Sep '09 - Dec '11
Yesterday marked the last day of my first week back to school after some nice months off to travel and relax... And I am very excited about both the project assignment and the new group of people here.
Most of the people who were in my original class have left. At first I was worried about the kind of atmosphere that would create, as we had only 3 people left in our master's group (the international master's group). But the school decided to join some of the Danish students in, as well as the new first year international master's students and the exchange students so we're all doing the same project together. Now we're about 25 people.
We seem to have a much better mix of people now--equal numbers guys and girls, which is a vast improvement over our almost all female class last year. I never got the feeling that anyone had motivation to do things on their own last year, it was a lot of talking things to death and worrying about getting things perfect before actually trying it out. Whereas with this group, no one is shy about trying things out and making mistakes.
I have no doubt that a lot of the reason people left my program was because the administration of our program was so confusing. We had hardly any guidance or direction in our project outlines, no valuable assignments, and very little motivation or inspiration from lectures. We were never told anything that was going on in the school, and we felt hugely disconnected from the rest of the student body with all our obvious foreignness.
This year, things have taken quite a different direction. We have a new director, and the old director is now instructing and pursuing research. We've had some good lectures already, and we're excitedly anticipating a visit from Jan Gehl or his partner next week. Our department 'hired' one of their graduates to coordinate social events between the Danish students and the international students, and the atmosphere at the studio is much more motivating.
All programs will go through their ups and downs I suppose, and I kind of knew that I was a guinea pig with being the first group in the International Masters here. But I'm really glad to see that changes have been made. I also just feel a lot more comfortable in the school.
Anyways, our project for this semester is called 'Furnishing the Townscape.' It is an urban project focused on lighting/furniture in public spaces. We have a beautiful site in a great area, with many different challenges and potentials. This project is the reason I decided on Department 11, because I really feel that architecture is just the interaction between people and the environment. It's not just buildings, it's not just institutions, it's not just housing, though those things are also important in a city. But it's the everyday things we don't always notice: the not so obvious designs that we make connections with.
Here are some images of what our group has done this week: the assignment was to make a site model at 1:200, each group had a different topic to explore. Ours was shape/volumes on the site.
Our idea was to cast the footprint of the buildings and parking in plaster, so you could see that even without anything else, that there is something sitting in the space. We also made the building volumes open to show that there is space and form behind the walls, as opposed to just the typical building-boxes so often seen in site models. The vegetation of private gardens and trees give another volume to the site, etc.
Unfortunately we ran out of plaster and for the second pour, the plaster was different from the first pour, and it hasn't dried yet! We hope it will be ready for Monday, but in the meantime I have some pictures of the making of the mold, and our other parts of the model.