Opinion: The desk of an architect

Ryan Sampson

Ryan Sampson

Ryan Sampson is a senior architecture major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].

Graduate school is fast approaching for me, and Kent State has taken on the task of making itself nearly irresistible. Not only does obtaining one’s Master of Architecture take a mere year and a summer, but it also includes studying in Cleveland and the option of returning to Florence, Italy, and it happens to be (by comparison) dirt cheap.

While I will be applying to other programs, Kent State has given me a lot to think about. Because I am highly indecisive, I set up a meeting with the interim associate dean of my college to discuss the many options I was considering. He is soft-spoken and highly talented, but incredibly difficult to arrange a meeting with.

On Wednesday, I wove my way through the maze of faculty offices on the third floor of Taylor Hall to a back room on the far right-hand side and went into his office to discuss my potential academic future at Kent State. After presenting him with a series of questions, he began to look for various pages to help map out the coursework I was interested in.

During this time, I began to look around. There was a path from the door to the two chairs that faced one another on either side of the desk, with just enough room for a single person to file through. There were papers and binders labeled by year in stacks that surround the chair in which I was seated, as well as covering every other visible surface. There were models and sketches and drawings scattered about; presentations from past students appeared amongst the other pages.

He made a few quick keystrokes on his computer, and somewhere in the room, a printer whirred to life, but its location remained unknown by me. He reached somewhere behind him and retrieved a paper that discussed the option of obtaining a certificate for health care design, which I quickly realized would not be attainable with the other things I wanted to participate in as a graduate student. Soon after discussing the possibility of a dual major, I thanked him, left and returned to my own studio desk located on the second floor of the Tri-Towers Rotunda.

Once there, I examined my own living arrangements. My computer with its mismatched parts glowed a soft blue, waiting to be woken up. I had two wireless mouses at the ready, although I wasn’t sure which one was currently in use. Nestled between my keyboard and monitor was my lavender Meowza Cat Boutique coffee mug, and beside it was a bottle of tacky glue, which was frequently mistaken for coffee and absentmindedly picked up instead.

Layers of trace paper with notes in a variety of colors were tossed about, and failed designs were discarded beneath my drawing board. Finally, a pair of pants and a sweatshirt were draped over the back of my chair.

If a cluttered workspace is the backbone of a good architect, then I am well on my way.