Contestation

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As you may know, the former student lounge has been converted into a studio, leaving the students with no space to congregate or recreate. The Architecture Society is conducting a small workshop which aims to explore ideas of contested spaces, starting with the immediate site of the area adjacent to the workshop. The expected proposals shall then be fielded as part of a competition, with the winning entry utilised as a basis for securing approval, funding and construction.

We would like to solicit your participation to join this workshop. The participation of junior students is important as this is a long term project which we aim to design, fund and build ourselves, over the course of the next year. Moreover, the final product is something which will benefit many batches to come.

the site

This is the plan

This is the plan.

Over the course of 12 weeks (give or take), this was my primary medium of educational discussion with my tutor.

I walked through the premeditated ruins of my own structure before constructing it, as we all do, in the minds of others. It was like an exam, except that I was creating my own ten-year series. And in the end, there isn’t a corner, an edge which I did not consciously draw.

Lebbeus Woods spoke of the deliberate nature of drawing each and every line. There is no accident, no “just ‘cos”…I’d hope. We discussed why the water meets the wall here, and not here. Why the walls are that far apart, what you see here, how you walk there, when do you take a different route, why?

The plan taught me about procession and ceremony, rationality and intuition. It made me consider objects which stood alone and spaces which became drawn together.

And after all the flashy graphics, blood, sweat & tears supermodel, hi-tech walkthrough, rendered sections and technical proficiency of detailing…after all that, the plans said the most.

“Many buildings shout, “Here I Am!”. Very few say something.”

– My tutor

Phases

You go up to a man, and you say, “How are things going, Joe?” and he says, “Oh fine, fine — couldn’t be better.” And you look into his eyes, and you see things really couldn’t be much worse. When you get right down to it, everybody’s having a perfectly lousy time of it, and I mean everybody. And the hell of it is, nothing seems to help much.

– Kurt Vonnegut, Sirens of Titan

Lift-off

I had coffee after taking that picture. Then I went home and watched some questionable television.

Pre-Interim

Things come and pass. Truth of the matter is, this change I’ve been gunning for, this advancement and growth I’ve been chasing after has led me down one rigid path.

Sure, I branched off here and there, got lost and regained ground a couple of times. But all in all, I pushed myself down this corridor where I was assured in the comfort of routine and isolation. I have grown to love the solitary nature of my pursuits, the late night lights and the stale skin and placid walls. It’s foolish to believe, I realise now, it’s so foolish to believe that we’re going to be the same always.

I fall in love with the most beautiful things. Ideas. And the disparity between these ideas and the contexts, the reality and solidity of the actual moments we inhabit and are yet to inhabit, well…. the disparity is disconcerting at times. But I know better than to lie down and die. Screw it, hows that ever helpful, considering such things?

I have my faith. I may be a little off track, but then again, thats the beauty of life isn’t it? To discover one’s self through these detours, unfortunate or otherwise. I’ve been trying to have it all. And I refuse to behave like a spoilt child who regresses with every disappointment it faces. I believe I’ll encounter ideas, an idea, and negotiate it. Run it under water and carve it with tools till it takes the shape of what it need be.

“Working My Fingers to the Goddamn Bone” I love the idea of the quest. The Odyssey. God, what an incredible story. In times of uncertainty, we must step out and face the world, allowing the idea of our fate guide us back to where we belong, even if it isn’t where we started.

Pre-Submission (Metal Staircases)

Just woke……called MacDonald’s’ and they said they’ll deliver a nine piece chicken Mcnugget meal to my house for $7.95……in no less than an hour……and I graciously accepted…..

Gotta stay up late tonight…. detailing a metal staircase…bleary eyed as it is….and my hair smells funny….

Respite

play Ryan Adams-Love is Hell

Pre-Submission II

We’re all lonely. I’m just more used to it than most. We all suffer. I tend to forget my intimacy with that field. Most of us do. We’re all tired. We manage.

Beyond the hurt, the unease, frustration and anxiety…is nothing. To say ‘I feel numb’ betrays emotion. To say anything betrays something. Nothing, that is the ideal. And once achieved, you’re a fool for remarking at the hollowness, the lack of reprieve.

Is there someone who makes you feel safe? Anyone nearby will do. Is there something you’re willing to assail yourself for, to commit your life to…that higher calling?

In the morning, that is sacred. Those few hours where I can listen to the background noise. If I could feel like that all the time…that wouldn’t be the point.

Grief is a perfectly reasonable reaction they say. Good Grief.

We’re all tired. We manage.

Post-Crit

Sometimes it seems as if eloquence is a hindrance. People perceive a heightened ability to convey one’s thoughts and emotions and aspirations and beliefs as suspicious. Perhaps if only just because ideas contrary to what one may regard as the truth can just as easily be expressed if the right amount of gusto is whipped up. Perhaps its jealousy or some bitter disdain. Perhaps it’s a knee jerk reaction to that which is antithetical to the horseshit we have shoved in our face by media (plural of medium) every waking second and have come to almost welcome. Change is hard to swallow.

This semester is done. Only X more cycles of this and I’m…still not there yet. However, I am satisfied. This project may not stir many a soul or even ripple the surface of the architectural community at large. It doesn’t deal with complex problems or even propose a solution to the simpler ones. But it has been retched out with perhaps practically every inch of my soul and the results were appreciated by some. Not all. God forbid I gain unanimous praise. Maybe that one lecturer who sat by and shook his head understood this project more than the others and offered his place as ‘the other’. Ah…the good ol’ ‘other’…

so now the project’s done and I have a few papers to sit for before i attend to procuring a part time job and leaving it all too soon for school to start once again.

And I shall wave good-bye to that damned site and the studio and the classmates…swapping in the late nights at the cutting mat for late nights at the curb…drinking to the cutting mats and the classmates and the studio and that damned site….

Post-Script (Disclaimer)

This is not in keeping with the general tone of discussion. Of “academic discourse”. Survey your work, and make what you will of it.

Ctrl + C. Ctrl + V. Spell-check. Insrt Picture.

Things are always a lot clearer in retrospect.