Sprint Week, Day 2: Let it Go

The readings for today’s sprint class had a common theme: forget your hangups and go with your gut when it comes to architecture. Louis Kahn, in “Form and Design” (1961), told the story of a young architect coming to him with a problem: he could dream as big as he wanted, but as soon as he tried to put pen to paper, the dream fell apart in the face of reality. Kahn’s response was basically just to say, Fuck it, dude. Quit thinking about it and do what you want. Or, in his own words:

The first line on paper is already a measure of what cannot be expressed fully. […] Turn to Feeling and away from Thought. In Feeling is the Psyche. Thought is Feeling and presence of Order. Order, the maker of all existence, has No Existence Will. […] All that we desire to create has its beginning in feeling alone.

So, uh, that was a lot of fancy-sounding words, but the basic theme is the same: Don’t think. Just do.

Frank Gehry, in “Architecture and Intuition,” is even clearer about this. Here’s a quote that I loved so much I had to put on tumblr:

frank gehry quote tumblr

Well, for yesterday’s class, the assignment was to pick a piece of designed architecture and do a little bit of research, with the end goal being to write a story about said building by the end of the week. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I picked The Shard, which is in the London Bridge Quarter of London, England.

A picture I took of the unfinished Shard. I thought it was cool juxtaposed with the Gothic architecture of the cathedral to the right.
A picture I took of the unfinished Shard. I thought it was cool juxtaposed with the Gothic architecture of the cathedral to the right.

The thing about The Shard: it’s preeeeettttyyyyyy. And the reason it’s so pretty (to me, anyway) is because of what they call “white glass” that the windows are made of, which is more reflective than normal glass. As a result, the building is reflective of the sky, and that’s cool. There’s also a cool view from the inside as well.

Visitors look out from the Shard viewing platform

This got me thinking about open spaces: the glass and the openness of this last view make me think of air, of light. Which of course made my mind turn to GHOST STORY! Upon researching, I found that right after the building was inaugurated in June of 2012, a group of six female Greenpeace protesters scaled the building. Medics were called in, climbing coaches were called in, you name it. And after these women were coached/helped to the top of the building, they were arrested. Fascinating. I started thinking: what about those medics? What about a regular worker who looks up from his desk and sees these women scaling past his cubicle?

The exercise for this writing assignment is to play with form and structure in a way that mimics or evokes the structure of the building. And since my mind went to light, air, and ghosts when first thinking about The Shard, I want to write a piece where one of those protesters falls, dies, and then haunts the rest of the story, so to speak. With a lot of white space.

Fun, right?

I’ll post the story at the end of the week once I’m finished.

~Liz

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