In the 3rd year of architecture there is a design class that is a sort of right of passage. It is referred to as “Sound Building” and while acoustics are important in a building what it really refers to is demonstrating an understanding of all the requirements of a building and the ability to bring them together in a finished design. Sound = whole = complete.
If you don’t pass this particular semester you have to repeat it before continuing on to the advanced design classes. Since it only was available once a year, having to repeat it would set you back one full year. Architecture is already a 5-year program and I did not want to take any unnecessary risks. I left Antenora Architects to focus on Sound Building.
It was a crazy time because I spent as much time as possible in the studio and invested way more effort than any semester prior. I had a buddy that I sat next to and we kept the same schedule. We stayed one hour later each night than we did the night before, but as a result we also arrived one hour later the following day. Thus we really did not gain ourselves any time, but we did turn day into night and night into day. It was at this point that we really appreciated the 24 hour Taco Cabana.
Up to this point we had structures classes, environmental controls (building comfort), visual communications (art for presentation) and of course design. Now we had to demonstrate that we could use what we had learned to make a functioning building.
I was allowed to advance. Some of my peers didn’t, they had to repeat Sound Building. It really was rigorous. My design was referred to as “practical.” That seemed derogatory in the academic environment, but my work was grounded in reality, because I had been working at firms since I was 16. It was very difficult for me to draw things that were impossible because I had already been exposed to the real world.
Later, I was exposed to some professors that helped me develop methods for incorporating the abstract into my design process.
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