Saturday, June 27, 2009

Week 2: Down and Up again

This week, thankfully, we started a two-week project. The first week had been a little frantic and quite disorienting. This week we began to think about housing but from an abstract perspective.

We began by abstracting a relationship from pop culture. I picked Carl and Russell from the most recent Pixar movie, Up. I deduced the absence of a loved one brought the two characters closer together. From that I abstracted the idea that void brings together. Sort of like a central piazza, or a building's courtyard.

After quick sketch models and watercolors exploring the relationship, we plunged into the task of constructing 19 rectangular cube volumes. We would then have to put them together putting smaller volumes around two bigger volumes in two contiguous sets, all the while keeping our abstract idea in mind.

From this model we then tried to draw the space between the two volumes and formulate a diagram of our idea that would serve as a guide for the development of our project. The idea of void as a force to bring together developed further into the process of contraction and expansion (which makes sense since narrow streets expand into large open city squares.

Then we drew axonometric drawings of our cube compositions. As if learning plans and sections wasn't enough, this week we ventured into three dimensions! It was a wild ride, and I was seriously confused for a long time. Trying to use my T-Square and my triangle to figure out how to do things... But in the end I came out with a lovely drawing and a cool overlayed diagram done on vellum.

From here, we were instructed to build models of the exterior spaces and the interior spaces, keeping our idea at hand, along with the distilled diagram and the cubes. I came up with a model showing exterior spaces in foamcore and interior spaces in chipboard. I tried to use the ideas I had developed to push my design idea further.

Along with this design process, I also had very strong emotional reactions to the whole process. The first week had really tired me out and I was feeling drained, physically, emotionally and mentally by the whole process so far. It's a rigorous program. There's no doubt about it. They really try to show you how architecture school will be. Some people can handle it, others can't. At a certain point in the week I was just resistant to all tasks set before me. I am the type of person who wants to understand the way things work, who wants to understand how to do things. This program has really thrown me into things and it can be very overwhelming because you don't always have the time or the know-how to complete tasks to the best of your ability. Or at least you don't have the time to really reflect on what it is you are doing. So far, it's all super fast-paced (although it is slowing down somewhat).

But I rose above. My instructor was very encouraging. I took two nights off to myself. I found inspiration in So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD), dancers who have to face new styles without knowing anything and having to perform like pros. I adopted the acronym SYTYCD and substituted Design for Dance. It will be my inspiration. I will breathe, I will do my best, I will learn how to not take things too seriously, have fun and do it all with a smile.


Abby B said...

if it makes you feel any better, social capital theory has a lot to say about the benefits of providing space to sit, spaces that allow people to be in the same place, spaces that permit spontaneous interaction with others, and the availability of free (by "free" i mean "free" in the sense of 'libre' and potentially also 'gratuit') spaces in general as particularly conducive to generating social capital and community.

this is all to say...

you're doin' good, love <3

Katie said...

Learning to smile when everything goes wrong: there's the real wisdom! Sounds like you're doing great. :) I'm sending you love and support!