Monday, October 01, 2007

Architectural ingenuity and incredible human spirit

"Wes Janz wants to show how these scavenged places are also claimed by incredible human spirit. His forthcoming book, One Small Project, is a powerful portrait of the millions of people who have used their own architectural ingenuity and unrelenting pride to construct for themselves a place to call home, despite some of the worst living conditions on the planet today. I spoke with Wes about his work as an architect and an educator, his book project, and what we have to learn from these informal pioneers of global urbanism."


LOSTbean said...

i am speechless. part of me feels "guilty" for having the home i have, albeit not much of one by washington's "standards." part of me is sad that this is all some people have, but at the same time, we (i) can learn from the pride they take in being a homeowner.

just goes to show the home does not make the man.

Greybishop said...

For many years, I was a wanderer, living in hotels or friend's guest rooms, never in one place for more than a week or two.

When I turned thirty, I got off the road and "settled". Eventually I bought a house. Like LB, I don't see my home as extraordinary or grand, just a home. By the standards of these, it's a palace.

As a newly self-employed person, living on the knife's edge between success and failure, I often wonder what would happen if I "Lost it all".

I would have to declare bankruptcy, sell my home to pay my debts, get a "regular" job and probably end up renting a tiny apartment somewhere. I'd probably still have a tv, a car, a computer and a roof. Certainly, unless some Katrina-like natural disaster was to strike in my town, I'd still be able to live fairly comfortably, if not in luxury.

These people and the conditions they exist in remind us that even if we "Lost it all", for most of us the extreme "bottom" isn't all that bad in comparison.

Sawsee said...

Yes, most of us don't realize how truly lucky we are.

I remember I posted a link that said something like, if you have spare change laying around in a drawer, then you are wealthier than 70% of the world's population.

GB: When I got out of college, I left my 'hometown' and ventured out to a number of cities. In every place I went, I found a job and home (and made friends) quite quickly. This gave me huge confidence to re-establish myself no matter where I was.

Having one's own business is a big challenge but is very rewarding too. I know you will do well. The first years are the hardest.

Greybishop said...

Thanks Sawsee. Actually, that confidence you speak of is one of the big reasons I opted to go the self employed route.

Between "life's too short" and "I can always get work somewhere" I realized that I needed to do this.