A school is a project we are always working on, together. The project never has to be finished. It can’t be finished. If it is finished, it has failed. We need an unfinished school, one that is always toppling forward. Everyone participates in this project, but there is something special about the ones who strive to keep it unfinished, unsettled, even uneasy. A project driven only by those outsiders may be a horrible mess, but our project, without Roger, what does it look like?
A school is a discussion we are having. The best discussions are marked more by their diversity than their homogeneity. The differences are what excite us. They are what push us to think. To make choices about how we will be as architects, as professionals, as citizens. It seems important to ask, before he leaves / is allowed to go, what diversity leaves with him? Besides, if we all agree on where we are going, how will we ever get anywhere?
There are many good, solid, grounded teachers of architecture amongst us. Their guidance is invaluable. But when we want to think about a problem differently. When we want someone to push us in a new direction. When we want to swim in an expanded sea of possibilities, Roger is one of those people we seek out. Not only because of how he thinks, but because of how he can get us to think.
I am certain that Roger must make as many lives difficult as he does delightful. I think he works hard at both. His passion mixes with his rough edges and inspires and infuriates and bewilders many at the school. But the question here is not, what does the job he does mean to you, but rather what does our school look like without him? Is it more comfortable? Possibly. Is it more stable? Most likely. Is it less interesting? Probably a little. Is it less dynamic? Most certainly.
It would be shame to see him go.