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    10 Questions

    Gregory Dowell Aug 26 '08 2

    I think its pretty common for professors to get to know their new students for the semester by having them answer a few questions. However, I think the questionnaire I received yesterday, labeled "10 Questions" even though it is around 14 or 15 questions is the most unique and pertinent I have received. So here are the "10 Questions" with my respective answers. Feel free to take a few questions and leave your answers in the comments.

    What experience that you’ve had while traveling has done the most to inform your curiosities about the world? Why?

    I was in Cairo, Egypt attempting to cross a really busy street. A street that pedestrians probably shouldn’t attempt to cross when a local turned to me and said, “Just close your eyes. Pray to Allah and go.”

    Once I safely negotiated the crossing I laughed. It was comforting to know that a person from an entirely different culture while being quite unique in his own right was also much like me.

    What studio project done in school was most interesting to you? Why?

    Columbia Space Shuttle Memorial.

    The project had to use the traditional components of a building (walls, roof, floor, etc.) and yet not include a building. I enjoyed creating an area of refuge and reflection as I think this should be a role all architecture plays. While buildings often force users on how the space is to be used, the Memorial allowed a more open-ended use of the space.

    What paper that you’ve written in architecture school was the best received by the professor? Why do you think this was the case?

    “Memory and Identity: Destruction and Rebuilding”.

    Using The Unreal America by Ada Huxtable as a starting point, I investigated how people identify themselves (who they were, who they are, and who they will become) through architecture. Furthermore I looked at incidents of destruction of architecture (Nazi Germany in Poland, the Taliban in Afghanistan) and how this intentional destruction and subsequent rebuilding (or lack thereof) affects people’s identity and memory.

    It was a well researched paper on a topic that is becoming increasingly more popular in the field today.

    Most of you have worked in an architectural office. What project was most interesting to you? What aspect was most interesting? What does this cause you to want to know more about?

    Gill Park Cooperative Renovation- complete rehabilitation of a 27-story Section 8 Housing Project in downtown Chicago.

    In charge of replacing the existing windows with a new curtain wall, I had to work directly with the design architects, owner representatives, and community members for the best solution (both aesthetically and economically). The field verification showed up to 3” of deflection of the floor slabs leading us to create a very unique solution to account for the variable deflection throughout the building.

    From this project I realized I like working more with existing structures. I want to know more about how to renovate and rehabilitate existing structures not only because of possible historical significance but because of the energy already used to create these buildings.

    What aspect of architectural practice was most frustrating, and what ideas do you have for changing this situation?

    Without a doubt the most frustrating aspect of practice was coordination- both inside the firm and with other consultants to the project.

    More meetings is clearly not the solution, but besides that I have no clue how to help this problem.

    What faculty member or faculty members offer you the best insights, challenge you with the most interesting questions, or cause you to think in ways or about issues that are of great interest to you?

    Sonne Palmer.

    It doesn’t matter the topic, Sonne always has the best response or question that really makes you think.

    What facts or ideas are at the root of your views of the world?

    When G8 leaders met in July in Japan, in part to decry the rising price of grain and rice -- convening one day after U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown, a G8 member, advised British citizens to buy less at the grocery store in order to economize -- they had a six-course "working lunch" with two wines, followed by an 18-course dinner with six wines.

    What design process, or even what particular aspect of a design process, was most fulfilling, beneficial, or rewarding for you?

    The end.

    What design process, or what aspect of a design process, was most uncomfortable for you, yet produced good results?

    The beginning.

    List the three readings done as a student that were the most interesting to you and explain what it was about these three readings that was interesting.

    The Unreal America by Ada Huxtable
    Suburban Nation by Duany, Plater-Zyberk, and Speck
    The Necessity for Ruins by J.B. Jackson

    What architects/designers are most interesting to you? Why?

    Steven Holl- his phenomenological approach to architecture.

    Louis Kahn- the monumentality of his designs, not afraid to show off materials, assembly, or weight of buildings.

    Who do you want to read or to find out about your creative project?

    Rem Koolhaas- while I don’t often care for his architecture, he is one of the greatest architectural theorists of our time.

    Ada Huxtable- what doesn’t this long time critic critique?

    Where will you publish, post, or present your creative project?

    On my personal blog. There is no way to reach a larger audience than through the world wide web.

    What do you want to do with your creative project? To what is it a bridge? How can it help you navigate this bridge?

    Obviously I want a potential employer to look at my creative project and see me as a must have for the firm.

    Other than helping me land a job, I’d like it to be the beginning of my personal research and investigation on the topic of memory, identity and architecture.

     

     
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