Good architects act like sponges, soaking up the world around them. ~ sip ~ Observation and translation are half the battle, but which is more important? If you observe without translating, you aren’t critical. If you translate without observing, you aren’t erudite; The expectations and indictments swirling throughout pedagogy and practice buffet us as we grasp for this glorious “architecture.”
But is architecture glorious, or glorified?
Let’s revisit the initial question; Surely the architect needs free time to observe, but what of translation? Hard work, late nights, rigor, and determination are surefire markers of a worthy translation… Isn’t that what School edifies? And when we look around, isn’t that how we all operate? ~ sip ~ But wait, are we doing too much and absorbing too little? What is the price paid for “creativity?” The countless design options, the loss of sleep and sanity, the emphasis on pseudo-masochistic “drive”—is it worth it? Is it necessary? How can you choose the best iteration if you only have one? How can you assess any of your work critically off a 36-hour working vigil? Could it be that architecture isn’t about producing something as much as it is about observing when you’ve successfully “translated?”
The line between manipulation and motivation has never been more grey. Who steers the ship of pedagogical culture. Who and what instills competition between us? Are we promoting norms and forms of cult behavior that are ingrained within us as students? Are the staples of our pedagogy—each with their own loaded lineage and coded value systems—ingredients for creativity, or are they tools of perpetuation? (hint: they might be both) Is this bittersweet taste worth perpetuating? We love the taste, we hate the way it makes us look. ~ sip ~ We love the taste, we hate the way it makes us feel. We love the taste, we hate the taste, we love the taste, we hate the taste…