What Was Your First Experience With Architecture?

Hong Kong Skyline. Photo by Aaron Trahan.

By Aaron Trahan, Committee On Design Spring Conference Knowledge Scholar

During one of our afternoon statements on day 2 of the Committee On Design Spring Conference in Columbus, Indiana, I found myself distracted by a comment made by Nancy Rogo Trainer of Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates. In her remarks on what defines architectural excellence, she noted that our views of architecture, whether deliberate or inadvertent, are formed by our experiences. Many of us architects, in fact, can probably trace our interest in a career in architecture to some experience with buildings that stuck with us throughout our lifetime.

I remember when I was twelve and thirteen years old, my father lived in Hong Kong as a result of his position at United Airlines. Because of this, I was exposed to a more global view of architecture at a very formative age, being able to travel throughout Southeast Asia during school vacations. I remember being fascinated by the skyline of Hong Kong, the hustle of the marketplaces that seemed like endless mazes, the planning strategy of the Forbidden City, and the elegance of the temples and monasteries.

This experience with architecture would later become the foundation of my decision to pursue a career as an architect, and develop a fascination with Asian architecture.

That being said, I pose the challenge to you, to dig into your past and remember one of your first experiences with architecture. I’m sure there are many, however the first one that comes to mind is probably the one that was most influential to you.

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