If you've perused the features section of archinect, you might've noticed the ads running for "Rumble".
Rumble is a new fangled idea that's been cooked up to help condense the final review period at UCLA in order to generate a little more excitement and interest. Until recently, reviews were spread out over the week of finals at UCLA. As a result, most students wouldn't go to sit on other reviews as they'd be in the studio working to finish their own projects. And afterwards they'd be too crashed-out and sleeping instead of going to reviews. Also, it was done to eliminate the zombie-presentations that we've gotten so adept at.
Thus, all projects will finish simultaneously in the school the week before finals (when classes end) and the weekend is spent assembling and installing your studio's presentation space. Then everyone pins up together. Monday is a public opening of the school and its work and final reviews happen over the course of a single day on Tuesday.
Sounds all good, right? The problem comes down to the quarter system. We only start out with 10 weeks for a quarter. Research for a studio usually takes out 2 weeks. For our own studio, we traveled in addition to this, so that was another weeks. Leaving us with only 7 weeks. But because of Rumble, the week prior is reserved for scheduled production. To prevent a glut at printers, laser cutters, mills, etc. every studio has a specific time the week before to use certain technologies. As a result, another week is lost. So now we're down to just 6 weeks for design time.
The terrifying fear is that if any of the machines go down for any significant amount of time, either the entire schedule gets thrown or an entire studio basically gets screwed. The administration counters with the idea that we should outsource at that point, but the material prep time as well as dealing with a company's schedule last minute seems pricey and precarious at best.
My fear is that everything depends upon the entire system working smoothly. And in my limited architectural experience I've learned that you always need to accommodate for disaster response. I call it "fuck up time".
So now everyone is somewhat running around like headless chickens trying to get everything done early. Those that aren't seem somewhat blissfully unaware of the potential chaos about to ensue.
And a lot of us are perplexed by this heavy advertisement blitz that the school has engaged upon. They've hired a graphic designer for all of the material. But it has this comic-book like aesthetic. Nonetheless, they've gone on to start using boxing analogies in order to describe the different classes and studios. Apparently, the "heavyweight" division is used to categorize our most illustrious MA/PhD students... I'm glad that the school's decided to hierarchically alienate the vast majority of design students for the handful of PhDs.
In addition, they've allocated a lot of money for this whole thing to happen. But in the end, the students are still left with bathrooms that have no paper products for the entirety of weekends. The dust bunnies in the corners rival the squirrels outside. Half the windows don't operate in the building. Our website features work that's 5 years old. They've locked the plotters to print no higher than 150 dpi. They've given us a budget to install our projects in our "gallery" spaces. However, the only color paint we're given is white. It just seems like a little bait and switch for us to paint the walls for the school.
In the end Rumble has good intents. We all get rest and present together and there's a public display. But the cartoonish nature of the title, the graphics, and the weird boxing analogies are cheapening the event and making seem a little juvenile. Also, the process has been completely been exclusive of direct student involvement. The decision making process is entirely administrative and the "Rumble Committee" of students merely offers suggestions without having any direct oversight. If the true goal of Rumble is to empower the students and their work, it definitely has a long way to go to being successful. As of now, it just seems like a undercooked marketing scheme by the administration at the cost of the students.