Clemson University



Jun '09 - Jun '09

  • First week of graduate architecture school @ clemson

    Ahh, the first week of architecture school. There's a line in a song that is often stuck in my head now that says "neglected, stressed out, and living in fear." That pretty much sums it up.

    At Clemson, for the 3.5 M.Arch students, we do a warm-up summer session of sorts in Charleston, SC, off-campus. They pretty much take a semester's worth of work and cram it into 8 weeks.

    On the first day, I was extremely excited. The buzz about the studios, new students, new beginnings. I kept explaining to everyone who kept asking about my first day that it felt like a mix between The Real World and one of those Design reality TV competitions - Project Runway or something (without the fashion and Heidi Klum of course - the latter quite unfortunately....) After just meeting each other for the first time, we walked around the city and talked a little about each other, our first impressions, nerves, excitedness, etc. After a few quick, "Hi, I'm..... from...." we only had a few minutes to begin our first studio experience. The difference between this program and any other university program is that it was just the 9 of us. There were no other students, no dorms, no campus, just us, a few teachers, and the studios. 9 people in a new city ready to tackle the rigors of architecture school.

    June 1st came so quickly after learning of my acceptance in early March. This was very little time to let it sink in that I was actually going to be starting architecture school. Oh well, it was time to get the ball rolling. And boy, did it roll. We jumped right in with a group project based on a short film that we watched about the concept of architecture as the nexus of space and time. The film was The Third Man.

    Our project was to "design and construct a freeze-frame - a space that measures time." We were to do this using our materials: twine, (2) 30x40 black and white posterboards, + 33 bamboo skewers. with the following tools: glue, hole puncher, + tape. It was to be done in the context of the building.

    What a project. I didn't even know my group's names and we were asking each other philosophical questions like 'How do you measure time' 'What kind of space measures time' 'Is this project for real....'

    After hours of deliberating idea after idea, and a massive creative block, my group finally came up with a basic concept revolving around some sort of static and dynamic space within a window frame exploring the interior and exterior of the window - Blacking out the lights of the window with the black posterboard except for one in which you could look through and see a cantilevered white box with a frozen moment in time on the exterior of the window. Within the box would be the glue bottle turned upside down with glue dripping out - wet one day, dry the next. A neat idea to use one of our "tools" as one of our main "materials." Maybe a different approach. It seemed like everyone was doing something with the sun as some sort of sun dial.

    After a status meeting with the Professor, he liked our idea of the glue depicting our frozen moment in time. So, we switched gears and decided to come up with a way to show how glue, a dynamic, moving material at one point, can be shown as a frozen entity as well. So we came up with the following....


    It turned out okay for a day and a half project. Movement of glue paired with the frozen quality of glue. We actually calculated the time and speed as well. Time = Distance/Speed. It took the glue 10 minutes and 35 seconds to go from top to bottom, roughly 1 foot/min. Thrilling. Like watching glue dry....

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