One of the advantages I found to being out in the bush was that I was no longer “Jessica Herron, UX designer who knows these programs and has that experience/degree” but was simply “The Artist”. So when Dr. Spelman, the professor I was traveling with, and Diane McTurk, the elder lady who long ago started the Lodge with her efforts to rehabilitate giant river otters, turned to me and asked “are you interested in designing Diane a house?”, I could indulge the architecture bug I rarely get to itch and say “YES I WOULD.”
It was challenging in that I had to design it to be built ‘in house’ by the Amerindian men who worked at the Lodge, in the materials they commonly used, for Guyanese weather, in the building traditions that Diane favored. But it was easier than a pro job because I could count on the common-sense knowledge of the men building it (who I talked to during the design process) to make sure that all the parts were properly supported. So I didn’t have to actually know anything about physics. To make up for that though, I used structural measurements of the buildings which were already being used at the Lodge. Since, well, those buildings hadn’t fallen down.
It was a blast. I did four structure designs in total, and am hoping I get to see at least the partial completion of some of them when I go back.