I thought I’d re-visit 751 days in the past, back to what is referred to as ArchiMarathon. And the reason I’m looking back is for a couple reasons, one being that Kevin Hui (who led the marathon) is now going interstate with ArchiMarathon and chatting with him about it brought up old feelings. Second reason, re-watching it has stirred up a lot of feelings inside as I get transported back and can vividly remember what my life was like. However I want to use this blog post to encourage you to go on a marathon at least once a year, minimum.
But first, what is an archiMarathon? Basically it’s a day full of architecture! Don’t liken it to an actual 42km marathon, but more so when you consume multiple movies one-after-another, and you refer to it as a movie marathon. It was seeing building after building after building after building… You get the picture. Again, it was led by Kevin Hui, a very knowledgable architect, and although has never officially taught me in university, I’ve learnt so much from him. The day started at the Shrine of Remembrance and finished up at the University of Melbourne, and it was basically walking straight down Swanston Street. I won’t go into specific details about which buildings we visited, instead I want to try and explain why you do something similar.
If you read my blog post last month about what students should do during break, there might be some contradictions here. In the blog post I suggest taking a break from architecture, however I do think there’s something to just spending a full day consuming the built environment. I don’t mean walking past a building and taking a photo, but rather to stop, look up, look around, touch, but more importantly just think. Try to think of the history of the building, try to think what things were like when it was first built. Try to think why the architect put the door there, and why the roof detail is like that. But what do you get out of it?
What I found in my own experience is that you look at the buildings you walk past daily in a new light. You gain a deeper appreciation of the architect and their work, as well as effort that would have gone into building it. I’m guilty of visiting a building purely to snap a few photos, then leave. I don’t stop to learn the story, the history or the overall context. Those three things however will make you a better designer/future architect. These archimarathons allow you to just consume so much story, history and context.
Kevin generally goes on these archimarathons when he travels, and he has said to me it’s a great way to combine two things he loves. I myself even went on a couple half-archimarathons when in Japan, despite motivation for the industry being low. I think it had something to do being in another country and feeling almost obligated to consume their architecture. At the bottom I’ll link a few videos from Japan that focused on these half-archimarathons.
I think one of the more practical reasons to do one is for the exercise benefit. Back in 2016 our little archimarathon was like 11km, and yes my legs and feet were sore but it did feel good to be out. There’s just something about being outside, wandering around the city and exploring the architecture.
Anyway I’ll leave it there, I wanted to keep this post short. You can watch the 2016 archimarathon below, and two videos from Japan below that. Writing this I’m feeling the urge to go on another archimarathon on a weekend sometime soon, and just pick an area and consume. Let me know if you’d like to see more “archimarathon” videos, but in respect to Kevin I’d have to use “archithon” or something for the title. Not sure why? Check out his Instagram, I don’t want to tread on his awesome archimarathon series.
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