I left Montreal and crossed the border between Canada and the United States on July 10, 2009, in the passenger seat of a mini-van driven by my best friend (I don't have a license), filled with all my worldly possessions, and headed for Boston. In just under a month I'll be a first-year M.Arch.I student at the GSD.
It took me a couple of weeks to get settled into my new place (furniture, cleaning, unpacking, organizing, and setting up banking and filling out various forms at Harvard), but now I'm "all set" (as I've discovered Americans, or at least Bostonians, like to say). I just have to finish off my Ph.D. dissertation before the Digital Skills Workshop starts at the GSD on August 19...
So I won't have much school news until then!
But, to introduce myself, I'll share the paragraphs that I submitted to become an Archinect blogger. It's probably more than you could ever want to know about me, but here they are:
My grandfather was a Japanese-Canadian fisherman/carpenter who kept an amazing vegetable and flower garden and did all kinds of humble but ingenious and useful renovations and additions on his property. His house and garden formed a perfect place for a young child to explore, and I'm pretty sure it was my visits there that planted in me a curiosity about architecture.
I grew up in a suburban setting in western Canada (Edmonton, Alberta), however, and not knowing any architects growing up it did not seem like a likely career goal. So I only decided to pursue architecture after a few years of mixed undergrad studies at the University of Alberta in sociology, visual arts, and the sciences. I did one year in the undergrad program at the McGill University School of Architecture in Montreal, Canada, and in my first semester started auditing an upper-year history course that really interested me. I decided to transfer into McGill's History and Theory of Architecture master's-level program--after all, it was only a year--and ended up enjoying it so much that I am just now, six years later, finishing a PhD in that same program.
During the five years of my PhD, I've taught a bit, worked as a manuscript editor and an assistant editor for a book series, worked as a grant-writer, organized a conference which grew way larger than we originally imagined, and developed a pretty good tennis game. During my undergrad, I also worked in a biochemistry lab. So I have work experience, but none in the “real world.” (I did have a “real-world” office job lined up for this spring and summer, but it fell through last October when the stock market crashed.)
My PhD dissertation, entitled 'Articulation and the Origins of Proportion in Archaic and Classical Greece,' looks at ancient Greek ideas about craft, politics, and the human body which were formative in early notions and theories of proportion, from Homer to Plato. As I finish my PhD, a future research interest for me is in the relationship between bodies--and how they are defined, in modernity, by being bound--in medicine (hygiene), politics (the nation-state), and architecture. Eventually, I think this project will have something to do with understanding why modernity gave us so many unsustainable practices in terms of the environment and economics--but that is for the future.
I guess all the garden paths, secret doors, and multiple stairs and passageways that my grandfather built must have gotten to me: I'm fascinated by how we move from place to place and occupy a given space, and how (you could say, in the way that cognitive-science or phenomenology would look at it) these kinds of architectural situations in our immediate, often small-scale, environment help form our experiences.
As for non-architectural (!) interests, I enjoy tennis, mini-gardening, gerbils (who have their own architectural ideas), aquariums (freshwater fish and plants), painting and drawing, writing, and reading fiction. Some of my favorite authors are Cormac McCarthy, Mark Danielewski, and Haruki Murakami.
Thanks for reading. See you soon!
Lectures and exhibitions, news and events, now primarily from the Bay Area! Please note that all live blogs are abridged and approximate. If you want to see exactly what happened, in many cases a video of the event is posted online by the event's hosts. If you have concerns about how you are quoted, please contact me via Archinect's email.