The DRAW’ers collected themselves for an afternoon recently in a borrowed conference room at Missouri Bank, in the Crossroads.  Each DRAW’er had been given a challenge in the weeks beforehand:  explore something until it becomes fascinating and fills you with awe, and then share that experience with the rest of the crew. 

Because things must be named (more on this later), we started calling this exercise DR(awe).  Get it?  DRAW + awe, but spelled the way architects spell things.  Unfortunately, DR(awe) is nearly impossible to pronounce.  On the big day, most of us just said “draw” with the “aw” part stretched out extra long.   I.E:  “My Drawwwwwwwww exercise was about...etc etc”.  Honestly, it didn’t really flow off the tongue too well, and ended up sounding a bit like the person was having a mild stroke.  Plus the word itself kind of looks like “Dr. Awe” when you see it spelled out, like a friendly second-tier villain in a Marvel Comic.  The kind of villain that might fight Robin over to the side, while Batman took on the Joker and his poisonous laughing gas.

NONETHELESS, the experience itself--of tapping into a firm’s worth of individual fascinations, over the course of a long afternoon, was thoroughly energizing and the opposite of a stroke.  

Graham had a nice presentation, which tapped into a type of fascination that is possible when three things intersect:  when a person interested in details finds themselves at a place that contains interesting details at an extended moment in time in which the person has the presence of mind to experience, understand and enjoy the details.

He started his presentation by talking about his experience in 2012 of exploring the German Pavilion in Barcelona, by Mies Van Der Rohe.  Like many designers before him, he was struck by the simplicity of the composition and the calm clarity of the connections.  Just a few elements come together--bone-colored travertine, green-veined marble, stainless steel, water, glass--to create a spatial poem of sorts.

After some words of high praise, Graham continued with a confession:  in the end, the buildup of his expectation contributed to a bit of a letdown in the actual experience. 

But that was just his intro. Take a look at his presentation below and allow him to guide you through a close-up exploration of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.