3.7.15

goodbye, Hyde Park ...

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

superego

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 ...

2.7.15

THE CITY AS THOUGHT

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.)

29.6.15

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.

20.6.15

bookwork

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?

18.6.15

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.

15.6.15

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.

12.6.15

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.

10.6.15

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.

9.6.15

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.

X

8.6.15

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?

6.6.15

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.

3.6.15

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.

1.6.15

few things come for free, but the ones that do are all the more important

You have to know where to be, to gain utmost understanding of that presence "on the run." The brick layers of the adjacent building stare at me from their regulated perfection, or, at least, a perfection I can relate to. The hat on the table not needed when there is no sun, perhaps to protect me from being understood as just somebody else - but now, I am somebody else with a hat.

There is the discussion of merging which becomes interesting in architecture today: if distinct form is impossible, if identity is not isolated, then the merger appears to be the only valid solution. Without trying to describe it, it is natural. Things proliferate by merging experience with reality, as is the one who is detached a completely selfish person - he knows nothing but himself.

Fake doors behind my back, windows never shut in front of me. Matched shirts to cupcakes to the left of me, and a dark corner - the corner for absent friends - to the right. I remain detached not because I want to, but because I am too afraid to attach. Someone had to approach me almost without me knowing, asking for a favour which seemed like a gift. Lunchtime lectures teaches you tricks, like dogs now set to become architects.

We have to guess and guess
and only keep guessing.

31.5.15

Think - Speak - Act

If the thought is a preparation for what is to be said in speech, and if speech occupies an area outside of the influence of thought, then, what is writing? Does it matter?

My father tells me that there is a sign of maturity in becoming obstinate, or, at least he acknowledged it in me. The more I've studied and the farther I got, the more I felt the need, the urge, the determination, to do what I considered were the important things in architecture and life. Still, I'm not able to do them. I'm running out of money, running out of time, although time is set to begin again tomorrow.

There is something masochistic in my behaviour. How I've constantly chosen the paths and the units which I did not agree with. It's utterly confounding to me that I spent two years in a unit dedicated to the development of the architect (rather than architecture), when my position on this is rather that architects should disappear and that all that need be is the edifices themselves. Perhaps that came to show in my fourth year project, where I drowned the architects ... but year five ... it feels wasted to me ...

As always, the blame is on me. I made the choices. I stayed in line. I repeated the unit. But now? Graduation in three weeks, and then - something different. I don't worry about it. I've been both at the bottom and almost at the top, so I know that neither of them really does any difference to me.

I'm sick of architecture school and I want to quit. Sometimes, I feel almost on the verge of quitting immediately, without a degree. What sure obstinacy! To quit three weeks before finish, almost as if quitting was some sort of proof of my indifference towards the profession as practised today (not what it could potentially be, or what it historically has been). Like: fuck you, keep your diploma! Like Sartre refused the Nobel Prize in Literature. But maybe, like Sartre, the only one regretting it, in the end, is yourself.

The moon rises before the sun falls.

30.5.15

Hegel + tiramisu

If it is as individuals we get to be known, but as collectives we are ultimately sorted into, what significance does autonomous work have? How autonomous can it become?

With the first out of three juries now behind me, I realise that school is just the beginning. It might feel so definitive, like a culmination, but what it really is, is a warm-up exercise to test our perseverance, stamina, and dedication. Of course, this dedication takes many forms, and not just that of the all-nighter and no-moneyer. What is important is that we do not fade away, that the ideas we have brought to their conclusion academically now begin another life, that of their materialisation. They resurrect.

The problem of school projects is much the same as that of a blog: it's easy. By this I do not imply that it is shallow or vapid, but that the constraints of the project are chosen and related to hypothetically. It has always been like this, I mean, no-one built Christianopolis, New Babylon, or the Continuous Monument - and this positions the idea of a project at an interesting crossroads: that of choosing between architectural materialisation, and that of discourse.

The AA is mos def the latter, for even in the cases when things *do* get built, to inhabit them is to inhabit an idea, an experiment, a concept. That is why the Rain Forest Pavilion of last year occupy physically the same space as the Maison Dom-ino: they do not let go of the virtuality despite their physicality, the virtual here being pure potential. It is almost as if the project proves its immaterial credentials by its buildability.

It is interesting to speak of the AA for what it is called: an architectural "association", like a gang of likeminded criminals now poised at the beginning of the greatest adventure of their life. There is indeed something counter-conventional (not counter-intuitive) of how we approach architecture, although I can only speak of myself and my (small) circle of fellow delinquents. A box or a swoop, an office or a magic door - doesn't matter, should not matter. Schools do not prepare architects. They prepare the mindsets of architects. They inspire commitment.

28.5.15

honey roast project

Time is closing in, and soon the first out of three final juries will be upon me. I don't want to say I'm in control, because if I do so, I have lived life in the safe lane - and who wants that? Not that I'm pushing like a cornered animal for the final render, because details don't make or break a project - they make or break the illusion of a project, and that has no lasting value.

A girl in the print shop said that there's always the thing of "what's next?" lurking in an anxious mind. Well, that's easy: old age. I don't think much of the future, nor of the past. I wouldn't say I'm living in the present, though. I'm living in alternative time, another reality, one far and gratuitously more friendly and meaningful than this. But it is perhaps the hostility and the nihilism of the world that keeps me in it, to fight against it.

If there's no face to the work we've found, we have to be that face.

It's strange to be in a conceptual unit for one who wants to just draw pretty drawings. Most of the time. I need that contemptible conceptuality for the days when I don't give a shit about whether a drawing is ugly or not. Besides, beauty is not always overt effort. Sometimes it sits within a deeper sensibility, an ability to throw out a space of great precision for immersion, without concern of how such drawings might fight for themselves - beautiful or not.

A mistake: concept does not equal idea. Concepts are distilled ideas, trampolines to better architecture, and placeholders for digestion. Perhaps I'm stuck treating philosophy as a weave of words, and drawings as a weave of lines, a texture, a pattern, if you will. It's a bit discomforting to see how two concepts I formulated more than five years ago, and despite the avalanche of philosophy on these and associated pages, still remain the most vivid: immersion and patternism.

To formulate them is simple.
To design them, that is, to be
an artist, is harder, much harder.

25.5.15

turning off the lights

Great realisations come, and the realisations that are greater are those that remain. On my way home from school, on the streets of Bedford Square, I found myself drifting back to an old project of mine, the project which I feel is most representative of what I want to accomplish as an architect. I don't have anything of it to show to you. In fact, it exists only on a page in a sketchbook, as two, maybe three quick, but careful drawings. It is from third year, but not in London. It's from Sweden, for a course which I've forgotten the exact name of, but the key issue was: "how to build new in an old environment."

It was, interestingly, the only course which I had to redo in order to get my BSc. I never submitted my proposal. Perhaps I wasn't ready for it. In the end, I proposed some ugly Rhinoscript instead, for an entirely different site. But these sketches stayed with me, like some insidious perfection that kept nagging me, mostly because they were so far from what architecture stood for in Lund. It was pastiche without being pastiche, it was po-mo without being po-mo, it was serene and abandoned, but for a specific purpose. It was inside and yet it was not. It had no technology, yet relied on technology in order to get built. For 2009, it was a strange testimony, perhaps one of change.

It was an array of nine square pavilions set on gravel inside a steel and wood cube with an open roof, accessed from the street through a propped-up beaux-arts facade. In each of the pavilions, you played chess.

Cut to the present: as I was walking to the bus stop, my mind kept on thinking: what was it in these nine pavilions that haunted me? What was it I saw there that just wouldn't let go, and which, despite the fact that I will never include it in any portfolio (yet), just told me over and over again how I *actually got it right*?

I think I know now how I want to work in Japan. No big office. No cutting-edge practice. No. I want to learn, to study architecture by recreating it. I want to restore. I want to conserve. Strange words. I, who was contemporarism through and trough, has suddenly become infatuated with history. A new historicism. A future by way of the past.

I remember going up to our architectural history teacher in first year, asking bluntly why the course was only centred around European architecture. He offered an apologia by pointing out how he had briefly included Ottoman architecture as well, straddling the borders to Islam. Perhaps there was a seed in me already then, one that had been growing in my head all since my childhood's great geographical adventures - in video games and atlases at the expense of real voyages.

Perhaps there is some kind of sensibility embedded in me. I grew up on an old street, spent my vacation in an old cottage, and had sugar bun breaks at old mills and farms. I liked it. I really did. Don't get me wrong, I'm still a contemporarist. I love the lights of Shibuya. But I'm starting to wonder: what is a present if it cannot remember its past?

Restoration. Conservation. Strange new words, indeed. We create our futures by all means of knowing what somebody else did before us, and when that somebody is gone, it is our task to continue the wall where he left his masonry tools behind.

It's a future I can see myself having. Living somewhere far away. Looking after old buildings. Slowing down, laying the brick. Drawing their memories. Thinking of the men who walked through them: monks, priests, witches and princesses ... a slower life, a richer life. A life that is a culmination of all the thought brought up to us since time immemorial. Such history is richer than the present.

Will it last more than this evening?
We'll have to go forward to find out.

23.5.15

shulmanesque

It's interesting to shoot in camera RAW. Photos you casually took, not thinking they'd be anything special, and photos which with a first glance indeed has nothing special over them, but then, you bring it into the program, you fiddle with the settings, and something emerges. Something good. This photo is (again) from John Hejduk's social housing project in Berlin. A great building. Sober but strange, progressive yet subtle. Space as surprise, to the one who designed it, to the one who lives there.

Almost done with the film, just one more sequence
to render, and then, other things need to be done.

After the jury, I will take a day off. Go to St. John's Wood, of all places, to pick up a book that was too big to fit in the mailbox. Wonder what Hegel would think of that, that his work would at some point be shifted around virtually and by mail, one-click-ordered, and then obsessed over for months. Perhaps he obsession part he could predict. It might be my niche. I'm not a neoliberal, nor a Marxist, honestly, I don't vote. It's not that I do not believe in freedom or rights to freedom, but I prefer to quietly protest against it by refusing to give my vote to someone else. My rights are my rights only, and what I can give, is also what kind of political animal I am, not what kind of colour on the tie I claim solidarity with.

Ultimate individualism does not need the vote.
Ultimate freedom is claimed by quiet removal
and sneaky behaviour.

Voting is now like Eurovision.
You call for other people.
I say: call for yourself.

21.5.15

office with no name

These things take a long time, but time is what I will have, at some point, whether chosen by myself, or engaged with in as part of my job. Will I still have time to do things I feel are important? With children, you put away yourself, or you put away them, and, in both cases, we lose something. I just wanted to be a teenager for the rest of my life, or an old man ... maybe things would've been different if I had just chosen to become a pilot instead, living always in the clouds, touching ground only when it is necessary so to do.

Why is it that the sensible
is so rarely what we desire?

One year of preparations, no, nine years in the making, and it all culminates. Can we practice maturity? Can we learn to weld? To draw? To think? I didn't write a thesis. I should've. But I tend to be lazy. End-of-year juries are hovering around the school, with mine set for next Friday (8 days from now). Miracles are needed, but won't happen. The world is mostly fair. The satisfaction of finishing a drawing is equal to the thrill of beginning a new drawing. The hardest part is the middle, stuck at 50%, no energy, except for that which we force upon ourselves. I don't understand people who can stick to the same concept for the rest of their lives.

I don't learn.
But I change.

19.5.15

salmon yakisoba

As I'm writing this, I'm on my way home from school, on the 98, my bus, my crew, passing by Useless Arch, soon to enter Shisha Road. The road ... the road is what makes my project happen, the road is what ties it together, or rather, what does it is the text written in retrospect to what the road is. I'm not postrationalising (that hated word!) but I am postprocessing. What may be an argument in one moment is a distraction in another. Had tutorials with a former student of Dip 9 today. Not that I didn't appreciate him, but I think the feedback would have been more specific and useful if I could actually express what I'm doing, why, and then proceed along a course to prove it. But maybe I'm like Rem. Maybe I get anxious if things are going too smoothly. Something is wrong. Something is not provocative enough.

I seem to keep my weight, at least, both in the figurative and the literal meaning of the phrase. Since I'm almost always going home when it's dark, regardless of time of year, I discover new buildings everytime I actually go home early. Yes, indeed, buildings. I can't let them go. I can't escape them, even though I don't want to. But soon. I will go. I will form a family. I will move into some place I can rightfully and truthfully call my own, my home. With age comes responsibility. Different forms of play. School cannot prepare you for this. It's not easy to live life - after all, this is my first time doing it ...

Micky's restaurant and Lahore grill. Bets and supermarkets. Coming home to a room with the sheets changed (I pay to have a mum), thin sandwiches in the fridge (for when you simply don't have time ...) and a medicine that might finally do something good. Or maybe it's not the medicine. Maybe it's just the refreshing air of being so close to the end, that we can just get our hands on doing the last few things before graduation. Like drawing. Like directing music videos. Like abusing peach ice tea.

Tomorrow not back again, tomorrow forward!

17.5.15

still life

Last day of sunshine for some time here in London, and with that, slight difficulty in conducting and recording my interviews. Had a look at Wilkinson Eyre's office, whose entrance is slightly recessed into the building, so I might go there for a rainy day. But for now, I'm enjoying the sunshine in the best possible way (by sitting with my back to the light and with the window open).

Had a look through my work from 4th year, planning how to embed it into a short portfolio I can eventually use in a job application. It's the end of 5th year, I should know well by now what kind of offices I want to work in. I don't. Or, rather, most of the offices I've been working in leaves me wanting something else. A small office. Dedicated employees. Willing to inject some strangeness into the everyday.

Why is it that we paint all our rooms white these days? What is there in the shadow that we fear, in the darkness? Men of all kinds have hid in them for ages, found comfort there, bred their thoughts. A white room might wake you up, but a dark room is perfect for going to sleep. (Although in my case, it's more or less the opposite.)

15.5.15

have I wasted my time?

People tell me I'm honest.
I don't see it.

People tell me I'm sociable.
But I don't see it.

Who do we trust the most?
Those loving us and having been there for us throughout our lives?
Or those who we coincidentally meet on a street in Clerkenwell?

I tend to believe those who know have only seen my face this one time.
I tend to dismiss those who have seen my face from wonder to despair
and back again.

Reading briefs for summer school, as I redefine my intentions and goals, believing straight away that I either know everything or nothing, of myself and of the world. Continuously on the move. I tend to prefer to see one person at a time, confused by those strong, confusing those as weak as me. A nostalgia train for Vitra might carry me from Memphis to Zaha - "might" is the word. For every wounded architect is a writer wishing he had been content with being a writer. I didn't choose architecture. I choose what kind of architecture. (Some people like the sound of concrete.)

The great countdown has begun
after which, a new clock
will begin to tick.

promises, realities

Turned out Hegel was far too dangerous. Now I've returned my books to the library, and taken a vow to not read or write before the end of the term, unless, of course, that reading/writing can be justified within a unit context - which I hope I will not use as an excuse to write more than necessary. My philosophy-blog will, as a consequence, become a rather deserted territory for the coming 6 weeks. But then, I will pick up where I left. In fact, I already ordered "The Science of Logic" from Amazon, yesterday. It will be my treat for finishing architecture school.

What's next, then? When people ask me: "why don't you stay in London, get your part III? settle down?" and so on, I answer in the same way I turned to the Natural Sciences program in high school: I did it to keep things open, even though I knew very well what I wanted to do, and that did not include London. I tend to get what I work for. That's how I got into school, in the first place, and that's what will bring me away from the UK, away from Europe. I know what I want to do: live up to my own definition of success, as a friend thoughtfully put it.

The best time of day: when I wake up early, knowing I don't have to get out of bed early. And that is also, simultaneously, the worst time of day, because I wish I had a reason strong enough to get up ...

13.5.15

some vanity ...

Took an IQ-test today, partly because I thought it'd might be fun, partly because I only knew so far that my IQ was "over 140" (from a Mensa test I did six years ago, also partly for fun, and partly for self-indulgence). It came out at 145, which is quite interesting since I'm *really* bad at mental calculation (consequently I got bored towards the end and just threw the answer that "felt" best at the questionnaire), and since English is not my native language. Because I am studying to become an architect, it was no surprise that I found the visual/spatial problems very simple. I should perhaps also make clear that the test was timed, so I didn't have time to mull over a problem forever. If I took my time to brush up my math skills (and my attention span), maybe I'd get a better result ...

Of course, this is just a form of trivia. It changes little. I've rigorously maintained that those who perform best at IQ tests are those who prefer doing things similar to IQ tests. It is no coincidence that Marilyn vos Savant has a job in which she "solves puzzles and answers questions on various subjects"; isn't that precisely what an IQ test is about? Furthermore, the stories of those with high IQ can be quite saddening, so it is by no means just an omnibeneficial gift, especially when it comes with an impairment in social intelligence - a friend of me called me completely socially inept, at one point, although I try my best to counter my autistic tendencies by speaking the way I think, or not speaking at all, which sometimes is a good solution.

Reading Hegel is dangerous. He's far too interesting.
Perhaps I ought to update my ice-cream flavour list.

12.5.15

waking up is hard, going to sleep is harder

The days begin, and the days end. When it begins, I don't want it to begin, and when it ends, I don't want it to end. I don't believe I'm the first person feeling that way, and I'll certainly not be the last. Good tutorial, fun tutorial, and a thought I thought was not thought through enough, turned out to be a thought with some thought behind it. Or, in plain words: I'm making a mobile office. It doesn't crash everything, but it crashes some things, such as Chipperfield's street. How much of a vehicle can you place on the pavement without being forced to remove it? Homeless people sleep in their rags, but officeless people work on their tables, thrown out on the street, assembled on permanent wheels.

My eyes keep making things tricky. It's mostly my right eye, for some reason. And it's not because I use the right eye *more*, I already know that I am ambifocal, that is, my eyes contribute equally to the depth and clarity of my vision. But taking a walk around Bedford Square is also nice, for a change, and switching to reading and writing, as I do now. I already write far too much, though, so maybe it'd be better if I also learned to put up with the blurriness. Don't want to take risks, though. Each morning and night has its ritual rinse.

It's hard to function when you depend so much emotionally on so many people. A good or bad tutorial is the threshold between a good and bad day. Fortunately one resets with sleep. Still, as usual, I don't make it easy for myself. I try to do what I want to do. Doing it does not always produce the best result, but it does certainly produce the most genuine.

11.5.15

the more you think, the harder it becomes to act

Finally. I did something I was scared to do (i.e. talk to other people), and, in the process, became concerned over the way that I'm talking. So many "oh"s, "really?"s and "that's interesting"s ... but what can you do, like one girl in the unit said: we're architects, not interviewers. We walk the talk rather than the opposite. Therefore, even though it was just a few street interviews, I feel I'm starting to appreciate more and more the thought of starting to work.

Architecture, perceived as a format for production, comes in three flavours: the school, the office, and the building site. What I'm beginning to discover is that each of these has its own specific culture. One student may excel in school but do a terrible job professionally, and therefore crawl back to academics because it is there his ego is satisfied. Likewise, the office-hero might not be at home at all on the building site, but this inconvenience is reduced by the architect always having managers of different levels between him and the good blokes who pour the concrete into place.

Is a successful architect the one who can find himself comfortable in all three situations? Or is the successful architect the man who can surround himself with other people who do a far more excellent job in the situation called for than he could ever do? Good design intuition and philosophical pitch does not always need to produce these two things: designs and philosophy. In the world of cost-cutting and aesthetic negotiation, a brilliant talker might be the one who realises when silence is the most suitable.

Also it's funny that for every year I do at the AA, the worse my projects become!

10.5.15

AA: a cliché

The vision: a school of architecture that desires the creation of ideas, which, especially within the unit I'm studying, takes the form towards the development of such ideas. This is, of course, only halfway to truth; I would rather say that it is the development and refinement of an idea, that characterises the school. While others (most of them) want to see the technical elaboration of the idea rather than the functioning of the idea as it is, that is, they want to see the design, here it is supposedly so that the means by which you materialise the idea is subordinated to the idea itself.

This is what we call a position, a thesis.
And this is what I've come to detest.

Many projects today, including those we see on sites like the RIBA awards, tend to be project-driven. They are good projects. But what precisely does that entail? That with a good project follows good architecture? What are the similarities between the two. Ideally, the process of making a project should be analogous to the process of designing a building - this is why the AA can still call itself an architecture school, when it is, in fact, a project school. The architecture, one says, is embedded in the critical evaluation of a design problem as well as its proposed "solution"; therefore, to create a project and to argue for it will prepare the student to run a project in the office. Is this true?

I cannot vouch for it, yet, but I don't suspect so. I'm not demanding that the AA should suddenly start making buildings everywhere, again, but I do demand that there is a shift in consideration of the process of developing an idea towards consideration of the very purpose of ideas. Again, it is the question between intention and presentation; what you make needs to be digested. Perhaps we can extend this analogy even further: it needs to be visually compelling, but this is only a way of attraction. It needs to taste good, i.e. it needs to be employed in a manner considerate of all its components (bitter-salty does not really mix), it needs to be rich, in order to fill its customers, and it needs to lure us to order it again, at some other day.

But I'm not that kind of chef. Haven't been, will not become.
That is why I'm looking forward to get out of architecture school.