Detour Road

Excerpt from the introduction of Down Detour Road – An Architect in Search of Practice:

Upon seeing a street sign in rural Eastern Maryland that read, “Detour Rd,” the author writes,

“For all the years that I had spent trying to find meaning and purpose in my architecture – in any architecture – this accidental piece of signage had achieved what I had not.  Meaning perspired off the sign while I sat on the side of the road, on the bare earth, waiting for the light to get just right.  The sign was my whole life.  It was a detour that somehow became a road.  I mediated on the fact that detours aren’t something you choose to take; you take detours when the road that you want to take has been closed, washed out, bombed through, or is otherwise unavailable.

Detours are longer and less direct, and yet often show us parts of the place that we otherwise never would have visited.  They expand our experience and our knowledge, even when we would rather have taken our regular road.  My life had, up to that point, been a series of accidents and mistakes that somehow found purpose and validation.  For all the things I had intended my life to be, for all the things I thought I would be doing at 31, I was sitting in the dirt, on the side of an empty, unlit road, jobless, homeless, cold and hungry, lusting after a street.  And yet contained within this oxymoron was the whole story.  My life, and my architecture, were no longer a detour.  They had become a road.”

I feel as if his words have come straight out of my own mind.  And this is only the introduction!!  Of course, I am still searching for my proverbial street sign that makes everything fuzzy, clear.


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