facing facts

JLPT N5 sample questions threw me back into reality. While my reading of basic characters remains stable, it is clear that I have to expand on my vocabulary and grammatical skills, if I ever want to pass this exam. The day when I am as home in Japan as anywhere else won't come closer with me hiding from its language. It is hard. I will not claim anything else. There's too much logic - too much *different* logic - in Japanese for me to be able to be fluent, but, I should know, that nothing comes to idle hands.

Tomorrow: my first visit to my doctor since April. That is, since I almost went mad from stopping the meds. When will I learn? But whereas life was chaos and I was myself (chaotic) without them, I have to admit that I can do more things now, perhaps with a bit more social anxiety, but still more.

I need to buy a new jacket. I need to take photos (no, not randomly; photos of my work). I would like a cup of tea. Lemon/Green please. I miss my girl. The sky outside is dark, and the moon slips by between reading a post and rewriting another. Old obsessions resurfacing, and new ones continuing in their tracks. The more I have to do, the calmer I seem to become. It just hinges on me doing the right things, without fear for the wrong things. Rain has passed. Poems have been written. I thought I forgot my keys, but they were still on my table. Murakami in the library, what I talk about etc. ... might pick it up someday, as I've continuously found his non-fiction a more solid form of prose than his wind-up birds and whatnot. Perhaps I just feel that he is at his best when he cannot cheat. Perhaps we all are.

It would be nice if all our children
could live different lives from us.


the day that rained away

Some people seem ultimately obsessed with pursuing, in writing or in theory or in practice, a perfect individuality. Others of us simply have it. Just as architects pursue identity by building the same houses, listening to the same lectures, and studying for the same teachers (the Dip 14 mire is taking over the world), writers themselves follow the rules and break them when they think, according to their hunch, that there is something perfect in breaking the rules right now.

I got my last money from the AA today. I can move on.

Little things make me happy. Large things make me angry. People who don't see the right things makes me even more angry. But, it gives me a purpose. I have to show them to them, no, even worse, I shove them up in their face and they responded with a frown - obviously. I drowned architects (why do you need us?) - I killed the office (have you ever been to an office?). It is the price one pays for anger.

Niemeyer was driven also by beauty. He hated Bauhaus. Today, we see upon Bauhaus with a scent of historical determinism; it changed many people, hence it must be good in some way. But the more people who do certain things, doesn't make it right. Power by numbers alone ... has it ever worked? That is why we need an elite, who sacrifice hate and disgust in order to uncover those few colourful strings of thread that weave the next movement, those which drive us forward. If you want to transcend the avant-garde, perhaps you have to go beyond it. It is facilitated by society. We have to find our own drug.

Overloaded coffee huts and short walks between attacks of sunshine.
I write in order to stay sane, in a world which tries its best
to convince me that I am wrong. But I am right.


a mistake is only a mistake if you can tell that it is a mistake

Went to the lower parts of the county to see my brother and his wife, proud and ready to show off their now - at least partially - lived-in house. Wasn't able to stay there though, a decision I might have come to regret, but regret is useless, as it speculates on the past, when all that should and could be speculated on is the future, the future which splits us. So I went back home, via Malmö and another strawberry cake (I counter the sugar with evening walks), a few photos, and then finally a confrontation with Book Six of De Architectura. Which soon passed into listening to an evening letter by amid.cero9. Didn't finish it, will do tomorrow. After that: Bruce Goff, the organic wonderchild.

The day before our talk is always the longest. Then, it passes into another week of waiting. The last week before I will begin my search. I briefly entertained two fantasies: one of becoming a politician, and one of working in the animation industry. Naturally, I combined it with some reckless ambitions (becoming minister of housing in Sweden, or, respectively, head of architectural research at Studio Madhouse in Japan). Limits are only seen by those who will never traverse them, and while it is childish to demand replacement of the elite by those who claim to have unmasked the elite, we do need action and advocacy in architecture, politics, or whatever. Each one of us has to bring themselves towards that which they claim is wrong. Packing steel and getting high ... just another way of embracing one's voice.

Now time for the medicine.
The side effects are slowly waning.
Or perhaps I'm so used to them by now
that I can't tell what is me
and what is the medicines.



Now Vitruvius. I don't know if I will read it all. The beginning was good, a reminder that very little has changed in terms of ethical responsibility and moral character when we speak of that strange figure: the architect. I don't think I'm an architect yet. I don't think a lot of people can be called architects. Where we go, there is little promise of a name. After all, Vitru is remembered not because he was good, and certainly not better than the Greeks which he claimed as his brothers.

I would like to do something with film.



Because I am a man who needs his projects, I have begun something new, something to keep me occupied in this post-AA vacuum that will embrace me, in summer, in winter, in all things in-between, until I let go of it. The new site is called "antisites", perhaps better understood as anti-sites, although as the former it is also a chemical-molecular term of fitting scientific origin.

What is it, then?

It harks back to my passion for collecting things, be they buttons, spring signs, tax-free products, philosophy terms, architectural graphics, or, like now, sites themselves. I think, that if there is something crucial invented by the architectural community in the late 20th century, it was the notion of "site." It is something inescapable, and many good projects have been made on site-making itself, from the virtual to the actual, from the simulated to the erased. I go one step further to reject architecture-as-proposal in itself, and instead make a compendium of pre-architectural tensions.

I do hope and I aspire to turn this into my first book-project, not just poems, but an actual book, although understandably composed out of fragments. Whatever city I end up in soon, I want to document all the sites there, occupied sites, forgotten sites, sites soon to turn to buildings, and, most crucially, anti-sites: the undefined places which have yet to turn into spaces, where no architecture exists, and where no site has yet to be designated. This is a form of ghost-writing, to write of something which begins to exist the moment it is mentioned and named.

The "anti-" covers other grounds than those of pure negation, and states the fact that everything is "anti-" before there is a measurement of its positive footprint. But most of all the anti-site is a denial of genius loci, this hackneyed phrase that has had to withstand so much pseudo-intelligent butchery, that I have come to like spaces without any spirits, dead spaces, which come to another life by me digging into them.

It is likely that my philosophy-blog will slow down due to this new project, but hopefully, it can be a bit more accessible. (And I do think of it as a return to poetry, as well. Research-poetry, if you like.)

Link: antisites.tumblr.com


chiaroscuro (like a Hollywood poster)

A photo is just a drawing; it is where we begin. Generation Photoshop fears no filters, no content-awares, no clone-brushes. When reality is not good enough, we have to change it. It is just another form of edit - digital gardening. That is why the megalopolises of the future do not need to be lived in, and those who do, will be - in de Graaf's words - the new cosmoproletariat. As always, certain lifestyles are for those who can afford them. The rules of architecture: be born rich. Failing that, marry rich. Failing that, you won't get out of it alive. That's also the fun part.

What we forget is what wasn't significant.
What is significant is not always what we want to remember.
What we remember is always in some what significant.
Invented words are always secondary to lived ones.


visit from a monster

I wished for this day to be a day of sun, and I wished also that it wouldn't be a day of rain. It became neither, so it became a day of cake and the customary walk through the south birch tree orchard (I know, I'm confusing these words), to make more space for a good night of sleep, and another day tomorrow which may promise different weather, although I suspect, that it will be much the same. It always is, until it changes.

The hibiscus in my window keep losing its leaves, and keeps putting on a show with new flowers every fortnight. I rediscovered my admiration for Tadao Ando, although I have reservations about working for him. There are many. The Swiss, for instance. What is bad about doing what others are doing if they're ultimately doing the right thing? What is fashionable is not automatically right, and what is right isn't automatically fashionable.

On my window ledge stands a couple of things. A lamp. Four plants in their pots. A folded paper-crane. A treasure box from a girl at school (now ready for 5th year). A photo of someone I love. All of this while I do not really notice the world outside. It is dark. Even more: it is pitch-black. I can't even see my own reflection in it, so, one could say, that these are shadows cast by whatever body, standing wherever.


blåherremölla (the azófar seas of Scania)

Sipping on tea when I ought to work, working when I ought to sip on tea ... Sweden is hot (sometimes) and cold (sometimes) and lagom (sometimes). I began to draw again, but it will take time. Time is too good to take charge for, and hence, I waste all the time I can get, just as Johnson wasted his space.

My grandfather was a fisherman. When he wasn't fishing (which was most of the time after the morning catch was on the beach) we took rides to the large apple grove he was in charge of. He didn't own it, but perhaps he should've, as a due payment for all the pesticides he inhaled over the years. Just as Niemeyer survived his cigar habits, so too did my grandfather survive the deep drags of his undertakings. When he died, he was ready to go.

I like to think that he's up there.


the white dog

It seems to me like architecture is dying. Far from being an entity featuring its own life, it has eaten of the world so many different species of form, that it risks being poisoned by them, to decease and to have no afterlife, other than the nothingness which we know equally nothing of. In fact, I am killing it as I write these words, for architecture is now a discourse, not a building.

Now, what can be done about it?

In one camp, the image of architecture defeats its discussion; image is everything, and whatever discussion on architecture is a discussion on its representation, its image, be it chiaroscuro techniques or the choice of vanishing point. I too have moved stones here.

In the other camp, architecture is only conversation. What is the conversation? What do you want to say? How can you say it? How long is your presentation? These are the days I spent at the AA, not because the AA is ultimately this kind of place, but because I chose the units where such notions were expounded.

We have to remain calm. Whatever thing is dying, we have to believe in a resurrection, instead of chasing imminent cures in mathematics, politics, philosophy ... there must be a way of reconciling the camps. I do not yet know it. But I suspect it.

It may be the image. For it remains true, that a theoretical battle does not have to be fought with words. And if the image now has the power of supplanting experience, it is also the space where architecture can exist as an abstraction.

In a way, this abstraction is necessary.
It is what the future is woven of.

This may be surprising, but I've always had the most respect for the already-existing, whether built or written. I read many books. I look at many buildings. But my idea of "respect" ought possibly to differ from my peers. "Respect" is not to submerge a building in light colours when facing Swedish Grace. The architects themselves had no respect for anything but architecture itself, the construction of a proper building to live in. That is respect to the site, to resist it, to fight with it, and ultimately to give to it.

I'm interested in the rebuild. It can be done anywhere. It needs a precedent. It does not stick to it, or, rather, it sticks to it where it wants to stick with it, but then it goes off on a tangent to explore something different, but still something that couldn't exist without this initial spark. Architecture does not build. It rebuilds. The site, in that manner, goes through a metamorphosis. What remains is merely a new site, an amalgam of defiled reality, and pure idealism.

That is what I've attempted to do
all the way back to my first villa.


the unfinished needs to be finished

I have decided, to (again) paraphrase Reversible Destiny, to keep writing and reading until I decide that I do not want to write and read, anymore. I do it knowing nothing of where it will lead me, to what, and for how long. I have done many things in my life, so I wouldn't bet on me staying on this path until old age and demise. I have designed computer games, coded websites, written fantasy novels, compiled music videos, drawn heaps and heaps of plans and elevations, recently collected evidence of a new design movement and sensibility - and everything has come to an end. Even the piano. Even drawing.

But I have finished school now, so little is demanded from me but to continue on the road I want to continue on until I have satisfied whatever I need from my visions and compulsions. I will write and either die writing, or I will stop writing and do something else. Why resist? Why not do what you can enjoy, and also what you can do well, even if it doesn't pay the bills yet? If activity is a means of pursuing an exalted state-of-being in which you've perfected that which you didn't even know how to do in advance, then why not do it?

I can already see my obsession (and transgression) with philosophy coming to an end. Hegel is still unfinished, and I will not return to him until I decide the time is right. Perhaps that time will never come. And perhaps, wherever I go in the future, I will have absolutely no use of him to prosper, or even survive. But I do know, that while I was doing it, it was all I ever needed.

There are many things people tell me I "need" to do.
There are equally well things I tell myself I "need" to do.

But for now, reality has taken the back-seat while I'm accelerating down the road to other things. I'm not meant to do one thing only, but I am meant to do one thing for some time. Such is the autistic life.


olgiati + sasaki + green tea

I'm thinking. (What am I doing when I'm not thinking?) About Japan, mostly, and of the future. There. I know that it is useless to plan a life in advance. Besides, fail university and you fail at life. Fail at work, for the good reasons, and you're not supposed to be there. You should be somewhere else. In gardening, for instance. The stories of people doing one thing for some time and then pursuing something completely different ... they're many. I just know that the only place where I feel at home in the world is there. I can't explain it. It is a feeling. Of a culture I was more born to be in, than to be in Stockholm, Copenhagen, or London.

But coffee and cake in Ronneby is nice, too.

Without my failure and resignation in 2010-11, I would've been much more prepared. I think I'd still have gone there, on my own, my fights, my life. Now I'm only scared of myself. The world does not scare me. The world can't hurt me. The only one with that capacity is myself.

People called me determined in school. Some saw a sort of subdued but sure charisma. I was the genius to others. Some sort of following. Now, I don't know myself well enough to trust myself completely. Degrees, prizes, of course they're great. Of course I enjoy them. Have they changed me? Have they ripped me out of my funk? Not them. The thing that remains is internal motivation. I couldn't break it on my own, and even less so, could the world. It is the one card I have to play.

I'm not sad. I'm not angry. I'm not indifferent.
But I am thinking, a lot, most of the time, when
I'd be better off just enjoying coffee and cake.


now you know you're home

Cloudy skies are still skies with a lot of sun, because otherwise, we would mistake them for the night. Went to Kivik and Simrishamn for a lunch with herring and mashed potatoes, and for icecream. I take my daily walk from the house through the forest to the motorway and back again. I do my best to ignore the crisis in the news, mostly because I've bound my loan for the next ten years, and now have little to worry about besides getting a job that pays the bills. Am I selfish? Only when I choose to be. Ha!

No-one wants to read poetry about how happy someone is.
It seems like happiness can only be motivated if it is found
after swimming through waves of sludge and suffering on the way.

It's good to not worry about things other than the next meal. (Maybe that's what a dog's life is about.) There's little on architecture in the local library, and since I already read Palladio this Christmas, even less remains. The philosophy shelf is filled with the appropriate analytical school that seems to divide the field in such a sad way. I would read Popper as much as I would read Lyotard, if given the chance. Let's see what chances we get ...


the choice and rejection of patterns

For some reason, this felt like the first real day I had in Sweden, since I returned. Waking up without remembering what I did yesterday, and with no concern (yet) for what will happen later. I make little goals that I complete day by day, even if it only means one swift walk, 1500 words of this and that, and then a lecture before bedtime.

Long overdue paybacks after quitting citalopram, two sleepless hours between midnight and 2 in the morning where the anxiety would pass in waves: first 10 seconds of hardly being able to breathe, then 40 seconds of relief. I can't explain it any better. And I can't say how determined I am tonight. Every attempt I have made at quitting a medicine has so far ended in being dragged back to it. It's not that I crave them, it's that they alter my body so the body cannot function without them. There's no kick. There is just the absence of pain. Perhaps I'm not so different from an addict, after all.

At least the days are good.

Hegel is with me from morning to early evening, and in-between: cupcakes, isterband ("lard-strips"), fresh strawberries, a bit of rain and dramatic skies, emails sent in error and celebrity cook-alongs. Those who live in a country where they can't understand the gameshows on TV are lucky.


back again

Yesterday, after a long journey (which could've been near impossible if I had to endure the tube strike today, so I shouldn't complain) I finally reached my home. To return to a small, sleepy Swedish city after three years of stress and delight was easier than I thought, just slip into the sheets and dream away. Sweden is cold (obviously), but at least I have an excuse to wear my jacket.

To all who have supported me throughout this wonderful but scary adventure: a big thank-you.
Now what? The rest of my life.

I can't see the sun, but I know it's there: that's what guides us. Sometimes all we have to do is to just be, and sometimes that can be the hardest thing to do, because we always rush for something else, a kick, a meaning. I'm not much of a monk, and I could never imagine myself living a life of taking-away. If anything proves the existence of the world, it is not its emptiness (because even emptiness has a being), but all the things which expel emptiness.

I never felt much of a home in London. Perhaps it was too small. But, I think, there was just something strange about how I felt walking along the streets. I enjoyed school, but I didn't enjoy the city, despite giving it three years of my life. Don't get me wrong, I don't wish for anything else, but the degrees of homeliness that one may find in a place are crucial for our enjoyment. I want to drift around the city, take the bus to the office everyday, and think: this is exactly where I want to be. I don't want to save that feeling for the moment when I'm actually in the office, or in the school.

One adventure ends.
Another one begins.


to sweden ...

One last evening with friends in London, people taking their time to have a drink for birthday occasions, and then, an early night with shisha, tea, melon juice, and desserts on the house. I want to have something to tell at the end of the day, so that's why I do something when the day is young, that's why I wake up, because also this day can become something special if we stick with it to the end. I'm not a prisoner of anything other than my body, and the body tells us things of itself that we didn't know it was capable of. (Hence, the wine.)

I'll have to do the things that will remain once I have done them, the things that I can speak of, indeed, that are worthy to speak of. Even a simple breakfast may satisfy that. I just want to come to the point where I feel like home, and London has so far not been able to offer that, so I'm moving on. Imagine every day crossing Hachiko in Shibuya, or every evening going for drinks at the local izakaya. Something must be told of it that wasn't there before it was time to tell it ...

Now that time has passed comes the last set of nervous twitches when we're about to mark the end of an age (youth?), and to begin another (adulthood?). I'm speaking in riddles, as usual, but it's okay. I will manage, and so will you. We have to do things in order to do other things, and it is only by doing things bit by bit that we can arrive at a totality.



Things fall into place in their respective boxes. Puff pastry from 'bury's keeps me alive, along with the last of the Japanese sweets and a promise: to stop making promises. One-and-a-half year ago, I vowed to stop finding a reason before I do a certain thing, and now I'm here again, rejecting activity for the sake of finding that one "thing" to which all other things can attach themselves and harmoniously coincide with the future that I want - without accepting the requirement of going through a whole array of challenges before the goal has been reached. And even then, we have no guarantee that what we did should have some kind of truth attached to it.

My head seems to slow down with every new day that settles slightly earlier than what was a week ago. The bags are being packed, like I said, although I do not leave just yet. How to spend these shorter and shorter moments in London before the big farewell and the return to a country I have not come to despise so much as having become completely indifferent to. The things I need to keep me happy are somewhere else, and yet, I wonder why I bring them with me, when all that I need is here, on a hard-drive, copied and prepared for the archives to digest.

I once said that energy flows to energy, as a form of self-therapy.
Why is it, then, that what depletes me is what I also value the most?


goodbye, Hyde Park ...

... may we meet again, some time, some place.


Went to school to pick up stuff, probably the last time I can get in with my keycard - but we'll see. Went to Mail Boxes Etc. to pick up a - yes! - box to send my stuff (my books) to Sweden, where they can find a home. Pondered for a moment to sell them, because what should I do with them now that I've read them? I never read the same book twice.

Real change taking place in people arrives when there's a voluntary wish to let go, rather than one of absorption. Anyway, things slowly disappear from my shelves. Moving the folder on your Windows desktop to "arch old" is a move without mercy, fiercely declaring the end of school and the beginning of work - although I still haven't noticed, other than in an increased amount of time spent on reading.

People who rest do so to prepare themselves for the next journey.
People who are journeymen will rest after the war has passed.

The intense discomfort that arises from being forced to do something you really don't want to do, lies only in the memory of something that was fundamentally unrelated to the event itself. Or, in other words: we think something will be bad not because we know that it is, but because we don't know, and because everything we don't know holds the possibility to harm us. That is why the game has to go on, because the croupier knows that, in the end, he will be the one winning ...

The dilemma I face now: that I can go on doing what I've done so far, reading more books, writing more of the same philosophy-poems, drawing, playing the piano, etc. etc., eventually amassing a wealth of capacities, but it will be one existing only in my world. Teacher tell me that it is my responsibility to keep writing, keep drawing. And I will. I know. But in what form? And for whom?

It's always the same kind of insecurity.
Win all the teacher's hearts, and you
will still only be a hapless child ...



I don't know where they come from (ideas), but I would like to know how to get there. For quite some time, I've known that my most preferred project for the coming years would be to write a book, and to illustrate it on my own. It's actually a fairly old ambition, as my first novel (let's call it an extended essay) was attempted at age 12. By 17, I had already racked up my own Lord of the Rings, but that wasn't good enough, so I vowed to concentrate my efforts at becoming a (fairly) good writer of architectural theory instead.

But, as I discovered, that soon branched out into a full interest in esoteric philosophy, one journey that cannot be undone. Now I'm coming back to architecture again, fittingly when I am parting ways with it school-wise. My graduation might prove to be that final leap I needed before I could decide on what to do with my time. I've had a *hunch* for some time that I was good at writing and drawing, but now, with it confirmed (and with it equally confirmed that I'm not very good at running a project), I can move on. Therefore: this title, The City as Thought.

Now I have time. Now I have another hunch. It's time to get down and do some hard work. Daring (when drunk). Selective (when sober). A book that is rushed when it needs to be rushed (feverish journeys down the Shinkansen), and slow but incessant when there is need for deep recollection, self-criticism, and Space House records spinning in my ear to remind me where I should aim. (To finish something you first have to begin it.)


come along for a story

One morning it just happens. You wake up and you're not yourself any longer. Almost Kafkaesque, you have transformed. You are not a student. You are a graduate. Something essential has been taken away from you, and something else has filled its place.

I graduated from the AA on Friday the 26th of June 2015. With me were all my friends from school, my family and my girlfriend, the latter of which came all the way from Japan. They've all left now, and so I am back in my room by Edgware Road again. Hegel still lies unfinished on the window ledge, chocolate needs to be digested bite by bite, originals collected, drawings stored, sent home and exhibited.

Yes, exhibited.

I did not only get my degree, I won a prize. The Nicholas Pozner Prize for best drawing 2014-15. Rather fitting, it was the only prize that came with a check, so with an addition of £1000, I have a bit of a buffer for my next adventure, wherever that takes me. My drawings will be exhibited next autumn, probably in the bar, as usual, next to the Honours. So, now I can call myself - with a bit of flair - an award-winning graduate. Don't know if that will help me get a job, but - I suppose - what matters is that I apply for the right job.

What I felt I gained most during my days at the AA was not so much skills (even though that was a substantial part) but confidence. To finish something I've started, something I didn't necessarily *know* I could do, but which I *wanted* to try. So many times I pondered on leaving ... dropping out ... resigning ... but now. Now it's done. I can't escape.

Confidence gives you strength and optimism to keep on doing what you do. To say: I believe there is something in what I do which can be of delight to others. I can contribute something. I am needed, I am meaningful. I don't expect my degree to ship me en route to perpetual success, but maybe this is a bit closer to a good career - although I don't like that word: career. Life is more succinct.

My girlfriend left this afternoon. I am alone, but not for long. I can't remain in limbo forever. I want to do stuff, create weird stuff (more of it). Who knows where I go? I just know that I am ready for it now. Or perhaps not. Someone else has decided that I am ready.

Life is too short to prepare for the life that will happen later.
If a wall is thrown into your face, smash it. Smash it good.



Wet days have passed, and the final touch is applied to a work which has been three years in the making. Project Review opening next Friday, with visits from those who have been with me throughout these years, and who will be with me for many more years to come (and that's not even including those who were there!).

How does one properly celebrate such a moment? Perhaps by continuing to do what I did before. We write not solely of what interests us, but also what we hope will be of interest to others. Architecture cannot afford to find its apex in the singular mind. If we deny this, we deny history, like a Corb without a Charlotte Perriand, a Mies without a miestress (puns are horrible, I know, I should be pun-ished).

Rallies in London, I don't mind. It's for the better. It's not that they refuse to pay their austerity measures, it is that these austerities hit those already impoverished by the crunch. It's strange to note that no-one wants the Smithsons any longer among the public (among the architects, they're as relevant as ever), as if this gift of solidarity was not accepted by the cosy mini-burghers wanting palaces of their own, a state not of accepting a monk's life, but rather a Versailles for every peasant. More, more, more. That's the message. It drives you slightly numb.

Louis Armstrong and cheap prints.
Would they ever cross paths
except in my headphones?


done for now

I passed. It's over. For the better? For the worse? I'll go with the former. You can judge the degree of satisfaction in a school by how it leaves you ever wanting more. Taking the bus home, dizzy and with a body in uproar due to high quantities of shutting-in feelings of all kinds in order to make the PROJECT, I found myself already planning out the next thing I want to accomplish. Moving to Japan. Buildings. Books. Drawings. God knows what.

Not time yet to start planning the portfolio, as the exhibition still needs to happen. Building a scene. Printing the books. (Drawing the drawings? Too late.)

Fresh peaches and sandwiches for dinner to calm the rebel within. Then bed. Then sleep. I'm listening to lectures before calling it a night, usually at the point where I don't grasp the words any longer. (That's when you know it's time). Honours presentations tomorrow. I know a few. Will try to be there.

Four days until we can be together.
Five days until the RIBA assessment.
Seven days until graduation.

Have to find time to rent a suit, mostly because I can't afford to buy one, partially because I find business fashion (black and white) to be boring.

Happy midsummer.


I'm not the only one counting down

Two kinds of light fighting over the unit space, the steady, reliable noble-gas-lamps, or the sunset over the chimneys towards Goodge Street. My book is ready. My prints are ready. My film is ready. Now, to see if I can fool the others that I'm intellectually ready, as well ... for there is nothing that throws you off-balance in such a way that questions do (but we cannot dread it; if we dread, we lose, because how can anyone else dread to believe in our work, if we don't believe in it ourselves?)

All good, all meaningful. Birth is approaching - the birth of a hero? or the birth of just another architect? Heaven knows what we need!

The adventure is about to end. It's been a long journey, with little breaks, that is, no breaks at all if you think of them as breaks from architecture. I'm a city boy. What I spend my days with, as do so many others, if not all, is travelling between shelters, and that travelling in itself is a form of shelter. I have lived in West Ham, I have lived in Willesden - now I'm on Edgware Road, far from the hip but not far from cheap food. The world is a test to see what you want to take with you, and what remains in your memory is there for you to care about as much as you want, until you forget it, when we discover that we really didn't care for it at all.

Three years is nothing. Three years was good enough.


without a second rehersal

People celebrating on the terrace, as the sky either crumbles under its own heatwave, or breaks open in a light summer rain. Keep running into teachers from across the school, quipping on experiences, nervousness, and character. Mike, head of EmTech, told me that I appeared to be "a very determined person." I take that as a compliment (and I think I should). The only caveat is that I change my determinations, all - ironically - for the same reason: to do something important, something that matters, not only to me, but to this world I'm having such difficulties trying to decipher and assist.

The white book is coming together tonight. No reason to wait any longer, as it is not very useful to record myself in the evening, with people in the unit, people who need to focus and who do not need a man reciting his text with elaborate pathos and repeating the same sentence until it has exploded in one's face in all its brilliance - and this is the funny thing, because the people I've interviewed seem to let others decide that for them - the collective is the ultimate guide. Me, I try to listen, but then I listen to what I listened to, and make decisions from it.

"Kill your darlings", is the mantra
of the writer. I need a shot of that.


a confusing day

After the rather frequent outbursts of negativity on this blog, albeit not paired with resignation, there was a strange feeling in being in the unit space once more, after a late morning and a bus trip stopped short, and to speak with the people that matter, and to not take dismissal until it has been articulated, to not read defeat into opinion. I have criticised the school for being lenient with the students that have been accepted but who just slides through without work, but, in the end, if we're dedicated to architecture - maybe I can be forgiving.

For all I've accomplished, I only think of the things I have yet to accomplish. Summer's here, and with it, perhaps the last grand moment to define leisure as work, to live architecture without pay, that is, to ignore the boring stuff - but to be well aware that some boring stuff is necessary to love excitement itself all the more. Brett, the Director of the school, came by and we collectively mourned the loss of photos from when I drew on the school walls for Projects Review. As usual, others care more about my work than I do myself ... but maybe, that is to put it in an inaccurate manner. I do care, it's just that I'm very selfish with what I care about: the ideas that keep me going forward.

AA, I have loved you, I have hated you, but I've never been indifferent to you.
And while it's still too soon to pop open the prosecco bottle, I am told
to enjoy every minute here, as it will be, like Tadao Ando said
the most defining years of my one delight in architecture.

And perhaps, it's also nice
to be just one out of many.


architecture is not a project

When I was going to London in 2012, I had a document on my computer, in which I counted the days to my departure. Everyday I replaced one "O" with one "X", and did so for almost three months. Now, the situation is reversed: I'm counting the days until I can go *away* from London, leave this school and actually accomplish something of value. I want to do many things. I want to write, I want to draw, I want to model, and I want to compose. However, and this is the crucial point, I do not want to do *projects.*

Sometimes the most obvious things are those that take the longest for us to realise. I can't see the value in making projects. Not understood in a general sense of the word (because, in that sense, everything is a project), but in the very specific and ultimately limiting form it takes in architecture school. All output and all processes are subordinated to the project. If you want to do a book, fine, do that, but it has to be a project. The teachers ask: "what is your project?", "where is it?", or "what is your thesis?" Even "thesis" is seen as fusing with the project, the latter becoming a sort of vessel for the thesis, instead of keeping them separate.

A building is not a project, and the process of designing and constructing a building is not a project; this is a misnomer that limits the conception of a building to that of the phases in which the architect is involved. Inhabiting the building, that most crucial part of architecture, is beyond the project, because the latter is a proposal, while the former is a reality.

But all our projects will be erased, forgotten and gone. In the end, they are not among the survivors. "S,M,L,XL" survives because it goes beyond the project, and lets the book and its architecture (its format) become the central point of architectural production. Ronchamp survives because it is a building, and because everything about it "project-wise" is secondary to its physical materialisation.

Once I get out of architecture school (O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O to the tables, O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O to the RIBA - shit, that is a long time) I will have the opportunity to practice architecture far from the project, but, at the end of doing so, I can reclaim the word itself, to what it ought to mean, not the perverted version we see at the AA. A project is not a material culmination paired with an intellectual agenda - it is the access and procedure of doing and thinking in themselves. It has to be understood as something *much* larger than a selection of drawings, videos, installations, or books. It has to rise to such heights that we almost don't know where it ends. Because if it ends, if it is given ends, it has no future.

I don't dislike my project.
I dislike making projects.



I seem to have a soft spot for roofscapes

I seem to have many soft spots. I remember what Moon Hoon said about him not being recruited by any high-profile offices at the end of his academic career, because "he was known as a person with his own agenda." And now he's in South Korea, doing idiosyncratic but not naive work, of which I think the world needs more of. Times have changed. I don't mind SANAA or Sendai Mediatheque. What I mind is what comes in their wake, perhaps the only form of movements we can ascribe to today, that of inspiration, with the (feigned) self-declaration of independence that comes naturally in a society of unique natures.

The buildings I want to draw seem - furthermore "seem" - to take up a hint of the vernacular, but of the Modern kind. It's not a matter of being "never modern", it is one of having driven Modernism into common knowledge, adapting part by part to the whole, championed by a learned few. The architects of the 99% have disappeared out of all forms of knowledge, except those of family albums and drawings slowly turning sour in attics and basements across the country. They are the nameless, they are the copyists. It seems more than usually true that I can only appreciate them when they're gone, or rather, when I'm not there with them.

My first book I bought since I entered architecture school was one of underground buildings. It was terrible. It stole the tongue-in-cheek puns of Wallpaper, and spoke only of the most horrible of horrible architectures, so to the point that you'd rather prefer to be buried in the holes excavated for these buildings, rather than letting the buildings themselves occupy them. (But perhaps I'm overreacting.) My last book from the AA will likely be one of traditional Japanese building parts. More beautiful than useful, maybe. Will I ever know what a "koshitsukiyokoshigeshouji" is?


letting go of comfort for the sake of making

One and a ½ weeks until the final verdict, and I had to take time off from school in order to regain some ground - not philosophical, but in terms of motivation. When you just blindly work, it's easy to lose track. When you just think of details, it's easy to miss a favourable whole.

I'm stubborn. I don't listen to people. Even if I do, I do so in order to change myself at my command, with my methods, according to my schedule. It's - again - the same obstinacy that brought me to architecture. What brought me to the London, however, was more a kind of proof, and blind conviction in the power of a determined psyche, that I could make things if I damn well set my aim for it - and now I'm almost through. Not with any awards, but it's not a question of me having one, because what I do is not for such things. It's neither imperfect nor perfect, extreme or non-extreme. It's gravitating between many ideas, some which need to be heard, others which just remain - again - as details.

I suspect it will be difficult for me to cooperate with someone. To be a partner of an office rather than an office head. I don't need people under me, but I sure don't want people above me. Is it a mark of our generation, the endless search for freedom, independence, and the irresponsible consequences that one cannot avoid? I don't think so. I think a lot of people want to cooperate, it's just that we are the generation of self-analysis. We throw ourselves into psychological discussions, because, not for once, the discussion is on us.

In this sense, this blog is but a proof of those tendencies.

Summer's hovering in the sky, and I prepare to leave. When identity is wholly severed from the person, we can create our office. It is a extraction of the self from the uncharted territories of the ego, into something that belongs to the world, as a concept, as an entity, as a name, beyond the hands that sign the papers.

Addition wins over subtraction.
The minus-something is imaginary.
It does not belong here.


something I found that made me feel better

Wonder if I've finally found a description of this strange art that makes it worthwhile to continue, not only to wherever it ends, but also towards something I feel I forgot in the rift between being an intellectual and a man who only wants to feel, between the hedgehog and the fox that splits me in two.

Architecture is the design of an environment we want to inhabit.