Thursday, September 29, 2011

GHM Presentation #2 - Conceptual Ideas

On Wednesday we had our second presentation/meeting with the GHM committee and we presented our conceptual ideas that we have been working on since the last time we met with them. Paige and I presented the Old and New board, which had a combination of ideas on it. It had a neutral color scheme with the addition of red for an accent color, my proposed desk and kiosk idea, an extra kiosk idea by Alex, then the circulation chart and perspective. They really seemed to like the ideas that we presented them with and they had a lot of helpful feedback. Here is some of their overall main comments:
  • like the desk idea, its contemporary design, and how it reflects the curvature of the space
  • having more than one kiosk but not so many it is overwhelming
  • would the desk be able to accommodate for two people sitting behind it
  • make a timeless design because these ideas may not be implemented for several years
  • some said they liked Alex's kiosk idea and felt that it would draw people over to see what it is because of its abstract design whereas some felt it might not be inviting enough
  • some of them said they liked the color scheme and how it can go with things such a moving exhibits and banners because of the neutral colors while others felt that the colors were not welcoming enough
  • adding shelves for information pamphlets on bands of the desk
  • felt that the wood idea related to our color scheme was a good idea
  • wireless kiosks so that wires don't interfere with the space
  • like the mobility of everything
  • liked how ideas reflected each other without being the same
  • they liked the interactivity and entertainment of the kiosk
  • want us to think of more multipurpose things
  • they liked how the red stood out in the color scheme
  • want us to play around with the idea of traditional vs. modern and twist the two together to create something unique
This meeting was really interesting and informative. I feel like we got a lot of great feedback from them during this meeting and we can take what they have given us in this meeting and move forward towards more refined ideas.

The process in which we presented the information went well, however I wish that we had more time to talk with each group, because we were getting a lot of great feedback and then every time the time limit seemed to cut it short. I think that it was helpful to have more than one person presenting each board because then if one of us forgot to mention an important aspect about our board then the other person usually remembered to bring it up and we could ping pong the presentation between each other so that we could share in the presentation work. I think overall the way that we presented the information to them went really well and I think we got a lot of useful information from them that we can work off of and have even more ideas for them in three weeks when we present to them again.

D.C. Presenation

During the class trip to Washington D.C. I was assigned to visit the National Museum of Natural Science, the National Museum of American Indian, and the American Art Museum and Portrait Gallery. The thing that I chose to focus my presentation on was the circulation through the lobby spaces and the museums as well as way finding and curiosity. I chose to focus on these aspects due to the fact that these are all areas in which the Greensboro Historical Museum needs improvement. I thought that the Natural History Museum was the most successful museum, because of the successful circulation and how it was designed to show you little windows into the exhibits to draw you into the spaces and experience the museum. There were signs for clear way finding and the space was very exciting and inviting. The circulation tough the lobby space of the Natural History Museum and into the exhibits made me think of a spiral, because you have to go out around the lobby in a circle to get to the exhibits and then you have to do the same thing on the second floor. The American Indian Museum also had a similar spiral formation in the lobby but I did not find the circulation in this building or in the American Art Museum to be as successful as the Natural History Museum.

I thought that the trip to D.C. and then the presentation tying together our current projects with some of the things we saw in D.C. was very useful. I did not take the time to really practice my speech so I feel that it I had the presentation could have been much better. I need to work on not using verbal fillers such as um and just pause to collect my thoughts instead. I have had a lot of speakers from the speaking center come in to several of my classes especially in my communications class I took last semester so most of the information that they covered I already knew but it was still helpful. I did not visit the speaking center before this presentation but I have been to the speaking center before. For the next presentation I intend to visit the speaking center to get helpful advise on my presentation and to practice more to improve my speech.

Original Presentation Slide
Edited Presentation Slide

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Diagram Portfolio Page

Photoshop Madness

For this assignment I had to choose a picture or pictures that I took in Washington D.C. and then alter them in photoshop. I chose to use two of the pictures that I took in D.C., one of the Capitol Building and one of a metal tree sculpture in the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden. I wanted to combine the two images so first I took away the sky in the photo of the Capitol Building to replace it with the sculpture tree. I then cropped out the extra stuff in the background of the tree photo and then flipped the image so that it looked more like lightening strikes rather than a tree. Then I combined the two images by putting the tree photo in a layer overtop of the Capitol Building background. Then I started messing around with the contrast, exposure, and brightness to see which looks I liked the most. I also played around with the alterations to change the appearance of the photos and the paint bucket to change the colors. I ended up really liking a lot of the photos that I produced so I continued to play around with it to see what I could do with it. I liked them so much I put most of them up on here because I couldn't chose just one image of my creations.

Original Photo of Capitol Building

Original Photo of Tree Sculpture

Capitol w/o Sky

Capitol Photo with Tree Sculpture

Image 2

Image 3

Image 4

Image 5

Image 6

Image 7

Image 8 and possibly my favorite one

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Have you seen the light yet?

This is an photo of a staircase that I found online that I thought was really interesting. The photo was taken by Nils Eisfeld and the photo is titled "Enlightenment". I think the photo and the staircase itself are both very interesting. The photo captures the image of a lightbulb created by the staircase and the light entering the space at the top, which I'm guessing is one of the effects the designer of the staircase had planned. Whether it was planned or not thought it still creates a very interesting effect in a unique way.

Spinal Staircase

I found these images of this really interesting and unique staircase under the architecture tab while browsing The staircase was designed by Philip Watts for a private client in Northampton. It is a sculptural staircase that is made of glass and timber. I think that it is a very interesting way to design a staircase and it makes it a functional work of art for a building.

Another staircase that Watts designed is the one shown in the images below that was designed to be a centerpiece staircase in a room more another client in France.

These images and images of other sculptural staircases designed by Philip Watt are available at

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Meeting with GHM staff, volunteers, and people from the community

On Wednesday Sept. 14th we went over to the Greensboro Historical Museum to meet with some of the staff, volunteers, and other people from the community to talk about the lobby space and the museum. Before we headed over to the museum we had a discussion among our group about what kind of questions we needed to ask them to find out more about the museum and what they wanted to see changed about the space. Some of the questions that we came up with to ask the staff of the GHM were:

  • What should stay in the lobby space and what can go?
  • What are the other uses for the lobby space over the course of the week, month, or year?
  • What sort of budget we are dealing with for this project and how that will effect the project?
  • What image should be conveyed though the lobby space?
  • How does/should the lobby space fit within the image for the museum as a whole?
  • What is the current amount of storage space and does there need to be more/less?
Before we presented to them what we had noticed in the space we had each of them come up with at least three things about the lobby that they feel needs improving. The ideas that they came up with were:
  • make it look more like a museum
  • make sure all of the systems (lighting, signs, electrical, etc.) work together
  • making a bridge from the parking lot to the museum to connect the two
  • create a more warm, open, and inviting space
  • make parking lots more attractive so people are drawn in
  • use a way finding technique such as signs so people know where to go within the space
  • update things within the space such as flooring, wall coverings, and furniture
  • make welcoming feature the first thing you experience when you enter the space without changing the volume of the lobby space
  • improving the acoustics of the space to help with the noise
  • creating seating within the lobby that invites people to sit down within the space
  • possible turning the space outside the lobby into an amphitheater 
  • making the space flexible for all of the different events that take place within it
  • making an info kiosk in the space
  • a way to control the natural light entering the space
  • engaging space to make people want to go look at the rest of the museum
After we heard some of their ideas on the lobby space we presented some of the things that we have noticed and discussed about the space. I presented the information that we already knew about the GHM and some of the things we had already completed in the space. These things were looking around the space, taking measurements, drawing up elevations for walls and ceilings, exploring exhibits and discussing them, and then talked about about idea of improving the lobby space in terms of circulation, identity, and unity, which were the three most important things we found that needed improvement. 
Then we talked within our groups at our table about the questions that we had come up with before the meeting. Their answers and ideas were:
  • make the staircase grander so that it stands out like it should with its large size
  • change wall coverings to something more interesting while still maintaining the integrity of the space
  • putting in more modern furniture
  • putting in different flooring rather than tile that is there now to help with sound
  • strip away some of the traditional things to make the museum more interesting
  • want us to come up with conceptual and logical ideas so that there will be a variation to pick from and maybe combined together to be used
  • making a method of way finding in the space so people know where to go
  • the space is used for: receptions, exhibits, luncheons for the city council, board meetings, and intermission space for shows in the auditorium
  • the image they are trying to show is welcoming, museum atmosphere, public place, and show what is happening at the museum with banners
  • want museum to embrace the history of Greensboro
  • put featured artifacts on display in the lobby to encourage people to want to see more
  • fix the slope outside the entrance because it can get slippery in the winter
  • having slip resistant flooring so people don't fall and get hurt
  • having advertisements for the museum around the city
The people in my group also gave us two other successful places to look at for ideas and inspiration. Those two places were the International Civil Rights Museum and the Metropolitan Museum in New York.
Meeting with these people was very helpful to see what is needed and get some good ideas. I am looking forward to working on this project.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Blog Assignment 001 - Industries of the Blind

When we first walked over to the Industries of the Blind last Friday I was not quite sure what to think because from the outside the building is really bland and does not stand out at all. Then when we first walked in and all I saw was white wall I was still a little worried that this might not be a very interesting visit. However, after the visit I have realized these original impressions are not true at all. There is a cute little relaxation garden at the bottom of the front staircase that is really pretty but given what they want in their space this garden does not fit at all. I think instead of a garden it would be a lot better if there were some kind of display there to show some of the interesting products that the people working there have created.

Garden Area

The second floor of the lobby space was still not very exciting with all of the simple white walls and I think would really improve with the addition of some colors. I like all of the windows in the conference room because it adds a lot of natural light to the space and gives the building a connection to the world outside.

2nd Floor of Lobby

2nd Floor of Lobby

I think that David Lopresti seemed like a great supervisor and he would be enjoyable to work for. I think that having him as a boss is one of the things that makes these people so happy to come to work everyday because it is a very free and enjoyable environment and he treats them all with kindness and respect.

David Lopresti

I think out of all the products they are making over at the Industries of the Blind the one that I find most interesting is the pen for the military that can be taken apart and used for some many different things if it is needed. Mr. Lopresti said that originally the building had windows into the factory space on the first floor but then they removed them because they did not want people to see what they were doing and I think that it would have been better to leave the windows in. If they had left the windows in then they might have sparked some interest in the people walking by, because they stuff they are doing in there is really interesting and now they have removed the windows but now they want them back for around that same reason. It is great how this company has given these people another chance at having a normal life; given them back their dignity, and how they are treated no differently from someone else so that they wont feel different. In this company you matter as a person not whether you are blind or not. The Industries of the Blind is a very open organization and it makes it fun to walk around and see what they are doing, all of the people are really friendly and nice to be around. Mr. Lopresti said that one thing they really strive for in this company is eliminating the idea that blindness is a disability. As I walked though the space I noticed that there is a lot of wasted space in some areas, which seems like it could pose a problem with people who cannot see because there is nothing for them to go by to get through the space. Even being able to see I still was not really sure of the correct path though the factory space.

Factory Space

It was really fascinating to see them making all of their products, shirts, harnesses, pens, pants, and neck pads and seeing how efficiently and precisely they complete all of their work. 

Shirt and Harness designed for the Military


Pen making process

Clipboard Machine

Shirt making stations

Protective neck gear for Military use

I think overall the spaces could all really use more windows to give the space itself a little more pleasant feel so that the space with match the people working there. I also think that if the interior of the ceiling with all of the wires, pipes, etc. was covered up that it would not be as distracting because I think that all of that stuff showing took away from some of the other stuff and made it seem too industrial. I really enjoyed touring the Industries of the Blind and meeting some of the extraordinary people that work there.

Even more pictures:

Gaylord Opryland Resort and Spa

I think the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, Tennessee is a really interesting building. My favorite space within the building is the huge covered food court area in the picture above. There are trees, restaurants, water falls, rivers, gardens, relaxation areas, and more. I think it would be really awesome to have one of the rooms with a balcony that over looks this huge area. I like how the giant glass roof lets in all of the natural sunlight and how you can almost feel like your outside. This space reminds me of the Crystal Palace where the first World's Fair was held. I included a picture of the Crystal Palace below to show how I think these two spaces look alike.

Image from:

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Walk Around the Greensboro Historical Museum

The Period Rooms and Pottery Display
The first exhibit that you come to in the Greensboro Historical Museum is the period rooms and the pottery display on the second floor of the building. When you come up the stairs this first exhibit is located though a set of double glass doors to the right. The first thing that caught my eye when I entered the first exhibit was the bright lighting on the pottery display cases. In the center of the exhibit is a blue banner hanging from the ceiling that says “The Art of Turning Clay The Bluethenthal Pottery Collection.” Then below that is an information panel with writing by Charles G. Zug III talking about pottery collections. Surrounding these things are large glass display cases filled with different kinds of potter such as bowls, plates, pots, vases, etc. Along the wall in the largest of the display cases, which is located to the left, is a timeline about the story of Jugtown pottery starting in the year 1915 and ending in 1983. As I circulated around the display in the center of the space I saw all the different pottery in all different shapes, sizes, and colors and there are information panels above them about how they were made and the stories behind each different kind of pottery. Then there is an outer part of this circle that is where the period rooms are. They are less noticeable than the pottery displays because they are not nearly as brightly lit as the pottery exhibit. There are four rooms around this half circle hallway. There is The Belle Meade Parlor, The Belle Meade Dining Room, The Belle Meade Bedroom and then The Mendenhall-Simpson Room.  The three Belle Meade rooms are recreated from the Belle Meade which is a Greensboro home built in 1867. I think that the pottery display works a lot better than how the period rooms are shown, because the pottery cases are very nicely lit and they stand out when you enter the space and your eye knows where to go to follow the information provided. Whereas with the period rooms they are very dimly lit and they do not stand out from the dim hallway they are located on.

"Voices of a City"
After exciting the first exhibit you come to a space that leads to two of the other exhibits. Up the stairs to the right is the “Gate City” exhibit and then to the left is the “Voices of a City” exhibit. However in the middle of this space there is a tall desk in the shape of a butterfly plan but there is nothing being displayed on the desk and it makes me wonder if it was there before the building became the museum and they just decided to leave it be or if it is occasionally used for some purpose and if so what is it used for. I decided to go through the “Voices of a City” exhibit first before going to the “Gate City” exhibit. In the front entrance of the “Voices of a City” exhibit the name of the exhibit is on the front wall of the exhibit in silver metal letters and you have to walk around that wall to get into the exhibit. Along the other wall on the hallway leading to the exhibit there is quotes in a tan yellow color that is a good contrast from the dark walls. Once you come around the corner you see all these pictures of different sizes placed in a timeline form along the wall. The timeline starts in 1756 and ends in 2008. The events and images on this timeline are related to the history of the city of Greensboro and represent some important events in the city’s past. The pictures show a hierarchy with their varying sizes and the largest ones have a lit up frame to show that they are the six boxes with audio clips to them. In the next room over there are display cases filled with the tools of the first people to live in the area that we now know as Greensboro. Then as you walked though the room it went though the people living in the city. I thought it was interesting how there was a wagon against one wall and I wonder if the ones that they used were all that big, because I never realized how large they were, it makes even our large SUVs today seem small. The images of the green forest landscape in the on the walls forming the back drop for the materials in this room helps to remind you that once this area looked much different from how it does now, back before all the concrete, glass, and steel. As you continue though the exhibit you come to the time in history when the area first became known as Greensborough rather than Greensboro. This part shows you how the city evolved as they started farming in the rich soil, crafts and trade, the idea of mass production and the creation of factories and mines, and making toys and other things for fun leisurely activities. The next two rooms of this exhibit go into further detail about some of these ideas such as textiles and the different processes that came about to make them.  Then in the next too rooms it talks about two of the major issues taking place at the time, which was the polio epidemic and segregation, which hit home in Greensboro with the Greensboro sit-ins.  The final three rooms of the exhibit are much more brightly lit than any of the other rooms in the exhibit and represent Greensboro’s recent history with its formation into a college town and the formation of downtown Greensboro.

"Gate City"
The “Gate City” exhibit is located on the third floor of the museum. I found this exhibit to be the most interesting of the exhibits, because of how it is laid out like a small town. It has a tree in the center of the space surrounded by park benches and then along the walls are shop fronts built into the wall and murals of different buildings. There are even street lights evenly places around the space to give it that little town feel. To add even more to the space there is soft music extra noises such as church bells chiming, children playing and laughing, and car horns. I think this exhibit would be the most interesting to people of all ages, which the museum is trying to attract and draw into the history of Greensboro. In this miniature town there is the Crystal Theatre, Richardson & Fariss Drug Store, Miss Lina Porter’s Schoolhouse, The Hotel Clegg, and the Steam Fire Engine Company No. 1. Within each of these little buildings is a room representing what the buildings looked like at the time. Inside Miss Lina Porter’s schoolhouse there is a desk with a glass top to show you what kinds of things could commonly be found in a child’s desk at the time such as marbles, books, paper, pens, the pieces for a game of Jacks and some loose change. In order to exit the exhibit you have to walk through the Hotel Clegg and out onto the third floor of the lobby to get to the next exhibit. In this way it forces you to at least interact with one of the spaces within the exhibit.

"Down Home"
The final exhibit I visited was the “Down Home” exhibit, which tells stories about Jewish life in North Carolina and their history in North Carolina. One of the first things that I noticed when I entered the exhibit was the music that was playing. It was music traditionally played in a Jewish Synagogue. There is also a video that plays in a loop showing the Synagogues around North Carolina. The part of this exhibit that I though was the most interesting was the model of the Synagogue that showed how the inside of a traditional Jewish Synagogue is set up, which I though was really fascinating to see since I have never been inside of a Synagogue and had no idea what the inside of one looked like. There were also glass display cases of objects important to the Jewish religion and the practices of its people such as the Menorah and the Kippah. This exhibit is filled with stories of how some Jewish families made it despite all of the adversity they faced in their lives. I feel like the exhibit could have been made more exciting with the addition of more colors to the exhibit because there is not very much contrast or color with in the space or the materials in the exhibit. I think that if the walls had been painted another color other than white it would have made the exhibit stand out more or if there was more color within the materials on display. There are only some little areas of color with the information panels, which one is blue, one is red, and one is purple. However, I also think that this exhibit had a lot more going for it in terms of lighting, because almost all parts of the other exhibits were not lit very well.

Gift Shop
I do not think that the gift shop in the Greensboro Historical Museum is not very conveniently placed, because I think that it makes more sense to have a gift shop placed where it can be viewed either as you are entering or exiting the building. However, with the GHM the gift shop is placed between two exhibits and because of that it has to be visited while viewing the exhibits or you have to go back through part of the museum again to come back to the gift shop. The gift shop sells mostly things centered around North Carolina, which I think makes sense based on the fact that the museum has the history of Greensboro and some history of North Carolina. The gift shop also has a lot of hand made things that are made by local people, which I think is really interesting to have. There is also other things like books, games, stuffed animals, dolls, pottery, educational materials, and jewelry. I think that this space would help you understand the museum better either before or after viewing the museum. I think that the gift shop would be more successful at what it is trying to achieve if it was placed within the lobby space in front of the auditorium where there is a small exhibit placed now. 

One thing that they did in the museum that I thought was successful was how there were not only signs to differentiate between the different exhibits but also the floor treatments would change from one exhibit to the next, which helped with the transition. I feel like the museum could really use more natural lighting within the exhibits, which makes me wonder if it was just because of how the building was that there is no natural lighting or if it was done to protect the materials in the exhibits. Plus, the artificial lighting in the space could also use some work, because that is really the only kind of lighting in the exhibits and it makes the spaces very dark and dreary. I think that if the lighting and the colors were more vibrant then I think that the energy of the museum would be greatly improved. I feel that it the period rooms would work better if they were separate from the pottery display, because with where they are now the pottery display just over powers them and I think each of these two exhibits needs to be able to stand it its own spotlight.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Greensboro Historical Museum Diagram

This is my diagram of the lobby space of the Greensboro Historical Museum. I did a exploded axonometric to show the three floors of the lobby space and the spiral staircase connecting the three. Then I used bubbles and leader lines to show certain details out to the side. In these bubbles I decided to focus on the details of the lobby space that we are going to focus on improving to make the space more successful.