I almost began this post with the word, “architecture.” As my two smallest fingers hovered over buttons that would result in a capital ‘A’, I wondered why I was writing that word. We, the writers on this blog, use that word all of the time. I, as a student of the field, can’t escape that word. Even as I ricochet off powder-crusted bumps or cruise down a groomer in a controlled free-fall pushing 50 mph, I can feel architecture trailing behind me, like some giant, snow-bound, tentacled beast – likely wearing black, round-frame glasses – whipping its hundred arms all around to bring me back into its crushing, suffocating embrace.
Airways panting, muscles paining, I collapse onto an icy metal chair that will lead me higher into the cold. Blood flashes in my veins as visions flash through my cortex, imaginings and reimaginings of my semester project, which, at this point, hardly exists in any physical form. As fast as my body can rip through space not within the confines of a vehicle, architecture still shackles me.
And as much as I strain to shake free, I still enjoy it.
I like to close my eyes and imagine some new space every time. And I hate that I like it. The space will be gone as soon as the light of the world pours once more into my mind, for I know that I don’t yet have the skill enough to bring my visions to fruition. My projects suffer for it. And I suffer for it, as well, having to work long hours, deep in caffeine withdrawals, in some vain attempt to make up for not being able to draft my inspirations, to model the qualities and environments that manifest themselves in the shadows of my thoughts.
We are taught to avoid preconceptions, to believe that intuition is something no longer to be trusted. The brief visions that turn into poor sketches on ink-stained and pen-torn cocktail napkins will only lead us astray now, I am told, impeding us from exploring all possibilities.
Back in reality, the metal around me sways before it nears an icy ramp. I slide off my perch downward toward a headwall overlooking planes of shining white, voids between organic topographies of deep green. I see a variety of possibilities before me, some paths down through the voids, others into the dense arrangement of evergreen elements. Other paths flow through both, interweaving and integrating all possibilities before me.
And so I wonder about our methods of design, our avoidance of intuition, and whether or not we confine ourselves within the imagined boundaries of the trees along the planned and conscious slopes. For although those trees tempt me with an unintentional and unconscious freedom of their own, the path within them has an ultimate direction shared by the open slope. Though both will channel me to the same end, to the same new beginning, the path downward is made only richer, the destination only more satisfying.