September 7, 2010
fracture leap
Metatarsal Stress Fracture (source)


Fault lines and genetics indicate that one can, indeed, be predestined for disaster. There are tremendous plates in the earth. There are places where landmasses rub and collide, where one should not live, if one is sensible. As there are breaks in the earth’s surface, sites of dislocation and rupture and fracture, there are orifices in our bodies, nostrils and wet mouths and ears, sites of entry and exit, which disrupt the otherwise tight binding of our skin.


And then, schisms, holes, arise even in those places not predisposed to them. Car accidents and gunshots, violence and noise, disrupt our holy bodily unity. As one single disruption can devastate, so can repetition, aggravation, stress. A stress fracture does not arise from explicit violence, but rather, from quiet rubbing and overdoing. Bones break in silence and spidery lines run through calcified masses. To run too far, to brush your hair one thousand times. Ambition, some desperate need to be more of anything, devastates that unity which once was obvious. It seems that pressure and integrity are at odds.


Rachel Engel


The Architect’s Leap, Carnegie Mellon University (source)


If you’re feeling like a jerk,

‘Cause your project just won’t work.

Go ahead and take the leap,

Then you’ll finally get some sleep.



Poking fun at the state of mind that architects sometimes find themselves in, a stairwell in Wean Hall at Carnegie Mellon University was christened The Architect’s Leap. Named for its location near the former site of the school’s architecture studios, The Leap is inscribed with the above poem, which may be read as one descends the staircase. The verses imply that jumping several stories down an empty shaft is perhaps the only way to find relief from the pressure felt by those who are unfortunate enough to have chosen to work in architecture.


While overloading is an enduring theme in the discipline, architects are careful not to burden their buildings, however, the stress of practice is not as easily avoided.


Erandi de Silva



Edited by Erandi de Silva




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