All posts by LSoria

Second year student majoring in architecture at the University of Cincinnati at the college of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning.

Snapshots of the week

This week I:

With my good friend Lauren I finally went to half-price mac & cheese Monday at Keystone. It was delicious and much needed after starting this week with a (!) all-nighter. How an all-nighter happened on a Sunday is beyond me.


Made step-by-step doodles/progression of myself trying not to fall asleep to keep myself awake during our integrated technologies class. It was actually a pretty interesting/exciting class. One of the professors gave a lecture on HVAC systems and was much more animated than I remember him being during our sophomore construction course.
Got to DAAP early after going to sleep early. I’m much more of a morning person and I work much better at 5 am after getting sleep rather than working until 5 am not getting sleep. Trying to be disciplined enough to go to sleep at 9-10 so I can get to studio around 4-5:30 am. On my walk this morning a woman outside Riddle Road Market (a small convenience store nearby where I live) said she liked my boots. A little unexpected (it was dark so I didn’t notice her initially), but a pleasant experience. I feel more comfortable walking to DAAP in the early morning rather than walking home late at night (and I’m sure the morning worries my dad less), but, I still walk with mace in hand. Actually tested it out today since I’ve never pressed the button and…it’s pretty strong.
Continuously working on my resume and portfolio. And when I say working on my resume and portfolio I mean I’m still really just on my resume. I have a document open in Indesign for my portfolio at least and this semester’s format inspiration is from Emil Ruder’s book Typographie. It’s a square format, which is new to me, but I’m looking forward to the challenge (as is every portfolio making is) and hopefully doing my inspiration justice.


If you guys are curious, as of right now I have chosen Proxima Nova and Univers as my typefaces. Proxima Nova is one I recently downloaded from Type Kit (from Adobe) and I like how the round/humanist geometry of it contrasts with the slightly more stiff and vertical shape of univers.

I’d like to share more updates this weekend on what exactly I’ve been up to these last five weeks. So, more photos this weekend; I need to take photos of my models thus far (especially because on Wednesday I dropped a 1/16″ model and broke it. I was in the end able to repair it to a similar state. First time that has actually happened.)


I honestly cannot believe we are already almost to the 6th week.

Happy Friday!


It’s about 6:15 am

And I am sitting outside DAAP waiting for 7 am to roll around so the doors will be unlocked and I can hurriedly make my way back into studio to finish-as-much-as-possible a presentation set for 10 am.

I haven’t slept yet (unless you count the mini dozes I’ve maybe gotten over the past hour or so sitting outside) and currently kicking myself for leaving my ID in studio.

But now I have the chance to blog about grad school and how much more of a thing it is than I ever thought it was going to be.

At least until 7 am, and then I gotta get back to work.

Continue reading It’s about 6:15 am

DAAPcamp 2014

DAAPCamp is a week-long summer enrichment program offered to high school students interested in architecture, interior architecture, fine art, graphic communication design, industrial design, and fashion design.
This video specifically concentrates on interior and architecture design. Architects and Interior Designers are concerned with the built environment. They create and modify spaces that are durable, meaningful, and responsive. Their studio project focused on the design of a park located on the banks of the Ohio river in downtown Cincinnati.

This was shot with a Nikon CoolPix point and shoot.

Motion Graphic and Soundtrack Artist: Corey Kujawski

The kids in this video were super awesome, and they all worked very hard–I think it shows! The video itself was really fun to make, and I’m already looking forward to the second one in July. There’s a another week of camp I’m working, CAMP (Cincinnati Architecture Mentoring Program), which is a day camp geared toward local middle school students. So, that’s coming up too!

Back to Basics


In the week after graduating, I’ve decided to throw myself back into “I want to learn more about design” mode and have been concocting a sort-of syllabus for myself for the next few months. It’s sort of a foundations-again idea for me, since architecture foundations at DAAP and design foundations are two completely separate things–which is a real shame in my view. What I’m aiming for is a increase in manual skill (drawing, craft, etc.) and also a more rounded knowledge of design as a whole (so, reading more into graphic and industrial design). So far I’ve bought probably the largest sketchbook I’ve ever had (14″ x 17″) and have amassed a small library of books from the DAAP library. I will be writing posts about what I’m learning about said books (and actually post the list at a slightly later date) but this is my summer plan so far, sort of.

I’m also hoping for the opportunity to work with DAAPcamps this summer, but that depends on how many students sign up. That and I may be babysitting for someone my sister knows. Both of these would give me an income, which will be much appreciated–especially since the former seems like a lot of fun (working with high school students in their probably first experiences with architecture/design) and the latter seems lower-key, maybe (it would be for a 7-month old . . . so we’ll see about that.)

Continue reading Back to Basics

Graduation is Almost Nigh

It can be sort of amazing how life unfolds. Earlier this semester I was sure of a few things:

  • I’m going to graduate school.
  • I’m going to be leaving Cincinnati (extension, Ohio).
  • I’m going to know what I want to focus on in graduate school.

You may have noticed a trend. Since about my second year at DAAP, I was pretty much set in the fact that I was going to graduate school for my masters in architecture. The way licensing works, for those who don’t know, is that in order to take the tests to become an architect you have to a.) Intern several thousand hours in predefined categories. b.) Have an accredited degree*. c.) Pass the ARE (Architect Registration Examination). (*There are some states where if you work under a registered architect for 5+ years, you become eligible to take the exam).

Not too long ago the norm for architecture school was five years at a university and then, given the university was accredited by NAAB, you’d have an accredited architecture degree. It has since then been changing to a four plus two deal; four years of undergrad, and then two years at the graduate level. From talking to professors, this change was for a few reasons.

  • Five years, while being a good amount of time, isn’t necessarily enough. Definitely an arguable point.
  • Getting another university’s theory/teaching system can be really beneficial (aka. You’re not drinking punch just from one bowl).
  • This will give universities more money.

I’m sure there are probably other reasons universities are making the switch, but we’ll stick to that short list. So, back to my first list, I applied to graduate school over winter break and into January (stress!), and then was notified of my acceptances (and decline) around March. I applied, and was accepted, to the University of Oregon, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, University of Cincinnati, and Rhode Island School of Design.
(For the sake of being open with you guys, University of Virginia said no way, and Michigan gave me some weird treatment. Out of all the students who applied there from UC, somehow I was the only one moved to their three-year program and put on a waiting list. I’m fine with the waiting list thing, but, the switch of programs confused me.)

I have always semi-fantasized about going to a design/art school. The idea of being around so many other disciplines (and being able to learn from them) is what I love about DAAP (although the taking classes from other majors is a bit more difficult). RISD was the school I applied to not thinking I’d get in, and when I did get accepted there may have been one tiny tear. I visited the school for their Grad Day and it was really nice. Providence seemed like a neat city, and the buildings for the university were beautiful. They had a huge library, and a really neat “Nature Lab”, aka natural science museum but you can touch things. I really wanted to be there; it was semi-close to other relatives in CT, I’d be able to take courses from other majors, it’s out of Ohio, Providence seemed really walkable/bike-able . . . I could go on. Up until a bit over a week ago, I was in full belief that I was going. I had accepted, found a sublet for the summer, I was ready, I was nervous . . .but mostly excited.

The thorn in this story isn’t all that exciting. At the end of the day, when my parents and I went through a budget for how much I’d need to take out in order to pay for RISD we came to the conclusion that it was really, really not feasible for me to go to there. They came to that conclusion earlier than I did, hence why I ended up accepting to two universities. After a emotional talk with my dad, we decided that it was much better of an idea for me to continue my education at DAAP. It was the difference of being $150,000 (plus interest) in debt to maybe $60,000. Seeing that the average salary for an MArch is maybe 55-60k a year, it quickly became apparent that it was too much of a risk for an education that, at the end of the day/years, will give me the same exact piece of paper.

Reasons why other schools were ruled out were based mostly on their curriculum. I valued the proximity of the other majors in DAAP, and that’s what I really wanted to try and take advantage of in grad school. While it may take a bit more pushing, I know I could take classes from the other majors at DAAP too.

I’m a little disappointed, but I know that my experience in graduate school depends a lot on my own actions. I know DAAP has great professors (and books in the library) and while RISD would be amazing (and probably an entirely different experience), maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. RISD allowed me to defer for a year, although unless I win the lottery I don’t really see how the time could change anything (financially, at least). I get three more co-ops at UC, aka trying to find a job/city for after grad school, which is pretty nice and I have my living situation pretty much set (I live with my parent’s now because they live about 15 minutes from campus, driving; I knew that at least if I was staying in Cincinnati, I was for sure moving out for grad school. I don’t feel like driving every day for the next three years.)

I’m gearing up for the summer and looking for an internship either here or Pittsburg (Corey, my boyfriend, is working there at a company called UpperCut.). In addition to that, I’m planning on learning new techniques in some programs, and doing a lot of reading (on design) and just a lot of work.

So, in the end, I think everything is going to be okay–and possibly even better.

Out of Failure: University of Cincinnati Senior BS Arch Capstone

We are a studio of 18 senior architecture students in the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning at the University of Cincinnati. We are honored to have the opportunity to present our research-based capstone project, Out of Failure, at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York City from May 17-20.
Inspired by the rise of human displacement as the result of natural and geo-political disasters, Out of Failure is an in-depth look at how rapid prototyping technology, digital design, and contemporary materials can be combined to provide the most effective, culturally sensitive, economical, and ergonomically designed disaster relief shelter possible. It is our hope that with the support of strategic partnerships forged at ICFF, we will be able to implement these shelters for disaster relief on a global scale. Contributions towards our campaign will go directly to further research, design, and development, culminating in a full-scale prototype that will give the attendees of ICFF an immersive and tactile understanding of our research.

(please) Support us!

Motion Graphic and Soundtrack Artist: Corey Kujawski

APX Retreat Weekend

Two weekends ago I went on a retreat with my fraternity, Alpha Rho Chi, to Hocking Hills–it’s about a two and a half hour drive to get there from Cincinnati.


It was there where about 30 of my fellow brothers and I spent the weekend in a cozy (actually pretty large) cabin in the woods and bonded over food, hiking, bonfires, and dancing.

Morning Business

Here’s one of my favorite images from the trip; a nice panorama of the view from Old Man’s Cave:
Old Man's Cave

The trail was amazingly icy; none of us were super prepared for the hike. We saw a couple with spike boots (I have no idea what the proper nomenclature for those are), but on the bright side we were all in pants and sweaters and coats.

It was really nice to get away for a weekend. No wifi, limited/no cellular service really allowed us to distance from our present school worries and focus on having fun and really enjoy each other’s company. Retreat is a great time for older members to bond with the younger members, as well as enjoying time with those who’ve they’ve been with for a while. Myself included, there were a lot of seniors on this trip and knowing that this was one of the last times we were all going to be together in such a relatively “carefree” atmosphere was really special. Not that people need to go to the middle of the woods to connect, but it definitely helps. So, I urge everyone to take a step back and feel some gratitude for the people in their lives, and as a side quest, maybe take some time to explore the nature around them.

Although I wouldn’t blame anyone for waiting until it warmed up a bit!

Japan Day 2014 Submission

Japan Day 2014

This is something I created for Japan Day in Central Park 2014, an event made “to build bridges of cultural understanding between the people of Japan and the U.S., show the local Japanese community’s appreciation toward their home city, New York and to facilitate stronger grassroots connections within the local Japanese community.”

When submitting we were also required to make a 500-ish word statement, so:

My submission for the Japan Day Art Contest stems from a daydream I had of the cities of New York and Tokyo coming together to be one. I imagined myself walking past The Reservoir in Central Park in the spring-time with the warm sun on my shoulders, looking towards the New York skyline and then being able to see Mount Fuji. I have seen many different skylines of various cities, and although some may have notable architectural features, many look similar to the undiscerning eye. Japan’s skyline, however, is backdropped by the majestic mountain and similar to many others before me, I wanted to depict the well-known cultural symbol in my own work.

Although my piece was completely made on a digital platform, I used the same skills as I would drawing on paper, in addition to some techniques not applicable to a physical format. I referenced various traditional Japanese landscape paintings during the early stages, I looked at and admired the strong line-work complemented with simple colorings. Hiroshige’s One Hundred Famous views of Edo is a collection I looked to often when working on this piece. I wanted to emulate some of the techniques I saw in traditional Japanese art, but I also wanted to avoid merely copying the style. I challenged myself to blend an organic form of illustration with hard geometric forms in order to create a synthesized piece, similar to my synthesized daydream-city. I used irregular triangles to shape parts of the ground, including Mount Fuji in the background. Regular hexagons were used to abstract the water and sky while a mix of rectangles and squares were used for the city skyline. In contrast with the geometric shapes, I used more painterly techniques when illustrating the trees. I wanted to give life to the environment by giving the impression of wind rustling through the cherry blossoms.

The blend of organic and geometric came with the heading of this piece, the “Japan Day” origami-inspired text which floats in the sky. I have always found the art of folding paper to be beautiful, and it was my intent to give respect to the tradition in creating this text. I first began by creating the letters with paper first and then recreating it with vectors. I also sought out patterns that I felt would complement the rest of the piece, but kept the color range in the red hues in reference to Japan’s strong connection with the color.

Documenting Home, Kitchen

So, realizing that in several months it is a high possibility that I will not be living at home and quite possible that I will be living in another state I decided that I should start documenting my home so I may really be able to appreciate what I enjoy now that much more before moving on to my next large adventure.


I’m currently in my final semester of undergrad, and I’ve so far been accepted to two grad schools: University of Oregon and Rhode Island School of Design.

They are both actually pretty high up on my list, RISD maybe a bit more because I have family in CT and the idea of attending an art school where I know/feel like I will have many opportunities for interdisciplinary study sounds really awesome. They have their grad day March 17th, so I’ll be attending that (and updating you guys) on how it goes. UO has theirs April 11th and I am planning to go, but I need to find a relatively cheaper flight.

I’ve never been to Portland, or that far west for that matter. I’m already really excited (and a little anxious) thinking about it!

So you guys can expect some more sketches over the next several weeks of things that I see everyday/most days. I’m excited for this series, and I hope you guys enjoy it!

Also, if any of you guys know anything about Providence, RI or Portland, OR please share your thoughts 🙂 I’m going off Portlandia now, so…I’m sure I’m super well informed. (Kidding. Seriously. A little.)

I got into grad schools, whaaaaat?

Also I’ll be posting my submission to Japan Day in NYC here soon, so you can see the finished product!