Monday, March 22, 2010

No, No Shameless Fawning Here...

I mentioned in my intro how this blog, while I intend it to be an ongoing project, is also the basis of a current assignment I have for Tafe. The assignment is to create a manifesto, and analyse our designs and, in a way, psychoanalyse ourselves through our design. Of course, this involves looking at the things and people that inspire you and make your mind shoot off in a million and one directions.

The teacher for this particular class is Jane Rothschild, and I have to say, since she taught us the first time last year (Architectural History) I have found her captivating and incredibly inspiring. A brief rundown:

Jane is the Sydney Director for Architects Without Borders - think Medicans sans Frontiers, but for dwellings and schools. When I first found this out, I had an image of a Director sitting behind a desk and organising/managing the project from a base, like Sydney. That was until I emailed Jane at the beginning of the year to let her know I would miss the first 4 weeks of class, and she responded with one line:

I'm in India at the moment. I'll chat with you about it when I get back.
WTF? What the hell is my Tafe teacher doing in INDIA!!?? Though, after having been taught by Jane before, listening to her fast paced, upbeat and incredibly detailed knowledge of architects and designers both past and present, her teachins peppered with "When I was here..." and "We did a project there..." it really shouldn't have shocked me.

Jane is one of the founders of Dickson Rothschild based in Sydney (Mr Dickson is Janes husband, I believe, but I could be incredibly wrong there) and their work reads as an international book of poetry written with mortar and steel. It's rare that I look at something and fall instantly in love with ever facet of it.

A collaboration with Alvaro Bros Master Builders in Watson Bay

A brief overview of Janes' career from the Architects Without Frontiers website:

Jane is a co-founder of Dickson Rothschild, a multi-disciplinary firm of architects, urban designers, landscape architects and planners located in Chippendale, Sydney. Dickson Rothschild has offices in China and New Delhi and currently employs staff from over 18 countries speaking at least 15 different languages. Over the last 20 years, Jane has practiced architecture in both the US and Australia and has been responsible for the majority of Dickson Rothschild’s private residential work. Jane’s interests are focused in housing - both local and in developing countries - and in heritage conservation. She moved to Sydney 18 years ago from New York City and has also worked in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Jane joined AWF in 2005 and has been a Director since January 2007.

Jane has also worked with Habitat for Humanity in Australia, Indonesia and Vietnam. Jane travelled to Aceh in 2006 reporting on HFHI’s reconstruction work and with HFHI Vietnam (with Dickson Rothschild staff) developing housing and construction manuals. Jane is Director for Corporate Relations and the AWF Project Leader for the Anganwadi Pre-schools Project in Ahmedabad, India.
Jane is currently Project Leader for the Anganwadi Project - providing pre-schools and safe places for children from poor families. The brief is to "create a simple, unassuming and safe space for the children to learn in."

Now people reading this might realise that I will be providing the link to this blog to Jane for my assignment, and might assume I'm sucking up. The truth is, yes, Jane will see this, and yes, she may well think I'm sucking up to get good marks. In all liklihood, she'll mark me based in the work I've done, rather than the content. I've long known of Janes' achievements and long held the belief that if I can move forward in my career with even half as much intelligence, verve, compassion and generosity as Jane has in hers, I'll be a very happy camper.

Find Architects without Frontiers here.
Find Dickson Rothschild here.

Images via Alvaro Bros Master Builders and Architects Without Frontiers

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