All Master of Architecture applicants must include a Statement of Purpose. This should be a one-page essay including purpose for entering the M. Arch program, career goals, and proposed emphasis of studies and special interest in the field. Statements should be clear and focused.

Physics remains on the coffee table, abandoned. Two-dimensional kinematics, rotational motion: ignored. In college I learned how to think critically and generate ideas. A liberal arts degree enables me to answer questions with more questions. But this is physics, a field that strives to eradicate the existence of eternal questions. That thought alone is incapacitating.

On the other hand, my Statement of Purpose for my M. Arch program is well underway—though it mostly skirts the issue of me and only vaguely alludes to any “proposed emphasis of study.” Instead, it speaks entirely of Janet Cardiff, the Canadian video artist, as a source of influence. The Statement is a thousand words over the limit. For the time being, and relative to a set of half-done physics problems, I’ll call that success.

Two days later, and fifty physics problems underwater, I make a list.

My Statement of Purpose is:

A. Too Long (obvious)

B. Totally Evasive (typical)

C. A and B (yes yes yes, I know I know I know)

D. A and B and Not Even About an Architect or Architecture

D induces panic. D is a problem. This is architecture school I am applying to! “Statement of Purpose” implies that I should have something to state, moreover a purpose in doing so; it implies doing something more pointed than rambling on about my favorite artist. How to frame a discussion of Cardiff’s work poses the real challenge—how to venture beyond the obvious and avoid creating something of the I-want-to-walk-on-the-moon-because-of-Neil-Armstrong typology.

I make a new list.

Sunday—TO DO:

1. Define the Obvious (5 min.)

2. Move Beyond It (15 min.—maybe more?)

3. Define the Neil Armstrong Typology (2 min.)

4. Move Beyond That (15 more min.)

5. Finish Physics (time remaining)

1. Architecture recurs as subject, setting, and theme in much of Cardiff’s work. [1a: as subject] In House Burning (2001), a documentary-ish portrayal of a house ablaze, architecture (the spectacle of watching it burn) is, literally, the subject. Is it arson? Pyromania? A grand experiment or art project? [1b: as setting] Cardiff’s Walks, the artist’s best-known works, are site-specific “tours” through the architectural spaces for which they are made. While listening to a CD walkman or watching the screen of a digital camcorder, visitors make their way along a predetermined route, heeding the artist’s direction [when to walk, when to stop, where to look, what to think] at every turn.

[1c. as theme] Forty-Part Motet, an audio installation shown at the artist’s 2001 retrospective at P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center in New York, depends largely on the strategic configuration of objects in a three-dimensional field. A choral hymn, composed in 1575 by Thomas Tallis for Queen Elizabeth I, is broadcast over forty person-high speakers arranged in a large circle. Each voice of the forty-part hymn is recorded on a single track and broadcast over each of the speakers. At points near the circumference, the individual voice dominates the collective and volume increases or decreases proportionally as one moves towards or away from any given speaker. At the center of the circle, where the sound is perfectly balanced, individual strains are no longer decipherable.

2. Janet Cardiff, though most widely regarded as an artist, is also an architect. Not an Architect [big “A”/underline] but an architect [small “A”/no underline]. Cardiff is a constructor of situations—of physical relationships between the body and its surroundings and, subsequently, of psychological connections between the mind and place. Cardiff is an architect of experience.

[2a: moving …] We are able to perceive our relationship to our environment via our senses of sight, smell, sound, and touch; the senses are antennae through which we receive the signals being transmitted to us and the means by which this information is processed. Through the sensations elicited by Cardiff’s architecture, bodily associations with place are forged. These associations make situations of events, experiences of visits—memories that serve as the foundation for meaning. With no connection to our surroundings, we are merely objects in space—moving, perhaps, but hardly animate.

Should this not also be the focus for practicing Architects [big “A”/underline]—to be architects [small “A”/no underline]? [2b: moving …] As a society, we can do without more architecture as a manifestation of ego, of childhood dreams to build something “big,” or of private commercial interests. Our current condition is one that yearns for instruction on how to deal with excess, navigation away from commodity, and direction toward meaning.

3. “I once saw a picture in my U.S. history textbook of Neil Armstrong: On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong took a step out of the Apollo 11 lunar craft onto the moon. This giant leap for mankind made Armstrong the first man to walk on the moon. I have always admired Neil Armstrong. I, too, want to walk on the moon.”

4. The profession of architecture could use a break from its egocentric self, from its hard ties to building. More than the additional creation of material substance, we need direction—and at a scale that is comprehensible. This is where an Architect planning ten million square feet of commercial and retail space can learn from Janet Cardiff, the architect. Individuals are minute relative to the landscapes that we inhabit. As the built environment grows more vast, the proportions of the body, in comparison, become increasingly small. Relationships to our surroundings are thus more difficult to understand, associations harder to come by, and meaning near extinction. [4a: GONE …] Architects can learn from architects how to intervene responsibly:hat is, how to design with due attention to human behavior, psychology, and sensory perception. It is through these veins that we are able to experience richness and meaning in our built environment.

5. (10 pts) A projectile is fired 100m from the base of a 15m high wall with an initial speed of 34.5m/s at an angle q above the horizontal. Find the smallest angle q1 and the biggest angle q2 at which the projectile fired will pass over the wall. Write all your work into your blue book. Show work as clearly as possible. Box or underline your answers.

q1 = 41.49

q2 = 57.04