Monday, January 14, 2013



Team Bio 

Here each individual team member of the 2013 Argentina Learning Cluster will give a short summary about themselves and what they wish to gain from this rare and challenging experience. 

  • Alex, Class of 2015: 
Although I was born in Santa Monica, California, I spent much of my youth on the East coast and also spent time traveling around the country with my family. Having seen many different cities and suburbs in the states, I found myself fascinated with architecture and its relation to culture. I often question the origin of certain styles or trends in architecture around the world-- from Gaudi to repetitive Orange County, Ca planned communities, all architecture has a history. With this learning cluster I hope to apply my passion for the art of cultural aesthetics to our task at hand (building a sustainable home), while simultaneously gaining knowledge about practicality/ sustainability vs. beauty and aesthetics. 

  • Zoe, Class of 2016:
Being a freshman this year at Soka, I am very lucky to be able to be a part of this unique and exciting learning cluster. I was immediately attracted to this learning cluster because of the opportunity to be able to be outdoors doing hands-on work. Previously, I had never considered the possibility of people today being able to live on their own, relying on the land, and all the environmental and financial benefits that will surely come about over time. I am excited to play around in the mud, working and coordinating with others, and seeing what we produce in the end.
  • Midori, Class of 2015:
Believe it or not, I was actually born and raised on Dominican Republic, but my parents are Japanese. I am currently a sophomore at Soka and so far so good. Learning Clusters have been one of my favorite unique characteristics of my university. Students get to decide on a topic and usually involves traveling outside the country. Last year I was able to go to Panama and share a beautiful experience with my other classmates, so when I found out that I was going to have the opportunity to go to Argentina I was simply grateful and joyful for this chance. This cluster meant another new exciting experience. Not only the country of Argentina interested me, but also the topic of sustainable housing and such. Finding ways to be environmentally friendly has been a persistent issue for several years, and if we can find creative ways to aid our planet it is worth a shot.
  • Christian, Class of 2015:
Although I've spent the majority of my life in Miami, Florida, I was born in Medellin, Colombia to Colombian parents, from distinct Colombian cities. I'm currently a Sophomore at Soka University of America in Aliso Viejo, California and feel extremely fortunate to attend such an incredible institution. My passions are futbol (Soccer), a future in the business field, and my family of course. This course interested me because of the different aspects involved such as the economics and environmental details to it. I've had the opportunity to travel to many unique parts of the world and can honestly say that Argentina is of the best so far. Having moved from Colombia to the U.S at an early age, I've had a much deeper appreciation of the Latin American culture which I can fairly relate to. I hope this project turns out as we initially hoped and would very much like to retell my experiences here in Buenos Aires.
  • Hector, Class of 2015:
I was born in the states but raised in Mexico. I am a Sophmore at Soka and this is my second Learning Cluster so far. Both of my Clusters have dealt with environmental issues so it would seem I am an environmentalist. This is partially true. I have always been a bit skeptical as to the practicality of the more extreme techniques people use to reduce their impact on the environment and have always been convinced that it is just not worth the effort. I am here in order to be convinced otherwise. While up until  this point I am not a full believer (I enjoy my long showers and don't like the prius) I have definitely come to appreciate the benefits that an eco-friendly lifestyle grants, particularly the type of construction we are studying here. I can definitely see how these techniques could be utilized in a way that would be appealing to the mainstream community, which I believe would be the best course of action for the ecological building movement.
  • Andrew, Class of 2015:
  • Katy, Class of 2015:
  • Claudia, Class of 2015:
  • Howee, Class of 2016:

  • Jessica, Class of 2015: 
The idea of exploring the concept of sustainable housing immediately caught my attention. Being from a typical suburban neighborhood in Orange County I have always noticed the blatant lack of regard for the environment in places such as this. Not only am I interested in exploring the possibility of creating a more eco-friendly environment in such a place as orange county, but also the possibility of sustainable housing for those who simply lack homes. This creates the possibility of killing two birds with one stone, in a sense, and working toward a solution in two areas that are severely in need of progress. As a liberal arts student at Soka University, a concern for human rights as well as environmental rights are at the center of my education.I hope to gain a further and more well rounded knowledge of a topic, sustainable housing, that is rarely talked about and known in the United States and incorporate these concepts into my studies. 
  • Caroline, Class of 2015:
  • Tamara, Class of 2016: