Sep '06 - Dec '09
I’ll start at the beginning. I entered my thesis year in September. I started off the semester digging back through the last four years to understand what I wanted to research, trying my best to tackle issues that I investigated through my projects. I narrowed my issue down to how to provide temporary infrastructure to informal communities to further reduce their ecological footprint. My trip to the Philippines last winter had a profound effect on me. Strolling around the slums of Manila absorbing the sounds and smells of the shanties not romanticizing about what we could learn from them but just accepting the facts about their living conditions. So……the semester continues. I choose a site to tackle in the Makati district of Metro Manila. The settlement is on one of the tributaries pouring into the Pasig River, which is on the brink of being pronounced dead by the ecologist of the Philippines due to the pollution distribution of the factories and the effluent of 200k+ families living along the River.
here is the site.
On September 27, Monsoon Ondoy struck Manila and totally flushed my site. Here is an article about the Monsoon. A bit jarred I continue through with my material investigation.
here is a picture of the site a few blocks down from the original image.
I was working mainly through analog means with sketches, drafting, and physical modeling with the exception of some digital diagrams. I live about half an hour away and moving work back and forth is a bit tedious. So the bulk of my creations stay on my desk. A month and a half later Hampton Roads receives one of its own storms, a Nor’easter, flooding our campus and pouring water into our building or what I call the “Bleeding Bemis.”
I arrive at the studio to find myself in a swimming pool and soaked analysis, bleeding from all the ink and soggy models. Final presentations are in two weeks. 60% of the original work is lost but I have my paper and one model. A single tear moment happened right there as I sat in the pool of water.
Lesson learned, mother nature is unforgiving. At least I have a roof over my head, some trace and a laptop to continue moving along. Two weeks more, Two weeks more.