Every semester the Clemson Architecture Center in Charleston hosts a series of lectures for both students and design professionals. On Tuesday evening we had the privilege of having Clemson’s own, Professor Dan Harding as our closing lecturer this semester. Officially, Professor Harding serves as an Associate Professor and the Director of Graduate Architecture Studies at the School of Architecture. Unofficially, if you ask a graduate architecture student why they chose to come to Clemson over any other graduate program, Dan is likely to be included in the response.
In his lecture on Tuesday, Dan spoke about work that he has been involved in spanning from his time as a student to present day. His “fil rouge”, or common thread, throughout the projects discussed was community, collaboration, and craftsmanship. While this lecture was not tailored or directed towards our studio, it felt like Professor Harding was speaking directly to us. This week has been a critical turning point for us as we move away from our computers and start working with our hands.
Dan used an analogy that has really stuck with me; he spoke of the difference between a carpenter and a gardener. A carpenter removes material, is focused on detail, and crafted creation. A gardener creates new material and has an organic nature. As designers is it possible to create place, in the role of carpenter, where we can foster space for gardeners? Dan reminded us of the bigger picture. We are not just building a park shelter. Hopefully we are making something that makes space for imagination, growth, learning, and expression.