Tori Sample

As a San Diegan, I rarely get to encounter anything like the city of Los Angeles. The closest I get is downtown San Diego. When I was given the opportunity to experience LA by biking down its streets at Ciclavia, I thought it would give me a chance to step out of my comfort zone and try something new. I also believed it would allow me a chance to spend time with my classmates outside of class. We were going to take the metro to downtown Los Angeles but it was so packed we couldn’t fit. It was interesting to see an entire metro filled to capacity with people and bikes and people still trying to nudge their way in. We ended up driving there instead, which was probably nicer than having to stand pressed up against people and their bikes on the way to Union Station. When I arrived at Ciclavia, I was expecting a deserted city filled with bikes. I was surprised to discover that we could see cars driving through the intersections when we stopped. I was also stunned by how common stops were. I thought it would be one straight ride to Venice. When we kept stopping at almost every intersection, I started to feel like I was a car stuck in traffic. I began to feel like I was driving through Los Angeles. People were yelling “stay in your lane,” there were cops all around, and there was constant swerving and bikes passing around me. Overall, it was a great and tiring experience that I would definitely do again. It allowed me to experience the city life for a short time, get a good amount of sun, and a long workout. It also showed me a different side of Los Angeles and gave me a feel of the city life and the people who live there.


Mario Botta

Mario Botta was born April 1st, 1943, in Mendrisio Switzerland. After an apprenticeship with the architectural firm of Carloni and Camenisch in Lugano, he attended the ArtCollege in Milan and then studied at the University Institute of Architecture in Venice. Le Corbusier, Carlo Scarpa, Louis Kahn influenced him greatly as he was starting out.

Botta designed his first building at age 16, a two-family house at Morbio Superiore in Ticino. This house has very distinct characteristics: inconsistent arrangement of spaces, their relationship to the site, the separation of living from service spaces, and deep window recesses. These characteristics became typical of his stark, strong, towering style.

His designs tend to include a strong sense of geometry. They are often based on very simple shapes, yet create unique volumes of space. His buildings are often made of brick, but uses a wide variety of unique materials as well.

The House at Riva San Vitale.

                A single family house at Riva San Vitale, Ticino, Switzerland, 1971-1973. It was commisioned by Carlo e Leontina Bianc hi. Located at the foot of San Giorgio Mountain, on the banks of Lake Lugano.

The house establishes a relationship with the environment, emphasized by its minimal use of the space and by the thin metal bridge that establishes the physical relationship between the house and the mountain. The 18 meters long pathway emphasizes a separation from the land and exposes the house as an observatory of the surrounding landscape.

The house is organized around a central staircase, allowing you to experience different views as you ascend and descend. All the bedrooms are open to a triple height space, so they communicate visually to each other and to the spaces below.

The house is like a carved geometric shape with four elevations that respond to the surrounding environment: the lake, church of Melano, the meadows, the woods, and the old access road. Each opening frames a specific view and expresses Botta’s belief that architecture is the design of a location. “His facades are not simply a question of decorating the exterior surface of a building. They express a relationship of the interior of the house with the surroundings, the movement of the sun, or the direction to an existing historical construction; they have a geometry that corresponds to the abstraction of the surrounding landscape” (

Botta states that “Every architectural work has its own environment…The first action involved in doing architecture is the consideration of its territory.”



Source: Syntax of Landscape The Landscape Architecture of Peter Latz and Partners, Designer: Joseph Paxton, Year Built:2006. This project reveals the past, the life-sized models of dinosaurs that were newly discovered at the time as well as other extinct animals, interacting with the surrounding landscape.


Cronos Sculpture at LACMA

Blog Post #3

A bright light. Everything is different now, I can see the familiar dark wood floors and accustomed white walls. My time in darkness felt like it lasted an eternity, but it always does. I would think I would get used to it, day after day. But it still has a way of irritating me, making me feel more alone than usual. Thankfully the light is on now, and I see the ones who are here almost every morning. They are always the well-dressed ones that look like a uniform almost. They are the ones who are standing and scold the others. Finally, the others are coming in. This is my favorite part, when they come in. It is my entertainment for the day. I think my fellow roommates would feel the same way, if I could communicate with them. But, like me, we are condemned to silence. Yes! They are looking at me. I wonder if they like me, or at least think I’m interesting. I like the smaller people the best. They always try to touch me. I feel like I can actually connect to them more. But they always keep people from touching me. My day goes by like this, with new people to look act and question their quizzical gazes in my direction.  Some of the people look funnier than others, wearing weird looking things on top of them. Others are a lot bigger or rounder than the others. Some are quiet and just look, others talk out loud. I like the ones who talk out loud. I have a better idea what they think about me. The people start to go away. Less and less are coming. This tells me my day is winding down. I see the well-dressed people come around and then darkness. Completely alone, once again.

Blog Post #4

This place, with its white walls and bright lights, drives me mad. Seeing it every day, without any change does nothing to entertain me. I’m longing to be moved out of this room. What I would give to be out of this building, with real light and changes every day, changes in the sky, the air, and the visitors. Being in a room makes me feel even more like a prisoner. Since I can’t move or communicate anything, can’t I at least be entertained.

I can imagine those who are lucky enough to be outside get to see the days pass, get to feel the temperature change, and get to hear all different kinds of noises. Here in my room, there’s silence. A few murmured words, a couple giggles, but nothing more than hushed tones. To be able to hear voices yell, laugh, and talk without fear of being loud would be heavenly.

Being able to see more than just white walls, to see colors all the time, seems impossible from where I am now. But I can picture it now, the sky turning colors like a painting being painted all day long by an artist changing his mind every time the brush covers the canvas. To be able to see the stars or the sun, instead of a florescent bulb above my head seems too good to be true.

But I know all this dreaming and imagining does nothing but dampen my mood. I know that I’ll never leave this room. I am stationary and will be forever. Though there are some who may be stationed outside of these dense colorless walls, the lucky ones, I will never taste the heat of the sun, or see the sky alternate colors. I am a sculpture, a frozen idea put into a box to be examined. That is my place, my home, within these walls I must stay.