UPDATE: A very special week in college

Hello there!

I didn’t post my weekly blogs last week because I was staying a lot in college doing some really cool stuff.

So here’s what was going on: every year my university (Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie) hosts an event called “Semana Viver Metrópole” (translates to “Live the Metropolis Week”) in which several renowned Brazilian architects are invited to do a few presentations and workshops for the students of architecture, and  also any other person interested who signed up for the occasion.

They are professionals who have had amazing experiences all around the world and, in doing so, gained an incredible amount of know-how, and it is so sweet and humble of them to come all the way to our university and share some of their life stories with us.

Unfortunately, it was impossible to attend all the presentations and workshops (it’s a lot of stuff, presentations make me so tired haha), but of the ones I did attend, here are my favorites.

Eiji Hayakawa:

This guy is simply fantastic. The entire time he was talking I was absolutely entranced. The achievements he has made in his carrier are really something to be inspired by. Also, he filled me in on the story of his very own inspiration, the architect Tadao Ando.

I had already heard of Tadao Ando before, but not very in depth. His story is so interesting. He used to be a simple young man, who never attended college and who worked as a professional boxer in his home country, Japan. One day he was at a bookstore and found a book by modernist architect, Les Corbusier, and simply fell in love with the man’s ideas and profession. From that point on, he started learning architecture on his own, reading as many books as he could and, most importantly, traveling the world to see all kinds of constructions and styles that are found in different cultures. He then returned to Japan and started his own office, only to become one of the most important architects in the world today.

(Tadao Ando)

Eiji Hayakawa, in turn, became who he is today because of Tadao Ando. When he was studying architecture at Universidade de São Paulo (FAU-USP), he came across a book about the master, and was so touched by his work he even cried. He spent the next four years in college learning as much as he could in the hopes of some day working for Tadao. His dream came true. He applied for an internship in Tadao’s office in Japan during his fourth year in college, and got accepted. It was quite the experience. It’s not easy to work for the old man. Once, he got so angry at Eiji he even threw a scale model on his head. But the fact is he learned so many valuable lessons, not only as an architect, but as a person, and he is so thankful for that experience.

After working for Tadao, Eiji returned to São Paulo to finish his studies, and then moved to New York as a Grad-student at Columbia University. There he decided to focus more on Urban Design, and started working in the famous American architecture office, Ehrenkrantz Eckstut and Kuhn. He got to participate in some incredible projects, and once again learned so much from the experience.

After New York, I believe Eiji returned to São Paulo (not sure) and at an architecture conference (I can’t remember where exactly, sorry), he was pleasantly surprised when he bumped into none other than Tadao Ando, whom he hadn’t seen since his internship years before. He told Tadao he was thinking of moving to Japan with his wife, and was shocked when Tadao handed him his card and said: “One week, my office.”

And so he once again set off to Japan to work for the man who inspired him, this time as a grown professional. He was in charge of the international projects in Tadao’s office, and therefore got to travel all around the world. His biggest challenge was working for Arab Sheikhs. They’re always so demanding, and want things very much their way (no matter how impossible).

Today, Eiji has his own office in Brazil, called Eiji Hayakawa Architects. He is quite influential himself, and so very successful. He deserves it. So much hard work and dedication!!!

Eduardo Bajzek:

THIS GUY. WHAT IS THIS GUY?!

So Eduardo Bajzek used to study at my university, and I’d already heard of him because my teacher (who was also his teacher) always talks about him and how well he can draw.

AND MY GOD, HE REALLY CAN.

This guy will sit down and draw a super detailed, beautiful building in front of him like it’s a stick figure. He is so talented! The speed in which he does things is just WOW.

I was so happy I signed up for his workshop, it was so worth it. What he did was make my peers and I walk around campus drawing buildings we like, or trees, plants, people… anything really. Meanwhile, he’d come around giving us tips and suggestions. It was a super chill class, because there’s no way he could teach us everything he knows in two hours, but still super informative and helpful! I had fun.

Check out more of his drawings and pieces here.

Felipe Rodrigues:

This guy’s presentation was by far my favorite. First of all, because he’s so funny and charismatic. Second, because his story is so interesting.

Like Eiji Hayakawa, Felipe Rodrigues (who is also a Mackenzie student like me :) ) spent his college years studying as hard as he could to work for his ultimate favorite architect: Rem Koolhaas, considered one of the fathers of deconstructivist architecture.

The Dutch architect’s office is one of the most brutal, hostile working environments ever known. He believes that life should revolve around one’s job, and doesn’t expect any of his employees to think any different. Thus, it is needless to say that Felipe took on quite the challenge when he set off to work for the man as an intern in his fourth year of college, at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA).

 

(Rem Koolhaas)

He was super excited when he arrived at Rotterdam (the poor, innocent soul), but became quickly aware of the pickle he had gotten himself into. Sure, working for Koolhaas was such a fantastic opportunity, but during the six months Felipe was there, every single day was a nightmare, and it took every ounce of his courage and power of will to keep up the work until the internship was over.

There was no rest. EVER. He’d start working at 10:00 in the morning, and would only leave the office at 3:00 a.m. of the next day. Weekends? Pf, please. He said there was only one Sunday to rest every two months, and he literally spent the entire day sleeping. His life was the office. Every morning it was as if the building was swallowing him, and he was entering hell on earth. This is because Koolhaas has so many people who’d like to work for him that he literally treats his employees as replaceable. No one is special. No one matters. If someone is unsatisfied, they get up and leave. He has no time for complaints. If you wanna work for him, you better be prepared to be treated like a slave.

This makes his office an extremely stressful environment, so much so that Felipe never fully got used to it. When he was describing the experience, he said that he honestly felt like he was being raped of all his dignity, of all things happy. He still can’t decide whether it was worth it or not.

Fact is, when he finally returned to Brazil, his view of the famous architect had changed. No doubt, he still finds the man amazing and admires him for his achievements and hard work. But some of that admiration was lost, because there’s no use being a great architect if you’re an asshole! Koolhaas manages his office through fear and inhumane pressure. He treats amazing professionals as inferior and completely worthless people. Sure, working for him will give you an irreplaceable curriculum, but in some ways, Felipe thinks maybe it’s not that worth it. It’s definitely indignant.

And that’s what I loved about his presentation. Sometimes, we set off on adventures and it turns out it’s not really what we wanted. But the point is, that shouldn’t be reason for you to give up and run back home. Sure, it was pure torture working for Koolhaas, and maybe the things he does are ridiculous and insane. But Felipe worked so hard to get there; he wasn’t gonna stop because it was too much. He carried through with the internship, and, whether he had a good time or not, he still learned so much from the experience.

 

 

So that’s all guys, hope this was cool. It’s quite the long post but hey, interesting stuff!! BYE! :D

NOTE: I do not own any of the images in this post! Click on them to check out where they’re from!

FILM WEDNESDAY: And So It Goes…

I watched this film last Friday, and it was absolutely amazing!

I was having a really terrible, blue day because I had made a huge mistake concerning a male individual (it’s okay, I always make mistakes when it comes to male individuals), and so I asked my friends to join me on an emergency movie night. We ended up going to an open, street mall that I love here in São Paulo called Kinoplex, and watched And So It Goes…!

I had no idea what it was about (emergency haha) but I knew Diane Keaton was part of the cast, and that was all the comfort I needed. The film did not disappoint. My friends and I had a great time. We laughed a lot, cried a bit; the perfect mix of emotions. And the ending makes you all nice and fuzzy inside. It was exactly what I needed.

Furthermore, the cast was spot on.

Michael Douglas was fantastic, playing a bitterly heart broken old man who might seem mean and careless at first, but who eventually reveals just how much he cares about people.

Frances Sternhagen is amazing!! So funny and so badass playing an old lady who’s got no time for bullshit and who simply doesn’t die!!!!

And then finally, there’s Diane Keaton, who is easily one of my favorite actresses ever. As per usual, in this film she is ridiculously charming and classy, which does not stop her from being absolutely hilarious! By the way, if you’re reading this and enjoyed And So It Goes…, I think you’ll also love the film Because I Said So, which also features Diane Keaton playing a similar character.

Anyway, I super recommend this film!!! Go check it out! Or watch it again and again and again if you’ve already seen it!!! :)

 

 

T’was quite the week

I feel like I’ve been saying this way too much lately, but GOSH, I’m being a terrible blogger!!!!!

However, at least it’s not for a bad reason. I’m doing a lot of stuff!

And since I haven’t been blogging enough lately, I’ve decided to write a post sharing some of that stuff with the world! Yay!

College

For those who don’t know, I’m a Brazilian architect studying in São Paulo. This week (Wednesday, specifically) was one of the most important due dates of my semester long project. Which means I was a ball of stress that came very close to exploding. But then everything was fine in the end. For this project, I was given a small terrain to work with located in a famous street here in the city, called Rua Augusta. Inside that terrain I was asked to design a bookstore that somehow fit in with the environment.

This project has been really cool because I absolutely love the vibes in that street. The night life is amazing, and there’s something nice about it during the day as well; a kind of shameless simplicity that is oddly contagious.

Once I’m done with the project, I’ll post some pictures of it here.

Another project that was due this week was for Urbanism class. It was a lot of work, but so, so interesting. What we had to do was divide ourselves into eight different groups. Each group would be assigned a block inside a larger area of study to analyze. How to analyze it? Go all the way there and check it out! Literally what we had to do was go building to building, house to house, asking how old each establishment was, how many floors they had, how many apartments per floor, that kind of stuff. We discovered so many things by doing that, and met some really interesting people. I had more fun than I thought I would :) After that, we had to convert all that information and put it on several maps of the area, and all that jazz. So profesh haha.

Elections

I was selected by the government (along with thousands of other Brazilian citizens) to work during the elections this year. What happens is you get this really super official and scary letter saying “YOU HAVE BEEN SELECTED. NOT SHOWING UP MEANS YOU HAVE COMMITTED AN ELECTORAL CRIME. BLABLABLA. DO THIS. DO THAT. OBEY.”

WOOP WOOP. Yeah. I was really angry about this at first, but it was actually not that bad. Despite having to wake up at 6:00 a.m. on a SUNDAY to be ready to work at 7:00 a.m. all the way to 6:30 p.m., the whole thing ended up being kind of fun.

The people who are selected to work in the elections are called “mesários”. What we do is we are divided in thousands of groups, each assigned a voting room that’ll receive an average of 350 voters throughout the day. Our job is to make sure those voters, a) vote, b) sign the official booklet to confirm their vote, and c) that they get the “receipt” that proves they’ve voted in case they get called for by the law (because in Brazil it is mandatory to vote). Usually each mesário gets a distinct job, but in my room, we did a little bit of everything to make the day less boring. One person stays at the door, letting people in one by one, checking their documents to make sure they are who they say they are, that kind of stuff. The rest stay inside making sure people sign the official booklet, punching the people’s voter I.D.’s on the little machine so they can vote, and then handing them their receipts when they’re done. The entire time, we’re strictly forbidden to name any politician, and if anyone asks for help when they’re voting, we are only allowed to guide them through the process. If, say, they forget a candidate’s number, we are never, ever to inform them of anything, for we could be accused of forcing them to vote on someone, thus, committing an electoral crime.

I personally enjoyed staying at the door the most, because I could talk to the people in line and distract myself. Anyway, it was a long day, but totally doable.

Boxing

I did mention this in a previous post but I’ll say it again: I started boxing this month! And God is it exhausting. But I don’t mind, because I’m getting super fit, which means I’ll be looking good for the summer! I was so out of shape!

Adventures

In college, our professors are always encouraging us to explore the city, to go check out expos and interesting architecture or what not. My friends and I have been really trying to do that.

This week, we went to two cool places.

Kinoplex, in a neighborhood called Itaim, is a sort of open kind of street mall. It’s considered an important concept in architecture, because it’s all about making the ground level area of buildings open for the public. It’s what architects like Les Corbusier loved doing (Les Corbusier is quite an important figure in modern architecture). Anyway, so we went there to check that all out (me again, because I’d already been there). We ended up watching a movie called And So It Goes, which I’ll talk about later this week on Film Wednesday, but I’ll already say here that it is AMAZING. Loved it so much.

The other place we went to is what used to be the Matarazzo Hospital, located near Avenida Paulista, the most important street in São Paulo. There, several artists made use of the macabre, creepy feel of the abandoned, asylum-looking hospital to create quite a quirky expo. My friends and I expected a bit more from it, but it was still very interesting.

And that’s that. All those things took up a lot of time, so I took yet another break from blogging. But this week will be incredibly chill. I have no major assignments, and also, THERE IS NO CLASS ON WEDNESDAY. HELLZ YEAH. Such a relief, seriously.