Sunday, March 29, 2009

What I Shoulda Learned in Architecture School

This is not a photo of a German factory. It's not a bunker for observing nuclear bomb tests. It's not Abu Ghraib prison. It is Wurster Hall, on the UC Berkeley campus. Here, I gained my formal training in architecture. Despite the brutalist style of the structure, I loved those days, discovering the process of translating thoughts and emotions into physical structures. I learned a lot, and afterwards, I had to unlearn a lot. I had to fill in many blanks about what architecture actually is, what the practice of architecture is and how to tell the difference.

Why I wasn't taught what I've found to be essential in work with people, land and materials to create buildings is a mystery. So in case your interested, here's what I should have learned in architecture school:

1. Listening as a source of creativity - how to put aside my personal agenda and sense the forces gathering to be expressed through the building. These forces include the client's needs and dreams, the site's needs and dreams, the needs and dreams of the culture as it evolves through technology, economics, politics, etc.

2. How to invite a client into a deeper dialogue about design and place that simply looking at pictures in magazines and books.

3. The relationship of the human body to architecture through the direct experience of dance and yoga.

4. The relationship of architectural system to the body and environment through biology and ecology.

5. How musical structure can be employed as a too in design.

6. Architecture can be more than a self-centered pursuit and become a structure pointing beyond itself to the none thing that influences everything.

7. The fashions of style a impermanent and design can be more than be a slave to fashion.

8. Architecture is not a problem to be solve, but a mystery to be explored.

9. Clever design ideas indicate you're headed in the wrong direction. Again, listening for what wants to be born is more interesting  and connected than overlaying your preconceived grid of ideas on a situation.

There's more, but I have to get to work.

No comments:

Post a Comment