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My mom told me to think of this job as a building block to something better. It’s not my ideal job, but soon, maybe, I can work somewhere else.

As I pulled up to the three story, hotel looking building, I couldn’t help but notice the color– gray. A dreary gray, a boring gray. How depressing.

Serving food to old people in this gray building was not something that looked or sounded enjoyable. But I wasn’t in a position to decline.

I felt like the color of the building. I was slow, and my questions were irritating. I knew I could do better, but for some reason I wasn’t. My mom told me it takes time to learn new things, but I didn’t want to take the time. I wanted to be as good as everyone else working there. I didn’t want to be slow and clumsy. But I guess my mom knew best, because I sped up and I got to know the people I served.

They weren’t just old people anymore. They became Mary form the second floor who likes two cups of ice at every meal, so she can take them to her room. And Sy who, when impatient, taps his glass with his fork. And Dottie, who makes her grand entrance ten minutes late to every meal, and is always the last one to leave.

I learned their quirks and their personalities, and suddenly, the job wasn’t so terrible. I didn’t notice the gray anymore. And I started to realize that this was the ideal job, and there weren’t anymore building blocks. This job was the building block—the top block.

Of course, working in a nursing home has its downsides. Every so often, someone will disappear from the dining room, and their empty chair reminds us of the gray again. But other people take their place and it becomes normal, and the gray again recedes.

After seven months of working here, I’m still the same in some ways. I’m still that clumsy server who drops silverware and the occasional plate. But my outlook is different. I try to not notice the gray in life, and when I do, I don’t dwell on it. Because the gray will eventually go away. And why does Mary take the ice up to her room? We’ll it’s been eight months and I still don’t know.

Understanding of Richard Meier’s San Jose City Hall and plaza, including the fountain.

Understanding of Richard Meier’s San Jose City Hall and plaza, including the fountain..

Your assignment is to write a thoughtful, board and synthetic essay about the San Jose city hall as whole. You will think about its architectural design and visual impact. Thinking about how this building compares to and differs from the tradition of relevant monumental architecture and of city halls in particular. Consider what you have learned about the sources Meier must have had in mind as he designed the building and about Meier’s architecture style in general. Be sure to think about it as a visual design, considering how he positioned the building between the traditional expectations in 21st century for energy efficiency. Be sure to include a discussion of what you have learned about the fountain by Hollis and Murch. Thinking about how this building related to the former San Jose City Hall which built in 1958 and modernism, how related to 1890 San Jose City Hall, how related to postmodernism, what is Brise Soleil, what is the History of Fountains, how the fountain related to Japanese Zen Gardens, what is San Jose City Hall’s LEED Certification, and what is San Jose City Hall and the City of Arts and Sciences. 

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