Spring 2014 Final: Architecture Crit

 

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Sadly I don’t have much to show for this semester because I wasn’t very organized in storing and cataloging assignments.   One thing I learned this semester: be more meticulous with recording your work.

Final crits for our arch school are one week before the school wide finals, so this means we just completed our architecture classes.

Officially, finals are next week (which gives us a nice break to rest up before our remaining finals) and after that is the summer.  The weather this week has been in the high 70s- low 80s with an average humidity of 75-80% which means the summer air has been relentless here.

The other day we had our final Spring 2014 architecture studio crits.

Crits, or critiques, are occasions where you as the student present your work in front of your professor, your peers,  and in most cases, guest critics your professor invites.  Sometimes the guest critics maybe people from the community and sometimes they may be other professors within the architecture department.  Last semester as well as this semester, our guest critics also included professors from the art department.

Crits are open,  meaning students from other classes can stop by, sit in on a crit, and look around at the projects done.  This is to encourage a mingle among all arch students, regardless whether you are a 1st year or a grad student.

Our professors have taught us that crits should be around 5 minutes, less than 10, and the shorter the better, if you can present your project well within the shorter time frame.  After your presentation, the critics will ask you some questions they had about your project such as, “Why did you use this material?” or “Why did you do it like this?”  From what I noticed, it’s always good to start by telling the story behind your work.

Also our professor told us that how we do in our crits would not be factored in our grades, which did relieve some of the pressure.

The objective of our final project, which we worked on for about a month, was to construct a city with a narrative, only not just by using words, but also with drawings and models.  Specifications included:

  • 3 section perspective drawings with ambiance and buildings/forms
  • buildings/forms were to be derived from a cityscape of ordinary objects on a 1:1 scale
  • models were to be built off cut sections
  • 3 frames to hold drawings
  • constructing a sequence of “path(s)” to simulate a journey through the city

The models, our professor required, were to be “2.5 D models.”  At first I had to search that up on Google because I didn’t understand what that meant, but I couldn’t find any relevant matches.  It turns out that “2.5D” models were really half models where the model would be vertically sliced in half.

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Cityscape pics taken as an environmental study.

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Crit time also happens to be snack time. Yumm.

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There were a number of projects on post-apocalyptic society, a fair enough number for the critics remarked that our class was quite “pessimistic.”  LOL.  I think second most popular theme to the post-apocalypse would be on the futuristic, sustainable city.

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For my project, I decided to tell a story about a drunk mountain town…

There once were two great mountains—strong mountains, lush and green, displaying their vitality and strength through their sheer size.  They grew from the river that ran through them like a cleavage, and at the bottom of the mountains, a little town had flourished.  A group of nomads who once were sore from their tired feet and wanted a place to settle down and drink good beer founded this recluse town.  Because good beer was hard to find they decided to erect a tall to brew good beer of all varieties.  Everybody wanted to work in the brewery because that secretly meant good free beer, so it was usually overstaffed all year round. The beer tower was situated on the far south side of the town, right up to the river so its water wheel could convert the energy of the flowing water to run the brewery.  The brewery still managed to brew good brew though it was a wreck, with the failed livers and weak hearts and poor cognitive abilities of the alcoholics, it was a wonder how the brewery was yet to be in shambles.

A little further upstream was the government city hall, and with its rectangular shape and form, seemed odd in the mountain town but it served its intentional purposes nonetheless, with grandeur entrances and high ceilings and large windows.  Here the city officials started their day with a bottle of the good, ol’ fermented beer from the town brewery (of course!) and then sat on ‘meetings’ all day long, but these meetings were really about nothing of significance except the secrets of brewing good beer (the secret, as everyone knew for centuries already, was in the water, which the local stream was a grade A source).  These officials would talk about character, terroir, and essence with an air of arrogance because they believed their beer to be the best.  (Of which it obviously was, due to lack of competition from the lack of neighboring towns).  The government still managed to get by—with beer their main industry though it was a wreck, with the failed livers and weak hearts and poor cognitive abilities of the alcoholics, it was a wonder how the city was yet to be in shambles.

A little past the city hall, on the other side of the river, was a small inn that welcomed travelers.  The town hoped the inn would attract the same intelligent people like their fore fathers, who decided to start a beer town; however the inn was deserted most of the year.  Many of the wanderers came to the town hoping for little more than a glass of good beer, but most were not attracted to the drunken lifestyles of its inhabitants. Thus the inn survived with the few stones it made from travelers’ fees, but mostly through its bootlegging activities—not for alcohol, but for water.  The town’s water spring  was a precious source for the city’s precious beer, so any unauthorized use of the water resulted in a hefty fine from the government; however there was still a small sliver of hope for this drunken city, as small as the sliver of sober residents who preferred not good beer, but fresh water.

 

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For more information about studio culture, I just saw Bob Borson, AIA did on his blog about some FAQs he has received regarding architectural studios.  I think this is pretty on the mark, definitely pretty cool!

 

Also, Bob makes this important point to take note of:

the physical work needs to reflect the mental work and the actual work needs to reflect them both.

Finally, this post is quite long enough, and hopefully it was interesting!  I’d love to hear your thoughts.  And good luck to anybody making the final stretch in the finals period!!!

 

 

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