Sep '06 - Dec '09
As many in archinect know, Career Discovery (disco) is the GSD's introductory summer program. I had a chance to sit in two disco juries recently and wanted to share some thoughts for those that may be interested. Disco is usually taught by people that either are about to graduate or have just recently graduated from the different programs (MArch, MLA, MUD). The first time I juried for Dara Huang's class, a good friend whom just graduated with an MArch. I have known her since undergrad and she is familiar to many as the star of the infamous "pimp my model" video. Her class is comprised of an interesting mix of people from well established and successful professionals in their current careers to energetic recent high school grads. I did their first review after only two weeks in which they were asked to design a small intervention in Corb's Carpenter Center. I have to say that I was mostly truly impressed with the work specially when one considers the short amount of time that they had to produce it. Out of respect for people's privacy I will not go into any specific examples but to say that many were very developed and full of an energy that those of us that are by now veterans of the studio culture sometimes miss. Work that is unafraid of making mistakes and making moves that may or may not land within the typical academic discourse. The jury in this first review was comprised of myself and Ben Uyeda, a recent Cornell grad that works in his own firm specializing in green design and consultancy.
The second review had a much larger jury, comprised of three GSD recent grads and students (including myself) and a well known editor and writer. This review was for their second project and in the fourth week of the disco program. The program was a house in Cambridge and the process is very reminiscent of the "cube" projects many of us have had in introductory studios. The instructor, Joshua Dannenberg a friend who is going into his thesis year, took his class trough a series of spatial and compositional exercises and as bonus gave his class the challenge of incorporating ideas of the 'functional ornament' into the design (Joshua helped illustrate the book). This led us, the jury, to have some very interesting conversations about skins, architectural language, what can be part of an architectural language (can you include smell as an architectural element?), etc... Overall these were a very exciting set of projects and gave us lots to talk about. I do not want to get into many details, but a student made a very interesting and provocative project that led us to bring in issues of sarcasm in architecture and the sublime.
Check out the exercises Joshua gave his class (large PDF's): WK_03.pdf | WK_04.pdf
So there you have it, a limited view of disco from the sidelines.
disco students from a Harvard Gazette article. I will try to update this entry with some images from the reviews...