When I was a first year student in architecture school, my professor took a group of us into the college library. He pulled a large book from a shelf and proceeded to show us the contents, page by page, without saying a word. The book was full of beautiful large drawings of buildings seemingly from another age. I remember seeing none of the structures that were all over the architectural periodicals of that time. The drawings before me were of strong, majestic buildings, which spoke of a time when architecture existed in the realm of the true craftsmen, buildings constructed with the teachings of material, light and a gentle pencil. We were to learn that this book was in fact the result of a competition held yearly by the SOM Foundation in Chicago. The drawings were the work of graduating seniors and had been recognized as exemplary among their peers. I remember how frustratingly unattainable this all seemed as a young student. To be able to create such a representative piece of architecture that held with itself the unmistakable sings of a caring and thoughtful mind. Unmistakable to the creator as well as his judges.
Four years later I was given the opportunity to submit my work to the Foundation as a graduating firth-year student. The Traveling Fellowship, however, had existed for me long before the reality of the freedom to see and study the vast possibilities in the world and its architecture. At a very early point in my education, I was shown a piece to a great mystery that would slowly unveil itself over the course of many years, the mystery that was, and still is for me, the unspeakable allure in a beautiful work of architecture.