Beautiful landscape, Scotland
Before final year submissions
To the students wanting to become Architects
I hope this finds you well and in good spirits. I have to apologise for being out of touch in the recent weeks. Travel and performance review at work occupied my thoughts.
I am writing this as I remedy my turbulent emotions and a feeling of dissapointment. Courage and enthusiasm has been sucked out of me and the blows that I confronted have left bruises that are slowly recovering. What I am trying to say is that my performance review didn’t go so well and there’s a high chance I will be fired at the end of the month. Tick tock… the search for a new job has started.
What’s odd about the situation I find myself in, is the fact that from the previous review I was asked if I could focus on placing myself in a position where I might be able to take RIBA Part 3 Exam in a couple of years time. I have made effort for this to happen, registered myself with an accredited University and embarked on a literature review of the possible question I might encounter at the exam. All this effort is amounting to very little evident progress as projects have gone slow, I turn up to work to find nothing for me to do apart from browsing the internet, endless tea/coffee break and a chit chat with the staff members.
Yes, Part 3 is a long and difficult path, but its relation to the academic providers and the awarding bodies can be optimised to provide effective experience and exposure for students who endevour to become Chartered members of the profession.
To summarise my uncoherent thoughts, for anyone to become an Architect, they must get into the right job that provides the right experince and exposure, be close to an academic institution to enable him/her in attending lectures, attending construction industry conferences and being part of a architecture community that engages on topic relevant to the progress of the profession.
Apologies I have been out of touch. Reality has caught up with me as I now understand the nature of practicing architecture vs that which I have develped in academia.
Reading this article reminded that there are some arguments that architects have among themselves that are answering the wrong questions or are addressing irrelevant issues at this stage of the professional changes. It would either be a desire to align the academic pursuits with professional interests, or enthral the profession with the promise that technology will streamline and eliminate most of the current issues which the built environment have.
I will be attempting to write something in the coming weeks, that address my experience of practice, architectural influence to society and the built environment, and also how the profession could be in harmony with academia.
Some of you may remember that a while ago I made a post that was about me developing a manual booklet about the crit. So in the following weeks and maybe months I will start adding some of the characters who may feature in the final booklet.
For this post I will be looking at the injection of creativity into students and the inverse relationship in which the tutors inject that creativity. What is that? Does it exist? Is it creativity or style that is being injected? This are a few of the question we will explore as we look at the this uncanny subject of Injecting Creativity: Literally.
Be warned that in this post we do not offer answers to those burning questions, but rather we ask, explore and even get lost in the words which we aimlessly write. Feel free to criticise because that will be the satisfaction you might get from wasting time to be negative.
To start lets consider how there’s a style or method of design which many students aspire towards. The rise of the so called star-architect has also created a vaccum in which many students will crawl through in order that they attain such status in their professional careers. Concurrently, some schools of architecture have become the epitome of what an architectural education should be, thus defining the methods of teaching, style of graphics, process of thinking, modes of practice, and a standard to which many other school see themselves as submitting to the holy grail of creativity. To me that school, though good in the end of year exhibitions being displaying for the public bears very little in terms of what model should be used to train furture architect. Of course with this in mind, design will be about a quest to meet standards of competition rather than of solving design challenges through a creative urge. In light of this we have also witsnessed a ubiqutous model of teaching architects that is creeping into societies where certain language of design says nothing about the culture, infrastructural problems or reveals the aesthtics that is pleasing to the eye.
How is this a problem one might ask? Curiosity is aroused when for many years there’s a repeat in the type of projects that are emerging from the same school, by the same tutors and with the same graphical language. Where is creativity one wonders? Is this merely a copy of what the original was or has this been injected diluted remedy for those entering the presence of particular tutors. Can the tutor do something about this or should there student be in constant search for creativity and also develop a new ability to communicate their ideas which reflets their understanding of the world creatively?
No answer to the preceding questions, but what I could say is that the remedy currenlty being injected among some students of architects might be toxic to the design of our places of living.
Following this article from the new Head of the V & A museum his comment echoes a ‘blame culture’ that is continually developing in society. Failure to seek a solution is an attitude that seems to engender many conversations, a path that explore alternatives is masked away…
“Studying design and technology is a kind of immunisation process against robots taking your jobs,” Jeremy Hunt.”Human creativity ultimately cannot be taken, we think, at the moment, by some robot,” added Hunt. “So this is not just some fluffy subject that you can enjoy on the side, it’s a hard subject.”
The Creative Industries Federation warned this fall in students taking arts subjects coupled with Brexit could lead to a “talent crisis” in the industry.
We should be lookig into a an explorative and cross curriclar link into how we educate the many students ready to make their meaningful contribution to society.
To provide an education that forsters a child to be in comfort zone, results in making them a passive learner waiting for instructions to be provided…. alternative is to encourage the kids to be explorers in schools_ parents are relying on schools and schools hope the parents will encourage the kids to develop this further… the rise of private tutors and quasi organisation which claims to be problems solvers are dangers to an education on the edge of a cliff
we can’t all be lawyers_ the lack of creatvity hampers other profession,
strathclyde uni has introdued a module on interpersonla skills_
Following the previous post on the Crit…. I took it upon me to develop somekind of manuscript or guidance manual for the crit. This will include the various topics which might be related to the crit.
This came after coming across, The Crit An Architecture Student’s Handbook: Seriously Useful Guides (Architectural Students Handbooks). This book by
Crit that has remained for many decades. The following notes will be a comment on a tradition that I see as resisting change and lack proressive vision and organisation.
This is the a booklet which I hope will be a gift to students at early stages of their career: Elements of the booklet will include
Crit Map: Using the layout of the Universities I attended and invited for th crit, we will place areas where the crit spaces are occurring in those environments. This is similar to most schools as the layout of many studios are ubiquitios.
Table of Contents
- History of the crit (Where it all started)
- Layout of the crit_ set up (communication of rigorous information/process to tutors) Studio Layouts
- Varies depending on school or the time of the year (formal and informal)
- Why crit? Assessment methods
- Characters in the crit
- Refer to pizza crit
- Preparation for Crit_
- It start with studio attendance and sharing of ideas
- (Start Making lines-There more the lines the better)There’s no time to lose nor is the room for vacillation_ The time to be creative is now, multitude are waiting for your ideas to manifest
- Sharing a meal with friends is always good idea
- That time will not manage itself. All it knows is to go around
- Get some sleep
- Tidy yourself up_ To shower or not shower. Don’t be like me and wait for the rain to turn up
- Types of students, which one are you?
- Presentations_ dress code_ please reflect a degree of professinalism or personality
- Presentation_ Work_ Don’t be intermidated by the questions
- The late night attitude? Why are you doing this to yourself
- Post crit (Some drink some cry the gloom and blooms of crits
- Resting phase- Invite friends for social/ leisure activity
- Absorption of ideas and the criticism received
- Development of Project Further_ architecture only stops when you we are tired of being creative or dead…
- Refining knowledge
- Developing your character_ mental dexterity
- Practice_ You are developing your practice method not relying on being employed
- Developing new professional values
You have the capacity to enhance the architectural profession with the knowledge we have accumulated thus far… and you will bringing new professional values…
At the weekly tutorials, one of the students asked me what software they should use for their designs and which one is ‘good‘. I was left perplexed… I attempted to make an inttellligent suggestion as I perused my thoughts for programmes which I have used in the past and current. Rhinoceros+Grasshopper spit out through my lips and the reveberation were echoed to the ears of the students.
This left the student with other questions such:
- as is it going to help me get a job?
- Is it easy to learn?
- How long would it take for me to be proficient at using it?
Legible question I should add because when I was choosing to learning any software it was not because it will help me best explain the project. It was mainly to do with being employed once I have learned it. I think today an architecture studets is required to learn so many programmes that it’s even hard to figure out which one would best suit the industry standards. Autodesk are the one championing the BIM idea and other companies are buying to this idea. The profession seems to be enthralled with a degree of quasi softwarism that is emerging to direct how people should design and make things. This is a compilation that was conducted by someone on archdaily that a student allowed me to see it, that help the lost to indentify which software they are ought to use with regards to their design skills and interests-it fails to cover a lot of things.
My on learning new porgrammes thus far it seems to be oriented towards what the industry is requiring rather than me providing the knowledge of how I think and apply my design intution. I am more focused on learning to meet specific practice in order than they find work which is similar to their taste so that they can easily employ me- i think with most students this is what they are focused on. The prioritisation of learning software rather than the cultivation of new knowledge in light of emerging industry technologies.
NB: Most of these programmes do pretty much the same thing. (Learn the difference between mesh, vector or nurbs and you will be fine)