Archive for November, 2012

I began my second to last week in Italy today by sleeping in and just taking the day off for the most part. When I finally get out of bed, I play XCOM for a while, trying to really improve my tactic skills. Over the course of the day, I started to get the urge to form a paintball team that would focus on tactical infiltrations and extractions. Where everyone would be in constant communication with each other through the use of a headset system or something. I feel like the whole thing would be a great way to blow off steam and improve our minds with the use of strategies. We could make a whole ordeal of the thing, turning it into a monthly occurrence where everyone gets together and performs their roles. I think it would be a great, albeit expensive, time and tradition to create. Besides that, I managed to talk to Maggie before she headed off to do her scavenger hunt again; we mainly talked about travel for the brief moment she was online, but it was still nice. I managed to read through the history and theory readings for Monday, only to find that the first one was really weird with how it phrased and displayed the “anti-city”. Darryl also told me that while I’m in Rome again, that I have to get tickets online for the exhibit that I want to see, so that was nice that he was looking out for me. I had to cancel my Thanksgiving plans to travel to Viena so I could have more time to work on my project and be able to render it. I’m hoping while I’m in town that I’ll be able to make those purchases I’ve been putting off, like getting my bowler hat and a hoodie or something with “Italia” on it, and a poster of Raphael’s mistress that they have here in the city. I’ve been feeling like I want to get in some boxing or punching bag time when I get back to the states, really just let everything out right now. Of course, that also plays into my fantasy of finding of girl that likes to fight and ultimately turns fighting together into foreplay, but of course that is merely a fantasy. Not my best one, but one none the less. I am also remembering why I exiled myself and the goals that I wanted to accomplish while exiled in Italy, and, fortunately, I have accomplished many of the goals I set out to. Worked through the recent problems I had in the states, my own addictions, my introversion that I have, stopped biting my nails, eating healthy, and making lasting friendships with people. It’s been an amazing time and I’m excited for when I get back to San Antonio and can tell the rest of my friends there about everything that I did here.

Rise and shine, it’s time to endure another history and theory lecture. They aren’t that bad, but they just don’t resonate that much with me at the moment; they don’t have much material that I particularly agree with. Also, Cecilia brought her boyfriend by the studio after class, so that was fun to watch (not). I’m trying to get better, but having that around is really counterproductive for me because it just reminds me of my codependency issues and the fact that I am currently alone. Then, during studio, I got the green light to continue with my project in more detail and figure out how the actual structure for the whole thing will actually work. After a bit of work in section, which I think look really cool, I have more or less figured out the logistics of how it all works. The rest of the night seems to be descending into beer, movies, and hopefully some actual design work, or at least some reading for history and theory. Though, it will probably just turn into me playing some more XCOM and trying to really get a hold of the strategy involved in it. On a more internal level, things are going iffy at the moment. I’m kind of lonely and have been for a while. This is partly because I have chosen not to participate in group TV watching, and because I have been trying to talk to some of my online friends more. Problems with that are that I am looking for a romantic relationship, and using the internet box doesn’t really convey that well. Now, while writing this, I can feel my anger building, and I’m not enjoying it. I’m starting to really consider taking up boxing now, or at least having the chance to punch something. I just want my life back.

Tuesday, we went out to the main piazza to meet everyone, and get the Italians mad at me again because I still don’t know enough Italian to really make a difference. We went and sketched some statues that they had plaster molds of in one of their historical offices or something. It was kind of weird. Especially when the photographer came in and started taking photos of us while we worked on our renders in the room. I did mine in “sephia” ink, even though it was just burnt senia. The day went well though, I managed to get a kebab before heading back to the studio to continue working on my project for the semester. It is turning out pretty interesting. Besides that, not much else happened besides my usual conversations with people. Though it does seem that most of my friends from Houston don’t take initiative to go and talk to me, so that’s really comforting, but hopefully that will change when I get back to the states.

Wednesday was our last history and theory class for the semester, thank God. It was very lack luster because most of us were really tired of the material and we were all really tired from working most of the night for our final pin-up. I feel like every time we have a “last pin-up” that it isn’t really the last pin-up. Afterward we had our pin-up/desk crit thing where Darryl basically told us how our structures really needed to function and be drawn. Though, it was annoying when Britta spoke; I think mainly because she has becoming increasing annoying to me, plus the fact she thinks she’s a know-it-all. Other than that, the rest of the day went well and I managed to get some rest in.

Thanksgiving was kind of fun because I didn’t have to do anything that day so I was able to sleep in until noon, at which point the guys knocked on my door and invited me to lunch. The day continued on with only a few things of interest coming up. While at dinner with everyone we discussed Eugenia constantly saying that if we stay here that she’s sorry we’ll be missing turkey and the food that normally comes with Thanksgiving. We also discussed that the girls would be completely screwed when they got back to work on their projects because we have at least 12 drawings, each on has to be drafted and rendered. Four of those drawings have been done for the most part, but still, that leaves the rest of the drawings for them to do over two and a half days. They aren’t going to make it. I continued talking to some of my friends online and got drunk on vodka (partly by accident) and eventually just passed out on the couch in the studio. I was kind of surprised because for a while before I passed out, I thought I was going to throw up at some point.

Friday was very lack luster, I slept in again, missed lunch, and basically spent the entire day working on my project. There is so much to do in these next few days that it’s pretty ridiculous, that we have started to take bets on if anyone will finish early or not.

Saturday, work.

Sunday, work. Also, the girls made it back and are conversing about their trips instead of buckling down and getting to work. I think it’ll be funny when Wednesday comes around and they are all running around franticly trying to finish their projects while the rest of us run around at a much slower speed. Also, hopefully Sarah will get her postcard soon. I can definitely tell that I am starting to get nervous; I’m starting to nibble my nails now, not bite them, but definitely getting close to it. I’m trying to keep it back and manage my time wisely.

Whatever the risk, still onward.

-The Exile

We set the stage with many millennia of history, ruins, stories, lives lost, wars won, emperors, peasants, scholars, culture, and, most importantly, architecture. We step back, glancing up at the piercing sun, squinting slightly as we recoil from the harsh glare of that which is now obscuring our view of the meeting place. We see that business continues as usual here, that men are discussing policy, while others peddle fruits and other wares, and that there are those who merely wander through. We are dwarfed by the structures around us, forcing us into awe of their majesty. We come to realize why we are here, and more importantly, where we are now.

We are in Rome. All times of Rome meshing into one coherent culture that we can experience even today if we choose to travel. My commentary on Rome for this matter will focus primarily on the current city of Rome, but I will be referencing the past for a few of the points that I will make to illustrate the complexity and power of the city. We begin our look at the city by analyzing the overall structure of the transportation system that is most prevalent for my experiences, the metro. We used the metro to get to the general vicinity of whatever we were going to go see, because you could not get too close to it due to the fact that when constructing the metro in Rome they build about 10 feet, then hit ruins that need to be excavated and evaluated for their worth. Because the metro only takes you so close to what you want to see, you are forced to walk through the rest of the city and experience all of the joys, wonders, and annoyances that Rome has to offer.

The first joy is the fact that the metro is easy to use to anyone who has a map, if you have one then you are good to go for your stay in Rome. Once you leave the metro, you have many options for what you could do next: grab a cappuccino at a local bar, wander around looking at all of the monuments and ruins, grab some pizza to walk around with, visit a fountain to relax at, or go around shopping if you like. Most of the time, we chose to get a drink at a bar and then continue on to our tours that we had planned with our professor. The wonders of the city are all around you because the entire city is many layers of ruins upon ruins upon future ruins. It’s all a great tapestry to stare at for years. The annoyances start with all of the annoying gypsies trying to sell you something useless at every corner. Every turn you make, there will be one there, trying to sell you something stupid, and they will continue to try to sell you stuff even after you’ve said no a million times.

Now that we have navigated some of the streets for the most part, we find ourselves wondering about how this city still functions in modern day society. Well, for the most part, it stays true to its old roots and keeps the Italian style of life strong. The only real addition that I feel has been made to the city is the addition of the roads to accommodate cars and other modes of transportation.

I will finish this brief analysis of Rome with just one thought: Saint Peter’s. Everyone should visit Saint Peter’s whether or not they believe the same way or not, the space is one of the most daunting spaces you will ever experience when it comes to religion. My professor railed me once for saying that many cathedrals, churches, what have you, are supposed to make you feel small and insignificant compared to the powers and grace of God. He believes the exact opposite of that and proceeded to completely disregard the conversation about Kahn, and instead voice his own personal views on the matter while shutting down that one statement I made. Experience St. Peter’s and you will definitely know what I am talking about. You will not feel close to God and it does not make you want to be close to him if this is what is meant to be brought about in his name. I won’t get too much into the religion aspect of this, but St. Peter’s is an experience.

We now look at the city of Rome and how it is dealing with architecture in the modern era of society. We went to see a few modern buildings in the Rome and found that they were either not well received or underused for the scale of them. The MAXXI is barely used and isn’t even finished as the original concept had intended for it to be, it’s only half done if anything. Designing in such dense areas of history now is becoming a great challenge. Do you try to mimic the past? That’s hard because most people don’t have the formal teaching to use classicism correctly. Do you try to contrast to the past with a very modern structure instead? Well most of those aren’t well received because they are so out of place amongst everything else that the city has. Walk two steps and you trip over a church, forum, coliseum, or other great structure; so having some giant white monstrosity next to it, doesn’t seem to make much sense either. Do we try to fuse both together to create a more dynamic structure that embraces both the past, present and future? Personally, I think this is the most appropriate way to go about designing in places such as Rome. I personally think the works of Carlo Scarpa should be looked at by anyone fortunate enough to design within Rome, that way you may make a more informed design choice.

Whatever the risk, still onward.

-The Exile

Today we had the architects from Milan come in and critique our work. I think it went really well, even though I still suck at explaining my designs and everything that is going on in them. They said I should revisit Scarpa for my designs again and stop my rectilinear designs and start working more with the site. I should start working on trying to create more dynamic forms instead of interesting boxes. They also gave me some ideas of turning my colossal columns into things that could mimic or represent the trees on the site that I am still not allowed to get rid of. I think I’m going to look for some precedents for the actual column trees; I’m thinking I’ll use one of the gardens in Japan or China I think it is. Other than that, I’ve been listening to more of my classical music to help calm me down more and just chill me out and I have been talking to Sarah still. We’ve been getting to know each other more and more, she seems really nice and pretty chill and it’s been the highlight of the past week or so for me.

We went touring through some of the projects in the city with the architects from Milan today. It was a lot of long walks and brief lectures, but pretty good for getting some ideas. Urbino has a lot of interesting buildings and different kinds of entrance and exits that put you out into amazing parts of the city. Afterward we got kebabs for lunch and then proceeded to go back and finish out our day as usual before turning in to get ready for our Rome trip that starts tomorrow morning. At 6am, sharp.

Note, the next post will be made after I return and will be analyzing Rome as a whole.

Whatever the risk, still onward.

-The Exile

Sunday evening I started unfriending people I don’t talk to or never have talked to, and also started looking into my travel plans for the Thanksgiving break. While going through my friends list and pruning I came to realize so many things about people, one of which was that anyone who was in theatre was just fucked up afterwards.

Dawn of the whatever day, 40 days remain. That’s right, I only have a bit more than a month left in Europe before I make it back to the states and start my next chapter. Though we must now continue to analyze Europe and all of its effects on me and how I relate that back to western society. Our first history and theory class with just Daryl was today, and we looked at an author who was neither an architect nor a scholar, and thus was an annoying pompous ass in all of our opinions. Once we managed to get through the discussion and Daryl pissing me off about roman numerals (he wouldn’t let me see the damn numbers long enough to read it and said mean things to us for not knowing them [I was the only fucking person who could get the damn thing!]) we made it to lunch and then on to measuring the site for our exhibition project. While we were measuring the site it began to rain, but Daryl just pulled out his umbrella and watched us freeze to get the ruddy dimensions. Afterwards I managed to grab a cappuccino with him and discuss part of the future Rome trip. Once we made it back to the studio we all got together to discuss our form diagrams that we were working on and get a sort of grasp on what we were trying to accomplish for our project. After we made it through class we all went to dinner and then I spent the next 6 hours talking to Tori, and finally going back to my room at 1am.

I found some extra blankets last night to keep me warm because it has become near freezing here (not kidding, last night was 37°F) and in a room that has spiders and cracks between windows, walls, and doors, you kind of need them. So I finally rolled out of bed and got dressed in time to make it to my watercolor class where we sketched and rendered the library below our studio. The process was alright, and of course my render didn’t turn out quite the way I wanted it to, but it wasn’t the worst thing I’ve produced while being here. I’m started to feel a bit alienated from the rest of the people, and I think it’s because I’ve been having some fairly intense moods recently. Cecilia is still an annoying bitch, Sofia’s views confuse me, Britta is a quiet neutral party, Dane is always nice, Brent is more of a sarcastic ass than usual, Justin is quiet as always, Camelo is less talkative and social than he was before, Matt still has an annoying personality, and I keep having extreme moods that persist for the entire day. I am either antisocial and get annoyed and mad at everything everyone does, or I’m light of heart, but quiet, or I’m apathetic to everything around me. And then while I was applying shadow to my drawings I came to the thought that my father is getting older and may not be around to see the man I become and the accomplishments that he would be proud of. I guess I’m just starting to doubt everything that I’m doing and if I can actually get it done for it to matter the most to me. Pair that with the constant cigarette smoke clawing at my will power and we have a great cocktail at the moment for me.

Midway through the week and my mood is still like a yo-yo at the moment. I’ve been stuck with my designs for the exhibition space we are supposed to design for the city, so I’ve been going crazy. Besides that I’ve been trying to not be as mean, but failing at that, and talking to a few people online.

Thursday was mainly a work day, except for the fact that we all went out and drank in the city. This made me confirm the fact that I am not a party person and going out on the town is definitely not for me. After I went back early I posted on Facebook that I did not enjoy my time out, and this then sprung Cecilia taking it upon herself to “correct” it and make sure the future people who come don’t get the wrong impression. This mostly boiled down to her saying I’m not fun and am boring. Well she needs to mind her own fucking business and quick harping on my personality and mood at the moment or else she’ll finally hear all the shit that I keep back out of courtesy.

Today was mainly sleeping in and doing a bit of studio work, but we also managed to go to the cemetery to do some much needed sketching and relaxing during our studio time slot. Other than that, I think my anger is getting away from me, I’m going to need to find some kind of physical outlet or things might not go well for the rest of the time that I’m here.

Today was the day of the hike that everyone else took, so I was able to stay at the studio and get some much needed “me” time. I got some good design work done and now I have the overall concept statement for my project: The Floating Room. I think it’s going to turn out really well if I can manage to get the floor plans to work out. I’ve also been talking to another girl, and she seems really cool. We like a lot of the same things and she doesn’t give me stupid three word responses. It’s actually really brightened up my mood, which is good for the rest of the studio as well, that way I’m much less of a dick. Besides that I just kind of relaxed and ate oreos for most of the day.

Continued conversations with Sarah today, things seem to be going really well. I really like talking to her, she has something to say about all of the stuff we talk about, making it much easier to keep the conversation going. I’ve also had a long day or working on my project; I am starting to fix some of the problems with the design, but I don’t know what all I’m going to show the architects tomorrow for my critique. Things seem to be getting more focused as we start getting closer to the end of the semester, and it’s beginning to make posting harder because I have less to think about or talk about because I’m getting tunnel vision for my project.

Whatever the risk, still onward.

-The Exile