Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Rebuke Towards an Inferior Desecrator

During a conversation with Morne Pienaar outside the office, I was informed about the second studio’s new paint job. Its great to see the second years are doing things for themselves and taking initiative to change their space for the better (or so I thought). I told Morne that on one particular Wednesday, I walked into the second year studio to see the Blackboard cube that Justin and I built last year being used exactly how we envisioned it to be. Groups of students being taught on a massive board that allows the lecturer enough space to draw to their heart’s content. He then told me that unfortunately they can’t do that anymore. Perplexed at this bumper-bashing statement, I asked him what he meant by that. He then told me that “they” had painted over the cube. In a state of disbelief, I ventured down to the second year studio to see the studio walls monotonously draped with some sort of bluish grey. As the I journeyed further into the studio… I saw it.. the horror, the pain, the anguish.. My first thought was that Wits really knows how to stuff up something good. How an architecture school can deface and destroy an attempt of students to make studio an more user-friendly space surpassed me. I thought that I would have a brilliantly brutal letter to write to the head of school ranting and raving at this irrational decision (and to further add a rant and rave post onto my blog) to paint the cube. While walking to my car, I saw Sechaba, one of the second year students. He then informed me that it wasn’t actually Wits who was responsible for this tragedy, (apologies) but rather a group of second year students.

Now before I start suggesting that we hang those student tomorrow at noon, let me explain the logic behind the cube. ( ) Morne Pienaar issued a construction project last year to compile a toolbox of samples and brochures from manufacturers to learn about the materials that are available to architects. A further project was to make the studio more user-friendly. Justin and I came up with this cube. What’s better than having a dry walled structure in the studio to learn about dry walling from?. In terms of the studio project; The cube does a few things. It allows for a private space for criting, relaxing, or thinking within the unproportioned void called the second year studio. The position of the cube in the space breaks up the space visually, to allow a more comfortable space to work in. I think the perfect proof for this being a success is that the second years are working in studio, where last year one was lucky to see the odd tumbleweed run through the studio. Lastly, and this for me was the defining beneficial factor for the cube; We painted the external walls of the cube in blackboard paint. In addition to allowing the now visually separated sections of the studio to be allocated a blackboard of massive proportions, it made the cube property of the student body and not the few students that may be in the cube doing what ever they may be doing. We envisioned student being taught along this monster of a blackboard and promoting drawing and expression from student and lecturer alike. I saw Morne Pienaar’s construction tutorial lectures occurring on a regular basis against this cube. I saw students build their desk formations in relation to the cube. In my opinion, it really brought that dead space back to studio life. Justin and I further envisioned that this year’s second years learn from the precedent of the cube and build to add quality of space to the studio.

Now… the “second student paining group” have robbed that space of it’s blackboard. Its not just a colour that they have decided to change (and a putrid one at that), but the entire dynamic that blackboard set up has been removed. (Now I’m going to switch from addressing to the third person and speak directly to the person in charge of this irrational, unplanned and badly thought out move) You evidently have no planning and logic skills. An architect/architect student would have realised the benefit that such an element brought into the space. You have not only taken away a quality that students and lecturers alike may engage with, but turned something well thought out into a mere pin up board. In my eyes, an architect student would have never done something as unreasonable and perverse as you have done. To me you are nothing more than an inferior desecrator (interior decorator). The only way you could rectify your grave error is by painting that cube in it’s original blackboard paint again to restore the dynamic that it set up previously. Mark my words, that retaining that decayed “red” will kill your studio dynamic and damage any future studio culture in the second year studio.

(Back to third person) A valid point by my good friend Sechaba was this. Architects experience this all the time. Inhabitors defacing, desecrating, destroying the work and thought that architects invest into a project. People missing the point of a structure entirely is just too common. New buyers removing a beautiful framed view to add some stupid element that they happened to see in some ridiculous article praising bad architecture. I sincerely hope that you rectify your momentous mistake and repaint the blackboard. Failing which, it worries me that a student/students can be so insensitive to the benefit of design through position and intention over a shocking choice of “red”. It is now evident to me what sort of student go out to become the prostitute architects that make bad architecture.


Justin said...

Firstly i typed up a reply earlier, and lost it. If found return to this location... reward not offered.

Anyway... see if i can remember how it went...

I Agree with what has been said. Feel the project was misunderstood and now seems as though it has become completely lost. All it does now is fit in with the building, which is by no means a good thing. The building has lost its keystone for change and fallen back into obscurity.

Not sure why someone would go out there way to take two steps back, Plus they didn't even take the oppurtunity to tape up the three holes created by some other (%*$& idiot created earlier in the year.


goldring said...


Most agreed!

Well said!