I can’t believe my last post was in September o.O
I feel like it as only a few weeks ago. That’s the problem with school though, everything besides homework and studying seems to fly by.
The winter break was definitely too short even though I *feel* like I accomplished a lot. I guess it was a lot from a personal hobbies standpoint vs. the stuff I have to do in studio.

Unfortunately, I probably won’t get to do much on here until much later. It’s the second week of school and everything is already full steam ahead. I’m excited about the studio project, my politics and culture class, my culture of the japanese family class and even building systems so this academic semester looks promising at the very least. Work is…good. I just wish I had the time to share it with everyone.

Really hoping I can shoot for at least 1 post/month.
Until next time,


Our studio went on a field trip last week to Detroit to check out the YMCA as a part of our precedence study of a Y for Downtown ABQ. The trip was optional since not everyone is expected to fork out the money to pay for travel expenses. I was the only one from my section who went but it was well worth it. One of the most diverse trips I’ve been on in the sense that I got to experience a lot of different things in a short time.

By the end I was even able to wander around the city by myself. Granted it was a little emptier on Saturday afternoon because of Verlander pitching in Comerica Park but I’m basically a People Mover person now.

PS I need to learn how to take better pictures…

I ordered a few pairs of shoes off of AliExpress a few weeks before my birthday thinking that they’d make for a nice present for myself. Unfortunately since they were coming from China, they just got to me and I wasn’t completely sure what I was getting in terms of material quality and descriptive accuracy.

They’re all pretty nice for the most part. The brown booties were supposed to be grey (the seller said they ran out of stock right after my order was submitted) and I thought that they’d be made out of a softer material like faux suede but they are totally plastic and kind of hard to get into. Also I don’t know if I’m already too used to my new platforms but the sole on the booties were giving away and bending. I felt like I couldn’t even stand still in them without falling over. I’m too lazy to send them back and I’ve already trashed the box it came in. But the good news is I got all of the shoes for roughly $25 each so I didn’t waste that much money. 3/4 isn’t bad, especially when the other 3 are way cute and surprisingly comfy.

I might buy from that site again just because it has a great variety of stuff and you can typically find competitive rates/free shipping deals for the same products. I’d be wary of the quality of the some of the stuff though. I’ve ordered from Yesstyle.com a few times and a lot of their clothes (especially jackets) are real thin compared to clothes that I can get here in the States. I won’t be buying anything for a while though not with two trips to pay off on my credit balance D:

AKA things that inspire me. These are mainly Green design bookmarks that I’ve collected over the summer. All from Inhabitat or Design Milk.

First and foremost Barbie is going to architecture school!

Ouch! Imagine the papercuts
These would go great with my chairs
Greatest game ever, now sticky
Simple concept = powerful change
Visualizations of sound

Upcycle series:
Coral from recycled magazines
Sharks from recycled tires
Waterfalls of plastic
Hotel Rooms from concrete pipes
Hospitals from shipping containers

UP house IRL. Plus a real life Wall-E!
Great use of solar panels to create a textured envelope. Plus it’s a dragon.
I love renovations. and castles
I wish I had gone in here during my visit to Beijing. Would’ve been a nice break in the dead of winter.
I got to see this lecture last year. This would be a great achievement for architecture and the green movement.
Sleek and simple. Definitely my aesthetic
The quintessential stock image for green roof design. Finally identified and credited… But I like this one more.
I want to go to school here and to church here

Legitimate Career reasons for me to go to SKorea

Design that really changes the world
P.S. Bill Gates is awesome

Edu-tecture: n. the process and struggle of learning architecture from an undergraduate/intern’s point of view

ADA      American Disabilities Act
AFF      Above Finished Floor
AIA      American Institute of Architects
AIAS      American Institute of Architecture Students
ANSI      American National Standards Institute
ARE      Architect Registration Examination
ASI      Architectural Supplemental Information
ASTM      American Society for Testing and Materials
BIM      Building Information Modeling
CAD      Computer-aided Design
CDs      Construction Documents
CEU      Continuing Education Unit
CMAR      Construction Manager At Risk
DD      Design Development
EIFS      Exterior Insulation Finishing System
FACS      Family and Consumer Sciences
HM      Hollow metal
HVAC      Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning
IBC      International Building Code
IDF      Intermediate distribution frame
IDP      Intern Development Program
LEED      Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design
MCR      Modify/Change Request
MDF      Main Distribution Frame
NCARB      National Council of Architectural Registration Boards
OT/PT      Occupational/Physical Therapy
RCP      Reflected Ceiling Plan
RFI      Request for Information
RFP      Request for Proposal
SD      Schematic Design
W/SV      Wood solid core/Stain and Varnish
VCT      Vinyl Composition Tile
VOC      Volatile Organic Compound

Edu-tecture: n. the process and struggle of learning architecture from an undergraduate/intern’s point of view

Architectural Specifications:
Specifications are the written documents that spell everything out for the contractor and cover any complications that might arise. They should be used in conjunction with architectural drawings but are often overlooked until something goes wrong. The spec books will include detailed information of everything from how to apply the 3 layer stucco exterior to the suitable brand of screws to mount a light switch face plate.

Specifications are broken up into divisions defined by the Construction Specifications Institute Masterformat. The bulk of the architect’s spec writing comes in the first 14 divisions. Each division is divided further into sections designated by the different products that they’ll use for the project. In the spec book each section contains basic info about what it is, what type/brand of hardware to use and which company is certified to supply it, and how to install/protect it during construction. These categories are titled: General, Products and Execution.

Here is a sample excerpt from a specifications index. It is based on a set of typical specs that the firm I work at might use for a school project:

Division 08 – Openings
08 1113 Hollow Metal Doors and Frames
08 1416 Flush Wood Doors
08 3323 Overhead Coiling Door
08 4113 Aluminum Framed Entrances and Storefronts
08 4423 Aluminum Curtain Wall
08 5113 Aluminum Windows
08 8000 Glazing

If an architect fails to include a certain product, building material or level of standard a client might not get what he expected or paid for. And it will be on the architect to pay damages. Because they can play such an important role in how smoothly a project gets built, some firms employ dedicated specification writers to focus on compiling these documents. At the firm we’ve recently had to lay off our specwriter because of the tough economy which in turn has put extra responsibility on the lead architect or project manager to finish these documents.

From my perspective I’ve only had to proofread a 90% specifications set so I can’t say I know very much about how to choose and spec products yet. I’m sure I have a lot to learn.

References and more info:

2 posts in a week? The world must be ending. Or at least the random updates about my less than phenomenal life. Ironic considering my account name…

I’ve decided to try to refocus this blog into something that might be referential to people besides myself. I use blogs as less-than-personal diaries so I figure if it’s public it should serve public functions. I’ve managed to not make this a rant archive which is probably a platform first for me. And I’ve dabbled in a few reviews/opinions posts about things that interest me or that I have a certain familiarity with.

Topics generally including: Vietnamese food/local restaurants, cooking/baking/crafting/diy-ing, manicures/nail designs, traveling, site/sight seeing, architecture, architecture school/studio/internship, sustainability, j/k-pop/dramas, Catholicism/faith.

(Surprisingly now that I see it all spelled out this list really seems to define who I am, minus my closet Pokemon fanaticism.)

And since my church, student and personal lives aren’t (and shouldn’t be) autonomous I will now use new categories: New Vie†-Xican, Nhà-making, Edu-tecture, and Hallyu-llow fever.
We’ll see how long I can keep this up… (I give it a month :D)