Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Re-Purpose and Re-Use

As the many areas in Greensboro are changing from industrial to residential, such as the Wafco Mill complex being converted to 28 condominium units, I feel that there are other possible uses for the industrial properties. Instead of more low-class living spaces, I feel that theses properties should be transformed into spaces that can help accommodate the nearby college students. There is such a high density of colleges and universities in Greensboro that I believe theses spaces should be geared for students.

Since these spaces are all within walking distance of UNCG they could be used for small restaurants, creative performance centers, and swimming pools. Restaurants that are not fast food and serve healthy meals do not seem to be in great abundance within walking distance of the school. These would be attractive to families visiting colleges, and also offer many job opportunities to students. Underclassmen might benefit from just being able to earn some money as servers, while business students could gain valuable experience helping with a more managerial job at a restaurant. If the colleges worked with these businesses to help set them up with good employees, this would be mutually beneficial to both students and businesses.

Creative performance centers would be helpful to the theatre and music majors in the colleges. They would allow for free expression for anyone looking for a way to independently share their thoughts. It would be a great place to practice performances that might need to be shown in class, or simply to become more comfortable doing a certain kind of performance. It could also be a place that other students could go for some entertainment in the evenings.

The large industrial buildings could be renovated to contain indoor swimming pools. This could be a place that both students as well as local families could go to relax and exercise. While the HHP does contain a pool, it is often closed because of classes, and is only a lap pool. An alternative place to swim and let out some energy would be great. Pools are a great source for exercise, especially as they help to use many muscles that are hard to exercise by other means, and swimming does not put any extra stress on joints the ways other exercise can. There is no concussion which can cause problems later on. A swimming pool would be a profitable business in this area, that does not currently exist.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Side Streets and Back Alleys

The side streets coming off off the busier roads, such as Tate and Mendenhall, almost seem to try to hide themselves. Few of the houses stand out in a different style than the typical Queen Anne and Craftsman/Bungalow styles. The streets themselves are not very welcoming to thru traffic, some of which are one-way and can make navigation very confusing. The back alleys consist of a different base, many of which are simply gravel instead of asphalt like the main roads. They contain grates leading down to a sewage system, as well as sinks, stacks, and garbage cans. None of these features are intending to draw too much attention to the area. It is excluding to outsiders in many areas by way of many fences. These fences create edges and fronts to different sections of the side street district hidden behind the more people-friendly section of Tate Street. The fences cut off back alleys part way through and have signs posted warning against parking violations and tow-in areas. All of these features show the value of remaining inconspicuous to the inhabitants of these side streets and alleyways.

College Hill

College Hill

Many of the houses in this neighborhood follow two main designs. Most are three stories tall, with few windows on the top floor and the first two stories being fairly large. The other main type was a one-story building with an attic. Every house in this area had some type of front porch. Valuable to this section must be some sense of uniformity, and a desire to fit in, as well as the ability to communicate with the street. Many of the porches had some type of furniture on them showing that they were used to sit outside and have of a view of the street just out front.

Typically the house had wood siding, lights in the front doors, and no shutters. This kind of material was probably fairly typical of the time period when these houses were built, and very cost effective. Vinyl siding is fairly new, and was probably not in style much at the time of construction. There was only one exception along the whole street concerning the shutters on the front. In the first section, about half had a single mailbox, while others had either none, or multiple boxes. Moving further away from town, there were more houses with a single mailbox. This shows that multiple occupancy houses are valued higher closer to campus, where students might be able to rent out a place to live while attending UNCG.


Friday, September 11, 2009

Assessing Values

The Quad
This part of campus has managed to seclude itself from the rest of the school by bordering itself by 8 buildings to create 4 sides to enclose a central green. This inner area is criss-crossed by concrete walkways to enable travel in any direction, and also sometimes have messages painted on them. This area was constructed symmetrically, and the building styles are identical on both sides. The Quad section of campus houses only upperclassmen and Greeks, not freshman. By controlling the occupants it has created its own district within the campus, almost a city within a city. The Quad is not as newly renovated as some of the other residence halls. There is no air conditioning and many fans can be seen through the outer windows in passing. The main value of this section is to the residents who live there. It gives them a unique area to themselves that allows for a bit of separation from the rest of campus, while still being located very close to mainstream areas such as the fountain, Caf, EUC, and library.
Business Administration Building (Bryan School)

The Bryan building was probably built in the most recent time period, the 90’s and after. It is not placed orthogonal to the surrounding buildings and has a very different feel than most other structures on campus. The structure and placement remind one somewhat of Eberhart. This building has similar materials to many others, being the same red brick. Aside from that it is very unique, and has a very odd shape. Navigation inside is somewhat like being in a maze, and can be confusing at times. This building is aimed to stand out slightly in contrast to surrounding structures. It houses the Bryan School of Business and seeks to make that known by standing askew to everything around it.
Gatewood Building

The Gatewood Building is home to the Art and Interior Architecture programs of UNCG. It’s unique structure is intended to set it apart from the rest of campus as well. The lights are kept on 24/7 and at night the translucent ceiling allows it to ‘glow’ and attract attention. The beauty of this building allows it to see itself as the “jewel” in the UNCG crown. This building values art and design, which it readily displays for all to see, both on the inside and the outside. The design of the structure itself is valuable to the students who study there, and are able to appreciate as much, if not more so, than the other residents of the school.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Immigration Story

Nana and Aunt Jane, second generation of Italian Americans in my family.

My Great Grandmother immigrated from Italy to Ellis Island, New York...

She and her family settled in Princeton, NJ, although many other Cifelli's from the same town in Italy settled in various other parts of the state. Most of my family members are in the US and we do not communicate with any relatives that might exist back in Europe. My family members brought some aspects of their culture from Italy with them, such as special recipes and the need to cook for anyone and everyone. Easter is a big holiday, and large portions of family members get together, and all eat "Easter bread" that is a special recipe that has been passed down. Another important food is beets, which are like fried doughnuts. I believe this food is particular to just my family, and not just a general Italian recipe.

I do not believe that my family ever intended to return to Italy after being in the US for a short amount of time. Since the members who immigrated are all deceased and their remaining children are in their 90's, not many people really know the reasons for immigration or intentions after arriving. The family members have blended well into the American society, while still keeping some of their own traditions. My grandmother is still obviously Italian in many ways, especially in her cooking. She makes a lot of pasts, meatballs, and sausage. She insists on feeding anyone who visits and always makes sure they have had plenty to eat before leaving. The next generation however, is very Americanized and does not outwardly display any Italian traditions or do anything special for holidays. My family's culture does not have much in the way of religion and has no requirement for a place of worship in the home.


Elliott University Center
The center point of the EUC seems to be the circular drum in the front of the building. The patterns around the wall are symmetrical in design so that each part of the room seems to be equal in importance. There are lights at the top of the drum shape shining down to the floor below. These help illuminate the area making it welcoming and allowing visitors to see all that is going on around them in the EUC. The food court and bookstore flank the entrance on either side. Leading away from it is the hallway that leads down to the information desk at the back, the Auditorium on the left, and many other meeting rooms to the right. The main hallway is the sight for many activities and information groups. This one single part of the EUC is the path followed to all the other parts of the building.

Jackson Library
Although the area itself seems somewhat barren and unimportant on its own, the very middle of the main hallway in the library seems to be the 'center' to me. It is in the very middle of everything that is important, and everything around it is visible. From this point one can see the checkout desk, the express computers, the entrance to the Super Lab, and each entrance to the building, one at either end. There are larger open areas on either side. From this vantage point a person is able to locate every point in the building that they can go to, and decide where to go.

The Caf
The staircase leading up to the main eating area is the 'center' of the Caf. There are doors all around you at the bottom of the stairs, each leading somewhere. To the left is the tunnel, which exits at the rear of the building onto College Ave. The door to the right leads out the front entrance, and the main foyer, where the mail center and Spartan Market are located. This is also a popular location for information tables and Greek system recruiting. Just outside the entrance is the fountain, which is a very population for student gathering and campus events. At the top of the stairs is the main dining hall for students. Many campus residents use this multiple times daily and it is also a great location to meet with friends and get to know new people. All of the important surrounding locations make the staircase of the Caf the 'center' of this particular building.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Campus Turfing

There are areas on campus that are almost entirely artificial, and some that are all grass. Both can express the turf of something. This photo shows a combination of both elements that can be considered turf. The trees are there to make it a nice looking scene, and are purely for the pleasure of the eyes, which is one use for turfing. The bricks mark out an area, in this case walking turf, where students can travel from place to place. This individual walkway did not seem to be the turf of any individual building by itself, but rather the pedestrian population as a whole.

Tate Street Strip/Front

I consider Tate St to be a main strip along campus. It is a border, and therefore could also be considered a front. This picture shows the church tower opposite a mimicking tower on the other side of the road. The other direction contains all of the shops and restaurants people can go to, but the direction the image is facing is towards Lee St and the outside of campus. It shows the school on one side and the rest of the town on the other. This front is where the two locations meet and things are ever-changing. People and vehicles are constantly coming and going. It is a border area that marks the domain of UNCG.


My vantage point is unique to anyone else's. This is my view from my dorm looking out onto my own beat and strip. Gray Drive is my access route to anywhere on campus that I need to go. It helps shape the routes and patterns I use on a daily basis, and branches off into smaller routes for any variations from the typical routine. From this point is how I examine the campus, and my usual visual image when I think about heading out to wherever I want to go. It gives me a different perspective than any other point on campus, and probably means much different things to other residents.


The Rock is at a fairly central point of the campus, in between the Jackson Library and the Fountain and Caf. This could be considered a centrality fix in a way because of its location. Aside from placement, the Rock itself is a stack. There are layers upon layers of paint from years' worth of messages. It holds memories for many students, including me. If you look closely at the picture my initials are painted on the Rock from my first evening living on campus. The different layers all hold memories for one person or another, and they are stacked upon each other in a single location.


This image shows one of many beats within the music building. The floor tiles have concentric circles across the whole floor as well as around the individual pillars. These patterns create a beat within the structure. The hallway floor had squares to match the windows alongside, to create another separate beat inside the building. This single structure shows how many beats are possible even within one very small space. They are beats within a beat, as the building itself had its own beat relative to the campus, and as the campus has a beat in relation to the town.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Campus Wrap-Up

Pictured is my view of the campus as I navigate it daily. It may not be the typical view of all other UNCG students, but it's what I feel about the school. My main district is is dorm, Moore Strong, with my own individual beat inside. The dorm's turf is the surrounding grass outside. There is both a strip and a beat along Gray Drive, which is where I walk to my car and all my classes every day. It is the main route for me to anywhere else I want to go.

My main vantage is at the Fountain, where I can see a lot of the comings and goings of fellow students. There is also the surrounding turf of the steps, the unique beat of the the Caf, and the district inside the dining hall building. The fix nearby is the Quad because every element of that section of dormitories is built with linear perspective. The wooded area by North Drive is a sink to me, as it is a place that nobody ever seems to venture into, and it is nobody's turf. The closest stacks are the Rock and Clock Tower. They stack many memories for the entire student population.
The fronts I consider are similar to the rest of the school, by the surrounding roads. They include Tate St, Aycock St, Market St, and Spring Garden St. Tate St and College Ave also serve as strips to the students.

Although my views may be different than others', I make my own paths and go where I choose. This is how I view the campus, and what different features mean to me.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Fronts, Strips, and Beats

Today we met at the corner of Tate St. and Walker Ave. This is the spot at which the campus seems to meet the rest of the surrounding area, and can be considered a 'front.' It is ever changing as people come and go, and with slight changes on the scenery, such as the store fronts. The Brown building, which is the old music building, is built similarly to Foust Hall and faces onto Tate St. This is part of UNCG's front on this side of campus.

This part of Tate Street can also be considered a 'strip' and has many places of attraction for both students and local residents alike. There are many small, unique shops along the road, as well as a variety of restaurants to choose from. This strip was probably added as the campus moved outward from an earlier one, such as College Avenue, or a a natural strip in the past.

The campus itself has many different beats, in respect to the surrounding area, as a campus as a whole, as well as within individual buildings. There is a beat as students move in predictable patterns across campus, in and out of classes, and a large one at the Caf. There are beats within the buildings, such as the concentric circular patterns in the tile floors of the music building.

Each student and structure has the ability to create its own building within the beat of the school. We each have our own typical patterns of travel, which may differ slightly from time to time, but are ultimately aimed toward the same goals. We are able to change the 'fronts' and 'strips' according to our behavior and decisions about what to do and where to go. This is what makes each place unique, and helps to distinguish a campus like ours from any other that may seem similar.