Posted by zi xin wong at 8:55 PM
I don't mean to be pretentious at all - but architecture to me, isn't just any old job. It is a job, but it is also, and more importantly, a lifestyle. We're constantly surrounded by it, there's no switching off, no escaping from it. It is a passion - you really have to be passionate about the whole sphere of architecture, and in love with it, to survive ('Survive'? Okay, a little bit of exaggeration there).
I went into architecture school not expecting anything, and I think that has helped me - in that I haven't been disappointed by the reality side of it. It has its ups and downs, as with everything else; but at the end of the day, if the passion and interest is there, it's all worth it. I'm not just saying this because everything has been handed in either. That said, however, I think there is a danger in taking architecture too seriously. It's excellent, of course, to work hard and make something out of nothing (which is incredibly powerful). Sometimes, though, we need to stop, take a step back and reflect ... and enjoy.
Looking back at this semester's work, I realised I've injected a large amount of 'me' and my interests outside of architecture into architecture. I love that - when non-architecture develops and becomes something architectural. Earlier this year, I attended the annual PAM Architecture Conference in Malaysia. One of the practices that stood out was Howeler Yoon Architecture (or MY Studio). I've been reading their publication, Expanded Practice. They create amazing architecture, the kind that I would like to be able to do one day - where process, applied rules and parameters result in the end product. Absolutely incredible. MY Studio does more than just buildings (hence, expanded practice) - one of my favourite from the book was Three Degrees of Felt, which purpose was to "take the existing canonical space of the Guggenheim (NY) and attempt to transform the experience through a material intervention which mediates subject, object and space". The sculptural surface was to hold The Aztec Empire exhibition in 2004. The process was meticulous and driven by several parameters. Head over to their website for a better understanding. Here are a few photos, from the practice's website.
Howeler and Yoon have also explored the role of architecture (more specifically, the relationship between surface and shape) in fashion. They employed the Mobius strip to "reexamine surface as a seamless transformative condition between interior and exterior" - the result is the Mobius Dress:
I really could go on forever on the practice of Howeler+Yoon. I like that much of their work involve hands-on exploration and reexamination. Lighting is another element that they explore. You may have come across their lighting installation for the 2004 Athens Olympics, White Noise/White Light:
So these are fibre optics and speakers, responding to the movement of people walking through the space. They trace the pedestrians, emitting white light and white noise - ultimately, in Howeler+Yoon's own words, "an interactive sound and light field". Absolutely brilliant and incredibly evocative - amazing, amazing, amazing. The practice is so inspiring and engaging (to its context, environment, users and observers), but I'll have to stop writing here.
Expanded practice? Yes, please! Oh, and on a last note, the book is very well written.
All images from Howeler Yoon Architecture.