How Architect’s Work

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Valparaíso

‘In the initial proposition of the Catholic University of Valparaiso to remove architecture from its doctrine, buried in mathematics and formalisms, and recenter it in the poetic word, is suggested an adoption of a critical rebalancing of the relationship between creative activity and the modern world. Creation requires a certain innocence, a suspension of disbelief, to occur.’ [1] ‘By engaging in poetic activity, the world of the Catholic University of Valparaiso allows itself through chance, mental and perceptual games, metaphoric operation, and so on, to discover its meaning and physical form, and to build and occupy this space: a space that has a gratuitous and mysterious quality and seems to refer to something on the other side of its physical reality.’ [2]

– Ann M. Pendleton-Jullian who wrote Road that Is Not a Road and the Open City, Ritoque, Chile.

road

 


[1] Page 174

[2] Page 176

How does this model apply to the profession of architecture beyond the university?

 Based on a handful of firm experiences I’ve had, I find the average architect is over-worked by multi-tasking.  Architects are drawing, coordinating meetings onsite, collaborating with co-workers, and working on five to ten projects with the expectation that many will need attention at once. How can these tasks be productive if they are uncoordinated? I’ve found the balance in taking care of personal desire first. This allows the freedom to choose where creative efforts are spent. What happens is that the following time tasks are done with true enthusiasm. “Live in the moment.” “Be the change you want to see in others.” Keeping these thoughts immediate in my mind while reaching out on a creative level to be influenced by architectural publications or allowing myself the opportunity to enjoy co-workers creativity and inventiveness, I’ve been able to enjoy the day that quickly slips by.

Clarkitecture Part 2 – Being Sustainable

Small Houses

Houses where every structural slant doubles as a ramp, steps are sliding drawers and book shelves become ladders.

Nora House by Atelier Bow-Wow       &      VH R-10 gHouse by Darren Petrucci, AIA

Small Houses remind me of building small retreats in corners of my back yard, escaping into the nearby creek while visiting my grandparents in Ohio and playing house around concrete basin that had fallen into the earth.  A house is about owning shelter for yourself, acting in self-reliance toward the way you care for your life. You may bake, or garden, or sew by the window, but a house is  for bathing, eating, and sleeping.

Jane F. Kolleeny, writing for Architectural Record’s Record Houses in 2008, acknowledges Thoreau’s philosophy of self-reliance and simplicity, which lead me to search for his thoughts, a few of which are below:

Most of the luxuries, and many of the so-called comforts, of life are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.
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A man is rich in proportion to the things he can afford to let alone.
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Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life. So aim above morality. Be not simply good; be good for something.
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I think that we may safely trust a good deal more than we do.
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All by Henry David Thoreau
Walden, published in 1854 is Thoreau’s thoughts and experiences in his exploration of living and adventure, I think I will go to the library for lunch tomorrow.

Clarkitecture Part 1 – Being Sustainable

Building Locally, Carefully and with Relationships that Exist on site.

The Palmyra House by Studio Mumbai

(a new house)

As I read that one could only walk to this house through the forest, as it rests below the canopy of a coconut plantation, so as not to disrupt the palms, as the two-piece house alludes, I wished to visit this Indian mangrove. Prathima Manohar writes that the architect Bijoy Jain designed the house with signature louvers made from the tree’s cut, dried and locally harvested wood, setting a course of using sustainable, regional materials to guide the project. Like Louis Kahn’s Esherick House, it breathes, inhaling with the breezes, sleeping near the coconut crabs and waking with the Bulbul birds.

In Christopher Hawthorne’s opinion:  Rather than aiming for a kind of spare, Modernist universalism… it takes its formal cues from its region, landscape, and context—and then, significantly, coats it with a sheen of sophistication that reflects the challenges of building locally in a globalized world. This sensibility is illustrated by Studio Mumbai’s stunning Palmyra House on the Indian Ocean…

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Passive with Natural Illumination and Ventilation

The Nora House, full of levels, light and space defined by directional walls that contain each room but do not limit them. The ceiling and roof as one plane, cinched in the preparatory flight of a butterfly that shields the branch below just before climbing the air.

The house reminds me of a book shelf, each piece of wood positioned to hold a part of life in an organized notion, each piece of life symbolising from its platform where to stand to perform daily tasks to take care, rest, clean and eat. It makes me want to hide stairs between walls, and fill the hallways with books like Frank Lloyd Wright. The floor that supports me could insulate me with warmth through winter, could be a place I store my journals.

 

 

Nora House in Sendai, Japan designed by Yoshiharu Tsukamoto of Atelier Bow-Wow