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    "Interesting" is killing architecture

    David Zeibin
    Apr 13, '06 2:09 AM EST

    This was brought to my attention last term: people in our school (students and professors alike) use the word "interesting" way too often. "I found such-and-such interesting," or "What you've done here is really interesting," or "So-and-so presents some interesting ideas on such-and-such." It doesn't matter what you fill in the blanks with; these statements lack precision and thus more or less resist inquiry. If it didn't interest you, you probably wouldn't have begun talking in the first place, yes?

    Fellow UBC accomplices: let us work together to expand our vocabulary and begin to explicate the reasons/causes for our intellectual arousal.

    Thank you.

    Your friend and neighbour,

    David Zeibin

    PS Any banal words at your school?


    • but canadians ALWAYS talk like that. we are bred for politeness.

      you need to translate. for future reference interesting = "this project is not worth talking about but since i MUSt say something i'll go with...interesting..."

      it's the silent prologue that has all the content...;-)

      Apr 13, 06 2:22 am  · 
      sporadic supernova

      hmm .. interesting observation .. :)

      Apr 13, 06 4:19 am  · 

      we used to say "interesting" if we were holding back a bad oopinion. like, in a light tone, "that's interesting." but then, to be really mean, we would respond to someones commentary on thier project with "that's a technique."

      Apr 13, 06 5:06 am  · 

      "i don't want to be interesting, just good." Mies

      Apr 13, 06 6:49 am  · 


      Apr 13, 06 8:25 am  · 

      I had the same complaints in college. "Interesting" isn't really constructive criticism and doesn't help me become a better designer. It might be a politeness thing as Jump is guessing. Only problem is that in the real world paying clients usually don't waste their time with politeness.

      Apr 13, 06 8:36 am  · 
      sporadic supernova

      "interesting " is dangerous ...

      Apr 13, 06 8:41 am  · 

      i'll admit falling into this trap as an instructor in my last studio. i was aware of it, but it's really hard to train yourself not to say 'interesting'.

      a defense, albeit weak: i found that it was a bookmark to myself, to take note of some particular element of 'interest' in what a student was doing - and bring it to their attention as something notable - before i had yet had the time to construct a comment about it.

      give your critics a break guys. coming up with fully conceived and somewhat intelligent commentary about 10 to 20 projects a day hurts your brain.

      Apr 13, 06 9:10 am  · 

      I understand Steven. A few years back when I was finishing up my IDP volunteer hours I helped a high school class design their "dream homes." The presentation was like an ameature MTV cribs episode and it's really hard coming up with something to say other than "nice" or "I like what you did with the jacuzzi tub in the master suite." I just see that paying college students are expected to rise to a higher level of design and think the professional criticism should as well.

      Apr 13, 06 10:00 am  · 

      those are very interesting observations...

      Apr 13, 06 11:28 am  · 

      Excellent point, David. I have even fallen victim to this in the few crits that I have given in the past. I think that architectural critiques need to be more dramatic across the board. Perhaps we could even stage mock fights a la the WWF.

      No, seriously though. I need to look at my thesaurus.

      Apr 13, 06 11:30 am  · 

      They like "complexity" and "rigor" here. It's pretty much out of control. Oh, and "nonlinear."

      Apr 13, 06 12:29 pm  · 
      David Zeibin

      I'm not trying to criticize critics specifically. As I noted, students use the word as well. What concerns me now is the possibility that it's a negative lead-in. I think at UBC it's used more to say either, "I was intrigued by this thing (idea, spatial concept, theoretical observation, etc) [so I pursued that]," by students, or, "I appreciate your astute observations within the context of this project; it wasn't something I had initially took note of," by critics.

      But that's the whole point. Unless one expresses more, no one knows: is it positive, negative? Just buying time to think? Can't think of anything actually but feel you must feign interest?

      Apr 13, 06 1:15 pm  · 
      David Zeibin

      Oh, and of course, I'm not outside the guilty either. But I've been trying really, really hard to stop. It's like a self-help group or exercise pal: it's easier to do the right thing if we all try together!

      Apr 13, 06 1:18 pm  · 

      "interesting" is when someone doesn't know yet how to describe something but is forced to say something about the very first studio instructor bluntly told us to never use "interesting" or "cool" in while in studio

      Apr 13, 06 1:37 pm  · 

      funny firm quote: “it’s not easy at all to 'make it nice' (in quotes because around the office, when there's something fucked up in a building and you can't quite figure out how to get it right, you just say, 'ahhhh, mak-a-nice' with a sort of slimy accent.)"

      can we swap out "interesting" for "nice" here?

      Apr 15, 06 1:13 am  · 

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