Hampton University (Mark)



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    Studio culture

    By Mark_M
    Feb 3, '07 1:12 PM EST
    studio culture

    I had to let this topic soak into my brain before I decide to blog my thoughts about it. I could'nt stay for the whole discussion because I had a pyhsics test. I said some things that sounded arrogant but was not my intention to. I wasonly stating what I saw. I 'am no where near the designer I want to be but I will never stop chasing to improve myself. I hoped to ignite some kind of motivation but it ended up backlashing. I said, "the students in studio lacked confidence and communication skills" and I think I started a fire. Actually as I'm writing this I think I'm still quite bothered because I was not able to cap it off.


    • l8rpeace

      Mark -

      At my school, we have an odd situation. Looks like we are finally getting dedicated studio space (and desk space) for each student in about a week. I'll blog about the opening reception slated for next Friday when the time comes. That's great (for us and the school) to finally realize these provisions, but considering I am in fourth year, I feel like I missed out on a lot. I find there was a lack of communication of ideas and techniques because the student body at-large would run home after studio.

      The topic of the discussion about studio culture would be heated over at NYIT. Perhaps that's why you, too, "started a fire"...but I can only presume so.

      Based on the pictures in your blog, though, it looks like you have a lively and interactive environment. I have to agree with what you said here, though - the students lack confidence and communication skills. Do you find some of those deficiencies attributed to something of a fear of failure? Personally, I find a lot of process work (sketches, models, etc.) left out of the limited time in studio because people don't want to show the parts of the process that weren't 100% successful in their eyes.

      Feb 3, 07 1:31 pm

      that's a shame--a lot of the time the content in the process work is actually more interesting/better than the final product. it's a huge aid to discussion and idea-generating to have those bits shown.

      Feb 3, 07 1:50 pm


      Congartulations on getting new studio space. I hope it becomes the hub of collaboration that I'am look for.

      I believe thats where the problem lies. Most students are afraid of the faculty. They dont want their stuff to get beat up there. Humility is trait that all architecture students need. If you put up crap you will eat it. Face the facts. If you put up your best and still get eaten up it becomes a motivational tool to imrove. I would'nt want the professors to critique my trash. I want them to critique something that I put thought into. If my design is poor then I want to generate dialog that will improve my design regardless of how cruel their critique is. I know if I did something wrong I will never do it again. The profeesors and students are my tools to help me improve my design ability. But when the students around you do have this desire to improve or have confidence in their work it makes for cheap tools. I want to improve those around me and I dont think I could do that unless I told them to their faces. Unfortunately those who cared about the lecture are the ones that came....and there were not many people there.

      Feb 3, 07 2:08 pm

      sort of a sad situation, way you describe it...afraid of profs? wow

      my own grad school profs were quite ok, but would not sit down to talk to you if you had nothing to show. only rule we had was production, really.

      not so sure studio culture is that impt. i was working a lot (profesionally) while doing grad school, either T-A-ing studios, or with office donwtown, so studio time was hard to manage, especially as i also had new born daughter to cope with and a wife who had moved country just to be with me in canada. studio in that context did not have a chance. and to be fair, a lot of the studio-boys treated it like a frat house. not my thing at the time.

      not sure why this was so but ended up working usually at the homes of a circle of friends (we had decided to do 1 competition each term in addition to studio projects), often over dinner, breakfast, etc. studio did not really work for any of us. and we all communicate well. and did well after grad...

      Feb 3, 07 5:31 pm

      In grad school we had to meet 2wice a month with the Head of School. Simply as she put it we were the rudder stearing the school and those motions were what filtered down to those now entering.

      Granted we were arguing to have lecturers get released from contract (1 out of 2), an additional study tour (nope), tours to Europe (nope) or South/Central America (yes), and younger staff (avg age is 42)

      Feb 3, 07 9:58 pm

      seems to be the same problem at my school, as well. because of the state school amosphere and fairly cheap tuition, students just treat studio as 'homework,' something they have to get done with so they can go on to do better things during their day. no one realizes that what they're doing is what they will be doing for the rest of their life, and they should maybe care a little bit about it. there's the select bunch of individuals who do care, and that's what makes me keep up my pace.

      it needs to be emphasized, i think, that studio is a place to encourage creative thought, produce new ideas, and really investigate things that interest us. however, those who look at studio as an assignment to do and get a grade, nothing more, will (sadly) never really think of studio any other way.

      Feb 4, 07 2:44 pm

      unfortunately this is not the first exposure of 'studio culture' at HU. about three years ago (when i was in AIAS) we conducted a forum facilitated by the officers of AIAS and included faculty, etc. we tried to base it off of the AIAS Studio Culture report that had just come out at that time. unfortunately, the students who should have been paying attention were more defensive than anything and didn't see it as a chance to learn and grow. although i dont know what more we would have expected from them since that is how they treated all of their work and experiences. it ended up turning into a pretty offensive forum--- people attacking professors and professors telling students the way it is...
      overall a pretty (obviously) uneventful situation, considering they needed to do the same forum again.

      the problem was always this: HU is not a cheap school to go to--- in fact, the cost of tuition/books/supplies combined with living expenses ranks it right up there with some of the more expensive schools. given this, you would think students would take their work seriously... they don't because they've been hand-fed their whole lives. not only that- but to be in architecture you have to find motivation from within... if you don't have it there is no way to possibly succeed. you won't make enough money to ever overcome your resentment if you do not thoroughly find joy in what you're doing. blah blah blah i am preaching... but the further you get into the program at HU the more focused you will become and the more you will seek the students (and professors) who genuinely care and find joy in what they do.

      no amount of studio culture will facilitate that. the only thing that will is weeding out the students who don't care. they're just wasting precious studio space and sucking the life out of everyone else who truly does care.

      Feb 5, 07 5:40 pm

      that last paragraph, +i, i completely agree. i could use the extra desk space. why do something like architecture if you don't care? i feel limited sometimes because i have to consider these kids in the formula of studio. ever get nicknamed the "overachiever"? i do, plenty.. because i'm one of the few who actually care and try.

      i agree.. it's something you can't change in a person. have motivation or don't.. just get ou of my way.

      Feb 5, 07 11:57 pm

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