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Illinois Institute of Technology (Tom Denney)

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    Being Watched!

    Tom Denney May 3 '05 6

    I was informed last week that my Archinect blog was found or reported to the dean of the architecture school, and that it was being watched. While this was meant as a joking jab it's made me wonder if faculty really cares what students have to say about the program they are enrolled in.

    I'm a little annoyed that a week before finals, we are now required to scan or photograph all of the hand drafted Strathmore plates we spent countless hours working on over the course of the year. A disc with images is now suddenly required as part of our final grade so they can use the discs as part of the year end open house. The open house is always a full display of the years work, and the Strathmore plates are what highlight 2nd year's achievements. The beauty of them is inherent to the plates. Digital scanning or photographing never depicts the details of these drawings accurately. Of course open house is being presented entirely in digital format on plasma screen monitors placed around Crown Hall. This is being done to facilitate the clearing of objects from the building in preparation for the renovations that will begin two days later. I can understand the need to facilitate an easy transmission from education to renovation and its affects on the presentation method of open house. The thing I don't understand and feel I have a right to question, since I am paying $22,000 a year for my education, is: Why has this suddenly become a requirement that will be added into the grading scheme? Is it a fear that since no actual, physical work will be displayed, that if left to the student's discretion, nobody would bother to scan anything? After-all why should we? We've worked very hard to produce these plates that have an intrinsic value above the information conveyed in the drawing. I have to say my wife was appalled that I told my mother not to bother coming to open house this year; she then turned angry when I explained why. In trying to figure out why this year is starting to become such a disappointment in terms of my own personal performance, I think it is due to the lack of sense of accomplishment. No sense of accomplishment when you finally come to figuring out design issues, because they've all already been figured-out, you're just trying to get as close as you can to the IIT way, which I'm not saying is a bad way, it's just not something I came up with on my own. No pin-ups to be juried, even when you get ripped apart in front of your peers you still had a completed project to hang and be proud of. And now this”¦a lame open house, I don't even want to invite my family to because I didn't want to disappoint their expectations they now have after past open houses.

    Am I being harsh? Do I have a right to pose these questions of my educational institution? One aspect of I.I.T.'s architecture department administration that has always struck a cord with me is an air of: “You should just be thankful you are here!” I hope this post doesn't come back to haunt me.

     

     
    • 6 Comments

    • Cheyne Owens
      May 3, 05 1:26 pm

      no not at all. That is why I transferred from IIT to UIC. I will be attending GSD in the fall and I'm so happy that I made the switch. However, I still have some friends in the program who have been able to pull through 2nd year and produce some very exciting situations.

      I have a problem with the IIT
      people I run into say they love mies...but they don't know mies.
      You and I know him...and I have a problem accepting his education as much as his architecture. I was happy with my plates as everyone is...and it's helped me understand the "floor plan" and numerous other detail processes beyond the obvious issues of building construction. At the time I would have said f#!K off when someone praised Tak...but you have to admit those drawings are an amazing product of acceptance and complete denial of pedagogical issues running straight through modernism and up to current debate within contemporary practice. I can honestly say 2nd year made me a better person…but I still transferred.

      long live Mies down with Mies!

      shizke
      May 3, 05 10:51 pm

      Watched? All the better for the faculty, in my opinion. Only by listening to students' candid opinions are they going to discover what they are doing successfully and what they are not.

      Yes, the new Open House organization is absolutely stupid. Why those responsible have decided to change the intrinsic value of these drawings is beyond my understanding. Presenting hand-drafted work on a giant plasma screen isn't just inappropriate, it's laughable. It's an affront to Second Year's record of human craftsmanship.

      Finally, you have every right to pose these questions and challenges to the administration. The lucky-to-be-here mindset isn't at all justified, and the school has no right to reprimand you for doing so.

      - Colin

      stompbx
      May 3, 05 11:10 pm

      add to all of this that the work isn't even being projected on plasma screens... it's all going to be projected on the same white crap that's on the outside of Crown Hall right now. Forget about any kind of image quality!

      Erin WilliamsErin Williams
      May 4, 05 3:42 pm

      the next time someone tells you that you're lucky to be there, tell them they're lucky you're paying them. Now that they're watching, use your blog to say the things that students wish they knew you felt.

      Question Authority

      Find a Better Way

      Rise up in the cafeteria, and stab them with your plastic forks!

      yamani
      May 5, 05 5:13 am

      i heary that. i'm still holding back a lot of what i really think for fear that it's it could somehow come back to bite me in the ass. but i kinda thought that was the purpose of these things...to get a sort of insight into the REAL experience you have in these schools. so someone doesn't either a) make the same mistake you did or b) miss out on something really wonderful.

      BurOwn
      Jun 15, 05 7:48 pm

      On the other hand....digitizing your work can be very useful...if you happen to lose your plates or it gets damaged then your images are atleast saved digitally.

      second, the school did something else they might not have known, by digitizing your work you have created a portable portfolio which you can use in photoshop or just to present

      thirdly, we can't keep every piece of work that we have created as students forever so digitizing it really preserves our work for the future...remember one of FLW buildings was torn down yet photographs still allow us students to analyze it building....

      So we should take advantage of this opportunity and put it on the cd or flashdrive....doesn't matter why the school wants it; it matters how WE AS STUDENTS are going to use it....

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