings. I will also check the updated floorplans to ensure that the commercial/residential groupings are accurate to the latest work completed. There seems to be some back and forth on whether or not a particular piece needs to be included into a specific group. I am sure the updated files will clarify that.

Overall it was a quiet day. My lunch break, typically an even quieter time, was thankfully enlighting. I walked to grab lunch today with the Marketing member who gave me a little insight into her role in the firm. Interestingly she has an architecture background and had previously worked in an architects/designers role. I appreciate her story as it is starting to sound a bit like mine. Going to school for architecture and design but ending up working in publicity, marketing, and more organizational positions.

I also had some interesting conversations with members about the construction-post construction timeline. I enjoyed seeing the photos of a completed project in all its stages in conjunction with the documents addressed at each stage. Due to this mini presentation and conversation I acutally looked into the field reports for the construction site I visited yesterday. I wanted to compare my experience with the reports produced by those there to get a better idea of what they are looking for, how they are addressing concerns, and the overall documentation process. Unfortunately I did not find the most recent document. I plan to check again, and if not there ask, during my lunch break on Monday. Worst case I will simply go back and look into older reports to get a sense of the projects evolution and the way visits have shaped it’s progress.

With a long day of work complete I returned to my apartment to submit paperwork for the stipend. Now I have the weekend to look forward to, whatever shall it bring!?!

Dress to Impress:


Externship: Day 7

After putting my lunch in the fridge and making a cup of tea I started the computer to get right back into SketchUp. Clearly I did this model the long way because it has taken far far too long in my opinion. After building in groups, exploding, realigning, regrouping, and editing on revised documents and models I am happy to say it is probably the cleanest SketchUp model I’ve succeded in making. SketchUp seems very sticky and so I am overly cautious when modeling in it to avoid any messy, warped nonsense from forming.

Around 1 pm today I took a break to attend a Lunch & Learn. The firm brought in Panera for lunch, although I mostly ate my leftover dinner I had packed for lunch. Conference room one became a mini picnic with all eyes and ears attentive to a presentation on the pros of precast concrete parking garage structures.  The notes were endless and I was happy to find that I understood the majority of the terminology.

After the Lunch & Learn I went back to model making. I glued the remaining pieces. While looking over it again I had an idea for how to model the courtyard and landscape elements of the project which had not be built. The team had not decided yet how to model the remaining landscape elements, no decision on style really aside from not 3D print green. Tomorrow I hope I have a little time in the afternoon to test my suggested design for the landscape.

While considering the physical model it was suggested that a carrying model be made. Essentially a cushion model to hold, transport, and store the model safely. The preffered material for this is corrugated cardboard. The firm typically orders/picks up materials from Blick. While checking online the materials seemed limited however I stopped by on my way home from work to find exactly what I needed. Tomorrow I will let my team memebers know what I found and the firm will purchase the required materials.

Just before leaving I acquired some more new reading materials! Three new magazines were given to me which I hope to finish soon. At least if there is limited conversation on the subway tomorrow I can peruse some new literature.

For now, I am off to sleep so I will be wide awake for the construction site visit tomorrow!



Dress to Impress:


Externship: Day 6

Today was another day at the computer working through SketchUp. Revit gave me some trouble opening and letting me see things. After asking some nearby people for help I discovered I wasn’t messing the file up and could in fact measure and “move” as needed.

Midway through the day I broke for lunch with two of the CGA members. Both had looked over my application information and had some ties with Penn. The conversation was lively. I enjoyed hearing about all the aspects of working that seem so removed from studio. It seems like everyone slowly becomes a researcher and gathers facts, ideas, and tips building up the knowledge constantly to refine their craft. To that end I was given a lovely list of resources and places which can help broaden this build up of knowledge which I will share below for any interested.


After this entertaining lunch break I returned to my desk to crank away at the model. I appreciated those who came by my desk to check on me and help me out here or there. I am glad to talk to as many people as I can and hear their stories about working, project developments, and research. I know I have been told not to be so timid to go ahead and ask questions. I just don’t want to interupt people while they are busy. I suppose this is why I find Slack so helpful. I can just message someone with a question and they reply on their time. I don’t have to think, “oh their too busy” or “I hope I’m not bothering”. While I prefer talking face to face so I can remember names and make connections, Slack is easier to get quick replies without any worries.

Dress to Impress:


Externship: Day 5

Today was a busy day! The physical model is near complete. I was entrusted with working the offices 3D printer a Cubicon. After a quick tutorial on the offices preferences  I completed two of three prints. The last print is running overnight. Tomorrow morning I will check on the last print. Once cleaned all three prints will be glued into place and voila! model complete. Or at least as complete as can be for now. Perhaps the landscape will begin to be depicted in this model or some other finer details such as stops or street lighting. Those decisions either have not yet been made or are not yet serious parts of the project.

While going back and forth on prints I had plenty of time to work on another task. Today I was assigned to remake the same project model in SketchUp 2017 but simplified. With a base file that another person had begun I returned to trace windows, door openings, and rebuild the outer shell of each building in the project. Tomorrow I will further refine this model identifiying operable and non operable windows and awnings. This model will be used to make environmental calculations and decisions about energy, light, and the Passive House standards in the next stage of the project.

Today I did stay about 30-45 mintues later than usual leaving closer to 7 pm. I didn’t think this would make much of a difference on my walk home. Surprisingly, Chinatown shops were mostly packed up, the streets were emptier, quieter, and I certainly rushed faster to get to the apartment.

A quick meal and several cups of tea later I look forward to more sleep to finally kill this cold, or so I hope. Tomorrow is another day of work and of learning and I can’t wait!

Dress to Impress:


Externship: Day 4

Despite a late start today was productive. The apartment recieved a quick tidying up, dishwasher emptied and refilled, counter cleaned, fridge picked through and old things dumped, and any messes were sorted. Soon after a late lunch of soup and hot tea followed by hot coffee preceded a much needed nap. After that I decided to go grocery shopping. I had seen several neat grocery stores and settled on the one across from the Target/Trader Joes I had previously visited.

I find that grocery stores are the most interesting places to visit when traveling. Every place and store carries at least one different or unique item. It’s a quick, if vague, way to get acquainted with the likes, dislikes, and values of the place you’re in.  I really enjoyed this store, The Fine and Fare Supermarket, as it had more variety than the Target/Trader Joes. Thanks to this tonights dinner was a lovely improvisation on a cold mushroom salad and premade artichoke ravioli with the addition of spinach, more mushrooms for filler, some sopresata, and added seasonings all cooked in olive oil.


With a full stomach and a happy heart I plan to read myself to sleep and read myself to work tomorrow. Looking forward to the surprises at CGA!