Oh dear, how did we get here?

Now Panic and Freak Out

Running out of time…

The blog post you are about to read has very little to do with design or even architecture. It is all about the last couple weeks in a semester when there’s too much to do and not enough time to do it. I really thought that this time around I had my school work under control. I worked steadily and consistently on my classes, consciously trying to chip away at the work to be done, keeping an eye towards final review and all the things that went along with it. And here we are, 2 ½ weeks away and I’m in full freak out mode.

How does that happen?

I’m coming around to the idea that it’s impossible to fully understand the breadth of a design project. I can be fully versed in subject matter having researched and studied the problem but I really don’t think I will ever truly understand the amount of time that can and likely will be spent trying to come up with a design solution. I’ve heard it said around studio that at a point, you need to stop designing and just start producing. The implication being that an architect, a designer, could design forever. Currently, as a victim of designing too much and producing too little, I believe this couldn’t be more true. I simply got caught up in trying to sort out all the questions posed by the design problem and then providing answers. I feel like what I have amounts to a lot of sentences that taken individually are well constructed and communicate a thought. However, when all of those sentences are strung together, the meaning and coherence fades, leaving what seems like a jumble of words and fragmented thoughts.

As with previous studio projects, the more I designed, the more thoughts and reactions I had to my work that in turn had to be acknowledged and then addressed in some manner. This iterative process does refine the design in a sense but it can also turn into a series of rabbit holes where time and energy is spent chasing each tangent and distantly related idea.

The challenge, as I am learning again (and again), is to decide where and when to limit your inquiry and how to focus your energy on that defined range. There is so much too each project from the concept to programming, all the way down to the details. At each of those points and every one in between, there are questions to be raised and answered. The balance struck between all those elements determines in large part the coherence of the whole project. If one aspect is overvalued, then the rest of the project suffers, losing the identity of the whole at the expense of a particular.

So for this go round, I only have two and a half weeks to pull it all together but maybe, just maybe, for my next project, I can strike and better balance… we’ll see.

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