The architecture student is a unique animal with a diverse skillset.
Throughout the course of your academic life, you’ll be expected to perform well in areas both physical and mental. You need to be both a cerebral powerhouse and physical warrior. With this in mind, if you aren’t conditioned for the specific heavy demands of design school, you’ll spend many a day slumped over in an incapacitated, unproductive stupor.
To start of the post series on health and fitness, some goal setting is needed. I’m writing this post to set a good framework so we can establish the challenges that the bodies of most architecture students will face – and from here we’ll know what to aim for when we start on the road of fitness and health.
There are only 4 Basic Elements of Design. Seriously.
If you’ve already read up on architecture before or consider yourself to be some sort of design aficionado, I invite you to empty your cup and be a little kid again. Sometimes our minds overcomplicate our conceptions, which makes us more closed off to learning. All preconceived notions gone? Good. Now, understand this simple truth:
Designing only has four basic elements. Point, Line, Plane, and Volume.
I’d like you to imagine that you are are a baker who is itching to make a fresh batch of cookies.
You’ve prepared your dough, and have proceeded to roll it as a flat sheet on the table. The next step, is to take out your forms and cut out the cookie shapes.
Tell me, how would you go about in cutting up your cookies?
Would you try and carefully place the forms tightly together in order to not waste dough?
Would you space them out evenly according to a certain standard so they don’t expand into each other in the oven?
Would you cut them up without a care in the world because you’re just going to re-roll and reuse the residual dough anyway?
In the context of design, the parts within the cookie outlines are positive spaces and the residual dough themselves are negative spaces.
Understanding Architecture is like getting punched in the face.
Architecture is complex; there is so much bubbling under the surface that people tend to take it for granted. Maybe it’s because that experiencing architecture is a sneaky little devil – it instantly affects our psyche without us knowing that it is doing so. But if you were to actually study how your brain works (luckily for us, the awesome scientists have already taken the reigns on that one; thanks guys.) you’d find that we understand architecture on 3 fundamental levels. Like unwrapping a present through its layered packaging or savoring a candy bar from crispy exterior to chewy core – the way we perceive architecture is a layered experience.
I like comparing experiencing architecture to boxing, specifically getting hit by a jab-straight-hook combination.
The architect’s life basically revolves around three things – Space, People and Time. We care about designing great spaces for people, that will be experienced over the passage of time. On a technical level, it can be said that architecture is the art and science of the definition and articulation of space. From here, you can see that at the core of everything, space is our medium. Much like how a composer orchestrates music, an architect orchestrates space- making it purposeful, beautiful, and sturdy to stand the test of time.
If you were to ask a doctor what his contribution to society is, his answer would probably be that his work heals the ailments of many. If you were to ask a businessman the same question, he might reply that his work allows the economy to thrive. A lawyer? His work allows justice to prevail and brings the Chief Justices to justice. How just.
What of the architect? It might seem difficult for most to answer this. Heck, even a number of architects probably don’t know what to say when faced with this question. After all, like other designers, the results of the architect’s labor are concrete and tangible, but the benefits to society are ironically not. I mean, some of those who know nothing of the design process would conclude that design is merely about making things pretty. Really, what does designing buildings and public spaces have to do with the development of a nation other than the obvious aesthetic implications?
As in, the sleeve-ripping, Pec-popping, flying-lat, monstrous wheels kind of jacked. That’s not too surprising, seeing as I was a 5’10, 110 lbs weak little boy in the middle of highschool.
Eventually though, as I got older and my world view and personal philosophy developed, I decided why the lifestyle of a 200 lbs behemoth would be detrimental to what I had planned for myself.
I’ll tell you why.
After struggling with my own personal insecurities and ballooning up to a chunky 185 lbs Powerlifter, Life slowly gave me some valuable realizations. I’d eventually gravitate down to a lean, comfortable 170 lbs with a great strength-to-bodyweight ratio, and a newfound fortitude.
saw that what I truly wanted wasn’t to look big – it was to be strong, prepared, and ready to face the challenges that life threw at me.