Talk about an open ended topic - here goes the rant you were looking for.
To be honest, i hate the structure of school more than anything else i have to deal with on a daily basis. The reason i got interested in architecture wasn't drawing or one of those stupid skills surveys, or a need to build skyscrapers, it was me getting fed up in buildings, getting tired of spaces i didn't like and didn't want to be in. Places that didn't show the human hand that built them, anymore than the suit who they are built for.
When we were young, there was only one place that we could experiment at our own devices - to really push the boundaries of how we wanted things. two words: the woods. When I went outside to play in the woods, i had all the materials i needed, a place of my own to build, and the will to construct something of my own. The childhood drive to build forts is their cry out for their own designed spaces - because crayon on the wall isn't allowed. The ceiling can be vaulted, walls can be twisted, but at the same time, they deal with real constraints that architecture deals with today. You can only carry so many sticks, only find so many, only pile them up certain ways to keep them stable. Kids must work around constraints in the same way, so in some ways, i feel like i was closer to being an architect when i was eight years old. I'd sit for hours inside on rainy days, drawing possibilities, planning our next move. Every detail of the fort is always under scrutiny for improvement. It is the ultimate building project.
Children will even move to touch every possible material, in every effective way. They will not just stick to sticks, but will find cardboard, scrap wood, snow, stones, anything left in the trashpile at the end of the driveway. They will use all these objects in new creative ways - at least to them - and every material will be tested fully and pushed to its limits. Children will scavenge what they need, in the true art of sustainable building. We often went as far as to steal things that we knew my parents never used, and they never noticed.
If I were to take my guiding thoughts to Architecture education I'd force people back into the woods. I'd drop them off randomly in pairs and tell them to build a shelter that they can enjoy as a real home. Survival shelters can show the true nature of a person, and embody the same ethos of the forts of childhood. Those who build only what they must to survive - they may be minimalists - or they may not be cut out for the job. Those who pass their time by building, experimenting, making a space that is theirs, those are the ones I feel should continue. Forcing people back into what i think is the real freedom of shaping your own space.
Those who are most creative on this earth are the tinkerers. That is who i am to discover. Those who will build of their own accord, work to shape their environment through their own choice. They may choose to dance in the woods, may choose to write poetry, and all those others would be acceptable. I'd look only for a drive to do something - one who focuses only on the task at hand (survival) will never survive. Those people will go mental in a week, they stress out, they don't realize they can shape the world around them to make it become something more inviting. After forcing the students to spend a month tinkering in the woods under hidden observation, we'd have a review. Taking those who would like to continue, we go back to the woods at put them there again. they'd stay there, sending ideas back to an office by carrier pigeon. Those would be my architects. If commissioned, we'd put them at the site, and let them be again, waiting for them to tinker out a solution. It may be a slower process, but inevitably one comes out with a much greater product.
I find it so disturbing the way children of today hide behind the opaque glow of the television, the computer, the game system. They are great tools undoubtedly, but parents should realize that once i take over the school of architecture, their children may not have a place. Those who have been thrown outside without their accord, those who have already experienced for themselves what i believe to be architecture to be, who have escaped to the woods to build that fort, those who have experienced creation and design as part of their lives, only they will continue to do it again in their adult lives. Those who lived in the glow of screens will loose the creative drive, those who live in the fluorescent light of schools will never regain the intuition to build and change the environment around them.
Throw you kids outside, and teach them to be people, what makes us human is the drive to create! Throw them into the woods, move out to the woods, escape the suburban beigevilles. I grew up in trees, i climbed them, i grew with them. The woods are a creative temple. Go outside. Now! Your true education is waiting for you, just out that back door!
The songs that influence my values towards development goals aren't any different than the ones that influence my values from day to day. Truthfully, I'm sometimes a little downtrodden by where I think we're headed in this world. Music is often a clarifying element and Milk Punk will always be my favorite genre, mostly because of the feeling it gives me. I always feel hopeful, upbeat, a smile on the darkest face - even if the lyrics lead a different way. Sometimes the culture of a music can express things the lyrics can only scrape. Milk Punk is almost always defiantly hopeful, and its members often lead lives of poverty, travel, adventure, and thrill seeking. They lead lives of happiness, without concern for those who hold them down. There is an emphasis on being hopeful, and sticking it to those who hold things away from others. Sometimes it can be a little too romantic of things, but when we think of hopes and dreams, we are always romantic. Dreams are important to these people and they never let them die. Perhaps Milk Punk will never preach of helping others - like many other genres do- but Milk Punk is full of inspiration, which one must never leave home without. Let's move on to some examples:
1.Bikes + Bridges - Defiance Ohio
It's hard to beat their outlook on life. Something can always be fixed, never give up. They admit things are stressed and worn, but are the material for what is to come, and must survive. "sometimes broken things make the best building supplies. and we'll keep on building. hearts aren't made of glass, they're made of muscle and blood and something else. and they don't so much as break as bend and tear. we have what it takes to keep it together; and move on."
2. Boy Meets Girl - Ghost Mice
Simple, sometimes you've got to be happy where you are, just to get through till better times. Sometimes feeling good about yourself is the only thing that gives you enough confidence to step up and help others. "Anyone without a dream must be dead, if you ask me."
3. This is What I Want - This Bike is a Pipe Bomb
This one doesn't need a quote, just take a listen. They want equality, are hopeful for it, and expect it to come by telling everyone that it is. Can't be much more hopeful than that.
Picture by Marc Johns
This rotten fish is Chuck's dinner.
Chuck is poor.
How did i meet Chuck?
I met Chuck down by the river.
Chuck asked me to leave his home.
His home is the culvert, down in the woods, underneath the stone arch bridge.
Chuck is very scary man.
Chuck is destitute.
Every day of the year, hundreds of people walk over that bridge, and nobody notices.
Obviously we're not doing things right if Chuck lives under the stone arch bridge, in a culvert, down by the river. Chuck also gets arrested every winter, normally for shoplifting, so he has somewhere to go during the winter - his culvert isn't heated.
I find it astonishing that there are homeless, meal-less people hiding under our bridges.
I met Chuck on 10/22/07.
Chuck is probably still homeless, and will be when he gets out in the spring.
inspired by Andy Goldsworthy (and our discussions today), document and investigate,
through text and image - this idea of energy, flow and transformation through the city.
Anything can have flow. Look for yourself. Many parts of the city are designed to flow like their natural counterparts.
Every curve in the city must flow, to adapt to the boundaries where it reacts to nature. The city must be ready to fight back to maintain its place.
Energy constantly radiates from each city block. How can it not, when there are millions of living beings crawling through it. Cities are concentrations of life.
The city's glow is often my biggest reminder. The city is so full of energy that it does not simply sleep. It creates light like nature does, creating its own world in the darkness given to it.
Transformation happens everywhere in a city. During the day, many surfaces remain hidden. They lurk in the dark, waiting for night. During the night everything becomes a different animal.
Fog is an interesting beast, allowing the city to transform into something much more mystical.
Reflections allow the city to double its size, to grow, and move in ways it doesn't move without the addition of water.
An added note about energy: its amazing what someone can do just by speaking about the same things we all hope for on a daily basis. Shamelessly for Obama? Damn straight I am. Has anyone else seen that much energy in the target center at any other point this year? Not a chance.