On my drive to work today a friend and I discussed progress and balance. How do you judge your progress? Is it accomplishing your daily plan you set out for yourself each morning? Is it taking the time to accomplish your resolutions, exercising more, knowing what you eat, doing something creative everyday? Is it knowing what makes you happy? I know that writing, drawing, reading, traveling, attending lectures and deep conversations make me happy. So, why is it that in the pathway to progress my tedious work gets in the way? I love design work when I can dream of how to make someone’s living space more efficient, more beautiful and usable for them. I enjoy making three-d models, choosing local and sustainable materials, and presenting my findings. I enjoy searching for inspiration and then adapting it to my use.
My friend and I discuss the fun things and why these things are sometimes left to last, after the running around appeasing meetings, instead of focusing on the tasks that we know make us feel we measure up. Maybe it is the way we perceive what we should be doing, or hope of ourselves to accomplish. When the day turns out differently we need to focus on what we did accomplish and not judge ourselves negatively on what we did do. It is about having the confidence to know you did your best, and your best is different from what you thought it may be in the beginning.
I took half an hour to write this morning on the image below and let my mind wander.
Outpost, Olson Kundig Architects in Architectural Record
Designed for an artist and designer, this house in rural Idaho uses rectilinear forms and simple materials to create an elegant, spare composition. Worked on haltingly over a protracted, 10-year development period as the owner negotiated with zoning boards, both at her previous home and the new one, the design was pared down further and further until only essential elements remained. Built to withstand the extreme changes in temperature in this harsh region, the house’s steel frame, concrete-block exterior, and interior exposed wooden joists all portray the design’s toughness and show the means of construction in their roughest form. Eleven-foot-high walls extend out from the house to create a long garden, where the client has planted rosebushes, grapevines, and fruit trees. (text from Architectural Record)
This projects reminds me of Carlo Scarpa, who built busy concrete volumes over Italy’s country side. In the Brion Cemetery Scarpa uses the concrete form to step over a still pond, invite you into a door, and cover the dead. He raises an altar and glazes tile on two interlocking circles made of thin shadows against the venetian sky, and bordering landscape slits.
My husband and I will be traveling to Switzerland and Italy in 16 days! For our month-long honeymoon we will be flying into Zürich, hiking the alps 4-8 miles per day from mountain town to town, taking a train into Italy ten days later, heading to the east coast to see Scarpa’s Brion Cemetery and Venice, traveling by train to Bologna and nearby cities, hopping on the train again to get to Florence for an evening before renting bikes to ride the Chianti hills of Tuscany. Our trip will end in Cinque Terre before flying out of Milan. We’ve put a lot of research into our trip, setting aside time for Italy dates every week or so for the past few months.
Thinking about Italy, architecture, inspiration, my work, travel, a new language, the happiness project along with my resolutions and continuing to train for the Sprint, Splash N’ Spin this weekend has left me in a full state of mind wanting to write more about the balance I am to be maintaining. It is a good thing I have a month in Europe to reevaluate and write. I think we all need a break in monotonous days of work, work, work, and cleaning the house. We all need to take an hour for lunch to sit by the river and be quiet.
Did anyone see Mockbee’s PBS special last night? I haven’t seen it yet.