A Student Blog by Jordan Laurila

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    I should probably stop drinking coffee.

    By Laurila
    Nov 6, '17 5:33 PM EST

    The coffee machine in the media center is broken. It’s starting to affect the students. Whether an architecture student enters architecture school with a love of coffee or not, the architecture student probably leaves this hallowed institution with some level of dependency. When the machine breaks, the system falters.

    I walk by desks with a cup of it in hand. That cup has the power to stop students in their tracks; they turn, they gape, and they ask where I got that cup of coffee. “It’s from somewhere else,” I say. (I left the building and walked across the street to the nearest cafe.)

    I take my coffee black. No cream, no sugar, just give it to me straight from the bean. I get a headache without a morning coffee. Tea is the healthier alternative. The rush isn’t the same. I only drink tea after having two cups of coffee.

    My consumption of coffee has a direct relationship with the environment that I’m in. I even wear significantly more black than I entirely did in the entire two decades before architecture school. I sometimes wonder if I’ve joined a cult.

    Architects have their own language, their own dress code, or so it feels, and their own habits. Whenever I’m in a bookstore, should I be looking for a manual, a code of conduct to clue me into some of these very specific rules and regulations. Confronting these knowledge gaps are more often humorous than distressing. I would characterize my first year of architecture school as an immersive foreign language experience, where awkwardness and stumbles are inevitables and the learning is fast.

    Color should be instrumentalized. Or so I’ve learned in the Representation class. Brittany Utting teaches my section, one of the three annual teaching fellows at Taubman College. It is a word that is conceptually tied to the idea of intention, and that we, the architecture student, must instrumentalize because we must wield decisions with intention. She instrumentalizes the word, instrumental, not necessarily with a high frequency, but with a frequency that I notice. Of course, she is not the only faculty member. I’ve since incorporated into my daily architectural language. It has so far been a seamless transition. I am instrumentalizing as efficiently and effectively as I can.

    Though the first word that I was confronted with as part of the architectural lexicon was “unpack.” James Michael Tate, the famous James Michael Tate as he is referred to in the Class of 2019 3G cohort for his impeccable coordination of the summer studio for incoming 3Gs, first introduced me to unpacking. To unpack is to explain. Except in architecture school, we unpack maybe since every other concept comes loaded with a thousand year historical context. That, or it relates to Rem, Eisenman, or Le Corbusier.

    Architecture school asks a lot of its students. And so it requires a significant buy-in. So, I wear more black. I minimize my all-nighters, but of course there are still many late-nights. I devour Archinect, ArchDaily, and KoozArch and any other website with Arch in it. I use the language, becoming more fluent in Architecture every day. And I take my coffee black, at least twice a day to help me get through it all.

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    • probably should stop...:P


      Apr 14, 18 2:06 pm  · 

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About this Blog

Details, impressions, and all those in between memories deserve a voice. It just so happens architecture school has given me a lot of those. I am a 3-Year Masters of Architecture student at Taubman College at the University of Michigan, and we'll see where this gets us.

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