I am always torn between whether or not our "conceptual" exercises are worth the time. As a whole, I can look back on the exercises done throughout my studio education and say that yes, most of them have helped me as a student and as a person. This is not to say that every exercise is well received, especially when we are chomping at the bit to design a building. The flow project has been confounding.
I am personally very torn about the way we are being educated,
however, at least in studio. CDs class I have no doubts. My problem relates to the social responsibilities of architecture. We have two kinds of architecture that people will easily recognize: the really expensive conceptual shit (guggenheim bilbao, new seattle public library), and the really cheap commercial shit (my supermarket, my convenience store.) Now although both of these two are undoubtably necessary, and I appreciate what gehry does for our profession as much as I appreciate what circle K does for my need of coffee, there is a fundamental lack in both.
Vitruvius said that architecture should have firmness, commodity and delight. Circle K is obviously lacking delight, and if we look at the seattle public library, I would say that it is lacking commodity.
(not to mention firmness, in some of its interior.) The simple fact
of the matter is that as architects we have as much responsibility as
any profession to do what is right for society. This is the basis of
land use code and building code and ada, etc. This is what is
I could go on forever about this, but let me try to get to the point.
The project for this semester, the eden pavilion, is about our future, about our interaction with nature, and also ostensibly systems integration. The simple fact of the matter is that the important issues of this building such as (on a large scale) sustainability or (on a small scale) not using so damn much air conditioning, are being left for a four week window at the end of this semester while I am forced to push dry ice through varying openings or plaster through a bandsaw. We are dangerously far away from our practice. I think.
I'm really more upset at the end of this message than I am at the
beginning, although I have always had a problem with tolerating what i see as frivolity. I really have always been frustrated. [studio professor] is no help because he is essentially disengaged from the exercises we are doing, as he is too practical-minded to be able to relate.