Jan '07 - Jun '07

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    Who let the undergrads in?

    By TADS
    Mar 27, '07 3:53 AM EST

    I attended a faculty interview last week for a position at UCLA to head the new undergraduate program. The school is starting up the program next year and from what I understand it will not be a bachelor of architecture degree but it will draw undergrads in their third and fourth years, probably in hopes that they stay on for a masters degree. I haven't paid much attention to the specifics other than peeking in on these faculty interviews/presentations and noticing the space they are preparing for them downstairs. Upon hearing, at the beginning of the year that they were starting this program I was thinking it was a shame, hoping it didn't dilute the great graduate research environment they have developed here. One of the things that drew me to the school was the size, and the fact that it was only had graduate students here.

    The presenter last week had very focused work with interests tied to digital fabrication and the scripting of form. It raised the question, will the new undergrad program be intended as a grad-lite program or will it be more well rounded? It seems like the school will have to confront its identity and decide how it applies a few years out of high school. My undergraduate program used a Bauhaus/ Black Mt College model that got us into the shops and art studios our very first year in college exploring abstract exercises in geometry, form, composition, joinery, etc. It was a great foundation but the school struggled to develop a strong focus for its graduate program. Either way the establishment of an undergraduate program here will be one that requires a translation of the themes of the grad program, another chance for the school to test the scope and reach of its interests.

    - Aaron T(A)DS


    • citizen

      Let's hope that the undergraduates manage to get some understanding of how buildings actually work before they ascend into the ether of the MArch I program, with its obsessive shaping of abstract form for its own sake.

      Mar 27, 07 3:16 pm  · 

      I like how the American work ethic extends to our buildings. I hate buildings that don't work.

      I thought thats all MArch Is did was put buildings to work through projects like the steel house. Not sure in what sense you mean "work" but there is definitely a lack of articulate critique encompassing social and programmatic issues.

      Mar 27, 07 5:55 pm  · 

      Sorry for the snippy sound of that first response. By "work" I mean how buildings function, how they are put together and with what basic components. When I was at UCLA a few years ago, I saw far too few building sections and elevations on the wall at reviews to explain just how a project might work, and far too many 3D drawings delineating every nook and cranny of some abstract form that was otherwise undescribed. Beautiful renderings, unusual and interesting forms, but many of them far from potential buildings or architecture.

      Mar 27, 07 7:11 pm  · 

      Hmm... seems to be different than you describe. I invite you to stop by again!

      Mar 29, 07 1:01 am  · 

      I will, Cobra. Thanks for the invitation!

      Mar 29, 07 12:30 pm  · 

      Yes, I agree... I would almost say there are TOO many architectural drawings being done now and not enough emphasis placed on good experiential renderings.

      Mar 29, 07 2:57 pm  · 

      young driz, i would say thats the one visible difference b/t ucla and sci-arc. sci-arc can kick our ass at renderings and making sexy images, but in the end, we're in architecture school, we should learn how to make "architectural drawings". this, of course, is assuming you want to practice architecture and not remain in academia. agree?

      Mar 29, 07 5:03 pm  · 

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