Jun 29, 2016

Hearst Castle

Yesterday I visited Hearst Castle for the first time. I was blown away by the estate, designed by Julia Morgan in the 1920s. The amount of detail in every aspect of the design was incredible. Every tile seemed like it was hand-selected.

The Neptune pool was closed for renovations but it was still incredible to see. My tour guide described how Julia incorporated antique and replica sculptures into the architectural decoration.

There are a number of guest houses on the property that surround the central Casa Grande.

They all have exquisite views of the ocean and immaculate gardens.

The tile work also really impressed me. Julia Morgan is known for designing her own tiles for projects and I loved the contrast between the blue and white custom tiles and the red terra cotta tile.

This is one of the towers in the Casa Grande. The two towers peek in and out of the trees as you approach the castle.

The front facade of the Casa Grande. It has a mix of styles and looks almost like a European cathedral.

The inside is just as beautifully decorated. Hearst loved antiques and art.

My favorite room was the Roman Pool. I had seen pictures of it before but to be there in real life was magnificent. The blue tiles sparkle and the water is perfectly clear. My favorite part is the cantilevered diving platform that adds depth to the space. If you ever have a chance to visit Hearst Castle, I think you should go just to see this one room.

If walls could dream... they'd dream of traveling back in time at Hearst Castle.

Jun 21, 2016

Sunset over day 2

Beautiful sunset over day 2 of the architecture workshop. Tried to capture it in a watercolor - almost there but missing some of the golden richness of the image. Happy summer solstice!

If walls could dream... they'd dream of golden fields after a long day of architecture.

Jun 20, 2016

Back at it

I'm back at Cal Poly as an RA for the Summer Architecture Career Workshop! I attended the workshop when I was in high school (you can read about my experience here) and now I'm back as an RA. I'm excited to get to work with all of the students and see the workshop from the RA side.

The first assignment of the workshop is to draw a towel. Here's my towel from three years ago - very timid and minimalistic - and a towel I sketched last night with the workshoppers - much more ambitious, almost looks more like a Gehry building than a towel.

If walls could dream... they'd dream of returning to where it all began.

Jun 17, 2016

Habitat for Humanity Dream Community

I had the great pleasure of working with Habitat for Humanity and a group of 5 other Cal Poly students to design a "dream community." We picked a site in San Luis Obispo that we think would be a viable option to build affordable housing on and then designed the site plan and floorplans for a prospective 30 unit neighborhood.

We picked this site off Johnson Ave for its views and relatively flat and undeveloped landscape. The site is next to an existing community garden and a bus stop for easy access to public transportation. It is only a short drive from downtown San Luis Obispo and within walking distance of hiking trails and a grocery store.

We fit all 30 units onto our site and decided to give them smaller backyards to allow for a community park area where there could be a playground or a barbecue area that would provide a sense of community. Every house has a front porch so when you're driving to work you can wave hello to your neighbors reading their newspaper and drinking their coffee or walking their child out to meet the school bus.

The houses are all what planners call "zero lot line houses" which I hadn't heard of before now. It means the houses sit right on the lot line on one side, giving them a larger yard on the other side instead of just two narrow strips of land on either side. The houses also have their garages in the back off an alley, creating a more welcoming and walkable streetscape. The houses themselves have an open plan kitchen and great room on the first floor and three bedrooms on the second.

This project was a great opportunity to see what it's like to design a neighborhood from start to (almost) finish and to get to work with students from other majors and different years (we had everything from a 2nd year mechanical engineer to a 4th year city and regional planning major.) Habitat loved our design idea and it was a pleasure working with them this year.

If walls could dream... they'd dream of designing a place where community blossoms.

Jun 16, 2016

Film photography

My new old toy, a Rolleiflex camera that shoots 120 film. I started using it this quarter and have developed a few rolls in the architecture department dark room. It's super fun and hipster and I'm really looking forward to using it in future projects! Here are a few of my favorite shots:

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