Definitions.

Last night we finished a 4 week design project that was a collaboration with the students in the ENSAV school. Needless to say it is definitely one of those experiences that I will not be able to fully appreciate until I am working in the real world with people from different background and cultures.  We definitely had some major hurdles to overcome, from complex design concepts (or sometimes lack there of) to something as simple as language and cultural differences.  It was challenging. Very challenging, but what is worth doing if it comes easy?

This challenge has really made me reflect on how architecture is taught; there is a rigid idea of what architecture is here.  This perplexed me especially from the land of avant-garde where boundaries blur all the time.  I understand that this project was just a short snippet of the design development, but i feel that there is a strong backlash to ensure that young minds know that there is a concrete separation between what is architecture, what is art, what is engineering, and that as an architect it is bad form to incorporate the ladder subjects into your spaces.

Conversely, at the University of Illinois, from day 1 I was taught that architecture is near impossible to define, that it must be justified and rigorous  but limitless. And most importantly, meaning must be ingrained in every design decision ever made. Personally I think this philosophy is freeing.  Does architecture really have to be strictly a congregation of walls and joists to create space, or can it be more? American architects like Jeanne Gang (Reverse Effect) are delving into projects that greatly fall out of our jurisdiction as architects.  Should this be a guide for a new future for architects? Or is it just architects finding work in other fields and claiming it as architecture?

Creative ideas

This diagram best represents what I have been instilled with. Yes we should learn from precedents and from professors, but shouldn’t we also question what we believe to be possible? and if we can question our constitution of what is real and surreal, then why is it too much of a stretch to question our boundaries as architects?

What do you think? Were my professors too radical for depicting a term for architecture that encompasses more than the typical? Or should architects start to look at themselves as problem solvers and start to look outside of convention to take us to the next level of community impact?

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1 comment
  1. I think that architects are, at their core, problem solvers. And we’re led by passion to solve these problems through our own creative solutions. As creative, hardheaded, hardworking people, we may venture into a broader definition of problem solving through an architectural mindset, even though the end result may not fit the cookie-cutter definition of architecture. Architecture school is not just about learning architecture within definitions — it’s about learning how to think and how to design solutions. So, yes, architects should definitely be solving whatever problems they are most passionate about, because that’s when meaningful work gets created.

    Congratulations on surviving the figure constructive project!! Get pumped for sketching, travel adventures, and a fresh start to studio 🙂

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