Friday, August 11, 2006


I’ve spoken about the horrors of reviews before, and my final one here was no different. As you may have guessed, it was far from ideal. And far from helpful, but I’ll explain myself on that point in just a little bit.

I have always struggled with structure of an architecture education, especially its methods of evaluating success and accomplishment. It is a world that champions process until you actually stand before a panel of strangers to defend yourself. And then, process, even if presented, seems to fall to the wayside, as the product is picked apart bit by bit.

And, of course, the product is what will be evaluated. Because, in the real world, you live with the product, not with the process that created it. And, to that end, I may never be a great, hell, even good, architect. Because, as it is seemingly reinforced time and again, I don’t make good products.

I wonder at the hypocrisy of it. While many will argue that the process defines the product, ultimately, as a student, you will find yourself having those moments of post-crit crisis, when you ask yourself why you bothered. Why did you invest the time in honing a methodology when pretty pictures were all that the critics were looking for?

That’s simplistic. I know it is. And, being the person under fire, I am not objective, just licking wounds. But I can’t help it. I’m human. And right now, I’m struggling to get past my present failure.

You’re probably asking, was the crit really that bad? It felt like it. There were analogies made between myself and those cheesy presenters on DVD tutorials. There was the infamous “banal” comment. There was an absolute disregard for my process, termed “simple and uncomplicated” because the work I presented was minimal, quiet. This from a critic whose research into the “virtual” exists purely through pen and paper, and never on the machines that access his supposed site of interest. My work ethic was questioned, as though I had lazily spent the last few weeks sipping ice tea on a beach.

I am the designer. I accept responsibility, as a designer, to argue the validity of my work and, ultimately, sell it. And too that end, as a designer, I failed. I have to accept that and move on. But, my frustration, nay, my barely controlled rage, hinges on the commentary itself. There was no actual attempt to understand my work, nor any objective discussion of its merits. I am convinced, had I played within the aesthetic limitations of their own interests, I would have faired quite a bit better. And my ideas, instead of simple, would have been evaluated as sublime.

In the real world, this would be mitigated by understanding, from the get go, the client’s preconceived notions and expectations. But, when your tutors profess a desire for you to “find yourself”, explicitly describe their program as a place “free from enforcing certain aesthetics”, you hope for a bit of, let’s say, open-mindedness.

If I’ve learned nothing else over the course of this year, I have been taught this most important, if disillusioned, lesson: Architects, at least the ones I’ve had the relative displeasure of coming into contact with, are children. If they aren’t entertained, they will complain and wail, like those brats you wish to slap for screaming “I want a lolly” over and over again. They want to see what they want to see. They are self-centered, egotistical bastards. And I’m just about done. Because, you see, I’m one of those people who’d willingly go over to that screaming child and slap them for misbehaving.

I said they were observations from hell, didn’t I? And, perhaps, it may be time to find an escape from hell.


Blogger Norman Blogster said...

Exactly who's the failure here?
Have you failed them, or have they failed you?
Email to follow.

5:20 PM  
Blogger the silent observer said...

Mr. always know how to frame a question...or questions...

7:04 PM  

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