I felt so pleased, almost proud, that I was the one who told my dad about this exhibition.

March 24th, 2014, 4pm

I don’t know anyone with a higher rate of job satisfaction than my dad. When he was eleven years old, he decided he wanted to become an architect, and that is what he did. As an undergraduate student fast approaching graduation with no idea what to do next, I find this incredible.

When you love your job as much as my dad does, it’s inevitable that work and pleasure become intertwined, because for him, the two are not separate. Family holidays were perhaps the greatest demonstration of this. My childhood memories are filled with lengthy detours to buildings of architectural interest, from Sydney Opera House to a unknown community centre on a tiny Scottish island. From a young age, I’ve been able to appreciate the beauty of a good eave. I could probably muster some genuine enthusiasm for a slightly unusual-looking chimney. As for our holiday photographs, some may find the ratio of pictures of drainpipes/roof beams/brickwork to pictures of family members surprising, but I’ve never known any different. The phrase “move out the way, you’re blocking my shot of that door hinge” does not offend me.

When you love someone, you want to show enthusiasm for what they love. While when I was younger, I cannot pretend I was anywhere near pleased to being taken to Centres for Progressive Ecological Architecture, but now I look back at such visits fondly. Thanks to my dad’s influence, I too have developed an interest in architecture, and I want to demonstrate this. Hence my excitement when I learned about “Sensing Spaces: Architecture Reimagined”, a current exhibition at the Royal Academy.

As we go on my suggestion, I find myself feeling apprehensive. Will he like it? Have I demonstrated an interest in his work, or have I completely misunderstood what he’s about?

At first, it doesn’t seem to go well. He hasn’t brought his camera - surely a bad sign. We pass through the first room without no particular comment from him. The second installation wants us to “get involved” with the building process. There’s brightly coloured straws everywhere. My dad pulls a face - perhaps a memory of an over-enthusiastic client? The next room, there’s a quote on the wall - space for an architect doesn’t exist. Another face. But then he goes to the installation, an arch and examining it, he says, “It’s made of concrete.” He sounds impressed. In the next room, he becomes so absorbed, I lose him for a while. We watch the film about all the exhibiting architects and their work, and we are both drawn to the same building (Cien House in Chile, by Pezo von Ellrichshausen). The next installation is the best, an exploration of light and dark. The ‘dark’ room is reminiscent of one of my dad’s favourite buildings, the National Theatre in London. We sit in that room for a long time. The iPhone camera comes out.

I can relax. I’ve done well.

Conor, Roger, Chris, Gueorgui and 6 others said thanks.

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Ellen Catriona

I want the courage to explore

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