Explore Design: Day 1 of Architectural Design

Yesterday was the twentieth day of the DownCity Design: Explore Design camp. We started a new unit, Architectural Design. We were introduced to our mentor, Rachel Rosenberg, who introduced us to the week through paper and plastic animals. We created a habitat and a shelter for one of the animals. I chose a rhinoceros, which I dubbed Rhinestone, and created a simple box-cave.


Next, our math teacher arrived with graph paper so we could sketch our shelters using measurements and rulers. We were reminded that measurements were very important to architects, who need to be able to draw accurate blueprints and create their structures using the right sized materials. Afterwards, we continued to lunch, and ate cold pizza with milk. Some of us went outside to play four square.

We returned and were challenged to construct a six-inch structure that would be able to hold a brick, as practice for making more designs in the future. I sought efficiency and simplicity, and thought that a short column (which would be crushed rather than buckled) would be best. I took a piece of cardboard, rolled it up, and taped it tight. I tried to make a more complicated one with sketchpad paper and few coffee stirrers/straws. However, I found it difficult to use a hot glue gun on the stirrers, as they were flimsy. I eventually was able to make another tower, but it was unable to hold the weight of the brick because of the way the straws were arranged, so I constructed a person, pasted it on top and awarded myself an Oscar for starring in the currently filmed documentary of my life.

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To wrap up the day, we worked on our portfolios and wrote up blog posts, one of which you are reading right now. Not bad for a Monday.

Week 2: Industrial Design Portfolio


The Water Way and the Barrel-Table


This is a model of a sidewalk with a stream running though it. Beside it, there is a water barrel that also acts as a table.


storm_drain  ( image from Wikipedia)

Urban runoff pollutes storm and rainwater and wastes it by stuffing it in the sewers.


In this design, every sidewalk would have a little stream (with tiny ramps) running through it, which would empty out in a garden.


This design is a water barrel that doubles as table for ten. The full design would be very tall and have a funnel at the top which would also double as a umbrella. It would be emptied and used for plants and other things when the capacity is almost met. It could also double as a statue or mural.



Before officially coming up with a plan, I worked with a few others to make a bench that provided both shade and seating as well as water storage.

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This was a poster made by my group in order to understand the residential water cycle.


This was the first iteration of the model I would make. It is flat, but shows streams in the roads.

Water Barrel

This is a digital version of the barrel table made with Google Drawings.



The client, Lauren Carson of the Green Infrastructure Coalition, very much liked the idea. She invited my teammates and I to present at their next meeting.

Providence Public School Logo Designs

In summer 2016, DownCity Design was approached by the Superintendent, Director of Communications, and some other members of the Providence Public School District to redesign their logo. They were seeking a symbol that signified diversity, education, community, and Providence pride. We had a week and two days to produce the logo. Each of us came up with a few designs. I brainstormed a few, some which I liked more than others.

The first logo I came up with was inspired by the Superintendent’s admiration of Brown University’s crest. I decided to make a seal that looked official. The shape is simple, and the stars represent excellence. The Director said she admired the logo, but questioned the traditional aspects of it, asking if that was the message we wanted to send. I left this design alone to advance on the others.

The second logo was quite simple: it featured four children standing on a line, each of them colored in different shades of gray. It symbolized diversity among students. The Director really liked it, but commented that the children looked like clipart, and that they didn’t look connected. I added legs and hands to each of the figures, and made them hold hands.

The third logo was three interlocking rings, also meant to symbolize diversity. The Director really loved it, but had to admit it resembled the Olympic flag too much, which I agreed with. Using this feedback, I created a ring with five stars on it, in varying tints of black to white.

The last logo reflects a pencil drawing the Providence skyline to symbolize creativity in education. The shape was an inkblot, but an observer duly noted that pencils do not produce ink, so I drew a pen instead. I experimented with the positive/negative space and positions of the words.

This project introduced me to Adobe Illustrator and taught me how to make graphic, distinctive images.