Architecture School: Part 3 — Forks in the road
This article is part of a series discussing and reminiscing my years in Architecture academia. These stories are substantially extracted from facts but are also filtered with my perspective and opinion. Therefore, not everyone that went through the same process will echo my sentiments. Still, similarities will undoubtedly arise, for there is a kinship among participants who go through the same gauntlet.
A path is defined simply as a course or direction which a thing or person takes. That definition doesn’t really determine the origin of that path, only that someone or something will have to take that path.
For my purpose, a path has been established on how to become an Architect. The first step in that path is education and training in the academic sense.
The previous article (see here) mentioned the disappointing result of my first year of studies in Architecture school. It was a slog that one, but I feel that I think I should keep moving. There’s no point of begging for a spot when there’s a clear cut-off. More work is on the way, and I need to adjust.
It sounds like a delay and it is, but to stop for me in itself is a failure.
So the advice on the next steps from the power to be was to take on another course that in two years will eventually lead entry to the main Architecture stream, into second-year Architecture School. It sounds like a delay, and it is, but to stop for me in itself is a failure. So keep moving.
Speaking to heads and other professors, I chose Interior Architecture due to how conceptually driven the course is. With what I have produced the previous year and how they interacted with me, this was the better fit.
Although, I did mention in the previous article that my shortcomings during the last year were my lack of performance in technology and theoretical writing. The other option was building science. That course would address the areas where I am lacking. At this point, my tendencies got the better of me.
So the choice was there, and I took it. I walked the next step: Albeit, a slight detour, parallel to that actual path that I intended to take.
Let me be clear: this course was no less hard than that of the students who went on to the primary stream of Architecture. At a certain point, it was gruelling and even more frustrating than the previous year.
The course still has the component of learning the technologies and methodologies in the buildability of projects, but there was more of an obsession with the “image” of Architectural space instead. This course also mentioned for the first time that I heard the word “tectonics” and how this relates to the craft of “spatial making”.
Techniques and tools in the analogue and the digital were also introduced. Both complementing and informing in each other. Forms and how to look at them in a different light were made and conceived were fascinating.
I am all for trying new things, though this was, in my practical mind was not really there. It took me half a year to get it. While in the first year it was really about the basics, now it is about taking things further. And being that the course is practical, there is a lot of things that I deemed not that important.
Do not get me wrong, we were producing interesting projects. Imagery that in my point of view was not “Architecture” slowly was being digested and translated into spaces. Albeit, I am building a library and vocabulary to present that complexity into something readable and alluring (almost).
How useful this is in professional practice? I do not know yet. I was doing well here though. A few A’s and B’s here and there. I was actually interested in it as well.
That is until that itch and boredom of the course set in.
After two years of being in the Interior Architecture department, and I felt its time to expand again. It was fun and all to produce all these images. Learning all these new tools and techniques and representation of Architecture. But buildability has always been in the back of my mind. The idea still never escapes me.
As an Architect, I need to be able to build.
At the first semester of the second year, an opportunity for an overseas exchange was circulated to the class. Our option was in the USA, specifically in RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) or in Germany with the Fachhochschule Mainz, in Mainz am Rhein.
One is a well-known school of design, the other an unknown. I chose the latter. Why do you ask? Purely for the fact of the challenge of the unfamiliar. Although RISD was a prestigious school, I think I was better off to explore something of an unfamiliar in terms of culture.
There is also somewhat of a novelty in terms of German design. Mainly due to all the history and theory lessons, everyone that has gone to design school knows about the Bauhaus. A legendary, almost mythical, school in Weimar, Germany established by Walter Gropius in 1919.
I was not going there but Mainz. The Fachhochschule by the Rhein.
So off I go to this next phase, off to another country unknown to me.