SCABS ="students considering architect's building syndrome".
A timely and straight forward, short but precise essay on recent starchitect/architecture student phenomena by vado retro.
Read + discussion/context 1, 2.
by vado retro
The phenomenon of "typical school time bitching" is a result of the "students considering architect's building syndrome". which is also known as SCABS. SCABS is usually encountered by architecture students and even some architectural professionals upon encountereing the works of well known architects. These well known architects or "starchitects" comprise the apogee of the architectural design world and often design some of the world's most celebrated buildings.
These commissions often result from design competitions. A design competition is similar to a bar fight from a western movie as the starchitects are pitted against one another (because only starchitects are allowed to compete in such notable design competitions) in a no holes barred design off. The judges are comprised of a board of wealthy patrons who often have the buildings, or at least a wing, named after them and of the bureaucrats who administer the operations of said building. After months of long nights and weekends (mostly performed by indentured servants known as architecural interns) the finalists present their projects to the board in a stunning visual presentation that is augmented by the all important concept. The concept (often developed the night before the presentation) is a principle that allows the starchitect to generate and justify the form of his/her(well one her anyway) building.
This process is an important aspect of SCABS because most university architecture programs are organized in a manner that allows each student to be his/her own starchitect. Although most students who enter into the profession will be doing anything from developer white boxes to institutional work, the idea of the genius architect who designs genius buildings with a shamanistic rigor is perpetuated at the university level and therefore, transferred to the student. While in school, the student is the starchitect who is allowed to take an often wondrous(torturous) and enlightening(desperate) journey of discovery(doing things over and over) to arrive at a concept which can then be developed and passionately defended in what is known as a critique. The critique is a fascinating behaviorural study that is found only in architecture schools and in certain colonies of baboons.
This is where the origin of SCABS has been traced. It must be understood that "A Museum for Nothing", or "A Cenotaph for Walter Benjamin" is both the beginning and the end for most architectural students. The real world is comprised of code reviews and window schedules. But, SCABS allows the "starchitect who never was" to retain a voice. The difference is that the SCABber is not viewing the work of a starchitect as an architecture critic. ie not the competition juror or studio critic, but as a peer. However, it is not a peer in the professional sense, but a peer in the student sense. The SCABber is talking to/about the starchitects work as if both SCABber and starchitect were in school together. So, rather than elaborate and form opinions of the critic, the SCABber is allowed to comment from the gut. So, what seems like "typical school time bitching" is actually a much more complicated and nuanced experience.