There are several unhappy things happened in Taiwan recently. These let me feel sorry and uncomfortable over night. I hope that time can fly faster in order to let me come back to Taiwan early. Today, I have finished all the application works including CAAD Futures registration and funding support from NSC and the reward of journal paper in CYUT. All I do now is to wait for the results. In addition, I have reviewed all the TKU students' assignments for my "Urban Space" course. After the dinner with Bob and Kristina, they give me a ride to my apartment in Cal Poly Pomona Univ..
After taking Prof. Wu's class, I go to the Facility Department to change my office key. The new office is room 3, which is located behind IDC too. I like the new office better than before, because it has a window for casting sunlight into it. Unfortunately, there is no phone right now. I and Prof. Axel, who comes from Vienna and worked for Morphosis before, have a lunch together in an India restaurant near the campus. We have a very nice talk for the CAAD curriculum, design works, our families and future collaboration (such as an international digital design workshop or forum). Interestingly, his advisor for graduated study in Vienna Univ.of Technology is Bob Martens who is very famous researcher in CAAD domain. I met him in the several conferences before. By the way, I really like his old but elegent car even though it has no air conditioner.
Eason has the review today. The reviewers are Prof. Sasha and Prof. Adam. Although they think that Eason's work is interesting and good, I still worry about the schedule and accomplishment of his design work compared to my previous students. I think Ben has the same situation too.
I get the email from 陳上元 (the alumnus of Tunghai University), who is the Ph.D candidate of 成大 in CAAD domain. Now, he is the faculty in the Department of Architecture in 逢甲大學. He invites me to teach a digital design studio (fourth year design studio) in his department in the next year. I am very willing to teach for my design and research interests, but I still should check out my schedule in the next year. I think that his department will focus on the digital design as their important design curriculum. Due to there are no classes today, I spend most of time to read CAAD papers, especially in the Interactive Architecture (or called Responsive Architecture, Intelligent Architecture, etc). It is the new approach to architecture design through the integration between engineering, computation and behaviors. In addition, it more focuses on micro rather than macro in the design process. The technology takes advantage of diffentent kinds of sensors, actuators and programming languages (such as Basic Stamp). I think that it can be an interesting course to integrate architecture with technology for the technology-based universities such as CYUT.
After taking Prof. Wu classes, I think that the most important thing that CYUT students should learn from Cal Poly students is the learning attitude. The learning attitude encourages Cal Poly students not only to focus on the architecture design, but to desire to learn other related knowledge. This is why I seldom find their students absent in Prof. Wu classes. I am happy to join the review for Ben with Prof. Nardi and Prof.Sasha. I really agree with Prof. Nardi's comment about the issue of the relationship between culture and architecture. This is why I asked Ben and Eason to explore and analyze the site conditions delicately in Taiwan. In my opinion, the touching and promising ideas (such as space, form, material, etc) all come from " how do you see the site penetratively". This opinion is similar to Steven Holl's idea "anchoring". By the way, Prof.Luis invites me to join their mid-term review on Friday. Joyce and Jason are in his design studio.
Due to Joyce and Jason will have the mid-term review tomorrow, I go to IDC to see their design works. Unfortunately, I do not find them in IDC in the early morning. Three weeks later, all CYUT students will have their final reviews in their design studios. I hope that they can do their best to accomplish their design works sucessfully. Their sucesses will win the honor for our school, our department besides themselves. At night, I have a meeting with Eason to discuss with his thesis design. During this period in Cal Poly, there is one thing which annoys me very much. It is " how to balance between encouragement and challange in instructing students' designs?".
I am invited by Prof. Luis to join the mid-term review for fourth year design studio today. The design theme is related to the urban design project in El Monte. The design studion is divided into three sections which are instructed by Luis, Sarah and Mitchell. Each section includes 5 teams (3-4 students in one team). Besides me, there are other juries that are invited too including Prof. Kip, Prof. George, Prof. Irma nd Prof. Willson. It is a really complex design project which is not only for the site condition and its program, but also for the students' collaboration in the design process. Basically, the design schemes can be classified in three different approaches: urban pattern approach, urban program approach and urban strategy approach. Some teams indeed make the good jobs for the design project.
Besides the three approaches, I think that there are other three important issues that should be addressed more. They are 1) the relationships between the site and the its sourrounding areas, 2) the quality and activity of the open spaces they create and 3) the typology (especially in plans and sections) of the different kinds of urban massing. Today review lets me remind my advisor Lee Hodgden's (taught in Cornell University before) statement "the urban design should start from looking for a promising urban issue, and then use a simple concept to solve it". I really agree with him.
Due to Bob will pick up his fixed car, we (including Kristina) go to Fry's for window shopping first, and then go to the Toyota factory in El Monte to pick up this car. Interestingly, the factory is like a huge shopping center for cars, including car dealer, car trade in, car maintain, car parts selling, other accompany restaurants, etc. Bob tells me that this factory is the largest and best selling for Toyota cars in U.S.A.. I will leave for Taiwan three weeks later, so I and Kristina go to the Old Town in Pasadena to buy some gifts for my family. She buys a very elegant and expensive garment for Jesse in the Banana Republic store. Before the dinner, we go to the Cold Stone to buy two cups of ice cream for our desserts. This ice cream store is very famous for its customer made by mixing different ingredients with its special ice cream on a cold stone.