Projecting the project….

I remember the first time I built something out of wood.  I felt a sense of accomplishment, not just because I completed a built piece, but because there was a significant moment in the process when I realized that a design or a thought doesn’t become real until it bypasses its innate desire to remain just that – an idea.  A design, when it is carried through to the end or it becomes part of the built environment, then becomes a PROJECT.  I often struggle with this – I think all architecture students struggle with this – the feeling of incompleteness and the struggle to know when to stop (or be forced to stop) the design process.  To aid in this overwhelming struggle against the mechanical instrument that adorns my left wrist, I bought a book last semester called Time Management for Architects + Designers .  As you can probably imagine, I really haven’t had the time to pick it up and read it.  But it looks really great on my bookshelf (If only I had an Ipad or a Kindle, then I would most definitely have read it by now).  But it’s crazy because, as if it isn’t hard enough to read a self-help book from cover to cover, this one, in particular, has a ton of active exercises that one must do in order to receive further instruction on how to better manage one’s time.  So not only are you spending time reading, but you must invest more time into an exercise to better develop your time management skills.  I’m not saying the author failed or that I don’t recommend the book, but I know that when I got to page 4 and he told me that I then needed to make a list, well….Let’s just say the book now makes a really nice coaster.
So why do I bring this up?  I don’t know.  Maybe because it’s Friday, I’m exhausted, have averaged 4 or 5 hours of sleep a night, and I can’t figure out which project in school I want to begin to tackle tomorrow.  But during my stress over school, I thought about that darn book – and how that darn book related to Studio V’s project – that’s right, PROJECT.  By my definition, this past Wednesday was the day that the bluesphere information kiosk DESIGN became a project.  We are into it now.  We have built one wall, criticized its flaws, and reveled in its semi-completeness.  It’s a shame because during the drenching that we all took while building the wall, I came to the same realization that I did when I was building my aforementioned piece of furniture.  The second I wanted to congratulate everyone for a successful wall-building day in the rain, I realized that the fun was just beginning, and our mock-up out in the Yard was simply a part of the design process.  As my intelligent friend Jim Graham always says, “You have to constantly be designing….”
So, that brings me to where Studio V sits right now….most likely at a bar this evening or in the bleachers at the Homecoming football game versus Miami tomorrow afternoon in Clemson (Go Tigers?).  This afternoon, Professor Pastre and the gang all sat down in the Library to go over the gameplan for how to complete the Marion Square project next week.  Once, we fine-tuned all of the details for how to proceed with installation in the park, we put all of it aside for a few hours to talk about the upcoming endeavor in Cannon Park – the movie projection screen and staging area for the showing of Citizen Architect.  You can probably imagine the overwhelmed feeling we all had when we had to discuss ideas and design strategies for the second phase of our semester when the first one was at such a crucial point in its near completion less than a week away.  We were fried.  I applaud our Professor for not ripping us to shreds for not having that many concrete ideas during the Design Charette about the upcoming Projection Screen.
“Charette” is derived from the French word for “cart” or “chariot” and comes from the notion that at the Ecole Des Beaux-Arts in Paris back in the day, architecture students would be working feverishly to complete their designs, and meanwhile, a large cart would be wheeled through their studios to collect all of the drawings so they could be reviewed by the professors.  I think today’s cart was more like a small handbasket that you grab when you run into the store to buy 10 items or less.  Only 2 days after our mock-up fiasco, I think we all felt like time was running thin, there was too much to do, and our ideas were limited.  But, in the end, I think Studio V took care of business.  We had an intelligent discussion about the designs to come, sites were chosen in Cannon park, design teams were drawn from a hat, and we all got to get in some good Feline time with the new Studio cat, Shady, that Lauren adopted on our field trip to Shady Grove Campground yesterday.
So, what’s the projected time for the completion of the project that we are projecting to have complete right before the day we have to project ideas about the movie projection project?  Well, that remains to be seen, but I do know that we are in a good place right now – a busy place, but good.  I think we are all certainly very excited about seeing the design come to a point where it can be safely dubbed a PROJECT.
Happy weekend.

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