Monthly Archives: September 2014

5. The Core

The root of my roots

Welcome to part one of the triple loop

‘Root of the root’[1]

I have repeated this phrase from a previous post – see page “The Guts” – as it is a fragment of an idea that has always romanced me – the idea of a journey (secret or in plain sight) that requires great effort; ending in nothing, something or surprises. Ever questioning what is the core? What does it mean? How do I hold onto it, translate it and bring it forward to the present from its overlooked resting place?

I was asked by a lecturer to define a core – for myself as a designer and future architect – he assured me that the list would most likely be short and that the items on there would become sustenance in the difficult seasons of practice ahead.

I have three, so far. They are simple, they are mine and they are consuming. I am at times outright evangelical about them; a burgeoning system of beliefs that I hold at my very core.

The first is the belief is that “Architecture Speaks”


This is plain, honest and true to me – it speaks – whether we listen is another matter. Whether we make an architecture that articulates plainly and intelligently (very difficult to do), or an architecture that rambles confusingly (often), an architecture that was made in an alternate dialect – planted and engaged – as alien in a foreign landscape (every building that brought change with it, that many cannot enjoy until time has passed and it becomes familiar), or an architecture so filled with stylistic trope, trend and farce that it seems to be inaudible under the heavy costume that adorns it (I’m a bit scared to offer example here…..lets just say many).

Whatever the conversation, regardless of audience, it speaks.

My greatest lament for architecture is when this opportunity to speak, to say something, to communicate is simply disregarded. Note, that even in those instances I believe the architecture still says something, it may not be purposeful, but it still speaks.

I understand that every approach is different, I respect that the world does not need to- nor should it – conform to my core beliefs. I am not that arrogant, all I am saying, is that my soul sings when I hear what the architecture is saying. I may not always understand the words and at times it is beyond my ability to engage with its intelligence, finesse and technique. Yet, even then, I delight in the murmurs I do not understand, because they are audible.

We expect to hear in large, stately buildings, we expect to hear in bespoke builds, we expect to hear in our peoples places and in locations where the world seems to invade the building at every seam with its beauty and transformations throughout the day.

There are some places I like to go a little slower and be more aware of what surrounds me; in places where people do not expect to hear. In the dense, overpowering and busy cbd, in a regular replaceable suburban street, in the fetish of a facade driven development, in a forgotten drive through only town – I believe if I can challenge myself to hear in even those places, regardless of the conversation it brings, then I win. My belief affirmed, despite reality/economy/culture/value etc. It’s talking. I hear it, I found it. The root.


Some architecture that is clear, clever and you might enjoy:

Architect: Steven Holl;

Project: Storefront for Architecture


And some silliness….


Author/Designer of above image regretfully unknown  ; If architecture can speak… grass can dream right?? How MAGICAL!!


Author/Designer of above image regretfully unknown  What I like to do, in the places where I live… be a better explorer here and now.

[1] Cummings Edward E, ‘I carry  your heart with me (I carry it in), Accessed 03/08/2012.



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4. Favourite Stuff + Things (words+thinking)

Words Words Words

Frolicking with the Pink Elephants

I am quite certain that a part of my brain never moved on from my toddler years, my favourite and most frequently posed question is “Why?”, the not far behind runner up to first place  is “How?” I, like many other people have a curiosity and desire to understand the world I find myself surrounded by and occasionally – in the flurry of my comings and goings – find myself on unplanned treasure hunting adventures where I stumble upon something wonderful.

Today I would like to share with you a something; a somethings that I found on a side wall in a university corridor; printed on a single A4 page and attached to the wall with sticky tape. The humble everyday forgettable nature of its location is surprising to me, as its articulation, intelligence, stark honesty and warmth will, I am sure, speak profoundly to many.

How many times had I walked past this page? Having my blinkers on and schedule at the forefront of my mind – what else have I missed?

This peripheral data whispering over to me from a quiet unassuming place, has become something of a mantra:  a motivator, a soft place to land when I am being too critical of my efforts. When I read over it – which is often – I am reminded of my skin, my humanity, I close my eyes and breathe, I make the deliberate choice to allow myself imperfections and prepare myself to open my eyes again. I prepare myself because I know that in this moment I am allowing the fury of my thoughts, actions and schedule to lose its momentum and die down, I am waiting for the dust to settle. Because it is in that fleeting moment between activity and still – that I can see the poetry rise up out of the most surprising places, with such enchanting grace – and all at once I am renewed, inspired, open to my surroundings and my internal world. I am calm. I am ready to work, think and make.








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3. Favourite Stuff + Things (chairs)

Did it all begin with Sesame Street?

 These are a few of my favorite things….

I am not entirely sure where my sense of wonder comes from – as the title suggests – maybe it was Sesame Street. In particular, I remember the journey of the orange crayon – from the familiar neat, new 24 packet box with a folding lid  – back through its processes. Beginning as a powder; to a massive vat of bright liquid; then squirted ever so precisely into moulds; cooked in ovens that looked as hot as the sun; then released from their pinchers and whizzed around what seems like a surreal and fantastical universe of conveyor belts and friendly machines. Finally, you know the journey is coming to an end, as the familiar form is recognised, its weight tested, the angled tip carved perfectly – each one is wrapped, sorted, boxed and shipped – from that distant somewhere place to me. This one little object comes from places I had never seen, met people and likely – other crayons – I had never met, how wonderful is that?!! And that’s just considering the orange crayon, I had another 23 – plus pencils and all sorts of other things that belonged to me.

This curiosity of origin and the life of things, is mixed with wonder about how haphazardly – yet sometimes it feels like fate – these objects wandered into the realm of my little universe.  Perhaps it is timing, influence, trend, fashion, maturing taste etc but for whatever reason this stuff, these things became mine. I adopted them and dare I be brave enough to say –  some of them I even – love! I feel ridiculously shallow to admit it, but I do, I am attached – romanced even – and unfortunately (or fortunately) as I look around my glorious little home I realize I have made little families of these things!

In no particular order – as favoritism is frowned upon, even though of course, there are a the cherished few –  but I don’t want to go through the wrenching process of articulating and categorizing as it is quite late. As well as the point that I would again consider myself ridiculous at my affection for them; and feel poorly that I didn’t include something from last week – which then, I liked more because it was raining and the light reflected on it differently – Yes. Let’s skip all that for now. What I will say is that within each little collection or family of types of things are various themes –  scale, form, line, age/newness, colour, weight, feel, material, markings, known origins cont. and very importantly for me – a sense of balance – each as a single object or as part of a growing and changing composition.

Did you delve last week when I couldn’t help myself and invited you to leave as I had? What did you find? Affection? Memories? Even, perhaps love? Or are you much cleverer  than I and simply see stuff as stuff and things as things? I hope whatever it is something was discovered, questioned, edited or considered. For now, I will leave you with your treasures, feel free to tell me stories (I love a good story) and I will go and take a seat in one or all of my various sitting spots.

I am the glad to say, that I presently have 23 chairs that belong to me. They are regularly re-arranged like tetris pieces throughout my little home…. and even though 23 is a good and sound number – in terms of options of where and how to sit in a home – that doesn’t even include the other three ‘seats’ which were inherited when I moved in, that are a part of the structure. Here are some captured; please know that I moved them about, sat, thought, adjusted, sat again and tested the rightness of each before sharing it here, I cannot quite imagine my home, my place, my sitting, without them.




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