Hard to believe that was only a week ago. Since then, I was in NYC three times and then flew to Copenhagen. I'm jetlagged but in a beautiful apartment. Last night, there was major Ivrea convergence: got together with Ivrea grads Maya, Dana and Vinay and with Alie Rose, who made many things happen at Ivrea. More to come with those pictures.
Next week: Shanghai.
The week after: Copenhagen.
The following week: New Haven.
The week after: Copenhagen.
What should I do about the time difference? I'm going to be permanently jet lagged.
What are your plans for the weekend?
I'M GRADUATING. That's what I'm doing this weekend. On Monday at about 11, I'll get my master's diploma from the Yale School of Architecture. Okay, you probably knew this already, considering it's all I've posted about for the last few months. But I put on the cornered hat, a purple tassel and hood and polyester robe and shake the dean's hand and get a cool diploma in Latin.
Enrique's parents arrived last night. In a couple minutes, I leave to get my brothers at the airport. My Mom and stepdad arrive tomorrow around noon. (My Dad and stepmom can't make it because he's teaching in Scotland and it's the first day of class.)
So far, parties. Parties. Other parties. More parties. Graduation parties. And then all of a sudden, pay fines, return books and that's that.
And then I go to Denmark June 2, to Shanghai June 11, back to Denmark the 17th, back to New Haven the 22nd — pack up and move — and then back to Copenhagen for the month of July. No Supernova, it turns out, but San Francisco in August. We're homeless for 7 weeks and it's kinda nice.
More pictures soon. Whee.
I put my thesis on the internets. I'm going to be breaking it down into smaller bits on a blog I'll be launching soon to deal with this and all the other design, architecture, historical and geographical things I think about.
Theses are funny. They're a thing in their own right but so very flawed. They're not the book or article you would write. They're not the sum total of all the work you did. A thesis is the thing you do to get the three signatures on the front and go onto what you want to do next.
I'm aware of all the issues and problems with this and before it would become anything else, it would require substantial editing. (I have 100 pages of notes in my advisor's hand describing just that).
But if this doesn't daunt you, you're invited to read "The Architect, The Sketch and the Response: Construing and Constructing Cedric Price's Generator." And in a few days, you can read some digested snippets on the blog to be, elsewhere on the Internet. Stay tuned.
Today, I handed in the final version of my thesis. At the front, I wanted to thank some people. But since I don't want anyone to ever read my thesis, I am posting my thank-yous here.
Research continually passes one through the eyes of needles. Coming to the Yale School of Architecture marked a major climactic change for me. Before I came, I knew little about architecture after World War II; for that matter, I did not know who Cedric Price was. And even that was too large a field of inquiry: in the course of the last two years, I kept narrowing, from mobility, to responsiveness, to Cedric Price, to Generator, and that one project might have taken eleven different directions.
And so, gratitude is in hearty order.
This thesis project could not have been realized without Anne-Marie Ségouin at the Canadian Centre for Architecture, or the generosity of Barbara Jakobson, John Frazer and Nic Bailey. I appreciated your stories and being drawn into the web of Cedric Price. Listening to you talk about your love and respect for him, standing up to my elbows in sketches, I've come to know him.
My parents, stepparents and brothers were supportive of the crazy move of turning down a management job at Yahoo and going back to school. Mom, Dad, Chuck, Carol, Andy and Ben, you know it's made me happier than I've ever been. My friends from before and during, you nudged me this direction and kept me going. Major hats off to Jenn, Ali, Maggie, Anne, Adam, Mocha, Bryan, Judith, Nathan, Mike, Liz, Abhishek, Derek, Jay, Andrew, John, Andy, Heather, and Vicky (and I'm sure I'm forgetting others); the fabulous 30-something female contingent and class of 2008 women, the students in Critical Imaginaries and Smart Materials, the Wooster Square gang, the people in and around John Blood's 2005 summer drawing class. And dicke Küsse for my long, lost German host sister, Birke, who just finished a thesis of her own. Du bist mir Lieb.
I thrashed around in my attempt to find the right project in a surely frustrating incidence. I owe the faculty the kindest of thanks for their patience, in particular: Emmanuel Petit's advisory mana and caffeinated meetings, Keller Easterling's prescience (and for turning me onto both Cedric Price and Generator!), Eeva-Liisa Pelkonen's sweet powers of focus, Peggy Deamer's life lesson that one should always state what's at stake, Dolores Hayden's support in my personal sea change, Henry Sussman's wander through Walter Benjamin's Arcades and Kant's systems, Claire Zimmerman's mentorship and friendship, and Dean Robert A.M. Stern for the guidance in all of my class's endeavors. Richard (Starbuck), Marilyn, Maria and Donna smoothed the journey with deftness and humor.
The MED (Master of Environmental Design) cohort is an outstanding, collegial bunch that I will treasure for years to come. Ghosts of MED future Zachary White, Kate John-Alder, Elizabeth Bishop, and Alan Brake freely shared their knowledge and support; ghosts of MED past, Sara Stevens, Joy Knoblauch, Frida Rosenberg, and Leslie Ryan, offered friendship and keen minesweeping capabilities.
Fellow ghosts of MED present, my deepest gratitude goes to you: Britt Eversole, McLain Clutter, Federica Vannucchi and Enrique Ramirez, for the conversations, schemes, arguments, collaborations and swooping around when I might've collapsed. You taught me so much and then some.
And Enrique—all of this might've happened without you but wouldn't have been nearly as interesting. Thank you for your love. This is for you.
There's been so much going on. Finish thesis? Defend thesis. Defended and passed? Present thesis. Finish presentation? Work with Tristam on my end-of-year-show poster. Poster printed? Work on my Smart Materials class demonstration. Work done? Go to New York and present.
Okay fine. I think I'm done now with everything but rewriting my thesis introduction — and putting on a mortarboard and black robe and shaking Dean Robert A. M. Stern's hand. There's a project to jam on for my favorite professor this week.
But it's nearly done. I can't believe how quickly the last two years have gone. It's strange to get to the end–the system is set up to neatly poop you out the other end, turn off your ID card and your access to the computer lab and libraries. I'll be a Yale alum, not a Yale student.
This summer, it looks like I'm going to be working with a Danish r&d firm and to that end will be in Denmark, the US and China. Not sure where and when on any of those fronts — more to follow. I'm also thinking of going to Supernova, which means SAN FRANCISCO on June 20. We'll see.
Sheesh. So close to done. So. Close.
This morning I defended my thesis. That means I sat in a small office with my advisor, my reader, and the head of the program and they spent an hour critiquing what I've done. Then, they send me outside in true Project Runway fashion, deliberate, and invite me back in.
I have to really rework the introduction, but that's fine. I have to somehow learn to be less anecdotal a person and more conceptual.
The whole thing is weird, anticlimactic, tiring. I'm feeling blue and strange but I think all five of us graduating students feel like this. It'll be a relief at some point after our final review Monday.
My best outfit yet. This shows where my brain is. My thesis is due in 24 hours. (This isn't what I'm wearing today, this was Sunday, when I didn't leave the house.)
I have just written the following to remind myself of how I'll feel soon:
"you will finish it in 24 hours and be tired but it will feel good. the sun will rise and you'll be done and it might be raining or it might be beautiful, but you will be done. you will print it and it will be a tome. you won't believe you did all that. you can't quite believe it. you'll set it free, know it will come back with holes in it, you'll have to defend it but at the very least, you'll be done and can move on with your life."