Surprise Food!

It is always nice to hear that an event is going on in Meyerson hall for two reasons. The event could be educational and helpful in furthering studio work. The event is also likely to have food, of which the leftovers get donated to studio students still in the building. The second reason is probably the main reason that events get such quick word of mouth promotion among students.

Today was the day of surprise donated food. I didn’t know an event or lecture was occuring but clearly a large enough one was to merit the feast pictured below. The students that typically catch these food heavy events must be out today because the alarm was not sounded. Thanks to this our wallets and our stomachs were incredibly pleased to see it.



PCDC Performance


The Pennsylvania Chinese Dance Club is a non-profit dance organization that explores creative dance choreography focused on Chinese culture. Two of my classmates participated in this years performance showcase, including dance and live music performances.

The dances were stunning. While I found it difficult to tell traditional moves from inovations, not having any prior viewing or knowledge of Chinese dance culture, I was impressed by the choreographies. The choice of outfits also went well with the dance and felt much more incorporated into the choreographies than other dances I’ve seen.

The music performances were also a surprise. I only wish that the microphones had been better prepared as they picked up more of one instrument and less of the singer and other accompanist. But seeing as the main performances were dances it is understandable that the microphones may have been off a bit.

I am very proud of my friends who have kept up with dancing and playing music while in studio. I know how much time it takes to learn new pieces, practice, prepare and perform. Even so it is a great stress reliever, a wonderful workout, and an excellent way to make ties to community.

Overall, it was a beautiful performance and I was so happy to be invited! I look forward to seeing what my friends achieve in the next performance.


Memorials and Monuments on Campus

Penn has recently had a fascinating display of topic specific yet quiet memorialization. I don’t recall seeing quite as much of this last year. As it is nearing the end of the semester and time is short I have not had the time to truly research these memorials and their significance or link to campus.

Memorials and monuments are fascinating design challenges that bring up so many questions. Who is the author? Why is this space the best space to place a memorial or monument? Is the temporary nature key to its success? Does it migrate gathering a following as it goes? Is the material or design striking enough to make its point? Does it need to make a point? What is its role? Does it shape conversations, allow for grief, stir people to protest?

A few readings in the theory/critcal analysis landscape architecture course I am taking this semester have hinted at this idea of the role of memorials, monuments, and landscape as a narrative of those who occupy it. Studying landscapes through their drivers, the people/economics/cultural value has changed the way I appreciate landscape architecture. There is much more than an environmental benefit to these spaces which seems to be forgotten in favor of ecology and climate crisis analysis. Memorials and monuments, often situated within landscapes, bring this role to the forefront and help drive designs beyond a naturalized non-human habitat.

Perhaps a study of monuments and memorials in landscape and architecture could be the best bridge to connecting the two and informing how I design both harmoniously. If any of my readers have thoughts, suggestions on readings, or general pointers I would love to hear them!


Beaux Arts on a Boat!

Beaux Arts Ball (BAB) is a traditional architecture ball held annually. At PennDesign this ball gets relocated each year and a new theme choosen to liven up an already lively, much anticipated event.

Last year BAB was held in the Mutter Museum. This year The Spirit of Philadelphia, a quite large boat, larger than it looks, was the choosen location. While the food was poor and slim in choice, the open bar, lively dance floor, and variety of indoor-outdoor arrangments with constantly changing views made up for it.



The Larpers ate and then danced the night away, only pausing to nerd out by the fact that we were passing our studio site via water and take a class photo. I suspect our May calendar will look quite lively.


Now, iPhone photos on a boat late at night are not the most amazing but it certainly gives a new perspective. The site looks quite beautiful at night. Funnily enough the videos I took, which unfortunately will not upload, were extremely lively with the lights bouncing to each beat of the music being played inside, focusing and unfocusing the site. This was a result of the glass on the boat which I had my phone pressed to for clear shots vibrating with the music. The B4BD0415-58BE-410A-913A-6D9D7A2321A6unanticipated effect was absolutely lovely! Hopefully it will be useful in producing short clips of a dancing landscape, if not for class, for myself.

When the boat docked the party by no means stopped but migrated in a thousand different directions. Thankfully I found myself in the party headed for IHOP and then to dance. I certainly hope next year’s BAB will be as fun as this past one!



Petty’s Island Cleanup

Petty’s Island:

Camden County Historical Society:

A well spent Saturday morning was recently dedicated to joining a clean up effort on Petty’s Island with a studio friend Miriam. This island is located between Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Pennsauken, New Jersey. It is also positioned just across from our most recent studio design site.

The cleanup lasted 2 hours with a team of roughly 20 volunteers. We cleared a small portion of the Eastern shoreline and filled an entire dumpster in that time. The amount of debris that washed up from the river was just shocking! Plastic bottles, lighters, caps, car tires, rope, hair clips, plastic forks, fluid containers of all kinds, plastic and paper bags, kids toys, you name it and it was probably there. Of all the debris that we picked up it still didn’t completley clean the area. We were able to remove the first larger layer of debris. Beneath that layer was a smaller scattered layer of caps and odd bits. Under this there was another layer of teeny tiny bits of broken down plastic which had mostly sowed itself into the soil and roots only showing when a plastic bag pulled up enough dirt to look below.

After the clean up several of us went on a short historical tour of the island, giving Miriam and I a wonderful chance to see the studio site from the island. Unfortunately neither of us had brought a camera so the tiny iPhone pictures we captured will have to do as baselines to remake renders.

This history of the island was quite fascinating. I hope that if I am in Philly this summer I can go on the actual tour to get the full story of this key piece of Philadelphia and New Jersey’s development history. If you are interested in the full tour of the island I suggest going to the Camden County Historical Society facebook page and clicking on their sign up link. It is certainly worth the walk!


LARPERS: Swathmore Campus


Swathmore campus is a beautiful college campus which doubles as an arboretum. The class toured the campus taking in the tagging system, the variety of species and the overall organization of the campus.

During our tour we also saw one of the first greenroofs to be placed on a residential building and a variety of water management tactics integrated into the landscaping across campus. Soil treatments could also be seen throughout campus. The highly compacted soils were cored to help aerate them. The cored area would later be retilled to help loosen the soils and create a better environment for the trees.

Between the tour stops and photographing a few of us looked around to find a tree that matched our birth year. I was lucky to find such a beautiful flowering tree!

This tree and the adorable botanical center and greenhouse were possibly two of my favorite surprises of the trip. This space is where volunteers gather to prepare for a day at Swathmore. While there we met with a small group of volunteers assisting with basic garden maintenance in one of the smaller spaces on campus.

Swathmore seems like a lovely place to learn about plants and gardening in the Philadelphia area. I certainly hope to volunteer, if not intern, there in future to learn more.


Penn Paints

Even in the busiest times there is room for a little fun. One of the loveliest happy hours was a Painting with Bob Ross. Despite this being a relaxing activity the shouts of stress when Bob Ross took off painting while Dental and Design students tried to catch up where an unexpected humorous touch.

While none of us replicated the masterpiece in the youtube follow along. We certainly made lovely artworks which now decorate studio.

LARPERS Spring Outing

Halka Nurseries:

The weather is finally turning around and the LARPERS are getting restless. As the sun stays out longer and the temperatures get warmer the syllabus reflects the change and field trips start popping up in the schedule. Tuesdays are getting exciting.

First field trip of the semester we went to Halka Nurseries. This was a unique trip as we were able to see trees at various stages of growth. As well we were able to see the methods for growing, transporting, and arranging the variety of trees that Landscape Architects. Below are some photos of the trip:


Architectural Theory Now!

Symposium Link:

I am eager to attend this event as it pertains to the way we as students and upcoming professionals view our work.

From todays sneak peek I noted the interesting format. Somehow when I think of a symposium I think of lectures followed by Q&A or guided conversations. Oddly this symposium was structured more as a roundtable discussion of experts overlooked by symposium attendants. As I wasn’t able to attend today I am not sure how involved the onlookers are with the expert table.

Updates to come from tomorrows roundtable.


Penn Design Voices

There are many voices at Penn Design and plenty of outlets for students and professionals to express them. A few example outlets include: Babble, S.P.A.M., LA +, PennDesignzzz, and the new Stuart Wietzman School of Design instagram account.

Of these platforms I have recently enjoyed the first publication of S.P.A.M. This witty publication, complete with crossword puzzle, capture the ironic attitude to utopic scholarly attitudes of the various fields of design. I am hopeful that volume 2 will be published soon as a light read during a busy time of the semester.


While S.P.A.M., PennDesignzzz, and the Stuart Wietzman School of Design are more lighthearted commentary on design, Babble and LA+  take more serious approaches to representing the school’s work and the fields of design respectively.

Babble,, is currently searching for images for their second publication focusing on design and student interpretations. La+ is considering candidates to assist with publication design for the next two issues.

These publications are only a few of the many. For more information on publications check out Publications at PennDesign ( For PennDesign academic research subscribe to their weekly email publication.

Students can find calls for publications and editorial work through postings at the link above, or on flyers around the school. Even if you aren’t an active member of a publication your voice can still be heard at Penn Design through engagement in discussions, lectures, and symposiums.