Following completion of my undergraduate studies in architecture at the University of Florida and work in practice, I prepared a portfolio of work to accompany applications for graduate studies. This document, compiled in January 1997, was titled “Powder Puffed Faux Fat & Safe Sex.”
The document included an introductory preface, included here to provide additional context:
EDUCATION OF THE ARCHITECT
Bradley Walters / 1 January 1997
We live in fantastic times.
The ken of the individual is being stretched to new limits by technological development. The persistent evolutionary development of the virus is forcing us to look beyond pharmaceuticals for health and well-being. The anticipation, uncertainty, and concurrent fear at the advent of the second millennium are rampant in our culture. Premonitions of lunar ice and fossilized life on Mars have begun to re-seat the human animal within a much greater context. The current re-assessment of individual rights and responsibilities is replacing the republic with the democracy. The destruction of the narrative construct is discarding time as an organizational structure. The qualifiers of so many languages are being replaced by quantitative measures, modifying both perception and the exchange/translation of knowledge.
And these fantastic times have reshaped our perceptions, progressively inserting levels of distinction between our selves and the world which we inhabit. It is imperative that we, as artists and architects, seize the inherent nature of our professions as conduits between the imagined and the built; We are the necessary bind between the senses. The need for such divergent emphases as established at the Bauhaus school seem particularly appropriate today: discovery of individual creativity; derivation of form from productive methods, materials, and programmatic constraints; mass production; and development of a social consciousness, emphasizing organizational structures and the relationships between people. We must also address the extinction of the analog medium by seeking and implementing appropriate ways in which the developing digital tools can serve as extensions of the hands. We must direct the ways in which our profession is being quantified.
We must bridge the current expanse between School and Professional Practice. I have endeavored to link
the two by alternately studying at school and in the workplace. While in high school and college, I spent
my summers working full-time with architects and builders, attempting to learn as much about the physical materials of construction as possible. And I have spent the year and a half since graduation working with an architectural firm, preparing complete construction documents and assisting in construction administration. To make this individual directive a more integral part of architectural education, we should consider the educational models of our contemporaries: the ‘ateliers’ of France, where students of Architecture learn in an office and not in a classroom; The co-operative programs offered by so many Engineering schools here in the United States, where the alternating semesters of school and work allow each to inform the other. The education of the architect must never cease. I would like very much to participate in the educational process in a Teaching or Teaching Assistant Position while in graduate school.
The study of architecture cannot be considered an independent course of study, devoid of relationships to the external world. It is necessary to draw together art and architecture, as well as the multiple ‘construction related’ fields of study. As President of Gargoyle Honor Society at the University of Florida, I led our organization in sponsoring an extracurricular design charrette for a project to be built on campus. The Clocktower Charrette, joining students from the College of Architecture, the College of Engineering, and the School of Building Construction, helped to break down the academic walls that separate different student groups by requiring competing groups to consist of members of each of these colleges and schools.
Living in such a swirl of information and activity, we must be able to divine/define the terms of our art and architecture, continually testing such notions in built/constructed form. At Princeton, the opportunity for the individual development of an architecture presents itself. The use of an open-ended curriculum (stressing concurrent coursework in diverse groups) emphasizes an auto-critical method of study in which the specific course selection is left in the hands of the student. This structure allows for the student’s professional development to grow in the direction that is more or less charted by the self. And the corresponding challenge of the methodology is that the student is left to decide how best to propose and resolve the questions of architecture.
I am ready for the call and the challenge of the new architecture. At the University of Florida, I have endeavored to develop my talents for the work at hand. In personal drawing studies, travel sketchbooks, and UF design studios, I have practiced the translation of the idea from the mind’s eye to the hand. I have studied Physics and advanced mathematics through Honors level Calculus Ill. And I have grounded these pursuits with concurrent studies in the History of Art and Architecture. I feel prepared for the continual evolution of my education, and prepared for enrollment in graduate school. I am confident that I can offer a significant contribution to the advancement of the program, while simultaneously learning and advancing my own professional development.
Images and spreads from the document are available here: