Saturday, August 06, 2005

A Kind of Experiment

This was my very first online post that I published on about a year ago. Since then I've found that I'm better off publishing a traditional blog. Livejournal readers were unfortunately not too receptive to my musings.

I'm finally trying out this live journal stuff after several people around me have become fully engaged in it. I was at first hesitant to do anything on live-journal since I thought it was more of a personal diary than any sort of serious intellectual forum. However I soon discovered that most entries were more or less web logs, some of which I read almost religiously. My brother has demonstrated that one can indeed express himself however he chooses and will find many to respond back. In the end though, this is just a rough first step toward establishing my own blog, which will involve more information, more serious discussion and a more useful dissemination of ideas.

One thing I've always wondered about on the web was to see whether there are any souls out there willing to chat about the least mentioned of topics--buildings. It's a given that we love to chat about our daily life, friends, arguments, current events, and our favorite rock bands. But is there room for those to talk about the latest buildings featured in some glossy journal on architecture? I've seen one web site,, which will feature from time to time a lively discussion on a new building by some star architect. It becomes one of those moments when suddenly there are people who know what it's like and who I can totally relate to on an intellectual level.

On the other hand often such people or unable to shift gears and change the subject. When talking sensibly about the news of the day, they can't reason their arguments nearly as well. About music, their passion's as deep as a reflective pond. I often feel frustrated with colleagues when it becomes clear that they do not think much about the world beyond their drafting tables (or rather beyond the virtual reality of their 3d cad programs on the computer). I'm quick to remind them that yes, there is a whole world to discover and digest and that the failure to realize this will end up in feeling bitter about having 'missed out'. People in my profession are unusually bitter, which would surprise outsiders to architecture. I mean, what could be cooler than to design buildings and see them turn into reality? For some that's enough to justify the bitterness. For others, there is a lingering sense of disappointment. Sure my design was built, but gee, is this what I really wanted? How much of my vision had to be compromised for the wishes of the client? Is this what people will remember me by? Didn't I lose money in fees finishing this building? Couldn't have this turned out better?

Until the day comes when I can confidently take credit for my built design, I take solace in honing other skills and accomplishing other unrelated skills. I have to constantly remind myself that hey, there's more to life than this profession. Who says traditional ways of doing things will govern the way I practice? I often get the sense that the smartest among us are the ones who find a new way to profit on our old loves. I wouldn't be surprised if I find some new way myself. One needs to always conduct an experiment to test whether what we always believed is indeed true. So this is a little kind of experiment to see whether a live diary reveals new things.

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