Columbia GSAPP (George Showman)



Jan '05 - Jul '05

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    midterm review report, off to LA

    By George Showman
    Mar 6, '05 10:08 PM EST

    HI. Well, the midterm review (this past Friday) went fairly well. The discussion was interesting and relatively wide-ranging, and some of my studio-mates' project proposals were fairly clear and interesting. I was kind of all over the place, unfortunately, so I neither made much of an impression nor got too much direction from the review. Did I mention that I really just want to graduate and get out of here?

    But really, I've rarely found reviews to be very helpful to me, probably because my work is never really sufficiently complete to elicit the right comments. Usually critics will try to help me sort things out, but in fact I've already figured out what I should have done, I just didn't get around to doing it.

    This review was a little different, and this studio is a little different, because my ideas are still all over the place and I haven't found a way to focus them. The studio brief is so wide open, and Ed is so tolerant of new directions, that it's very difficult for a fool like me to churn out a project. In a way a studio like this really drives home the fundamental problem with school: the tyranny of a 3-month project schedule. Ed has exposed us to so many interesting people, ideas, books, movies and so on that I am already glad I'm in the studio, but it is simply pretty unreasonable to think that we'll be able to produce interesting projects in 3 months; I need about six years to mull over this stuff, re-read the books (or finish reading them), etc.

    I also feel myself in a kind of limbo between physical architecture, which I find fairly straightforward, and programming, which I also find fairly straightforward. I mean, if I thought a building could address the issues of this studio, then I could do that. Unfortunately I think the best solutions to these issues must involve electronic communications, some kind of virtual space, etc. But to propose some kind of cyberspace project seems somehow stale, when what I would rather be doing is just making the cyberspace, right now.

    All this to say that I'm tired of mixed-media projects in architecture; I want to jack in or stay jacked out. Nonetheless I think my final proposal for this studio will be some kind of bridge between the real and the virtual, a way of connecting two worlds that will allow them to watch over each other, monitor each other's excesses, save the planet, etc.

    Oh, the midterm review featured: Leslie Gill, Bill MacDonald, Brad Horn, Jason Carpenter (not sure of first name), Carla Leitao, and another woman whose name I unfortunately do not remember, but she shares a firm with Franklin Lee. They were all quite interested and interesting.

    In other news, we're going to L.A. tomorrow as a studio. We're going to meet with some interesting people, take long drives out into the desert to see some of the infrastructure that feeds the city, and spend a respectable amount of time (I hope) on the rooftop bar of the Standard Hotel. I think the trip will be pretty fun.

    Incidentally, almost every third year studio at Columbia is traveling this semester, that's part of the deal (tuition). It's called a "Kinne trip" because it's funded by some grant from somebody/thing called Kinne. I'm not a big fan of this program, because I don't really feel I can learn a whole lot from traveling right now, and I don't think the school should be cultivating this idea of the architect as a pan-national problem-solver. But this being a site (archinect) pretty much devoted to pan-national architectural collaboration I guess I won't get much traction with that idea.

    I have to do laundry -- Cheers!

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About this Blog

I did an M.Arch. I at the GSAPP between 2002 and 2005. I started this blog only in my final semester, when I had Ed Keller as my studio critic.

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