The desert sky was bright with stars, the breeze was cool and refreshing, and the dappled light of the pool received both in turn while swaying gently in the breeze and washed the walls of the house with a soft fluid glow. The windowless perimeter of the minimalist house closed itself off from its desert context and clearly demarcating the threshold of in and out, and we were clearly in. We were gathered at one long dining table in the cleverly designed living/dining/courtyard of the open plan house. With the sliding glass walls of the house tucked away, we were neither inside nor out, sitting comfortably in ambiguity .
It was a private dinner for 14 individuals in the desert home of architect Jim Jennings, including the architect himself. Both the perimeter wall and floating roof with sliding glass walls were carefully positioned to frame the mountains and the sky, and we all gladly obliged as we collectively stared at the desert sky with drinks in hand and silently took in the view.
I surveyed the room, a collection of seasoned and successfull architects including Fellows of the AIA and Principals and Partners of both corporate and boutique firms across the country. I sighed and thought aloud, "Wow, I really feel privileged to be here with all of you."
Kevin Wilcock, partner at David Baker Architects in San Francisco patted me on the back and quickly corrected me, "We're ALL privileged to be here" and gestured towards the picturesque scene of both natural and architectural beauty in front of us.
It was in that moment, that I think I truly understood what the AIA Committee on Design conference is all about. It is more than a chance to network with your peers from around the country and exchange business cards. It is more than an opportunity to hear respected peers present their work. It is more than an architectural travel tour to admire buildings we've always wanted to see.
They are a special opportunity to gain unique access to a carefully curated selection of architectural treasures, and more importantly experience and discuss them with a collection of like- minded peers from diverse backgrounds. It is very much about recharging our design energy, discovering design inspiration and nourishing our design souls by connecting through the collective experience of experiencing design.
More thoughts to follow...