Just as we picked up the wreckage from midterms to start anew, the “Daylighting Model” crept in, unwelcome, like a sunrise at the end of a long night in studio. A tradition of the third semester of the M.Arch I program, the half-inch scale room-of-our-choosing asked us to consider the interplay between environment, material, and form as never before. Many wondered how to contemplate such things about a project that didn’t exist yet.
By Monday, we were already eyeing the weekend weather forecast. The review was a week away, but how much time did we really have to make this thing? How “partly” was partly cloudy? We downloaded sophisticated weather prediction apps.
By Wednesday, fast out of the gate, Louis was basically finished. We cursed him under our breaths. The weekend loomed, more partly cloudy than ever.
By Friday, Kate, Heather, and Christine had broken out into song so often that the entire south side of the fifth floor couldn’t get Redbone by Childish Gambino out of their heads:
Daylight / I wake up feeling like you won’t play right /
I used to know, but now that shit don’t feel right /
It made me put away my pride / So long…
The ambitious had begun to photograph. An unnamed few had not started. Many shopped for materials on textures.com. I myself couldn’t decide on an exterior ground cover—waffling between “Medieval,” “Rounded Messy,” and “Mixed Size Tiles.” We took turns expressing our adoration for all of the tiny furniture suddenly appearing on desks. “OMG, it’s soooo cute, STOP IT.”
Waking up to clear blue skies on Saturday, we rushed to school and strapped cellphones to foam core with duct tape. The seventh floor terrace filled with friends helping friends. Bodies, contorted in strange positions over the plastic patio furniture, maneuvering the gussied-up foam core into various sun positions. “A little to the left, up, down—perfect!” “Wait, what? fall and spring are the same..??”
Despite its name, Sunday was not sunny. Models cued up on seven as the rest of us daylighters prayed for rays. Some considered jumping over the new blockade to gain access to the freshly forbidden upper terrace—anything to be closer to the sun. Daylight, I wake up—that damn song resonated from the rooftop.
With the Monday afternoon review upon us, we could finally marvel at our collective outcome. The paper version of “Mixed Size Tiles” was surprisingly convincing and, behind the mass of black mullions, Rudolph Hall could be spotted in entirely new contexts of unedited window backdrops. Many students expressed that this was the one review they stuck around the whole time for, with each project posing a new set of variables to consider and potentially adopt. It seemed that perhaps our professors weren’t crazy after all—zooming in on the details really did to help reconceptualize our emerging designs.
The sun set a few minutes earlier that day. The tradition lives on.