i know that feeling (in sculpture form)

Wandering around the CAFA campus was great fun because there were a number of undergraduate student exhibitions scattered throughout. I stumbled upon the sculpture studio, and unfortunately the sculpture exhibition wouldn’t start until the week after, but I saw this piece and thought it was pretty great.

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I don’t know who the artist is since there was no label, but it’s pretty amazing, right? Part of me thinks it’s a self-portrait, but even if it’s not a direct self-portrait, I think all students, architects, and the like can sympathize. For my part, I’ve definitely fallen asleep in similarly awkward positions at my drafting table.

reminiscing: why i’m an architect

About this time five years ago, I was sitting in the courtyard of Goldsmith Hall on the University of Texas campus in Austin, Texas. It is there that I sat on a worn wooden bench taking photos of the petal-filled space. It was so quiet, I remember there being a slight chill in the air, and I was all alone. I loved that courtyard. I still love it. The space has an innate sense of calm that’s not shut off from the frenzy on the other side of the windows, but has the ability to recontextualize it and add some measure of beauty to the madness.

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Was I taking a break from a studio project? Ah no, that was my first semester without studio. Having finished the majority of my architecture degree requirements at that point, my schedule was filled with English and humanities classes. Perhaps that’s why I found myself back in the arms of good ol’ Goldsmith, visiting an old friend, a place I felt so comfortable in. This is a photo that has come to define me, and in many ways still does. It’s been my avatar on so many sites for so long, I don’t know if I’ll ever change it. Granted it’s not the best photo, not the best composed, and not the greatest quality, but I cherish it because it’s a moment from that time – that four years of time when I became an architect.

I was recently browsing one of my favorite blogs, Life of an Architect, and started thinking about that title. The life of an architect. The architect behind it, Bob Borson, is referring to his specific life as an architect, but moreso about the life of architects in general. He’s a University of Texas alum and practicing architect in Dallas, and I always find it interesting to read about and from architects, because it’s the life I could’ve had if I had stuck with practicing. But the truth is, I will always consider myself an architect. And my life will always be that of an architect. The truth is, I never wanted to be an architect and ended up in the major purely by accident (a result of some extreme procrastination that ended up being the best mistake ever). The truth is, as much as I am infatuated with art and as crap I am at architectural design, my perspective of the world will always be that of an architect. And the truth is that I will always consume way too much coffee, stay up all night all too often for no apparent reason, write with the black Precise V5s I buy in bulk because yes I have a favorite pen, obsess about details no one else cares about, and absolutely whole-heartedly love architecture.

I may not be able to legally call myself an architect, and practicing architects may frown on my choice to stay out of the field (trust me, I was crap at practicing), but that alone doesn’t make one an architect. So yeah, that’s why I’m an architect.

sweet leaf sweet tea – austin iced tea

Sweetness. Sweet tea. Love the stuff. How can you not? Sweet Leaf is a brand of iced teas, and the company is based in Austin! Ah, fond memories. Since Sweet Leaf uses cane sugar and black tea and its ingredients list is super short, even though it’s in a can, it’s much, much better than Nestea or Brisk or Snapple because Sweet Leaf actually tastes like sweet tea rather than canned/bottled iced tea.

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My favorite flavor is the peach sweet tea, although the original is pretty yummy too. The vending machine on campus has an array of Sweet Leaf options, which is great (and fairly uncommon for New York) … but a bad thing for my coin purse. I’ve been on campus A LOT lately working on thesis stuff, and the Sweet Leaf is only two flights of stairs and $1.25 away … so yes, there has been A LOT of Sweet Leaf consumed lately.

studio chicken

I have come to the conclusion that late nights in architecture studio is like a game of chicken. Who can last the longest? Who can endure the pain? You watch people pack up their laptops, wind up the long white charger cords, and tuck their headphones away in pockets. And internally, you smirk. Part of you envies them, as they wipe their eyes and stretch their arms and talk of going home and the softness of their beds that await them there. Yet as much as you truly envy them, you imagine them envying you more. As they pass by your work station, bags slung across weary shoulders and various empty soda cans and takeout containers in hand, they glance over at you. Their looks attempt to convey a sense of sympathy, but you interpret them as saying: “Ah! If only I could be that strong!” And at that point, despite the kink in your neck, the bleariness in your eyes, and the weight in your typing fingers, a sense of victory surges within you. For as the clock strikes three in the morning, you have won the game of studio chicken.

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the hunt for snackages

I haven’t posted in a while because I haven’t made anything in a while. Yeah … school has basically sucked me in. I can spend the entire day in studio and feel like no time at all has passed. That space truly is a black hole of time. Sigh. I made oatmeal cookies the other day but those got decimated pretty quickly . Today I made potato bread and granola bars, which I thought would be great for studio snacks.

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The bread was yummy. I sliced it up and stuck a bunch of it in the freezer. I’ll probably have that for toast in the mornings. As for the ‘granola bars,’ … um, I guess they turned out decently enough. I put chocolate on them because all great granola bars have chocolate. They don’t look very appetizing, but they’re still edible. They’re kind of sticky though (from the honey in the recipe), so I won’t be making them again. Cookies are so much simpler to make … and to eat.

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And speaking of cookies, they sold Girl Scout cookies near campus today! It was very exciting. And goodness gracious those suckers sold FAST. I thought Girl Scout cookie season started a while ago, but this is the first time I’ve seen them being sold up in my neighborhood. That little table basically got swarmed. It was kind of entertaining watching a bunch of college students go crazy for Girl Scout cookies. I got two boxes of Caramel deLites (aka Samoas), which are the BEST COOKIES EVER, and two minutes later when I walked by again, they were out.

I won’t be bringing the Girl Scout cookies to studio (because I’m too afraid others are going to eat them!) and I probably won’t bring the granola bars to studio either (because the stickiness is too annoying), so I still need some studio snack food! I might just go out and buy some Craisins. Although the last bag of Craisins I had went really, really fast. I need something healthy, filling, energy-sustaining, and easy to eat. It’s always amazing just how much food I can consume just sitting at a computer in studio.

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is reposted here for my own sake.]