Monday, January 31, 2011

Social Networking in Cameroon

     Social networking is the grouping of people through means of mutual interest, such as sports, friendships, hobbies, etc.  The internet is an extremely useful tool when it comes to creating these groups through sites such as Facebook and Twitter.  In this day and age, it is impossible to avoid.  Cameroon is no exception.  The country has many of their own social networking sites.  One of the newest is a networking site called, which has been gaining popularity since its introduction last year.  One look at the site and it quickly became clear that site was made as if it were a foreigner's one stop for all things Cameroon.  They have a youtube clip of the national anthem posted, a clock ticking in real-time Cameroon time, the latest music, and highlights from their news networks; all of these are things that Cameroonians would absolutely take for granted.

     When discussing social networking, it is impossible to ignore the site which has revolutionized the idea.  Of course, I mean Bookface. Err.. ..Facebook.  Facebook is a globally popular site that brings people together from just about everywhere.  I found a group dedicated to the Cameroon Football (Soccer) Team.  Over 8000 fans from all over have joined and are updated on the happenings of the Cameroon team, though this would only really apply every four years during the actual cup.  But still...

     Many people today are under the impression that a social network, by default, gives the implication of an online network.  This isn't the case.  UNICEF has supplied the resources to initiate a support group for HIV patients in Cameroon.  This network consists of over 25 volunteers that provide emotional support.  They make frequent visits to the houses of those suffering and provide services. 



RR3: Beyond the Temple Form

Sunday, January 30, 2011

BP3: UNCG and the big ten

In class we have been discussing the Acropolis and the Xianyang Palace. We created a list of Ten ideas to further explore them. These ten ideas are: space, power, experience, principles, precedent, site, order, scale, technology, surface. When one combines this knowledge base with the campus walk that we took similarities and evolutions become very evident. The use of circles, stacks, and groups or groves is almost always in use, regardless of the time period the building was constructed.


UNCG is designed, like any college campus, to promote education.  It is geared towards making a student’s life easier by providing all of the necessary resources within a short walking distance.  When all of the basic necessities are accounted for, it allows the student to focus on an education. 


Campus life does not necessarily instill power in the physical sense, but rather power of the mind.  This comes through being able to fend for oneself without anyone’s help.  This sense of independence builds self-confidence and mental dexterity that will last a lifetime.  More than the lifestyle however, college provides for an invaluable education that, not only supplements independence, but is a major factor contributing to overall success down the road.  In the end, it is safe to say that UNCG is fully dedicated to the empowerment of its students.  Sir Francis Bacon once said, “Knowledge is Power.”  I’d agree.


  In class, we discussed the idea that only materials which were immediately available could be used for construction.  However, in this day and age where distance is no longer a factor for acquiring materials, I believe the general spirit of architecture has shifted from pragmatism to aesthetics.  Architects can choose whatever materials they please to give off a certain ambiance.  In this case, just about all of the buildings are composed of brick, stone, and glass.  The brick and stone are crucial to creating a monumental aura, while also giving a feeling of security to its patrons.


As a college campus, it is clear that an underlying principle behind the design is the relationship between students and the professor.  Though the professor is always situated at the back of the room (in relation to the doorway), this end is understood to be the ‘front’.  This idea in itself sets the professor up as an authority figure.  The students occupy the middle area, facing him, to hear the story.   



UNCG is located in Greensboro, North Carolina.  This appeals to me personally, mainly because this doesn’t give me too long of a commute.  Also, campus is not too far from downtown; this often comes in convenient when one wants to get off campus but stay in the vicinity. 


I believe UNCG has a very ordered campus, primarily because, of its high utility.  By utility, I’m addressing the convenience and accessibility of resources.  First off, the dorms are all clustered together, putting an emphasis on socialization among the student body.  Going from the dorms, we find the student health center, the dining halls and the EUC, in that order.  The most important buildings are in the closest vicinity of the living areas.  Beyond that point are all the buildings where classes are held.  From this arrangement, it is clear that UNCG was designed with utility and orderliness in mind. 


Scale could refer to either the actual physical size of the campus or the availability of opportunities.  However, I feel that the physical aspect is more relevant to our cause.  Compared to an average-sized person, the buildings are quite massive.


 Evidence of technology is clear just about everywhere on campus.  Computers, vending machines, heck even cell phones change the way we experience campus.  Unfortunately, these things only serve to eliminate the human aspect by making things impersonal and artificial.  It is interesting, then, that something like a building could possibly bring this personal aspect back to the college experience.  On many UNCG structures, there is evidence of Greek influences, most obviously in the columns.  Columns are remind me of the Greek Titan, Atlas, who hold the sky upon his shoulders.  To me, this is a very endearing notion. It gives the viewer a sense of welcome as if the building is being supported just for you to enter.  Maybe I just think the world revolves around me, but whatever...


 The surface of campus is probably more horizontal than vertical for the most part.  These aren't skyscrapers; the buildings span the surface much more than their rise.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

BP2: campus walk


     Last Friday, we took a walk around campus, observing the relationships between ritual and environment and how these interactions take place on a daily basis.  When we first left the building, the first example of stacking came in the form of a stone bench.  The three blocks were stacked in a  Stonehenge-esque fashion.  This stacking notion melds into the ritual of sitting seemlessly; as the stones are placed on top of one another, an individual perpetuates this idea by 'stacking' his own body on top.
     Our tour continued to a building in front of the parking deck (I've forgotten the name).  Upon climbing the steps the first thing one notices is the rows of columns.  Though they are placed in a circular formation, I have counted this as a grove because they are in pairs of two.  This basic idea stems to duality, but ultimately, to unity. 

     Inside the building, one is greeted by a large circular pattern upon the floor of the lobby, reminiscent of the sun.  This circle gives a sense of belonging and security, making it a prime aesthetic and ritual-based choice for this location. 
     When I left, I realized that this building was a perfect example of all three of the categories.  I have sketched what I took as stacking.   

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

new header? why not...

I tried thinking about what could possibly represent something as broad as my "essence" as a designer.  I started thinking that this something should be a type of drawing which I have done nearly as long as my drawing career and have continued finding ways of improving upon it even after all this time.  My first thought was literally, "hand!".  Around the time the other kids were doing turkey drawings, palms face down, I remember trying to draw it more accurately. Back then, I failed miserably.  In 6th grade, I was thrilled when I first managed a decent hand, only because, it looked so awesome on my drawings of Dragonball Z characters.  Now, I can crank out hands in just about any style.  So yeah, if I had to come up with something that identifies myself as a designer, it wouldn't be the idea of the hand, rather the process I've gone through trying to accurately depict the hand.  This  can easily translate when it comes to the process of design.