“Hello, again, people! It’s a hectic time in school, but Project VENTURA is doing pretty durn well! Let’s recap what’s happened since we last spoke. To you, Maya.”
“Thank you, Maya. Two weeks ago, the Ann Richards POE class had just been assigned Milestone 3. b., an e-book project recapping the VENTURA experience and the various elements of engineering used. MAAT Design Firm had a firm grasp on building, but went into the field for more research.”
“Yes, as writers of the chapter about ‘The Big Build’, Maya, Alex, and Abby went out to the Airstream to work on the deck, what some might argue to be a crucial aesthetic and functional part of the VENTURA project. The deck spans about 64 sq. ft. and allows one a nice space to relax outside of the trailer, as well as offering a way to gently lead to the Airstream entrance that is a bit high off the ground.”
“Thank you, Maya. As Maya mentioned, the deck is a work of art (if I do say so myself) that required careful planning, precision, and a fair amount of sweat to build. The girls tested their knowledge of drills, drivers, and screws by making pilot holes in the boards before attaching them to prevent any sort of board splitting. A harrowing task, but our heroes were more than up to the job!”
“And look at that, what a beauty she is!”
“Let’s not forget bragging, Maya. After all, you did go out by yourself during a lunch period to secure the final boards to the base of the deck.”
“Oh, yes, if you insist on talking about it, Maya. The deck is based on what is called a floating design. There are horizontal supports under it at critical places to prevent beam deflection (‘bending’ for you common folk), but there is also a final board that is ‘floating’, itself not directly supported. It is connected to one of the support beams by smaller pieces of wood, but still retains a professional look that hints at floating. It is this board that MAAT Design Firm initially forgot to screw to the top deck boards, and which I went out to fix after the judge called us out.”
(Translation: We messed up, Ms. Jo noticed, told me, and I went out to keep the boards from warping.)
“And now, back to the e-book. MAAT Design Firm is doing nicely, except for the part where member Maya Messinger still has to finish her draft of her section of the second chapter before Friday’s class. Otherwise, the group has been working well together, member Abby Dougherty has been doing some very nice formatting, and with some encouragement, MAAT Design Firm has a completed Big Build chapter and ¾ of the Statics chapter complete.”
“Congratulations, MAAT. Anything else to report, Maya?”
“Yes, actually. We have just been notified of an Airstream interior design change by our supervisor, and we’ll be showing a drawing of the new layout in just a second. The bistro table will be moved to the end of the Airstream instead of the entertainment center shelves, and there will be a TV added. The aesthetic quality of this new design is sure to improve the Whale’s feng shui. Other than that, nothing much, Maya. On other class days, MAAT has been typing up a storm, and while the content is sure to be riveting, watching three girls staring at computer screens isn’t the best for journalism.”
“Understood, Maya. Wait, what’s this? BREAKING NEWS!”
*Buzz. Static. Crackling of TV (this blog post is a facsimile broadcast, if you didn’t get that). Refocuses on new location.*
“This program will now be interrupted for a special edition of “Learning Time” with Maya Messinger.”
Today’s Learning Time is about aesthetics and design. As mentioned earlier, Ms. Jo has changed VENTURA’s layout, and it’s always interesting to see how the human brain determines what is more aesthetically pleasing. The new design is a great, but what’s the psychological science behind it?
Feng shui derived from the Indian idea of vashtu shastra, or building science, and evolved into the idea of being in harmony with nature. Creepily, it’s believed that feng shui was initially a burial practice. Anyways, it’s become divided into three “schools”, or ways of practice. Form school is based on environment and the placement of shelters in relation the water and wind, Compass school is based on orientation of objects in relation to the cosmos and celestial bodies, and Black Hat if the school that follows intuition and freeing up a path for ”flowing” within buildings or rooms. This form is what we’ve used to design the Airstream; Ms. Jo mentioned that when the bistro was against the wall as originally designed, the flow was off and the path between the couch and bistro area was cramped. Move things around, free up space, and wham! Feng shui! Aesthetics also encourages symmetry, repetition, and colorfulness. It’s been found that 4 parts of the brain are most active when judging the aesthetic quality of something. One part is known to be involved in decision-making, another in reward anticipation and emotion, another processes sensory information and spatial sense, and the last is involved in planning, controlling, and executing voluntary movements.
What does this mean? It means that one part of the brain comprehends the spatial structure of an environment, which triggers an emotion, which triggers the decision-making part of your brain, and that triggers an action. So, when Ms. Jo saw how the bistro looked in its first place, she saw that the spacing was cramped, she felt displeased, she decided to change, and then she moved the bistro. It’s science!
“Thank you for that interruption, Maya. Very informative. Who knew that science was so involved in our daily lives!”
“Well, Maya, that about wraps it up for this program, but viewers, stay tuned for our next broadcast in two weeks! ‘Til then, in the words of Trevor Collins-Newsworthy (Fresh Prince of Bel-Air anchorman), ‘Good night and godspeed.’”