The Architecture Inflection Point

Today’s Topics:

  • Summer of contemplation, Realization, Refinement
  • The Architecture of Technology
  • Start of the Next Chapter

Summer of Contemplation, Realization, and Refinement

Being normal is the most depressing thing that can happen to me. For me to be happy, I have to go insane.

At the start of this summer, I embarked on a completely new journey. As a kid, I never thought I’d see myself living in a city, let alone the city of Chicago. If you can recall the last time I wrote a blog post was about my daily experience traveling to the city. Probably the most basic thing I could do upon getting to Chicago. What you haven’t been able to see are the many attempts to draft articles that were not posted.

This summer I’ve been trying to challenge myself to a new extreme. Ask questions that I’ve never thought of before, and create new ways to explore architecture. My favorite part about the time period that I’m part of is the circumstances that lead to who I am, the challenges that I have to face being a part of this generation, and the set of values that I use to develop my own architecture theory. In a world where everyone just wants to be normal, being ordinary is sane. People very much enjoy that, but not me. That is not enough anymore. Coming into architecture school I had a set of goals that I wanted to achieve like being a student leader and doing extracurricular projects, but upon achieving that, I’ve realized that those things are the safe route to success. The route to becoming the best at what everyone else is trying to do.

My ambitions have changed from that. Now I dream of forging a new path in the field of architecture that is uniquely me. I’ve been learning how to SEE, and I’ve been learning how to distinguish the conceptual clarity of a project from how compellingly it has been executed. I’m going to design in a way that makes you stop and look at my building in marvel like the pages of your favorite book revealing its story to you. This past semester, with my project I released the power of my imagination. Now I’m going to FOCUS the power of my ability to dream to truly design the craziest project I can. My project will speak to you and have its own voice. I’m going to be radical, create something bold and daring and I’m going to challenge your mental picture. When you look at it, the only thing that will upset me is if it doesn’t rile you up enough to take a second look and challenge it. If you don’t find anything compelling enough to think about, then how can I be sure it will accomplish its goal of creating change in the first place?

Once I was asked “What separates me from all of the other architecture students?” Well, there is no separation, because when I work I’m not competing against them, I’m competing against their favorite architects because that’s where I aspire to be. Whatever I’m working on I’m looking at the best work possible as precedents, both in and outside of architecture. If I were studying energy, then I would study Elon Musk, If I were studying physical design process I would study Studio Gang.

I no longer am just thinking outside of the box, I’m working on creating the box that YOU think inside of.

The Architecture of Technology

This summer has been so challenging because I’ve been at the biggest inflection point since I first decided to attend architecture school. What specifically do I want to do in architecture? Architecture is a dying industry. Our role in society has faded into the background like the keys on your keyboard. There is so much time, craft, and detail in the thing you type on everyday, but you will never notice it until something breaks and doesn’t work normally.

We’ve been losing architecture to the interest of things like the 4th industrial revolution where the way we use technology allows us to completely reinvent the way we receive information. To not lose this battle we must consider how we might better interact with the advancements of our society as a new way of integrative thinking.

This is the Architecture of Technology. It’s not just about how we can make better wall outlets, smart lights, universal systems, and more efficient air conditioning, its about the building becoming a machine itself. The idea of space expressing the use of its function within technology like automation, artificial intelligence, Immersive realities, etc. This is one of many things I’ve been contemplating throughout this summer. I know that it is an underdeveloped idea, but has something worth exploring more of as I continue down my path.

In my internship, I’ve been surrounded by people that are much more advanced than what I am currently. There is so much for me to learn and engage with in order to be competent enough to pursue and sell this beyond just an idea. But everytime someone tells me that I shouldn’t do this or it could never work, it only motivates me more to really study and comprehend what I am actually doing when I propose such ideas.

Start Of The Next Chapter

My 4th year semester starts today as I will continue on in Chicago through a domestic study program with Von Weise Associates. All of my classes and reviews will be held with this firm, and I will be working on my studio project with a partner at JGMA where we will be paired up with mentors at the firm and given a place to work.

Despite the above section, I’m not going to be looking too much into the integration of technology within my work in Chicago studio. Instead, I’m going to be focusing on controlling my imagination and cultivating all of my skills to create a cohesive radical project that makes a statement in the community it resides in.

I want to pursue my project through the lens of how rigorous of a concept I’m coming up with, how well I’ve executed the concept, and how compelling this concept is represented through its architecture. Distinguishing these three elements allows me to draw more attention to much more than just the overall concept. It gives me conscious control over the way my project uniquely becomes a class of its own as an extension of my partner and I as designers.

I’m training myself to become the craziest designer I can be. You can love me for it, you can hate me for it, but the one thing you can’t do is ignore me. I’m trying to push the human race forward through architecture. If you haven’t noticed, the ones that are crazy enough to think they can do that, are the ones that actually do.

Thank you for entertaining my thoughts and I hope that this article has challenged you in reading it as much as I’ve been challenged with thinking about it this summer and writing it. I don’t know how often I’ll be writing my blogs anymore, it’s more of a quality over quantity thing at this time. I’m only going to tell you something if it portrays my radical intentions, thoughts, and ideas for the world we walk upon everyday. I’m sure one day I’ll come back and see how arrogant and full of myself I must be in writing this article but I know I’ll always understand that this had to be said because reality does not exist. I don’t know who I am, no one knows me, and no one cares about me as much as I have to care about me. I’m done with Dream Big. It is too cliche and coalescent. I’m here to tell you: Create your own box if you dare!

Published by Alonzo Colon

Architecture Student at Virginia Tech

6 thoughts on “The Architecture Inflection Point

  1. Well written son, I love ALL of it! Be bold, be daring, create your own box! I have my own and I’m making more of them πŸ™‚ so proud of you πŸ‘ ❀

  2. I love your thinking. Anyone can do the usual or regular thing, and as you said many are thinking outside of the box. But my oh my, what about the one who creates the box. That is the creative genius. That is You. I am very proud of you. I look forward to hearing about all of your “out of this world” projects.

  3. You are amazing and I am proud to be related. I have no doubt you will bring new, creative and as your mom said, bold ideas to this world. I look forward to seeing you soar.

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