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    Where did I go? AKA Paul, please dont shut my blog down :)

    By adrienne
    Jan 4, '06 10:51 PM EST

    OK, OK I know I didn't keep up as well with the posting this semester, but I had some reasoning behind it, so don't be too mad at me. I guess basically my feelings towards studio this semester were just getting too negative, and I didn't want to post something nasty and really regret it later. So basically I am a big chicken. I just know that my schoolwork can get really personal at times, which I know is bad because it can make me react emotionally to situations. I think sometimes it's better to get a little distance and then reflect...

    So I made it through a really tough studio, but overall I am really disheartened by it. The studio I was in was really focused on the act of "making." In the end, the class was broken into groups of three or four and each group designed and built a prototype container of sorts to go in an elementary school, who was serving as our client. The school is a folk arts charter school, and there is a big emphasis on ideas of culture and heritage, so the containers were programmed to hold objects that students/families brought in to share. That part of studio was great. It was actually fun to work in groups, and even more fun to see something through to the built stage. Plus, our final review was at the elementary school, so sharing our work with the students was pretty awesome. I'll post some pictures of the final project when I get back to school next week....

    I guess the problem for me is really how the studio is situated within the curriculum at Penn. Obviously things are changing at the school and within the academic world right now as we navigate through new modes of representation and new ways of understanding the world around us. One of the things that I found so exciting last year, was how experimental it felt to be working on a project. I guess I just felt that there was a great deal of freedom to test even the most ridiculous idea, even if it lead to eventual failure.

    After spending four years at a pretty typical undergraduate school in architecture, this was really refreshing for me, and really hard to get used to. I guess in undergrad I always felt a lot more pressure to pick the right big "concept" at the beginning of the semester, and from there it was just a matter of refinement. It made the situation much less risky, but in many cases, probably less interesting. After last year, I felt excited by the idea that grad school was going to be a time to test out lots of crazy ideas, like some sort of architectural adolescence...sure you might look back in 20 years and be horrified, but it helps you figure out who you are.

    All that was missing from studio this semester, and it just really disappointed me. I knew that in terms of means and methods, this studio would be much more similar to things I did in undergrad, but I was hoping that there would be a way to reconcile all of those ideas and skills, with the attitudes that I garnered from my first year at Penn. Unfortunately I never found a harmonious way to balance the two worlds.

    I am not sure that this really makes any sense at all, but I am willing to bet that it may strike a familiar chord with some of you. I just hate walking away with such a feeling of disappointment, not to mention trepidation at how the next semester is going to go...

    On the upside, my other classes were great, aside from the fact that I actually just finished submitting work on December 31. We started the Stewardson Competition at the beginning of the week. It is a statewide competition, and the deadline for the school-level is next Thursday, so that should keep me pretty busy for the first week of class.

    We were notified of our studio choices yesterday, and the instructors include Cecil Balmond, David Adjaye, Francois Roche, Ali Rahim, Steven Kieran and James Timberlake, and Homa Fajardi. The lottery is on Monday, so I will keep you posted.

    OK enough of this long and boring post, the least I could've done was put some pictures in or something!!!!


    • meta

      good luck with your competition. yes please do post pics..

      Jan 6, 06 8:38 am

      insightful post bubbles.

      Jan 6, 06 11:58 am

      im sorry to hear this,

      from what i remember wesley was never really into "the big idea"

      he was more into you working and learning through the process of making, that way the the final product was an array of ideas that had many directions to go off in and could easily become many other things, for instance a detail could be a door, or a floor or an entire building, or an entire city, depending on which scale you investigated it at, it was all about the flexibility and portability of ideas rather than the "perfect one"

      I think if there is one thing i learned from wei it was that an idea can live on past its initial use and eventually do things you never really imagined it doing, it was almost diagrammatic, perhaps a redefinition of the "contemporary" idea of a diagram as defined by Allen in diagram work

      i really hope you dont walk away from his class feeling as if you were not successful, thats not cool

      cheer up! have a good weekend, enjoy the break and good luck on stewardson

      Jan 6, 06 3:42 pm

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