Everyone asks me “Chad, what do you want to do when you’re done with school?” I half-jokingly reply “I want to go back to Ohio and build really beautiful barns”. Their reactions are priceless. Growing up in Ohio with my parents working as camp directors, having two hundred and fifty acres, sixty horses, lakes, and rock climbing walls in my backyard was the norm. After attending “The” Ohio State University for four years studying architecture, and currently working on my Master’s at Yale, I have found that I am working on a completely different agenda then the majority of my cohort. I would say that both schools seem to fetishize the city. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the importance and lessons learned from urban conditions. However, I constantly find myself day dreaming of the perfect rural landscape where nature provides the backdrop for my designs.
I can’t decide if this is me being selfish, wanting my projects to be seen as perfect objects in space. Or if it truly is my Midwestern upbringing creeping into my practice. It has even crossed my mind that this is something deeper and my mind really appreciates the dialogue between the built and natural environment. Or maybe it’s all three. Regardless the obsession is there, and at this point in my academic career I am trying to figure out how to explore this when the curriculum seems to be so focused on urban space making. I found a small break during some leisure reading of Pier Vittorio Aureli’s “Possibility of an Absolute Architecture” and his discussion of the architectural archipelago. The idea that absolute architecture is separated but not free from the city conditions. This simple concept helped me begin to see the urban conditions as landscape.
I am wondering if anyone can think of any projects or practices that may have this type of mentality behind them. Or if anyone can relate to the obsession of building in a true picturesque landscape. Or am I doomed as I sit here listening to country music thinking of modern architecture and pickup trucks?