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Single Hauz

Image: Front Architects

Caught in piles of reading this semester, there is a sense of cognitive development that causes concern. As the first semester in 3 ½ years, that I have decided to not partake in design studio due to a lack of inspiration, I spend considerable time questioning my definition of architecture. There are constant struggles between the purely conceptual and what is reality, usually defined as a distinction between art and construction, the latter I find tedious but compulsory.

Drawing: Atelier Bow-Wow

Recently, as prompted by a friend’s flickr page, I came across this exhibition happening at The Hayward in London called Psycho Buildings: Artists Take On Architecture featuring a few of my favourite architects and/or artists Atelier Bow-Wow and Rachel Whiteread. With Atelier Bow-Wow’s recent visit to Sydney for the Biennale and Lebbeus Woods gracing the cover of the NY Times, I think the ambiguities of architecture as art (and vice versa) are beginning to be answered. In architecture school, conservative modes of thought are usually applied with the occasional process that places less significance on things like sustainability or structure and I’m certain this varies across schools. However, I feel particular processes myself and other students have come to adopt fall under tough scrutiny on jury day.

Photo: Stephen White

Given the recent publicity and development of architecture, this gives me hope that one day we can grow our food and simultaneously row boats on our roof.

It will be amazing.

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In 5 Days:

  • I’ve witnessed 3 sunrises and 4 sunsets.
  • Had a total 30 hours of sleep with 3 two hour siestas.
  • Spent $30 for printing. $20 on glue. $21 on coffee.
  • Ate 5 Lunches, 5 Breakfasts, 3 Dinners and probably not enough in between.
  • My fingers – intact.
  • My Mouth – dry, very dry.

And all for one design submission. Below is a part of mine, on this site with this view.

We always end up in this situation – a design deadline where time is clearly not on our side. I don’t know why we do this to ourselves and it can’t all be blamed on our procrastination habits. Even the most organised person would feel the pinch of tomorrow’s, *cough* today’s, submission. Of course design is a never-ending process, but this, has seriously got to do more harm than smoking. The bed is so inviting right about now, but I must resist. I am alright. I can stand up straight.

The first time I saw Rand & Holland, I couldn’t help but notice the man on keys as if I had seen him before. And sure enough it was Ned Collette helping out Rand & Holland on keys. I must’ve been the only one in the room to recognise him. So in a way, any release from Collette is always a welcomed one.

[To] “the Country with a Smile” is Ned Collette’s newest single and with the trip up to Walcha, this track couldn’t be more apt. A lack of technology is at times a really wonderful thing. You notice people, their feelings and their thoughts in a manner which seems rather devoid of in the city – even the man holding the “Free Hugs” sign is constantly brushed off in the city. Observing people and their behaviors towards other people and spaces frustrates me at times. Hopefully this track will do the opposite.

[MP3] Ned Collette – The Country with a Smile

His latest album, Future Suture, will be out in September.

Today has been another crazy Tuesday (technically its already Wednesday, but its still dark). I have found another amazing, roof beer garden – a little pricey on the beer but darn, its a very nice watering hole. Catching up with a good friend of mine at this roof top could not be any more sweeter than receiving a pair of Lego salt & pepper shakers (below).

They’re awesome and would definitely be one the best presents by far.

While we were up there drinking, eating and soaking in the sun, there were helicopters circling every 5 minutes making conversation rather loud. Then in photo studio today, our lecturer went through a brief run-down on portraiture. With almost every exhibition she mentioned I pretty much attended, making me the very, odd one out. But I feel cultured none the less.

So I’m going to try live blogging tomorrow with this process called design. Here’s what the past two hours looked like.

23:30

00:30

That’s my own tool bag and my drawings are tiny, but then again Jorn Utzon (the Opera house architect) drew tiny as well – bless him.

I think its time for a nap.

Day 1

On the way to Walcha – a 5-6 hour drive – with endless, quite peaceful rural scenes.

Setting up camp.

A drink after our tents were pitched.

Walking 2km to the RSL for dinner.

Day 2

Site visit to Oxley Wild Rivers National Park, 30 minutes from Walcha and slowly feel engulfed by the enormity and serenity of the place.

While there, we saw some trees hugging.

My shoes felt right at home amongst the leaf litter.

Day 3

Waking up with frost on our tent – one of the most hardest things to do.

The road less travelled for two reasons:

  • The National Parks and Wildlife Services (NPWS) provides barriers and fences as a preventative means of litigation. Anyone who goes beyond is therefore responsible for themselves, i.e. in the case of an incident, if your found beyond a fence, the NPWS are no longer liable.
  • It’s rather dangerous, especially with a heavy camera bag and a tripod whilst wearing inappropriate shoes.

We were the only few that actually came near the water.

We all have to take risks every so often.

Day 4

Breakfast at the RSL … with some beans. We actually had a big breakfast every morning.

Very layered.

Down the main street of Walcha.

On the bus from our last visit to the site.

A slight detour to Apsley Falls (part of Oxley Wild Rivers National Park) for lunch.

On the bus heading home.

Thats a quick run down of how the trip went. I should really post up some panoramas I took of the place and maybe some social ones if your lucky. I will however, post some stills I got developed today soon – I like them more than I like the ones I posted above and ones from the other day.

Now here are some tracks that got quite a bit of play over the four days.

[MP3] Laura Veirs – Wandering Kind
[MP3] Sia – Breathe Me
[MP3] Oh No! Oh My! – The Backseat
[MP3] The Go Find – Dictionary

Also …

Tegan & Sara have announced their tour for the end of the year – I’m excited.

Dec 10 Metropolis Fremantle
Dec 12 Forum Theatre
Dec 13 Enmore Theatre
Dec 15 Tivoli Theatre Fortitude Valley

I knew it all along.

Is it odd that, what could possibly be the most busiest weekend in gigs that I didn’t end up going to any? The great thing is I really didn’t care who or what was playing the past few days because I was here.

Tiara Gorge

It was an architectural field trip to Walcha which I was highly skeptical about for missing some shows and the strange thing is, I’d do this any day over any gig.

Below, the top two, dark, hole-y looking patches to the left is where I took the last two.

Tia Falls

Tia Falls

While you were partying, I was out enjoying clean air, silence, rock climbing, endlessly walking with a heavy bag and a tripod, freezing in -10 weather, and having my breath taken away … literally.

Tia Falls

There are many, many more photos to come. And by the looks of things, a lot more travelling on my part.

I’m starting to feel the fatigue – the worn-out, lack-lustre feeling after a week of unhealthy sleeping patterns, the unnecessary drinks and a shortage of inspiration. You can tell your feeling it when you’re on the train, just about to alight at your destination, then you realise that the assignment that was due today is not in your hands. I didn’t leave it on the train; I actually didn’t bring it with me AT ALL. I trekked back home to fetch my assignment whilst repeating the words, “you idiot Ro!” in my head, and thus arriving back at studio an hour late. So I apologise for looking so pissed off today for those of you that witnessed what was a frightening sight.

Anyway here’s another photo from the other day.

We work in a studio space where it is colder inside than out. Illogical it may be that the space allocated for architecture students have been designed to be the most uncomfortable and uninspiring space. I guess it’s a psychological thing – we work in that space until it becomes so unbearable, we are forced to leave the building and by doing so we seek inspiration elsewhere. There are heaters there but they produce little or no warmth and we all end up looking like Michelin men.

Take note of the date, we actually had class today – a Saturday! It’s not all that bad though, especially when The National are on repeat on the iPod. Boxer (Beggars Banquet) is an album I’ve especially warmed to. It’s dark and chillingly good, with Matt Berninger’s voice stalking your every move. The aggressive dialogue between the quintet has crafted an amazing album of 2007 that might just hit you in more places than one.

[MP3] The National – Slow Show

I thought I’d post a track from Tegan and Sara‘s latest album, The Con, due for release this Tuesday. It feels like the girls have pursued the synth a lot more on this album without which seems nearly impossible without Chris Walla (Death Cab for Cutie) producing The Con. Their style is still very much ingrained in this album but I think that it is the process of maturity. It’s a good 14-track listen, driven by simple chords and near-cliché lyrics that I find comfort in and a relation to. You must remember that I’m always biased when it comes to Tegan and Sara, so maybe you have to ignore anything I say and make up your own judgments.

[MP3] Tegan and Sara – Burn Your Life Down

Did I mention I took my film camera to the island too? Well I did and woah, did it yield some amazing photos which I’ll post every now and again but here’s my photo of the day.

This was the first time I used a Kodak B&W film and you really get what you pay for.

It’s also quite windy and cold on the island, so here’s an mp3 that’s completely the opposite (it’s also one of my favourite tracks at the moment).

[MP3] Sly Hats – Windy Harmony

Another thing. Despite a long, strenous day of running errands, waiting for film to be developed, drinking tea and exploring the island – today was another day I was on my feet for longer than expected and I still managed to let an old lady have my seat, while I stood on the hour ride home on public transport. Can I ask, whatever happened to old-fashioned gallantry?

I’m amazed at the fact that I’m actually making time to blog. Obviously I have my priorities straight.