A Day With BRANDT : HAFERD's Brandt Knapp

A Day With BRANDT : HAFERD's Brandt Knapp

Brandt Knapp and Jerome W Haferd in their studio.

Brandt Knapp and Jerome W Haferd in their studio.

6:25am: This is usually when I wake up, but between teaching in other states, varied projects, and amazing cultural and professional evening engagements -which sometimes go late - the time I wake up varies. I’m a morning person, and if I wasn’t negotiating all of the things we do in this day, I easily would get up before sunrise and pass out before 9pm.

Outside the BRANDT : HAFERD HQ

Outside the BRANDT : HAFERD HQ

7:00am: This is when I should be out the door from Harlem to Upper East Side, to go to the clinic as I’m undergoing a second round of IVF.

They take blood work and perform an ultrasound pretty much on the daily (for about 10 days). The night before was the Storefront for Art & Architecture benefit and this year it was at La Marqueta in Harlem - very cool, but I also was very grateful as it is literally directly between my studio and my apartment. I was home by 9:30pm for meds, but I’m still running late making my one cup of pour over (I diligently drink one cup of coffee a day) and making my yogurt, berries, granola.

7:45am: I check-in at the clinic and it’s busy. I’ve learned it’s nice sometimes to wait - many days I write emails on my phone, but sometimes I read a book. Currently, I’m reading Ani Difranco’s memoir, which just came out. It’s really brought me back to my own youth.

9:00am: I debate if it’s worth it to go to studio before my next meeting, and decide it is because we are renovating the ground floor in our building to be a mixed use - office, treatment (Jin Shin), and event space. I take my favorite mode of transit these days - the Citi Bike - up to East Harlem. It’s really been a game changer for me in navigating the city over the last few years. I was very happy when they finally appeared in my neighborhood. Now I can’t wait until they grow north of 130!

I get to studio, take construction photos and fire off as many emails as possible.

Brandt and Jerome on a site visit.

Brandt and Jerome on a site visit.

9:50am: Jerome and I head to Williamsburgh where we have a potential new project. We both had a really busy teaching schedule this past semester, and in many ways we are still playing catch up. Construction on the ground floor started the day after my final review at Penn, and we are still having initial meetings with potential clients that were planned for ‘late May.’ We’ve been fortunate to have a few possibilities, but we are all too aware that many times it’s something like 1 in 10 that things pan out and become a project.

10:30am: We meet the potential client and see the space for the first time. This is a residential project, but we are particularly interested in this client’s ideas of domestic space as he holds events, and is already in it deep with the acoustician. We try our best to keep a balance of project types - programmatically and typologically, as well as things like earning capacity. This fall I will not be teaching as much and we are both excited to concentrate a bit more on developing our practice.

11:40am: We start our way back to Manhattan and for some reason I feel starved - I guess it’s the hormones? I stop at Kings Pharmacy for more medication. My husband, Ash, and I have been trying to get pregnant for two years. We have ‘unexplained infertility’ meaning everything looks amazing with all of the tests, but it’s most likely just egg quality due to my age. I had 4 IUI’s which were covered, after a steep deductible, under our insurance in 2018. Our first IVF cycle was in March.

This is my Public Service Announcement - let’s all talk about fertility, infertility, and family planning more. I had no idea, not a clue, and I think this whole process we’ve gone through would have been a little easier if I had. My friends, and my family have been incredibly supportive and I’m truly grateful! Jerome visits my lovely pharmacy with me for the first time and we get back on Citi Bikes and head to studio.

1:00pm: After settling in, eating a bit more food, and taking care of a few personal emails we put our heads together and work on all things related to the ground floor renovation. This project has been fast track, so it’s a fun, quick project to work on while we strategically plan for longer term work.

Brandt at the Former Student Social Hour

Brandt at the Former Student Social Hour

4:30pm: A bit of cleaning and organizing is necessary because we are hosting at our studio in the evening. Our studio is in an old New York industrial building with a manually operated elevator where windows were once manufactured. It’s a gem. We have access to a common space, which is on our floor, but we really want to host in our studio space. The windows are great and we can be surrounded by our models and use the projector.  

6:30pm: Our event ‘Former Student Social Hour’ begins and the first of the students arrive. Last year around this time we hosted a workshop day and we made a ‘collective drawing’ for 24x24x24, an exhibition at Storefront for Art and Architecture. We realize, especially for us who teach at many places, it’s really valuable to keep in contact and build a community with our former students. Our event hosted a diverse crowd of current students and those in the workforce and they represented NJIT, UPenn, Pratt, GSAPP, Barnard+Columbia, City College, even MICA where I taught a pre-college program over a decade ago.

8:15pm: The ‘social hour’ ran a little late. We bring the tables back to our studio and get things situated. It finally starts to feel like ‘summer.’ I remember it’s Thursday and I regret not riding the bike back between 3rd and 2nd Avenue around lunch time as last year there was a weekly farmer’s market there.

I remember having my first real, settled, content feelings in this city around that time when I realized I live in Harlem, ride my bike to and from studio, and can go to a farmer’s market at lunch. I pack up quickly and get a Citi Bike home.

8:45pm: I get home and make myself a watermelon, feta, and mint salad with a cup of cucumber dill gazpacho soup. I finish eating in like 10 minutes. My amazing husband gets all the injections ready and we take some time to talk about the day. He takes his antibiotic (super tough, I know) and he administers my shots - pinching my right arm during the one that he knows burns when it’s pushed into my body.

9:45pm: I’m in bed and ready to read my book again. My mother always read every single night (and still does) but I am not that consistent. I’ve had my fair share of sleep issues (not falling, but staying asleep) and I’ve found on weeknights I can really only watch animal things (anything narrated by David Attenborough), read, or listen to my iSleepEasy app to make sure I get rest as my days are usually quite busy.

I do practice yoga which helps everything, and am trying to get better at a home practice as I usually can’t get to a class on busy days like this one. I’m sure when my husband and I -hopefully - have children, we’ll think we had all the time in the world now. And, I know from hearing other ‘infertile people’s’ stories, this time of shot-taking and nerves waiting for calls from the doctor are forgotten pretty easily when you have a kid. Thanks to all the mama’s and papa’s for sharing your stories about how to balance work, baby, and kid life.

11:00pm: Fast asleep!

Brandt and Ash’s family planning process these days.

Brandt and Ash’s family planning process these days.

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