March Madness

March 9, 2017 — Leave a comment

I guess they call March “Iteration Month.” Essentially this means “design, sketch, scratch, repeat.” My whole building has to be figured out in about two weeks, after that, no more designing. Pencils down. But until then, I am about to blow through several sheets of trace paper, several micron pens, and several coffee cups. This is a really frustrating month because everyone knows what their designs are, what they entail, what they look like, but no one else knows. Being able to express all the hoopla happening inside your head so that other people know you’re as amazing as you do is really difficult. Some people know what their entire building looks like based on one drawing. Some people see it in a perspective, some in section, some in a site plan; and when you try to turn that amazing section drawing into a plan, sometimes it gets lost in translation and you’re stuck sitting there wondering “How could it possibly work this bad in plan when it works so well in section?!” It’s a strange anomaly only known to designers.

So for the next few weeks my desk will look like this – notice the laptop with several drawings, the copious amounts of trace paper, a variety of pens, a microwave dinner, empty coffee can, and, of course, red bull. This was taken at about 9:00pm the day before a review.

Oh – and happy spring break!

Midterm

February 21, 2017 — 1 Comment

In case anyone actually wanted to see some of what I presented at MidCrit, here it is!

Schematic Model Schematic Model Europe Nuclear Plants Concept Render Schematic Sections

This post is for anyone not familiar with the New England region.

Turns out – we get a lot of snow here.. maybe a little too much. We had the first snow day of the year last week, the day when we were supposed to have out MidCrit (midterm critique) which is a really big deal. It’s the kick-off Crit for everyone in Thesis. By now we’re all supposed to have concepts and schematic design ideas underway enough to start actually designing buildings after the MidCrit. However, mother nature apparently does not want us to design buildings because she’s bound and determined that we are not going to have a MidCrit. As I’m writing this, the city of Boston just went under a Parking Ban which is how you know the weather less than desirable. Essentially, the mayor really doesn’t want anyone on the roads because there’s that much snow. If you’re lucky enough to be from a tropical, warm climate and haven’t had the chance to experience a good ol’ fashioned Nor’easter, here is the view outside the 525 dorm this morning. Some people love it. Some people hate it. It’s just a part of life in Boston this time of year. It can actually make for some fun days as long as you have waterproof boots.

So here’s to another snow day! Sorry thesis – mother nature obviously doesn’t want me to finish you.

Huntington

One of the cool parts of going to school in Boston is we get to actually use sites in Boston as learning tools. I’ve taken so many classes that have incorporated site visits all over the city. I actually had one called Ancient Civilizations and we went to the MFA almost every week to learn about culture and art from the museum – needless to say, it was one of my favorites. My first year here I also took a class with Professor Louise Ascher called Boston Voyages. Since I’m really wasn’t familiar with any part of the city, this was the perfect class to take early because I learned a great amount about all the neighborhoods, history, and architecture of Boston – we went all over the place!

This past week, my Advanced Topics class visited the West End Museum – a very out-of-the-way, cozy little place near North Station that has the whole history of the demolition and rebuilding of the West End neighborhood. Most people know that Boston didn’t just appear over night as a city; it was stitched, dug, filled, flattened, burned, and built over hundreds of years. We had a great docent who took us out and around the neighborhood where we saw the the last tenement – the only left standing after the demolition of the West End in the mid 20th century. You can see in the picture how small it is! And it’s now being used as a billboard, but people still live there. The museum is full of old photos of what the area looked like when it was 14,000 people dense, as opposed to the current 5,000. As architecture students, we all agreed that the luxury high rise typology destroyed the authentic, organic character of the West End.

There really are amazing stories floating in this city’s history. I encourage anyone to take advantage of free civic amenities like this. I especially encourage any current or future students to take as many of these city-walk classes as possible because despite the fact that it’s 28 degrees out right now, it’s worth it.

IMG_7056 IMG_7065 FullSizeRender 4

Jump Start via Probe

January 18, 2017 — Leave a comment

Welcome to Spring Semester in the M.Arch Program!!

Thus begins the actual thesis work. Prep is over. Now we are DOING and MAKING! As per usual, we start the semester with a “hit the ground running” assignment called “the Probe”, as in  “probing” our ideas further than they’ve been before. The Probe is a large installation meant to poke, evoke, and experiment with an idea of our theses that is vital for carrying out the rest of the semester. Most of people’s work up until now has been in regular model, digital fabrication, and drawing methods. Myself – I’ve been working with photo montages to evoke a sense of passing time, which is pretty difficult to do successfully (just ask Marcel Duchamp). So I took this Probe assignment to tackle the idea of “time” in a new, large, 3D way. In the attached photos you can see mine; its the very white image with falling sticks intended to show the transformation of an object over an undetermined amount of “time”.

I have also attached some images of my friends’ Probes. I was actually involved in the photo shoot for my friend, Jim, who was experimenting with promoting social interaction through the use of ambiguous, theatrical toys – we had a lot of fun with that one. You can find all 80 of the photos on his flickr.

https://www.flickr.com/gp/146766246@N08/3i8o1D

Also check out the WentworthArchitecture instagram to see more of the work within the whole department this Spring. We’re producing work at an astounding rate!

Probes in Progress Probe - Me Probe - Jim M. Probe - Sabine D. Probe - Matthew R. Probe - Nicole M. Probe - Jim M. Probe - Jon S.

The Final Crit

December 9, 2016 — Leave a comment

 

I woke up this morning and said to my room mate, “I…I don’t know what to do with myself.” Because I could actually take this day off- which hasn’t happened in months, several months. Masters had their Final Crits yesterday. I think it’s safe to say that it’s the biggest day of the semester – it is a really big deal. Everyone is dressed up, freaking out, yelling at pieces of paper and computer screens, coffee cups galore, and some how everything everyone does ends up working out to turn white walls into pieces of art that represent 3 straight months of harder than hard work. So it really is amazing to see the work of 80 dedicated students all displayed at once, especially when we’re all tired and delirious so we’re all in awe thinking “How did we just pull this off?!” What makes Final Crit Day even better to tired, broke students is free food, with which the Architecture Department always comes through.

I’m happy to report that my own crit went really well – better than expected. In fact, most people seemed to be in good spirits at the end of the day. But, now I sit here really unsure of what to do with myself…

….Oh right! I have a whole thesis to execute!

Masters Studio night before final Crit. Aprox. 7pm

My Final Crit Wall. Aprox. 15′ wide x 7′ tall.

The Semi Finals

November 18, 2016 — Leave a comment

Can you smell that? It’s the smell of toner, overheating laptops, fixative, acrylic, and lots and lots of coffee. Walk into the studios this time of the semester and you’ll be in awe of how much stuff is around. Just stuff- almost anything you can imagine: models that are taller than you, bamboo sticks, concrete furniture, charcoal drawings so dark and precise you’d swear they were sharpie, plotter sheets like oversized streamers running along floors, copious shreds of sawdust from the wood shop, empty mountain dew bottles scattered on desks. It’s a beautiful site. When I first saw a scene like this, I was a junior in high school taking a tour of the Annex studios. My mother was a little disturbed by the chaos, I was inspired! Very rarely do people get to see the inner workings of the minds of designers, but enter the studios right about now and you’ll get an exciting show. You can feel the energy, it’s contagious, attractive, and exhausting at the same time. My mother couldn’t understand the appeal of seeing hundreds of students running a muck in what looks like a huge warehouse. She said, “Really? This is what interests you?” To which I replied, “Isn’t it beautiful.” Because my mom sees hundreds of students in a sleepless panic attack. I see hundreds of ideas just pouring out of creative minds in any and every way possible. Through paint, through graphite, through basswood, through plaster, through Photoshop, through Rhino, through the rigor and frustration and hyperproductivity that is required to express these hundreds of ideas! All of these students are full of amazing thoughts they need to release to the world or else they’ll just implode into creative abyss of antimatter. And there’s so many ways to do it!

Personally- I’ve tried every media and tool available (except the new 3d printers and robotic arm, I’ll get to those later). You name it and I’ve tried it – even the use of some toxic methods; don’t worry, I wore gloves. When you get to see all these ideas and media clashing together to create beautiful physical objects, it’s one thing. It’s a whole new level of satisfaction when you’re the one doing it. So we have an open house this weekend- TWO actually. And since we are in the three weeks leading up to finals, there’s A LOT of work to see from all the students.

As usual I’ll show off some of my own semi-finals work. I love the work flow of really intricate renderings. For this particular project my process is as follows.. Rhino>Maya>Rhino>Maya>Photoshop. This is the ideal workflow in one direction, In reality, there are a lot of backwards arrows as well, but hey, that’s part of the fun isn’t it.

Chelsea Gazaille Chelsea Gazaille Chelsea Gazaille

As an artist / designer, every time you produce something, you give a little piece of yourself away; you expose an idea that until that moment, only existed in your head for you to see. Every time you produce, you sacrifice something that was created in your conscious being and existed solely in you, something no one else had access to. Production is necessary in order to convey and share these pieces of ourselves with the world. As artists, we can’t be selfish. We must produce. We must share our ideas and give away pieces of ourselves. But, how many pieces can one give away until there is nothing left to give? Until there are no more ideas to share? Does this limit even exist? Ask nearly any of the MArch students right now and they’ll say “I’ve reached that limit.” It’s only the first week of November, and we’ve reached that limit. People around the world are biting their finger nails over the Trump v Hilary polls, and the 80 of us are staring at computer screens waiting for inspiration to hit so that we may produce. Losing inspiration is a tragic event, it means you have no more pieces to give. An uninspired, unproductive designer is cranky, grouchy, unsure of herself, and sometimes can even get to the point of not wanting to be inspired.

Creativity – a trait all designers must carry- is intrinsic inspiration. We must inspire ourselves. Our professors won’t do it for us. Our computers won’t do it for us. Our critiques won’t do it for us. We spend so much time talking with professors and advisers and looking at our computers that we’ve come to rely on these external resources as THE resources of inspiration. But that’s wrong. We are constantly thinking, therefore, we are constantly “idea-ing”. We must inspire ourselves with our own ideas in order to have new ideas. That’s what makes us artists in the first place right? No. Everybody thinks. It is the production of our ideas that makes us artists, designers, and architects. Architecture is the physical production of an idea. So for anyone at anytime who claims to have “reached their limit” or is “out of ideas” I recommend sitting down with yourself over a strong cup of coffee and have a long conversation with … you; pick yourself apart. Because you know yourself better than anyone, right? So inspire yourself and produce something worthwhile.

Just remember, “The limit does not exist.”

rules

Masters Film Fest

October 29, 2016 — Leave a comment

Hello again everyone,

I’m in architecture school, so why in the world am I talking about a film fest? Well, because in Wentworth’s grad program we use almost any and every method known to man to convey our ideas (of which there are plenty). For thesis, we’ve spent the past several weeks making iterations of drawings and models. But certain ideas just need a little … animation, hence the films. They’re only two minutes long, but that takes hours if not days of editing! I can show off the drawings I’m making into an  animation that I’m putting in the film or if you have two and a half minutes to spare, you can watch it on vimeo. I’m studying Ecological Urbanism and the interplay of the built and natural worlds; in my mind they’re the same, not two competing ideas. Hopefully that comes through in my film!

Also- it’s open house season! So anyone interested in seeing our amazing work in person should visit Wentworth October 30th, November 20th, or for just the MArch program, November 19th! I’ll of course be there giving tours and showing off everything my classmates and I do and hope we have a great turn out this year!Untitled-1psdThesis Frame_Chelsea Gazaille_ARCH9300_Prof. Aaron Weinert

How to Thesis

October 11, 2016 — Leave a comment

So…October…that means midterms are coming. Well in Architecture World we say “midcrits”. We don’t take exams in Architecture World. We don’t have to study formulas or memorize historical facts. We have to think. In Architecture World, you are judged not based on what you think but how you think.  How in-depth you think. How does your thinking affect that of others’? How does what you think matter in the grand scheme of things? How does what you think relate to what others think? How can you prove what you think? And this is the frustration of Architecture World; everyone thinks, so how do you know that what you are thinking is good enough? This is what Thesis Prep is for – to teach us how to convey what we think in words, graphics, and models. We have one Thesis Prep course for writing and one for designing/making. Marrying those two processes is how to thesis. Have you ever tried to draw a sentence? It even sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? “Draw a sentence.” Specifically in an architectural thesis, that sentence is a claim (a belief or an argument) and you have to prove that sentence with a design.

There are about 80 students in the Architecture Grad program doing just that. Each person has his/her own claim or belief that they have to argue and prove. I have to say – some of the stuff we come up with is out there, confusing, questionable, and nothing less than fascinating. This class is touching on all areas of the design spectrum; every idea from micro to macro scale; every question of the systematic and the ambiguous qualities of the built environment; every biophysical and ephemeral investigation. Within the room of the graduate studio, we have the most convoluted conglomeration of ideas. Check out this list of everyone’s topics! I’ve also included some examples of how I think, but, there is much more thinking to do.IMG_6467 IMG_6469 Gazaille_Chelsea_Weinert_Arch9300-03 Gazaille_Chelsea_Weinert_Arch9300-037