In my “standard” tech class, we continued to develop the design of our studio projects from the fall semester. I have to say this was one of the more eye-opening experiences I’ve had at the SoA, which is lucky to still have people like Dan Wheeler around. It really changed my outlook not only on my project, which until now I saw as an exercise in complete fantasy, but also on the possibility of reaching beyond what is “buildable”. It definitely helped to have someone as experienced and incredibly motivated as Dan guiding us with these, but it also showed me that things aren’t necessarily as impossible as they seem at first.
Here’s the final project from the class:
Finally, but not by any means last, was my theory class with Annie Pedret. In her research Annie focuses on early Postmodernism, and so in general did our class. However, our own research subjects were only very loosely related to the class subject. I wrote a paper on the influence of the Modern Movement on post-WWII Polish architecture. This was a kind of a personal exploration, since my earliest personal reactions to architecture involved Polish buildings, most of which are not and probably will never be noted in an international context. I still remember rows of rhomboid-roofed pavilions on then-Marchlewskiego in Warsaw as one of the first buildings I really noticed, when I was probably no older than six or seven. I’m not sure if anybody else remembers them, but I clearly recall being fascinated by that roofline.
Another is the “new” church in Bukowina Tatrzańska by Wojciech Pietrzyk, built to resemble a shepherd’s shelter, but in a completely Modern idiom, its spacious light-filled interior still resonating with me more than thirty years after I first saw it. Seeing a picture of the interior in a 360-degree panorama today, I’m only surprised at the amount of folky detail, which completely escaped my attention back then – or maybe I should say that it didn’t interfere with my enjoyment of it at the time. Still it’s a gem.
The research is one of the first I’ve done that I’d love to continue. Maybe because of the personal aspect, but at least partly because the lack of source material in the US made it difficult to do an even halfway-decent job. I was incredibly surprised by the help I got from the Polish Academy of Sciences, but even the journal they sent me of their own volition (apparently the ladies who work there chipped in to buy a copy) only offered glimpses of what I was really interested in. So now I’m thinking that if I can’t find a decent job after graduation – and things aren’t looking too happy in the construction industry anywhere really – I just might go for a doctorate in Polish or Central European architecture. How would that be for a twist of fate?