I am not religious: perhaps someday.
Call it egocentric. I’ve always wanted to be able to describe my interest in architecture, or at the very least, justify my persistence. I know that it is difficult for those outside of the architecture community to understand the experience. Say the word “studio” and share a small grin with the colleagues around, all of who have shared a myriad of moments under the auspices of the studio. Friends outside of this circle, although I know they try, never will understand the true endurance necessary in the pursuit of a career in architecture. Beyond the hours and hours in empty spaces, more than the days on days of little to no sleep, there still remains the relentless expectation of self-defense and biases.
I was walking around the Syracuse campus this morning. My first class, an 8:00 a.m. introduction into historic preservation, had been cancelled and, for the first time since I moved to Syracuse, the campus was bustling with students and life. Although I certainly didn’t mind the quiet campus the week before, it was reassuring to see all of the people moving about with places to be. I walked around the campus, almost in its entirety, twice. The first time was a quick tour. I pretended to act like I was familiar with the campus and knew where I was going; it is difficult to act like you don’t know where you are going when you don’t have a particular place to be going to.
The second time around, although still moving without any particular motivation, I stopped several times simply because I enjoyed the view. There is blanket of dark clouds resting in the distance, north of the city, and it provided a dramatic backdrop to the buildings of downtown Syracuse. As I was walking out of the Dome, I shuffled through a pile of small leaves that had accumulated from the wind. I guess I had not particularly cared that I was walking through the leaves, but as soon as I stepped through the wind, which had given life to the collection, picked up some of the individual leaves and took them along their way. The texture of the concrete sidewalk and the yellow leaves, a temporary mosaic.
As I walked away, chuckling a bit to myself because of how interesting I found my interaction with the pile of leaves to be, I began to note the relationship between insignificant moment in time and my experience of architecture, and true affinity for built space. Architecture, it would seem, does not “end at the door”. It is a mindset that I cannot escape, like the moment you learn of something and from that day forward cannot help but see everywhere you go. The buildings are beautiful, and seem infinite in their existence. Everywhere one drives they observe buildings. A day starts in a room, or a house, and travels to house, or works on a yard in front of a house, or works in an office, or works in an office that designs offices. However, the buildings represent only a single moment of the system. The people walking around the campus and the height of the curbs along the streets, all are variables and determinations of people. The trees next to streets, the change from day to night, all become intertwined in the play.
I can’t sleep.