First, let me apologize for the long absence between my last post and this one.

Second, I must admit to being a tad overwhelmed.

I had thought my research would start with the history of the Fan and its architecture. Afterwards, I would use the information I’d uncovered to make sketches of individual houses in the fan and, hopefully, the evolution of the area would show itself through the sketches.

It’s not as simple as that, however.

There is just so much information available to sift through, and I find myself forgetting the direction I’d intended my research to go in the first place. My brain, and consequently my research, is becoming muddled. The more sources I find, the more questions are raised.  I’m getting lost in the past, and not even in the fun, time-travel kinda way. So I’ve decided to refocus.

Sometimes, it’s best to take care of the little parts of a project one at a time, and the end result will assemble itself out of the smaller pieces. During my search for resources, I found a detailed examination of when which buildings were built and where. So now, armed with about a dozen different architectural terms and and styles, I am sifting through dictionaries and architecture textbooks in order to define and understand them. I realized there is a lot I still don’t know about architecture in general, so I am taking the next few days to focus solely on this. I am using the time to fully understand the information I have in front of me before I  jump into part two of my research. After I’ve got the necessary architectural background, I’ll start applying it to the timeline of construction within the Fan.

I’ll keep you posted,



  1. acgerhard says:

    I am sorry to hear that your heart has been all aflutter. I’ve just gotten wind of your project, but I most say it’s not alone in it’s tendencies to slip out of its borders. To fan out, if you will.


    The point is that I too had to sit back and rewrite my thesis. Your struggle is a shared one. I ended up having to limit my writings to the most dramatic influences within the poetry movement- perhaps you can do the same with architecture? Perhaps take it a decade at a time.

    Regardless. Godspeed, Sarah, on your researching. I trust you’re new architectural knowledge will make itself the pillar of your community research

  2. Sarah, I am so glad to hear that mine is not the only research which is more complicated than I had first thought. (Allison, you’re probably right that many are aflutter, myself included). The most interesting and frustrating thing about research is that it goes in a million different directions; some of which you’d anticipated, and many you hadn’t. It’s really difficult to sift through and determine what is interesting and relevant and, of that, what fits into your framework and won’t cause it to be overly long. I’m glad you’re able to step back and focus on the basics, and I’m sure your project will begin to take shape as you fit all the little pieces together. Your research sounds fascinating, and I cannot wait to see the finish products. I am sure the result will be beautiful drawings as well as a comprehensive understanding of the Fan. Good luck to you (and to us all)!

  3. ecparcell says:

    I agree with all of the comments above, as well as Sarah’s post. The feeling of raising more questions than answers is totally mutual (and perhaps an inevitable by-product of the research process). I think your description of needing to step back and redefine exactly what you want to focus on is a part of research that people don’t always describe, but is nevertheless part of the process. Your project sounds so interesting – especially placing architecture in a more geographical context and I am so excited to see all of the final paintings!