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…refrigerator art…



Rarely, have I ever talked about my day job on this blog.  Probably only for one reason; I come here to escape from it.  I cook to escape from it.  I don’t eat, sleep nor dream of doing architecture.  I never have.  The only times it occupies my thoughts, at night with my head on a pillow, it is the source of a sour stomach and sleeplessness.   I am quite sure the only way I wound up in it, doing it, is that I didn’t want to disappoint my dad.  I don’t know – I don’t want to believe that he wanted me to have sleepless nights and indigestion – maybe he thought it would be a vast source of happiness for me.  It has yet to become such a thing.

Life is funny that way – that you can actually quite dislike what you do and still find a modicum of success at it.  I suppose it isn’t much different than having a good set of shoulders and finding you’re really gifted at digging ditches or holes in the ground, while not finding any particular joy in it.  In fact, that is pretty much what it feels like most days…   

It isn’t that I dislike architecture – it’s that it is impossible for me to love doing it in any real sense.  It pains me because somewhere I came to, or maybe never shed, the belief that you should build your life around things you love.  It isn’t ever real  – it’s never mine, never something that IS as a unique result of my being here on earth.  I suppose my previous post shines light on to it – about the nature of falling in love or being in love and what, in my mind, gives it fertile ground, that the things you love elevate you to a higher realm.  It’s not just that – it’s not responsive in a positive way.  Architecture, and doing projects, always seems the opposite; it lowers me, asks me to become more adept at juggling more minutae to prove I still can actually do it, demands that I learn new software, nod willingly to endless code revisions and amendments, all for the sake of doing slightly less than was possible the day before….

And so I bitch, but It’s a universal bitch and not directed at any one source.  In fact, there are moments of it that are quite fun for me.  I wound up with a really improbably beautiful project in the hills of California.  It’s a beautiful site and location.  It’s for a new house with a smaller carriage/guest house and on the first flight down to look at the property in person, I drew this sketch.

I based it on limited information, no real program in mind of square footage, bedrooms, function of spaces – I just let my mind wander.  I cheated.  While I will never steal anyones ideas literally, I feel free to use them figuratively. I had just gotten back from Europe a few months prior, still mulling over Florence and the massive Duomo by Brunelleschi.  I based the house and the carriage house on that very idea; the main house was the ‘cathedral’, and the carriage house the baptistery.  I laid it out somewhat literally, like a basillica, with a cruciform plan…  It was an idea to start a conversation…

I’ve been working on this now for a few months and somehow the original idea hasn’t changed much – the aesthetics have, but the plan, the massing, the idea are all still there from the original sketch.  Which still makes me wonder if I got it all down in a quick sketch at 6 am on an airplane – or if there is something more to consider, even as the design develops and unfolds…  I guess none of that matters…

The original sketch has been comandeered by the mother of my client, who has been actively involved, and wants every subsequent original sketch.  She comments and hugs me and tells me how much she loves my drawings after each meeting and visit, and it’s sort of overwhelming and lovely to feel as if she’s got them affixed to her refrigerator with magnets…

I suppose something about that makes me feel really humbled and complete; that sometimes the effort and the thought is worth keeping and recognizing; too often people focus on the final work, not the imperfect efforts that go in to the making of it, the path…  It’s really quite liberating to realize, in another subtle way, that the journey is the real reward.

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Discussion

2 thoughts on “…refrigerator art…

  1. in other words you like to draw house but not build houses….

    Posted by marla | April 8, 2015, 1:08 am
    • Yes, somewhat. Mostly I like to draw ideas, or things I picture in my head. Drawing buildings is, and always has been, low on my scale of favorite things to draw; they are static and largely unemotional. I love body language, eyes, smiles, hair, curves. I love just watching people talk or eat, walk, smoke, drink…

      I suppose what I enjoy about food and art around writing/recording recipes is that there are steps and transformations and colors and textures that change along the way as a result. It is fun to imagine it all first, then circle back and write/note what was actually different and why…

      Designing a building always starts out very raw and is the best at that point – just being a vision. It is difficult because as it evolves, it often withers into something I no longer recognize. People fixate on specific little pieces and never the big picture. They become adamant that a certain whatever must be a certain way, without regard to any reason for it being there. Like putting tater tots on a cheesecake sometimes. And I have to step back and breathe and wonder how can I communicate better… It’s frustrating.

      So yes, a short answer gone long, I love the drawing (imagining) part. It’s a universal love across pretty much everything subject.

      Posted by Schilb Industrial Arts | April 8, 2015, 2:04 am

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