No Sleep ’til December
What can be said about the first undergraduate architectural studio, Arch300, at the University of Washington? Well, it’s challenging to say the least. Relentless, could be said as well. But overall, I would also say it’s very exciting.
On the first day of studio, three groups of students visited three important architectural structures in Seattle; Fisher Pavilion, Chapel of St. Ignatius and Montlake Library. Our first project focused on documenting these works and revealing something about their character. I must say that the quality of work produced by my fellow students was inspiring.
Our second major project dealt with making foam models that abstractly conceptualized space by means of subtraction. One major focus in this assignment was process. How can you make a space that is dynamic and intriguing through a repetitive process of elimination, in foam? Personally, I found this quite challenging. First, the high density foam we used was a medium that I have only used once before when I made a surfboard several years ago. It must be cut with a hot wire foam cutting machine. The machines were fun, but after several hours of heavy use the fumes became overwhelming. On the days leading up to our project deadline, many students stayed all night to finish their final models and presentation posters. This is the part of architecture school I had heard about. “Ah yes, it’s true,” I say to those in disbelief, “it’s a lot of work.” On the day our project was due, several students napped in the middle of the floor in between reviews. Zombies, we were, but most importantly, we finished on time.
I have been looking forward to architecture school for so long and one of the things I have most looked forward to is model making. Now that that process has begun, I’m ecstatic. In the end, foam is a decent medium to use. It’s light weight and relatively easy to work with. But, I fear to say, I am looking forward to more challenging and detailed models in the future. I would encourage all readers to visit the undergraduate studio in Gould Hall to view our work. I think it’s also fair to say that I am both inspired and challenged by my fellow student’s work. I’m really looking forward to seeing our progression over the coming years.
Written by Michal Okonski