Injecting Creativity: Literally

 

Some of you may remember that a while ago I made a post that was about me developing a manual booklet about the crit. So in the following weeks and maybe months I will start adding some of the characters who may feature in the final booklet.

For this post I will be looking at the injection of creativity into students and the inverse relationship in which the tutors inject that creativity. What is that? Does it exist? Is it creativity or style that is being injected? This are a few of the question we will explore as we look at the this uncanny subject of Injecting Creativity: Literally.

Be warned that in this post we do not offer answers to those burning questions, but rather we ask, explore and even get lost in the words which we aimlessly write. Feel free to criticise because that will be the satisfaction you might get from wasting time to be negative.

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To start lets consider how there’s a style or method of design which many students aspire towards. The rise of the so called star-architect has also created a vaccum in which many students will crawl through in order that they attain such status in their professional careers. Concurrently, some schools of architecture have become the epitome of what an architectural education should be, thus defining the methods of teaching, style of graphics, process of thinking, modes of practice, and a standard to which many other school see themselves as submitting to the holy grail of creativity. To me that school, though good in the end of year exhibitions being displaying for the public bears very little in terms of what model should be used to train furture architect. Of course with this in mind, design will be about a quest to meet standards of competition rather than of solving design challenges through a creative urge. In light of this we have also witsnessed a ubiqutous model of teaching architects that is creeping into societies where certain language of design says nothing about the culture, infrastructural problems or reveals the aesthtics that is pleasing to the eye.

How is this a problem one might ask? Curiosity is aroused when for many years there’s a repeat in the type of projects that are emerging from the same school, by the same tutors and with the same graphical language. Where is creativity one wonders? Is this merely a copy of what the original was or has this been injected diluted remedy for those entering the presence of particular tutors. Can the tutor do something about this or should there student be in constant search for creativity and also develop a new ability to communicate their ideas which reflets their understanding of the world creatively?

No answer to the preceding questions, but what I could say is that the remedy currenlty being injected among some students of architects might be toxic to the design of our places of living.

 

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Le Chef de environnement construit: A middleman between the experience of living and the world’s civilisation.

This may seem like one of those posts where there is a pretence of some quasi “architecture theorist” who is seeking attention or looking to sound poetic by the misuse of the English language in sentences, many grammatical errors will be encountered along the way. There’s no need to worry because through your corrections you will make this story one which you might enjoy and be able to add on. I suppose that’s what stories are- an amalgamation of different experiences to produce a rich narrative or better understanding of life experiences…

To start on our journey together, let us delve into the unappetising experience that emerges from a friend’s kitchen when bellies pertruding from the body signalling to the cooker or chef of the evening a degree of satisfaction from that evening’s meal. A stroke of ego is now passing through the evening’s chef as this is testament to his creativity in combining flavours, merging ingredients, boiling water, controlling cooking temperature, chopping, grating, peeling and presenting the meal to the expert eaters-us. It’s a shame there were no leftovers for the trip back home or even for breakfast. Anyhooooowwww… 

The cleaning of a dishes is now taking place, with mist from the warm water produced by taps reducing visibility in the kitchen. A common view of not investing in a dishwasher is shared, not only for sustainability principles but also for the pockets of these young professionals. Screwsh! Scrub! Splash! Now the kitchen has been turned from a dry room to a wet room. Floors are a slippery hazard, health and safety inspector is not on site to alert us of the building codes we are braking and now another task is added-is it mopping the floor or the reduction of a safety hazard?

 “Thank for you for a lovely meal”; says one of my friends. Then the conversations descended to how lovely and wonderful the meal was. A display of knowledge about the ingredients used began to take ownership of the discussion, this was followed by a sentence regarding that the chef is an “architect”, hmm… what do you think? A chef employs creativity to create meals that are pleasing to observe, they inhabit the stomach beautifully in order that we become healthy and nourished, they bring pleasure to the tongue through stimulating different parts of it, facilitate for strength to our bodies etc. I suppose one could say they are the middleman between nutrition and the experience of eating. 

If this is the case, then what are Architects all about?

Are they the middle man between the experience of living and a civilisation we are creating? Through revealing meaningful stories, experiences and a creative urge to beautify the world. Delight is brought to the many spaces we enter, occupy and use; echoes of the present, past and future descends upon us. We become active participants to an ongoing story that shapes our life and others though we may be unaware of the immediate effects at the time; testament of which could occur after decades, centuries or even millennia when the capacity of the bearer is able to interpret the genius embedded within the work.   

To many, architecture is a profession that is about combining a variety of geometries, colours and materials to make the room, garden, neighbourhood, village or even skyline look pretty; essentially it the making of a building and being good at drawing. The current practice of this profession is testament to the forgotten essence of what is truly being cultivated when one engages with an orchestration of space and the alteration of the environment towards the requirements of the clients. Such an occasion should be viewed as a celebratory moment, rather than a daunting one as it’s a prescription to the problems of space that we face regularly. It could leave us being grateful of the place that satisfies us like the meal from the chef. We could end up discussing the ingredients of the making of a good place or space. We will be left with a thirst and hunger for many spies and places like such.

It’s evident that on some occasion our practice of it; is enthralled by the dynamics of capitalism, bureaucracy, some challenging clients and the need to attain some-kind of celebrity status which is being viewed as a guarantee to being a “Good Architect”. 

What would the chef prescribe? What would the architect prescribe?

 

Which Software? To BIM or not to BIM

At the weekly tutorials, one of the students asked me what software they should use for their designs and which one is ‘good‘. I was left perplexed… I attempted to make an inttellligent suggestion as I perused my thoughts for programmes which I have used in the past and current. Rhinoceros+Grasshopper spit out through my lips and the reveberation were echoed to the ears of the students.

This left the student with other questions such:

  • as is it going to help me get a job?
  • Is it easy to learn?
  • How long would it take for me to be proficient at using it?

Legible question I should add because when I was choosing to learning any software it was not because it will help me best explain the project. It was mainly to do with being employed once I have learned it. I think today an architecture studets is required to learn so many programmes that it’s even hard to figure out which one would best suit the industry standards. Autodesk are the one championing the BIM idea and other companies are buying to this idea. The profession seems to be enthralled with a degree of quasi softwarism that is emerging to direct how people should design and make things. This is a compilation that was conducted by someone on archdaily that a student allowed me to see it, that help the lost to indentify which software they are ought to use with regards to their design skills and interests-it fails to cover a lot of things.

 

My on learning new porgrammes thus far it seems to be oriented towards what the industry is requiring rather than me providing the knowledge of how I think and apply my design intution. I am more focused on learning to meet specific practice in order than they find work which is similar to their taste so that they can easily employ me- i think with most students this is what they are focused on. The prioritisation of learning software rather than the cultivation of new knowledge in light of emerging industry technologies.

 

NB: Most of these programmes do pretty much the same thing. (Learn the difference between mesh, vector or nurbs and you will be fine)