Friday, June 29, 2012

the end of an eRa

As proud Rutgers alumni, we at dimensions would like to thank Richard L. McCormick for his hard work and dedication to our University during his time as president.  We would also like to welcome Robert Barchi and wish him the best of luck as he looks to continue to growth of Rutgers.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Owning vs Renting (or in this case subscribing)

Ben posted about software a few weeks back and I recently have been researching options on purchasing said software (Adobe, etc.).  I came to learn about 
Adobe's Creative Cloud.  Instead of a one-time-fee purchasing type, one can subscribe. 

I believe there to be many perks, for instance receiving the most up-to-date versions and upgrades, Cloud storage, and even prototype program releases.  There are also cons, which are mostly based on the user.  I one were only to use 1 or 2 of the programs, and is not interested in receiving and exploring cutting-edge technology, then it may not be necessary.  

Adobe says  that it aims "to provide you with maximum flexibility, lower cost of entry, and most importantly the ability for Adobe to deliver cutting-edge innovation on an ongoing basis, to keep you ahead of the changing technology and device landscape."  

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

static mobility

Perhaps the best function of LinkedIn is the links to many interesting articles on the homepage. The latest article I came across deals with the decrease of social and income mobility in the United States. After I read it the first thing that came to mind was the notion of mixed-use and creating vibrant neighborhoods, public spaces and streets.

How do we truly design for a variety of people, ethnically and across the spectrum of class and wealth. How does the design of vibrant and diverse neighborhoods accommodate the needs of many without compromising the expectations of the few? 

If mobility lacks, then I believe design needs to stitch together classes by overlapping uses so the strong dividing line between this neighborhood and that neighborhood vanishes. This is true for rich, poor and somewhere in the middle. If we erase the physical distinction of wealth and class perception, then maybe it can remind people that going up or going down is still possible.

There's something quite interesting about those interstitial spaces between one particular setting and the next. It challenges the notion of remaining stuck.

Monday, June 18, 2012

15 things...

Great blogpost on Swiss Miss about Charles and Ray Eames.  It includes excerpts from a trip that Keith Yamashita went on to the Vitra Design Museum and his reflections on the exhibition and unique relationship of Charles, Ray, and the world.

All points are great and fascinating, from No.1 "Keep Good Company." to No.2 "Notice the Ordinary." to No.13 "Make design your life. And life, your design."  

Which one fascinates you?

I especially like No.10 "Zoom out." and idea of the "relative size of things in the universe and the effect of adding another zero."  Made me think of a very short series of images captured during a trip through the Blue Ridge Parkway:


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

software updates: friend or foe?

Design firms come in many different sizes, shapes, and types, but one thing they all have in common is the their software.  It's rare that you find an architect, landscape architect, interior designer, graphic designer, or any other design professional that has not heard of either Autodesk or Adobe.  Both of these companies lead the way in software production for all design firms, producing programs such as AutoCad, Maya, Revit, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and Dreamweaver (just to name a few). 

I recently received an upgrade in hardware at work and as I was re-loading software, I began to wonder about the about the methods software companies use to update software from year to year and started to question these methodologies..

As many of our readers know, Adobe just released their latest "Creative Suites" package - CS6.  The new software is said to be a total overhaul in programs with new features added for a more productive use. Also, for the first time in Adobe's "CS" package, all programs will be 64-bit compatable, allowing for a huge boost in speed and quicker production.  This update, from CS5 to CS6 took a few years.  Adobe has been consistant in their releasing of software, allowing for some time between updates. 

Autodesk is signficantly different than Adobe in their approach on software updates.  Each year, Autodesk releases new versions of their software, claiming that they've added new features and have fixed "bugs" in their older versions.  These updates have consistantly been questioned by designers all over - and it shows! Each year, design firms question, "Is it worth updating this year?"  And each year we hear the same answers, "No way, it's not worth it until it becomes the industry standard!"

This is where I am beginning to question software companies (and more specifically, Autodesk).  They have found a way to release a new versions of their software every year, without once getting questions from their consumers.  Are we being treated fairly as consumers, or do we deserve a more fair system?  What about the added costs of updating?  Firms all over are still using outdated versions of the Suites and Autocad due to the added costs of these programs.  Wouldn't it be more fair if rather than needing to install a new version of the Creative Suites you could update your software with newer features for free?  As a consumer of these systems I find that it is unfair, and yes, these software companies are taking advantage of us.  It's time for a more afordable system to be put in place.  A system that can be more fair for both the providers AND the consumers!

Monday, June 11, 2012

pursuing what you love

One of my favorite blogs I recently came across is Brain Pickings.  Interesting articles about a variety of subject matter.  A number of recent posts on there are inline with it's only text posted a few days back by Ed, and below are a few that discuss pursuing what you love.

How to Find Your Purpose and Do What You Love

#5  Conan O'Brien's speech is hilarious.  

#5 1/2  In light of the recent passing of Ray Bradbury, Brian Pickings also includes a bonus speech he made where he advocates for doing what you love.  Fahrenheit 451 is one of my favorite novels I have read to date.

"Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you'd drop dead in ten seconds. 
See the world. It's more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories." - Ray Bradbury

simple texture

Friday, June 8, 2012

it's only text

In the case of design, this is far from the truth. However, I just came across an article about a recent commencement address. The speaker makes the claim that none of us our special because of trophies, accolades, awards or anything of the like since, throughout our country and the world, there's someone else who has the exact same thing. I just posted about LEED and other certifications the other day, and ironically, stumbled on this article today.

The full transcript can be found here. Below is my favorite line from it:

"... I urge you to do whatever you do for no reason other than you love it and believe in its importance."

I'd say life and design are one in the same.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

brownfield redesign competition

Here's an interesting and worthwhile competition to enter. The deliverables are rather minimal, timeline is decent, the site is high profile and the problem is complex and allows for wild idea generation.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

line items on a resume, yawn.

Lately, I've been spending some time contemplating the value of LEED, CDT and other potential certifications that look nice on a resume for a landscape architect. I can't rationalize dedicating a large amount of my time reading through LEED literature or memorizing numerous pieces of information to eventually apply to some test. I want to design, I don't want to pad a resume with some titles after my name or line items in a "certifications" section of a resume.

When I've had this conversation with others in the past it's usually always the same answer. "But if you're not going to get all of these certifications, how will you ever stand out when you apply for graduate school or look for new jobs in the future?" My answer is, "because I like to think, generate ideas and string together a set of ideas to do something that lets me apply what I know in more complex ways then memorizing test material." Cue the eye roll.

But, regardless, I believe in it. And, if I see a resume of a prospective employee or intern I care more about how you applied knowledge in a unique way or pursued radical ideas. So what do I mean? I'm thinking about anything from publishing an article in a magazine, starting a blog (hello), starting a company (go big), managing a team for a competition, speaking at a conference or voicing opinion and ideas in any public forum. This is a small list, maybe a bit far reaching, but it's all about the idea of actually standing out instead of fitting in. More and more people have some bundle of letters after their name, but only few have something interesting to talk about when it comes to doing something different.

We're not doctors or lawyers. To practice we need to have that ever sought after RLA, sure. The additional items may add some characters to a resume but sure don't make a coffee conversation very interesting.