July 07, 2012

Architectural Empire State of Mind (Part I)


I’m back in Toronto after a week-long Grad/Birthday Trip to New York City!

At Times Square, looking at the TKTS Booth by Perkins Eastman

I can’t afford Europe or Asia or anything that includes air time for now. However, with a little American Currency on hand, I was able to take the bus and travel to one of the best capital-A Architecture cities in North America. Throughout my undergrad, most of my inspiration and precedent studies in studio came from a lot of recent buildings in New York City. My architecture heroes made their mark and home New York City – Firms from Sharples Holden Pasquerelli (SHoP), Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R), Steven Holl, The Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), REX, Bjarke Ingles Group (BIG NYC), Todd Williams + Billie Tsien have made an impact at one point in my educational career in which I studied and looked to them as a source of inspiration. I saw their buildings online and in lectures, and I just had to see these buildings up close and in person to really experience their work. The last time I visited NYC was when I was 13, in August 2001, just a few weeks before the 9/11 attacks. No longer architecturally retarded, a visit to the Big Apple was long overdue. It was time to see the city which has endured so much this past decade and has been able to resurrect itself like a phoenix from the ashes. Even though I plan to go to graduate school in 2 years time, I felt like it was time for me to begin the grad school hunt and tour the schools outside Canada that I am interested in 
At Lincoln Center

I contacted my friends who were in NYC on Facebook and informed them that I was coming, and that whoever had time to spare can chill with me. I was able to hang out at a friends party, on other days I was able to meet up with friends who were willing to accompany me in checking out the city. I set up my little bucket list of spots I wanted to see during the week. I also decided to begin my search for prospective grad schools in the city and scheduled tours and appointments with their admissions office. I bought a guidebook on contemporary architecture (by John Hill, founder of Archidose) in New York City and tagged the spots I wanted to see. I was prepared...perhaps a bit too obsessive like Monica Gellar from the TV sitcom Friends.

Visiting NYC, I was equipped with a subway map with a deceitful scale, a contemporary architecture city guide to NYC, and my printed bucketlist. Definitely buy this book if you are architecture nerd like me - it has maps and subway directions to the buildings discussed.

...this didn’t turn out so well trying to hit all the spots on the list. However it is okay, because whatever I missed on the list, whatever museum was closed – It gives me more reason to visit this city again and again...better yet aim to work or study there.

From my trip, I must say you have to enjoy the chaos of New York City of going here and there. Along the lines of advice from friends – it’s good to plan what you want to see but allow that flexibility – to experience and explore. Be open to getting lost and seeing where it leads you. Be prepared to walk alot...and I MEAN ALOT! There is so much to see, and the deceiving subway map scales can make you think that a walk from 5th Avenue to 7th Avenue would be a cake walk. I really enjoyed the city, not really used to the intense hustle and bustle of the city, but one thing is for certain, I’m willing to go back again.

My next entry will be about some of the highlights of my trip to the city, and some of the favourite places I visited.

*NEW* My follow up blog entry, ARCHITECTURAL EMPIRE STATE OF MIND PART II

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