Sep '09 - Dec '13
During the FA 2013 semester, for the first time, first year students were asked to make videos related to their design projects. In addition to line, square, rectangle compositions on paper and sawing MDF in the wood shop for model bases, students took video documentation of their processes and results and composed and edited video assignments to communicate ideas about design. The class (AR 121) was taught by David Fox, and I was one of the teaching assistants.
I was astounded by the work the class produced. They learned techniques like stop-motion and time lapse and practiced with different styles of video, including one documentary-style video about the process of designing a new desk with the laptop and not the drafting board as a guiding design constraint.
The concept driving this video-oriented course was that much of what people are interested in now is communicated through video. A drawing that took 40 hours to produce will no longer snare most clients the same way a video that took 40 hours to produce might. As we look to the future careers of today's students, this medium will become critical as more firms find fluency in video editing software to be a boon to their practice.
What is important about a 40-hour drawing is the ability it has to directly and wordlessly communicate a concept. In previous 121 classes, students would illustrate with nothing more than graphite things like motion, aging, temperature, violence, echo, monumentality, solemnity, birth, failure. Many of the videos the first years produced this past semester similarly were able to say something about such ideas as effort, pace, season, discovery, daylight, pattern, rhythm, waiting, the taste of breakfast, desolation, and rain in November. Many of these videos contain the same dynamics and brevity that some of the best 121 renderings always have.
Some, students and faculty alike, were skeptical of the change. It's true that some of the rigorous teaching of particular methods like constructing shadows and understanding thoroughly how to draft and sketch in three dimensions fell by the wayside. But as the undergraduate architecture program works out the kinks of this change, those things will resurface as-needed. I think that this semester will serve these students very well in the coming years of this program and far into their careers. I wish I had that kind of facility with this medium.
I'm extremely proud of the students in my studio section as well as those I didn't get to know as well in the other sections. They did fantastic work, and they taught me as much as I taugh them.
See for yourself: http://utcoad121-2013.tumblr.com/
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