Opinions about the Arch Crit

Crits, or critiques, is a time when architecture students can present their work to a series of judges.  Usually these judges are professors from the same university (sometimes in the same department, sometimes in a different department– like studio art, or fashion design).  They will have their models and a series of pin ups of presentation boards.  Depending on each studio, you will have about 5-10 minutes to elaborate the concept behind your work and the steps you took to get there.

Here is a good link about the opinions centering around a crit at university level.


Inflatable Pneumatic Architecture and Ginger Bread Houses

We’re nearing the last few weeks of the semester and our professor has now introduced us to an idea of an inflatable pneumatic (by Ant Farm).

These models were from previous students.  We got to play with them today, but will soon deconstruct/dissect them to make our own.

IMG_3241(Pano from phone)

IMG_3243 IMG_3246 IMG_3247In addition, today we had a ginger bread house contest 🙂

IMG_3250Because this was taken around 7 pm, the lighting in these pictures weren’t too great, and I forgot to slap a filter on it before I deleted it off my phone. I participated in the ginger bread competition with my friend and we decided to make a traditional ginger bread house. Both of us never built a ginger bread house before.

IMG_3249The idea of our house was “the American Dream” (see the white picket fence and the dog/horse?) Oh, and we also had a small little mailbox 😉 and some chopped logs in the front yard.

IMG_3255A group of our friends decided to attempt Falling Water (Frank Wright) to enter into the best architecture building.  There was another group that also modeled Falling Water that ended up winning that category but I forgot to take a picture of their submission 😦IMG_3253There was also a category for tallest structure.

IMG_3257 IMG_3259 IMG_3260


Overall it was a lot of fun. And we won the category for best literal ginger bread house.  And a few prizes.



Learning how to laser cut

One of the biggest sense of milestones you will accomplish would be learning how to use the “big kid” machines. Before architecture the only machine I knew how to use was the drill press.

I was deathly afraid of the table saw. To an extent, I still remain vigilant because I like to keep my fingers intact. But now I am considerably more confident about woodwork. How grown up and incredibly sexy I feel!

You know what is even more sexy? The laser cutter.


So yes, even though my first 5 iterations of “laser cuts” were an absolute and dismal failure there are some lessons I learned that I feel would be immensely beneficial to remember. Here are some things I wanted to share.

the experiences

My first experiences with the laser cutter were absolutely disappointing in that I had nothing ‘worthwhile’ to share for our little desk crits today.

I used 4 materials for 5 iterations:

(a) chipboard 1/8″

(b) cardboard 1/8″

(c) basswood 3/32″

(d) foam 3/16″

(e) foam 3/16″.

With regards to the cardboard and the foam, the light airy texture made it impossible to work with fine detail and thus thin cut lines disintegrated to nothingness.

implication for the future

  • foam and cardboard material will work for large scale modeling (ability for fine detail not yet determined although doubtful)
  • intricate details should have at least 0.2″ thickness and be cut in a dense material such as basswood, or chipboard. I am assuming museum board and vellum will also work to a certain degree.
  • it’s possible to start a fire in the shop if the laser speed is not fast enough as it will be forever going again and again on the same spot…

the technical – laser cutting with a Rhino file

  1. export Rhino file to an AutoCad Exchange file (.dxf)
  2. open in AutoCad
  3. save as drawing- in the pop up select 2004 dxf file
  4. open the window file explorer. Right click on the file, open with Corel Draw.
  5. in Corel Draw, delete bounding box that was drawn in Rhino
  6. set up the page layout > page layout > page set up> ok
  7. file ‘print’
  8. put material inside laser cutter (turn on machines)
  9. in Corel Draw, turn all the colors except red to read as “skip” (or depending on how you want to do it)
    1. red = cut
    2. blue = etch
  10. apply settings
  11. click on materials database in the left corner
  12. select your material, change the thickness of it, ok. Print.

after a bit of research after today, I realized that some instructions ask that you specify an extra 3mm height to compensate for the mat on the cutting table (i.e., if your material measures 3mm you should specify the height as 6mm)


yellow circles: height of cutting material!
purple circles: energy for cutting as product of speed and power. This is crucial!
blue circles: follow vector trajectories for your cutting objects (instead of line-by-line rastering as for images/pictures).
green circles: set high resolution for precise cutting jobs (or low resolution for high throughput which is not what we typically want). –link