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    Striving for Mediocrity

    By adrienne
    Feb 13, '06 8:47 PM EST

    This is something I have been wanting to post on for a few days. I think I mentioned the exhibition/competition that I took part in last week. It is basically an exhibit of 3 project from each of the architecture schools in Philly. It is really interesting/unsettling to see all of the different trajectories that school are taking. The night that they announced the winners was totally weird. First of all, I was the only one from Penn there, while other schools had pretty impressive representation (faculty, students, parents, etc.). This is probably largely due to the fact that the awards night was also the same night as Ali Rahim's lecture, but it was still strange. Ok, let me just say right off, I didn't win anything, so feel free to take anything that I say with a grain of salt. I just felt that the whole thing was so silly. I think that is how I feel about a lot of these competitions and exhibits. The more I am involved in architecture, the more I agree with Bruce Mao's advice,

    “Don't enter awards competitions. Just don't. It's not good for you.”

    They are just so unbelievably silly. I mean let's all stand around and talk about how great we are, when a lot of the work, is just mediocre...It's like a really sad version of the Oscar's or something, except it is just a room full of architects, so it ends up being kinda pathetic.

    Don't get me wrong, putting together an exhibit that is a survey of all the school's in the area is a great idea. It is interesting to see your work in a larger context. Being in school makes your world totally insular, and it is great to get a little reality check once in awhile.

    And this is not how I feel about ideas competitions. Competitions that actively seek solutions to a problem are well worth the effort, for winners and non-winners. But awards competitions are different...they are silly, and political, and make you depressed.

    Hasslehoff already wrote about the charette, so I won't elaborate. I didn't participate this year, because I was too worried about my studio work, and because I did it last year, so I didn't feel to bad about being a slacker and not doing it.

    Francois is coming this week, and we all feel pretty nervous. We haven't had any contact with him for almost 3 weeks, so we are feeling slightly lost and concerned about what his reaction will be to what we have done so far. I have been researching these weird bugs that make shellac by sucking the sap out of trees and secreting resin from their bodies...pretty awesome. So far I am loving the material for the studio. It is wacky and bizarre, but right up my alley. I have been watching lots of movies and reading a lot for inspiration, which has been indulgent, but I think helpful. I just wish we had more face time with Francois, but...c'est la vie!


    • liberty bell

      I had one grad studio that involved a crit who was only there sporadically (3 days every two weeks). It was really tough on everyone. Staying motivated during the stretches of absense is next to impossible, especially with all the other demands on a student's time. I produced one really cool drawing at the beginning of the semester and basically coasted on it til a frantic week of production at the very end. Ended up with a proejct that would have been good as a mid-term presentation but not as a final, basically because I didn't have the crit helping me push its development. Another student, a very smart one, came close to failing because he was stumped and the crit never had enough face time to help him out.

      I have to say I don't really think it's a good way to structure a studio. Especially for the amount of tuition people pay.

      Hang in there.

      Feb 14, 06 11:57 am
      I have been watching lots of movies and reading a lot for inspiration, which has been indulgent, but I think helpful.

      hell yeah!...that's nice to get the hell away from architecture once in a while only to suck you back in full force armed with new ideas...and then you realize, after watching all these seemingly unrelated movies, that architecture was there all along in the back drop just stepping down a bit...being an observer...keep writing

      Feb 14, 06 12:46 pm
      t. gunny harboe

      i'll show you how to strive for mediocrity.....JACK IT!

      Feb 14, 06 5:58 pm

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