Saturday, January 04, 2014


A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Once in a while I think about pursuing my dream of becoming an architect that began when I took a mechanical drawing class in junior high. I love thinking about how we interact with the spaces we're in, and how valuable good design is whether we're aware of it or not. I even fall asleep at night designing or redesigning spaces. Then I remember that I haven't taken a math class since high school.

I also remember that I'd need to figure out how to compensate for a critical weakness.

When I was in college, I took a drawing class. Sometimes we went on field trips to the agriculture department, where we'd sketch sheep. I had an extremely hard time making my sheep look like they were in proper proportion with their feet firmly planted on the ground. Seeing something in three dimensions and rendering it in two was challenging.

I also took an anatomy class, and every week we'd have a lab period with cadavers. We'd study two dimensional illustrations in our text book, then be quizzed on the body parts the lab instructor had stuck pins into. It was really tough for me to relate the two dimensional drawings I'd memorized with the three dimensional cadavers (though dissected they were actually more like 2 1/2 dimensions).

Architects have to move easily between dimensions in their heads. Of course, nowadays we have computers to help. But I'd still have to catch up on an awful lot of math.

It's pretty doubtful at this point that I will ever go back to school to become an architect. But don't be surprised if I end up scratching that itch somehow. If there is anything I've learned walking the crooked path of my life, it's just a matter of the right dream percolating to the surface at the right time.


Linda said...

Last April I started working as a technical writer at an engineering company that builds, sells, installs, and maintains large pieces of equipment for mining and other industries. I'm supposed to read and understand the engineering drawings-- two-dimensional renderings of complex machines. At first I could only make sense of them if I had a photograph of the item. I just couldn't make a picture in my head. I think I understand what you are talking about.

misssrobin said...

While I am pretty stout of heart and stomach, I don't think I'd ever want to work with cadavers. Between the ick and the emotional tug, I think it would be very tough for me.

I believe you have the spirit to find a way to make those dreams come true. Maybe in a slightly different way than you initially imagined, but you'll know it when you see it. Have fun!