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Interview with Graham Adams

Adams, Graham
Rieke, Robert
Date of Interview: 
Heliodon; Accreditation; Black Studies, Creative Arts, Human Development and Learning; Architecture; Dilworth; Sigmund Freud; Humanities; Native Americans; Cherokee; University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Robert Rieke is doing an imaginative history of UNC Charlotte of the previous ten years. He is seeking the impressions and ideas of students including those of a second year architecture student Graham Adams. They discuss a project Mr. Adams is working on involving a new arrangement of residential and business buildings in the Dilworth neighborhood of Charlotte, which, if approved by Dilworth residents, would require changing the current zoning laws. Mr. Rieke asks how architecture students incorporate the opinions and experience of professionals, professors with experience in architecture, psychologist like Sigmund Freud and the ultimate users of the buildings the architects are currently designing. He asks these questions in an attempt to gain a better understanding of how innovative the Architecture program is at UNC Charlotte for an overall project that ranks the four most innovative programs on campus: Black Studies, Creative Arts, Human Development and Learning and Architecture. Mr. Adams also discusses the process the College of Architecture is going through to achieve accreditation.
Charlotte, NC 1972-1974
UNC Charlotte Memories
RR (Robert Rieke): I'm Robert Rieke, and I'm speaking to Graham Adams. This is April 11, 1974. Graham, you didn't know what was going to happen, so this is all rather deliberate. You and I are working on a project together. You're helping with a project that I've been given released time for this semester. I'm doing an imaginative history of the University for the past ten years, and I've been looking around getting impressions and ideas. And I'm sure you could help me because you're in architecture. Now I've spoken to a couple of the architectural faculty members and one student over there, but I wanted to speak to another student, and I assume that you qualify in that score. Are you an architectural student?
GA (Graham Adams): Yes sir.
RR: How far along are you?
GA: This is my second year.
RR: This is your second year. Did you start with our program here, or did you transfer in?
GA: I started here.
RR: You started here. Well, what were you doing this morning when I saw you?
GA: I was finishing a paint job on a topography model.
RR: Is this the first one you did like that?
GA: This particular way, it is the first one. Several models have been built before, but none quite in this manner, consisting of taking an existing topography and re-working and terracing the site and leaving open tree areas with the land the way it was. It's a little bit different than the other topography--.
RR: Is this a piece of imagination or are you working from scale? From something you plotted out?
GA: It is a real site in Charlotte, in Dilworth, particularly.
RR: What was the background of this project that you're working on?
GA: Basically the project consists of the transition between commercial on South Boulevard and the residential section of Dilworth in Charlotte. We have to put on a number of units of housing for a different range of residences from elderly to young single people and integrate that at the same time with commercial that has to go on the same two-block site.
RR: It's a two-block site that you're working on?
GA: Yes, sir.
RR: It's already zoned?
GA: Yes, although we had particular zoning to pick up with our project. It was a given sort of restriction.
RR: Is this actually a practical project? Will it--, could it be put to some use or is it just an idea that you're trying to, trying out?
GA: The project, I think, is very practical in terms of what we're doing in the studio, as far as planning a site, getting down to working with the site and with the concept and then working out the architectural drawings for it. As far as it being a real problem in terms of building it, it's a little overdone in that as far as the zoning is today, we're putting on 80 units and some other group has really worked the zoning and Federal restrictions, and so forth and they found that you could only put on sixty-five or so, so it's a little bit overdone there, but what we're trying to do is maybe deviate slightly from the zoning, in that zoning and those types of restrictions are subject to change anyway. And try to work out maybe a new or a new style of housing and commercial relationship in that area.
RR: Well, when I asked you if it was practical, I asked you really if this is something you could, that would affect actually what happens on that site at this time and place, or a vision that might be utilized by someone who is either in the public authority, who had, working with public housing, or private developer who might be interested in investment. Now, relate to that question, please. Where are we on this project?
GA: Our particular concept consists of integrating the housing together in several levels and at the same time the possibility of overlapping it with commercial, which is somewhat different. Now as far as being a, a real kind of thing to work with, I think that it, it might provide a different or an alternative from the suburbia that is existing in Charlotte anyway, where you could go north, south, east, or west and still buy your one unit with your one driveway and your one cyclone fence and backyard. This is a kind of different idea as far as residential goes, where you--.
RR: Well who has got to have to buy the idea for it to work?
GA: I would imagine the city would have to buy in that there would probably have to be some kind of laws and codes either changed or reorganized.
RR: Would it affect people living there now?
GA: The idea is very touchy in that Dilworth is kind of an established old community, people buying old houses and redoing them--,
RR: Want to keep them that way.
GA: and they don't, I imagine, would not want any kind of clash with our development. That's a very touchy area. However, the block is a transition from commercial to the housing anyway. Dilworth with its past history is known for having all kinds of different people with different ideas doing a lot of different things, so that they hopefully might be very open and receptive to this idea.
RR: Do you plan to test it that way?
GA: We're planning on presenting it that way.
RR: To a club in Dilworth, or to some business leaders, or to the city, to whom?
GA: Particularly to a group of jurors whom we have to present--.
RR: Well the jurors, that's sort of a game, that part of your
GA: Yes.
RR: your academic performance, but would the jurors include any people from Dilworth?
GA: That's a very good question. It has the potential of having people from Dilworth, residents living there. It has the potential of having anyone in the community or in Charlotte, to send in.
RR: It sound like you're in an ivory tower unless you invite some of these people in.
GA: That's true.
RR: Do you ever invite some of these people in for your jurors?
GA: As far as other projects, we invite architects, and so forth in on juries. As far as this project goes, it hasn't been really stated as far as people from Dilworth, but I imagine several architects will again be present in the jury.
RR: But what good does it do to show it to architects when it has to be eventually sold to the public?
GA: Well, the architect can critique you on certain architectural points,
RR: Right.
GA: which is what we are doing. As far as the other goes, yes this is probably still an ivory tower, but when you get to it, I imagine most of the projects we've done have been ivory tower type of projects.
RR: Well, we talk about being an urban university here and relating to the city and using the city as a laboratory, now to one extent you are using the city as a laboratory because you picked a real site for your project, but it's a sort of one-way impact; it's, it's bringing part of the city into your study operation and it doesn't seem to be going the other way at all. I'm not criticizing. I'm just commenting. Do you think there is in the architecture program any hint that this other kind of communication out the university is being thought about or planned for or--,
GA: I think--,
RR: anything else?
GA: I think it has a definite potential of doing that. Whether it comes off or not that's another thing, but I could easily see people from Dilworth sitting in on a jury. I could easily see several city planners, city this-and-that, sitting in on juries and critiquing from that standpoint, and I could see us opening up in relation to them and seeing their sides, their points, their codes and restrictions, and their effect on our, on our (business).
RR: Well, isn't this what you're going to have to do if you ever get out and try to earn a living?
GA: Yes, that's true.
RR: Why don't you get some practice at that right now?
GA: That's a very good opportunity to.
RR: Well, think about it. OK. Well, we're, we can do anything this morning. I've got all kinds of wild ideas. Unless you have a few crazy ideas you never, come up with something new. I'm not doing a narrative history. I'm doing one that sort of swings around from different directions and deals with topics or developments, and I'm trying to fit architecture into my scheme, and I don't know really where to put it. Maybe you can help me on that. I think I know where to put it. I have five chapters. It would fall in chapter four, yeah, at which point I deal with what I consider to be the innovative programs on this campus and as I visualize them there are three or four. Now I don't know how to rank them yet, though I think I would rank them in this order. I would say that the most visionary and innovative is That's the reading I've gotten. In other words, the open format with, what they call, what are they, the seminars? Or are they--?
GA: Yes, sir, the studios.
RR: Studios, the studio concept, the long afternoons of teams of students working on projects. But I'd like to be convinced that maybe Architecture could move around on that list of innovations and maybe challenge somebody, but right now I can't do it. Can you help me on that?
GA: I think that it's very, very different. There have been several with relation to the AIA student organization with regard to several meetings with the regional schools in this area, and they're faced with problems that our studio has already attempted to solve. The, the attempt would have a flexible kind of relationship with faculty and, and the learning process so that if there--thank you--if there is change, we can allow for change. Other, other universities have set up design schools so rigid by now and so traditional that it's hard for, it's very, very hard for them to change. They are also facing new concepts that they, they don't they don't know exactly how to build into their program yet, such as the general specialist, which is built into ours, which takes the architect as a journalist and uses several specialties on--. That, that's just one idea. They're having a great problem working with new ideas that our, our studio is trying to answer but has not yet, such, such as the general specialist, such as maybe the way the studio is laid out, or, or so forth. And ours, our problem is--maybe not a problem--but one of the difficulties is that we're young and they're old, more traditional, and we can change very readily because, being that we're young, you know, different ideas, different directions we need to shoot for. The other thing is being young and in relation to the other four--or other three colleges, we have received a lot of pressure, a lot of flak--.
RR: What other three colleges? What other three colleges the other professional so-called--?
GA: No, the other three colleges: Black Studies--
RR: Well, that's not a college yet. It's, it's, it's--well, that's why it's different, in relation to Creative Arts or HDL. Creative Arts isn't a college yet either. But in relation to the other programs it looked different. What you're trying to say.
GA: Yes.
RR: OK, just want to get the record straight.
GA: I don't know. There's--we have the potential of really creating a different place for y'all. We get the student involvement that I don't think, or I don't believe, you get in any other kind of program, really. Maybe not even in Art, maybe not even in HDL. The, the thing where you have one major meeting with itself every afternoon together, expressing ideas to each other, bouncing them off your own head and then bouncing them off other University organizations, such as, Geography or so forth. That's expressed in juries when they come in, somebody from Geography, Economics, and so forth which is--.
RR: Well you haven't invited any historians in yet.
GA: I think we tried to get a historian for the Cherokee project, and some how they couldn't make it or they were--
RR: Do you realize we have an urban historian on our faculty now?
GA: No, I--.
RR: Do you realize the present acting chairman of the department, Edward Perzel, had studied architecture for a couple years before he switched to history? Do you realize that Dan Morrill and Ed Perzel have spent considerable hours and received a regional grant to work on historic preservation and have done a beautiful job of taking pictures of the city and having a presentation that talks about that? I don't see why you haven't talked to any historians.
GA: I didn't, maybe first of all, realize--I realized in one sense the potential and the personalities we have on campus--
RR: All right.
GA: But maybe not to a second degree, which is exactly--
RR: Well, I'm just asking you to think about raising your sights a little bit and getting a little further out, and drawing on anyone from the College of Humanities as jurors. That would include Creative Arts.
GA: OK. I don't believe so.
RR: Is that because none of the architects in the program has a Bachelor of Arts from the humanities orientation or a double major in one of the humanities; but instead most of your architecture students are here in geography or economics or engineering or something else?
GA: That's a funny situation. Getting back to the specialist end of the program. We try to spe--we try to push the idea of getting a second degree, working toward two majors, and at the time we were working, in the first year particularly, I wasn't one of the people that was leaning this way, but we were working primarily with site, site information, and that--at that time it seemed that geography would be most helpful. OK. On down the line somewhere you start picking up social information and probably at some line, a lot of people will be swung toward sociology. I may or may not be one in this category. At some point, probably the humanities we could see that you know, it's really useful to have that kinds of information, but so far where we are now it's just in the second year, and it's hard to pick up a lot ( ) in the direction.
RR: Well, you'd like to have me believe that your juniors and seniors are out looking at the humanist because they're beyond the nuts and bolts stage of their development, but is that true?
GA: Not necessarily, but due to the projects and the types of projects that you get, at least my experience in first and second year, it's geared more toward the sciences, more toward the physics, more toward the geography.
RR: Well I've been asked to sort of a similar role to what is going on in Architecture in the Creative Arts program. They have, not what are called jurors, but they have advisers who come into their final exams, their pre-exams and their final exams, which is their graduation test, and I know that there have been several in our department connected with that. Maybe that's what we should do, but I'd like to see a little more cross-fertilization on this campus, and I just wonder if Architecture is actually going to move at all in the direction of humanities, or for that matter whether Creative Arts is moving into the sciences. I think they do. I think some of the Creative Arts students do check with scientists, social scientists, psychologists, engineers. I have a sort of dream about the University, which I'd like to see hinted at in my history, a kind of vision of free-floating programs, which touch each other and intermingle with each other and interpenetrate. And that is the way Black Studies is going. Creative Arts has that facet built into it. So does HDL and so does Architecture. But the degree with which any one of these programs is successful in its interpenetration has yet to be tested and proved, and I'm just interested in what the Architecture.
GA: That, that is a very strong point, one that we have dealt with in maybe not as fully as we could have with, you know going--during several projects you run over to Kennedy and you find a chemist or you find a biologist, or you run down to Smith and you find an engineer, a civil engineer, or geographer, or so forth. Particularly maybe with the Cherokee project someone was has looked that could give us some information, Cherokee back ground, and so forth.
RR: Well, what is the Cherokee project? Are you in on that one?
GA: That was last semester.
RR: It's all over with now?
GA: Yes.
RR: And a missed Ed Perzel, who knows something about the Indians in our department, and Eric Monkkonen, who is our urbanist, who has a thing about Indians OK. What was the Cherokee project?
GA: It dealt with taking the Cherokee Reservation and noticing some of the, the problems that they might be having in the next several years, to do a 50 year projected land use for them and then to come down to a building or architectural scale, to move from planning to design of a structure, a theater, a house, governmental center, so forth.
RR: What kind of--you were in that project?
GA: Yes.
RR: What kind of reading did you do in Indian anthropology, Indian religion, anything?
GA: We had divided up into several groups. One group studied the site information, one group studied the culture, one group studied the, the social information, and so forth. There was a particular criticism given to the project in that the designs didn't really reflect anything different from white Americans to Cherokees in the designs, and this is probably due to the people that had to work with culture found it either very difficult to deal with in a design standpoint or they found that the Cherokees were so much like regular people or regular white suburban type people--.
RR: Well that's what they were--that's what they saw, and what the Indians wanted them to see. You've got to get a little wild on this sort of thing. Anybody read anything about Castaneda in this course?
GA: I'm not, I'm not sure.
RR: Do you know who Castaneda is?
GA: No, sir.
RR: You don't know who Carlos Castaneda is? Well ( ) Or--I don't have my records here, but there are a number of books written by Indians and reflective of their religious insight, which is a basic ingredient of their culture, which would, I think, allow you to ask the kind of questions or see the kind of things that maybe would have thrown this white-ethnocentrism out the window and given you a fresh perspective. Well, what else can we talk about? What sense organs do architects use besides the eye in going about their work?
GA: Well, first of all we had a team of two people to come into the studio and really try to open us up to the other senses. Second of all, architecture isn't, although you visualize forms with the eye, you also sense them with the ears, you maybe even subconsciously feel real small when you feel you've come up an elevator or out into a very large open plaza, which we have to, we have to deal with in some way. As far as smell and taste, becomes somewhat nebulous maybe, but we do have to deal with at least hearing, what goes on outside.
RR: Ventilation is important for smell, odors, and--.
GA: Yes, that, that is one particular way.
RR: Well now, how about this team? What do they do to orient you away from sight?
GA: Well, just in the design you have to show that you have dealt with sound in a very comprehensive sort of way. You have to show that you have dealt with existing wind patterns to show how your structure responds to ventilation or how it responds to wind patterns, both in outside areas and in bathroom and kitchen areas, and so forth. You have to show that also as far as feeling, warmth, feeling cold, you have to show that you have dealt with the natural heat and light of the sun, how your structures responds to that.
RR: Well have you done anything yourself to sensitize yourself beyond what was suggested by the orientation team?
GA: I think one particular tool that I have personally worked on would be the construction, design and construction, of our heliodon. Another particular project of a good friend of mine was--.
RR: Well what, what, what give me an example using something besides eye in the design of the heliodon?
GA: I see. OK. Besides using the eye, you can possibly pick up good hints just from your own personal experience, what it's like to be in the shade in the winter. You have a mental picture of the cold that you felt. OK?
RR: Yeah.
GA: So that when I see on the heliodon that there is shade cast across my outdoor space in the wintertime, I immediately pick up the sensation of cold. OK? Although we haven't mocked up outside--.
RR: That's your eye giving you a shadow, which reflects cold. Now how do get--in other words you use one sense to relate to another sense.
GA: Yes, in a secondary manner. But in another way, you know, I have felt, I have dealt with that kind of situation. OK now the other thing is, you probably need to go through millions and millions of your own personal experiences of certain areas to know what you're really designing. It, it requires you to, you know, to have a good handle on the different spaces you've been in through your life. People travel to certain areas to see how it's been dealt with in many different ways. OK which at this young, young stage that I'm in now I've felt only what has been presented from school, home, and so forth and other places that I've been OK. When I get older, I will have been much more places that have presented a lot more, maybe, mental images to myself of what I'm trying to design for a particular structure. The other way might be, and it's been done at least professionally is, just to simply mock up the, at, at a human scale, mock up your design to see exactly what it's going to do.
RR: Pretend you're seeing.
GA: OK. Or to feel with wind, OK to check your ventilation, at a real scale. The other alternative is to mock-up a model, a work model, and to put it through the wind tunnel to see again what it's going to do, but from seeing you know how it will feel, you know how it's to respond internally.
RR: Have you ever read any Freud?
GA: No.
RR: You think it would be important to read Freud as an architect?
GA: Yes.
RR: Why?
GA: Well, from another standpoint, there are, well, there is a particular seminar with, well, Meta Turin is leading it, where several architects or several designs are looked at by particular architects. Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, and so forth, where severa--and this has not been presented to me--but very many of my classmates have had that sort of seminar presented to them, where a particular architect is looked at and is studied and you try to search for things that he was trying to do, or you try to get a handle on his, his style of design or so forth, to see what he was really getting at. And that is, that is the kind of thing, as far as studying other architects, that, that is done. You have a seminar.
RR: I don't see Freud in that, but maybe you were trying to say something. You know who Sigmund Freud is? The early pioneer in psychiatry. Freud says that--I'm not necessarily a follower of Freud, but he had some insights. Freud says that the impressions that we gain the first few years of life are the crucial ones, up to four or five years. [pause] Does that mean anything to you?
GA: At an early stage you have several impressions made on you? Is that what you were saying?
RR: No, your basic experience, your basic orientation as a human being; things that please you, frighten you, appeal to you, memories that are of meaning to you all your life are formed during the first four years. Now some of these, of course, slip away into your subconscious, or unconscious, and can be pulled out when you get parallel experiences or later in life something will trigger something that will relate to them and you'll reach in that fear or joy that joy or that passion will go through your whole body, and you will relate to it. We don't know why, but it's there. Do architects ever think about that?
GA: I see what you're saying, that the impressions made--.
RR: Freud would say for example that all culture, everything that man does to work with his environment or with his mind to create the kind of world we see, feel, and touch. All culture, all civilization is, is a sublimation and an escape, a deliberate mechanist escape from the neurosis, or potential neurosis, that comes on as our experience, or put it another way, that man is the sick animal who is creating his sickness by his own devices. And I just wonder if those insights ever come into your thinking. You've never heard of them, have you? I'm not making a big thing of it; I'm just seeing where your imagination is. Well, look let me put it another way. I see five senses, and I've ranked them in this, in this order: eye, ear, nose, mouth, and body. Now I'm convinced, intuitively or somehow, that the order of which we rank them now is an order that has been created by culture, sublimation and so forth. That the order in which the young child just coming out of the womb perceives senses is precisely the opposite, first breathing, that's the height of sense, next would be taste--, START OF TAPE 1, SIDE 2
RR: Next would be taste, next would be smell, then hearing, and last would be sight. Now if this is true--I don't know if it is true, I just sort of feel it. It's just the other way around--and we're trying to do something that's different and new, it would seem that this would be an insight into, well, either removing repression or finding out where we really are or opening something up. As a matter of fact, I think we're moving in that direction. I think our culture is reversing the field. I think the eye is losing, I think the ear is gaining, I don't think we've got much further than that; but maybe we'll be hitting the nose pretty soon, some centuries hence, and the cycle will go around. I just wonder what you think about that.
GA: That's quite a concept of how to look at the senses, maybe. I see us possibly using body feelings over, at least from my standpoint, over smell, maybe, but other than that I see what you're getting at.
RR: Yeah, some of these senses are kind of hard to work with, like smell is not a very important sense, we think--.
GA: Until you're in a place where--.
RR: Well, I mean we're just not conscious of it. I think there was a time when smell was crucial in the preservation of life, and it still is at certain times, of course. Well, we don't want to have to push that theme especially. Do you have anything else to say about the architecture program, about the faculty or fellow students or how you think things are working out or what you hope to do as a result of your work here in the next two years? Just any thing you like.
GA: Maybe all of those points. First of all as far as faculty, let's say, I think that we've brought in, and this is maybe different from other disciplines, but we have the opportunity of interviewing the faculty that will teach us. I think this is a very good point. Sometimes it isn't used as, as much as it has potential of being; there have been times when time simply ran out and faculty had to be picked in a moment. That, that happened one time in particular, but the concept of being able to let students interview their own faculty, study the credentials of their faculty is very good instead of just walking into a course and you get this guy to teach you and you know nothing about him, you know nothing of his work. I think that as far as the College goes, there are several individuals that are just simply outstanding; as far as the whole faculty goes, we have quite a mixture, a lot of different points of view, and they end up with us and with themselves discussing, you know, where the program should go, the, the way it should be carried out, things that should be done.
RR: The thing is still embryonic; you are still sort of feeling your way up. This tape isn't really, it's only, it's not a public tape, but it's, and I don't think you'll offend anybody if you give your own impressions of the faculty you think are particularly appealing to you. I mean, after all, I might ask another architectural student and he would give me some other ones; but who, who do you like? Who do you think has something to say?
GA: I think there's one person particularly above the rest of the faculty which I think, not only to myself but to several members, well, to most every student, I think, from one point or another, can see his value while he has been in our studio working with second, and with third year now. His name is Meta Turin. He has, he instills--
RR: I've interviewed him already so I know who he is.
GA: He instills the desire to learn, the desire to pick up other informations, the informations that you are talking about. He had, he has dealt with and he at times tries to push you, you know, push you into new directions. He, he notices your compliment, accomplishments and again tries to revitalize you, maybe, and get you going again. That's very important in the studio, with the hours, the workload, and so forth that we have. There are several others besides him, Bill Moelchert, I think, is very good as far as an administrator in the College, as far as getting things done there. There are several people who are very, very good in the studio as far as graphic communications, Linda Searl and Ted Newell, really push the graphics on us which is vital to our profession; and Lois Langhorst has in maybe not her full potential, I think, but in a way has opened up different, different horizons, her experiences.
RR: She's an art historian; history of architecture is part of her background I know. Is that correct?
GA: Yes. But in another way she I really feel like, she has kind of abused, abused her privilege, maybe. Several students--I was not a part of it, but--several students with the history of architecture felt like they were being short-changed, that her status, her salary, everything, was being kind of abused by her as an individual. I am not saying she doesn't have the potential or the knowledge, the background. She has it, but she hasn't really presented it to us on the student level.
RR: All right. Well, I'll mention some other things. What are you going to do? Maybe we better wait a minute and see how far we are on this tape. We might have to put a fresh tape on. Let's, let's stop and get a fresh tape. RECORDING INTERUPTED RECORDING RESUMED
RR: [clears throat] Alright, this is side 2 of span between Robert Rieke and Graham Adams on April 11, 1974.
RR: Graham, we were about to let you comment on what you hope to do the next couple years, among other things. Is that what you want to talk about?
GA: There is one other thing just prior to that. To finish the other previous span, I spoke about the faculty. I'd like to speak about the students for just a second.
RR: Good.
GA: The studio is a place where the architectural majors meet every afternoon from two to five. It consists of three years right now; first year, my second year, and third year. Hopefully, before it's all said and done, there'll be five complete years in full swing. A funny thing happens up there, usually all the time, and that is people are constantly in and out all hours of the day, any, any day, weekends. I think it on one hand provides for a, the kind of, maybe, university concept that I see, where you don't have people commuting Monday through Friday or Monday through Thursday and leaving, but you have the University sustaining itself with activities and the studies throughout, making it its own very full-of-life community, and I see Architecture as maybe even promoting this and I see maybe other Colleges kind of putting that idea down maybe. The amount of work might show, maybe get even give reasons for certain informations not looked into. We have projects that consist of three weeks deigning a complete building that takes architects months and months to design. Of course--.
RR: Now what do you do this is a team, however.
GA: As a team, sometimes, but designs usually come from the person.
RR: Uh-huh.
GA: OK? Of course, architects have to look at things more in depth, but at the same time students have to face the more basic questions architects themselves have to face. So that if we, if you miss studying a particular kind, and the Cherokee project was a particular shortcoming, It was the very first design most people had ever done on one hand, and certain things about how do you introduce culture in your design is graduate level questions. Again, I think that, to finish up talking about the students in the studio, you get kind of a, a, a brotherhood effect when you are able to meet with, with several people particularly concerned with yourself with a group of people who are overall concerned with yourself--
RR: Let's be clear about one thing, Graham. A seminar moves beyond the given class year? Does it include freshman, sophomore and juniors?
GA: Several have. Several concentrate just on small groups. Several contain one year. OK so that there are different levels of seminars.
RR: In other words, some seminars are entirely limited to a freshman group?
GA: Yes.
RR: Some entirely to a sophomore group?
GA: Yes.
RR: But there are others in which there is an overlap?
GA: There are others, in which it encompasses all three years.
RR: All right.
GA: And there are others, which concentrate on a particular section or a particular group of people studying one problem--,
RR: All right.
GA: that concerns themselves directly. I think it, to finish, is a very, very good atmosphere in, in which to bounce your ideas off other people, to get new directions from yourself and from others, not only just to ask a faculty if it's right or wrong, but to see what your fellow students are doing at the same time. I think--.
RR: Now what role would does the faculty play in a seminar? Do they work with you, too? Or do they just come in to critique you occasionally, or do you just call them for resource people.
GA: In a general sense, seminars are simply discussions on a topic. Now to put that in what we do with it, there are particular problems, whether you are dealing with structure, whether you are dealing with sun or light or--
RR: Where's the faculty here?
GA: The faculty is with the students, maybe presenting, students may be presenting to both students and faculty several questions asked in discussion generated from that. It's not just a lecture from faculty to student, here it is on a platter, but many times it's students giving the information back to the faculty, which is very useful.
RR: Well, how much time, faculty time, is spent in a seminar. I can't imagine they're there Friday, Saturday, Sunday nights like some of you are.
GA: OK seminar maybe in a general sense isn't where you say we're going to meet at two o'clock and have a seminar. In my mind, seminars are happening right this minute, where you have a student with a problem talking it over with a faculty, you have a team talking it over with a faculty, and there is the span, or where you say there will be a, a seminar with a visiting lecturer tonight, and you get a real sense of seminar there.
RR: All right.
GA: This rounds out the term studio seminar.
RR: All right. I get it, a picture of it now.
GA: OK. What I plan to do. OK. Right now what I'm trying to do, and a very real concern of mine and a concern of a lot of my classmates, is we want the College of Architecture to be accredited in five years, it is--
RR: That is, accredited by a professional organization within a five-year term, or you want it to be a five-year school?
GA: OK. First of all, you can't be accredited until you graduate the first class.
RR: Right.
RR: Then you are eligible to be accredited, and they come and check you out. OK you have to have several things or several things need to be accomplished within, say, four years. OK personally, I want it to be a five-year program, but we will take care of being accredited first of all, OK. Such things that, that are necessary within, just to ourselves, there are things like having the wind tunnel to study wind phenomena or having a heliodon to study sun phenomena, having a darkroom to work with taking photographs, presentation media, having a woodshop to mock-up models of things that we are designing. All of these things are very, very important, and I would say that the student involvement in these areas has been at a maximum. We had a student design team produce a wind tunnel; a student design team produce a heliodon, in its complete entirety with help from faculty at certain points. The darkroom was manned, it, it was equipped by the college, but several students had a very real role in how it was laid out, the workings of it, and students at this point right now have a very real role in, in workings down in the woodshop, and so forth, being almost instructors from the overseers standpoint.
RR: Is the woodshop running?
GA: It is it's in use now. OK. It is equipped.
RR: Would that be a facility that might be shared with some other part of the University?
GA: Yes, I, I definitely see that kind of interrelations with other disciplines.
RR: I just know one place where it might be used; HDL has a specialist that, Bambach, I believe, that uses cardboard cutouts and things like that. Would that, would that relate to what goes on in that woodshop?
GA: Yes, I think that could be very, a very useful tool to get this incorporated atmosphere.
RR: That'll save a little expense for everyone, instead of having two facilities to have one.
GA: That's true.
RR: Go ahead.
GA: There is other things that need to be accomplished. You have to have records of past projects, which is very, very hard to do, with considering projects usually fall at the end of the semester and students are ready to leave and ready to forget about projects and aren't really interested in, you know really taking slides and giving them to the faculty or giving them to the College, which is done at our expense, but has been in, in a sense accomplished. We need, it has been recommended that you have a library. Maybe, I know that in our particular situation we, we are more than likely on bad terms with the existing library now due to certain projects, certain procedures that we have gone through--.
RR: You just need books longer times and at different times.
GA: Yes, the hours--,
RR: Which they weren't ready to give you.
GA: the hours are a particular problem. We're three o'clock in the morning and we need something on site planning, and you just can't run to the library and grab one. We tried to work with the library, the concept I feel was good, but you get people who just kind of abuse it, and that was having them more or less loan books to a particular area, and we take them off the shelf, use them, and put them back. But more books were being taken off the shelf and not being put back, and the library--it's understandable--can't have that. We like the concept of incorporating the library facility into us, but it, it was on our hand misabused and on the other hand the library has to start closing off some and not letting people run through the building all night. So we're going to have work out something else with the library, but in terms of the next four or five years here, that is a, a prime objective, is to try to work very hard so that, you know, right now if you look at it in one sense, everybody is gambling on four years, if you spend that long here; because if you go through it and are not accredited, until you are it's, it's all for nothing, more or less.
RR: You're working hard, and more or less your major priority is to see that this college is accredited, and that is sort of your project. Is that right?
GA: That, that could definitely be a, a major objective and--.
RR: Well, in terms of your own specialty, you have a general background in architecture, and a especially in getting an architectural college accredited. Is that going to get you a job, or are you going to develop another specialty?
GA: OK. My own personal outlook now is, and the thing that I've carried through at least last year, was to go to school during the winter months to study in, in college, and then during the summer months go back into the community and I worked for an architect last summer, I worked for him over Christmas, I will be working for him again this summer. And that is a very, very useful way, I feel right now, for me to work out the difference between studies and real world, what architects have to face and deal with. It, it's a very way, a very real way to open yourself up to what they deal with, not just school problems. They deal with all the other consultants. They have to deal with codes and rules and regulations, and they have to do a job and they are responsible for what they do. Whereas, we have the same kind of deadlines, but we don't have the same kinds of real responsibilities. You know, we can design it in concept, and we may think it's a very good concept, but then again I know that for the designs that I've done if I knew that what I designed was going where it was, I would have been very, very apprehensive as to whether it would really function the way that I had conceived it to be. After the, the five years, a number of opportunities open up. You are eligible to study three years and become licensed; you are also eligible to go on to graduate school. I feel like for myself after five years here a, a lot of very, very good opportunities will open up, whichever way. Maybe work some and then go to graduate school, or maybe go straight to graduate school, whichever way seems the most reasonable to go then will probably most likely be apparent at that time. I don't know; I have a personal desire, and it has been presented in several seminars, several lectures, of the many different things that are in this world that you need to go see you know, so I have a, a particular desire to travel, to see both in the, the United States and both abroad what is really going on, you know, what are these designs that everybody is talking about that I haven't seen. That's maybe a second--.
RR: What particular ones are you interested in seeing?
GA: There's one particular design that I'd like to see right now at this point. It parallels the design in Charlotte that we're working on right now, the Dilworth section. It's, I forgot the name, but it was presented just last night, as a matter of fact, a development in London very, very similar to the kinds of concept that I'm dealing with in the studio right now; high density residential living on several different other concepts, pedestrian walkways, how do you work the service and vehicular traffic, and so forth. That particular one interests me. It's failed in several ways, but the concept's there. I'd like to see what I might have produced, already built or maybe a similar thing already built. That, that is a very particular thing right now that interests me. There's, you know, a lot of different things, lot of things that I don't know about that I could be a part of in an office, let's say. Not only studying but in an office in the States or abroad, just working on a particular project that I could really become a part of.
RR: Well let's just sort of draw this thing to a close and return to where we started out, Graham, relating what happens here in the College of Architecture to what is going on in Charlotte as a city. Architects have to think in terms of an entire city, don't they? What do you think about when you think about Charlotte, architecturally?
GA: Well, first of all, the region. Let's speak at region terms first. The region in which Charlotte is located is very, very active, let's say, as far as building, as far as things really active. The whole strip up through our eastern region is very, very active in, in building and things, you know, being done, maybe new ideas--.
RR: Economically alive and socially alive, etcetera. All right?
GA: Yes. That on one hand you know, you need to realize. The other thing, come down to a, a city scale there's, there is a lot new development in Charlotte: the NCNB Plaza, and so forth. There is a, there is a lot of--well take the Dilworth section--there's a lot of revitalizing residential areas. There is a lot of different kinds of concepts there. Again, I see some of them as being taking advantage of the user, the, the kinds of apartments that are springing up everywhere, the kinds of shopping centers that are springing up everywhere, acres of you know asphalt, and, you know, throwing up buildings that really haven't addressed some problems. They have addressed others, but some that seem more important to me right now haven't really--.
RR: Well how, how does this college, if it has a sense of something going on, how does it communicate?
GA: That's, now that's a real toughie, I think. You first of all, I think, start maybe where we have started and allow other professionals to come in and see what you are doing. It is very important, I think, that you at least let other architects know that there is a college of architecture out here, and I think on one hand is they are impressed with what we are doing. OK. On the other hand they're saying, you know, you've got a lot to learn, or you're way off base in some areas; but--. ( ).
RR: Well, whatever. Yeah OK. Whatever is done architecturally has to be paid for, and it's the client who has to be convinced in the long run. Does that say anything to you? I don't think the users--the user has something to say, but the user is the one who just has to put up with what's there. The person who lays out the capital to construct something is the one who has to be convinced. And, do you ever think of communicating at that level?
GA: In terms of client relations or--?
RR: Or just, you know. If you're bringing architects in to critique something you have and this architecture, architect has a client that he is doing something for, and he's trying to convince him to do something in a way that is not getting any excitement from the client, who wants his own ideas about cut costs here, because I see the immediate short-run gains but I don't they are considerable, but in the long run gain in doing it this way, well I don't see it. So, why wouldn't it be to the local architect's advantage to say, "Well, look, I've got, there's some interesting things going on at the University. I'd like for you to come out and take a peek at a project out there," and what he would see out there would be so much wilder than what this local architect is saying that he might often think his local architect is a conservative and say, "Well, maybe you're right after all." I mean there's a certain kind of politics in this thing that you might think about. I mean it might be to the advantage of the local architect to bring clients out here.
GA: Yes that's true. That's very true.
RR: OK. Well think about it. I mean I see at least that possibility, it would have to be done with some sort of finesse, what could be done, and you would be educated, you see. Modern art, well, you know, modern art. A lot more people are looking at modern art now than used to look at it. Why? Because they've seen some really wild things that make some of the modern art that looked really wild when it first came out, look kind of conservative, so they--yeah, I like that. You got to cultivate taste; you can't just throw it at people and expect them to buy it. It's an educative process. Well, I didn't want to preach a sermon; I just wanted to offer a suggestion. OK. It's time to stop, because I have a little engagement coming up in a few minutes, and I've got enough on the second reel here to make it worthwhile. Thanks a lot for being with me this morning, Graham.