In-Seol Park

Urban Chicago Riverwalk

There is something rather “fishy” going on in present day Chicago, Illinois. Recently, it has been announced that the federal government is giving a 100 million dollar loan to the city of Chicago to revitalize the Chicago Riverwalk and “reclaim the Chicago River for the ecological and recreational benefit of the city” (Chicago Riverwalk). The plan of the Chicago Riverwalk has been in progress since the 1990s and   in 2011, the chosen design teams began the designs for the next six blocks of the Chicago Riverwalk.

The people of Chicago and environmental groups such as Friends of the Chicago River are enthusiastic about this macroscale project that will expand the Chicago Riverwalk and bring possibly 400 jobs when they’re building it plus 400 more permanent jobs when its fully operable with all the retail, entertainment, and all the other aspects (Mayor Rahm Emanuel). The purpose of this project is to  not only benefit the residents of Chicago but to also reintroduce the Chicago River that has played a critical role in the city’s history as a landscape that is truly integrated in the city.

According to Gina Ford, lead designer of Sasaki Associates, the team responsible for this project embraces a mantra of the life of the river. To incorporate the team’s mantra, the Chicago Riverwalk will add six more themes (a theme per block) to the preexisting four districts named correspondingly to its theme: confluence, arcade, civic, and market. The designers of Sasaki Associates developed the concept plan for the continuation of this project. They are also currently working with Ross Barney Architects, Alfred Benesch Engineers, and a broader technical consultant team on the “next millennium project” for Chicago (Mayor Rahm Emanuel). The expectations are indefinitely high of the final outcome of the Chicago Riverwalk.


CICLAVIA 4.21.13My bike has been resting in the exact same spot for as long as I can remember. Being a spontaneous consumer, I abruptly purchased the bike but never utilized it too often. When Rennie introduced the third blog assignment, I knew CICLAVIA was going to be the perfect opportunity to experience my bike’s full potential.

On the day of the event, I woke up early to prepare myself for a challenging task, biking from Downtown, Los Angeles to Venice Beach and back. Ironically, I thought that excessive stretching was necessary because I’ve never biked over five miles in my life. I was oblivious of what was headed my direction.

I met up a colleague a couple blocks from my house in Koreatown Los Angeles to begin my endeavor to accomplish a mission that was rather out of my league. After meeting up at a gas station, my colleague needed to adjust some parts of his bike so we decided to stop by a bike shop on Venice Boulevard. When we arrived at the bike shop, the street was already blockaded and cyclists were already practicing the route. While waiting for his bike to be adjusted, I enjoyed the hospitality of the shade offered by the building façade.

From the bike shop, we headed to the starting point in Downtown to meet up our other classmates. The start was bearable but once I reached an uphill of Downtown, I began to lose my pace and ended up losing sight of my colleague. I pulled over to the side to grasp my breath and blame myself for becoming ridiculously out of shape. After quenching my thirst with a gulp of water, I struggled past the hill to catch up to my colleague.

Upon arrival at the rendezvous, I noticed all sorts of individuals waiting for the event to start. There were countless amount of bikers and several of them had eye-capturing bikes that stood out from the crowd. As soon as the event started, thousands of wheels began to enter into motion synchronously.

At first, the traffic was comparable to the Interstate 10 in Downtown, but after a while, I was able to ride freely at my own pace. Although the sunlight was blazing hot, the breeze was enjoyable throughout the whole ride; however, suffering from several cramps in my thighs was not pleasant. After several hours of constant pedaling, we arrived at the Venice Beach where we ate lunch and relaxed in the grassy area. After feeling rested, we headed back home.

At the end of this journey, I felt accomplished but exhausted at the same time. I was able to exceed my own expectation and bike over 30 miles with only limited experience. My Los Angeles experience was more than completing a blog assignment; it was a battle against my own limitations.

Poet's Garden

Cramer enhances the reflective quality of the still pool by installing the pyramids. Ernst Cramer 1959. Visionary Gardens: Modern Landscapes p.259

Twin Tower Court

Through the installations of a wind-resistant steel frame that offers advertising space above the bus stop and taxi stand, Querkraft reveals the need for wind protection for the passerby. Querkraft 2001. Urban Landscape p. 115

Finsbury Avenue Square

The lighting grid that brightens the once lukewarm business center also gives a sense of scale to the otherwise non-delineated space. Maurice Brill 2004. Urban Landscape


It was about two in the afternoon when I decided to go to the Griffith Park Observatory. I wasn’t hyped about going to a place where I’ve visited many times before so I didn’t think much about it. I grabbed my camera, car keys, and my backpack, then I was off to the observatory. The drive wasn’t any different from any other days, but I did go the wrong way and ended up at the stable. When I actually arrived at the right location, the parking lot was packed, but I was lucky enough to find a parking spot immediately. It never occured to me that people actually come to the observatory during daylight. The place felt foreign and unusual because I wasn’t accustomed to seeing the details outside of the observatory because I always came here at night. There were many tourists and I blended in with them because although it wasn’t my first experience of the observatory, we were both gazing at something new. We had the same amazement in our eyes and it was the complete opposite of what I expected. Despite that this place is called the Griffith Park Observatory, I never took my time to actually observe the place. Taking advantage of this opportunity, I was able to examine the delicate pattern of the observatory’s exterior and spectate the movements of the spectators. Time flew by quickly in no time and the sun began to set. Before I left, I was able to sketch the observatory building which made me realize that I need to definitely improve my sketching skills. Overall, I was able to leave with satisfaction.

Chronological (Revised):

My trip to the Griffith Park Observatory helped me realize that sunlight can greatly shift the appearance of a location and affect the experience of the visitor. Because I visited during the day, I felt it was absurd to enter the observatory. Instead, I decided to observe the surrounding environment outside of the observatory.

I left my house around noon blasé about going to the Griffith Park Observatory, because it was a place of familiarity since I visited many times before. The mild traffic and going the wrong direction towards the stables did not help me spark any more interest. When I arrived at the parking lot, it was filled with cars and I was dubious about finding a parking spot.

Luckily, I found a parking spot immediately and that led to the turning point of my visit. As I made my way towards the observatory, I realized that I have never visited the Griffith Park Observatory during the day. It seemed like an entirely different place because of the sunlight illuminating  the landscape and the tourists swarming around the site attractions.

By four o’ clock, I was blending in with the tourists, taking photographs of the sundial and the Astronomer’s Monument; however, in reality, I was actually attracted to another aspect of the area. The fact that there were so many people gathered outside of the Griffith Park Observatory intrigued me, because I used to think that people came during the night to observe the stars.

As the sun began to disappear, so did the tourists. Spectating the people became the focus of my visit, and although I came expecting nothing in return, I left Griffith Park with a memorable experience.

Thematic (Blog #4):

My visit to the Griffith Park Observatory gave me an opportunity to observe different types of people at the observatory. I was not used to seeing so many people at the observatory, and it made me unconsciously study the different people there.

The first category of people i noticed were the parents with their children. The unique shape of the statue and the weather compelled the kids to play around the Astronomer’s Monument. Because the kids were running around the statue, it was a challenge for me to take a good photograph. Instead of asking the parents to control their kids for a couple minutes, I decided to observe the other individuals.

When I looked around, a group of tourists carrying around oversized DSLR Cameras caught my attention. They were in a similar position as me, attempting to take photographs while the kids were running around. The tourists were mainly of Asian descent so I assumed they were all participating in the same tour.

The last category of individuals I saw were couples enjoying their date on a cool sunny day. They were mostly apathetic about their surrounding and seemed to just enjoy each other’s company.

During this visit, I learned that the Griffith Park Observatory has many distinct individuals who visit it during the day. It allowed me to conclude that the outdoor space of the observatory is a popular area for individuals to come and interact.

Tree 1  Tree 2  Tree 3

Alone, this tree does not have much functionality especially due to the loss of leaves because of the cold weather; however, it blends in with other trees, groundcovers, and the background to provide a scenery. Up close, the minuscule details are apparent and magnified, but further away, the thin branches are less noticeable. This tree can be characterized as random, for its branches reach out towards different directions.