Do you ever get that feeling of being so overwhelmed you can’t do anything? Like, trying to even watch a video on YouTube, or even writing a blog post is so difficult you struggle to concentrate or think, where every little thing is escalated? That is my current mood, and largely it has to do with studio. Right now I’m battling against myself with ideas for studio, that is, I have too many ideas with many that oppose each other. I’m trying to implement all these ideas but can’t, so I’m writing this post as a reminder to myself, and hopefully you can take something away from it as well…..

The above was the introduction to a blog post I was writing last night about having three ideas in studio. I was quite stressed, a heavy chest and couldn’t find any joy, not even in a kitten video! I decided instead of trying to force it at 11pm, I’d just go to sleep. Woke up fresh, but that stress and overwhelming feeling is now gone. I’m no doctor but I’m concluding that sleep fixes everything. Have a broken leg? Just sleep and in the morning you’ll better*!

I thought I’d still talk about ‘the three ideas theory‘ as it’s something that can really put focus into your design, but can also challenge a student. I listened to Andrew Maynard give a talk at Deakin last year about this three idea theory, but instead of me trying to paraphrase I have found him talking about it in an interview he gave for a magazine, you can read the full here;

For example, in architecture school, it is the tutor’s job to keep asking you questions about your design. What the tutor is trying to do is to get you to realise that all you need is two or three core ideas in your design – and not putting in everything back-to-back. So that’s the disappointment here for me. In this house, I tried to cram too many ideas into it. – Andrew Maynard, Humility in Exuberance, 2009 Singapore Institute of Architects

At the talk he also mentioned that those three (or two) ideas should also be evident in a multiple of scales, whether it’s site planning, 1:100 floor plan, aerial view or a 1:10 detail. That was causing a lot of stress for me, trying to cram too many ideas into my project, with a lot of it being directly opposing each other. Don’t get me wrong, I love the challenge of trying to resolve opposing architectural problems but one was ‘Have a bedroom on the ground plane, living above and activate the ground plane‘ or ‘Have kitchen on the ground plane to activate the ground plane but actually they might want privacy

After waking up from my sleep this morning, I took a step back (not literally, I’d just walk into a wall) and looked over the notes I made based on the feedback I received from the guest reviewers at the mid-sem crit. I also thought about where I’d like to steer the project, and then sat at my desk to write down my three ideas. Now every gesture or architectural move I make moving forward with my project, I need to ask myself, “Is this turning a negative into a positive?”, “Does this space or material work twice as hard?” “Is this material appropriate?” If the answer is no, despite being a good idea on its own, its scrapped from the design. All the decisions you make in your project should be serving your two-three ideas in some form or another, and these can work on a variety of scales.

Some time this week I’ll actually share where my project is up to, as some of what I have said about my project makes sense to me but you won’t have a clue. I do hope though you can take away the main essence of this post, and that’s the two-three core idea. And, sleeping on things actually does help!

* Please don’t believe that, it was a joke but thought I better put this disclaimer in. If you have broken your leg, and you have yet to see a doctor but came across this post, go see a doctor!