Hampton University (Mark)



Sep '06 - Dec '09

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    there is no I in studio

    By Mark_M
    Dec 3, '06 11:44 AM EST

    The final lap is approaching and my lungs are grasping for every ounce of air. Its hard to believe the semester is over but I guess thats what happens when you have know concept of time. We have been set of to do our own individual work after our grueling group work. Working with three other people has taught me a lot about myself and what my actual limitations are. I was paired with three weaker students, "skill wise". I would find out later that they have some great ideas but representing them on paper is a daunting task for them. This brings up a topic which has been bothering me this semester.
    It all started with one of the "top people" in the class giving me some advice on my representation of a project and after the person's advice they said, "I cant give you everything. Your the competition." They were'nt joking. WHY? I never thought of myself as being better than anybody in the class because the way others see architecture is not always in the same line as I would. So how does one compare accurately? After talking to some of the other studios it seems as someone always has to be on top. Why? Does their work affect yours that much? Do you understand architecture clearer when yours is better than his. I think this type of thinking does not help the studio progress at all. The notion seems to be "oh well cant help them but mine looks good." Why cant a majority of the work be represented well so that there is more to compare from each other so that we can all progress. I find that the studio culture in my studio alone is quite uplifting compared to the rest of the school. When I find information that would help my project I share with the rest of the class. I dont see them as competition. Why withhold information? Why try to be one up on the next guy? Why be concerned that I must get an "A" rather than "Do I just understand what I designed regardless of the grade?" It's a constant battle which adds more stress to our already heavy workload. Would'nt it be better if we had an abundance of great designers than only a few?


    • Mark_M

      Actually there is...Lack of sleep will get you everytime.

      Dec 4, 06 1:08 am

      There's always that one "competitive dude" in every studio. Don't let it get to you. The vast majority of us understand that helping each other out brings *everyone* up--and "competitive dude" is missing out in the long run because, surprise, helping other people work through their projects always ends up helping you understand your own ideas and designs better too! It's great that way, the remarkable things you can understand about your own project just by helping someone else figure out theirs.

      good luck. you sound like you've got a good head on your shoulders! keep on doing your best!

      Dec 4, 06 2:27 am

      hahaha i thought your title was intentionally ironic.

      Dec 4, 06 2:28 am

      strange that someone would say that "he can't give you everything" - kinda presumptious that the guy thinks he could "give you everything" even if he tried. the joy of architecture is in finding solutions and ways of imagining different problems and situations - hardly beating the others at school.

      In a studio environment I consider myself very competitive, but hopefully, not an asshole. Competition I see as important and educational, in the sense that it pushes people further than they would go left to themselves - but there is positive and negative competition - trying to be better does not necessarily mean trying to make others look bad.

      Dec 4, 06 7:56 am

      all too often this seems to happen- esp at HU. and ultimately, you will find when you get to thesis--- these "competitive" people who could "give you all the answers" will not receive A's because they have all the answers- in fact, its just the opposite. its what you don't know that will get you further- because you will have a quest to search out answers. isnt that what architecture is all about anyways?
      and i would have to agree with the person above--- why does he think he/she has the all the answers to give you to begin with... this should in fact press you to think harder and further and will confirm that "competitive dude" is really lacking more than you could have imagined.
      never hold back knowlege from anyone- when you get out in the real world- whatever "real" may be- you will need all the knowlege from every source that you can get.

      Dec 4, 06 12:42 pm

      After reading the comments I can't help but get fired up and show this "dude" what the "diz iz." Well thats how my classmates would say it.

      Oh....."+i " Are you a HU grad?

      Dec 4, 06 2:03 pm

      we have a sense of competition in our studios, but all and all everyone is willing to help each other to make their projects better. now, if they are lying or not revealing enough information that could help, i do not know this and there could be a giant layer of competition hidden behind everyone's motives.

      Dec 5, 06 7:24 am

      the negative/destructive vs positive/constructive competition angle has some truth to it. when i was teaching it was very clear that the studios had a positively competitive dynamic, the work was significantly better. when there was NO competitive vibe at all, we saw less good work....hell, less work altogether. and less emotional involvement/engagement on the part of the students.

      positive competition has the potential to bring the whole studio up.

      negative competition of the territorial 'i'm not helping you' variety doesn't help anyone. those who help others may find that it clarifies their own thinking; all that thinking critically and constructively about the work of others gets focused back on your own work.

      Dec 5, 06 12:24 pm


      Jan 15, 07 1:08 pm

      Whats happinen Mark.
      I just recently got a profile on this web site, I saw the shirt you were wearing one day and had to check it out, it kicks ass, and so does that shirt.
      I noticed you posted this article back in Dec, and just recently I have been feeling the same way in my studio. Its a bummer, I dont want to compete with fellow classmates I want to collaborate, I want to feed off of them, and them feed off of me. I love to swap ideas in class, share knowledge and recieve it. Im actually really looking forward to our first group project. I think the teachers will be determining the groups, but as long as I have someone dedicated its all good.

      I'll be seeing you man.

      Who else from school is on this site?

      Apr 1, 07 11:34 pm

      Thanks for the support. 2nd year studio is only on the second floor. come up if you saome colab work. plus you live on my side of the water.

      Apr 2, 07 9:37 pm

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