It’s been way too long since I’ve written here, so first, a recap: as you can see from my last entry, I spent Easter weekend in New York doing a few school things and then seeing some of the city in my free time. This was the second time I’d been to New York and I was with some other people this time, so I was able to be less of a lost and overwhelmed tourist and more of a person who could pay attention to what was happening around him. I found out I like New York City very much, and feel like I could adjust to life there quickly and easily, but I wonder how living there would change the kind of person I am. Would I become more impatient, more rushed, and less peaceful? I think Chicago or Los Angeles are more likely to be the right cities for me than New York is. One place, though, that I was able to find some peace was in the Easter morning service at St. John the Divine, which is the Episcopal cathedral for New York. During the semester I rarely get to go to church because of schoolwork demands, and it was calming and familiar to be able to return to the way of life I used to live every week.
Since I’ve come back to Charlotte it’s been all school. The semester is nearly over, and that means so is my time in school. My thesis is close to the shape I want it to have, and my defense of it is in seventeen days. I then graduate, hopefully, on May 15. The next thing to do after that, besides taking a couple weeks off, is to find some kind of job. The market is awful right now for architects, so nobody is really hiring. So I’m having to think of other ways to make some money while not taking a job that makes me hate myself. That’s where my idea comes in:
I’ve been inspired by Auburn’s Rural Studio since before I began my education, and as I’m about to graduate I find myself wondering what I’m going to do to fulfill the responsibility to the poor that I think architecture has. The idea I’ve come up with is to go back to Trevecca and start a program that will culminate in design/build studios for Nashville’s poor communities. I would use the summer and fall to plan the courses and getting things set up, and then start the program next spring by offering an architectural history class for Trevecca’s students. I’d then move the history class to every fall, along with a materials and methods class. In the Spring semester I’d teach the design courses, starting with a beginning design studio like the freshman take at UNCC. The junior and senior level course would be for students who had taken the lower-level courses from me, and would be design/build courses for constructing bus stops, picnic shelters, chapels, etc. over the semester’s months. I already know people who have connections to non-profits in Nashville, so there is a network there of people willing to help and determine which communities need what the most.
I think this program would fit into Trevecca’s new emphasis on social justice, wouldn’t really cost the school anything besides paying me to teach (funding and materials for the design/build would come from sponsors and reclaimed materials), and it would help the lives of Nashville’s poor.
I’ve sent a message about this to Trevecca’s president, who I know and have a friendly relationship with, and I’m waiting on his reply. We’ll see what he thinks, but I’m going to be in Nashville in May and hope to talk to him in person about it then. I’m excited and inspired about this idea, so hopefully Trevecca is willing to do it.