Zoom Study Rooms

In design there is always studio. In studio, a single room in which each student is given personal desk space to work, classes are taught and homework is done. This space drifts between communal and private. Studio has a lot of the attributes people who love study groups look for.

For one in studio you can just stay at your desk and complete all the work you have for the day. If you need to leave your computer running, you can. If you need to leave modeling materials out or something to glue, you can. Everyone understands that your desk is personal and “private”. Private in so much as if it’s in a drawer or a locked box no one will touch it, it may be borrowed if out in the open. Now while you can work totally “alone”, the person next you, and across from you, and diagonal to you are also working “alone”.

So when you are finally stumped on a problem or just need a break and want to chat there’s a room full of people working “alone” at their desks. This proximity of people working creatively on their own problems generates exciting ideas and conversations. As a result Zoom, in combatting Covid’s work at home alone trend, becomes both our enemy and friend.

Somehow joining yet another Zoom class just drags me down a bit. There is no joy in watching your computer crash as you try to share a model or have your audio fail halfway through a 6 hour class. Yet there’s something freeing about the idea of joining a Zoom Study Room.

People from all around the world are coming together on Zoom solely to have someone else study “beside” them. My sister uses it to keep her focused on studying and completing her work. Per her story these rooms are forcibly muted and the chat is disabled. Communication is essentially prohibited in the Zoom Study Room. Those keen to make new friends in the room might include an Instagram handle or Twitter name in their Zoom name to encourage others to find them and start a chat. But for those who just want to keep on task this offers a large room of students hard at studying to motivate you.

Now the silent studying may fail occasionally. As she noted, one day the audio and chat functions were accidentally enabled and the entire room exploded in chaos. Everyone was exclaiming, saying hello, asking what others were studying. Though the initial exclamations were in many languages the entire room quickly switched to English.

I’ve been recommended to try out Study Stream (https://www.studystream.live/). I can only hope that when I try out these Zoom Study Rooms I can experience the accidental enabling of audio and chat. It’s sure to be remiscent of studio in a way a silent room of textbooks can’t ever be.

Have any of you tried Zoom Study Rooms? How else are you maintaining some normalcy to your studies during Covid?

A sketch for Tomorrow

The whole field of design is built on imaging the many futures awaiting us. JKRP, a Philadelphia firm, is currently hosting a student sketching competition looking at the future of Philadelphia. Interested, see the flyer below for competition brief:

JKRP provided this flyer to the Weitzman School of Design Department of Architecture who sent it out via email.

There are soo many views in Philadelphia that perfectly showcase the past, present, and most current future in progress. Right in the foreground of those views is the open space that begs the question of future.

What if the new tower in rittenhouse square boasted enhanced community spaces for post covid gathering? Or if the many parking lots still in downtown becomes turnaround areas for autonomous vehicles with second and third floor greenspaces and community centers in the building? Or if new city guidelines seriously consider the shutdown of a network of streets creating completely pedestrian friendly paths that cover the whole city? Like a serious expansion of the idea of play streets and the new outdoor dining set ups that we all love so much. Or if a new parks initiative connects rooftop greenspaces with pedestrian bridges creating a new level of community space in an ever growing city?

I’m not sure what to enter for this competition. Even if I don’t enter a sketch I will certainly enjoy the prompt for consideration during my breaks from class to stroll the city.

What do you think the future holds?

A Redesign for the future

Welcome reader! If you’ve visited in the last few days or even in the last few years you’ve seen a number of changes. As I near graduation and step into the next part of my journey towards becoming a licensed professional designer I decided the take the blog along with me.

For those new and old, I have changed up the categories to reflect the upcoming shift. All my old posts, all 179 of them!!!, still exist and can be found under Education > University of Pennsylvania > (the original category). I have gone ahead and started to additionally tag posts that reflect some of the new categories and interests I want to further express.

I have also added social media not previously linked to the blog. Instagram will still be a space to share my teatimes and breaks from school or work. Twitter will host quotes from each new post to summarize or express the post as clearly and succinctly as possible. The upgraded website can now host video!! I have created a youtube channel to help host the videos and post more video heavy content where the blog may be support rather than central. My Linkedin is up to date and the best place to see my most recent resume and portfolio.

Speaking of which, I have finally added my portfolio! Currently I am showing my chronological portfolio with work from my first semester at University of Florida in 2013 to my most recent work at University of Pennsylvania in 2021. I have sprinkled in work from my externship/internship as well.

While I am by no means done working on the website most of the changes to come will be in the back end. I am excited to have updated and refreshed the blog! I can’t wait to continue to share my journey with all of you!

A note on design:

Photographer is the wordpress template I am currently using. Originally I used Snaps.

Subtle Freckles by Atle Mo is my current background. You can find lots of amazing free website backgrounds at https://www.toptal.com/designers/subtlepatterns/

Template: Photographer | Backgrond: CC BY-SA 3.0 – Subtle Patterns © Toptal Designers. (Subtle Freckles)

If you have comments, suggestions, or just want to reach out please do!