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What excites you about this program: College Admission Essay Sample

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 490 |

Pages: 1|

3 min read

Published: Jul 18, 2018

Words: 490|Pages: 1|3 min read

Published: Jul 18, 2018

Recently, I discovered the world of “ditch architects”: urbanists who abandon the traditional office-style design studio and blur the line between urban planning, design, art, and social work. Rather than relying on statistics, they mapped out a city’s ‘kinetic’ energy through first-hand interaction with local people, to much success. For my own investigative project on a run-down lawn in Poughkeepsie (proposals were needed to change its public image), I decided to employ a similar approach by going to the primary source: interviewing the actual occupants of the space. Instead of sketching designs in a studio I found myself chatting with the lawn’s original owner, an old man whose family had lived here for over a century. His heartfelt stories went way beyond the lawn’s current decrepit image. There was a Victorian house that had stood on this very lawn—infested with mushrooms and violating regulations, it was forcedly torn down. The land was sold piecemeal to the neighboring college, my home institution, at a devalued price, and now it’s neither used by the public or by the college: a wasted space that was once full of human gesture and life.

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Many similar conversations with the locals showed me that the ambiguous ownership of the lawn really prevents it from becoming a social gathering place. Since the lawn is sandwiched between two cafes, neither business knows whether they have the right to extend their shop front, even though seating is always in high demand. By defining the rights of usage of the lawn, then, the local businesses would be more supported, in turn revitalizing the area. By bringing in local artists and markets, the space could be a venue for increasing job opportunity, involving the local community in constructive ways that benefit multiple parties.

As a child I’ve traveled all over the map, and observing hotel decor was my favorite pastime: massive installations of birds in v-shaped flight, modernistic furniture mirroring beehives of the new collective brain… I thought that all this architectural dynamism—the locus of the design world—belonged to the high-brow studios of science-fiction. It was only later that I understood that design doesn’t stay in the office; much of the process is an interactive game of balance: balancing the interests of multiple parties, artistic ambition with practical needs, architectural form with nature’s own demands… the list goes on. The architect is never an artist in solipsism. The architect I aspire to become doesn’t think in terms of a static city; she understands and embraces the city as a living organism that influences the psyche of those who dwell in it. On this point I agree with architect Koolhaas, who said the new urbanism will be about the “reinvention of psychological space”. Architectural interventions, to revitalize destitute areas, can be in the form of both physical objects and tactical manipulations of political landscape. With the GSD program, I’m ready to venture into unplanned territory.

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