Project 250 – 5


The difference between gabions and riprap

Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash

You give up or you work for change — Obama

The future is uncertain, the future is unknown, and all the goals written down for the year with a plan to break into action items are at TBD status as dependencies grow on workplace for better projects, Prometric for testing sites, and canceled conventions for networking. It’s not easy for anyone to be hopeful, and to plan for a world as we knew it as everything around us constantly evolves. First stat in the morning is COVID toll, not my sleep analysis or workout summary. First coffee in the morning is no longer in solitude, it’s a video call to bond and check on parents everyday without disturbing the flow of the zoom calls rest of the day. But, as Obama reminds, you can either give up, or you can work for change, or in this particular environment, stay fluid with what you want to achieve and what can be achieved given the circumstances. 

Continuing “Project 250”, a personal project based on Michael Sorkin’s Two Hundred Fifty Things an Architect Should Know.

219. The difference between gabions and riprap

Gabion is a type of riprap. 

One is vertical, another horizontal. One retains the earth, other slows the stream. Past twenty years of experience in the profession, and education has had many encounters with both, one coordinated with landscape architect, other with civil engineer. One holds together the slopes native to, and one holds together finer elements native to. One needs to be held together to help hold, and the other stays together to help hold… 

COVID state of productivity and motivation requires both a riprap, and a gabion to stop the sanity erosion. It’s not easy to balance a thousand things around you, and hope and pray that you don’t get sick. It’s not easy to watch people congregate and protest quarantine without masks or social distancing while watching the numbers grow. It’s not easy to pretend communications are awesome when you haven’t hugged your friends in months, and your work updates are limited to who’s working on what without a long term check-on…In fact, it’s very easy to overthink, to over analyze every situation, to let yourself misunderstand the situation, to misread the room… 

I need a gabion and a riprap…

A gabion to hold on to the negative thoughts flowing so fast, multiplying every moment, headed downhill through the weakest slope…A riprap to sift through things that matter to me before I let go of the emotional flood. It’s been a difficult time, and anyone who’s pretending to have it together is in denial. Of course I am thankful for family, remote working, good health and support from friends, but I would have loved to travel, finished my last NCARB test that’s forever postponed, enjoyed the company of others, bumped into a stranger without staring them down for crossing my path…I need a gabion to hold my ambitions in place, and a riprap to hold my skills… 

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