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My thesis title is Site as Education: Using Architecture to Communicate Nature’s Behaviours.

My thesis question is: how can architecture create a connection between children and nature?

The concept is to use a single architectural element that transitions between 5 different tectonic conditions of the site to afford unique experiences in each condition. The architecture is a simple wooden ribbon that twists, wraps, folds, flows and threads its way through the Serpentine Wildlife Area in Surrey, BC. As part of a larger ecological and environmental pedagogy and curriculum , the ribbon will form classrooms along the path for early childhood environmental education. By interacting with the architecture, the user will be encouraged to interact with their immediate environment.

Here are a couple images I have been working on:

Above

Birdwatching and jungle gym pavilion.

Kindergarten entry building.

Kindergarten entry building.

Here is my feeble attempt at some street photography inspired by Stephen Shore, for my photography elective that I’m taking. I decided to go heavy with the VSCO film presets on this one too for fun and to give it a more retro look. I’m actually not unhappy with the results.

I just picked up my camera and went for a walk around downtown Halifax, which really is only 2 streets (Spring Garden and Barrington). As I take more photographs and get into the “groove” while shooting, it becomes easier and easier to disregard how crazy I must look. I usually end up just going for the shot I want and don’t pay attention to how people feel about me taking their photo. Thus far, I haven’t been met with any hostility and people usually look like they feel guilty about “interfering” in the shot by ducking or sheepishly smiling as they walk by.

Short video of UBC Pharmacy while I was assisting architectural photographer Marc Cramer shooting for HCMA and Saucier + Perrotte.

This is my first video I’ve made on my own. It was shot over 2 days, and a day of learning FCPX and uploading. Next step is to start getting into the technical side of recording. I’m not terribly happy with the quality of what I got out of my 5dmkii which I think can be greatly improved with some simple adjustments.

Shooting video is much different than photos but I’m keen to learn the process and get a grasp on how to piece footage together.

Enjoy!

The Architect & Photographer from Ryan Nelson on Vimeo.

After a good night’s sleep and a leisurely rise, we made our way down to Stumptown Coffee for a scone and coffee before heading out. By the way, Stumptown makes amazing coffee. I usually just go for the drip but they only french press or espresso, really nice stuff.

After coffee we strolled around to get a sense of the city. It’s quite well layed out by quadrants, north-west, north-east, south-west, south-east. The only interruption is the north end on the east side of the Willamette River where it bends and offsets the grid. Streets are easy to navigate, avenues run north south and are numbered starting at the river and streets are named a-y (doesn’t reach z) running north from well, Burnside is the major boundary. Not sure what the plan was for streets south of Burnside… at any rate, on to the food!

Of course, Portland has a well established food cart/truck industry that is just awesome. Entire city blocks are lined with carts of all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, styles, and generate quite a bit of traffic. Apparently Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson visited Portland a few years ago and that’s the reason why Vancouver is starting to introduce food trucks. We’re big fans of Guy Fieri’s show Diners Drive-ins and Dives , yeah we know it’s terrible but it’s so fun! One episode he visited Portland and recommended a few places. One that interested us the most was Euro Trash. I ordered the escargot and A ordered the calamari baguette. The snails were drenched in butter, which is definitely not a bad thing, and came with some toasted garlic bread. A’s calamari came in a toasted baguette with a delicious wasabi dressed cole slaw. We carried our lunch to the nearest square and sat down to eat. Such a great start to our vacation!

After the arduous journey around the corner for lunch, we wandered around a bit more to tour some of the shops. I had been searching for a new camera strap to replace the one that comes with the camera. I found a few and a Portland leatherworker made one I liked. We found the shop and checked it out. I bought the strap!

Thanks A for the photo.

random bearded guy wearing a pink dress.

All this walking made us hungry… we almost felt guilty for more or less going from restaurant to restaurant but hey, we were on vacation and dammit we were going to enjoy it!

Most restaurants in Portland have a happy hour between usually 3-6 so we decided on oysters at The Parish for an appetizer before dinner. The service was excellent! We read some reviews complaining about the service and food, but it seems it must have just been a rough start because we enjoyed every moment! Both the servers were very knowledgable about the food and were able to identify each oyster. Our favourite were the Chelsea Gems from Washington, sweet and salty with no fishy flavour and finished clean. Of course you have to pair oysters with vodka martini’s too.

We asked the server to recommend a pizza place and she recommended “oh there’s a place around the corner, I think they make pizza.” Yes, they do make pizza. Delicious, wood-fired, hand made, artisan pizza. That place is Oven & Shaker. I’m a fan of the simple and fresh margherita so that’s always my basis of comparison for good pizza. I was SO happy to see a wood forno oven in Oven & Shaker’s open style kitchen and so we were looking forward to some great pizza! A ordered the bianca. Both were perfectly cooked with a nice crispy bottom and the dough was chewy and soft.

We’ll be back…

Eurotrash (Food Cart) on UrbanspoonOven and Shaker on UrbanspoonThe Parish  on Urbanspoon

I’ve finally gotten around procrastinating my procrastination to edit the photos instead of doing school work, which I’m already neck deep in because of procrastination. Enough is enough!

We were on the YVR – PDX train at 6:40am and on our way to Coffeeland!

We arrived mid-afternoon and decided we could just walk from the train station to the Ace Hotel where we were going to be staying. Portland is a great city for walkability and the walk only took about 15 minutes to get in. We chose to stay at the Ace because, well it’s super hipster and we figured it would be a fun experience. When in Rome.

After checking in and dropping our gear off we did a bit of research to see where we could grab a bite to eat and start checking out the city a bit. We saw that the Deschutes Brewery was nearby and decided to check it out. In Vancouver we do get lots of beer from all over the world but pacific northwest craft beer is a big thing so we do get some Deschutes and Elysian often. It was nice to be able to check out the brewery and pub though!

We got an outside table, it was still fairly nice out and warm enough to still be comfortable in shorts and a tshirt. We picked a flight of beer for each of us to get a good sampling of what Deschutes has to offer! I read on Urbanspoon that the elk burger is a must so I went with a medium rare elk and Alison went with another burger on special.

After dinner we went on a leisurely stroll around a few blocks to start scoping out places we wanted to go. We didn’t arrive with a plan, which was the kind of vacation we needed. Neither of us wanted to have a stressful jam-packed adventure that took us anywhere and everywhere with no time to stop and smell the roses. Our trip started blind and we just went with the flow.

After walking around a bit, we stopped into Whole Foods to pick up some beer (gotta love that you can buy beer from Whole Foods). I’m a big fan of pumpkin beer and we noticed that the New York brewery Southern Tier already had one out! We picked up a bottle of the Pumking Ale (and a few others) and headed back to the hotel to unwind for the night.

Excellent, low-stress start to our vacation!

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