By: Ethan Sims
I mentioned that our projects are due soon, this means the stress level is a bit higher than usual. But I want to talk for a little bit about my spring break experience over the past couple of weeks.
During our break we were given homework (Awww man! Yep, just like that little kid inside of us all… or maybe its just me). I profited a lot from it, and I would like to share what I learned.
Before this assignment was given, I learned that there is always something you can complain about, and maybe that is just because my life is forged by not seeking what I want all the time. But it might also be a product of the fact that I try to not be governed by ideas but instead try to learn from every idea around me. If humans are like sponges and filters, the good stuff as well as the bad stuff has to go somewhere. I like the good stuff to stay. That was a long way of saying that I took this wisdom and chose to look at this assignment like and opportunity to learn.
We were given guidelines of details and themes to look out for as we became “consumers of architecture”- a term I am enjoying more and more but cannot take credit for. I heard the term from my professor Tadd, but I learned what it meant over spring break. I am sure I will continue to learn about it as I live a life that loves space and beautiful things.
One example in particular made me truly feel different, like I was supposed to be inside a place. It was with the National Art Gallery in Dublin, Ireland. In a nutshell I saw the new addition to be about the movement of planes and void spaces. But when I entered it I felt like I entered an alien spaceship. This is because I can only compare how I felt to where I had been. Not only did I feel entirely different, I had a rather mixed emotion of sadness. Once again (and this does not happen to me very often) I felt like I was meant to be in this building. It simply felt good. I say sadness because I asked myself “Shouldn’t every building I go into be like this?” I realized how very few buildings I have been in that actually made me feel good being in them, not just thinking about when I will be leaving them. From the smallest of details like the way the railing attached to the wall, to the entire entrance into the gallery rooms I found myself in an architectural space equivalent to a biologist in an unexplored jungle. I was supposed to touch the door handle and take some paint and leave some of my palm, on the stairs I was supposed to take some concrete and leave some dirt and rubber. I was fascinated with its elegance and left, pushing the warm door handle and I remember feeling inspired as the horns and engines of metro Dublin greeted me as if to say “Welcome back to earth.” Thanks, I thought. I remember feeling ready to move on and use what I learned.
By the time I was done traveling I had seen many places. That simple reminder that the assignment served was for me enough to change my entire experience while traveling. The reminder was this: to look at the details that feel good, to see what I do like and find out why. Finally, let myself be inspired. Like eating, I spit out the tough parts I can’t eat, and next time I will remember the parts I didn’t like to eat before I cook a dish of my own.
It almost goes back to the pedagogy of learning from buildings in a world where books, lectures, and AutoCAD are thought to be an architectural education. Look [feel, smell, listen, be] around- consume it. Those were the fun parts of childhood, remember?