When you hear the word “inspiration,” what comes to mind? For artists, perhaps it is the changing colors of the leaves have become an inspiration of fall. For the writers at heart, maybe you heard a quote and felt inspired to run farther with it. For my fellow architects, maybe you think of that one really cool staircase you walk by every day.
So instead of thinking of inspiration as an actual place, an event, or object, what does it mean to be inspired? It could mean to be moved or compelled to feel a certain way. Being inspired could also mean being driven to move forth from where you are now.
Coming to college, I had this mentality that inspirations for architects came from buildings, especially in big cities like New York and Los Angeles. Since I grew up in Virginia, I felt certain that I had seen everything there was to see- the sunrise at the beach, nature’s transition into fall, even the historical buildings of Williamsburg that people travel across the country to tour. I’m sure many students can relate to not wanting to stay in-state for college, since the idea of being in a completely new place seems exciting. What I’m sure many of us never expect is to be surprised by the things we find in a familiar place.
In my Lessons in Making class this semester, our very first project called for us to compare two everyday objects of the same use by sketching their design. At first, I thought that it wouldn’t be challenging or exciting− it was simply a way to ease us into drawing. I decided to choose two water bottles, one made of plastic and the other metal. By the end of the project I started to see how we as designers in the making, can value every feature of an object. Playing around with my water bottles made me realize the perks of having a twistable top versus a button, and vice versa. With this project, my professor said, “Each time you look at something, you will never stop discovering new things about it.” And here we were, experiencing for ourselves how true this is.
I would have never guessed it would apply -- in the greater scope of things -- to pass by the same library every day and notice a different detail about it each time, or to sit in the same classroom and appreciate not only its purpose, but to acknowledge how the windows or the walls are meant to harmonize as one. As a first year, I am quickly learning to love Campbell Hall, where many architecture students practically live here at UVA. Every day as I walk to class, I stand amazed at how different and unique Campbell Hall stands in comparison to the rest of Grounds. It is here that I find simple inspirations: the narrow concrete staircase leading up to all four floors, the viewing rooms surrounded by windows.
Here’s where a cliché can go, since, who doesn’t love a cheesy ending? I encourage you all to never stop thinking outside of the box because who knows where it’ll lead you and how it’ll spark your creativity.