As many of you know, its difficult for me to tell a succinct story. I start on one line of thought, and then that merges with another which is related to something I once observed about, then that gets me thinking about this one question I had, etc. This isn’t a problem, but it can lead to issues where I start with a quick anecdote about why I wanted to take a picture of the moon, and then it leads to a discussion of a housing development in Pismo beach.
This tendency to jump around issues and find things that are relevant is something that I quite enjoy. I’m not usually one for a lack of opinion, and with a very low threshold for what I consider to be a funny pun, I’m easily entertained. But there are also some serious aspects of this thought process that also leave me frustrated at times. I remember first year, there were multiple times where the idealism, the pursuits, and capabilities of architecture were laid out. The ability to have an influence on the built environment, which effectively is our interface with the world, was such a powerful idea to me. I was disillusioned with the world that I grew up with and unsure of what part I wanted play in the future, but this capability of influencing thoughts, feelings, or critical perceptions of your environment was something that lit a fire. (uh-oh, typical me storytelling, where in the world am I taking this? education? oh, right!)
In a sense this is where my educational journey led me. It took me 13 years of traditional education and a year of a major I had no real interest in pursuing, to really find a motivation for something that I could enjoyably pursue. But still it was just a general educational concept for myself, “Be a part of the design, and hopefully fabrication, of things in the built environment that influence people’s lives.” And certainly this has been refined and is an ever-evolving concept of mine, but at least it is there, somewhere.
This is what I would hope to have provided through the OSLA, and I think that our team succeeded to varying degrees, but this post is about more about my interaction with the Open Source Learning Lab. (I think thats what its about, at this point Im not really sure)
For me, this studio was a lot more effective at evoking a strong feeling about the specific project, the future, the implications of future design of schools, but most importantly, my future as a designer. It reaffirmed the idea that we, as designers can totally influence and alter the global interface that we interact with, that there is never ONE solution. The strength of this studio wasn’t that the project was cooler, or that we had more freedom, it was that the critical thinking we were doing had a direct connection to my thoughts and struggles with our education system. The strength was that this studio was simultaneously visceral and intellectual because we are living it and designing for it. I think this is the first studio where I have felt that strong sense of purpose in designing. Not just that I am designing for a project brief, but that I truly am designing for the ways that students are engaging the things that interest them.
This is education, where I try to find my passions, apply my energies to productive things, and become an independent thinker but a contributor to my community. This is the challenge.