"architecture is the most political of the arts"-ruskin via ochsner

so school started wednesday.

the first day....eh. about the only highlight besides my highly anticipated urban form class was meeting my studio prof. who seems awesome. he is adjunct and went to cranbrook which leads me to believe that he perhaps might approach architecture from a somewhat more artistic standpoint. and another highlight i suppose, was meeting the 'new people'. i felt a bit of trepidation. already the ridiculous pace was starting, the insane schedule etc. but i was ecstatic to see another brown woman in the new class. call me corny. but the #'s are absurd.

the second day...GYEAH! this is largely due to jeffrey ochsner's class introduction to urban design and preservation/context issues. and not my active controls (class figuring out where to put the HVAC-heating, ventilation, air conditioning- and electrical, plumbing etc.). jeffrey is so passionate and knowledgeable and has this odd way of getting you really pumped about whatever it is he is teaching. so he starts out with a quote by ruskin, "architecture is the most political of the arts" and goes on to explain the purpose of urban design and the course and why he believes that quote to be true.

i can already tell that this class is going to be really good for me. as i get more and more of the theoretical vocabulary that underlies my architecture/urban design/urban form interests the better i will get at articulating them. without writing an epic or a page of notes from class, he basically talked about architecture as the separation of the public and private realm. and urban design being concerned with that boundary. basically designing the public realm, what happens between the public and private realm...and the issues of that as a politically charged site. this was particularly useful to me in confirming that i would like to continue and deepen study/practice in urban design as, i am less concerned with the details of the building (that private realm) as i am about how it relates to the context of the street, the neighborhood and the city both formally and socially. next class we will talk almost exclusively about Hannah Arendt and her perspectives on public space and why "making" is important. which i'm sure i will write about in detail. he briefly mentioned some highlights and reminded us of the distinction btw. the natural world and public space. while the natural world is conceiveably untouched by humans. 'public space' is fabricated by humans. we make it for ourselves. i don't know if architecture is the most political of the arts, i think all forms of art can be highly political.
but land use/acquisition etc. is indeed inherently political.


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