Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day

Today wasn't a Grounded day really, it was an ADPSR day. And a very good one it was at that! We spent the whole day working with kids at the Betty Shabazz school here in Chicago. Thanks to our fellow collaborators, Black Oaks (, we were invited to participate in the Earth Day celebrations at the school. We got to teach 3 groups of 5th through 8th graders why it's important to track and understand how the sun moves in the sky, and shadows move on the ground. We talked about the passive solar heating of buildings and how sun access affects the layout of a garden. It was fun getting the kids to participate in little informative demonstrations - marking shadow movements with sidewalk chalk over the course of the day - going inside into the dark and using a flashlight to simulate the sun moving across the sky - finding out what their favorite vegetables are to see where to plant 'em. After all that, they laid out tires, railroad ties and mulch to start the work on their own school garden (facing mostly South of course). Granted, this picture of a buncha tires doesn't quite capture the energy of the day (and man do those kids have energy!), but I wanna make sure it's ok with the school before we post any of the great photos we have of the real action.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Da first one

What’s aauuuhhhpp everybody?!
So Dan, Jamie and I (I being Brian) are finally getting this blog rollin’. We, of course, are the collective also known as Grounded Design Studio ( and the Chicago reps of ADPSR (Architects, Designers and Planners for Social Responsibility – But this blog is a bit more personal. Here you can find us cuttin’ loose, thinkin’ aloud, ranting, expressing, sharing, and hopefully posting a whole lotta cool sketches. Speakin’ of which, here’s the story behind those nifty little check boxes in the top right corner of Grounded’s site:
One day the three of us were having a pretty serious meeting, discussing our website and trying to make some progress on getting this ship off the ground. It had been a bit of a long day staring at pieces of paper and glowing computer screens. We were all getting tired, and rather than being productive we were more like starting to get on each other’s nerves. So one of us started sketching on the big piece of trace paper in front of us. Then another. Then all three of us had lapsed into silence and were doodling away! After awhile we stopped, and somebody suggested rotating the paper around and continuing to sketch on top of the next person’s drawing. We soon realized that this little exercise not only helped us relieve stress, but also gave us exactly what we were looking for as a background for our website!