Archive for November, 2011

Movie review: Wrong Turn 4 (2011)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 30, 2011 by vincentloy

For those who have watched Wrong Turn franchise must have been going for this one too, the fourth and latest instalment to the franchise sets on horrific killing and cannibalism by a group of deformed people. The gore and terror are the selling point for the films including this one. However, this ‘Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings’ is actually a prequel to its three earlier films, which means the story sets before the killing occured in Wrong Turn 1 to 3. It is interesting to see that they change the setting of the story to inside an abandoned hospital rather than in forest anymore. I watched this film from my laptop after finished downloading, as this film would never be released to cinemas worldwide due to extreme violence and gore visuals. (hence all these films are released direct to DVD/Blu-ray)

However, not much depth is given to the background of these deformed people, especially for this ‘Wrong Turn 4’ that supposed to shows the beginning of the terror. These people are just portrayed as being violent, without any other characteristics developed in them which would make their appearance more appealing, not only as a killing subject but also as men with terrific past that haunts or force them to kill and eat human flesh. The first part of the film is quite satisfying that explains how these deformed people turned out to be like that, but still not much development is given. (less than 10 minutes is allocated for that portion that is supposed to be very significant).

As soon as the story framework begins with a group of young adults (as usual in all the films of this franchise), everything turns out to be dumb, lame, illogical and most of all, STUPID! The decisions made by the characters are all silly and even worst than a 10-years old’s brain. Their actions are way too dumb, that eventually leads them to death by the three deformed men. The acting performance is quite satisfying, but the script itself is very poorly-written (I guess it is written by a man with poor understanding on logic).  Actually for this film, the deformed ones are not as violent as those portrayed from Wrong Turn 1 to 3, but the silly decisions made by the characters lead them to be caught and killed by the deformed men without the need of brilliant cat-and-mouse or tricky plans. That is what me and many others wished to see; the creativity of killing which is totally insufficient from this film.

Yes, as usual, and as expected, I see a lot of blood and gore from this film, which is good for a slasher film like this. But nothing more than that would be quite bad to make a horror film successful. There can be a lot of fun and excitement for horror movie fans from this theme of cannibalism by a group of deformed people, but the director does not make the best out of it, which ends up producing a quite poor outcome from it in Wrong Turn 4. Anyway, for people whom have watched how this theme is applied into the previous three films would be indeed excited for this one too. And yes, same applies to me. But after watching it, all I think was just dumb fun! (The last scene is a bit surprising but also lame) It is considered entertaining, but way too stupid. Out of 10 points, I would only give this one 5.8, but still extremely worth-watching for those who likes horror slasher films like me. (I’m not crazy….just like the art of it)

A brief cover: Architecture Design 302

Posted in Miscellaneous on November 30, 2011 by vincentloy

Finally…Architecture Design 302, the last module to ends for the final semester, and the most essential one. There is only one project for the entire semester which for design lasted for over 18 weeks after several re-submissions. However, that particular single project  is on designing housing proposition for the low-income residents. The progress of the project is further broken down into three parts; Part A: Conceptual, Part B: Schematic, and Part C: Design Development.

Part A started with Project X (group work of three) which is about finding and activating a space along a site with certain treatment that provokes play among the people. The site is at Seri Kembangan outdoor market and we have chosen a series of steps separating the parking zone with the market street. The steps act as transitional space between both which only matters to people to cross over it. Hence, we proposed railings of different configurations, colours and heights to the space which is previously dull and ignored to activate it with multiple possible ‘play’ from the railings to the people. Six postcards are produced to illustrate conceptually on the project.

Then, this part continues with site visit to the site where our housing proposition is to be located, at Petaling Jaya Old Town, directly opposite the indoor market through the main road of Jalan Othman. As usual, as a group work, we conducted site inventory and own analysis to the site, but it is very hard to find anything interesting from the site in just a day. Hence, I went there for few times, which later turns out to be really useful when I have my own direction in design already. Then, another 6 postcards are to be produced as for individual site analysis. I illustrate the peak movement of a specific demographic of people to a certain destination from the start of location (indicating the site without even the need of a plan) at different time of a day in my postcards; (children to school, aunties to market, drivers on road, all through alley, all at food stalls, uncles to food court for chess).

Next, Part A continues with Case Study (group work too) on Section 17 Walk-Up Flats in Petaling Jaya too, where we need to produce 2 A3 boards on existing architectural elements of low-cost housing in Malaysia and looking in areas that are good or poor which can be improved. Then, comes UBBL Case Studies which in our previous group of three, we conducted own site visit to few low-cost housing around Kuala Lumpur and looking into areas related to UBBL for either correct or wrong. 4 A3 boards are then produced. Part A continues with conceptual model which I emphasize on putting the peak movements (derives from postcards earlier) into layers, and from there, the most overlapping of layers indicates the place at site with heavier concentration of communal activities. Then comes contextual model which I emphasize onto the existing narrow alley that the human flow could be interrupted sometimes due to accidental interaction along the alley at the east of site. From the model, I illustrate the existing alley’s configuration, and also proposing an extension to it so the flow could be smooth while promoting communal interaction. That’s the end of Part A which there is quite a lot of stuff going on, but overall would carries only 20%.

Part B: Schematic Design, starts with each of us having individual concept for our housing proposition later on after going through many studio exercises in Part A. My concept or main idea is then confirmed to be ‘fluidity’, which at first still focusing on human flow only. After several exploration and thinking, the concept is then further spread to fluid of light and air, managing how natural light and air flow influences the design later on. In this stage, design strategies diagrams and site responsive diagrams are produced to strengthen my idea. A draft master planning is also produced and how the fluidity works in master planning is also analysed into diagrams. All these diagrams are essential as a development to my housing proposition, and also as support to my idea.

There is a presentation for Part B, where each of us need to produce a number of boards already (in butter paper or anything not printed). A rough compelling image is also needed to show clearly on our concept. Micro units, which mean exploration into each different types of units (50 hostel rooms, 16 residences consisting of studio or one-bedroom units, two-bedroom units and three-bedroom units) are also required. Sketches of perspectives are drawn to further visualize my concept of fluidity into 3D perspectives of my housing scheme. There is a second presentation for Part B also, which improvement and upgrade can be made, and I have added four sections with with rendering, and also a revised master planning.

Part B ends, and there comes the last part of design progress, which is on Part C: Design Development. In this part, I have to start developing the details and logic of construction of the design, as well as articulation of architectural elements and how that respond to the concept, to existing site context, and even to climate here in Malaysia. Individual tutorial began from Part B until this Part C. Another submission is organized for this Part C, where I started to produce a draft version of my final board already. A bit fast, but I think is just at the right time to prevent accumulation and rushing of more works at the end of semester. For Part C, I have further developed the plans, the micro units, the perspectives, as well as producing three sectional perspectives that caught the most attention from the lecturers. I’m glad for that, and by then I am in a good progress.

After Part C, it is all basically depends on our own, to finish up all the final works for the final presentation panels in A2 landscape format, and also final model in scale 1:200. A site model is built as a class work and is to be shared for putting in our final model in later on. Then, it took quite some time to settle all the drawings, diagrams and creating new final compelling image which is further revised later on for better outcome. Finally, my final boards are settled (10 A2 boards) and my final model has also been completed (not fully completed, but those elements showing my concept are shown then would be enough already). The boards are now should work in separate sheet, unlike in previous semesters that the board is in one whole piece and continuously long.

We have several re-submissions, and I think for this semester, we had the most resubmissions due to dissatisfaction from the lecturers on the quality of our works. But then, my mood on doing works starting to diminish, and I did not do much things to improve my final works as the end of semester has actually arrived. Portfolio is done, and keep on upgraded several times, until the truly final submission not long ago. My overall marks, accumulated from Part A to Part B then to Part C, and finally to final boards and portfolio stands at 77 (the highest ever I have for this module in this 4 years) and even forecasted to reach 80 (grade A) by our lecturers which I’m really glad for it. However, the ones who are going to decide my final grade is by the Curtin moderators. Now, I’m worrying not only no upgrade to 80 but the possible terrifying downgrade. to my current marks. Anyway, I’m already satisfied with my works for the design module of this final semester, and is now ended which truly adds up excitement to me and my classmates that marks the end of the semester too.

Actually, the whole works of the semester in design can also be summarized and visible through my portfolio. Hence, I won’t post my presentation panels here, but actually you can see a smaller version of it at the end of my portfolio also. Hence, everything is already in my portfolio, and it’s right below here only for viewing and reference purpose (all rights reserved). This portfolio is officially the last work for the course of study.

A brief cover: Building Technology 302

Posted in Miscellaneous on November 30, 2011 by vincentloy

For this module for the final semester, everything is concentrated only on examinations. In previous semester, ‘Building Technology’ module is one of the hardest as there are a lot of assignments (construction drawings and model), calculations on structures and also examinations. For this final semester, it turns out to be one of the easiest to go through (not to score well) as there are only two examinations that would decide the final grade of the module. There are only lectures given in class, with no need for tutorial as there is no assignment. The lecturers also have given us some useful articles or reading materials to read as some might be tested in examination. There is also a site visit to IBS Centre (can see my previous post on this particular site visit) to check on the construction of precast system.

On this semester, we are given lecture on prestressed concrete, precast concrete, hollow core slab, stairs, glazing, retaining wall, and working drawings. These are the topics to be tested, half in mid term and remaining half in final exam. Everything is in theory with no calculation involved which actually made it much easier to handle. Hints are not given for mid term, which causes a shocking outcome, that only 11 out of the whole class that consists of over 60 students passed. (luckily, I’m one of it, and also scoring the highest). However, I’m still not satisfied enough as the marks obtained are still quite low and this would prevents me from scoring A for this module.

Hints are given to help us for final examination. And I think many people managed to do well for that too. Each exam accounts for 50%. After both exams completed, the module eventually is completed too. Revision is only needed in a day before both examinations to score. That is how simple it is. However, answering the questions is another case, that depends particularly on ourselves individually. After checking with the lecturer before the semester ends, now I know I’m on safe ground on this particular module and it’s over for me too. Now, I’m just hoping for a B grade for this module, then I would be satisfied. I think no one in the class would score A, looking at how strict the lecturers marked our papers now. Ahh…one more thing to stress on; the lectures every week are very boring and we usually don’t play full attention to it,….so sorry for that….furthermore, all of us would definitely only look at the lecture notes when is needed; which is during revision for examinations.

A brief cover: Architecture Option 302: Working Drawings

Posted in Miscellaneous on November 30, 2011 by vincentloy

This module of Working Drawings is definitely the subject that I disliked the most out of all the five modules covered in the final semester. Working Drawings is all about conveying a fixed design into a set of drawings with details, cross-referencing and specifications. Everything is just about drawing, drawing and drawing using AutoCad, then plot it into Adobe PDF, then compose it into a format in Adobe Photoshop. That is how it works.

This module started 5 or 6 weeks late, after everything is settled for the operation of the module by the lecturers. Hence, we are given much lesser time to complete the drawings as required. We are then given two designs, which each of us needs to select one and prepare working drawings for it. The designs are actually a three-storey bungalow. There are a series of lecture, which all are conducted by only a lecturer who loves to give lecture. There are a total of 5 tutors available.

This is an individual work, which means I have to produce all drawings on my own. My God…that is a lot to do, and I’m not good or fast in using AutoCad. This is taking a lot of my time and energy. We are then given a sample of drawings as an aid for us to refer (actually mainly follows). Drawings needed to be produced are general areas (key plan, location plan, site plan, all floor plans, roof plan, 4 sections, 4 elevations), window and door schedules and details. The details are produced in group as we all can share similar details in construction. After days of hard work, I have completed the drawings, which all are plotted in 11 A1 landscape papers including first page for cover and table of content and second page for general notes.

I think my drawings are still not very good and are only at satisfactory level. However, I’m already satisfied after the drawings have been completed and the module is over since I have no interest on this module at all. I actually can’t believe that after all, I still finished  the drawings which are a lot despite it is not at its best. (Actually there is still some incompleteness in the drawings)…nevermind, it’s still a good job from me. (The pictures below of my submitted working drawings intended only for viewing and reference purpose, copyright reserved).

A brief cover: Architecture and Culture 302

Posted in Miscellaneous on November 30, 2011 by vincentloy

Me and my classmates have been exposed to the study of history and culture for 4 years, from the beginning of Foundation, to the end of the course. After years of study from ancient to modern architecture and culture, the final semester deals with structuralism and deconstructivism through philosophies. This semester appears to be quite difficult for this module, as it is very hard for us to absorb and understand the philosophies related to the theory of structuralism and deconstructivism.

The lecturers already tried their best to explain in the simplest words for us, and to be honest, I only managed to understand the basic or general meanings of those philosophies, not even all. From Michel Foucault in Discipline and Punish, to Pierre Bordieu in habitus, and Beetles, Pipe and Mirror in sign and finally Derrida in deconstruction, all these lectures taught us to perceive things deeper and differently with severe thoughts and might differ based on own different background. We also learnt there is never just one meaning to a single expression. I find it is quite interesting of learning all this, and would help us to see the built environment in another perspective.

The assignment is broken into three parts. The first part is the workshop stages, further broken down into four; shadows of the past, surfaces of the present, interpretation and transformation. This is a group work of five students, which we need to analyse a site, which we selected Alcatraz from San Francisco. It is famous for its former prison, American Indian occupation and protest, and the isolation strength of the island in the middle of San Francisco Bay. It is now turned into a National Park, which had been a popular label to the site. On first stage, we conducted research on history of Alcatraz before the prison is closed. On second stage, we conducted research on events happening on Alcatraz after prison is closed which is more than just a tourist attraction. On third stage, we further analysed and interpret the findings we have earlier in first two stages. And finally, in fourth stage, we proposed transformation to the site through suggestion and possibilities of architectural elements which does not involve design of our intervention for the next assignment yet. On tutorials for the workshop stages, our group even recorded our lecturer’s voice so that we remember every single feedbacks commented.

The second part of assignment is also a group work, where we need to have a design of our intervention to be placed on the site after research and analysis of the four stages. The design should be based on the stages and is about what the site is about, not on what the site needs. Our intervention is basically deconstructing the existing wall of the cellhouse in the middle of the island and align it back to the existing gridline of the city in the mainland as a representation of attaching the island back to the general society. The visual over the cellhouse is then altered from when the journey of the ferry ride to the island starts, going from open and see-through visual to more enclosed view that indicates that the island appears open and transparent from mainland, but eventually get enclosed and concealed with mystery as people reached the island. This shows that eventhough there are no more control over the island in the present, but its traces and even indirect control are still visible even until these days.

The main objective of the intervention is to reveal the control over Alcatraz from its past to its present and also to provoke question on the effects of control and the government’s decision over the island among the public. It is actually like creating awareness from the general society over the control of the island that contributes to what it is now, from political, economical, social and cultural influences to the site. Our intervention responds to that by providing a sign of freedom and openness to the site but once things get closer, sign of control and limitation started to reveal.

Our installation is focusing on journey, from a brighter side of Alcatraz which is being perceived as what it is today by the public to a darker side which is actually the underlying and true face of the site that started to diminish in memories of the people today. Between the transition of both paths, there is a wall where presentation is located; drawings and abstract models to convey the idea. The hanging louvres that separate both paths shows brighter visual of Alcatraz on one side, and darker visual on the other side. The installation is quite rough as we did it only in one night in the time when we are all rushing for design assignment too.

The third part of the assignment is individual research essay, which each of us have to write our own paper, by using our own words, by refering more from the lectures on philosophies learnt, and refering to facts found from the stages earlier. This individual work costs 40%, the group presentation on intervention costs 40%, and the four workshop stages carries 20%. After all this is over, the installation is removed, the design statement of the intervention is completed, written works been submitted to Turnitin for plagiarism detection which I’m safe in all works, and the module is completed.

A brief cover: Building Science 302

Posted in Miscellaneous on November 30, 2011 by vincentloy

It’s time for me to write some posts regarding the completed modules I have taken on this final semester. It’s usual for every semester after each ends. The first subject I’m going to cover is Building Science 302.  This module which once turns out to be the easiest subject to get through, now becomes one of the hardest in this final semester. Why? Because there is no exam for this module in the final semester, and the full grade is totally based on the assignments. For me, exam is the fastest and easiest to gain marks. Okay…so have to deal with the assignments then…

There are three main topics for this semester; Energy and Passive Designs, Acoustics and Standards, Water and Sustainability. Quick lecture that re-caps on previous semester’s lecture on these three topics are given, which we sees Building Science 302 as module with the least lecture compared to its previous semester. This time around, the focus is more on practicality, technology, calculation, manufacturing data, and standards (UBBL, Malaysia Standard, Australia Standard, etc).

The first part is the group assignment. We in a group of three need to produce two A3 landscape boards of each theme, with a subtheme chosen for us by the lecturers. Each theme carries 10%, and hence this part carries a total of only 30%. My group is selected to present on the first theme (which we are doing on glazing, orientation and site condition under energy and passive designs), hence we have had a presentation in the early semester already. That presentation accounts for only 10%.

The second part is the individual assignment, which contributes the heaviest burden to us, even much more terrible than assignments from other modules.  For this, I have to produce 4 A3 landscape boards for each theme, choosing two or more subthemes and analyse the integration of the selected aspects into my design, which is taken from my final semester’s design of my housing proposition. Each theme carries 20%, which adds up to 60%. The hard part is that there are too much of information needed to be fit into 4 A3, but at last, I can get through, but with less calculation, because I’m not good at it. I also need to consider on selection of materials on the themes to be cost-effective, and cheap for appropriateness with the low-income housing. However, all the products available from internet are usually expensive, and so this point is ignored in some aspects.

I only upload my individual assignment, not the group one. Actually, I like the way how this module is being done and conducted in the whole semester. The lecturers are good in lecture and tutoring us. The class is being held in new building, and we had a new environment to study in. Now, we have been introduced in greater depth to the three themes studied; Energy and Passive Designs, Acoustics and Standards, Water and Sustainability, which all are essential in building’s design today for a comfortable living and sustainable environment to the people.

Movie review: The Adventures of Tintin (2011)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 29, 2011 by vincentloy

Wow…the story is good, the visual effects are amazing! This is refering to the movie that I have watched few hours ago; The Adventures of Tintin. After learning from my friend that this movie is quite nice, so I decided to go for it, besides than another animated film released recently; Puss in Boots. ‘The Adventures of Tintin’ is certainly more than a typical animated film. It is a performance-capture film that translates the captured movement of casts into the animated picture, which make things look more realistic.

When the film began, I am amazed by the current advanced technology in motion capture in animation. It brings new dimension to the genre of animation. Many things look so real and natural, especially the characters (the people) themselves. Finest details are visible on their faces in the film, which is being converted to a realistic animated picture. This is cool. Ahh…and furthermore, it is directed by Steven Spielberg, whom must be providing us a movie with great quality and depth.

This film is not an exception. Almost everything is good in any aspects of the film. The story is nice, and greatly captured by exciting adventures in the plot, well-crafted characters, interesting scenes, and not to forget some funny humours in it. All that makes up for a very good movie. The casts performed really well even in this animated film, by showcasing brilliant voice, and communicative movements for the film as the story progresses. I have nothing much to comment on this film actually. This is because there is not much flaw I can find from this film except from a bit plain backdrop or some animated (computer-generated graphics) settings of the film, and also lack of much careful attention to the editing and visual effects (as seen in the beginning of the movie) in the last half of the movie.

So, these two weaknesses, brought down my rating to a level below 8 which is extremely good. Hence, this film stands now at 7.7 rating from me, which is considered a very good standing in the year. ‘The Adventures of Tintin’ certainly brought much fun and entertainment to me, especially to the kids but I can assure you that this film is suitable for all ages too. Eventhough I did not read the comic books of the same title before, but I do really enjoy the film from the beginning till the end.