On Friday, May 8th at 5:30 pm, I joined 80+ friends, family, faculty, area professionals, and graduates for SDSU DoArch’s 2020 Graduation Ceremony via zoom. There was an informal sense as Brian Rex, Department Head and Associate Professor, pointed out a few people reclining as they watched.
Imagine: It’s the fall semester of your senior year of college. You can’t wait to see all of your friends, have late nights in the studio, and take multiple trips to Lowes. Fast forward to your spring break. You have just finished your midterm architecture review and said, “See you later” to your friends and classmates. Little did you know, you probably won’t ever be seeing some of those classmates ever again.
In a profession that has multiple answers for every problem, having a means to use analytical data in your design almost seems like a cheat code to success. Film has benefited from the same the concept that this idea rests so firmly on; human curiosity. My interest in how our environment influences our attentiveness turned me towards videography. What if your environment is a screen in front of you? Publishing websites like YouTube and Vimeo both have integrated analytics that break down things like “average user watch time” and “retention rate.” While these terms seem outlandish when put into juxtaposition with the design of our built environment, they are used in the same way serial vision is implemented in architecture. Every videographer’s goal is to create something that holds the viewers’ attention through the ending. Most of us know what it’s like to watch the first 30 seconds of a video only to stop watching because it didn’t interest us.
The last AIA Convention’s theme was rural resiliency. At that time, we didn’t know the challenges we have faced the last month or so. I keep coming back to the idea though. I have hope that our state will bounce back. Midwesterners are known for their toughness and ability to weather the storms: their resiliency. This year’s spring meeting was evidence of that attitude. The plan was to hold the meeting in Brookings hosted by SDSU’s chapter of AIAS. The students had put time and thought into an informative agenda. Social distancing changed plans.
Architecture can be found in every area of the globe, from your house in Brookings, South Dakota, to the Cathedral Church of St. Nicholas in Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK. Traveling can enhance your perspective of a place and become a learning experience… I realized that we can learn from architecture anywhere; whether it be from a building down the street or across the world.
As I reflect on our time in Toronto and think more about how similar experiences could impact the architectural student community, I am extremely thankful to have had the opportunity to travel and immerse myself in a completely new place. In my opinion, travel is one of the best experiences for an aspiring architect. From observing close-up intricacies of design to understanding the transition between spaces, every architectural masterpiece emits a certain magnificence that is only absorbed in person. I have become a firm believer in the architecture of experience. To me, architecture is something that has the ability to evoke feelings and spark imagination within. Something that you don’t always experience right away, but instead may require a desire for exploration.