Category: Julianna Valle Velez

Carsten Höller: Experience

Right now, I’m speechless. Not just about this exhibition, but the fact that I can go to these types of things in the city. I have been so inspired here, there are so many artists, so much art that is in your face all of the time…great music..great food…ah. Every Thursday starting at 7 is free admission to the New Museum of Contemporary Art. I heard that there was a ‘slide’ in the building so obviously I had to go. Even the restaurant that I went to before was a piece of art: this tiny Mexican restaurant on the lower east side that is designed in a way that you feel like you are outside during the 1950’s. The chef even makes your tacos in a tiny bus! Should I do a plug? I think I will.. its called Tacombi.

Anyway, so YES there is a slide in the new museum and YES I did go down. There is also a carousel, an aquarium that you can stick your head into, a container that you can strip down and float in, giant mushrooms…the list goes on. This artist is insane. It’s all about how the viewer experiences the work; how placing things in the environment will manipulate the way that you experience space and time.
The slide is a tube. With your chin tucked down, you go race down two stories and in five seconds you arrive to a room with all of the walls covered in blinking, bright lights. From the enclosed slide your visuals suddenly explode into this bright, flashing room. Another part of the exhibition were these goggles that changed your visual perception so that you see upside down. Basically, I was kind of dizzy from all of the visuals when I left.

Trip to Domino Sugar Factory

There are few things that I love more than going through old buildings. Today Bob Balder, the Executive Director of the AAP program in NYC, took a group of us on a last minute tour of the former Domino Sugar Plant in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. He got Mitchell Korbey, the land use attorney for the developer of the sugar plant, to talk to us about the oncoming renovation project. This visit was the last time that we would be able to see this site before they begin demolition.

As we headed to the sugar factory Bob told us some history about the neighborhood and building. The factory was in its hay day when New York was one of the biggest providers of refined sugar to the United States. As demand declined the need for the building diminished. The factory closed after 150 years of service.

The site is going to be renovated to be a residential and retail building with a park facing the water. We got to walk through the site after Mitchell talked to us about the future development. One of the coolest things about the site are these two bridges that connect one building to the other. The bridges are at different angles, connecting two different levels and made of corrugated medal. The bridges are falling apart now and I can’t imagine them ever having been structurally sound. Nonetheless, the shadows they create between the two buildings are incredible.

Halloween Weekend

Happy Halloween! Well, happy belated Halloween. I love this time of the year. More specifically, I love dressing up during this time of the year. Maybe my love for Halloween has grown since I was a freshman in college and experienced my first Dragon Day.

As I was getting my hair done (I dyed my hair back to an almost brunette earlier last week) my hair stylist was telling me how I cannot miss a Halloween in NYC. Obviously I didn’t. What a weekend! I dressed up as a pirate. One night I even got to spend time with the med students that I live with in the dorms! I have not talked about the housing of the NYC program but it has been really great for me to meet people that aren’t in the same field as me but have very similar, aka busy, schedules.

On Monday my pre-thesis class ran pretty late. Even though my friend Kim and I had grand plans on quickly getting uptown, changing into our costumes, then running back downtown to catch the parade we didn’t have the time. BUT we did get to see the parade! Here are a few pictures I managed to get on my itouch…

Halloween Parade!

Halloween Parade!

WTC trip

As mentioned in my last entry, a few weeks ago our studio professors Henry Smith-Miller and Scot Teti took us to the World Trade Center Memorial.

The layout of the memorial has two square pools where the twin towers stood, a building designed by Snohetta, a green plaza, and the Freedom Tower.

It is hard to get the feeling of the space in an image. I’m pretty sure that anyone would feel some kind of emotion when going through the space. I shot a lot of pictures but couldn’t get one that could portray the way the light was hitting the waterfall, the waterfall itself, the reflection of the rain on the material, the green space next to the waterfall…. So here is a picture that I took that I like:


This picture was taken at the level of the ledge before looking over into the waterfall. I like the affect the reflection of the rain makes especially combined with the noise of the waterfall behind. The names of the victims are engraved on the ledge. Someone told me that the names are not arranged alphabetically. Instead, they are arranged according to more personal relationships whether they worked with each other or were close friends.

The Freedom tower has gone up very fast. When we visited they had just started the cladding and now they are almost finished! Not to mention it has been my personal landmark for when I get lost walking around wall street…

Me and Julia! a 4th year undergraduate, getting shelter from the rain under the Snohetta project at the World Trade Center Memorial
Me and Julia! a 4th year undergraduate, getting shelter from the rain under the Snohetta project at the World Trade Center Memorial
Rebecca pointing into one of the square pools.  We were talking about how the scale of the hole looks a lot deeper than it is.
Rebecca pointing into one of the square pools. We were talking about how the scale of the pool looks a lot deeper than it is.

The Beginning of Fall NYC

Hello! I’m Julianna, one of the new bloggers for this semester in NYC. This is my first time ever writing a blog so I’m super excited to start writing.

First a little bit about me: I’m a fifth year undergraduate architecture student. Last semester I was in the Rome Program. I love traveling, great music, dancing, and art (and architecture). I grew up in Indianapolis. Like a lot of architecture students, I am spending the semester here to get a taste of the professional experience in a city. I have never lived in New York City before, just visited a few times while being in Ithaca. I also think spending the semester in NYC is a great contrast to my semester in Rome. Like my prethesis professor Ben Gillmartin said, “New York City is the yang to Rome’s ying”. I had a great time and learned a lot in Rome. Now I want to learn from a totally different atmosphere.

One of the most unique opportunities with this program are the internships for the undergrads. I am working with Scalar Architecture, a small firm on the lower east side with lead architect Julio Salcedo. I am interested to see how one goes about starting their own firm and what kinds of challenges they face. Here is their link:

I’m pumped for the classes I’m taking. My studio is with Henry Smith-Miller from Smith-Miller + Hawkinson. Our site is the waterfront edge in Brooklyn. I have done a lot of urban projects throughout college so I think it will be great to be able to have a site to visit whenever I want. Last Friday, Henry and Scot (our TA) took us out on a site visit.

Part of our site. Nice layers and possibilities for urban connections...
Part of our site. Nice layers and possibilities for urban connections...

I am taking the Prethesis class taught by Ben Gillmartin from Diller Scofidio + Renfro. I want to get as much out of this class as possible. One of the first things that Ben said to us about the class is how excited he is to work with us individually so we can be confident and feel strong about our thesis; We all felt really good about him saying that since just the word thesis can be pretty intimidating. haha. I am taking Professional Practice with Jeff Holmes from Woods Baggot, a Curricular Practical Training class with Nina Freedman from Shigeru Ban, and a Visual Representation class from dbox. I do not need any more visual representation credits to graduate, but this class is just way too tempting. Check out their website:

I will talk more in depth about the classes that I am taking as the weeks go on since it feels like we are always doing something different and exciting (like tomorrow, Henry and Scot are taking us to see the World Trade Center memorial).