Tag Archives: lucidity

Summer Travels 2011…(4)

This post is mostly video…I’m pretty tired, so I apologise if it is at all incoherent. There are a few reflections, but mostly snapshots of life in Jerusalem….

First visit to site…late in the day, I tag along with Mercello and Daniella to visit an are of ‘illegal’ housing on our site. One of the IPCC aims is to retain and integrate these dwellings into the new plan, seeking to legalize them rather than allow them to be bulldozed by Israeli authorities. The kids throw stones because they think we are Jewish, which we later resolve after talking to their mothers….


Climbing the Mount of Olives…


…and the view from the top…


Diary 11/07/2011…


I’ll write properly as soon as I can, and follow with photographs that give a little more detail about what I’ve been up to…



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Summer Travels 2011…(3)

The view from my hotel towards the Temple Mount and the Dome of the Rock...


Here’s the first video from Israel…I’ll write about this maybe in a day or two, as the experience has so far been totally overwhelming, and there’s far too much to get in right now!

The aim of the Jerusalem Urban Resilience Design Studio is to mediate between this dichotomy that plagues Israeli-Palestinian planning. By involving international delegation, the IPCC hope to catalyze a discussion about a 'third way'' that is modern and urban, but does not follow the groove of Jewish settlement...

I’ve been working at the office again today, and feeling a lot better….psychologically, it does wonders if you have a specific task to get on with, so I’ve plumped for one group’s task of collating typologies and precedents of ‘good streets’. I drew up some examples from my own experience and from photos the others had, of Tel Aviv, Havana and San Francisco. This work forms part of our early tasks for the masterplan…part of our role here is to show what is possible, rather than adhering to the usual options of ‘settlement’ style colonies….

I’ll also follow with some photos from the first day of wandering round the old city, and from my first day with the IPCC international project team…

Anyway, I’ll write more another time. Please dont be too alarmed by the video…documenting my thoughts in the heat of the moment is part and parcel of this process, and so it probably comes across that the first day was utterly overwhelming…

And just to show you the division of labour I allude to in the above video….


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BD Blog Post – No.2 – The Review – What Is Our Education For?

***The published version of this post can be found here.***

Hey! Look at me! Im a student! Its brilliant, you can do anything you want…..so why is it so hard?

Doing what you want – or perhaps knowing what you want to do – is actually quite a challenge, and a source of almost constant anxiety for all but the most driven of students. The harsh reality is that if I don’t explore this idea, or do that drawing, then it is me that loses out, and my (expensive) education that suffers. And so, looking back to that all too fleeting ‘year out’, it is difficult not to long for a source of true validation. I can’t help but feel that by necessarily raising our expectation of what we could become, architectural education also heightens the debilitating fear of failing to meet such an ambiguous goal.

It’s certainly an interesting time of year at architecture school. I am writing this as I prepare for an interim review of my entire year’s design work, with the final review in two weeks time. Needless to say, I am experiencing the heady anticipation of an imminent challenge , accompanied by manic bouts of self-doubt and the all to infrequent flurries of frantic productivity and divine clarity –  not, I would say, a feeling unfamiliar to architecture students past and present. Some silently implode, some violently explode, and some cruise quietly through, miraculously stealing moments of leisure amidst the scraps of trace and plotter printouts. Some prefer the solitude of home working, fading to grey in immediate concerns of those seeking the collective therapy of the studio . Known ‘stressers’ drift between those who, having made their peace with the enduring prospect of too little sleep, have  permanently installed at desks and drawing boards.

Zoe Berman recently wrote in this blog about the nature of the ‘crit’ and the diversity of opinion surrounding its role in architectural education. It is interesting to note that here at Sheffield, teaching staff are keen to refer to the experience as a ‘review’ rather than ‘crit’, playing down the anticipation of conflict in favour of a positive conversation about our general learning, seeking to develop both our skill as designers and our projects as architecture. As we approach the review, there is much debate about the balance to be struck between ‘designing’ and ‘drawing up’, with a forceful argument made by our tutors that the divide should by no means be stark and absolute. This illustrates a core principal underlying the school’s pedagogical approach, that the goal of education – of any kind – is to produce autonomous, life-long learners rather than merely ‘knowledgeable persons’. By derivation, I should reflect on how I am working, rather than what I am producing.

So what do our readers think our education is for? And how do they think we should be using it? Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to light the other end of my candle….

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March 20th – Spring Equinox

With the coming of the equinox, it seems I can once again pause at sunset on my way home from studio – it begins to coincide reasonably with dinner time….

….cats again emerge from wintry homes to reclaim their surrendered streets, and bird song illustrates those peaceful stolen moments at the top of the Hill, as chimes drift up from the estates below where the S10 ice cream van is peddling soft drugs in the evening haze….

…and then there’s this Tech Report to do.

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Grit and Grace…

Approach life with the grit of the worrier and the grace of the mystic…

Elizabeth Lesser on TED about the tendency to ‘otherize’…and the principal of ‘ubuntu’.

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Home (28/12/2010)


The sound of a busy shipping channel in heavy fog accompanying skeletal silhouettes of the anglers on the mudflats, released from the duties of kinship into a shadowy world of freedom framed by the flow of the syrupy tide that curates the actions of man, machine and creature…



If you are lucky enough to have a heart that is explicit about what it wants, then follow it until it saves or kills you. If you are not, then you must be aware of contingency – pursuing occasional glimpses of lucidity and passion and appreciating random occurrences of sublime beauty




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What is architecture…

“architecture as a global resource” – Edwards Moore Architects

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