• by mr. diego pardo

    Architecture Work.

    The Future: Sustainable Architecture 

    It is inherently human to construct in order to protect us from the natural elements. We can see this instinct as far back as the early Homo erectus who frequented the same spot in the coast of Nice, France. Here, this group of Homo erectus undertook the task of creating every year a dwelling from wooden structural members and utilizing rocks placed around the perimeter to erect their structure. This construction, called the Terra Amata, is believed to be the earliest known human-constructed dwelling (Roth 161). The most interesting fact about it, is not that it is one of the first constructions created by humans, but that in this age of information, characterized by its ample use of human made materials such as steel, reinforce concrete, and glass; we want to return to constructing with these simple raw materials like wood, flora, and rocks. This movement to create buildings using biodegradable and ecological resources to limit the impact of construction on the environment is called sustainable architecture. This architectural movement to go green has faced different kinds of objection regarding material sources, reliability, and costs but the reoccurring critique coming from the architectural world is how the implementation of environmental sciences will affect the aesthetic design of architecture. Many believe that the artistic quality of architecture will be undermined with the aspect of sustainability but through investigation and research; we can show that aesthetics can be incorporated into environmental friendly buildings, therefore creating an architectural style that is sustainable and visually pleasing.  
                As we begin to notice the damaging effects we have caused on our environment, it is clear to us that our current methods have to be changed in order to improve the health of our planet. One technique that has surfaced is the implementation of sustainable building design to combat the destruction of the environment. Sustainable architecture is a broad term used to describe the environmentally conscious effort in the field of architecture.
                The implementation of early sustainable architecture first began in the 1970s as many prominent architects began to use simple sustainable techniques to design their buildings.  One clear example of this is the Frederick C. Robie House in Chicago by Frank Lloyd Wright. The design of the house fully implements to use of roof overhangs to maintain the temperature inside the building (Roth 143). These overhangs that surround the house cast a shadow in the summer months, disallowing the sun to penetrated within the building and heating it up, and allows the passage of the sunlight into the house in the winter months to keep it warm. This simple but yet efficient technique allowed for the reduced use of electrical appliances to maintain comfortable living conditions, therefore reducing the consumption of energy and the emission of hazardous gasses into the atmosphere.
                This technique is an example of passive solar heating systems. These work by allowing solar radiation to fall on thermal masses, such as floors and masonry walls, which soak up the heat and then radiate it back into the building at night (Cunningham, Cunningham, and Saigo 454). Passive solar heating systems are usually also implemented with active solar heating systems to allow for more precise control. With active solar heating systems, collector panels absorb solar radiation, and a fluid circulating in pipes through the panels picks up the solar heat and transfers it around the building (Cunningham, Cunningham, and Saigo 455).
                Solar radiation is a source of heat that helps to maintain warm living conditions within a building, but in hot climates solar radiation can increase the interior temperature to unlivable levels. In these regions of the world, such as India, windows are not made from glass but instead are composed of pierced panels of carved marble. This is implemented to reflect the solar radiation away from the building and to allow the circulation of air throughout the construction (Roth 140).
                Architects such as Le Corbusier also implemented parasol-like roofs on top of their buildings to shadow the structure from the radiation of the sun. These parasols where mainly very large roof overhangs that would create a vast shadow on the building. Le Corbusier went a step forward as to not only include the parasols on his High Court Building in India, but to create large vent-like openings below the roof to allow currents of cool air to circulate through and air-condition the building (Roth 144).  
                Another method of sustainability is to use natural elements such as the wind to influence the temperature within a structure. This works because buildings are affected not only by exposure to the sun but also by the exposure to the wind. As moving air comes across a structure, it moves around the path of least resistance. On the windward side, a high-pressure zone develops, and on the leeward side a low-pressure zone is created (Roth 145). Examples of this technique can be seen throughout the Middle East as traditional houses implement openings for outside air to provide ventilation. Most notably, the ancient Roman Pantheon utilizes this system, as the wind rises to go over the dome of the Pantheon in Rome, the air speeds up and pulls the air out of the oculus at the top. These then creates a cooling effect without the implementation of electrical appliances.
    Techniques that utilize openings in structures to allow the circulation of air through out the structure have been implemented since ancient times (Roth 140). It was not until the invention of the heating and air conditioning systems that these methods of natural climate control were almost completely disregarded. Sustainable systems to control the temperature within a building, such as exploiting solar radiation and wind flow, would greatly reduce the amount of energy required to maintain a comfortable living environment within a structure. Moreover, these systems are environmentally friendly as they are part of nature and would drastically reduce the amount of pollutant gasses emitted and the amount of energy consumed by the building. Therefore, if architects were to implement more methods of sustainable design, buildings would consume less electricity. This would be especially helpful in large cities, as in the summer months the use of air-conditioning systems could reduce the consumption of electricity of the drained power-grids. Also, in the winter months, much of the pollution and smog could be reduced as buildings could diminish their dependability on their furnaces for heating.
    These systems of climate control mostly only focused on creating comfortable living conditions within the interior of a building through modifications of its design. They are very effective in reducing consumption of electricity and the pollution of air with gas emissions, but they fail to create a structure that is part of the environment. Currently, all buildings are a barriers to their ecosystems, they lack the ability to work and become part of the ecosphere. In order to reduce and possibly reverse the devastating human impact on the environment, we have to integrate our new constructions literally with nature.  
    This quest to create a new architecture that will mimic its environment is currently being researched by introducing aspects of different sciences into the field of architecture. Primarily, environmental sciences are being intertwined into architecture to create new buildings that will have a minimal, or no impact on the environment. As the movement of sustainable architecture gains more popularity, this new type of construction will most certainly be the next generation of buildings.
    One of the leading movements to create a style of architecture that reflects and is integrated into its environment is plectic systems architecture. This new architectural style is being developed at the Bartlett School of Architecture by Neil Spiller and Rachael Armstrong. They are proposing that architecture can have several aspects of living systems in the ecosystem. Plectic systems architecture can be described as “living architecture”, as it utilizes materials science to generate “fundamental components”. These components would display “self-organizing properties”. In other words, plectic systems architecture could create building materials that acquire “properties of living systems such as growth, repair, sensitivity or complex behavior” (Armstrong 81).
    Implementing this architectural system into new buildings would create constructions that not only are part of the environment, as they posses building materials that are living, but constructions that would respond and adapt themselves to a changing environment. This would be revolutionary as the barrier between architecture and nature would be broken, truly creating a sustainable style of architecture. Further, plectic systems architecture would remove the use of different building materials that through time deteriorate and release toxic pollutants into the soil, air, and even water table. It would also reduce the amount of trash and debris created if a building were to be demolished.      
    By utilizing plectic systems architecture and the different architectural techniques previously mentioned, it would be possible to construct new buildings that have a small impact on the environment. Such a revolution in the way we construct would ultimately reduce the harmful impact current buildings have on their ecosystems, improving the health of our planet. There is practically no discussion in architecture that opposes the construction of environmentally friendly buildings as they would have such an influential impact in the world, but critics do worry that implementing complex sciences into the architectural world will diminish the aestheticism of the field.
      Critics believe that if new science-based architectural styles such as plectic systems architecture begin to be implemented, it will distract architects from designing buildings that are visually pleasing. They believe that architects will only focus on the functionality of sustainability, disregarding the design quality of the construction. Many have criticized that architects will have to master two fields, one in the arts and the other in the sciences (Owen and Dovey 9). But when the study of becoming an architect is analyzed, it is clear that architects need to master principles both in the arts and sciences. Modern architects need to master aspects such as drawing, design, and conceptualization, but also mathematics, physics, and properties of engineering. Adding the principle of environmental sciences will not radicalize the field of architecture, it will just simple be a new technique that will have to be learn to construct in today’s times.
     This then raises the question, how should sustainability look like? Ursula Seibold-Bultmann attempts to answer this ever growing concern in her article, “What does sustainability look like? Green architecture as an aesthetic proposition.” She states that buildings can embody qualities that not only fulfill the sustainability of modern architecture, but that can also incorporate desirable aesthetic design (p. 5). Her argument that sustainable buildings can be visually attractive can be seen in recent eco-friendly buildings such as the Sobek House in Stuttgart, Germany and the Alterra Institute in the Netherlands (The Sustainable City).
    Even though these buildings are not an example of a plectic systems architecture construction, these buildings successfully incorporate aspects of today’s practice of sustainable architecture. They utilizes natural sources for interior climate control, use materials that create little to no damage to the environment, use flora to clean the air,  and allow natural light to penetrate the interior to reduce the use of artificial lights (The Sustainable City). The Sobek House and Alterra Institute reflect the latest possible design qualities of sustainable architecture. These buildings not only have become pinnacles of green design, they also fully reflect aspects of modern aesthetics in their facades and interiors. This two examples are a representation that sustainable architecture does not, and will not, be ugly. It clearly demonstrates that the design of green buildings will incorporate modern and posh designs that the public will find very pleasing.
    The task to move forward toward sustainable architecture that is aesthetically pleasing reflects the description of many prominent architects that architecture is the reflection of the people and culture of those that build it. Currently, society has become aware that we need sustainability if we want to save the environment. Therefore, through social pressures architects will have to begin to design buildings that greatly reduce their impact on the ecosystem. If architects are not able to create green designs, they will not be contracted by patrons, therefore leaving only those that embrace eco-friendly architectural plans.   
    This change to sustainable architecture also reflects the teachings of the great ancient Roman architect Vitruvius. He stated that all architecture needed to fulfill three elements: commodity, firmness, and delight (Vitruvius Architecture). By this, Vitruvius meant that commodity was the function of the building, firmness was the structure, and delight was the beauty of the construction.  Throughout the history of architecture, architects have interpreted these through the societal norms of their time. Today, buildings need to reduce their impact on the environment therefore redefining the meaning of the three principles. For the modern architect commodity, or the function of the building, is that which reduces its detrimental impact on the ecosystem. It also needs to reduce its consumption of energy and emission of toxic gasses. The definition for firmness now also incorporates a structure that utilizes materials that are biodegradable and recyclable in its structure. Finally, the delight or beauty of the building needs to incorporate aspects of sustainable design but also construct a building that is attractive and aesthetically appealing.  
    Architects have followed these basic but assertive principles since ancient Roman times. They reflect the properties of architecture and help to guide the architect into producing a design that reflects the culture of the people. In order for current architects to fulfill these requirements, they will have to embrace sustainable architecture. Not only this, they will be contributing in the change towards a better environment and a healthy world.
    As we become aware that our actions towards the environment have been detrimental, we will begin to embrace sustainable architecture. This movement first started in the 1970s and has gained momentum since. It incorporates many aspects of design, but as the field develops more science-based techniques will be added. Many criticize and worry that architecture will begin to disregard its principle aspect of aesthetic for the utilitarian purpose of sustainability. Current examples of green buildings show otherwise, depicting visually pleasing designs that are also environmentally friendly. Architects will have to embrace sustainable design in order to maintain their careers, otherwise through social pressures they will be taken out of business. As we move toward the future, we begin to notice that in some perspective, architecture is going back to the past. As with new methods like plectic styles architecture, we will be constructing with organic-like materials like the Homo erectus at Terra Amata. Architecture is once again evolving from human inspired designs to the beauty of the designs of nature in order to become more sustainable.   
    Copyright Diego Pardo.

    Height, Space, and Glass (Contrast and Comparison of the Burj Khalifa, Amiens Cathedral, and The Pompidou Center) 

    Architecture has seen through time specific buildings that radicalize the way buildings are design and constructed. Some of these buildings have revolutionized the way we reach the heavens, utilize our space, and reinvent new methods for use of different materials. These innovative buildings helped to reshape what we as humans could construct and helped to redefine the realm of architecture. This paper will analyze, compare, and contrast three of these radical buildings, the Burj Khalifa, Amiens Cathedral, and the Pompidou Center; and how these employ height, space, and glass in their designs.

    The culmination, thus far, to build a structure that reaches towards the heavens is the Burj Khalifa. This mega-structure located in the city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates is the tallest building in the world at a staggering 828 meters. It is officially classified by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) of the Illinois Institute of Technology to be the only structure to be placed number one in all three height categories; these include height to architectural top, highest occupied floor, and height to tip.
    The architectural firm in-charge of the construction of the Burj Khalifa was Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, who from the start had to use the latest in building technology in order to construct the tower. The 20 billion dollar project utilized conventional building methods and materials, but applied new techniques to make the revolutionary construction possible. These included wind-resistant design, structural load of concrete, window strength, and even new methods to lift the concrete to the higher floors for pouring (Baker).
    The architects and engineers also took inspiration from the Hymenocallis flower to create the floor plan of the building. Also, Islamic patterns of architecture were added to accentuate the tower’s design as well as to create visual references to the culture of Dubai. This led to the triaxial, Y shape, of the base of the tower. This Y-shape became ideal as it maximized the views from the residential and hotel rooms and also created the least wind-resistant structure (Baker, Pawlikowski, and Young).
     The Burj Khalifa utilizes reinforce concrete for its skeleton structure that spirals as it ascends to emphasize the height of the tower. The structural system of the tower is a buttressed core, as each wing of the Y-shape buttresses the other. Also, the columns of the tower are design to withstand the gravitational and lateral forces of the building (Baker, Pawlikowski, and Young). This skeleton is covered by a curtain of glass windows that extends from the bottom to the top of the building. These windows have endured strict tests in order to uphold during wind and sand storms. These also have to reflect the solar radiation of the sun as temperatures in Dubai can exceed 110 degrees Fahrenheit (Big, Bigger, Biggest: Burj Dubai).
    Using the buttressed core system and implementing most utility features in the central shaft of the tower, has allowed the architects to utilize the remainder of the space. This is very important as the larger the behavioral space in the building, the larger real estate revenue will be produced; especially since the majority of the building will be residential and office space.
    There is now doubt that the magnitude of this building can be dumbfounding. This building truly rips the sky with its sheer size. But before we could reach such daring heights, the antecedent of this skyscraper was hand crafted my master masons.

    Around the 12th century a new form of architecture began to emerge. Gothic architecture originated in France and it focused on the grandeur of the cathedral. Before this time, constructions could not support large windows or tall ceilings, as the structural load put on the walls would collapse the building. Gothic architecture tackled these problems by introducing three structural members: the flying buttress, pointed arch, and rib vault. The flying buttress is a supporting arch located on the outside of the cathedral to counteract the lateral forces created by the exterior wall. The pointed arch differs from the traditional Roman arch as it redirects the stress line to the ground instead of to the sides. This redirection of the stress line ultimately made it possible to build taller. The rib vault is composed of two intersecting pointed arches. This structure channels the weight of the ceiling to the columns in order for the walls to not carry the full load of the ceiling. The collaboration of these structural members in the Gothic cathedral would yield the first modern skyscraper as its structural members helped to utilized height, large behavioral space, and walls of glass (Building the Great Cathedrals).

    One of these first skyscrapers is the cathedral of Amiens in France. Constructed in 1220 through 1269 by Bishop Evrard de Fouilly, it became one of the tallest Gothic cathedrals in Europe. The architects involved in the design and construction were Robert de Lu- zarches, Thomas de Cormont, and Renaud de Cormont. In order to reach the celestial heights it did, the architects building this cathedral had to push its structural members to its limits. This eventually led to structural weaknesses as the design and materials could not support the weight of the building. In order to counteract the failing structure, new flying buttresses were added centuries later to combat the forces of the exterior wall. Also, iron chains were added to the walls along the entire length of the cathedral to hold the central columns in place (Addis, Murray, and Building the Great Cathedrals).

    These additions to Amiens Cathedral ultimately saved the building from completely collapsing. But beyond the structural weaknesses of the cathedral, the architects successfully created a tall structure that encompassed a large behavioral space and also included large windows to illuminate the interior. These windows can be observed all throughout the building from the large round window above the main entrance, to the windows surrounding the altar of the cathedral, and the clearstories running along the top of the nave and transept. These stained glass windows not only worked as a source of natural light, but also depicted stories from the bible, therefore having more than just one utilitarian use. Besides this, they also had a spiritual purpose, as the windows created a sense of awe and admiration that strongly reflected the spirit of God. Eventually, this early form of a glass curtain would also be implemented in today’s skyscrapers.

    Besides the stained glass windows, the cruciform design of the floor plan strongly reflects the influence of the Catholic Church in Medieval Europe. Architects used the cross as the inspiration to create the floor plan of cathedrals, making this design the standard for cathedral design. The floor plan of Amiens, like most Gothic cathedrals, was able to have a large behavioral space. This was possible not only by the three structural members previously mentioned but by removing the structural members of the building to the exterior of it. By doing so, new constructions could be built using thin walls, which allowed the Gothic cathedrals to greatly expand their surface space and allow for thousands of people to be within them at any single moment. This was revolutionary as no other building type had been able to create a large covered area.

    Also in France, we find a building that fully uses its behavioral space by placing its structural members in the exterior of the building. This structure is the Pompidou Center located in Paris and built from 1971 to 1977. The French president at the time, Georges Pompidou, commissioned for a new center of art and culture. This led to a competition among international architects to create the winning design for the new center. The architects chosen for the project were Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers, and Gianfranco Franchini. They came up with a modern design that used extravagant designs like moving floors and large electronic screens as facades; all of these strongly reflecting the emergence of the digital age. But due to budget issues, the profligate design qualities of the new art center were abandoned (Prestinenza Puglisi).

    The design of the Pompidou Center was first inspired by the work and research of Buckminster Fuller, the Italian architectural firm Superstudio, and other High-Tech architecture influences. Piano, Rogers, and Franchini sought to create a building that reflected the machine and its utility (Prestinenza Puglisi). They achieved this by removing all of the pipes, vents, and ducts from the interior to the exterior. This created a jungle of metal works that surrounds the façade of the art center. Furthermore, they installed an escalator across the front of the building, enhancing the aspect they wanted to convey of a machine-based era.

    This innovative and radical design reflects no regional or national architectural qualities. With the art center’s geometric, lined, and squared design it reflects the modern epoch and the cultural importance of technology and machinery. The Pompidou Center is a representation of a global view of practicality and utilitarianism, as it reflects the brute and unaesthetic side of our digital era.

    Beyond the metal scaffolding façade, we find a glass curtain. Glass windows surround the building creating an exterior wall that allows for natural light to illuminate the interior. Inside the Pompidou Center the spaciousness is plentiful due to the exteriorization of the different architectural components. This vast amount of behavioral space has given the museum’s coordinators great amplitude to experiment with gallery compositions.

    The Pompidou Center utilizes creative design methods of construction. Even with its innovative design, the art center was constructed with common materials like steel and reinforced concrete. It also implements the vast use of glass on its façade creating the glass curtain. But this is clearly a mega-structure that redefined new architectural design.

    Reflecting on the three buildings mentioned previously, the Burj Khalifa, Amiens Cathedral, and the Pompidou Center, it might arguably be said that they do not share anything in common. One is a skyscraper, the other a cathedral, and the other a museum. But also, one is an important cultural center, the other is a tourist attraction, and the other changed architecture forever. So, when thoroughly scrutinized it is evident that these buildings do share common cultural aspects as well as architectural features.

    Starting with the cultural aspects that these buildings share, it can be said that they all revolutionized construction and architecture. Amiens Cathedral not only became one of the tallest Gothic cathedrals of Europe, it also was one of the first buildings to use iron for structural support. This integration of the iron chain surrounding its interior walls was possible through the invention of a hydraulic-hammer that allowed the quick production of the metal (Building the Great Cathedrals). These were the early stages of the integration of metal-works into the structure of buildings.

    Amiens Cathedral also greatly influenced the construction for taller cathedrals through out its region. This race to build the tallest cathedral came at a cost of low structural quality in many of the other cathedrals being constructed. But this quest to build bigger, could arguably be said, originated the current struggle to commission and construct the world’s tallest towers. This is the case with the Burj Khalifa.

    Through the planning and construction of the Burj Khalifa, its height was kept a top secret. This was done because the architects, engineers, and patrons feared that others would try to construct a taller tower reaping away their title as the world’s tallest structure.

    During both Medieval and modern times, as is the case with Amiens Cathedral and Burj Khalifa, having the tallest structure created a sense of regional pride. Even though the two buildings were built for different purposes, constructing the cathedral at Amiens for religious worship and the Burj Khalifa as a physical representation of Dubai’s emergence as a world-city, they both share the common goal of attracting more visitors into the city. During the Medieval ages, these splendored Gothic cathedrals were built to draw pilgrims. Amiens was not the exception, as the pilgrims who visited brought commerce with them and therefore enriching the town. The Burj Khalifa was also constructed in order to attract large number of visitors. Dubai, which in the future hopes to have a tourist-based economy as their oil reserves dry-up, expects that the tourists brought into the city by the tower will create large revenues.

    The expectation to construct revolutionary buildings to increase the influx of visitors into the city for economic purposes can also be said about the Pompidou Center. Constructed in the 1970s, the new art museum in Paris expected to attract the market for the growing popularity of modern art. It certainly achieved this with the center’s abstract design, transforming it into an international hub of modern art exhibitions.
    The Pompidou Center’s design, like that of the Burj Khalifa and Amiens Cathedral, transformed architecture evermore. It utilized High-Tech architecture to create a design that was truly out of this world. Its strong influence for a utilitarian aesthetic design influenced the construction of structures like Lloyd’s Building in London, which also exteriorizes its structural members.

    The Burj Khalifa also implements a very modern design, not only due to its height, but also the extensive use of glass and contoured form. This design quality creates a strong distinction between it and the Pompidou Center, as the Burj Khalifa attempts to detach its self from the polygonal, straightedge, design of modern buildings. It can also be argued that the spiraling Y-shaped structure of the tower can be a representation of the nautilus shell, most likely unintentionally done, it reflects past architectural achievements that made its construction possible.

    Furthermore, the Burj Khalifa’s design focuses on regional and cultural aspects. This is another design quality that many modern buildings lack to accommodate in their designs. By introducing features of Islamic design and inspiration from indigenous flora to the region of Dubai, the Burj Khalifa depicts the grandeur of the culture that commissioned its construction. This design quality of utilizing religious inspiration to create the plan of a building can also be observed in Amiens Cathedral. The most commanding form found at Amiens is the cross, as it forms the shape of the building. Here, we can see the importance of religion in the culture of Medieval Europe and the current culture of Dubai.

    Analyzing the materials used in all three buildings, it is evident that glass is widely used. The Burj Khalifa, Amiens Cathedral, and the Pompidou Center all utilize glass curtains in their facades. The antecedent of the glass tower originated in the design of the Gothic cathedrals, as these buildings were able to create walls composed of large windows. This was innovatory in the design of these churches as it allowed natural light to illuminate the interior. These large stained glass windows also helped to educate people about bible stories, as they depicted them in their designs. Today we have mostly abandoned the use of window design to teach people, but we still largely use the glass curtain to illuminate the interior of our buildings.

    This extensive use of windows in these three buildings is critical to the environment and space created within them. In this aspect, the Burj Khalifa and Amiens Cathedral differ greatly. They both attempt to accomplish different results with the same techniques. The Burj Khalifa’s attempts to create everlasting perceptual space with its large windows, as the building’s user will be able to enjoy the ample view from such heights. In Amiens Cathedral, the windows help to enclose the space. The stained glass windows are implemented to be looked at and attain the user’s attention, rather than to be look through and opening up the space.

    Beyond their facades, all three buildings try to fully utilize and exploit their interior spaces. Amiens Cathedral achieves to create a large covered area where its behavioral space is obstructed by limited structural features. This can also be said about the Pompidou Center as it removes different architectural and structural members to the exterior of the building. This creates large volumes of space within the building that would otherwise be occupied. Differently, the Burj Khalifa takes a more economical approach in expanding its behavioral space. The designers exploited its centralized structure to open up the space in the wings of the building, yielding more rentable space.

    Amiens Cathedral and the Pompidou Center also share a contradiction between interwoven and static spaces. Both buildings utilize techniques to improve the flow of movement of people. At Amiens, ambulatories where implemented to allow the movement of people around the cathedral, but at its nave static space is created for the gathering of people. This is also observed at the Pompidou Center as the museum needs to create interwoven spaces that will guide the people through the different galleries, but static spaces are also created for people to enjoy the artwork. This disagreement in spaces is also essential for each of the building’s environments.

    One might imagine that the world’s tallest building, a Gothic cathedral constructed several centuries ago, and an art museum would not share aspects and features in common. The differences of the Burj Khalifa, Amiens Cathedral, and the Pompidou Center are easily perceived and recognize, as we tend to do with all that surrounds us, but with scrutiny it becomes evident that these buildings share more in common than just creating enclosed space. These three structures share features in their architectural design, structure, and cultural impact. Moreover, these three radical buildings helped to revolutionize and reshape the field of architecture.

    Copyright Diego Pardo.

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    i'm diego, read more about me under the 'about me' tab.



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