More Better Things to do with Slides

Our latest Architecture Masters Thesis presentations made use of some big-time visual technologies. Rather than print miles of color images to cover 30 linear feet of wall space, several students opted to project their presentations, using a rear projection system and a 12 foot wide screen, multiple flat panel TVs, or in most cases, a combination of both.

An Architecture Thesis student presents using rear projection on a 12 foot screen as well as 3 flat panel TVs connected to a computer.

As part of the ritual of graduating, these same students and their colleagues in the Urban Studies and Planning, Historic Preservation and Real Estate Development programs must put on an exhibit in our Kibel Gallery. And design the layout of said exhibit. It was suggested that the students do something ‘high-tech’ since so many presentations had used technology in the method.

No problem for this crowd. They set themselves some parameters – it shouldn’t take long to set-up, and it shouldn’t cost much either. In other words, they were Done with school already. Solution? Old School slides and some slide projectors. First, they laser cut the titles for graduation exhibit into the slide film.

Laser cut title in a slide.

Next, set up the projectors to project onto the wall surface in the gallery.

The slide projectors project titles through the glass.

The slide projectors project titles through the glass.

People walking by temporarily interrupt the titles before entering the gallery. Low budget, minimal time, looks good! Stop by on a weekday, if you are in the area.

Better Presentations

Master of Architecture student presents her thesis project.

Master of Architecture student presents her thesis project.

During the architecture program masters thesis presentations, the issue of taking up space to be more powerful came up. Truly, stretching out, putting your shoulders back and chin up, puts you in a more powerful pose, and the act of maintaining a powerful pose actually causes you to behave more powerfully.
For anyone making a major presentation – Masters Thesis, Capstone, PhD dissertation defense, course lecture, – this is useful information.
You want to be the person who is viewed as an expert on your topic. This may have personal relevance and or teaching relevance as something to share with students as they work on their presentations skills.
I am including links to a Ted Talk, Wired Magazine article, and Harvard Researcher bio so that you can continue this exploration.

Ted Talk:

Wired – Power Postures Can Make You Feel More Powerful:

Cuddy Bio:

Beauvoir, Beautiful to View

By Guest Blogger Lucinda Philumalee.

Beauvoir, Beautiful to View


When I attended my first University of Maryland Historic Preservation Organization (HiPO) meeting in the fall of 2008, the president conducted an icebreaker in which the group took turns introducing themselves and sharing their favorite historic site.  I had only been out of the South for two months so naturally I declared my love for Beauvoir, Jefferson Davis’s retirement plantation.

Beauvoir originally sat on a parcel of land of approximately 600 acres, which extended from the Gulf of Mexico to Back Bay Biloxi, Mississippi.  Since 1848, the property has decreased to a twelfth of its original size and although the visitor may still see the beach from the front porch, Highway 90 and its cars obstruct the view.  Although the raised Louisiana cottage still stands, even in lieu of Hurricanes Camille in 1969 and Katrina in 2005, a significant portion of Beauvior is unable to be experienced by the present visitor since the cultural landscape has been destroyed.

The elimination of outbuildings, forestry, and the orange grove (so often noted that a nearby town was named for it) decreased historical viewsheds, which in turn diminished the integrity of the visitor experience.  Historic preservation is not solely about the conservation of the built environment, but also about the natural site that surrounds it.  When an architect designs a structure, site analysis is a component of the process; therefore preservationists should take into account the thought behind that process and make all attempts to conserve a site, built and natural.

Favorite Buildings

From time to time, I will post an blog entry by one of my staff, about a favorite building.  Today’s entry is by Lucinda Philumalee, current MRED candidate and Historic Preservation degree holder.

Eisenhower Executive Office Building: Eyesore or Icon?

Located just west of the White House is a Federal building built in the Second Empire style that has been a staple of Washington DC since 1871.  It was designed by a former Supervising Architect, Alfred Mullet, in the Second Empire style.  Formerly known as the Old Executive Office Building, the Eisenhower Executive Office Building has been a source of strong opinion to many who encounter it.

Named for the Second French Empire, Second Empire architecture is a style that became popular in the mid-to-late 1800s and is distinctly European. While Second Empire residential buildings are located around DC, the Eisenhower Executive Office Building is the one of the few, if only, Federal buildings built in this style.

America’s most iconic Federal buildings were built in the style of Greek Revival, which became popular in the 18th and 19th century.  DC was established as the nation’s capital in 1790; thus the built environment reflected what was prominent at the time.  As a result, Americans have a predisposition of what Federal buildings should look like.  Compounded with the fact that Americans are often turned off from anything that is iconoclastic with what they are used to representing the capital and the nation, the Second Empire Eisenhower Executive Office Building is often perceived with distaste.

President Truman described the Eisenhower Executive Office Building as the greatest monstrosity in America.  Mark Twain called it the ugliest building in America.  Perhaps most graphic, historian and author Henry Adams referred to it as Mullet’s “architectural infant asylum.”  Likely it was sentiments such as these, along with the notion that it was an inefficient building that put it at risk for demolition in the 1950s, however those plans never came to fruition.

Once despised for its nonconformist style, opinions of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building have since neutralized.  It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the 1960s and designated as a National Historic Landmark shortly thereafter.  While many other Greek Revival style Federal buildings require a second glance for identification, the Second Empire Federal building is undoubtedly the Eisenhower Executive Office Building and a DC icon.

Below are a few pictures; If you travel to DC you can make your own decision!

Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Phot from School of Architecture, Plannign and Preservation Visual resources Collection

Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Phot from School of Architecture, Planning, & Preservation Visual Resources Collection

Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Picture form A. D. White Architectural Photographs, Cornell University Library, via The Commons.

Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Picture form A. D. White Architectural Photographs, Cornell University Library, via The Commons.

Eisenhower Executive Office Building from the street. Image from the School of Architecture, Planning, & Preservation, Visual Resources Collection.

Eisenhower Executive Office Building from the street. Image from the School of Architecture, Planning, & Preservation, Visual Resources Collection.

Presentation Method -Prezi

For Architects, Planners, Historic Preservationists, and Real Estate Developers, the Prezi format for presentations offers a flexible canvas for building your case, or explaining a topic, or presenting a thesis. It is not easier than Powerpoint, but rather, different. An image can become the framework for the entire presentation.
Start at
and register for an account.
Teachers and students – Register with your email address for the educational account – its Free! Use the Sign-up now button.
Use the LEARN and EXPLORE tabs to learn more about Prezi features.

Shows some good features of Prezi.
I will be giving an introductory tutorial on Prezi, on Monday October 31, at 12:15 in room 1111.

Let’s Talk ARTstor

Let’s Talk – starting on Tuesday October 11th, the VRC will be conducting weekly conversations, demonstrations and collaborations focused on digital media, teaching tools, university resources and your suggestions.

We will start off with “How to Navigate Artstor – the Basics” On Tuesday 10/11 from 12 to 12:30, and again on Friday 10/14 from 12 to 12:30.  Please meet in 1115, the Media Lab.  Artstor has over 1 million images available for use in lectures and research.

The Past Superimposed on the Present.

Take a look at What Was There: This website adds photos to places, tagged by location and year.  If there is a street view in Google maps, the photograph is  lined up from the same point of view to provide a glimpse of the same place at a different time. You can see how the streetscape has changed, as well as the architecture, car design, and fashions.

The site even allows you to fade the photograph in and out.  Cities in the United States have more photographs than other parts of the world, but I am sure that will change as more people travel the site. You can upload photographs yourself, although I have not tried that yet. This could be useful for preservationists, architects, and urban planners.