Sep '09 - Dec '11
Because I didn't get around to it before, here's a summary of my final thesis semester at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts (and not much else).
1. Visiting Critic Daniel Serafimovsky from the London Met was invited to do a week of workshops with the year 4's and offered a short critique for the Department 11 thesis students. Daniel was very positive about my work and was impressed with the amount of knowledge and context analysis I had.
He gave very good suggestions about drawing bigger and being more precise with my ideas. I was able to move away from generalized strategies and start looking at actual atmospheric details, examples of how I wanted the experience of being at the city lakes to feel. I started working seriously on a physical proposal - context specific public spaces. I also started working on a lighting vision and some physical plaster-castings of public platforms.
2. Midterm 2: I presented something like the outline of my final thesis poster. It included a huge section-perspective rendering of my site with my proposal for each side, a series of visualizations and details, a site plan at 1:100, and some theory/research/context analysis from my initial works. The feedback was very positive, especially about my foundation in theory and my strong ideas. I was essentially told to 'make it happen' and go ahead with all my proposals.
3. Poster Pin-Up: On May 24 I printed and hung my thesis poster. Weighing in at 2 x 3 meters and costing upwards of $350 to print, it was one of the biggest undertakings of my architecture degree. My section perspective rendering was 15000 px wide and took a proverbial buttcrapton of time and will and energy to do. But, you can see the results here:
4. Final Presentation: After our pin-up in the exhibition room, the doors were locked and no new work was allowed to be created. We had 2 weeks to prepare our final digital presentations, which would be given in front of 4 examiners. During these 2 weeks my dad came from Canada and I practiced my presentation on him over and over. He's a project manager, so of course his questions were like 'how many loads of fill will you need, and how are you going to get a 300 tonne dumptruck into those tiny streets!?' I kept tweaking my presentation until 1am the night before....
June 6, 2011: I presented the following slide show and my poster, along with some models and hard-copy visualizations (watercolors and chalk drawings).
I also made a series of booklets for display with my poster, since the exhibition would be running until August.
My digital presentation was accompanied by a well-practiced verbal presentation and a small introductory video I made describing the context of the city lakes.
After my presentation the discussion was given over the the critics for questions. Two of the examiners had no questions (good sign!). One of the critics, Louis Becker, creative director of Henning Larsen, asked a question about the lake ecology and pescivorous fish. After I answered he said he only wanted to hear me explain it out loud because I knew the topic so well :)
There was no criticism of my project, only positive comments. Internal examiner Katrine Lotz talked about the theory and strong method behind my work, which she referred to as a landscape composition. She appreciated the strong attention to context and thought I knew more about the city lakes in Copenhagen then most people in Copenhagen.
External examiner Nille Juul-Sørensen from ARUP talked about the strength of my presentation and how I skillfully presented the strongest parts of my project, and left behind the weak ones. He also said that he was glad it was not a Danish presentation, because if it were I would have ignored the context and gone straight into the design of the platforms and probably would have wound up with something that doesn't fit at all.
In the end I was awarded a 12--the top grade for Denmark--and was congratulated on the quality of my work. It was a beautiful moment after all the struggling I've gone through in the school.
I immediately embarked on a 3 week trip through Spain, France, and Germany with my dad, and we got back just in time for me to pick up my degree at the ceremony at the end of June. All in all a perfect end to my thesis :)
Now I'm living in Berlin and have been applying for work. Since I have lived in Copenhagen my work has focused mostly on landscape urbanism and urban public space. So I've been applying to landscape firms in Berlin and am hoping for the best. You can view my portfolio online here:
And I spent most of September working on my website: www.archsynth.com
I guess that closes this part of my journey... best wishes, and please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about life in Copenhagen, Kunstakadamiets Arkitektskole, or finding work in Berlin.