Whoops, did I mention partnership twice? That wasn’t a mistake, because that’s how important I felt it was to this quarter, and I know it will be one of the most memorable experiences for me in the years to come. In fact, I think I will keep learning and drawing from the experiences I had with kjbishop13, my partner this quarter, as a practicing architect in the future. (I was about to say a year, because I felt like we had accumulated a year’s worth of experiences working together, but I realized it was only a quarter’s worth)
We began the quarter with partner and project selections; kjbishop13 and I were quite confident that we wanted to be partners, and I was confident because I knew kjbishop13 had intuition, tenacity, and passion, she worked differently, and had very different qualities from me. What I felt I was lacking and needed to explore, I felt kjbishop13 had. The decision to partner with kjbishop13 was somewhat daunting, because I thought I worked very differently from her, but I don’t think it mattered in the end. The beautiful thing that happened was that we developed a new working style that was more concerned with the task at hand and the betterment of the project. For me, this came about with my partner through learning by watching, following, and listening.
I mentioned guidance as the first thing on the title, because things could have ended very differently without the guidance and intuition of our open source adviser cabrinharch and the mutual guidance that occurred in my partnership. After the discussion of a partnership with kjbishop13 prior to our Chicago field trip, we chose projects we were interested in even before the project selection process in Spring Quarter. We had general concepts we both agreed we were interested in and in fact we agreed on most projects. After the anonymous project selection process, however, we did not get anything we were interested in. Wait, what happened? I was so confused, because we ended up being partners and yet we didn’t get anything we wanted, even the stuff that was not mutually agreed upon. Maybe our confusion was evident, so our advisor came up and talked to us. He mentioned that he chose the project for us, because he felt that it was at the sweet spot between where kjbishop13 and I left off from in winter quarter. He was thinking about the project’s relation to our development both conceptually and formally. This was his intuition and he made the decision based on it, I think.
Initially, I was really irritated by my open source adviser’s decision to make a decision for us. I wondered why we would work on such a project that neither of us had an interest in and I cursed my fate secretly. I tried to make it seem like the project was better to both kjbishop and me in order to uplift our spirits. I logically understood why the project matched us too and intuitively understood why as well. In spite of that cheering us up didn’t really help me much. kjbishop13, however, didn’t seem as bothered by our adviser’s decision, so I just followed suit. This was probably the first of a few times I rode the waves of her calmness and this was one of the few ways that she has guided me.
Looking back I am really glad that our adviser intuitively made a decision for kjbishop13 and me. The project, Loop, which was adopted by us had enough formal clarity from which we could base our conceptual ideas and interests around. The project itself also had a formally clear circulation, which I lacked in my project from winter quarter. This conceptual clarity about circulation was something that I was able to explore as a result of being served this project. After further development of the circulation, I was able to understand even more about it; for example I began to understand the ability for circulation to organize and emphasize space. Space became a new idea for me in the process of developing Loop. I started seeing it as a spatial joint in which circulation met with, programmatic intent, and designed surfaces or formal concepts. This has probably been the single biggest architectural epiphany I’ve had in my whole architectural education so far. The reason is that circulation is key to working on larger projects and so in order to understand bigger projects I feel that developing an attitude for it is necessary. Of course, I only understand this reasoning after my epiphany and so I am extremely grateful that my adviser chose this project for me and kjbishop13.
The second thing that I mentioned was partnership and I have already discussed it, but there are a few things about partnership that I want to point out. I am going to point out the challenges of it relative to architecture but also the un-school related parts of it. The hardest thing about a partnership is that it is somewhat like a relationship. You have to deal with another person’s mood, emotions, and devotion. I had to grow along with my partner and get past the point of giving her the benefit of the doubt to actually trusting her. Sometimes things got ugly when our opinions collided for how we wanted to spend the time on our studio project. Sometimes these were due to misunderstandings or certain tones or attitudes that we conveyed when we said things, even if it was for the benefit of the project. For us, we decided to talk through our issues to resolve our differences. Sometimes we tried to give ourselves a break from each other only to find out that it did not solve our problems. This was the primary reason we began to understand that we needed to do something else to get along. In some of our talks, we talked about things more personal. For example, I mentioned that I wanted to remain friends with kjbishop13 even after our project, so I wanted to know how I could be a better partner to her in the future. This was a tense period for us in our partnership, but in retrospect it was a unique period which I could reflect and ponder upon; if I had to imagine partnerships in the field of architecture I would imagine it exactly as personal as that. Issues in architecture are usually personal to people’s tastes, so it becomes easier for partnerships in architecture to fail due to attacks on partners’ personal differences. After this experience, I will be more wary of how I treat people’s differences when I work in the field of architecture.
The third thing that I mentioned was Detail. Detail is something that is incorporated into our double studio curriculum, so it is nothing to be surprised about. But upon reflecting on the experiences I had with kjbishop13 in trying to gather information on how things come together, I realize that we had a pretty successful quarter regarding details. I don’t think the details in our wall section are absolutely perfect. Nor do I think the composition of the material assemblies are great, but I think kjbishop13 and I were able to build a passion for understanding how things come together. We looked at a lot of material assemblies in great detail and tried to reconstruct them. The search for the details were always exciting for us both, because when we understood something new about how something came together, we would share it with each other. This excited both of use, because we both nerded out on our enlightenment. The process itself of learning details was also fun, because of the integrated nature of studio and practice. This allowed kjbishop13 and me to share everything we worked on with each other and it even encouraged it. Because we had such a fun experiencing constructing impromptu details and copying details, I think we both have an extremely positive attitudes towards wall sections and details.
The last thing I would like to consider is work ethic and this is something that regards me, my partner, and also the whole OSL studio. My idea of work ethic has warped and distorted over the course of Spring quarter. The words I use may have a negative connotation, but I have no such intention. In fact, I mean it positively. I used to have a brute-force idea of work ethic, which means I spend a lot of time in studio, work straight through the night, miss meals accidentally, sleep little, and focus all my energy towards studio work. This could be what some might say is the ideal architecture student, at least that was the idea in my mind. What changed this? My time shared with my peers. No offense, and it shouldn’t be, because I don’t think it is one anymore, but most of the peers in my studio are not that image of an architecture student I just mentioned, not purely anyway. I was wary of this before joining the “Cabrinha studio” in the winter quarter. In winter quarter I was extremely dissatisfied many times with the work ethic of my peers. I am not going to say why, but I will say that I maintained a delusional image of an architecture student. And going into Spring quarter I just sort of gave up on seeing my studio differently, seeing it as a studio with lots of ideal architecture students. I was dissatisfied, but I gave up my expectations anyway. Regarding work ethic, the quarter just went by. I had to learn to work with a partner, I had to learn to integrate structure and then integrate it with details. I also had to learn to further develop program. So, studio just went by in terms of my eye on work ethic. But actually I did keep my eyes peeled somewhat, and I noticed the changing atmosphere in my studio. It was extremely subtle in the beginning, because kjbishop13 and I worked at different times from our studio mates early on and many of them worked at different times from each other, but people started throwing down everything they had onto paper, models, or their computers, whatever they were working on. I noticed this occurring slowly and it gained momentum throughout the quarter. Towards the end of the quarter, when my eyes were still barely peeled for work ethic while we continued to work on our own project, it just suddenly dawned on me that people were throwing their all into their projects. A lot of my studio mates seemed to be doing things that they had never done before and I loved hearing about them do it or seeing them do it. I couldn’t get away from the vigor in the atmosphere produced by everyone, by the OSL studio, and I came to really love the studio. It seemed like it happened suddenly, but it really happened over time. And being able to notice that I was able to perceive the growth of everyone in the studio and also the growth in myself. Because I loved the new ways in which people were working, I came to question the ways that I worked in the past. And I came to understand that architecture is not just about architecture itself. Theoretically, it would be great if it is, but architecture is about architecture only as much as it is about the people who come together to create it. Or else what would be the fun or life in that? And maybe what I mean by “that” is architecture.
The work ethic part was somewhat of a conclusion to Guidance, Partnership, Detail, Partnership, Work Ethic, because It’s kind of my final goodbye to a studio that I feel will continue to live on in me. But I’m going to add a few more sentiments as comments to departing from this studio.
I love that my professor guided me and kjbishop13 in our project. I love that I was able to be in a partnership with kjbishop13. I love the details that we were encouraged to explore in double studio. And I love the variable work ethic of life that everyone in the OSL studio has taught me about this quarter. Thanks.