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Social and Cultural Processes in Architecture and Urban Design application essay

khanifati 2 / 4 1  
Nov 7, 2016   #1
I'm preparing my application for Master Degree in Architecture at UC Berkeley and this is the short brief for Personal History Statement:
This essay is a narrative description of your life background in terms of how it has prepared you for this next stage of your studies. It should describe relevant aspects of your life story and achievements, as well as educational and cultural opportunities or circumstances that supported or deprived you of such achievements; family background; economic circumstances; special interests and abilities; and community or social service involvement. Throughout, be selective in describing things that specifically relate to your academic goals and intellectual pursuits. In particular, please be sure to focus on details of your research experience, and how your background has prepared you for the next stage of your studies.

I have always believed that architecture has a hidden dimension beyond the sight of bricks and mortar. The intangible qualities encountered while experiencing a space, carries a dialogue between the architect's intention, context, and the people. Firmly believing in my curious thought, I decided to start my quest in exploring the deeper meaning of architecture.

It was 2014 when I had a conversation with Romo Mangun's. It is peculiar to remember that he died several years ago yet he can tell a story about Sendangsono without his presence. With its purity, Sendangsono which functioned as a pilgrimage able to evoke the grasp to its visitor. It is an example that architecture is not only born within the confines of the boudoir, but also with people's contribution. This spirituality also appear on Kali Code. People lived and worked with each other in a place that gave them sense of belonging and made them feel at home. They shared a remarkably unified existence.The complexity of space in both objects is more than just a manifestation of spatial understanding. There's a compromise, a tolerance as well as resilience. We can feel how lively the atmosphere. Those intangible assets which support architecture to become more than just a building, makes me believe that communities can give a meaningful sense to the built environment.

During my study years in the university I've managed to combine and improve my creative and logic sides and find a perfect balance between them in order to become a good architect. Studying architecture allowed me to reveal and develop my traits and talents and improve my skills not only as an architect but also as a person. My architectural background also allows me to approach designing from a different angle. I know how important every detail can be, but I also know how to look at everything from a further distance and evaluate the context and I understand the importance of it. I see a design project not as an opportunity to reveal my practical skill but more as a possibility to solve the problems and attend the needs of human and the environment. And I think a great design is the one which helps people or the environment, improves it or fixes a problem and does it in a very tasteful and original way. That is always the goal of my designs and that's what I think is Design for the Real World.

Beside my study in the university, I join several communities to apply my practical experience into the real world. In Semarang, the city where I live in, I was involved in an art exhibition Playing Residency #1. The exhibition focuses on the city as a center of complexity. My project is a reflection of today's children's behavior. I questioned correlation between "friendship & nature", which almost gone among children. Our environment doesn't support to interact with nature. And in the end, we begin to create a small library for children to play. The first project with Orat-Oret drives me into another opportunity to join a community research about Jengki. Jengki architecture is a transitional style which is develops during the end of colonialism and the beginning of Indonesia's independence. The exact beginning and ending of Jengki architecture is hard to trace. We try to analyze remain style of the building around Semarang and review synthesis elements of 2 culture in 1 building. With the cross disciplinary background, this research give a new insight from different point of view. And in another opportunity, I join a community architect in Yogyakarta. In there, I can learn how to rebuild in another way, how to create an architecture that doesn't contribute only to the practical and economic aspect of people's lives but also to their social, spiritual and psychological needs.

There's fascinating paradox in architecture which brings me into this journey. It drives me to spent numerous times studying literatures and papers, gaining new ideas and contributing to discussion. These activities had given me a sight to understand more than just a physical matter and equip to embark into wider journey. As I always evolving, I want to continue this exploration with the people who has a philosophical and critical thinking towards architecture and society as I found in UC Berkeley.

Please anyone help to proofread my essay, thank you!
ymcashehata 1 / 1  
Nov 7, 2016   #2
I thought that it was an interesting topic and really enjoyed the way you expanded on it. I believe that the essay yields a certain degree of power that the admissions people will enjoy and appreciate.

You should change the line of reasoning though.
Holt  Educational Consultant - / 10,933 3567  
Nov 7, 2016   #3
Hanifati, I am thinking of how the prompt is asking you to explain how your background has prepared you for your next stage of studies. Somehow, the discussion that you present in the opening statement does not help to develop this reasoning. While you are doing best to use abstract reasoning in this essay for some reason, you have to understand that in these types of essays, where the reviewer does not have the time to ponder the meaning of what you are trying to say, you need to be direct to the point. Tell him, don' make him wonder. he doesn't have the time to figure it out. Spell out the paradox that you hope to have resolved by taking higher studies. Talk more about your experience as an architect and the influence that your line of learning or the difficulties that you came across on the job have led you to decide to pursue higher learning. At this moment, you are portraying the artistic side of your occupation. You forgot to consider the prompt requirements which are telling you to be realistic in your portrayal of your life in relation to your studies. Meaning, you should not be waxing poetic in this essay but rather, present your family background, economic circumstances, and any hindrances to your achievements as well. Basically, they are asking you for a balanced discussion of the good and the bad in your life with a presentation that relates to your desire for higher studies. I don't see that in this version of the essay.

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