I had to content with my fifth choice (out of sixteen) in studio lottery. I ended up in Ed Keller's studio - not surprisingly. My first four studio choices were amongst the most popular and that meant that if I didn't get my very first choice, I would have to expect anything from my fifth choice onwards. And so as it is, the top choices included superstars and exotic destinations: Steven Holl, Hani Rashid, Lars Spuybroek and Reinhold Martin. One of the reasons why those studios topped my list (and almost the rest of 3rd year M.Arch and AAD) apart from program and celebrity status was also affected by where they were traveling to. Steven Holl's studio will be traveling to Prague and Reinhold's Studio to New Delhi, India. Ultimately, Steven Holl had 60+ students vying for a limited quota of 13 students.
Some of my friends tell me that there are all sorts of strategies in picking studios at the lottery. A classic negative example, as I discovered, is to put a really popular studio in the first choice followed by a not-that-popular studio in second choice - this will definitely end you up in second choice, meaning that your first choice will most likely never materialize”¦ which makes total sense if you realize that the lottery is hand sorted by the student council and that the noble intention of the distribution is to make sure everyone doesn't get into a studio ranked really low in the students list of choice studios. But of course, I'm just making a deduction from experience. I had always had difficulty choosing the “right” studio, whatever that means. The studio's reputation often plays a big role in studio choice. When I first came to Columbia on an advanced placement into second year, I had no impression how well the plethora of professors performed in studio compared to my peers who had information whom to avoid and who is really worth taking; While my peers factored in critic reputation; I had to rely only on the ability to decipher the various arcane studio program and impression during the lottery presentation. So far that has served me well in getting me my top choices and I really have nothing to complain about as I've had my fair share of pretty good studios in the past.
Although I didn't get anything near my top choices this time round, I am still looking forward to Ed Keller's studio. Being a manageable size of 6 students with an interesting thesis-like program and traveling to L.A. and Seattle; I hope to get more out of the studio this semester.
First session of studio starts later today. Will update soon.