Song:Wolf & I by Oh Land
Place: 500 N, Avery
A good time ago a friend and colleague at GSAPP and I had a conversation about architecture on the roof of her apartment in Morningside Heights while drinking Shoju.
“We are all tumbling blindly in some direction but then our individual voices within that is what gives it so much beauty and depth.” –Anne
“I don’t think I’ve ever had an orgasm over a building to be honest.” –Anne
“It brought me to that point where I was overwhelmed with beauty and that you understand the truth of the universe in a way and that is what I want to bring to people with architecture.” –Anne
“they are ingredients in something that is purely about beauty, transcendence, and the emotional or spiritual state of someone.” -Anne
“because the way that my brain works in that I think about systems and somehow it would be more powerful in architecture.” –Anne
“When it comes to drawing and painting, I’ve done some stuff I’ve been proud of but it’s more that I’m leaving clues to refer to something I want to create in architecture.” –Anne
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Anne’s Rooftop in Morningside Heights while drinking shoju.
Me: If architecture is a manifestation of the creator, how do you come to terms with someone else positing their own ideas into yours?
Anne: It was really interesting to see because I give my models and invested thought and consideration and purpose and handed it off to someone else and they translated them, but everyone was more or else sensitive to where the models had come from conceptually and those ideas usually carry through in some way but a new mind is working on it with new objectives. With my project I was happy with the direction they had given.
Me: I guess that brings the idea of ownership? Is it still yours or is it a collective?
Anne: I guess that is something that Karla (Studio Critic) is trying to run home with, the idea that we don’t own our own ideas. This is where the exercise came from. The things that I initially created I considered mine and when others gave me their material and I reworked it I considered it to be mine too. I wouldn’t photographed what Ali (classmate) did with my iteration and put it in my photography, it sort of ended with her. It was like I had a baby and I couldn’t take care of it so she got to adopt it. So she gets credit for raising it, but it’s still my DNA in a way.
Me: Where are you now in studio?
Anne: One of the things we’ve been focusing is on our syntax. We have between five and ten words to give definitions to and use those words to decide what we’re interested in exploring. So I’m thinking of the library as how a brain works with synapses. I’m thinking of the pathway of knowledge and recognizing precedent because that is what lubricated the path to where we are now. I think it’s essential to understand structures that exist but also be aware that we are on the fringe and that new individuals work to lubricate new paths and create new kinds of synapses in the mind of the collective.
Me: Whenever I think of basing upon a history of experiences or pasts it is very unique to the individual, how do you then think of the collective history?
Anne: I’m interested in both ways, I found in the past couple of years with what is going on in architecture and its evolution, there really is a collective mind. Like I have this idea in something and then I’ll found out that there are three or four other people who are interested in the same thing and they’ve done PHD on this and I’m like shit, well…
Me: so do you think there is no more original thought?
Anne: No, I think one of the things that has been happening in architectural conversation is that people have been harping on the ego, the idea of the egocentric architect, the starchitect. I think that individual mind perspective is totally important and completely valid for a career. I am a strong advocate of the individual, but it is interesting to talk to people and see that someone else is interested in the same thing and there is an energy and thoughts are traveling between our minds and we are synapsing with each other. We are all tumbling blindly in some direction but then our individual voices within that is what gives it so much beauty and depth. So I’m interested in this project to articulate that and delineating the individual and the collective.
Me: It’s unbelievable because it can transcend architecture- into politics and philosophy. People tend to be on either side of the spectrum and it’s important to recognize that we operate on both levels…Have you ever been excited by a building?
Anne: I don’t think I’ve ever had an orgasm over a building to be honest. I’ve come close, I mean I’ve walked into a building and been like there’s something special about this space and I feel really good. What I’m trying to do in architecture is not something I have experienced before. In history I read about people who claim to have transcendent religious experience and I don’t personally experience that. I experience that in music, very few pieces of art, film, but that kind of feeling comes rarely. But when it happens its exciting. For instance I saw a dance performance in 2009 by Pierre Rigal and by the end of it I was weeping. It brought me to that point where I was overwhelmed with beauty and that you understand the truth of the universe in a way and that is what I want to bring to people with architecture. I thought if I can affect someone in that way in my career I’ll be more than sublimely happy.
Me: Is that the aim of architecture, is that what we’re suppose to do. Or is it just in the realm of art?
Anne: For me that’s all I care about. For others they may care about social aspects, political, economy, environmental Although they are important, they are ingredients in something that is purely about beauty, transcendence, and the emotional or spiritual state of someone.
Me: So why did you go into architecture and not something that could be quicker like music, film, or art? Something that I feel would be a lot more accessible than architecture.
Anne: Well after undergrad, I thought about applying to some art schools but I think just because the way that my brain works in that I think about systems and somehow it would be more powerful in architecture.
Me: So like were you in a band?
Anne: *Laughs* No. I’m not musical at all, I mean I was in choir when I was 12 or something, but. No I’m actually really jealous of musicians because they can do that. I’ve never been musically creative. When it comes to drawing and painting, I’ve done some stuff I’ve been proud of but it’s more that I’m leaving clues to refer to something I want to create in architecture.
Me: Did you always know you wanted to be an architect?
Anne: Yes, since I was 16.
Me: Oh wow, so what happened at 16.
Anne: I took some good drafting, CAD classes in high school. I just somehow knew and decided then.
Me: That’s so funny because that pretty much happened to me. I remember being at home drawing blueprints but really sad, really pathetic attempts to draw blueprints.
Anne: Yeah me too. *laughs* Like drawing my dream house and room.
Me: It was so bad. I wish I still had those.
Anne: Yeah I think I still have some since I kept journals.
Me: I’d love to see those. They’re probably really actually brilliant.
Avery Hall is a madhouse. People get ugly, tired, and desperate. Fortunately, the insanity produces amazing things. I want to showcase the talent of my comrades without the verbiage. Have fun!