Reflections on returning to studio life

And where is everyone? That was my initial thought when I first entered our studio after a year and half of working from home. It was 8am, so I could have expected that not many would be waiting for the door to open at that time, however, hours passed and it was still just a few of us starting to re-embrace the studio space we are given to use.

It was that moment when I had to realise we are actually in 3rd year as I have passed next to the younger years’ studio which I only knew partly. Bute Building has undergone quite big changes over the time we spent at home, so it is not surprising I felt lost in my memories. As I got to that rooms we used as 1st years, I could see it was not just my year with a lack of attendance but the other ones where unused as well. It was strange. It was almost like we were not supposed to be there.

A few weeks have passed until people have started to use the space. Models have started to emerge; however, there was not many people actually committing themselves to be working from here on a daily basis. It was easy to get to know those who are properly coming in and leaving at around the same time. This started to make me question where are the rest of us and why are there not in?

Comfort. Insecurity. Convenience.

It was interesting to find these common reasons amongsts many students. All of them showed some relation to both the happenings of the past few years and to the way the architectural field has developed.


Comfort

The first sounded very concerning for me as leading towards online means of learning disables to random encounters, conversations that enrich not only our personal life but our professional development as well. Setting up meetings does not allow for that to happen as that requires organized means of interaction and sharing of knowledge. It also hardens clear communication as half sentences that one might hear in person cannot necessarily be heard via digital platforms. One can never predict what can gain from a conversation.


Convenience

The latter most feel familiar for all. It is quite easy to get used to walking around in the same dress throughout the whole day. Take zoom calls from the bed. To become more and more efficient with our times. It is quite frightening to see how much we are meant to be maximising our times. This puts lots of pressure on performance as a smaller mistake can lead towards a need for redoing, rethinking and adding on extra hours. The convenience of staying at home can be argued to be suitable for many – those needing to get to many different places after work. Although, it can be questioned how much are we actually losing by having that daily route to our offices/ working spaces.


Insecurity

The constant increase in hours can be easily seen as a lack of confidence with an urge to put more and more hours into work. Many argued, that the environment of a studio puts lot of pressure on them as colleagues can easily see their work and form opinion on them based on what they see. It is interesting to see how the academic performance draws personal assumptions.

Mental illnesses have been highly discussed over the past two years. Architecture students are exposed to a variety of stress related anxieties due to a variety of issues:

1. Demand of the curriculum does not have limitations. It is dependent on the student that how much can be/ should be taken on.

2. Constant progression is required with a lack of chance for break and with a constant exposure to criticism.

3. There is an inevitable comparison between student works that are either emphasized by teaching staff or by the students themselves.

The third can explain the reason for turning away from studio culture as the first two are inevitable. Contradictingly, the studio environment that should bring comfort to students, can be seen as a zone for unexpected and unwanted criticism. Without being exposed to such circumstances in one and half year, it is easy to defend ourselves from such scenarios.

This brings back the 2 other causes of stress. With their presence during the whole length of the course, one can easily find an excuse to not want to learn from peer-feedback. This year showed us the need for staying in touch, to be open for criticism and to regain our strength to be able to take it.

Studios are meant to be a platform for conversations, struggles and sharing these with each other. Without exposing ourselves to new ideas and ways of working, we will never be able to grow. It is interesting how many of us finds it difficult to be open for criticism from similar ages and ages below ourselves. We would need to see the benefits of learning from various years as means of creating a mentor-mentee relationship.

Architectural schools should promote the creation of these relationships where the learning process does not stop between professsor and student but continues between students of the same and different years. Studios should become a platform where various years mix, where conversations can become free-flowing.

Studios should be places where one finds comfort in the arms of years above. Where faces the inevitable comparisions within the year. Where one chooses to help someone year below without necessarily gaining from it.

Transforming the nature of Architecture degree shows – How WSA Student Show 21′ evolved into a student-led exhibition

Belief, bravery, confidence and four months of our life – that is what we committed ourselves to be able to make this year’s student show. We all shared the hope to be making something different. To reshape the student culture of this country. To take on a role to reform the way our work and ourselves are exhibited in front of our profession.

Only just finishing my second your in Architecture, I have jumped into the conversation in-between mostly graduate (both third and fifth years) alongside the staff members on how can we learn from the last year’s experience and create something bigger.

The WSA Student Show 2020 was okay. Our work was presented in a professional way; although, limited the possibilities for students to show their projects, there was a lack of consistency and commitment of the school (not to even mention the lack of engagement on part of the students – it was COVID hitting in then, there was not much we could do about that). Being a first year then, I was trying to follow the hectic nature of making the show not understanding the rush, quick decisions that needed to be made. (Of which, we were not asked to be sharing our views on.)

Entering the scenery left at the mid summer in the middle of May, we wanted a difference in the way we are represented. We had ideas. We were willing to take on the responsibility and reform the way degree shows are made.

Having an experience in curation from my first year studies, I have been smoothly taking on the leadership of the role. It was quite of a commitment that I was not aware of from the start making me work around 400 hours within a three months of time. The work was not only hard to be leading because of the pressure of different teams to be working with. I was given a leadership over a role where I was almost the youngest one. The workload constantly increased and I slowly became part of many roles (graphic, social media, 3d exhibition, yearbook, sometimes even the events) which I did not have any experience in.

As the rest of the core team, I wanted a change. I wanted the school that has already given me much possibilities to be reaching to higher levels. Working towards a community of students and closely to individuals with diverse interests and ambitions made me become confident. I became a year chair myself.

The process of becoming one of the leading forces of the exhibition, shows the possibility for growth not only professionally and academically, but very much personally as well. Being mentored (without being called as a mentee) by the graduates, I could understand the processes needed to be involved in making. I could gain experience in the profession I am leading towards to. Coordinating with the team, and my team, constantly seeking for answers and help from the school, while in conversation with those whose works are exhibited, the students.

Probably the most hectic months of my life have been these last few but looking back, I would not change my commitment, at all. The experience has been very valuable. That is something which is very much missing from the ways architecture schools work.

Our show can truly be an example to many schools in the possibility to giving the platform to the students to make their ideas reality. It is interesting to see how architecture schools leave a such distance from the profession. There is a division that needs to be addressed. Such opportunity as making a student-led show is making this step. And we, the students of the Welsh School of Architecture certainly moved forward.

We were in touch with firms to fund our expenses. We were in close touch with practitioners to be coming in as speakers to our events. We were working with web designers to help us translate our ideas into reality. We were coordinating social media, yearbook, events, sponsorship, curation, 3d exhibition, awards, graphic design at the same time. Neither of us have been trained to do that. All of us had experience in certain fields. We were learning by doing. By making mistakes. Mistakes that we are constantly encouraged to make by the school.

That is not to say to be giving leadership to the inexperienced. Possibilities need to be let for those who have ideas and not being afraid of their mistakes. There is always place to be making mistakes.

I am very glad that I could work closely with some inspiring, motivated individuals on a daily basis. I am excited to see where we can bring this exhibition to. I am hopeful that our show becomes an example to many to be reshaping the way their exhibitions are presented and we can be inspiration for these changes to happen. We, the students of architecture schools are the future of the profession. Let us to be involved, let us to make a change.

We need to learn from the Greeks to how to live outdoors

It is around 2.45 pm and as I am slowly finishing my wine – made by the restaurant that I am currently sitting in – I cannot help to notice how slow everything is. Of course, it is siesta time. People take a step back here. Allow themselves a break to enjoy the moment. Cretan people know the secret to life.

We do need to find ways to slow down. Use the moments of our lives to shape us and our future. Otherwise, we will keep waiting for the next and the next to happen. Living for the moment can allow us to be ourselves through being in the present. Fully committing to where, how and who we are.

For us to develop a character.

I look up for a moment. All I can see is that people are being. Being outdoors. Of course, for those who have a climate that allows them to do.

Let’s have a look at the phrase ‘being outdoors’ more closely. Outdoors means being open to what is beyond your cage. Outdoors build down the assumptions of how you are supposed to be. Outdoors is an entity of possibilities. For encounters. For exploration. For being.

As I keep looking around – taking it all in – I can notice someone softly sitting in his chair on his lovely balcony. He is getting through his beer – are you asking why does anyone drink beer at this point? In this warmth that should not be a question. But again, that is a character. That is a difference of life style that is clearly presented.

There is a beauty to seeing him sitting outdoors. We all imagine ourselves there. It is the heart of Chania, all those beautiful narrow streets with small houses pilling up! We all want to be there. We want to be part of this. We want to develop our own space to be ourselves. To present our character.

Some clothes can be noticed on the other side of the streets. (Yes, there is underwear and socks as well.) Someone has left a book outside – what type of book can it be?

It is lovely to see all these characters. People do spend time outdoors because the streets allow them to be outdoors. It is 35 Celsius degrees. It is really warm. But everyone is still outside. The small narrow streets allow you to be there. All those little shops, restaurants and bars pilling up and waiters inviting you to get in – honestly, each restaurant has at least one person for only to get you in there!

It is the human scale. That is what allows you to be part of it. Everything is considered with being built by man without the use of machines. Everything allows to be shaped by individuals. That character has formed. And keeps forming. The citizens become the architects of their lives. And architecture keeps shaping to be able to help them to have the best experience possible. A beautifully composed harmony.

There is no copy and paste. It is developing with a human pace. That is how you can allow to be slow down. And take a breath.

One might question at this point that how can we capture this sentiment in a climate where the least you would like is to be outdoors. We need to rethink the spaces where we gather. The spaces we share. We all need our little bubbles. A space of our Own. But that does not mean eliminating the places where we all belong. We need to allow ourselves to share amenities. Not being trapped in the privatised systems disabling the entering of the majority. Spaces for all. For all human beings.

There are some stuffed tomatoes and feta cheese on my plate. I am sitting alongside a long wall with a company of my partner, wine and thoughts. We must certainly give away that we are tourists as we dragged our suitcases to this point through cobble stones – we might have made a noise. But when I grabbed my camera to take a photo, it made it very clear. Yes, I do want to be part of the scene. But I am part of the scene. And as I realise the camera is slowly placed back in my bag. I lean back on my seat. Grab my wine and smile on the people passing. I allow myself to be a character. To be the character I want to be. And let the city to shape me to be part of it.

Did we all just dehumanise ourselves?

When you walk, you certainly spend time looking downwards. It is almost a machinery movement that you see. Moving to develop, to maintain, to be. As you look around, you see the same machinery movement all around you. Everyone is following the same steps as you are. Only the pace differs. We are all programmed differently.

Turning your face towards the sky, you might feel like something is pushing the rest of the soul out of you. Like it is willing to do anything it can. To get away. Not to be in the prison of an automatised world we call reality.

-We all feel the urge to get away from this.

It is interesting to revisit our history to see how we have developed a world that is much less human than robotic. – Do we still call this humanism? – How we departed from being are human selves working towards our routines programmed to make and make even more. We keep producing.

We call this innovation. We call this development. This is fantastic; although, we lost track of what we are doing to ourselves. Not to even mention our environment.

An average adult works 8 hours a day 5 times a week. Some work even more on a daily basis. Some even spend the weekend like this. And it is all on repeat. We are forced into this style of living to keep moving forward as our being depends on our monatery state. This is crazy. Not only we spend – more and more of us – working towards making something. We push ourselves to do even more.

Life should not just be about that.

One could argue, once you have made what you could, you can use all amenities produced as ways of entertaining, to re-engage with your lost human self. Is that what life supposed to be?

The Post-Covid experience must have re-embraced everyone to this darkness of our life. To how much we are dependent on amusement that is achieved by production. We all wanted to travel, to go to the cinema, to buy the new collection, to go to the theme park, to have an ice cream in the park. These all connected to the production-based sytle of living we missed so much. Did you really?

A Covid-era allowed us to re-engage with possibilities that differ from production-based life. A walk (even if it means using the shoes, clothes designed, produced, sold and or delivered by someone else), a cycle ride (even if it means being on a bike that was designed, produced, sold and or delivered by someone else) were the activities we could do. We found ourselves facing our human self and had to question. What is it that I can really do with myself?

It is not a surprise that many of us had to dig deep down to understand what is really happening. We have discovered mental health – as an existing subject in our life. (Only some lucky ones manage to get away, but are they actually lucky?). We had to face the truth. We lost our real selves. The human one. But when?

Our Covid activities have shown a possibility to turn focus onto the quality to the action you make. We did not feel we want to have more and more – like how you must feel when finishing your ice cream. We did not feel almost entitled to be spending more and more – like when your children ask you to go for another ride on the fantastic-gigantic-amazing and ‘everythingistic’ game.

How can we capture an era like this? Was Covid-19 a sign for us to stop? Are we going to ignore it and keep going ahead? Well, that is a question for all of us to ask ourselves. Would you want to change?

Where do lights go when the sun rises?

Soft, brightening. We are counting on lights existence as they have always been with us. Light is an invention that is highly overlooked without considering its impact on our cities, workspace, home and everyday being.

They are almost felt to be in our way. (At least for professional photographers and tourists.)

One could say that they are ruining our urban landscapes. We could certainly engage better with the beautiful castle atop a hill more if those lamp posts were not positioned in front of it. We could certainly see what is happening atop the hill with that statue if street lights weren’t curving into our eyes’ view.

Alternatively, lights are framing our views. They make us feel irritated, intrigued and willing to sacrifice our work, meet-ups and kids to see what is beyond what we can see (please pick up your kid from school instead of checking the castle). It is interesting to see how our annoyance can turn into curiosity. How easily we can change the anger in us into something explorative and beauty-seeker.

It is not only that street lights are visually ‘in our way’. Most of the times, they are just physically making us walk half metre more to go around them. Incredible! (Okay, let’s not be so dramatic). A pedestrian could easily say: ‘Is it not enough that the road signs are ‘in our way’? While a driver could express his/her irritation with: ‘ Is it not enough that those pedestrians cross our way in every minute? Not to even mention those other ones! Those motorcyclists and cyclists!’

There is not a right way to approach this problem. We could place them on the roads to irritate our drivers even more; although, I would not like to be the one taking on this movement. (It would be a nice way to make everyone to use their bikes. It is time everyone to show the world to your bikes. It has been 10 years now.)

Lights – and street lights especially – are barriers, obstacles that we are building around us. We have learnt to add newer and newer elements to satisfy our needs, but not learnt how to combine uses to eliminate features during certain periods of the day when they are not in use. Lights can be an example of such inventions.

This showing a potential solution, raises the question of: How can we re-purpose the use of lamp posts during the day? How can we bring life to lights during the day?

It is a question quite difficult to answer. There have been many proposals on how lamp posts could potentially store energy to reduce their energy use and costs; although such schemes need to incorporate their engagement to the public. To give them, a new experience while exploring our cities daily. More importantly, to become part of it.

Lights’ are crucial when the sun goes down. They can allow us to be gathering, to be willing to share spaces together. During a bitterly cold night, two strangers can find themselves standing quite close to each other when they have finally managed to get hold onto the brightness of light. During a nightly train, one seeking to read might want to turn her light on – enforcing the others, sitting in her inmediate vicinity to be woken. Who knows maybe they will start reading as well?

How can we capture this powerful tool of the light? How can we find its value during the days? Not only to make us feel less irritated – even if that would be a good way to reduce the number of people shouting from their cars! We need to make changes to make our spaces for us. For us humans to be willing to get together.

Poetic exploration in design

We are all interconnected by the beauty of storytelling. We are touched by seeing a dog walking with one of his legs being hurt. We stop when a child falls when taking a couple of cautious steps forward. And we share these memories that we experienced. Either it being a success or something hurtful, we develop an understanding by listening to each other. We can put ourselves into the shows of the other person.

Writing your own narrative is one of the key element to design. It does not have to be about an alienated concept where the designer becomes the unclear, undiscovered and never understood artist. In the meanwhile, the customer has no idea what is happening with his requests. Developing a story to that concept. Wrapping it into a narrative that allows us to want to step inside and explore whatever the design is. We are engaged to a certain place when we know that at one point Iulius Caesar walked there. We want to try the type of shoes on that Michael Jordan won his NBA final in. We want to be part of this narrative and share it with other people. Without the design having a narrative, it will not engage us. Us humans.

Poetic explorations had spatial implications since the very beginning of the times when rhythmical writings have started to emerge. Gaston Bachelord describes these as memories which makes us revisit the places where we once belonged to. These moments of our lives are translated into a carefully composed words of a poet where the space becomes more than a scene, an actor. That not only embodies its surroundings but becomes their maker and user at the same time.

***

Play to see expanding and exploring the restrictive nature of visual impairment, is a project composed of the spatial imagery emerged from the narrative of the imagination, memory of one becoming blind during his childhood. Joining the story of someone with his daydreaming allowed for contextualisation. Besides people who he would be happy to share memories with, activities to explore; the space emerged around him.

Guests starting to arrive in the place,

Not surprising as the beautiful smell spreads like a intangible display,

There is an increase in warmth of the space:

‘Please Stay

To keep us moving even more with ease.’

Coming from the chef straight away

To make them part of this lovely evening’s grace.

Why would they leave anyway.

As the next chef Jamie Oliver is in chase?

A lovely ballet

Of cookers to fease

That celebration of a meal that is in portrait,

Cooking that forms without taking a taste.

A bottle of chardonnay,

Is in the hands of the eight-year old in chase,

Take all the guests’ breath away,

Without even a slight glance on the surface

Where the empty glasses currently stay,

Fills them equally to share

And asking if the amount is okay. 

***

Narrative building is about the memory of spatial imagery. Spatial imagery is about exploring poetic imagery. Poetic exploration is about building narrative.

In search for ‘A Place of my Own’ – Reflections on Michael Pollan’s writing and the reimagined city

We all do from time to time retain to our peace, where we refresh our selves. We prefer to call it ‘our space’ referring the physical bubble that is formed around us. Although, the word ‘space’ justifies a much clearer essence that we all prefer to secretly hide away from everyone.

Michael Pollan talks about this space as being ‘A place of my Own’. The particularity of Pollan’s book is in forming conformity in admitting the need for loneliness. To be able to refresh the polluted mind with some air. To be able to gather a sense for need of worldliness.

-I walk up on the stairs, reaching upper and upper to my own little bubble. I close my door behind me. There is my place forming around me. The enclosure helps to keep my balance. There is no one who can hurt me. It is midnight. It is almost time to go to bed. But I decide to sit down and put my thoughts down on paper. No one can bother me. At least that is what I hope because I do not want to explain myself – again. I hear some knocks on the door. I do not want to respond but I certainly know by having my lights on, the other person knows that I am up. I respond after a few seconds and my loneliness has broken apart – again.

Everyone must remember a time of a childhood when building a tent, hiding away in the garden seem to give a possession of something grandiose and powerful. That control over the space gives the child a sense of ownership that remains a joyful memory in one’s mind for the entire being.

Growing up, we all face the loss of this powerful space and we start searching for our new place. We keep the memory fresh in our mind to be able to enter there. But that all is just a space, not a physically existing place. Pollan introduces the concept of ‘Here’ and ‘There’ through the difference between space and place. Space being the unreachable. The place the existing, tangible. The memory of a child where the space of loneliness and control exist is a space created in the mind; although, not tangible anymore.

-I walk up on the stairs, reaching upper and upper to my own little bubble. I close my door behind me. There is my place forming around me. The enclosure helps to keep my balance. There is no one who can hurt me. It is 11pm. It is almost time to go to bed. And so I do before someone can bug me before I reach my bed. I turn my lights off. So that if someone would knock on the door can think I am already asleep. And it works. The knock comes and I do not respond. The person goes away. And finally, my daydreaming begins and carries me to all the spaces I would like to be in.

We are all in desperate need for our own place in this Earth.

It is highly questionable, why do we all willing to share spaces and willing to join our amenities together. We all do for all services we gain from them. The variety in our lives that brightens our days. But how can we find our own ‘Place’ when our current cities our built to be maximised and justified? Our ‘Place’ does not and shall not have to be.

As Pollan describes, he built a house for writing. A separate piece of architecture away from the everyday home living, away from the busyness to find his peace with himself. His justification of being a writer convinces us all to believe that it is an absolute necessity; although, there are certainly different approaches one can take in order to find a peaceful corner to write in.

-I walk up on the stairs, reaching upper and upper to my own little bubble. I keep my door open.There is not a place forming around me. The lack of enclosure does not help to keep my balance. I feel like a victim. It is 3pm. It is definitely not the right time to go to bed. I am not sleepy. But as soon as I am in the bed, I close my eyes. Then no one can bug me. I hear some voices. But they are cut at some point when reaching to its highest frequency. The person goes away. And finally, I am let in peace and my daydreaming can begin. With myself.

We need to design cities leaving space for finding ourselves, to find our Place where we feel to belong to. Where we can re-engage with the hectic, constantly changing life that we are living. We need to reimagine cities to welcome its residents and not make them hide away behind the walls of their rooms hoping for an undisturbed moment. We need to fight and keep trying, to make an initiative in making our own Place to be created.

What Pollan shows is the need for not needing explanation. A need for following the self willing to refresh itself. The self that is willing to retain to its own shell. We all do very much need that. Daydreaming keeps us all in the hope to once it will be possible to find that ‘Place’; although, it does not have to be in this way. We need to find our own Place. That is the only way we can truly contribute to something much bigger than ourselves.

A guide to my city, Budapest

Slowly take your pace
Relax and open your eyes
Widely


That’s how I begin my journey as I slowly walk from Lehel square in direction of Nyugati. The beauty of the city already hits me. It being possible to walk everywhere through stairs leading you through underground passages – one’s where you close all your senses – but it is absolutely worth it once you are up again.


The weather is lovely and other than some ambulance cars passing the only thing that can be bothering if someone doesn’t decide to go around you when you are going straight. That is just ignorance presented to you. But I cannot care, there is so much going on.


There is a guy sitting softly in his chair. A girl jumping up – playing! Some people are passing by enjoying the streets being closed from vehicles to come through. A slight wind keeps you cold in the almost tropical temperature.


The streets are guiding. Once being planned as circular roads – Pest kept this concentric planning that reminds you of your position. As the sun passes through the streets, you can be very much aware of the time being. You can never get lost.


I continue my route on Bajcsy-Zsiniczky. It is quite empty compared to a usual Saturday morning. It is COVID hitting you in the face again. I don’t mind my because all I can notice is the slightly changing elevation.  Some peaking out some are hiding away. I see a slight change in an narrow way, it’s gorgeous. It’s different that’s what brings me there. Some restaurants are keeping me rotate once I reach to the very end. As I pass through them, the smell of almost lunch time hits me, but I don’t stop for now.


There is a street, October 6 street that is hidden in-between the Danube and the avenues. Small shops, cafe’s and restaurants are stopping you while slowly moving cars are passing. It is almost like a pedestrian street but it does much more than that: it doesn’t forbid, eliminate vehicles, it teaches you to engage with them. To live together. One is not in the camouflage of this century’s workings. Vehicles are necessary part of everyday life. Forbidding means giving up.


The Basilica is right in front of you as you lead out from the street alongside numerous tourists seeking to have the best shot from the best angle possible. Cannot blame them. As I pass through them, it is almost inevitable for me not to look back and see the constantly widening and emerging basicila right in front me. I still don’t believe it is here. Right here. That I am lucky not only enough to be in this city but living in this century when I can fully enjoy its being.

The square takes me over and reaches me to the street leading away. It is Vaci street – the one that all tourists guides would recommend you to go to. All shops are there. Expensive restaurants are bumping into your face with high recommendations and the proud of its customers. This is not for me. As I softly say no to the people attempting to find a seat for me, I am already on the other side of the road. I know what I am waiting for. I love how it is a space where citizens and tourists meet: the indirect conversation occurring between them. The citizens are complaining about the tourists occupying, stopping, being. And as the tourists stop them for a second, their reaction kindly changes and happily explain where to go to find the parliament while advising on a place the eat – we Hungarians are certainly some crazy species.


I reach to the Ferenciek square, where the adventure of car traffic is happening. The ones leading for a holiday are piling up in romantic Kifli positions – you may ask how can a car form a kifli? That is one more reason for you to come and see this beauty.


As I pass across the kiflis, I see a bit of emptiness that relaxes me for a bit from the craziness of the touristic environments. But I don’t have to wait for long until I see the citizens overtaking the next chapter. This is the second part of the Vaci street. The one that is less known, where the citizens are walking in a faster pace and the tourists are already seated in immersing themselves into the absolutely madness of paprika favour that we found ourselves putting into all of our dishes – it is lovely I promise.
You might wonder, why am I here? Why do I take on the route of a tourist? It is very simple. This city is made for tourists. Let’s start again. This is a city for tourists. Better, right? It is a city which you don’t need a guidance to because the city is your guide. It is not one where you can get lost. Because the Danube will hit you in the face, somewhere, I promise. You will want to stop. You will want to keep a pace. And the city allows you to do that. The people are only complaining behind your back. So don’t worry, you will never be on your own.


I sit down at a very local Hungarian restaurant – I swear to god I am from here and I decide to eat in these places. It is nice to be surrounded by tourists. It is an identity that is forming more and more strongly by doing this. You become more proud of where you are coming from. Your story. And it is truly valuable.

Once I finish, my adventure continues back on Vaci street to walk across the Danube. See it is that simple to find it! Even for someone growing up in here it is surprising. I pass next to an ice cream shop and it is almost inevitable not to go in there. In this tropical weather? Anything that is cold can help!

I am passing through the bridge Erzsébet – one of the most gorgeous ones I promise (it can only hide behind Lánchíd, but it is under construction for now). The emerging hills are in perfect harmony with the river that somehow makes everything to freeze for a second. As there are the piling cars (less like kiflis) I can easily go on the other side. That is where you wanna stand. You want to face north to see it all. But what exactly?

The most beautiful thing about being in Pest is being able to see the other side of the river, Buda. It has all the beautiful monuments alongside each other. It is almost like going through the past 500 years in one gaze. But what a gaze! The colours are so softly harmonizing with the more and more greenish river – sadly it is getting more polluted – but with nature! The blue sky, the lovely trees and parks are all creating this picturesque experience. You just do not want to go away. But then you move. It is this feeling that you want to see it from a closer point of view because you do not want to believe what you see. But this is reality.

I keep moving to the other side, but I cannot help not to keep looking. I reach to the hill and I am already up before I realise. The stairs are taking me on a journey. Dragging me into nature and then showing me my path in certain occasions. Reminding me of where am I. Then back to nature again. The vista is better and better. But I keep moving because I know what is on the top.

It is the Citadella. It is the most beautiful point of the whole city. Where everything is just right in front of you. All you want to see is there. It is always full of people. But you want to have others with you to share that experience. It is about that community forming and reforming in every single second. You cannot help to keep moving them.

I decide to sit down for a while. And enjoy the vista. There is not much else to do then get my sketchbook out and start taking it in. Even if I have drawn it many times, it is always the best place to sketch something. That is when I feel totally part of it. Once I am ready – roughly 3-5 hours – I am up again on my feet. And a totally different scenery is welcoming me. The city changes as the time changes. And it is getting better and better. But somehow you cannot choose in-between which one you like. The changing effect is what makes you feel like that.

I take a different route down. One that takes me down almost to the Castle. I mean the bottom of it! It would be another trip to have up there – absolutely worth it but do not go on the same day! Now I am leading to the Danube. I love the coastline there. That is my favourite place. It is calm. You know what is the best thing about being in Buda? You can see the gorgeous Pest in front of you. The bridges are giving you guidance in how far you are. They are all totally different. And that is what makes them special after all. But they are all leading from the concentric roads of Pest.

As I walk on the lane, I cannot help to stop and sit down on lovely side of the road and just look at the scenery. Then I take my book out and just read for a bit. Take your time there as well.

As I slowly reach to Margit bridge – that is where I recommend getting back to Pest – it is getting noisier but more vivid. It is because of the tram taking all the citizens from one side to the other. And because of the lovely Margit island in the middle. I am not going down for now, that would be another trip to have – but again not on the same day! I just slowly take the scenery in walking on the right hand side. And that is enough for me today. I am leading back to Nyugati. The road is busy but I do not mind now. It is that vivid nature that you want to experience after a long day of walking. That is what can take you back. Take you wherever you are heading to. Where it all started.

And again, slowly take your pace
Relax and open your eyes
Widely

An unexpected recognition – entering a competition without a conscious direction

Debates, long conversations, good laughs, misunderstandings, long nights and days and common cooking. Doing a competition is almost like a summer camp with the beauty of architecture slowly overtaking forming an inevitable field of a battles with opposing views. It requires patience and openness. Once it is achieved though, a new understanding and new perspective on your processes is developed.

Aleks, Andrew, Cameron and I were done with our first years when the idea of taking part in a competition came up. Some of us were recovering from the struggle of finishing our projects in a challenging, out-worldly experience. While the rest were commencing forming their summer plans – finally, the restrictions were allowing some to happen.

As inexperienced as we were – not participating in a competition before – we jumped into the large number of competitions. Once we entered this world, their was no way to get out. We found all possibilities exciting, enriching. Very much different to the briefs we encountered with in our first year. These were leaving us in the dark, not giving any directions. First it seemed like a big step forward, soon we had to realize that we are free to choose what and how we want to achieve. We started to bring in ideas about designing on the Mars, cities for animals and of a floating transport system. It was all new to us bringing us to an unobstructed world of ideas.

Comparing it to architectural school, the competition was very much about allowing to think outside of the possibilities we have/ of the ideas someone has put forward. It was about developing our own thinking. It pushed us to go beyond our research of architectural projects. To see what is out there and abstract it.

By entering into the competition Reimagining Museums for Climate Action, we stepped into something much bigger than we have thought. It was a project entitled to revision sustainable cultural centres for COP26. Bring in new ideas about a way to educate, to raise awareness and give voices to the public. We did not realize what we end up immersing ourselves into until the project outcomes were published. We reached a recognition. We were published.

Looking back from almost a year far from our submission, we were explorative and conceptual. We started from an unrealistic world and brought it into reality. We were not in our conscious mindset. We were making. Relying very much on our intuitive.

Design does not have to be about pursuing someone else’s ideas and beliefs. It is about developing your own thinking. Your own interpretations based on your experience. Everyone has their own images of the world. We store these carefully in our collections. Without using these, we lose the leading force of architecture – empathy.

Let’s stop the hustle for individual goals

Loneliness. Questions constantly bumping. Confusion. Why am I doing this? I would like to give up.

It is scary to think how many of us suffer with thoughts like this throughout our academic and professional career. Covid-19 has increasingly installed this anxious, lonely feeling inside us that wants to get out but it keeps moving deeper and deeper. There is a way out though.

Architectural schools are forming a community. A community of students and professionals who are willing to make a strongly connected network of architects fighting for our current global, local issues. In the aim of resolving them together. It is questionable how such goals can be achieved when we are constantly encouraged to develop ourselves through individual projects.

We almost do not know what it is like to work on a project together. We think differently. We approach design differently. The school pushes us to become individual thinkers, to develop our own processes. How are we expected to know how to manage a work collaboratively if we are not given a chance to develop together?

Throughout the two years of my study, the school provided small occasions for collaborative work. However, out of all of these, we were only marked once together. I believe many people lose the motivation when the work is not marked – which is a shame in itself that the system is built up to encourage a grade-based motivation. Therefore, there is a smaller effort is put into the work. Almost like people lose all their experiences when they have to do it together.

It is a challenging problem for sure. How can be the grading system still be fair to all individuals if more collaborative work is introduced? How can one learn how to work together if there is a lack of opportunity? I believe the problem is with the grading system. Everything seems to be based on it that defines the motivation of students and the progression with the degree.

When starting the project, one first introduced to the way being marked before even knowing what the brief is going to be about. There is a need for marking based on experiences. There is a need for all to develop a willing to explore different ways of practicing design without relying on the outcome.

The school needs to encourage and communicate the need for failure. But that is only possible if one is not disadvantaged when a mistake occurs. How can one explore, be brave to try new ways of thinking if there will be less opportunity afterwards to get help? How can one feel encouraged?

In most cases, that is when one feels lost and uncertain about whether it is the right path. The school communicates being late with work that is very much discouraging and causing a stressful environment. As much as there is a need for deadlines to set a point when the design said to be final – even if that is never the case – there is a need for flexibility in achieving a piece. There is a need for exploration.

How else can a collaborative group of architects be set for practice with a willing to improve and solve our current global and local issues if there is no space given to develop this attitude towards their profession? There is a need for a change. A change towards an accepting system on failure.