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College of Design

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Housing Higher Densities

With my senior year approaching, I've been thinking a lot lately not only what sorts of jobs to look for after graduation, but also where I plan to live. While I very well may stay close to my roots in Minneapolis, there's always a chance that I'll take on a larger city such as Chicago. Regardless, I have decided that beyond my days of living in the off-campus neighborhoods of Dinkytown and Southeast Como, I will likely choose to live in a higher density housing complex.

While apartment/condo living isn't considered by many to be the most "ideal" living situation, I would debate that there are many different ways of looking at it. Well designed and constructed multifamily housing complexes mixed development complexes go in line with the smart growth urban planning and transportation theory. Smart growth essentially aims to create "compact communities" that create a more practical, sustainable, active, and convenient civic life for inhabitants. By increasing density in both housing and commercial structures, along with other land use and design considerations (the UMore Park Project is a good example), it has been observed by many as a way to make the city universally accessible and pleasing to all, while preserving civic culture and reducing the effects of suburban sprawl.

Current version of UMore Park's Concept Master Plan, adhering to several key concepts of smart growth UMore PArk.png Cobalt Condos in Northeast Minneapolis. cobalt.jpg

Hope you all are staying cool in the heat.

Housing Studies

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Make Your Space Like a College Student

Hello again!

I have been living on campus in residence halls for the past 3 years. As an architecture student, it's very important to me that the environment I live in doesn't feel like a jail cell. So, I would always do my best to turn a 10' by 13' room into heaven on campus. However, heaven doesn't come easy. There are many rules and restrictions that are/aren't allowed in residence hall rooms. When I got my room assignment, I imagined it with a walk-in closet, tons of space, and shelves strategically placed on the walls. Then, I found out that puncturing walls in any way is strictly prohibited. I can no longer install shelves in the dream was crushed.

With the help of my brother, we came up with a wall-shelf system. We built a self-standing wall with lumber from a local lumberyard, and we attached shelves on the wall we created. Screws were used in this project in place of nails which makes it possible to be taken down and rebuilt several times. I have been using the same pieces of lumber for the past years, and I will reuse them again this year. It's all reuse, reduce, and recycle!

White couch in the middle was originally 2 used yard chairs covered in pillows and fabric. Wall-shelf is on the right of the image.

In addition, I visited the University of Minnesota Reuse Program for room furniture and other final touches. They have tons of merchandise from all of the University departments for purchase and some are FREE. The prices are amazing! I highly recommend that you check this place out before you buy anything for your room/apartment elsewhere. Microwaves, mini-fridges, and futons are popular among students. They have it all, many for less than $10. So, you will be saving money and our planet at the same time.

Reuse Center, image of office chairs, image of used printers

Stop buying new items and choose to go green with reused items instead! They open on Thursdays from 8am-8pm. If you plan on living in a residence hall/apartment, your housing assignment is coming out on July 31st. Remember to reduce, reuse, and recycle when decorating your room!

See you next blog,
Beau S., Architecture B.D.A.

Return from Long Beach!

I'm back in the Midwest folks! Overall it was a great week! I had a lot to do, and it was rather stressful at times, but it was super fun and I learned a lot!

It started out with my flight being delayed 7 hours, which was annoying but not awful. I got into the hotel Monday evening and caught up with the other student assistants. Three were from the University of Minnesota, all studying apparel design with me, and a few others were from other schools and organizations around the nation including Missouri and North Carolina! It was great to meet new people and connect with the professionally and personally.

Wednesday and Thursday I assisted with two classes with instructors other than Dr. Dunne. In one I learned about indigo dying methods and techniques, which was great to add to my knowledge of surface design. (I have taken two different surface design studios at the University and loved both.) The other was about using the thermal plastic properties of fibers (synthetic fibers that react to heat and can be permanently pressed into a shape) to create flattering designs. Both great classes!

Dr. Dunne's class was Friday afternoon and it was fabulous. It was great to see so many new people learning and being successful with electronics and fabrics! We helped the students with creating circuits that powered LEDs, light sensors and vibrating motors. The true test of knowing something is to teach it, so now I know my knowledge of e-textiles to be good!

Below is a picture of some pieces Dr Dunne created to show as examples for the workshop:


Lucie, Apparel Design

Cake and Eat it Too?

no bikes blog 5.jpg
My thoughts are stemming from a discussion I had with my Tree Trust "A Crew" kids today. As some of you know my crew consists of eight 14-18 year old high school students from Minneapolis. Today we talked about global warming and shared our thoughts, opinions and solutions with each other. Most of my crew has never left the United States. During our talk we discussed electricity, solar and wind capabilities, problems that arise from overuse of coal burning and fossil fuels. They also breached the topic of the ozone layer, erosion, and drought. I never would have thought young adults in this technological age would be so aware and present about the environment; at least not in public! When I was in high school being environmentally aware was not cool.

I was completely taken back by how much my kids knew about global temperature changes and their effects. Solutions posed by 15 year olds: ride bicycles, turn the water off when brushing teeth, electric cars: Conservation principles!!! Some of which I didn't learn until college, and some which many educated adults still do not completely understand or follow.

For instance the Twin Cities has a lot of roof top businesses. Roof top restaurants and social event spaces are common in most cities, including Minneapolis, Stellas Fish Café, Solera Bar, even at the University of Minnesota's Coffman Union Campus Club.

roof restaurant blog 5.JPG
My question is why do we not utilize these spaces for urban gardens OR even use them as living/green roofs together with the intended money making function? How cool would it be to have a salad at Solera-Cocina that was made from vegetables growing around you? We as an adult society need to make some renovations and improvements to the space we already inhabit. People are making things happen all over the world to improve their global footprint. I'm not saying we don't have living roofs or are not making things better, but why are we limiting so much potential energy and space saving to one-use solutions? Can we have it all?

The future generation of thinkers is looking hopeful, so why shouldn't we do something to enable them sooner rather than later?

Another Internship Update...

photo-2.jpegSo I'm just hopping into the sixth week of my internship, and with two weeks to go after this one, I'm kind of bummed. Interning makes time absolutely fly, but I wouldn't change a thing because I'm having fun and learning tons! A huge project of the store and one of my main focuses has been the front window display. With the Back-to-School season coming, it's prime time for retail stores, and Urban Outfitters specifically (that's where I'm interning) to change it up and revamp for the new shopping season. It's been an exhausting process working on so much display stuff, but it's been good for me too. Doing this internship has given me a more realistic and wellrounded perspective on what the job of a merchandiser actually entails. It's great getting this point of view because now I can decide if this is a job I would like in the future or if there are other things I'd like to explore. Below I've added a picture of the finished window display -- Let me know what you think!!

Ashley O.
Interior Design

Some Wonderful Places to Eat! Part 2

Last November I wrote a blog about some great restaurants to check out on, or near, campus; the list got lengthy quickly and I had to leave a few places off. Today, however, I thought I would do a second installment of that blog post and give you all some more choices concerning food and where to eat.

Al's Breakfast- Located on 14th Ave. in Dinkytown. This is the go-to breakfast place for UofM students; the restaurant is really small, so waiting in line should be expected. However, if you ask anybody they will tell you that it is definitely worth it!

Mesa Pizza- Located on 4th St. in Dinkytown. This awesome little pizza place has the most delicious, yet strangest, assortment of pizzas. You can get anything from pepperoni to Mac n' Cheese pizza, and just about everything in between.

Vescio's- Located on 14th Ave. in Dinkytown. This is more of a sit down restaurant compared to the other two. The Italian food served at this place is delicious, yet affordable! Also a personally recommendation, you must try their raspberry cake!

So there you go! Happy Eating! Also here is part 1 of the list- 'Some Wonderful Places to Eat'

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(photo credit:,

Sasenka- Retail Merchandising

Summer is flying by!

Shoot. Is it really already almost August? This summer has been going by FAST. Working two jobs and going back and forth to southeastern Wisconsin the past few weekends has really made time fly by. My poor car has been really racking up the miles, as I have been going home to help my parents move into a new house and helping them prepare for my sister's wedding. It's a really weird feeling coming home to a new house when you have lived in the same one since you were born. It's especially weird and kind of disappointing when your new "home" still looks like this.


Hopefully after everything is finished it will feel like the home I used to know. My parents wanted my "graphic designer" opinion on paint/tile/other-thing colors for around the new house. I don't think I actually gave very good advice- house decor is not my thing, but I tried! That counts, right?

Anyways, my sisters wedding happened and it was really fun, except for the part where I Screen Shot 2012-07-24 at 10.58.41 AM.pnghad no voice due to the fact that I was getting over a cold. My voice was cracking and squeaking like a prepubescent boy whilst talking to people that had not seen me since I was a prepubescent boy, oops. The ceremony/reception were in an awesome old brick building in the 3rd ward of Milwaukee. Everything turned out great! Despite having no voice, I could definitely still dance. Here is my sister and I dancing it up. Don't worry, those are definitely root beers.

All of that traveling back in forth didn't leave me much time to make some progress on a few design projects I have been working on. Luckily, of the two clients I have been working on projects for outside of work, one is my roommate and he is pretty understanding of me needing a little more time to work on our project. My roommate is a computer science major and has a lot of experience developing mobile games. Together, we are working on a new game that is kind of like a combination between Scramble with Friends and a regular crossword puzzle. More on that when it is closer to coming out!

That's about it for now. Make the most of the last month of summer!

Sean M.
Graphic Design

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Summer Reads

I've been doing a lot of leisure reading so far this summer, like a lot compared to other summer breaks. I think that most of it has to do with the extreme heat we (and the rest of America) have been having weather-wise. Air conditioning for the win.

Anyways, here are a few good books that I've enjoyed so far this summer:

151296-L.jpg snowchild-lg.jpg 200px-Hunger_games.jpg

Nature and the Idea of a Man-Made World by Norman Crowe is actually kind of a re-read from a previous design theory class, but it has a lot of interesting housing-related material that we didn't cover in class. It's actually an interesting and intellectual book that would be good for any prospective students out there looking to get a head start!

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivy has recently become one of my favorite novels. It's loosely based on an old Russian folk tale and takes place in the 1920s Alaskan frontier. An older couple without children move north to the Alaskan wilderness to start a new life, when they start seeing a little girl in the snowy forest outside their makes me miss the snow so much. I'm pretty much ready for winter to come.

And obviously, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I'm probably the last person I know who hadn't read this book. Regardless, it was a good read and also a pretty decent movie.

Any of you all read any good books this summer?

- Jesse
Housing Studies, B.S.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

M is for Minneapolis, Minnesota

Hello again!

Last week, I decided to go around town and explore the architecture of Minneapolis. One of many plus sides of being in the Twin-Cities campus is you have opportunities to the resources of 2 cities, Minneapolis and St. Paul. They offer many great things like beautiful places, employment, internships, and even theaters and restaurants. So, I took a trip just couple blocks away from campus to visit the Mill District area.

It only took five minutes of a bus ride to get there. My bus stop was at the Metrodome, home to our Minnesota Vikings football team.

Just two blocks away, there was the Mill City Farmers Market which happens every Saturday during summer. Locally produced products, vegetables, and live music!


This is me with "Strawberry and Basil with Aged Balsamic Vinegar" sorbet. It is beyond amazing and that cup was clearly too tiny.

Talking about the Mill City Farmers Market, we have the Mill City Museum located just a couple steps away. It used to be the largest flour mill in the world. It is currently being preserved as a historical place.


Right next door, it is our famous Guthrie Theater. As a student, watch out for those discounted tickets available for you. Now, you can to enjoy great performances while not killing that money tree you have.


Keep walking around, you will find the Gold Medal Park next to the Guthrie. This nicely designed landscape is open to public. Great place to walk your pets, bike around, or having one of those free dates. As I walked along the pathway, I found sexy light poles everywhere. makes little things in life so much more pleasant.

There are so many more things in the area that it will take several blogs to cover it all. So, I will leave the rest up to you to explore them yourself. Maybe start with your neighborhood or hometown. You will be surprised.

See you next blog!

-Beau S., Architecture B.D.A.

Long Beach next week :)

Next week is the week! I will be in Long Beach California for the Hand Weaver's Guild of America annual conference, Convergence 2012, to assist my professor Dr. Lucy Dunne. Dr. Dunne is the featured speaker of the conference and will be teaching a work shop as well. Her seminar is about electronic textiles, fibers and fabrics, and how they can be used in fashion to create useful as well as aesthetics products. Her workshop will be focusing on using electronic fiber optics, vibrating motors and LEDs to create designs in fabric. This Friday I have a meeting with Dr. Dunne to go over the projects and material for the conference, which should be a fun time!

I will leave for the conference this Monday morning and arrive that afternoon. I then have a meeting with the other student assistants. Going to a large school like the U of M gives you great opportunities like this, to attend conferences and events and meet lots of new people from all over the United States, and world! I then help with set up and starting the conference and assisting Dr. Dunne and my other instructor, Dianne Totten from Michigan. While there I also get to take part in classes and conference events in my down time. I'm super excited!

Here is an image of a past project Dr. Dunne has worked on that will be similar to what her seminar and workshop will be focused on. The petals of the flowers are attached to a vibrating motor that is activated with a touch sensor, so when the wearer is hugged the petals flutter and move about! So cool!


Lucie, Apparel Design

Internships and Informationals

My summer is such a whirlwind; it's busy every minute. I seriously think that sometimes I'm busier now than I ever was during the school year. I know that's probably not actually true, but for now, it really feels like it. For the most part it seems that I just always have somewhere to be, someone to see, or something to do. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm definitely not complaining over here, I'm just saying it like it is. Although the summer has been busier and more hectic than I can sometimes wrap my head around, it has also been lots and lots of fun.

I think I told you guys I'd give you a heads up on how my informational interview went, so here goes. I met with a woman named Jenn who works as a Marketing Director for an up and coming boutique. I'm sure you're wondering why I met with her if I'm studying interior design, but I believe it's good to create a wellrounded network of professionals because you never know what sort of connection might come up. It's was a brief meeting, but really fun too! We met at an adorable café in Edina and chatted about careers, career goals, and personal lives. She's so nice because she's genuinely interested in getting to know me and really just helping me and giving me advice. When we said goodbye, she said I could always call or email and she even recommended a few internships for me next summer.

photo-5.JPGAlso, if you follow my blog, then you'll know about my current merchandising internship with Urban Outfitters. I'm a few weeks in and it's been one heck of an experience so far! Since I also work there as a sales associate, Urban has pretty much become my second home. I'm always there interning, working, or let's be honest, shopping. It's really cool though because I'm building relationships with my co-workers and managers, something I value as priceless. Like I've mentioned in previous blog entries, I'm interning for Sarah, the store merchandiser. With the Back-to-School floor-set changes underway, it's been a very busy time for us. What's great about this internship is the inside peak I get at the planning process, action process, and result or aftermath of what we have done. Another cool thing is the freedom to do a few projects on my own. Sometimes I get to dress forms according to what I think will be best, or today I got to merchandise some of our Entertainment shop. We also read floor plans and elevations to relocate some of our fixtures for the coming season. Another project I worked on involved creating signs for each new shop our store will feature. Check it out in the picture I've uploaded.

If you have any questions about my internship, or really anything at all, please don't be a stranger and drop a comment below!

Until next,
Ashley O.
Interior Design

Networking: Early and Often!

I learned a lot in my first two years in the University of Minnesota's design program, but a skill that has been the most helpful by far was learning how to network with other professionals in the design program. Networking with professionals in the design field helped me to find where to focus my design interests and has given me inspiration to push myself to get where I want to be after school. Reaching out and asking questions to a stranger can seem really intimidating at first, but it's something that gets significantly easier the more you do it. It is estimated that at least 60% of jobs are found via referrals due to networking, so it is important to start meeting and greeting as early as possible! Here are some tips to get started with building relationships with design professionals as soon as you can.

1) Get on Twittertwitter-bird-light-bgs.png

Okay wait, Twitter? That's professional networking? Well... sort of. While you may not be directly talking to professionals, most Twitter users allow others to follow them without permission. This means you can follow design firms, agencies, and local or worldwide design professionals and see what they are up to. Producing insightful tweets and even mentioning a firm or professional in a tweet when appropriate could net you a follow from them. Designers love Twitter, and often look to a fellow Twitter user's profile to find out more about them. This is where I want to emphasize having a professionalTwitter account. If you already have one where you blab random stuff to your friends, make a second account with a simple username (e.g. your name) that doesn't link back to your other account.

2) Go to Events

Design events are one of the easiest venues in which to strike up a chat with another design professional. If the professional is speaking at event, you can be almost 100% certain that they will take some time to talk to attendees after their presentation. There are a huge number of great design events happening all the time in the Twin Cities, but the College of Design holds a lot of great events two. Check out Design in 7 and Dirty Laundry and keep and eye on your email for invitations for design firm tours.

3) Meet with professionals

Believe it or not - if you ask nicely, most professionals will be completely enthusiastic about meeting at a coffee shop or letting you come into their place of work so you can take a look around and ask them some questions. Design pros were once in the same shoes as you, and the majority of them are completely willing to give you some advice.

If you are interested in learning more about networking as well as building a design resume, portfolio and more, I highly recommend taking the optional, 1 credit Career and Internship class offered by the College of Design as soon as your schedule allows. The class is only half a semester long but has easily been the most helpful class I have taken in my college career. Really though, I'm not just saying that. Take it!

Sean M.
Graphic Design

Lets Make Friends!

Hi friends! How did you all celebrate the 4th of July/weekend after the 4th? I spent mine with friends at the lake. We soaked up the sun and played some fun water sports. I had a blast hanging out with 35 fellow college students and got to see such a wonderful display of community. I have talked about friends and finding the right community at school in previous blog posts, but it's definitely something worth mentioning again.

(This is me and some of my closest friends from school; the one on the left was my freshman year roommate and I consider her one of my best friends!)

Finding the right fit in friends is very important, especially during your freshman year; the friends you make your freshman year will most likely be the people you continue to hang out with throughout college. This might not always be the case because you'll definitely be making friends throughout the rest of the years too, you just have the greatest opportunities during your freshman year because you'll be living in the dorms and running into potential friends all the time! I suggest taking total advantage of these close living quarters; expose yourself to many different people and make as many friends as possible until you find your fit. You are probably off to a great start already, I'm sure you've already made some connections during your orientation sessions. Maintain those connections and definitely continue to build new ones because you never know, you could already have met your future best friend!

Sashka - Retail Merchandising

Monday, July 9, 2012

Going Up North Ya Say?

I love vacations and traveling. It seems that no matter where you go when you travel in MN you "go up north." I went out of town last week for the 4th. I drove "up to" Elysian, MN (...never heard of it either) with my boyfriend straight South on 35W. We stopped a couple times at typical non-descript rest stops...reminding me of the archetypes of American landscapes described by J.B. Jacobs in "Discovering the Vernacular Landscape" which I read last fall thanks to LA 1201 Professor Pat Nunnally. The American suburb and its sprawling strip mall conveniences Jacobs would classify as 3rd landscapes. Post World War II uninspired and rarely differ in materiality, design or services no matter your location: voila! your Home Depot, Starbucks and QwikMart will be set in large store front with bigger parking lots that would appear the same in Phoenix as in Cleveland.
The cabin was more of a lake house and came with a speedboat, pontoon, fishing boat, water skis and tubes, about 10 beds, and insane amounts of food and drink on the ready. We had a blast. As usual the boyfriend and I had a silly trip of fun and laughs with our friends extended family and their 4th of July 2012 midweek vacation fun fest 2012. To both the Anderson / Olsen families of MPLS thank you so much for welcoming me into your cabin. Which, I decided, is more like a lake house. I tried to figure out what the differences were when swimming around the lake early Thursday afternoon. It is not clearly an issue of class in MN to own a cabin or even land. But when your cabin has multiple stories, heat and air conditioning, or even a might be time to ask yourself, do I own a lake home? On my trip to Lake Francis there were was a clear hierarchy of homes. Not spatially around the lake, but dispersed throughout the shoreline the height, grandeur and private amenities changed every 20 feet.


But the fireworks were an amazing display of small town excitement and lasted for almost an hour. Lucky we didn't have an a-bomb style 4th of July like San Diego! It's the coolest 15 seconds of mechanical failure.

So check it out. Get out and about as they say here and enjoy the summer and any free time you get!