A few weeks ago, when Bonnie and Seth asked if I would like to attend the Monterey Design Conference, I jumped at the opportunity. MDC is a gathering of architectural design professionals for a weekend-long event of TEDesque talks, people and vino.

First off, the landscape was absolutely beautiful; Asilomar right on the beach. The California coast always brings a smile, and surely not just because I’m from the landlocked “middle”. I suspect that Seth snuck out to surf… I hope he did.

There is certainly plenty to talk about in architecture today: the economy, sustainability, BIM, computer generated form/materials/production, and of course the age-old topic of just plain beautiful stuff. We got a healthy sampling of all of these. Tom Kundig with his array of custom operable, well, everything: enormous steel doors, entire window walls, and concrete cabinets. Bringing out the curious and giddy lego-building kid in all of us. Jeanne Gang shared some innovative use of materials, including stone doing things we think it shouldn’t, like glowing and hanging. I even went on a home tour of some recently completed residential projects, and got to hear from Jonathan Feldman about his first use of rammed earth. I was happily sketching/scribbling/and soaking up information all weekend.

And all of this in a place where you can get professional advice from an award winning architect over breakfast, or bump into old co-workers that remind you where you have been.

But my mind has been most busy unpacking a certain idea, brought up simply by Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee, one of several “up and coming” speakers intentionally sprinkled between seasoned and more well-known presenters. “Emerging, a verb we embrace.” Me too. Emerging is an idea with alot to say. Emerging as in, not there yet, but starting on the way. But on the way to where? To some unknown peak. Emerging because only the past is clear. There is no predetermined destination, only a promise of some kind of arrival.

As an aspiring (and hopefully emerging) architect, I am pleased to have been in attendance at this inspiring event.