Thursday, December 27, 2012

Metabolism in New York?

One of the biggest differences between Los Angeles and New York is the direction in which people build. In New York you go North and South and in LA you go East and West. I am not saying one is better than the other, I am just stating the obvious. And when you think about it, the direction in which architects design reflects how we interpret when someone claims they are from that city. For example, when someone says they are from NY we automatically assume Manhattan because that is all that is shown on tv; towering skyscrapers that also go well underground. If you claim you are from the City of Angels people begin to ask "which part?", because most people not from the area believe LA is all of Southern California with arial views of the beach, Hollywood sign and Staples Center. Like I said, I am not saying one is better the other. Both have produced beautiful cityscapes, attract million of visitors every year and offer a fusion of cultures, which includes architectural styles, but there is one style that never was really established; a style that grows in all directions.

When I took Modern Japanese Architecture at Columbia I learned about metabolism. It was a style that originated in Japan by a small group of architects and the purpose was to serve the organic growth of large metropolitan areas. I understand that its aesthetic can be hard on the eyes, but with so many people concentrated in one area I would think there would be a couple existing examples in the States. Conceptually, I personally think it would help many large cities across the world provide housing for their rich and their poor, but the biggest concern is the execution of constructing these structures. The concept is easy: build a structural frame where you can easily insert and take out pod like pieces into the frame. The structure itself can also expand which essentially makes the cliche "the sky is limit" very true because there never really is an end to this style. The difficulty of such a style is connecting water and power sources, access points such as staircases and elevators etc. 

The renderings above are a proposed project by IAMZ Studio for a residential tower in Manhattan. If you never seen an example of metabolism I can see how it can be a radical form of architecture. The "Chlorophyll Tower" above consists of pods attached to a supporting frame. It is unaware what specific technology would be used, but the design will absorb CO2 and light and convert it into energy and make the building self-sufficient. The structure will also include public spaces such as restaurants and retail stores. There isn't much press about the project with only renderings and a few plans and elevations available, but it is enough to wonder why something like this is not in the NY skyline. Is it too radical for the U.S.? Is it merely just a fantasy rather than a reality? The last major metabolism project was in the 70's which reflects how hard or how disliked this style is, but for me we will never know until we try. Designers are way too creative to erect a completely flawed building, and as different as it looks, it is pretty cool. I would love to live in something like this, and it would address 2 major issues: pollution and overpopulation. Both of these issues are not at a high danger level, but they can be if new ideas and concepts are not generated to address them. Maybe and hopefully this can come to life, and LA will than soon enough construct its own.

Below are images of completed projects including Kiro Kurokawa's "Nakagin Capsule Tower", Shizuoka Press and Broadcasting Center and Marine City (which was never built).

Maybe I am bias because I like the architecture that comes out of Japan, but I believe metabolism is something that should be rejuvunetaed and taking seriously again. I can definitely see this style utilized in cities hosting large sporting events like the World Cup or Olympics. Think about it, hosting cities become overpopulated with passionate fans, with a lot of them struggling trying to find a place to stay. Metabolism will allow the construction of super structures that can be decreased after the event to prevent cities from being unable to keep them fully occupied and essentially costing the city millions of dollars. Also, if there is a technology available that converts CO2 and light into enough energy to not just make the building functional, but also help eliminate danger toxins from our atmosphere, than why not? 

What do you think? Will this tower come to life? and if it does, will other cities follow NY and begin erecting metabolic structures?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Arch+Details: Sustainability

The concept of Global Warming in recent years has instilled a lot of fear into scientists and the general public. Every year there seems to be more evidence that our planet is warmer then usual having a huge impact on weather patterns, and ecosystems across the world. Despite the troublesome evidence, humans can pride themselves on the ability to adapt to certain situations to continue our existence. One of the biggest aspects of our life that has been effected is architecture. You don't have to study architecture or be in architecture circles to know the word "sustainable" comes up in conversation a lot. When I got to Columbia it seemed as though the word was being used in every other sentence, and as I went through my 4 years I began to understand why. Maybe I am exaggerating that Global Warming has directly had an impact on architects, but I definitely believe it is not a coincidence "sustainability" has increased over the years with more and more evidence being published. For the sake of this blog post I am going to claim that I am not exaggerating, and that projects below supports my theory. A week ago I wrote about the fascinating National Stadium in Taiwan, and if you are not familiar with it, uses over 8,000 panels for its exterior skin on the roof. Projects like these are signs that architects are making a conscious decision in the materials they use. By creating structures of this nature, it reflects the adaptation humans are executing by living in self-sufficient homes and creating massive structures that use natural elements to its benefit. Sustainable architecture is definitely at its peak with awesome designs. Large windows, open floor plans and a strong sense of exterior and interior play are a few examples of what this type of architecture offers. Check out the cool projects I have found over the past couple weeks and jot down any similarities you see from photo to photo. Sustainable architecture is well and alive, literally! Enjoy!













Friday, December 14, 2012


Everyday we wake up with an agenda in our minds on what we plan to accomplish. Everyday we wake up eat breakfast and get ready for our day. Everyday we look forward to what the day has in store for us, and everyday we have hope and faith that we are destined for something great. This morning, along with the rest of the country, I was shocked and heart broken to hear about what happened in Connecticut. A gunman walked into an elementary school and reportedly killed 28 people, 20 of them being children. The other victims were school staff including the gunman's mom, who was a teacher at her school and in a middle of a class lesson when her son walked in and opened fire. It is sad that 27 people will never feel those emotions listed above again, especially the innocent children who lost their lives.

Personally I am pretty good in covering my emotions, but this morning I set aside my pride and had no shame in showing how I felt about this. Disgusted. Pissed off. Fucking frustrated. Scared. Shocked. Even as I am writing this I have that knot in my stomach and chills down my spine as I try to comprehend why someone would do this. I mean, what did those kids and the other individuals do to deserve this. They were doing the right thing; the adults came to work like any other day preparing their lessons for their students, and the kids came to class to learn because their parents emphasized the importance of an education and the benefit of receiving one. But for many if not all parents across the country, they are now horrified dropping off their children at school, and that is something they should never have to feel!! Schools should be one of the safest environments we provide for our children and it is disturbing that they have been the preferred choice for psychotic individuals to unleash hell. After I read this I texted my brother telling him I love him and that I am excited to see him grow up and be successful. I told him to always keep faith and work hard, because as horrible as this was, somehow someway we must keep hope that there is good in this world and that our brothers, sisters and children are destined to do great things. Of course we are scared for what can happen next, but I believe it is important that we remind our kids why they go to school. At the same time it is scary that the school my brother goes doesn't have fences,  allowing anybody to walk on campus and unleash hell.

It is sad to read Facebook statuses and tweets about people being scared bringing kids into this world because they fear that their child might have the same fate as of those who lost their lives this morning. I now fully understand why some kids get home schooled and why some schools have metal detectors. I am definitely relieved that today was my brothers last day of school for the Fall semester, but it is also sad I have to feel that way because schools should be a safe haven for our kids. Reality has shown us that there are evil people in this world, but we must have hope and have faith that the world isn't evil. Text your brother, sister or kids today making sure they are ok and telling them you love them. No parent should ever have to bury their child, and all my prayers go to everybody that lost somebody today, everybody that was affected by it, but I am also praying for our humanity because without it we are merely nothing more than soulless uncivilized vicious animals. Like I said, it is a unbelievably heart wrenching that these kids will never be able to Live their lives and chase after their dreams of being a firefighter or a singer. Let this remind us that life is too short to linger on and complain about small stupid stuff. For me it is has made me more grateful for accomplishing what I have been able to so far and having a family that loves me. But its has also opened my eyes that the name of my blog carries more than just the message of chasing after our dreams despite adversity, but being blessed to wake up everyday to physically see a new day and have the opportunity to chase those dreams.

Below is the article released by the New York Times about the shooting and a video released by CNN of President Obama addressing the nation, in which The President fought hard to hold back tears. Again, lets have all the families who were affected today in our prayers, and that they lives today are resting in peace and in a better place!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Can't Knock the Hustle: Tanya Rojas

Scenario: Your whole life you have been diligent in taking the necessary steps to accomplish a goal you have had your eyes fixed on. Outcome: Not reaching that goal was probably one of the best things that has happened to you so far.  

The scene above has different variations, but I am sure many of us have experienced it in some form or manner. Pessimistic people might say the scenario above is nothing more than an example of failure, but for people like me and Tanya Rojas, it represents better and bigger things. Sometimes we hit our target and we are not satisfied with the results and realize our heart was set on the wrong thing. Maybe you hit an unexpected road bump that alters your path and outcome, but that is ok. For Tanya, there were a combination of scenarios that at first might have seemed discouraging, but with an "open" mind and "open heart she was able to chase her true passion. I met Tanya while I was at Columbia. To be honest I didn't really get to know her, and we were introduce by her boyfriend. I worked with him so I would see her a lot around work and on campus. It wasn't until recently I learned who and what Tanya has been up too. Like I said, I didn't know what she studied or what she did other than being a great person. She is a fun person to be around, which at times resulted in having conversations about mexican food and how upsetting it is that New York doesn't really have any. Anyway, I have noticed that she has been hard at work promoting her movement/project titled Open.
Right away I can tell she was passionate it about it, and for me it sparked a big interest why I never heard about it while I was in New York. Day by day I would see photos and video clips about her project, including ways to raise money and throwing events to support her and her cast. I even saw a clip with Issa Mase in it (the first member of my "Can't Knock the Hustle" series), which was awesome because I enjoy when young creative minds are helping each other reach our goals. Then I started seeing other people share Tanya's work and that is when I took my time to read and learn what was going on, and it blew my mind away.

With the passion her dad instilled in her at a young age and with a single conversation she had with a friend, Tanya was inspired and pursued her passion for the arts and began to bring "Open" to life. And even though her Columbia degree has nothing to do with her project to the naked eye, her time at school and in New York does. With an open mind and heart, Tanya's passion is coming in full fruition. With the completion of her pilot coming this weekend, and having already the first 2 seasons of her series written, Tanya and her cast are on the verge of hitting their targets. "Open" is a series of young adults experiencing open relationships and dealing with the dynamic of having more then 2 parties involved; but it is just more than that. It is the journey of sexuality and fully coming into our own. It shows that not everybody believes in the same thing and that trying to find ourselves is not a bad thing, but one of the greatest experiences of life. Just because it may seem wrong to you doesn't mean you are right. There are no guidelines in how to live life and that is what Tanya and her 6 other friends and cast members display on the camera lens.

Check out the awesome interview I had with Tanya Rojas about her incredible journey to get where she is right now, and to learn a lot more about her series "Open"
Who is Tanya Rojas

For all my followers, subscribers and anybody reading this blog post I am asking for your help!!! Tanya and her cast need help in raising money for their project. We all know that production is not cheap and I am teaming up with Tanya to help her and her team reach their goal. They need $380 to reach $2,000. All we need is 38 people to give me $10 each which is not too much to ask. What if you were $10 away from reaching a goal?! Well that is all (but not limited too) Tanya and "Open" are asking for! Below is the link where you can make a contribution, and if you look at the list, there are cool incentives for certain contribution amounts! Again, please help Tanya out. They need to reach this goal by tomorrow and it would be incredible if we can make it happen! I appreciate everybody who helps. Any amount works, but we are hoping 38 people can generously donate $10!!

Contribute Now!!: Open

It is awesome finding and discovering young and creative minds chasing their passions and doing whatever it takes to accomplish their goals. I respect and applaud Tanya and the rest of the team at "Open" for their dedication and hardwork, and I know soon enough we will be watching them on television! Below is the link to Open's Facebook and Twitter page! Don't forget to donate! I did!!

Facebook: Open

Twitter: Open

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Want to say thank you for everybody who wished me a Happy Birthday. I definitely felt the love this weekend and I am glad I made it out alive. Felt great spending my birthday at home for the first time since I left for college. Spent it with my friends and the people I love! Can't believe I'm the big 23, definitely feel older than that, well at least my body does. (I can thank football for that). Last but not least, want to say Happy BDay to my #1 ninja: my twin brother Daniel! He's been there since day 1 and even before I came into this world lol. Proud of his success, and I am definitely looking forward to making the big 24 a better and bigger year!