I think this might be my final post on this blog. I discovered that i can really only keep up with one blog at a time...kind of. and i got that email from paul today saying if you don't want to or cant keep going with it, then lets make room for some new folk. i don't really want to give it up, but realistically, i havent posted in like 2 months so....clearly.
Re: university of washington, i should give a discalimer about my "final thoughts"...1st, i based my entire expectations of architecture school on my husband's experience in architecture school at cornell university which was just plain foolish secondly, these final thoughts aren't so final...they change from time to time as having interdisciplinary interests, my priorities change from time to time . but i'm going to give you a brief and not so thorough personal and intelligent run-down of the school since the website ihas not been updated. what i have discovered amidst all of my bitching, moaning, disappointment, pleasant surprises, cherished moments and profound connections is that this school is in a transition phase. which makes it a bit of an awkward time to be here. its hard to have an definitively positive or negative opinion. It has a high emphasis on craft...manual craft that is. after all, this is whereFRANK CHING teaches! anybody in any architecture school, office etc. anywhere has seen and used his books extensively. you can't deny that is a valuable component or resource. they have an amazing wood and metal shop and an award winning furniture program (class). and a very thorough set of courses in actually building things and understanding the properties of materials. the level of manual craft emphasis in the architecture program is just not balanced with technological competitiveness among other architecture schools. they don't say it explicitly anywhere but my feeling is that the emphasis on craft isn't just about being outdated...its a theoretical stance ala arendt. the design machine group is an enity within the college doing design computing research however they are VERY independent. if you go to them, they are wonderful people but their technological 'advancedness' is not really reflected in the rest of the college. i have to say as a three year student, i personally feel underprepared technologically. the entire first year is 3 quarters of manual drafting and a random one week crash course in form-z. then in the second year we get mixed with students who have 4year degrees in architecture which is really a blow to the ego. they are all using CAD and 3-D modelling and we all only know manual everything. then its just up to us to pick up the classes and skills to get up to speed.
re: studios. this program is very modernist regionalist focused. i personally have not had one project out of seattle or the puget sound area. i think this is a gross pedagogical problem. regionalism is an important issue to discuss, be sensitive to and maybe even uphold, but if the school is going to be as nationally and internationally relevant as it would like to be, or prepare people for practice in general not just practice in seattle we need to do projects that aren't in this area as well. The program is HIGHLY pragmatic. we do more making than thinking in my opinion. 80% of projects have had a 50,000 square foot program with the exception of the tectonic studio and the very first introduction studio. the quarter system highly limits the design and production process, and i think as a whole most projects are underdeveloped because of the timeline.
Most studio professors that i've had are working professionals who were really challenging and a pleasure to work with. There are some fantastic things going on here that i think have the potential to make this school unique...it has a strong social responsibility component that i really appreciate. There are many things in flux though, such as the design build program and many things that are just developing...like the sustainability faculty. It just needs to decide who it wants to be.
i'm tired and i guess i'm ending this mid-stream. other thoughts are about the thesis process, but i'm just beginning that so i'll have more to say as the final year progresses.
its been fun.