To publicize our studio’s methods of wax production, the informative posters designed by each member of the class would be scaled down to fit in a small booklet (5.5″x3.5″)

Also, we are developing an informational poster to present our mission at profit-shares and fundraising “spirit” nights that we have scheduled with various local eateries. Here is our first version:

Radio-for-a-day

March 24, 2011

During our trip down to the border to share our wax product and hydroponic concepts, members of our class are planning a Radio-for-a-day, broadcasting through the internet.

One website we found that will likely help facilitate this is called Radionomy (Radio + Autonomy), which facilitates user-generated radio stations at no cost to the users in order to foster freedom of speech, freedom of choice, and financial freedom.

To prepare for developing a new building prototype that combines program of factory (wax production), radio (community awareness/info base), and community garden (community building recreation and health awareness), I looked at several radical groups that proposed innovative building types in the past.

One was ANT FARM. While reviewing a text entitled “Ant Farm 1968-1978” by Constance M. Lewallen and Steve Seid from Texas A&M’s library collection, I learned that the (primarily architectural) collective was involved in a number of endeavors that were innovative expressions of the avant garde lifestyles and were critiques of out-dated societal norms. Indeed, the Brutalist architectural movement that characterized much of the architecture of the 1960s was the polar opposite of the inflatable structures designed for a mobile lifestyle for which they are particularly well-known. The following image was found on a blogsite titled Experimental Communities

However, one experimental/proposed idea in the book really caught my attention: ANTFARM’s Surplus City.

This combination of community functions into a strange and interesting sections is very intriguing.

Another group I looked into was Future Systems. Founded in 1982, the group primarily produced theoretical designs until the 1990s. Much of the work uses construction techniques from other industries (such as airplane or boat) to design radical architectural solutions. The book “Future Systems: The Story of Tomorrow” compiles many of their projects. One in particular that I found interesting for my research was a garden center designed for Kew Gardens.

The last group I researched was FOA (Foreign Office Architects). In the book I found about their practice, FOA reviews its own architectural efforts from 1993-2003 and it is chock-full of programmatic/conceptual diagrams as well as beautiful plans and sections. The book is entitled “Phylogenesis: foa’s ark.” Phylogenesis refers to “the evolutionary development and diversification of a species or group of organisms, or of a particular feature of an organism.” They believe their architectural work is an evolving hybrid belonging to a global order of design that responds to local specificities.

Some images of work that I found provocative for my exploration include the following:

Meydan Retail complex in Istanbul, Turkey

Yokohama Ferry Terminal, Yokohama, Japan

Sketches of my own ideas will be in the next post.

Fundraising | Logos

March 20, 2011

Using our studio concept title, “Self-Made Trade”, which describes our mission to stimulate alternative border economies for the Colonias Unidas community and Texas-Mexico border, I went through several manipulations of the text itself before becoming inspired by the graphic of the Rio Grande border. Following the transformation of that border line in this way:

I began a new effort toward a logo design that incorporated the river.

This was the result:

 

Hydroponic methods

March 2, 2011

I’m compiling a pro/con list of the different methods of hydroponics (as listed on Jason’s Indoor Guide to Organic and Hydroponic Gardening).

This is a rough format of the chart:

One of the main reasons the Las Lomas community wishes to have a community garden is to enable them to grow some of their own fruits and vegetables.

Vegetable Gardening Online is an excellent website I found that talks about how to maximize vegetable growth in minimal space using vertical gardening.

“Vertical gardening can be anything from training one or two of your vegetables to grow upward in the garden, to creating an elaborate structure with a frame and cross shelving to contain an entire garden in a small space. Or anything in between! You can use wooden or metal trellises, hanging baskets, shelves, containers, a wood frame, or any combination of these, to create a space-saving vertical garden.”

Some of the vegetables that require vertical support (they are climbers):

  • Cucumber
  • Squash
  • Tomato
  • Green Beans
  • Peas
  • Lima Beans

Some vegetables that do NOT require vertical supports:

  • Peppers
  • Lettuce
  • Radishes
  • Onions
  • Eggplant
  • Potato
  • Parsley
  • Herbs

As far as garden location, the site has the following helpful tips:

  • Most vegetable plants need 6+ hours of sunlight
  • Avoid shading trees or shrubs
  • Best if facing south

However, the leafy vegetables do grow well in shade or partial shade.

For region-specific produce, I found this article “The Best Vegetables to Grow in South Texas” by Christie Gross. She identifies the three “best” vegetables to be potatoes (especially red-skinned varieties), tomatoes (which need specific soil conditions), and eggplant (especially as a winter crop).

Also, the Texas AgriLIFE Extension of the Texas A&M System has produced an 11-page Texas Home Vegetable Gardening Guide. This is a fantastic and concise resource, discussing advantages for different crops in both small and large gardens. As well as covering specific needs, harvesting and yield of different crops, the guide identifies different growing regions and schedules through Texas and recommends various methods for soil fertilizing, pest control, and weed control.