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    Crit Crazed

    Scott Kepford
    Oct 17, '08 3:29 AM EST

    I had two crits on Monday (yeah, fun weekend): the first was for my “Basins of Attraction” tech seminar, and the second was for studio. The tech seminar crit was more of a progress report, so it wasn’t as stressful as the run-up to the studio crit, which was the last for our units project.

    In tech, my group is still working on two different schemes to approach the problem of applying catastrophe theory models to water basin fixtures, to be fabricated by vacuum former. For the crit this week we worked more on representation than on advancing the model, and I think the boards we produced looked pretty handsome.

    Early draft version of one of our boards

    But there are definitely some changes I’d like to make for next week. We came out of the review still not 100% behind either option, but we’re going to concentrate on developing one of them for next week, with the other as a fallback in case we don’t like where we’re headed. The biggest new issue I think we’ll have to tackle before Monday is that we have to start determining where seams will go if we have to fabricate the basin in several pieces. This will be tough for our group as none of the four of us have vacuum formed before so we don’t have a firm grasp on the process.

    Basically right after the basins review, all the first years had to pinup for the final crit of our unit assemblies.

    Studiomate Mike being reviewed

    The crit was kind of a personal disaster, because as I was trying to take the backing off the assembled model after I hung it on the wall, the whole model kind of exploded. I had basically known before that it was meant to be shown horizontally because the ruleset for growth of the units was based on responding to a flat plane, but we were asked to either suspend the model or hang it on the wall, so I tried the latter. After the explosion I had to run out and get some foamcore on which to rebuild. It ended up not being quite as well-mannered as the first iteration, but I think the ruleset I developed was rigorous enough that the result was fine.

    My (hastily) rebuilt assembly

    We ended up only reviewing a small fraction of the class’ projects, so mine wasn’t even discussed. I guess it was kind of a relief though, since I didn’t want to talk about my disaster anyway! There was some really excellent work by my classmates, so I think we did well.

    The second years had told me that the next step in studio was to do hand drawings of the unit assembly, which I was kind of dreading. I think hand drawing is really important to think about and have at least some practice in, as it’s been a really important generative tool for many architects through history, but frankly I’m just not that interested beyond the rough initial sketches that usually begin most of my projects. So I was delighted when we were told that we’d be the first class to create our drawings digitally, with no hand drawings required. I think this reflects two important things: the incredible complexity of most of the unit assemblies in the studio, which would be near impossible to draw accurately in axon for example; and the state of the profession, where finished hand drawing has been anachronistic for decades (okay, maybe only a decade and a half, but still). So I’m actually kind of excited to begin the drawing phase, because since we’ll be modeling our units and assemblies digitally, we can use that information to create drawings that go beyond orthographic views and could begin to lend a greater sense of the dynamic qualities of our work, like we would for a “real” studio project.

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