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Reflections on the year later
by Katy Purviance on 11/23/10 @ 11:42:57 am
Categories: Grad School | 283 words | 1402 views

I’m facebook friends with most of the people I knew during my time at Harvard’s GSD.

Which means I saw their beautiful photographs from their recent studio trip to Senegal.

And I think to myself, “That could have been me.” And honestly, I feel a little sad that I am no longer part of that community.

But then I remind myself of all the reasons why I left.

I struggled every day with the irrelevancy of our work in studio. With the archaic academic pedagogy. With the schedule overloaded with irrelevant classes.

I was tired of waking up every morning with a sense of dread in the pit of my stomach.

And I was heartbroken that, in the hands of my studio critics, my beloved architecture had been transfigured into a grotesque mockery of everything I loved.

And now I was struggling with what I had left behind. After seeing these photographs of my former classmates on their trip to Senegal, I thought about how much time and money I spent preparing for grad school, and how much time and money I spent applying. I thought about the student loan debt I accrued at the GSD. And I thought about how much debt I didn’t accrue since leaving.

And I realized I had saved enough money to travel to Senegal and back ten times.

And then I felt better.

It was my disappointment in grad school that spurned me to found VERB design/build school, a school that I have many great plans for. Including, of course, international field trips.

I’m creating something that will allow me to travel the world with like-minded architecture students. I’m sure we’ll get to Senegal as well.

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places where you could probably learn more about designing and building in just a few days than I did after a year of grad school

Know of some others I can add here? Let me know. Have you already visited some of these places...or planning on it? Let me know and I will feature your story and your photos here!

I am starting a new kind of architecture school. Unlike most architecture schools, you wouldn't have to submit GRE scores or good grades or letters of recommendation. You wouldn't have to put the rest of your life on hold for 3 to 5 years. You wouldn't have to accrue tens of thousands of dollars in debt. At my architecture school, anyone could come for a few weeks and learn how to build a house with their own two hands. My teachers would take skills and concepts from some of these other workshops I've listed above... except classes would be held year-round to make it easy to fit into your schedule. I would have a number of different campuses around the country that would teach building designs appropriate to the local climate. And I need your help. Can you donate land for a campus? Can you dotate books for a library? Can you teach a workshop? Can you provide start-up capital? Let me know.

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