1st Semester Midpoint: COVID-19 and Architecture School

Today’s Topics:

  • Architecture Projects
  • Time Management
  • Zoom Fatigue

Architecture Projects

Over the summer, I was very excited to go back into architecture school and to start working on projects.

One of my personal goals for this semester was to improve my design skills while incorporating a greater level of detail within my projects. I also wanted to diversify my ability and for each project I have worked in a different BIM Software.

The first project of the semester was a Visitor Station/Overlook:

We were situated on a national forest site where my building takes advantage of the 65’ drop hanging on one side of my building. It cantilevers off the edge with a natural curve form and site that bridges the divide between nature and structure.

This project was completed using Google SketchUp and Enscape as a rendering software.

The next project that I have gotten to work on is a bit more simple as it is a Coffee Shop/Study Lounge:

One of the main things that we needed to start thinking about is how the building comes together structurally. We needed to start learning to work with different material properties. One of the main things that I have gotten to expand my knowledge on is structural properties and building processes that will make my design stable and realistic. We have created wall sections and project renderings with a major focus on the structure of the design.

This project used Revit and Lumion as a rendering software and is not completely done yet.

Next is a Design For America (DFA) project for a design that might actually get built. Troop 158 outbuilding:

The scout troop currently resides indoors within their church space and they are outgrowing it. They need a building that includes storage space, a small meeting space for about 8 people, and outdoor space to accommodate around at most 50 people. We have just recently presented our initial designs and from there we have to configure the next iteration for a final presentation.

This Project has used Rhino and VRAY for rendering.

Lastly, a project that I have yet to start is for the Seismic Design Team. We have are waiting to receive the project brief. If you have not seen the work we completed last year, here is the our design poster. We won first place in architecture for the competition.

Time Management

One of the most important parts of being an architecture student is time management.

So far this semester it has been very challenging. I am always eager to stay involved so I continue to put myself in learning situations where I can also help others.

There are a number of things that I have to balance my time around:

Studio is my biggest priority where I truly learn about design.

I then serve as the Vice President for NOMAS which involves a good amount of time and effort especially on weekends. We have also created a Coalition between all of the different CAUS student organizations.

The Seismic Design has been holding weekly meetings.

I have been very busy with the Design For America project.

I have been working as a CAUS Ambassador and learning more about student recruitment.

In between all of these I have been participating in meetings and groups further advancing my education.

Outside of school I have become a soccer coach where this past weekend we have just won our second tournament this season.

Balancing all of these activities and completing my homework takes a great deal of time management, but I am glad that I have been working with all of these.

Zoom Fatigue

This is now the second semester that I have done school completely online. Ever since COVID-19, my college experience has shifted drastically.

Although there are good parts about being at home for school, I miss being back on campus.

The social aspect of being on a zoom call will never replace what the studio culture is like at Virginia Tech.

For me, I would always be in studio to work on my projects, but it was also a time where I could gain feedback from my peers, help them with their projects, and just walk around the building exploring other projects.

Any version of that now, has to be done on a zoom call. After doing this for almost 2 semesters, it has been tiring to wake up and login to an online class. But because I want this for myself, I am always finding new ways to overcome this struggle and to continue learning at this rapid pace.

Thanks for tuning into this week’s blog post! I hope you enjoyed this update. Feel free to ask any questions about what I have been up to, I would to let you know more! As always, Dream Big!

Published by Alonzo Colon

Architecture Student at Virginia Tech

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