Blog Prompt #4
If you were completely released form the constraints of the "architecture school" program, what would you do architecturally, artistically, bodily, lyrically, etc. that woud still have an impact on your environment. Describe a real or imagined place which might allow you to do this.
Explore through images and text.
Ahhh, what would I do if I was free from all constraints?
Well...I am not by any means an Aretha Franklin, so I will rule out any singing that's not in the shower right now...
Poetry lyrics would be nice though...
Anyways, back on topic.
To start off with, I don't think I would do away with the constructed form of a "school" completely. I like "school" and I like to learn. I like being in an intellectual environment where everyone is in search of knowledge and education. It's moving and motivating. If I had a choice, my desired place of study would still be a campus. It would, however, be in a different place and of a much different form...
For some reason, I just find living in the city stressful. Overwhelmingly stressful at times. Most of my days here have been rushed and confusing. I wake up at 6:00 a.m. (or earlier) and walk twenty minutes in the cold to go through an hour and a half of weightlifting four days a week. Then, I have to rush/run to take a bus to class, either on the west bank of campus or St. Paul. Following that, I have more classes, all involving me running like a mad woman around campus. I might make it back to the dorms to (hopefully) have time for lunch later before I have to walk over to Bierman to get ready for track practice. Then, I either have practice (or more class and then practice) which concludes with me walking back to Bierman to ice down and change. Next I walk all the way back to the Superblock for dinner. Then, there are several hours of homework before me. And all throughout this madness, I am dodging traffic, avoiding bikers and angry horns, and slipping by the masses of people (while trying not to slip on the ice). I'm actually getting a headache just thinking about it. I like the excitement and opportunities that a city can offer, but I dislike the noise and commotion.
My ideal locale for my architectural education would be somewhere peaceful, serene, and beautiful. It wouldn't be completely in the middle of nowhere, but on the edge of it...and on a lake. I can image a grand cabin with light flooding every room. There would be millions of interesting books and rooms in the building, housing great teachers that are more like friendly, wise grandparent-ly figures than intimidating professors. It would be quiet when it needed to be, but happy and chaotic when it was called for. There would be lots of breaks for recreational activities like boating, running, camping, or biking. Naps would be encouraged. Ice cream consumption would be required. "Family meals" and social gathering would also be advocated since there would not be too many students. There would be classes on all kinds of subjects, from fencing (I've always had a strange desire to try it..) to psychology to to computer science, music theory, ecology and art. There wouldn't be any need for strict grades or due dates, really. The only individuals that would stay at the cabin would be those personally seeking knowledge and answers, and would thus be driven to learn.
It would be located near a small community and not too far away from the big city life, as to take full advantage of the things both have to offer. There would be many, many outings into town to perform volunteer work and on-site learning of building construction. We would be able to shadow some of the great architects of our era and learn all about their innovative thinking and practices. At the same time, we would also work with small independent architects, learning the ins-and-outs of their trade and client relationships. I think that these small "mom and pop" architects are just as important as those getting commissions for huge skyscrapers and museums.
Since money would not be a problem (hey, no constraints, right?), traveling would be a necessary ingredient to my architectural education. The most far-away, exotic place I have ever been is Winnipeg and South Dakota (it actually was pretty exciting) I would be extremely disappointed if went through my entire life without experiencing different areas and cultures. Therefore, we would organize trips to everywhere and anywhere across the United States and globe. Australia, Russia, South Africa, Mexico, France, Greece, Brazil, Scotland, India - we'd see them all! While in these countries, we'd always have our cameras with us, photographing what we would see and experience. Famous museums, architectural wonders, and cultural centers would all be on our sight-seeing list. It would also be necessary for us to spend time in the poverty-stricken and destitute areas we visit so we can better understand how we, as architects, can do our part to improve the lives of everyone across the world.
Mostly, my architectural learning would be "free". We'd be free to experience the land and culture around us, to flow in and out of different subjects and topics. By allowing us to become diverse in knowledge and in spirit, I think we would be better prepared to create designs that would improve and advance the environment around us.
(photos from http://www.careersserviceni.com/NR/rdonlyres/DC75518C-E716-4A6A-B0AA-FBE850F3FCE0/0/architect1.jpg, http://www.washingtonfencing.com/, http://www.paddlin.com/Voyageurs.htm, http://www.uec-hawaii.com/images/pho_ice_cream_sundae.jpg)