University of Pennsylvania (Robert)

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    540 frontside nose grab

    By Hasselhoff
    Mar 31, '06 1:08 PM EST

    Studio has done a major turn around, at least for me. After the pithy email volley, Julio came in on Monday with a new perspective on studio. He didn't understand that we, as a whole, kind of didn't know how to make buildings. He had looked at our archived work over the weekend and realized that our core studios are much different than what he was used to teaching at GSD and Syracuse. We basically know how to make vaguely spatial object things using lots of rigor and lines. He said what we are doing is not a formula that you can just plug information into and get a finished result (which is sort of what seems to come from the algorithm/generative studios). For us, more than half of our models are laser cut...thingies, so they aren't really study models. You basically have to finish whatever you were doing in order to make some shape that really isn't much more telling of its spatial qualities even when in physical form. Like those damn rib models that they seem to love so much.

    For Wednesday, I made this hideous foam core model with writing all over it and half of the cuts were made with scissors or no straight edge. I thought he was going to be pissed but he liked it a lot. This is the first semester that I'm designing in model and it's so much better. For the past three I've mostly just spun Rhino models around all day and gotten nothing. 2/3 of my critics have played lip service to model building, either not caring, or wanting stupid stacked plexi or ribs. The one guy, god he was so annoying, he just wanted everything laser cut and plexi. He didn't care what it was. Just laser cut something. Out models were just exercises in laser cutting crap. My other critic (who I still maintain was excellent) wanted models, but I really just didn't know how to work in model as a real design tool and not just object making. So Julio just wants me to keep building models this weekend and I'm actually kind of excited to work on it. Well, other than wanting to rather play outside, but I have too much to do right now.

    I really wish Julio would have made this realization a few weeks ago because I think we could have had some solid, kickass projects. He really crits, reacts, and teaches very differently now and it's great. Rather than talking about the carrots in the minestrone soup, he talks about spaces and structures etc. He's imparting the knowledge that I know he has. He won the Young Architect award this year as well as a competition in Norway just during this semester, so I know he's good and has something to offer. I think the semester could wrap up very well. Like seriously, it feels like a total 180. I think other people are more excited now too, but it's been hard to tell because today is the career fair, so most people have been working on resumes and such, not studio. But I'll keep you posted on the trick move.


    • myriam

      That's awesome! In my own personal pedagogical world, like if I ever started up the Myriam School of Architecture, I would limit students to developing their ideas through physical model and hand drawing only for the first few years of grounding. I feel like computer modeling and rendering ability is really deceptive to the architect in that it makes it appear as though building elements have been resolved that simply aren't; in that way it seriously cuts out a lot of the meat of architecture from the process. (Thus, I believe, producing bad architects; those who leave school unable to think things through down almost to the nut and bolt.) I also think that in school you have to develop your own spatial imagination; no one is born being able to turn and rotate and understand things in 3D in their own head, and an important part of school is slowly learning how to do that.

      So, good for you, I hope you find working with models to be really enriching! (and fun!) Don't worry about how they look. Let yourself rip them apart and glue them back together in different ways.

      Mar 31, 06 2:13 pm  · 
      vado retro

      when i was an undergrad at indiana university, i took a ceramics class during the summer. it was quite fun. i was the only guy in the class. all the other students were education majors or elementary school teachers. rather than actually make anything i would just go over to the slurry tank and pick out the discards of the real bfa/mfa potters. then i would slap these things together to make my pieces. all in all quite successful and really the best "architecture" i ve ever done. and now i have the tune me and julio down by the schoolyard stuck in my head...

      Apr 1, 06 9:44 am  · 

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