Botanical Gardens & Design Slam

I loved going to the botanical gardens. I had never been before. In the outdoor activity one of the first things we did was compare a tree to a building. My learning community came up with a few similarities including shelter, beauty, and stability. Some solutions that nature provides as alternatives include insulation being used from tree bark, air purifying skyscrapers, trees that bend and don’t break can ne applied to hurricane prone areas. When we had to close our eyes and smell and feel a plant and then being spun around and reidentify the plant was an interesting activity. We were then told to list environmental challenges and how we would address the issues using solutions inspired from nature. Some environmental challenges we face… For activity 4 we had to find various items in nature and based on the things we liked and didn’t like we had to come up with sustainable solutions. Something we didn’t like was the thorns and spikes on one plant. Something we did like was the softness and beauty of the flowers. This can be applied to design by showing the beauty and plushness of something, while the thorns can be used for security to keep out predators. The final activity was to think of a tree and its functions as a system. Then use the tree as a model to increase market competitiveness and stability with less impact to the environment. Trees have roots, which can relate to buildings by using plumbing, foundation, and the foundation can grow as the building does. Branches can be looked at as various hallways and wings of a building. Leaves can be each room and occupancy load inside the building.


For the Design Slam my learning community’s problem was reducing the amount of doors in a building because nature has no doors. I thought about standing in the botanical gardens, which didn’t have a door but I still felt the shelter of having a door. I liked the natural breeze to cool off the warm day. My group came up with the concept of Pivot Through. It’s a large pane of glass that can rotate to have open and closed. It would be constructed of structural insulated panels, high performance and double glazed windows, no VOC’s, won’t emit toxic fumes in the case of a fire, made from recyclable materials and can be recycled. The glass wall will be programed to adjust how much it opens and closes according to the climate to heat and cool a home; it would also include a sensor that adjusts the air conditioner and heater. The glass would also have a tint the window to reduce the use of curtains and blinds and still provide privacy. The tint would also darken a room according to a person’s circadian rhythm to make sure they get enough sleep each night. I really liked the groups who’s problem was an old dress but the fabric reminded the customer of her grandmother so she sent it through a website for it to get up cycled into a more current style. I loved the idea of giving old clothes a makeover. I have a few pieces that I would want to have a makeover but I just don’t have the eye for it. I also love shopping at thrift stores and could see a lot of pieces that could become something really great. I also liked the group who reconstructed dorm furniture into something new and sustainable. I definitely think that students throw out so much furniture that could have a second life. It was a good idea to a common problem.

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