Here's isometric drawing #2. It's my house! This one also took 1 hour +, but I already feel more comfortable with this drawing style. I am able to draw in between the grid lines and draw more details. Looking forward to drawing more spaces.
I am continuing my drawing spaces project, but I upgraded my drawing style to isometric drawings. These drawings are 3D and use an isometric projection, where the angle between any two coordinates (x, y, z) is 120˚. This offers a 3D view of a room that is unlike how we normally perceive the world, as it doesn't have perspective. The resulting feeling for me is of peeking into a miniature world where its inhabitants are momentarily absent. The space feels alive, interactive, as if you could reach your finger into the page and actually pick up the objects drawn on it. Because I want my book to feel approachable and interactive, I think this is the perfect illustration style.
This is the first isometric drawing I've done, and it's of a room in The Public hotel in the LES. I personally love the space, and I work out of it a lot. It's very open and breathable, while at the same time it maintains a sense of coziness. They have a big table and couches, so you can either come here and chill with friends, drink coffee and read a book (couches), or do work on your laptop (tables).
This drawing took me an hour, which is a long time. I'm hoping with practice I can get better/faster.
I have been experimenting with ways to add a quantitative dimension to my thesis question. I decided to build a wearable that could measure a person's Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) and send the data to my phone, as well as upload it to a cloud. GSR can approximate a person's arousal state. The idea is that I would walk around different parts of an environment with a user, while the user has my wearable on, and I could correlate physical features with physical arousal state. This would tell me what physical features evoke positive and negative feelings.
Although the wearable "works," it doesn't do the job I was hoping it would do. GSR data is not a very clean dataset to begin with, and it also doesn't quite tell a person's state quite well, as sweat can influence its values a lot.
While traveling to New Orleans and Philadelphia, I started noticing non-verbal communication examples. It all started from the chair with the rope, which I saw at a former plantation in the countryside of Louisiana. It made me wonder: what are the benefits of non-verbal communication, if any? Is it calming? Is it less intimidating? Does it make our lives easier? I feel like non-verbal communication, if effective, is like good UX design: we don't notice it. So I guess I'm just trying to give a shoutout to this medium of communication that I think is under-appreciated.
There are plenty of good reasons why you should travel. The most compelling one, for me, came from a really unexpected place: a book about urban planning and psychology. For my thesis project on built environments and well-being I've been reading "Welcome to Your World: How the Built Environment Shapes Our Lives" by Sarah Williams Goldhagen. In making the case for why urban planners and real estate developers should incorporate human-centered design principles in their work, Goldhagen presents how the built environment affects us from a cognitive psychology perspective. She claims that when we recall an autobiographical memory, we also recall the spacial context (a room, a street) around it. She further explains that long-term, autobiographical memories are stored within the part of the brain called hippocampus "and the adjacent parahippocampal region," which are parts of the brain that also facilitate our ability to navigate spaces. This all means that memories and spaces are inextricably linked.
Goldhagen also talks about another cognitive science fact that is really important in the context of spaces and how they affect humans. When we navigate spaces, we have two kinds of cognitive responses to them: direct and indirect. I'll only talk about indirect since it relates to this topic the most. Indirect responses "originate in the cognitive schemas we construct throughout our lives as we learn to inhabit the world." These schemas are metaphors of sorts, in the sense that content is transported from one place to another. An example of a metaphor that Goldhagen gives is when you're looking for a new apartment and suddenly you step into one that makes you feel a sense of "home." The home part is a metaphor: it is a combination of conscious and non-conscious cognitions you have assembled from memories and have distilled into "home", now an unspeakable, pleasant feeling. This is all to say that, the feelings we experience in unfamiliar environments are a summation of feelings we experienced in environments with similar elements.
These two conclusions, namely that:
1. Memories and spaces are inextricably linked;
2. The feelings we experience in unfamiliar environments are a summation of feelings we experienced in environments with similar elements.
accrue sensational importance in the context of a book set to expose the poorly planned and non-human-centered designed spaces we inhabit and spend all of our lives in. But most compellingly, they also tell us about the importance of traveling. Combine them with this other quote from Goldhagen's book:
"We cannot recall a memory from our past without revisiting at least some elements of the place where the original event occurred, if not consciously at least non-consciously. What follows is that place-bound experiences constitute the very framework for our sense of self and perceived identity. The built environment constitutes the foundation upon which our past, present and future selves are constructed."
If how we feel on a daily basis while navigating the world is attached to places we've been to, with their attached feelings, then the more happy experiences we have in different kinds of environments, the more we will be happy overall, because we will attach those happy memories to similar environments. In other words, if you travel the world for a year, visit all kinds of different indoor/outdoor settings and have amazing experiences, during the rest of your life you will likely be more happy, because your brain will have stored more environmental elements with positive experiences attached to them. Boom. Go out and travel the world, and tell your friends this is why they should do it too.
Also, read this book, it's eye-opening.
Devocion is a cafe in Williamsburg.
Saturdays is a surf shop and café in Soho.
Welcome to my architecture observation series! I'll be looking at different public and private spaces in New York City, draw a floor plan and write down observations/critiques. The first place I looked at is McAffrey Playground in Hell's Kitchen.
I'm starting a thing. This thing will be all about drawing spaces, observing people and evaluating architecture. Stay tuned!