Graphic Communications

We like something because it makes sense. We get it.
I was just in a senior architecture studio pin-up, where the class was looking at each class member’s analytical drawings of a croissant. Each student had been asked to convey the ‘croissantness’ of a croissant; his or her choice on type of drawings, models or video. There were photographs of mixers, plans, sections, and elevations of the croissants, and sequential drawings of rolled up triangles. The student had to stand next to his or her set of drawings while the classmates interpreted the drawings. The exciting moment arrived when one person said’ “I like the drawings on the left. Why? Because they make sense.”
As designers, we like to make sense out of things, solve problems, provide solutions. I had a studio critic who explained it slightly differently – “Architects provide order out of disorder.” As architects we use graphics – our drawings and models – as the language of communication. What Makes Sense?
The VRC blog will revisit the issues of communication throughout the semester so welcome back!

In the meantime check out this website:

Powerpoint shortcut

So many course lectures are built in Powerpoint these days. To make your life a little easier, I am directing you to an automated image importer that import a folder of images into a Powerpoint presentation. This were shared with me by my colleague at the University of Washington, so I cannot take any credit. Check out the Simulacrum blog for access to the image importer. Click on the link within the blog to get to an older version of the image importer.  Or you can come see me, Cindy, in the VRC to pick up the image importer. Bring a flashdrive with you.


McKeldin Library Resources

Did you know that you can borrow a laptop and/or a laptop charger from McKeldin Library?

Did you know that you can borrow an iPad, various adaptors or noise reduction headphones?

That’s right, McKeldin Library has items to loan that help make studying with technology just a little easier. Click Here to view the website.

And if the VRC is out of cameras, you can borrow a Nikon L120 point and shoot camera from McKeldin as well.

Code for Community Challenge

Our colleagues in Urban Studies and Planning are sponsoring a competition.
If you are an undergraduate student here at the University of Maryland, and you like competition, mobile apps, inventing things and helping your community, then this EVENT is for you. The Code for Community Challenge invites students to come up with an app that meets a community need. Click HERE for more information:
Alex Chen of Urban Studies and Planning can also be contacted for more information.

Powerpoint tip of the day

Do you have issues with Powerpoint presentations that are too big, pictures that disappear, presentations that take forever to copy to your flashdrive, red “X”‘s instead of images?  Your pictures are too large. Even if you are loading a jpg, it could be many megabytes in size.

Powerpoint has an easy fix for this.

Under File, Choose Reduce File Size. In the next window, choose Best for viewing on screen (150ppi)

Click ok, and Powerpoint will save your entire presentation in a reduced file size, ready to travel, and show.

You can click on these pictures to view them in a larger version.

Best for viewing.

Best for viewing.

Welcome to the VRC

Welcome back to a new semester here at the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. This semester’s focus will be images and how to find them, how to use images in presentations and papers, formatting images, how to finesse powerpoints, and prezis. We will also post beautiful pictures of architecture, public spaces, smart growth, and historic preservation, along with some not so beautiful pictures as well.

Keep in mind that here at the school, you have access to an archive of slides, many of which are already digitized, and many of which are copyright accessible. They were taken by a traveling student or faculty member and can be used by students for presentations and papers under the Fair Use portion of copyright law.

Other sources of images include the world wide web, and I will be explaining how to focus your search so you don’t end up with thousands of google images to sort through. In fact this website “How to Use Google Search More Effectively” will get you started with that. Lastly, the University has a subscription to various image databases, including Artstor, where I will be uploading archival materials from the School’s collection of architecture, planning and preservation images. Like this one, for example:

Portland Place, London


Or maybe you would like this one:

Burano, Italy; Pink House


Welcome to School

Welcome to the School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. You are on the Visual Resources Collection Blog – MAPPimages. Check here for information about relevant new images, training session times, who is who and what is what.

Please check out the School’s Facebook page – Latest posts include pictures from the Summer Study Abroad programs to Scandinavia, and Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Wednesday August 22, 2012 is the new graduate student open house, so I will be talking about the cameras, video cameras, lights, tripods, Flat panel TV’s and images that you can borrow.

Cameras that students may borrow.

Tripod can be used with video cameras as well as the point-and-shoot cameras.

Canon Video camera

What should I do with my Degree?

The School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation grants graduate degrees in Historic Preservation, Architecture and Real Estate Development, as well as a Ph.D. program in Urban and Regional Planning and Design. At the undergraduate level you can get a Bachelor of Science Degree in Architecture.  But, what do you do with one of these? You could pursue the Architectural License, but you could also go into industrial design, or be an urban planner, or civil engineer.  For encouragement and consideration of the various options now open to you, please read Dr. Lee Waldreps’ brief and informative article titled, “Architecture and Beyond: Opportunities Abound”.


Remember, you are always learning people skills, communication and collaboration skills, and these will serve you well for any job.

Sustainability websites


This list of websites deals with Sustainability Issues!  Click on the link to download the PDF. Some have a homeowner’s focus, while others talk about real estate values and real estate law with respect to green technologies in a building.  Still others may approach the topic from a City point of view.

The University of Maryland's WaterShed, the Solar Decathlon winner, promotes a sustainable lifestyle, including a garden.

Websites of Interest – Sustainability

From time to time, I will post about websites that deal with Sustainability in its many permutations: architecture, real estate, city planning, historic preservation, and energy. The following list will start us off with connections to a broad selection of technologies, building design, and event tax credits.

Website covers topics on emerging technologies, green building, energy efficient interior design, emerging sources of renewable energy and sustainable product design

Links to public services initiatives, science and innovation, news, blogs, maps and data concerning the following topics: tax credits, heating and cooling, solar energy, home weatherization, appliances and electronics.

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Examples of energy efficient homes, buildings, cars and diagrams of solar energy, wind energy, water conservation and various fuels.