Thursday, November 18, 2010

Rocky Mountain High

I have an architecture degree, but I really love to draw and create more than I love sitting in front of a computer and drafting. I also love the hands on part of architecture where you draw by hand, model, and build. Unfortunately, that seems to be a very very small part of most architecture projects. More often than not, time is spent in front of a computer screen drafting floor plans, details, sections... etc. Then even more time is dedicated to fixing/re-drawing errors or changes to previous mentioned drawings. Not really what I had expected of the architecture profession. My strengths lie much more in hand drawing, sketching, and other outlets for creativity. As a kid I loved colors, clothes, reading, painting and drawing, legos, and building things. I was never ever very much into video games, computers, or technology. That's something that I need to learn to embrace... or do I? The jury is still out on that idea.

One thing I love but have not done enough of in recent times is draw. I feel that I've lost a lot of my technique and skill for drawing since taking a 6 week drawing class in Europe in 2006. Wow, that was quite a while ago... and I haven't really been keeping up with my drawing since then. It's such a low maintenance hobby too! I still have my pencils, sharpener, gummy eraser, and drawing pads.... what is stopping me?! Nothing, really. That would be the correct answer. I would love to draw/sketch more often, because it's one of my favorite things to do.

This summer I went to a guitar festival at Copper with my uncle and cousin. While sitting in a folding chair listening to music, I drew the elevation of a condo building that I thought had some nice architectural qualities. Maybe my lack of inspiration for drawing is partly due to a lack of inspiring architecture... but I digress. It felt nice to hand draw for a little while, although it was a far cry from drawings I created while learning to "see things differently" in Europe. The mountain architecture at Copper did make me feel inspired to draw. It helped to remind me that not all architects are thoughtless and careless with what they design to be built in the environment. I think that something about the small mountain town of Copper took me back to my time spent in Europe. Mountain towns in the Rockies exude a feeling of friendliness toward pedestrian friendly design. I really appreciate how the geography limits construction and development, and the confines of valleys typically make people more thoughtful about what's built in the small space available. Did I mention how I love mountain towns?

I wrote the following while sitting and thinking about my surroundings at Copper Mountain:

There's something about mountain architecture that inspired me. It might have something to do with the inspired designs of the buildings themselves. Each building beckons nature to be a part of it, as if reminding the earth that it is a part of its construction and makeup. Everywhere I look, there are sturdy and strong wood beams. Not to mention the earth tones of most of the condos surrounding the base of the mountains. So many of the buildings blend into the surroundings and lack the obtrusiveness that so many structures today seem to thrive on.
Each building has a gracious number of balconies, suggesting that someone understood the importance of the interior and exterior being equally important. Without outdoor living space, people are discouraged to take in the beauty that surrounds them. Where better to bask in the natural beauty than from a balcony overlooking the Rocky Mountains?

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The sketches below are from the drawing class I took in Switzerland. The top sketch is the covered bridge in Luzern and the lower sketch is at a castle in Bellinzona.

I have a love for artistic and creative outlets. Architecture may not be the best outlet for me, and I'm trying to find the best outlet for my strengths. It's not always easy being unsure of your direction, but I am working on it.

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