Guide To Purposeful Wandering

There are days when I am stuck in my school studio, listening to my professor drone on about Roman history with the noises of Piazza di Santa Maria (where my studio faces) in the background. I often hear children laughing, sometimes a man singing opera, and other times an accordion player. I mean, I am in Rome! But alas, school is school. So sometimes even when I know I have things to do, I take a long walk- I don’t have a plan but at least it’s outside. Is this procrastination? Maybe… But can it be valuable? Yes!

I employ two techniques to this excellent art of procrastination in the form of wandering.

Go into anything interesting if it’s open. & free.

A wise architecture professor once quoted Grace Hopper saying, “It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission”. This was in regards to the fact that Casa Malaparte in Capri was closed to public but it had a well-trodden cliff side path that allowed for a ‘better view’ of the house than the designated public walkway. It was then that  I realized if I am out wandering anyways I mind as well make the most of it by exploring anywhere I can get into.

This view is as close as you can get if you walk on the designated path.

This is especially true for the churches in Rome- they’re all magnificently architecturally ornate and often  always open to the public!


Stop taking photos & start sketching.

It took a mandatory school course to teach me that sketching on site is valuable. Before, I would take many photos and sketch from those. But I’ve seen the errors of my ways and what I’ve been missing. What you don’t get from photos is the noise of the place around you, the people looking over your shoulder, and the shadows from the sun changing what you see every moment. Plus, you end up actually spending time in the space rather than a “Click! Click!” from your camera and leave.

A quick sketch looking on to Largo Di Torre Argentina

I’d love to hear from all of you about how you procrastinate  take a beneficial walk in a city!

Author: Crystal Yung

Hello! My name is Crystal Yung and I am an undergraduate student studying architecture at the University of Waterloo. Please feel free to check our my online portfolio of my works:

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