Archive for the 'Writing' Category

Thoughts on weather, winter, bikes, and horses

February 3, 2018
Today, as the cold grips me, I’m reminded of an essay I wrote March 2017 capturing a similarly cold expedition. Sometimes I long for horses, and so, living in the city, I turn to my bike. This essay parallels the experiences between my horse days growing up on Star, a Quarter Horse, and current days with my bike, AB (Aurora Borealis as Jamis calls her).

Thoughts on weather, winter, bikes, and horses

It’s 12 degrees outside. But it feels like -2. Winds are 18-22 miles out of the North, with gusts up to 45mph. The last few weeks, months, really, have been in the 30s-60s.

This particularly cold day brought back a (frozen) flood of memories of my horse owning days. Saddling up for a quick ride is quite similar to gearing up for a bike ride into town. There’s all the layers. The planning. The weather checking.

My dad said once that when we experience weather – especially wet, windy, wild weather – its like having a conversation with the atmosphere. The weather knows your weaknesses right away and isn’t shy about pointing them out. The weather helps you zoom into the present moment, realizing your vulnerability and assessing next steps – press on, or plan B?

I’ve realized that, like being outside in all types of weather, choosing to bike everywhere requires a certain mindset, and certain recipe with a pinch of stubbornness, a dash of crazy, a splash of practicality and touch of adventure.
Having just recovered from a stomach bug, and 10 minutes into my 25 minute ride and feeling a fresh, unfamiliar deep cold pain as I hadn’t felt in so many months I wondered if it was a good idea to be doing this. I should have worn a headband in addition to my hat, as the wind smugly pointed out.
There’s no such thing as bad weather, my dad also says, only bad clothes. And yet, these thick gloves are to the atmosphere, a thin permeable scrim which the wind easily pierces. As I try to warm my fingers at stop lights, my focus lingers longer on the traffic and pedestrians, and my fingers become less of a distraction and warm without my noticing.
On the way home, the wind pushes me from behind and I’m glad I’m headed this way – agreeable to the wind. The brakes of AB are slow to engage as we approach a traffic light, my thickly padded fingers struggle to pull the levers back almost all the way to the cork bar tape. I make a mental note to tighten the brakes when I get home, out of the whipping wind. This pulling back motion, carefully even on the front and back brake, like on each rein, reminds me of pulling Star in, and on a windy evening headed home, she would be reluctant to stop too. She’s just as eager to get back to the barn as AB is in getting back to the basement.
I dodge fallen branches and swirling plastic bags along the path. AB doesn’t spook at the enlivened plastic the way Star would have. For that I’m grateful. We move as one, seeing the same obstacles, and moving swiftly. The power of my own legs moving up a hill reminds me of the power I could feel beneath me in Star’s movement. Her traction solid and sure, just as the tires grip, and leave behind, the pavement.
I’m thankful that AB doesnt get scared of things I can hear in the wind. But sometimes the studded tires catch on a loose cobble on the path and I have to catch my balance. These moments, and riding over speed humps and bumps are particular reminders of my horseback riding days – having to be nimble and balanced, ready for any sudden shift in direction. As with snowy and icy conditions, when body and machine can skate through acting as one, just as body and animal can navigate a technical trail as one is the most satisfying: working in unison, despite the tricky conditions. Out-tricking the trickery.
Growing up in Minnesota I remember dreading going out into the frozen tundra and walking the 200 feet ( but it felt like 2 miles to my 13 year-old self) to the barn. Inside seemed fantastically warm when the wind was suddenly cut out of the equation, scolding you in howls and reminding you of its power and presence by drifting snow in through cracks under the thin metal cladding of the barn.
Picking out the frozen chunks built up in the horses’ hooves is not unlike the snow/ice balls I have to stomp out of my mountain bike cleats. The metal has the same binding affect on both of our feet, and when left unattended, gives us an added inch or two of height and the most awkward way of walking.
The frozen chin, the out-of-breathness, and frozen toes are all the shared experience between each steed. The urging forward leg muscles complement the pedaling forward muscles. My heart racing just the same in each.
Bikes like horses, require regular maintenance and upkeep. A quick rub down of the steel and the coat after a ride, the lube of a chain, a brushing and shaking out of the saddle pad.
The relief from the wicked wind is welcome. The adventure worth it, to put your mind in the present moment, to have that conversation with the atmosphere, to be apart of that story, and to have one to tell.
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Final Thesis: Saturating East Boulevard: Fusing Water and Public Space

May 8, 2013

Here’s a link to my final thesis document – Saturating East Boulevard (viewing at Issuu)

page view

Page view of the water walk.

thesis page view

Detail drawings of the water walk panel

thesis page view

Views of the process for making the tipping cup facade system

page view

Plan view drawing of pervious surfaces on this 2 block stretch of East Boulevard

Job searching and future opportunities

March 1, 2013

I graduate in May. You’ve probably met me, and I have probably directed you to this website.  I am going to be shameless put my portfolio and resume here, in hopes it will be an easy way to get to know me and to see my work.

Click to view my 2013 short portfolio. Here is the link to view a quick view of my thesis portfolio.

Here is my resume in the pdf version: KeihlyMoore_Resume2013_web

Clickable version that gets bigger:

KeihlyMoore_Resume2013_web

Common Ground and my architectural philosophy

October 15, 2012

Today, after a class discussion with David Leatherbarrow, I think I am closer to finding another piece of my personal philosophy on architecture.

Here I will try to articulate what I’ve learned. Know that I’m still in processing mode and thoughts will change, add, and grow on these issues. Many of these statements are quotes from David.

ARCHITECTURE NEEDS TO BE MORE GENEROUS. There I said it. It takes courage to give the heart of the ground floor, the heart of the building, over to the  public. (Leatherbarrow)

In Architecture we want to articulate our individuality, rather than what we share. Is there any common ground? Leatherbarrow argues that sites are not given, but constructed. The architecture project you create reveals the site.

Urban architecture, Leatherbarrow argues, should share space. He uses the word proportion, as in share the right amount. Just like at dinner. You may not eat as much as the person next to you, because you don’t have to. Good design always involves a donation of space to the public. It’s a sacrifice that makes the city better.

He gives three examples of this “sacrificing space.”

Palladio’s Palazzo Cheiricati 

ABI Building in Brazil

Tod Williams Billie Tsien’s  Skirkanich Hall

Part of sacrificing space is thickening the edge. The limit of your project should not be a line but a space.

It is this act of gift-giving of space that develops the common ground.

In contrast, Thom Mayne’s recent Cooper Union Building does not engage the public realm. It does not sacrifice for the benefit of the city. If you clicked on the link with the building, I would have to say I do not agree with the critics remarks about engaging the public. It does not. No where to sit. Barely an overhang to be sheltered from the rain or sun.

– – – – – –

About  city and society.

Richard Sennett’s The Fall of Public Man is an account of the modern attitude of our cities and space and how we interact with each other. I have not read it yet. Leatherbarrow warns us that it is pretty depressing, but we still need to read it. One way to look at cities is to see that all they are is circulation and police. We feel most comfortable at home. We have internalized the city. The car is the extension of the living room. Today, public does not equal shared, but unlimited access, accessibility.

– – – – – –

Is place a gradient then? If you set up the extremes:

Flow <- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -> Place

(circulation, continuous space)        (identity, regionalism, stability)

Many define the gradient as a blurred boundary. Leatherbarrow says it is not blurred. It is nuanced, exact, precise. There are structured, carefully constructed relationships that define space.

– – – – – – –

To be continued…and revised. I just like that architecture needs to be more giving. More in relation to its surroundings to give itself a stronger identity, and to be a good neighbor.

PlanCharlotte Additions

October 15, 2012

I need to write a ‘shout-out’ to our budding PlanCharlotte site! The site covers issues shaping growth in the Charlotte region.

I’ve had a part in the following articles:

May 25: Charlotte’s Great Walls. Here I examine some particularly blank and centralized walls and imagine things to do with them.

July 6: It’s Hip to be (a Water) Square. This article articulates a few of the things I learned on my Traveling Fellowship and ties our flooding condition to Charlotte. This will also roll into my thesis topic and these questions will consume my life for the next few months!

July 31: Eastland Mall, What’s Next? Some Options. Charlotte has a dead mall on it’s hands and here our research presents other now-living mall ideas.

September 11: Parking for Cars or PARK(ing) for People? I led Charlotte’s first (official- street level) PARK(ing) Day. (The first was in a parking lot in 2008 by Deb Ryan and her students.) I held it in SouthEnd and major organizing took place over just 2 weeks! It all came together wonderfully with borrowed materials!

October 3: Hitting the Streets, with Parks. This is my follow up article of the very successful event!