March 02, 2011

#17. Get something published.

It was quite exciting to see my article, 'A Matter of Perspective' get published in the ZoNASA 2010 magazine Tangent. Hopefully, this is the first of many. :)

I wrote the article for Blueprint (our department blog) as a picture article for M. C. Escher's 'Never-ending Staircase'

A Matter of Perspective

  The concept of Escher’s never-ending staircase is derived from Lionel Penrose’s creation. Another of the works of Penrose, of a similar concept is the impossible triangle. All three of these take advantage of the realm of two dimensions.

  In defence of the fact that it is three dimensionally impossible, Architect Ahmed Abhas designed a sculpture in Perth, Australia and proved that the Penrose Triangle is in fact perceivable when viewed from one of two vantage points- just a matter of perspective.

  It’s a fact of life that reasons for contentment is merely a matter of perspective. It’s the same with architecture- The line that divides what one terms ‘success’ and another ‘failure’ is opinion, which is formed by different angles of perception. Optimism vs. pessimism and even possible vs. impossible also run along the same line. 

  Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Waters and the Leaning Tower of Pisa as architectural marvels is a matter of perspective that overlooks their construction flaws. A seven year old boy and his father were visiting Paris. As they walked down the Champ de Mars towards the national landmark, he looked up quite unimpressed at the Eiffel Tower and exclaimed, ‘It’s just a big heap of metal!’- Just a matter of perspective.

  To understand anything in its entirety, it is absolutely necessary that one has to see all possible angles. Roald Dahl, the best-selling children’s author, when asked how he was able to understand children so well, replied, ‘Adults should get down on their knees for a week, in order to remember what it's like to live in their world.’ Likewise, to understand a building completely, one has to become the architect and become the layman. Staring at it from a distance will do you little good; you’ll have to walk right around it. To be a better teacher, understand your student. To be a better architect, understand your client.

  Why limit ourselves to what we choose to see? They say that we should, like horses, wear blinkers to keep us focused in one direction. But why look in one direction when our minds have the ability to comprehend multiple directions? We are often too quick to form opinions and conclusion. If only we took one step to the side and tilted our head if ever so slightly, would we be able to add one more dimension to our understanding. 

  I am, in no way disregarding your freedom to own an opinion. But treat yourself to the satisfaction of knowing that you understand more than just your perspective and then you too will be able to see how the Eiffel tower is just a ‘big heap of metal’!

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