By Drew Baldwin
I will take some time this week to delve into one of my greatest passions/ hobbies outside of architecture, cars/car culture. From the time I could remember, I have always loved looking at cars and listening to how they sound as they would pass by. As a kid, I really knew nothing about them outside of the fact that I thought they generally looked pretty cool. My passion really started to take off in my high school years; the time when teenagers start driving and actually begin having different experiences with cars. Around this time is when I began working on the car my parents were going to give me once I started driving, a 1987 El Camino. It was in rough shape, but I knew I could make it a pretty nice car with a little TLC. Through my high school years I worked on several cars performing a laundry list of services. If there was ever anything I didn’t know, I would always want to read on it so the next time an issue would come up, I would know how to approach it properly. My group of friends were also all into cars and car culture, so often times we would sit around just talking about anything cars, sometimes for hours on end; talking about what we knew, learning things from each other. For just sitting around talking, it was often a productive time. We often attended car shows/meets which were great places to get out and see some really nice pieces of machinery/art and, some that weren’t so great. Through everything I saw and did, participated in, or watched I grew to have the utmost respect for anyone who deals with cars for a living, in any way shape or form.
In a way, cars are like buildings, they are both systems made up of thousands of parts working together to achieve a desired look and performance all while being comfortable and accommodating for the user. Like an automobile (from what I’ve seen), there are a large number of people that don’t quite know how a building works or stays together, though it may be their daily workplace. The process of designing cars and buildings is very rigorous, often times stressful and time consuming, with a need for trials and tests of the “product” being produced, but all in the name of creating the best result possible for the client(s). Once a building is completed, people will look at it and praise it or bash it, claim it’s a piece of art or a detriment to the practice as well as industry standards keeping a watchful eye over it; the same goes for any automobile to roll off the line. Whether it rolls off the assembly lines in Detroit or out of somebody’s garage or whether it’s a high rise built in the heart of downtown Chicago or a small development in in Southern California, I can appreciate the hard work and dedication that goes into both cars and architecture alike.