January 24, 2009

Drinking Game

We didn’t have a strong vision. We lacked passion. We had some good ideas, but no clear driving concept. We held the critique anyway. We probably should have held it two days earlier. Naturally, they called us on our shit and happily pointed out our lack of vision, but also pointed us on a path out of our quandary. What was that path? “Go out drinking. Write down all your ideas and figure out how to make it work tomorrow morning.”

Yes, Mom and Dad, I’ve paid thousands of dollars in tuition and you’ve paid thousands of dollars in taxes, so the faculty of the largest university in the state can advocate alcohol as a method of creative problem solving. Of course, the particular faculty in question are German, so maybe we should cut them some slack, but I didn’t here the Americans or the Indian voicing any objections to this particular piece of sage advice.

And you know the funniest thing? It worked! We went straight to Barrymore’s, the boys loaded up on rum and coke while I indulged in an Irish coffee. We stole all the cocktail napkins. Jay had retained enough presence of mind to bring a Sharpie which we put to liberal use. The solution, the vision we collaboratively created, is bold, innovative, aggressive, and definitely pushes the boundaries.

It is definitely an architect’s solution. It is not a planner’s solution, as our planners pointed out. Ideologically, I hate it. It is anathema. Yet, I am also impressed by it and unwillingly fascinated. Kinda like a gruesome car wreck on the interstate at rush hour is fascinating. So I can get into it, I can invest my time and mental energy in it, and enjoy playing the game and figuring out how to make it work. It will be a fun way to spend the next week and at the end we can raise a toast as we imagine the stumped, stunned, and finally powerful expressions, for good or ill, it is likely to evoke from the competition jurors.

The thick pile of cocktail napkins are carefully stacked and safely stuffed in my coat pocket. Later today they will be dutifully scanned to incorporation into the final display boards. (Napkin sketches have a long and venerable history in the profession of architecture. Entire books have been published on the subject.) I must say that we carried out the letter of our professors’ advice, if not the spirit, as we broke up soon after and were all home by nine o’clock.

Now for the “tomorrow morning.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Didn't you know that drinking makes you smarter? Just combine 3 theories:

1) Studies show that alcohol kills brain cells.

2) However, studies of the brain show that humans only use about 10% of their brain.

3) Now, Darwin's theory of evolution says "survival of the fittest", such that only the *weak* brain cells die, leaving the *strong* brain cells, so on average the brain cells left are stronger and smarter.

Ergo, Drinking makes you smarter!

Many are probably skeptical of this, but the proof is, go out drinking and argue about this. What seems implausible while sober, after a few beers (and therefore getting smarter!) it starts to make a lot of sense. ;-)