University of Illinois at Chicago (Candace)

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    I always pronounce Wheelbarrow as if it's spelled Wheelbarrel.

    Candace Mountain
    Sep 14, '10 2:19 PM EST

    I've been neglecting my duties as a blogger on this website, and I'm not really quite sure why. I think it may be that I'm becoming uneasy with how to speak about my work and others. A subconscious deflection of responsibilities that I signed up for two years ago. The more time I invest in Architecture and theory, the more I become confused as to where my position is within the field. I haven't identified a solid Project that significantly interests me, one that I can explore in every project. Although, I can list things that always catch my interest, I just haven't been able to distill it into one categorizable thing that will encapsulate my school work and my interests outside of school.

    Part of my withdrawal from this blog, and sometimes my work is that I did not realize how consuming the work would be. I don't know how many times I've been told "there is no life outside of architecture, if you want to succeed then you need to allow the discipline to consume you whole". I don't believe in this philosophy and I don't know how many other people agree with it either, but just happily shake their heads and say "yeah" when they hear it. I think that this is one of the main reasons why so many architects are married to social workers - to pull them back into society and make them understand who they're creating architecture for.

    As of this year, I've made a pact with myself to not sit around and drone on about architecture and the properties it contains. But, it is difficult to make this effort when the people I'm spending most of my time around only talk about studio, their architecture jobs (past and present), and don't understand why I'm so resistant to the constant chatter of our work.

    I am incredibly fortunate to be able to go to school, and to study architecture, I am just trying to reconcile the life I thought I would have and the life I currently have. I never thought I would question going home to attend a family reunion because of studio work that hasn't been assigned yet.

    I can't say I'm questioning my choice, because I am not. I'll be happy to have the degree and begin looking for a place in a non-existent job market. But, I am questioning the amount of devotion I'm expected to have to a single idea and field. I know I will love the work, but will I love the work for 90 hours a week for years? I'm not so sure. I am not a machine, and neither are my peers. I get grumpy, sneezy, sleepy, dopey, bashful and doc just like every other person on the planet.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is: What is Architecture and why does it require so much effort to figure it out, do it and the analyze it? I don't have an answer and that is why I'm sitting here referencing Snow White and Seven Dwarfs. And that is why I've been hesitant to post on the blog and talk about my work because I don't even fully know what it is yet or how it functions in the built world and discipline. I guess, all I can do is trying thinking differently and changing the way I currently go about things.

    And, so, to end this, some photos of things I like:







    • iheartbooks

      great post!

      I felt very similar things after graduating. Like i was afloat on a raft hundreds of miles from the shores of architecture, being bombarded by all the possibilities, in a world with no more assignments, looking desperately for some idea, project, anything to tie my raft to.

      can't wait to hear more.

      Sep 15, 10 7:18 am  · 
      Kevin Griendling

      In my opinion about your question on what is architecture and why does it take so much time to figure out; its a compilation of all of the influences of the business world that drive that pressure. Competition: We all want to the be the best (that is a natural human desire and aspiration) so we work rears off to get the A, get archived/published, whatever the top exposure is. Deadlines: The complexity of deadlines I believe comes from a lack of estimating skill (or accurate scope of the project) and/or client misunderstanding. Especially in this day and age clients demand swift execution of business demands and requests. They many times want a job done in 3 weeks that could take a year and are not happy about waiting. This adversely creates a really hard situation for an architect (or contractor) who wants the job so bad, hes going to quote one month less than it would comfortably take to complete. How does this relate to school? Well, it is our discipline to be an architect, and without actual discipline we become the guy that says to his boss "I have never and will never work past 5 pm in my life." If that's the case you might as well have just not bid that job at all. Plus a part of me wants to believe that there is a complex there much like a hazing complex where the generation that proceeds us (our professors) cling onto this disgustingly large workload and dumps it on us simply because "they did it". Excellence: Artistry in any profession is something that doesn't come swiftly. My professor at my previous school would say that when you design a building you do it like a sculpture. Make your "clay" models, make a new one, make another one and keep going until you have so many ideas you don't know how to think any more. That's when you survey and chose the best. It is unfortunate that with our time constraints we always run with the first idea that pops into our head. But perhaps that is the ultimate goal is to be good enough that we play chess with our projects and imagine that 15th model on the first try.

      Also, you won't be subject to 90 hours a week your whole life. That sort of a time frame in the professional world (from what I hear from my connection to it) is only during crunch time. Basically the last few weeks or months of a project where time was not budgeted correctly. If you are working 90 hours a week your whole life, find a new place to work because your bosses don't know what they're doing, at least on the practicality side.

      Sep 16, 10 2:54 pm  · 
      Kevin Griendling

      Of course, I hate to hopelessly drone on about more architectural references, but the "great" Frank Lloyd Wright took most pride in the fact that he never found that one thing that made all of his architecture great. In fact his greatest strength AND weakness was that he always tried to do every project a little bit differently. I personally want to make it a point not to find that one thing that I reproduce time and time again. That is what makes starchitects like Frank Ghery and Thom Mayne's work so irrevocably boring. Its the same flashy shapes jostled into a new configuration. Its just a step above mass production.

      Sep 16, 10 2:54 pm  · 

      Just because you have a school blog doesn't mean you have to blog about school.

      Feel free to write about any ole thing you want - like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

      Ahh, Herb Kelleher... a legend in his own right.

      Sep 16, 10 9:49 pm  · 

      "What is Architecture and why does it require so much effort to figure it out, do it and the analyze it?"

      Architecture (to me) is connecting people to places.

      And it doesn't take any effort at all to figure it out. Analyzing it is largely pointless. I've learned more by talking to people who have nothing to do with architectural education than I have in any formal setting. In fact, I tend to get enraged just listening to architects pander their projects to other architects instead of those who they should be talking to--regular people.

      Architecture is quite instinctual and practical. Any other BS that people (mainly instructors, though students learn early to play this game too) try to tell you about it is just them trying to rationalize their ego.

      Oh well!

      Sep 17, 10 10:56 am  · 

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