Words of Wisdom from Professionals – Maya Messinger, MAAT Design Firm

Hello again, lovely Ventura blog reader! Since my last post, we’ve made great progress on the Ventura project, mainly in the way of teacher surveys. We’ve gotten all of our info, and based on demand, we know the top five desires that our teachers want: a fridge, picnic tables outside, a coffee machine, a microwave, and a dinette area to eat. The teachers, for the most part, will each use the Airstream for 2-3 days per week, and it seems like it will be a popular place. This is encouraging, and from all of the interviews MAAT Design Firm itself conducted, we had great interest.

Yesterday, being the 19th of November, our POE class went to the Green Building Expo in the ARS courtyard, and we visited several organizations/companies that could relate to our project. There were some pretty cool booths, including: Women.Design.Build, Treehouse, Habitat for Humanity, Lighthouse Solar, the Native Plant Society, and the Nature Conservancy. We got some cool info, recommendations, and ideas, my top 3 favorites of which I will now share with you. (We have our “Vision Boards” up and need to get some pictures on them, and yesterday gave us some great things to think about.)

WDB did some stuff with ARS a couple of years ago. Look forward to using stuff like this awesome drill.

WDB did some stuff with ARS a couple of years ago. Look forward to using stuff like this awesome drill.

1.)    From Women.Design.Build:

The design of anything will never be exactly like what the product looks like. There will always be unfactored-for factors. Though it will probably get harder for me once stress starts building up, we are supposed to be flexible, easygoing, and have a “what happens happens” attitude. Kind of stress relieving, kind of stress-inducing for a perfectionist. This is labeled the 1st piece of advice because it will be the most important, if not my favorite.

A single solar cell, about the size of the one the Lighthouse Solar rep showed us. I think the ones we use will be a bit larger, an array, but it was cool to see one up close.

2.)   From Lighthouse Solar:

There’s a super-cool website that can calculate what type of solar panels are optimal for your building, and you can do some simple calculations about how much power the devices you have require. It basically tells you exactly what type of panels you need. The representative told us about the two types of photovoltaic (PV) cells (monomer and polymer, if you’re interested), how to arrange them, the best angles to set them to get the most sunlight possible, etc.

3.)   From Habitat for Humanity:

Habitat builds and repairs houses of disadvantaged families, and we were introduced to some of the ways that they operate, in order to make houses so quickly. Though it doesn’t really apply to Ventura, I thought what they did was really cool. They pre-build the walls of the houses, and have a raising type of ceremony. One thing that was helpful was the recommendation of a new type of insulation, a liquid instead of the usual fiberglass. I think that we will have to reinsulate the Airstream, and the new insulation is a type of foam spray that expands and sticks to the wall. It’s cool.

We’re about to start actually modeling our floor plans on Google SketchUp – we just got a paper to do preliminary drawings on – and that’s the big part of Ventura that will actually be judged by professionals. The rest of this semester will be spent doing that, and I like SketchUp enough, so hopefully I won’t want to murder someone by the end of this. I’m excited, really. Kind of. It’s scary. OK, I’m getting nervous and will definitely not be happy the day before everything’s due in January. But on the day of the presentation, I’m sure it’ll be cool. And I look forward to the big prize: earning letterjackets in Junior year. And yeah, an enduring teacher space that will be my legacy to this school will be great, too.

A SketchUp Airtream model. It’s intense. Our tutorial has about 60 videos, each about 8 minutes long.

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