The Way Buildings Make You Move

“I’m studying to become an architect,” Marcie said.

“Why is that?” I asked her.

She turned away from me to look at my little sister, Caire. The five year old swung up and down and back again on the swing, using all the right motions to gain momentum. When she flew she kicked her legs up and when she descended, she tucked them in backwards and repeated the process. Over and over until she was well up into the air, laughing. After a few swings she turned her attention back to me but never looked me in the eye. She was still looking out at something beyond me.

“The way buildings are designed and how people move about them,” she said. She stopped and looked back at my sister, then me, and thought about how to explain it. I told her it was alright but went on. “Every angle, every wall is supposed to make a person reflect on how they move and the process that went into the design. Every building was designed for a specific purpose, some good and some bad. But they were all crafted to, in some way, move you towards a new space that creates a specific feeling in you. Whether it’s to move you into somewhere new and strange or force you out. Some people design buildings to make you feel something without saying anything. I love that.”

My sister flew to high into the air and landed on her back onto the grass. She doesn’t cry. She picks herself back up and when the two of us look over to her she just dusts herself off and laughs, throwing a thumbs up into the air. I wonder where she learned that. I turn back to look at Marcie but she stood up from the bench and began to walk back to the house and the family party.

With her hands in the pockets of her sun dress she turns her head back, “you guys coming?”


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