ETH Zürich (Samuel)



Aug '09 - Dec '09

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    bad reviews, etc,

    Samuel Mortimer
    Nov 6, '09 6:41 AM EST

    As you may have deduced from my previous entry, my computer is more or less dead at this point (thus a lack of updates, photos, etc). I managed to turn it on again after a 2 full sweeps of the harddrive and giving it about a week to think about what it had done, but I am heistant to start investing time restocking it with applications, etc.

    But another quick entry today because I am on my way out of town. (Paris, oh la la)

    Had a review on Tuesday. A lot of work put into it... for what turned out to be the absolutely worst, most negative review I have ever received. Not one single positive thing was said about my project-- which might I add is "not architecture". Hm.

    So perhaps I will try to fix that. The critics did not want to listen to anything I had to say and in general seemed a bit taken back when I tried to challenge them with my design's reasoning. (Which may also have simply fueled the fire for more negative criticism.) I think they made up their mind very early on and the fact that they all spoke broken[ish] english did not help my cause. I did not understand them--- they likely didn't understand me.

    So I guess it was just a big misunderstanding, right????


    Saw this about a free U2 concert yesterday and found it funny. Personally I wouldn't be there in the first place (u2 is not my cup of tea), but you have to admit it is a bit ironic.

    Oh yes, and a final note:

    I am going to the Zumthor's Thermal Baths for the weekend in 2 weeks. Be jealous.


    • iheartbooks

      Sorry to hear about your review.

      Would you say the language barrier generally IS or IS NOT an issue?

      I am curious because the ETH is high on my list of grad schools (MAS program), and I speak very little German. That may need to change.

      You will have such a good time in Vals. The baths are soooon relaxing. The bus out there is also amazing. Sit on the right side during the last leg of the trip if you can.

      Hope you have fun

      Nov 6, 09 9:13 am

      I AM jealous.

      Nov 6, 09 10:38 am

      I had a similar experience in Vienna. Actually, in a mid term review, Elke Delugan-Meissl just started speaking in all German-more or less directed right at me when I assume she knew that I knew very little German. Prix actually translated it all back to me after she was done. I was in a group. The work was pretty bad, so I don't blame her/them for being upset or frustrated.

      Another mid review seemed to be somewhat challenging for me and the critics because of my English. I think that sometimes when I get nervous or anxious my English can start to get confusing even for others who speak it, so I could only imagine what was going through their heads when I started presenting my work. Luckily, our head assistant speaks English perfectly and helped me through my anxiety right at the beginning (Tennessee boy in front of Wolf Prix, yeah come on) and it then worked out fine.

      For me, those types of experiences were what I took the most from. I did learn a great deal about Architecture, but I also learned about how I present my work and my ideas. I really needed it. I needed to hear myself (I went back and watched the video) and how I communicated. At times it was pretty good and at times it was awful. Doing that in front of men and women that spoke English, but German as a native language really amplified for me what I needed to improve when it came to my presentation abilities/lack their of.

      Good luck with the rest. I am sure it will only get better.

      Nov 6, 09 1:44 pm

      I am jealous, and sympathetic. My final semester began with the absolute worst review I'd ever had. My project was completely ripped apart, and both the reviewer and I were red faced. Not pleasant. There was a lot of truth in what she was saying, but it was also clear that she had made up her mind very early and was unwilling to hear my reasoning. In the end, though, and I hope maybe this is the case for you, my design changed radically as a result and was much improved. My final review featured, among others, the same reviewer, who began my review that went very well with what was a compliment given the context: "I never would have guessed this was your project."

      Nov 6, 09 2:03 pm

      sorry to hear about the review - one day it will fade into insignificance.

      re vals: if there is enough snow in vals then take the trek up to the reservoir in the mountains (about a 2-3 hr hike from my memory) and you can borrow a sleigh from the pub up there and sleigh all the way back to vals town. highly recommended.

      Nov 6, 09 2:47 pm

      stayin' in the hotels as well?

      Nov 7, 09 5:31 am

      I meant to address some of this in my next post, but i completely forgot.....

      re: language barrier. The language barrier isn't necessarily an issue, but it does restrict what classes you can take by a lot. I am signed up for every english class there is (sans While the English is not perfect, it is certainly easy to understand and take away from. I will say however I that sometimes i feel like the English master though (apart from one professor from the US who is here). Earlier today I edited a friends power point presentation on Nuclear physics because he was presenting it in English. it is nice to be the expert in something. Though you should learn the difference in good and well before telling people they are using it wrong. This still confuses me... BUT, start learning german now. Don't worry about people bugging you with, oh swiss german is totally different. everyone speaks highgerman too. And high german is 100% better than no german.

      re: Vals. leaving on Sunday. I am staying the night and coming back Monday morning. I wanted to stay in a Zumthor room, but they were nearly 100chf more, and here at the end of the trip I can't quite spare that much. The reason for going Sunday night though is the baths are open for night bathing. A friend of mine was there 2 weeks ago and said it was snowing, the stars were out, and they were outside and there was a pianst playing somewhere. ahhh. I am melting already. I will investigate this sleigh at the mountain pub though. It sounds quite nice.

      re: review in general. Thanks for the encouraging words. The next one did go a lot better and am hoping this trend will continue. In the end I know it was probably a good experience/ honest criticism, though it felt pretty shitty at the time.


      Nov 20, 09 7:27 am

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