Following up yesterday's Zumthor quote in Thinking Architecture, here is another one that has inspired me today. Please take your time to read and understand it:
"What interests me in this story reported by [Italo] Calvino is not the exhortation to precision and patient, detailed work with which we are familiar, but the implication that richness and multiplcity emanate from the things themselves if we observe them attentively and give them their due. Applied to architecture, this means for me that power and multiplicity must be developed from the assigned task, or, in other words, from the things that constitute it.
John Cage said in one of his lectures that he is not a composer who hears music in his mind and then attempts to write it down. He has another way of operating. He works out concepts and structures and then has them performed to find out how they sound."
So often as design students we fall into the trap of the former, i.e. waiting for that lightbulb moment and scramble to put it down on paper. I want to be like John Cage, my work a result of iterations, patience, hard work that come together at the end. I struggle in trying to achieve this, sometimes telling myself not to wait for that lightbulb moment, or to draw 'random' inspiration from images I had seen the day before ... but still cannot help myself doing so. But, I am willing to work for this Cage/Zumthor-style work ethic - the result and sense of achievement will no doubt be priceless.

Your Colour Memory, 2004 - 2005, by Olafur Eliasson (Image from NY Times online)
Last year, we designed an art pavilion to house Olafur Eliasson's Your Colour Memory. Our work was encouraged to emanate from what we had at hand a la John Cage. My pavilion was based on attraction, a result of a rigorous but rewarding process of site analysis. That semester was the best I have had so far at university. Each semester after that just seem mediocre, unfortunately. To sum up the project, I would say that it all came naturally. Amazing feeling. I felt like I had reached a whole new level of understanding on architecture, and I still do. A later post will be dedicated to this project. Here's a sneaky peek: 


  1. Jessica Tong said...

    If only it were as easy as a 'light bulb moment'! They're teaching us how to organise our thinking now, it's insane! One thing will lead to another which will lead to another which will lead to another. Have to structure out the brainstorming process... but i think that's a bit over the top aye  

  2. zxw said...

    It's great that they're guiding you guys to organise your thoughts, but I think brainstorming shouldn't be too structured. I mean, the point of brainstorming is just to get things out of your head, onto paper and see what works and what doesn't. Everyone works differently perhaps, so maybe they're trying to push you towards one direction and be more organised with your thoughts etc.?  

  3. Jessica Tong said...

    yeah tthat's the argument...that it'll limit your creativity and whatnot. but good as a guideline i guess, if you're REALLLY stuck on fresh ideas like i always am  

  4. zxw said...

    I find reading makes me fresh and feeling inspired after! Even only for a few paragraphs, the reason why I love love love Thinking Architecture. It's also good to look at things outside your field too of course. Don't worry Jess, you're not alone! Can't wait for that miracle of an idea to come to us though, got to work for it!  

  5. zxw said...

    (easier said than done)  


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