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.