Japanese Zen rock gardens

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A lot has happened this year and it’s been pretty rough going. My friend told me that I needed a new hobby., so this is me trying karesansu (枯山水) Japanese dry rock gardens. I got a small desktop kit from amazon and I can say with pride that I’m enjoying making a different garden each morning and taking a photo. I enjoy looking over at my zen garden throughout the day as it gives me energy and peace at the same time.

Today I turn 30 and two of my best friends were on a video call at midnight with me. The same friend who said I needed a hobby asked what I want to accomplish this year at 30 years old. I’m not sure, I struggle with knowing what I want and what’s possible in life right now. The future is clouded and difficult to anticipate but but at least there’s a new calmness to the next day. …

The Summer of 2020

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This was a lonely summer and the pandemic forced us into further isolation. At the beginning it seemed like everyone’s summer plans changed overnight. I had high hopes for the summer so I had to adjust my expectations for the summer and made a list of goals which I thought were reasonably achievable in the context of a pandemic.

  1. Go on an Adventure
  2. Make someone so happy they cry
  3. Eat Chinese in Markham
  4. Visit Toronto Islands
  5. Walk the Waterfront
  6. Highpark
  7. Make something to be proud of
  8. Watch a sunrise
  9. BBQ at a cottage
  10. Have really really good ice cream

I accomplished almost everything on the list but missed out on the Chinese in Markham and Toronto Islands. I’m very grateful for my friends who helped me achieve my goals and make some good memories. This is a slideshow exported from iPhone of everything I did this…

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1. It’s not very expensive

3d printers are relatively cheap to purchase and even cheaper to operate. The Creality Ender 3, which many consider the best bang for buck is just $300 and not even the cheapest on the market. A 1kg (2.2lb) roll of filament cost around $30 and is 330m long. This works out to about 10 cents a meter (3 cents a foot). Since most prints are between 5–10 meters, that’s about 50 cents to a dollar.

2. It takes time

3d printing is a quicker way to make models but still takes longer than expected. Compared with paper or wood model making, 3d printing is very fast for prototyping because a small print can be done in 30 minutes but larger prints can take upwards of 12 hours or more. Whereas the time it takes to make a paper or wood model is largely dictated by the intricacy of detail, 3d printing is slowed based on size. …

Seeing waterfalls of Southern Ontario

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This was quite possibly the best week of the entire summer. Having finished my summer work study, Jenna invited me up to Barrie for a few days. I thought we were just going to hang out but little did I know an entire trip was planned to cross off the “Go on an Adventure” from my list. I was thus, very excited to arrive in Barrie and even more surprised to see Jaeva. We drove to what I thought was a hike but was actually to pick up another friend Zak first. …

Reflecting on my first year Masters of Architecture Program at UofT Daniels

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Fall is almost here which means schools’ about to start again. This will be my second of a three year professional Masters of Architecture (MArch) degree at the University of Toronto (UofT) Daniel’s Faculty of Architecture. 2020 will be a different year with the pandemic forcing an online curriculum but in joining a newly formed mentorship program for new inductees, I’ve spent some time reflecting.

A little background

In 2013 I graduate from UBC in Vancouver with a degree in civil engineering. I then I worked as a professional structural engineer for 5 years. I’d always wanted to be an architect and I found myself doing quite a lot of architectural related work so I decided to make the switch. I thought that if I didn’t I’d regret not trying. What scared me most was some of the crazy things I’d been told about architecture school; like how people lived in studio, how all-nighters were a weekly occurrence, and just how it was the hardest thing ever. It was honestly a little intimidating but a lot has changed over the past few years, especially as institutions become more aware of mental health issues, so the horror stories of the past are just that, the past. …

Should you get a 3d printer?

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About a month ago I was talking with a friend over Zoom and somehow 3D printing came up. I remembered being interested in 3d printing years ago but at the time the technology was so new that it was astronomically expensive. This got me thinking that it shouldn’t be too expensive today and so I did a little research.

Choosing a printer

There are actually a lot of 3d printers to choose from that range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand. Since this would be my first time doing 3d printers I didn’t really know what to get but I knew I wanted a budget, entry-level printer that would be reliable. I didn’t want a DIY kit nor the ultra professional but something in-between that would work out of the box with little setup but be dependable and not break after the first time. …

The Best of 2 Years Backpacking The World

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It’s been just over a year since we stopped full-time travel. At the time we’d had our fill, having backpacked for two years continuously and so we were looking forward to the next chapter. Now that we’ve been in Toronto for a year there’s one thing I can say without hesitation that I miss about traveling the world.

Our lives changed pretty drastically when after five years living in Vancouver we quit our jobs to travel the world. The next drastic change was when we moved to Toronto and went back to school. Now that we’ve been here for a year I realize that we still haven’t really settled down. One reason is because we’re in the university’s student housing and we know we’ll move out in two years when I finish my degree but the other part is that we’ve just never really been anywhere and felt the permanence of living somewhere indefinitely. Even though we lived in Vancouver for five years the whole time we knew that we’d sell everything to go travelling so we only bought the necessities and didn’t decorate. Then and now there’s nothing on our walls. I was surprised when my friend moved into a new place and he’d bought pictures from Ikea to hang on the wall beside newly installed floating shelves. …

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New to architecture? Never heard of Rhino3D? Then the August Workshop for New Graduate Students is the course for you.

I’ve joined a new graduate mentorship program and this has made me reflect on my introduction to architecture school. It’s been a year since I started the masters of architecture program and I’ve come a long way and learned some good lessons worth sharing. Hopefully this helps you out as others have helped me.

The workshop is intended for masters of architecture and landscape architecture students new to architecture who have never been in the architecture field before but it can be useful for anyone, including undergrads. …

The Last 8 Months in Memories

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It’s been a while since I wrote an updated to the adventure arc because we haven’t done any travelling since seeing Taylor Swift in LA so there wasn’t much to say. Life isn’t boring though, far from it. In the past 8 months we’ve transitioned from two years of nomadic life to living in Toronto and going to school. It was surprisingly easy. I think we’d had a good time travelling and so we were looking forward to the next chapter in life. …


Keenan Ngo


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