#ArchiTalks 21 "back to school"

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I started kindergarten when I was four, due to a “late” birthday and a longing to follow the kids who passed by our house every day.  I asked my mom where they were going and she said, “They are going to school”.  My mom wrote in my baby book a lot of stories and I won’t repeat the one that is written above but I will tell you the one that I remember from the same time.  I remember sititng down with Mr. Brown (who I later found out was the school psychologist) and he asked me questions and asked me to write my name and asked me to draw a picture of a person.  So I drew a picture of him, no holds barred, he was of a rather large stature and had glasses and a beard and he looked at it and laughed and then he shared it with the principal and I’m sure my file said something to the effect of:

“Left-hand dominant- - a bit off-kilter, and make sure to give her those special green-vinyl handled scissors….”

But they let me in anyways.  

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kindergarten preview day, may 1969
my daughter says, "scary"

Now I can’t help but think of that Rod Stewart song, “Maggie May when he sings, “it’s late September and I really should be back at school” .  Of course the last time I really went “Back to School” was in the Fall of 1987, after I had spent the year abroad, a lot of change had occurred in that time, in me and the school and I was none too happy to be there, and if the pic of us at Commencement shows, I was pretty happy to be finished (well…. Minus that College Algebra)

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i call this photo "the missing 0%" because we are all licensed
As I write this, my youngest has been back two weeks, my middle started college a week ago and my oldest who graduated college last May is enjoying her first time in seventeen years that she isn’t back to school (at least until grad school…) and I am not travelling the length of the state to help take her there.

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And I do attend as a guest juror at design critiques when I am invited at local colleges, of which I say at least once a semester,

“Take advantage of being in school and being able to do anything because someday you will be in the real world and you will be working on some planning regulations or designing within some pretty tight requirements and you are going to think to yourself (or scream it out loud so that co-workers or your kids will look at you)

“Why didn’t I do something else for that duplex for two families that I had to design for that project in second year???”

I bring that up because it was probably one of my worst projects in school and I can pretty much say that I really didn’t like the project. In fact, I disliked it so much, I actually threw it away afterwards.  The problem was that it had started out pretty good.  We went to the site in Venice Beach where it was on a walk street a few blocks away from the water, I had these great pencil drawn site context sketch collages, (I didn’t throw those away) we had a good program that one of my friends and I had come up with for this great concept we had.  The two families would be very different and so there would be this great design coming from it and my instructor had this great idea for me.  Now besides adjusting to life away from home and a self-imposed two year dating hiatus, I think I was having a De Stijl moment in more ways than one and though I was trying, the concept really got in the way of the design and it had intertwining stairs that took up too much space and the facade was just flat (probably brought about because there was too much program for the site) and the instructor just kept on pushing and though I fully understood what she was saying, I just didn’t agree with her and I can remember her giving me a desk crit one day and I was just sitting there with God only knows what expression on my face and she said to me:

“Are you having personal problems?”

And I think I said, “I don’t know…”

But what I was thinking was….

Well, you don’t really want to know what I was thinking but the point is:

In architecture school and probably at any other school or college there will be a moment or moments when you will think:

What’s the point?  What am I doing here?  Am I good enough? Where am i going? Am I doing this right?
And it is because you are in school, you are thinking, you are exercising that organ of yours called a brain!  Don’t let it get lazy, don’t let people tell you what to do with it, don’t let someone tell you how you should feel and most important, Use the creativity that lies within it, that begs to be let out, that screams for attention, that makes you wonder, that sees the beauty in the world and the not so beautiful and helps you to discover how to make it even better, but let it be you that shows it.

I moved to Venice Beach in late 1989, and lived there for ten years, first in a 489 sq ft vintage vacation bungalow, then moved next door to a 700 sq ft one with a 70’s addition with skylights.  I was consulting for an architect who lived and worked out of a bungalow on Wave Crest, the same walk street where the second year site was.  It was a beautiful community and something was built on that corner lot, but thankfully it wasn’t my project.  

I try to take my kids somewhere the night before they are due back.  I wanted to go to the beach for the sunset but we were running out of time, so we went to the top of Mount Helix and could see their high school below and the college in the distance and watched the end of the day.

We love.
We learn.
We live.
Get Back to School!


Thank you for reading "i never met a woman architect before... a part of #architalks 21
If you would like to read other architects' views on "Back to School", please click on their links below and feel free to share!
Enoch Sears - Business of Architecture (@businessofarch)
Back to School!
Bob Borson - Life of An Architect (@bobborson)
Matthew Stanfield - FiELD9: architecture (@FiELD9arch)
Designing Back to School
Marica McKeel - Studio MM (@ArchitectMM)
ArchiTalks: "Back To School"
Jeff Echols - Architect Of The Internet (@Jeff_Echols)
What Have We Learned? It's Back To School For #ArchiTalks 21
Lee Calisti, AIA - Think Architect (@LeeCalisti)
good to go back to school
Mark R. LePage - EntreArchitect (@EntreArchitect)
Back to School: Marketing for Architects
Evan Troxel - Archispeak Podcast / TRXL (@etroxel)
Lora Teagarden - L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
4 Tips As You Go Back To School
Collier Ward - One More Story (@BuildingContent)
Cormac Phalen - Cormac Phalen (@archy_type)
Back to School Again
Nicholas Renard - dig Architecture (@dig-arch)
Andrew Hawkins, AIA - Hawkins Architecture, Inc. (@hawkinsarch)
Jeremiah Russell, AIA - ROGUE Architecture (@rogue_architect)
Jes Stafford - MODwelling (@modarchitect)
Cindy Black - Rick & Cindy Black Architects (*)
Eric T. Faulkner - Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
Rosa Sheng - EquitybyDesign [EQxD] (@EquityxDesign)
Michele Grace Hottel - Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)
#architalks 21 "back to school"
Meghana Joshi - IRA Consultants, LLC (@MeghanaIRA)
Amy Kalar - ArchiMom (@AmyKalar)
Michael Riscica - Young Architect (@YoungArchitxPDX)
Let’s Get Back To (Architect) School …or Work.
Stephen Ramos - BUILDINGS ARE COOL (@sramos_BAC)
brady ernst - Soapbox Architect (@bradyernstAIA)
Back to the Cartography Board
Brian Paletz - The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz)
Back to School
Michael LaValley - Evolving Architect (@archivalley)
#ArchiTalks / 15 Ways to Make the Most of Your Architectural Education
Jonathan Brown - Proto-Architecture (@mondo_tiki_man)
Eric Wittman - intern[life] (@rico_w)
getting [schooled] again
Sharon George - Architecture By George (@sharonraigeorge)
What's better than architecture after school?
Brinn Miracle - Architangent (@architangent)
David Molinaro - Relax2dmax (@relax2dmax)
Emily Grandstaff-Rice - Emily Grandstaff-Rice FAIA (@egrfaia)
Daniel Beck - The Architect's Checklist (@archchecklist)
Jarod Hall - di'velept (@divelept)
Back to {Architecture} School
Anthony Richardson - That Architecture Student (@anth_rich)
Lindsey Rhoden - SPARC Design (@sparcdesignpc)
Drew Paul Bell - Drew Paul Bell (@DrewPaulBell)
Back to School...Suckasssssss
Greg Croft - Sage Leaf Group (@croft_gregory)
Courtney Casburn Brett - Casburn Brett (@CasburnBrett)
Jeffrey Pelletier - Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
Aaron Bowman - Product & Process (@PP_Podcast)
Samantha Raburn - The Aspiring Architect (@TheAspiringArch)
Kyu Young Kim - Palo Alto Design Studio (@sokokyu)
Back to School: Seoul Studio
Nisha Kandiah - TCDS (@SKRIBBLES_INC)
Karen E. Williams - (@karenewilliams3)
Jared W. Smith - Architect OWL (@ArchitectOWL)
Back to School...
Rusty Long - Rusty Long, Architect (@rustylong)
Keith Palma - Architect's Trace (@cogitatedesign)
Adam Denais - Defragging Architecture (@DefragArch)
[ArchiTalks #21] 10 Things Architecture Students Say Going Back to School
Jim Mehaffey - Yeoman Architect (@jamesmehaffey)
Back to School? It Doesn't Stop there for Architects.
Ken Saginario - Twelfth Street Studio ()
Tim Ung - Journey of an Architect (@timothy_ung)
10 Things I wish I knew about Architecture School

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