Visiting the Salk Institute in La Jolla

Melissa and I just returned from a friend's wedding in San Diego, which was a great time to take a detour up to La Jolla and visit the Salk Institute. 

The Salk Institute was designed by Louis Kahn in 1960 for Jonas Salk, the developer of the first safe and effective polio vaccine. The goal of the project was to create a collaborative environment where researchers could explore and study potential treatments for a range of diseases. 

The Institute was wrapping up the restoration of the teak panels (see the black covered areas in the photo), but the experience was still incredible. I think that standing in the center court and gazing out to the horizon was one of the most powerful architectural environments I've experienced, and I encourage anyone who gets the chance to stop by and see it for themselves.

More information about the Salk Institute here.

 

Learning at TXRX Labs

The YAF DesignMake Residency is underway and I'm having a blast learning all sorts of new fabrication methods and technology. Here's an update of the latest activity:

MIG Welding & CNC Plasma Cutting
Working with steel. MIG Welding takes a bit of practice, but it's well worth the effort. Drawing custom shapes in CAD and then watching the CNC Plasma Cutter blast those intricate shapes out of steel plate has been my favorite experience so far!

 

Woodworking
Spending time in the TXRX Woodshop and learning to use the following tools: Compound MIter Saw, Planer, Jointer, Tablesaw, Bandsaw, Sanders, Drill Press, & Router. The Woodworking I course teaches safe and efficient operation of these tools as you create your own cutting board.

Programming
Learning to code and program the Arduino and Raspberry Pi. The architectural applications for these devices and remote sensors are limitless, and I'm looking forward to integrating these components into future designs.

3D Printing
Learning how to operate the Prusa i3 mk2 FDM printer. Modeling complex geometry and then watching it materialize in real time is incredible!

Designing and Building the Home Garden
Learning the basics of home gardening at Finca Tres Robles, a farm located in Houston's East Side just four miles from Houston's City Hall. They transformed a vacant 1.25 acre lot into a farm that is providing healthy and accessible herbs, fruits, and vegetables for the community.
Find out more about Finca Tres Robles here.

Presenting at TXRX Labs

Last Friday, I presented my progress on the Smart Garden at the TXRX Labs Open House. I have learned so much at TXRX Labs and it was great to share my experience with the community. Excerpts from my presentation are contained below:

 

Selected for AIA Design-Make Residency

I'm excited to share that I have been selected for the AIA Houston Young Architects Forum Design-Make Residency! 

logos.png

The AIA Houston Young Architect’s Forum Design‐Make Residency is an innovative program that bridges the gap between theoretical design and physical production. Throughout the program cycle, residents will develop their selected project and area of study, culminating in the production of object(s) to be displayed at Architecture Center Houston. The program provides support in the form of workshop space and access to tools via TXRX Labs, a non-profit maker space in the greater Houston area that offers courses and training.

My area of exploration is to focus on sustainable garden design and local food production for residential sites. Modular garden components, automated systems, including sensors and remote monitoring, will be part of my study. Given many surrounding areas best suited for food production are being lost to develop low density housing, investigating new prototypes for urban and suburban garden design has great importance for our sustainable future. 

Schematic Diagram of the connected smart home garden

Schematic Diagram of the connected smart home garden

Tools and Resources available at TXRX Labs

Tools and Resources available at TXRX Labs

• More information about the YAF Residency program can be found here.
• More information about TXRX Labs maker-space can be found here.

Volunteering with OneGoal Houston

Melissa and I visited South Early College High School to speak to the students about their college journeys with OneGoal Houston - more info here: http://www.onegoalgraduation.org

We had a chance to talk with them and answer their questions about specific career paths and college experiences. One of the students was interested in architecture, and we discussed the challenges and opportunities of the profession.