Sci-ARC, Making+Meaning (Brian Ha)



Aug '05 - Aug '05

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    a little bit more...

    By B-Ha
    Aug 30, '05 3:05 AM EST

    sorry i've been away for so long... needed some well earned R&R after the program finished up on friday.
    so even though it's been done for over a week, M+M is still staying with me. i also have so much more to say...
    so i know that 5 weeks is much too little time to pass any judgements, but i have to admit that after finishing M+M i don't know if i'm anymore closer to applying to sci-ARC. as i've said before the student life and the student community is amazing and to my very limited knowledge, completely unique to anything i've witnessed before. that's definitely a pro.
    on the other hand, none of the faculty, whether it be instructors or presenters, really wowed me. sure there were some pretty interesting characters and great architects, but no one that really was awe-inspiring. the instructor i thought was best was also considered by most to be an arrogant jackass, which he was (yes i'm talking about our friendly neighborhood argentinian friend alexis). at first it's rather off-putting and makes you want to disregard him, but once you talk to him you do realize that he has great sensibilities. people thought he was disrespectful of the students because he criticized them and made a bunch of them cry (yes he did, and one person twice...), but i actually thought that his bluntness and raw honesty was one of his more "attractive" qualities. i mean c'mon, do you really expect that after 5 weeks of architecture studio that any of us students are going to be arch gods?? we're all still babies and need to crit and pushes to get us to where we want to go. so the one good instructor we had was also a jackass-so he pretty much negates himself in terms of the awe-inspiring category. and the other instructor who came in close second to alexis was ron, but he doesn't teach at sci-arc.
    also, i haven't heard one good thing from anyone at sci-arc about e.o. moss the director, and i have to say that that fact is not pushing me towards the "apply to sci-arc" box.
    so all in all, i'm still on the fence. i like the school's approach to arch, their facilities, and most of all the students. on the other hand, i'm still unsure about faculty and admin (and of course resources). it's hard to say what will happen next for me and sci-arc.




    • hey B-Ha I'd suggest you go visit some of the other schools before you turn that one away. Really balance the pros and cons, after 5 weeks you are way ahead of the pack trust me.

      good journey its only begun

      Aug 30, 05 7:14 pm  · 


      I sympathize with your experiences. I would appreciate it if you and other M+M attendees and log passerbys can email me, or post, their thoughts on the program; and thier summer in LA, for that matter.

      Marlin Watson

      Aug 31, 05 10:52 pm  · 

      Funny comments about Alexis :) I personally like the guy, along with the other mafia members. They have a charming "fresh off the boat" american innocence--coupled with a deep passion for design. Most of them are not affraid to rip you a new one and after you get over the attack on your ego, they've always provided valuable starting points for progress. Get one of them on your side and your golden!

      Anyone else have comments on the "argentinian connection" & sciarc?

      Sep 1, 05 1:15 am  · 

      one project was called a "little domestic project with a chimney and addition on the side" alexis could be an a-hole in desk critiques. but i was one of the few who weren't trashed during the final crit so the argentinian attitude did have some worthwhile commentary inside the garbled accent.

      Aside from kvetching down memory lane, I thought M+M was a great experience, albeit flawed (instructors showed up whenever, nothing started on time, drawing projects assigned the day before as 'filler')

      i found you got what you invested, and students who engaged their instructors got the respect and attention they wanted.

      i will attend sciarc this fall for MArch 1, but still have some apprehension about the size of the library, the lack of ability to take classes from a larger university pool, and the fact that nothing happens on time. also the relative youth of the staff.

      nothings perfect. but im still looking forward to the beginning of the term.

      Sep 1, 05 12:28 pm  · 

      i undoubtedly agree with brian about the quality of the students and the enthusiasm that permeated throughout the school.

      however, i echo some of the same concerns that anotherquestion brought up (not to forget to mention materials, the so-called site visits, and the other not so minor things that were overlooked by those in charge) in regards to the flaws of M+M and in turn the school. for a program that has been going on for more than several years it is incredibly unorganized. the shrug and "well there's nothing we can really do" that frequently came out of the program's director mouth were both incredibly disheartening and aggravating. it really made me question what happens during the regular school year, are things that out of control? will instructors be making more excuses for when something isn't going to happen or why they aren't there? how much do they really care?

      i thought alexis was by far the best of the instructors. he wasn't afraid of hurting your feelings -- he gave useful feedback (+/- aspects, what could have been improved, etc.), and not some esoteric bullshit, about all the projects we did so we could really understand the precess of what we were doing. the whole "pull one concept from your last project" or "even though successful, you just have to leave the last project behind and move on" i had personally received from the other instructors were constricting and unhelpful.

      anyhow, it's sad that people were hurt by his critiques, but only because it shows that they don't realize that they still have a lot to learn. i agree that many people expected praise, but come on... if we were all already perfect designers why would we be going to school?

      M+M was definitely a great experience and I do love sci-arc, I will apply, but I too don't know if it's THE school I'm dying to go to.

      Sep 1, 05 3:05 pm  · 

      Any preperation tips for me, I am about to experience SCI-Arcs' Making + Meaning in two weeks. I have read all the comments here and rather than getting me excited I am now just getting pumped up to take it on like a football player. Bring it on instructors! hmm

      My true questions would be What does this program equip you for? The materials used, are they actually used in the real world? I noticed the old drafting requirements, parallel rule etc... is autocad used? The holistic drafting approach, is it useful?

      I'm already committed, I just want to hear it from the people who actually completed this. Thanks.

      Jul 7, 09 4:45 pm  · 

      @born4thislife, i chanced upon this review of the M+M program while doing some research on summer programs. How was your experience? Did you like it and is it true that you need to have an arch background to do well? How were the instructors? Were they friendly ? Or just pure obnoxious ? I will appreciate all information that you can provide on this program. Thanks!

      Apr 2, 10 11:12 am  · 

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