You know spring has arrived at McGill when the boards are taken down from around the three bares and the quidditch team resumes their weekend practices in front of the architecture building. Not only has spring arrived in Montreal, but summer as well, with temperatures in the mid-twenties and sunny skies all weekend.
However, the long weekend is now over and regular spring (aka rainy) weather returns. For those who took the weekend off from school, tomorrow morning means a return to the studio. For those of us who spent the weekend in studio, well its just another day.
I am a first-year student at McGill in the School of Architecture's B.Sc.(Arch) degree. This three year (four if you are from out-of-province) undergraduate degree leads to a three-semester accredited M.Arch. degree and, perhaps, life as a real architect.
One week before the end of the academic year, (three if you count the exam period), might seem like an odd time to start blogging, but I figure its enough time to give you a look at McGill's U1 (first year) program through the rear-view mirror. It was my studio professor Suresh and his former classmate and current Archinet blogger Lian (Harvard GSD) that suggested I volunteer to represent McGill on the site.
The year started off with very abstract projects, but has slowly been working towards more concrete 'architecture' in the second semester, the culmination of which is our end-of-year assignment - a House for a Hero. We have been given a site in one of Montreal's latest 'up-and-coming' neighbourhoods (think the next Plateau). The lot is currently occupied by an auto-repair shop, with empty lots to either side. The back borders on an old CP rail line. Our assignment is to design a house, for the wedge-shaped piece of land occupied by the current building, with a public garden behind (currently a parking lot). The twist (and reason for the title) is that the house must either house or exemplify characteristics of a hero of our choosing. Depending on the studio prof, students have interpreted 'hero' in different ways. They are students designing houses for Disney characters such as Cinderella, or real-life heros like Rick Hansen, or even abstract things like a piece of music (one of Chopin's nocturnes). I myself have chosen the men and women who worked as cryptanalysts for the British military during WWII.
We present at our final crit of U1 next Monday and Tuesday, so its going to be a busy week! I leave you with photos of the three bares (you can see the architecture building behind) and my studio space (+ a cosy little corner; - very far away from any natural light).