This week, Scott Enge, a close friend of Bill from his Columbia days, paid us a visit. It was very good, since his presence presented Bill with a down-to-earth no-bullshit sparing partner. They argued (about the advantages of working outdoor vs. indoor, for example) in a very relaxed way, the way best friends do.
He did a short presentation about his fabrication works, visited the Henry Ford Museum (where the only Dymaxion House in existence is installed) with us, and spent the rest of his stay doing desk crits and Thursday major crit. For me, it was the best series of crit in the department so far. With five people critting in our department, and two crit which I had to attend beforehand since I'm taking an elective in 2D Design, it turned out to be a grueling but great day.
Scott, Bill, and students during Thursday crit
Some important musings I found vital from it all (I'm totally paraphrasing everything based on my own understanding):
1. Question the value of our endeavor in the school. Ideally it should be an innovation in every sense of the word: technical, economical, and practical. Therefore, the work will not be finished as we graduate, but form a trajectory of our future practice.
2. Question the role of contractors. Taking it further, I would like to question the role of the construction industry, every single players forming it, therefore architects as well. In our specific circumstances, how do we react?
3. Thesis as proof. Bill quoted his old professor, Robert Stern, for this. So blatant, I know, but looking at the majority of architectural school thesis works, frequently this is not the case.
4. On digital realm (and how mistakenly it was taken): an ellipse has a soul. That soul is missing in most ‘digital architecture’ (please decipher it as you wish, and write down your comment on this, thanks).
5. Shift positions between author & implementer accordingly in the process of design. Refuse to be a prisoner of certain technique and method.
6. Position your work as ‘the other’, relating to conventional building practice. The dialogue between them can be a rich breeding ground for your real-world strategies.
7. Sometimes, in life, to move forward we need to put each of our own gifts away. Evolve. Ha!
Again, blatant, but I guess my ignorance caused me to be blind all this time: I am in an institution which is truly deeply rooted in the tradition of modernism. Question is, what will I do about it?
Will update on my quest for answers.
A school blog on Arch Dept, Cranbrook Academy of Art. By farid rakun, admitted Fall 2011.