Sunday, September 18, 2011

My first Architectural post.

It is the beginning of Fall in Brooklyn. M's desire for the outdoors has reached obsessive levels; I too, push myself to make the most of the sunshine. This weekend saw us making our way to the Brooklyn Book Festival, in an attempt to do something different from the usual eat-drink-subway ride experiences we undertake most times. Attended a conversation with Amitav Ghosh and a reading by Jhumpa Lahiri. (Go Bongs! :P) I really enjoyed the talk but what I was amazing to me was how I found their methods resonating with what we do, as architects.

Ghosh and a Somalian writer, Nuruddin Farah spoke on influences/inspirations for their work and their preparations for writing in a series. I particularly loved the part where they concurred on how their characters take form and seem to act as if on their own, as the writing progresses. I could so relate to that. It does happen often (sadly or thankfully, as the outcome reveals) that the design just seems to want to flow in a certain way, however much we may try to conceive of it differently. It clashes with our compelling desire to micro-manage, no doubt. It can be a hair-splitting experience (literally) But sometimes, it is also a sign of a vibrant scheme.
Jhumpa Lahiri spoke about her own experiences rather than the actual task of writing. On growing up in an introverted Indian family in the US and the certain amount of confusion/isolation that must have caused. While she read a chapter from an yet-unpublished book, I started to wonder at how much of it was imagination versus actual observation. For someone who hasn't spent too much time in Kolkata, the imagery was uncannily real. I could almost visualize a writer at his/her desk, constructing a scene, making parts fit, trying to inhabit the scene in order to 'feel' better. I guess what we do (as architects) is not too different. The difference just seems to be one of 'medium' rather than creativity. I am happy about the fact that I am making these connections, thinking deeply about the work I do and also liking it more in the process.

Then we walked down to the waterfront and watched Manhattan glittering in the evening sun at the other edge. (That description probably deserves an entire post to itself.) Finally, the perfect end to the evening was coffee at the seriously stunning River Cafe and took an unhurried walk back. Viva Brooklyn!