École Spéciale d'Architecture (Travis)

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    And we start again

    By TK. B
    Mar 7, '09 2:55 PM EST

    And finally I can start back up here.

    The enormous gap between this entry and the last is because we only this week started the Spring semester. I think they try and make the Winter and Summer breaks equal so that people can find internships during both breaks. This happened to be also what I did.

    Luckily, the whole Crise thing was a bit slow in coming to continental Europe so it was a bit easier to find work in Paris.

    Another helpful factor was my having met the owner of the firm I worked for when he was the visiting architect for a design charette back at Tulane in New Orleans. And finally, the crisis doesn't seem to hit so hard of haute couture/fashion businesses, who happen to be the primary client of the firm, so work wasn't slowing down too much, yet anyway.

    So I passed January and February working my internship. It was great especially considered what most other people my age are doing at their internships. We were actually there to think, rather than churn out models/CAD monkeying. I spent a lot of time doing research on materials, tons of sketches, lot of conceptual/diagrammatic visualizations to either inspire design or convince the client on various aspects of the project.

    It's nice working high end stuff in the sense that we could be very tactile and really get into materials, lighting, and the actual feeling of a space. However in the end I think all those areas of study and ideas are definitely limited too. Also, I was simultaneously intrigued and annoyed by the concept of branding in architecture at the time. Doing work for such clients, the brand is everywhere which is cool because it can really give you a sounding board for ideas, but then also everything must some how be related to this brand that is ultimately being sold and marketed, which can get a bit tiresome and frustrating. One final thing that kind of annoyed me was this concept of "that's been done", so many ideas we might have were slammed to the ground because they "had been done; we've seen that, __________ did that in....".

    But alas, school finally started up again. There's a good shift in the professors from last semester with only two of the six studio professors remaining in the fourth year. This week has most all been shopping around but I plan on continuing my Théorie Critique Seminar and will probably end up in a seminar entitled Architecture and Human Dignity, which is about all I know about the class.

    Finally I kinda blindly chose a studio as the first I chose was full up (along with two others) and I didn't know much about those that remained. But we had our first class yesterday and it seems like it's going to be pretty interesting. We spent a lot of time talking about Interweb 2.0, Twitter, and general technology in urbanity. Our project will be a multi-modal platform way out south of Paris in Massy. However, that's just the three-dimensional location of our project, most interestingly, the fourth dimension. It will be sited anywhere between tomorrow and about 2100 A.D., so technology of the future will be a big part of it. There are a huge number of transport systems I want to look into to imagine for the site, particularly a lot of open-source style transit ideas. A case study from the 80s is the obvious, La Défense district outside of Paris which is basically what happens if you drop downtown Atlanta on top of a metro/commuter rail station and plop it outside the periphérique. Here's hoping we can find something more human.

    Oh right, I guess I can link to the studio blog (in french).


    • Architecture and Human Dignity, sounds like a really interesting course...

      Mar 7, 09 3:44 pm

      Sounds like a fascinating studio! Were you working in a paris firm? I'd love to hear how firm and studio environments both differ from france to the states, if you can take some time to describe it. That would be fascinating. The culture seems so different in general over there that I'm trying to imagine how it would translate to the working and the studying architecture worlds...

      Mar 7, 09 3:59 pm

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