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Carnegie Mellon University (Zach)

 

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Sep '08 - Sep '08

 
  • Second Year Projects

    So I understand that second year is supposed to be the year of "architectural self-discovery"; finding that inner design voice that will propel you through your professional years, or at the very least, the remaining four years of school. However, is the only way to realize your innate design approach by being given purposely vague projects? The projects and explanations I have received thus far this year, have left me asking the question: is it necessary to discover the bounds and questions of our project statements in addition to our own approach? Or is discovering your interpretation of the problem and your approach to the design one in the same? I'm not saying that I would prefer to revert back to the hand-holding of first-year in which, at Carnegie Mellon, you are literally confined to an architectural cube. But I feel that the deficient explanation of the actual assignment hinders the discussion of students' response to the problem, whereby you spend more time discussing the nature of the problem than the validity of the design solution. Maybe it should be that the nature of the issues dealt with within the problem should be more explicit and constrained and less about universal problems plaguing not only the architectural society but the whole world. Perhaps we should ignore world or societal context completely and focus on the strictly conceptual underpinnings of design. I mean, my design studio has a name, "Composition," however that theme seems to be lost in the mix of professors and students trying to deal with a myriad of functional, practical, conceptual problems. I keep wondering when someone will actually question the compositional aspects of my design. I'm not sure if other second-year students, or survivors of second year, have experienced this same frustration with the vagueness of projects as I am feeling right now, but I just think that too many variables have become too independent too quickly. I believe that when it comes to discovering a freedom or truth of any sort, in this case recognizing your true "design self," one must subscribe to the notion that it is important to be dealt with constraints before you realize the true freedom you possess.


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