UCLA (A Center for Ants?)

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    Ay (c)Rumble....

    By A Center for Ants?
    May 23, '08 3:29 PM EST

    If you've perused the features section of archinect, you might've noticed the ads running for "Rumble".

    Rumble is a new fangled idea that's been cooked up to help condense the final review period at UCLA in order to generate a little more excitement and interest. Until recently, reviews were spread out over the week of finals at UCLA. As a result, most students wouldn't go to sit on other reviews as they'd be in the studio working to finish their own projects. And afterwards they'd be too crashed-out and sleeping instead of going to reviews. Also, it was done to eliminate the zombie-presentations that we've gotten so adept at.

    Thus, all projects will finish simultaneously in the school the week before finals (when classes end) and the weekend is spent assembling and installing your studio's presentation space. Then everyone pins up together. Monday is a public opening of the school and its work and final reviews happen over the course of a single day on Tuesday.

    Sounds all good, right? The problem comes down to the quarter system. We only start out with 10 weeks for a quarter. Research for a studio usually takes out 2 weeks. For our own studio, we traveled in addition to this, so that was another weeks. Leaving us with only 7 weeks. But because of Rumble, the week prior is reserved for scheduled production. To prevent a glut at printers, laser cutters, mills, etc. every studio has a specific time the week before to use certain technologies. As a result, another week is lost. So now we're down to just 6 weeks for design time.

    The terrifying fear is that if any of the machines go down for any significant amount of time, either the entire schedule gets thrown or an entire studio basically gets screwed. The administration counters with the idea that we should outsource at that point, but the material prep time as well as dealing with a company's schedule last minute seems pricey and precarious at best.

    My fear is that everything depends upon the entire system working smoothly. And in my limited architectural experience I've learned that you always need to accommodate for disaster response. I call it "fuck up time".

    So now everyone is somewhat running around like headless chickens trying to get everything done early. Those that aren't seem somewhat blissfully unaware of the potential chaos about to ensue.

    And a lot of us are perplexed by this heavy advertisement blitz that the school has engaged upon. They've hired a graphic designer for all of the material. But it has this comic-book like aesthetic. Nonetheless, they've gone on to start using boxing analogies in order to describe the different classes and studios. Apparently, the "heavyweight" division is used to categorize our most illustrious MA/PhD students... I'm glad that the school's decided to hierarchically alienate the vast majority of design students for the handful of PhDs.

    In addition, they've allocated a lot of money for this whole thing to happen. But in the end, the students are still left with bathrooms that have no paper products for the entirety of weekends. The dust bunnies in the corners rival the squirrels outside. Half the windows don't operate in the building. Our website features work that's 5 years old. They've locked the plotters to print no higher than 150 dpi. They've given us a budget to install our projects in our "gallery" spaces. However, the only color paint we're given is white. It just seems like a little bait and switch for us to paint the walls for the school.

    In the end Rumble has good intents. We all get rest and present together and there's a public display. But the cartoonish nature of the title, the graphics, and the weird boxing analogies are cheapening the event and making seem a little juvenile. Also, the process has been completely been exclusive of direct student involvement. The decision making process is entirely administrative and the "Rumble Committee" of students merely offers suggestions without having any direct oversight. If the true goal of Rumble is to empower the students and their work, it definitely has a long way to go to being successful. As of now, it just seems like a undercooked marketing scheme by the administration at the cost of the students.


    • kylemiller

      kivi must go!

      May 23, 08 3:41 pm  · 


      May 23, 08 5:09 pm  · 

      I am worried it will be a bit disastrous, too... we have less time to work (and theoretically,) more prestigious people viewing the work, so I imagine that it will be a display of almost baked projects.

      also, the attempt of *ahem* certain professors to impress their peers is a bit ambitious. As ACfA mentioned, the quarter system is incredibly brief already, many studios travel for at least a week, and the pressure of the event has caused certain professors to bite off more than they can chew (or should I say, bite it off, and shove it in their students mouths?)

      with the now incredible limited amount of time allowed, I think projects should be very, very precisely planned to accommodate the schedule, so we don't all make asses of ourselves with projects that have barely been started at the time of presentation.
      May 23, 08 9:18 pm  · 

      ...and after that I am still confused by the fliers. The work will be up Monday the 9th and the juries will happen the 9th and 10th, followed by a discussion the evening of the 10th? Sorry, but the graphics are unclear

      May 23, 08 10:15 pm  · 
      A Center for Ants?

      Monday evening is the opening/public exhibition. Like the science fair in middle school. We stand by our projects and we explain them.

      Tuesday during the day we have crits. Then after all the crits there's a discussion panel. Then the reception.

      May 24, 08 3:14 pm  · 

      sorry... i was too busy produuuucing the effects to notice the fliers all around school.

      i'm sooooo glad that the school dropped cash to make sure that each student had multiple fliers for the event on their desks. i don't think i was aware of the rumble until i saw the 5th flier on my desk... but hey, "it's going to be a splash in the community!!!" woot!

      now if you'll excuse me i need to get back leveraging the hidden agency potential of my linework...


      May 24, 08 6:27 pm  · 

      oddly this doesn't seem like anything new to me. That was how it operated when I was in my final year of undergrad and grad school. Some of the items however are unique - wtf about professional graphic work, and the plotting. Nonetheless take the benefit of this opportunity and move on from it. Any exhibition of your work is a good thing.

      May 25, 08 12:14 am  · 

      oddly this doesn't seem like anything new to me. That was how it operated when I was in my final year of undergrad and grad school. Some of the items however are unique - wtf about professional graphic work, and the plotting. Nonetheless take the benefit of this opportunity and move on from it. Any exhibition of your work is a good thing.

      May 25, 08 12:41 pm  · 

      i quit

      May 26, 08 4:32 am  · 

      hey guys, hows it going?

      May 27, 08 4:42 pm  · 

      Architechnophilia has it right, I think. Not to sound too unsympathetic, but this is graduate school in architecture. Some of it stinks.

      UCLA was no less chaotic and the administration and faculty no less flawed ten years ago. My favorite graphic design moment was when the avant garde contingent in the office ordered that term's lecture series poster to be printed on --no kidding-- plastic grocery bags.

      Your tax dollars at work, Californians.

      The good news is that you'll look back on this time in your life with only partial disgust. The rest will be fond memories of when you got to spend whole days and weeks reading, talking about, and making designs, and running around looking at buildings and cities with your friends and colleagues. It really doesn't get any better.

      May 29, 08 4:17 pm  · 

      By the way, I got my Rumble postcard in the mail yesterday, and I didn't pick up on the PhD push at the expense of the MArch.

      The comic-book-style graphic just struck me as, "oh, that wacky, pseudo-creative UCLA administration..." (See lecture poster comment above.)

      May 29, 08 4:20 pm  · 

      the plastic bags sound kinda cool... but then I would be very disapointed to hear that they were probably brand new bags, printed only with the lecture info. Had they have been headed towards the rubbish can, they would have been a much more romantic tecnique at a publically funded school. extra points if the bags could have been re-used home depot bags (or something appropriate like that!)

      I think we are doing fine, it will be a nice presentation. I wish I had four+ more weeks to finish- instead of the one- but it will be fun to have a formally planned exhibition. I mean, this is the first time in 6 years of architecture education that I actually made a nice model base, rather than scrounge for pre-existing ones.

      May 31, 08 8:01 pm  · 

      you need to create the affect....or effect as kivi says

      Jun 2, 08 7:25 pm  · 

      If anyone is interested / really board and feels compelled to share some of your lessons learned from UCLA with this fall’s incoming students we have set up a google group to share ideas / advice between the 2011 class. You can check out our discussions at:
      Feel free to join in and share your thoughts....and good luck with Rumble. It does seem like a time bomb sort of scenario, when I saw this was happening I was nervous about it and I haven’t even started yet.....

      Jun 4, 08 3:25 pm  · 

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