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    MRPs @ mid term

    By jpeel
    Feb 8, '10 10:17 PM EST

    It is mid term time and the energy seems to be on High. Today, the faculty was out and about, moving from one preliminary MRP presentation to the next. I fell in line to catch a few presentations and was reminded of the reasons why I like being at UF: SoA.

    While the MRP is going the way of the dodo in many schools, it is alive and well here; in fact, it has been getting a facelift in order to better prepare students to conduct their research. I wonder how much of this effort is simply preemptive maintenance [So when other schools ask “Why are you still driving that beat up old car?” We reply “Because it still runs like a top”]. The class that presented today is the last class to carry it out in the old fashion. The class that will be presenting in Spring 2011 will be the first to have the benefit of the new solution. The major changes to the process being more time, more check-points and more dialogue with supporting faculty members.

    Two projects stuck out. One was a poetic preservation project that deployed constructed mythologies on an abandoned train station to inform a detailed architectural installation. The overall narrative was supplemented by well crafted hand drawings that began to work though some more phenomenological aspects of the site and how they might be reconciled with the stories being placed within it. The other project was about developing a set of tool that would mediate the occupation of a large field in an Amish community. In this body-meets-world sort of investigation, these tools are designed for the task of dictating relative scales and sequencing an experience of seclusion in a feral and bucolic environment.

    What is great about the MRP is, after years of study under constraints imposed by anything outside our control, we can finally define the parameters of our own inquiries. In this way, without it resulting in something ego-centric, we get a chance to understand and synthesize ourselves, our process and our work into something personal and boundless.

    The connection might be tenuous but I couldn’t help but think of Full Metal Jacket.

    “Graduation is only a few days away, and the recruits of platoon 30-92 are salty. They are ready to eats their own guts and ask for seconds. The drill instructors are proud to see that we are growing beyond their control. The Marine Corp* does not want robots. The Marine Corp wants killers. The Marine Corp wants to build indestructible men; men without fear.”

    * Marine Corp = School of Architecture


    • Hey didn't even realize we had a UF blogger.

      What degree program is MRP? I checked DCP website and couldn't find it listed. Is it their historic preservation program?

      Also, do you know anything more about the proposed unification of the landscapr architecture and planning departments under a new administrative roof with an eventually offered dual degree program?

      Feb 9, 10 8:39 am

      Timeline I had originally heard was fall 2010.

      Feb 9, 10 8:39 am

      Yea, I noticed that we didn't have a representative for UF on here and asked Archinect if I could fill the void. They were kind enough to let me.

      The MRP is a prerequisite to earn any Master's degree in Architecture at UF, and is not limited to any more specific program than that. We do have more specialized trajectories of education that are a bit more formal (such as the one you mentioned, historic preservation, as well as digital realms, acoustics, pedagogy, sustainability, and so on), and students engaged in these specialized programs typically craft their MRP accordingly. If a student decides not to fully engage in one of these specialized programs, students are encouraged to make use of the freedom they are allowed to create their own academic investigation, through personalized research and interdisciplinary dialogues with other colleges in the university. If stepping outside the boundaries of Architectural Design, or tying in other disciplines to it, a student should be rigorous enough that the research has legs and ambitious enough to blaze a trail. If they get lost along the way, we have a good collection of faculty that represent a wide base of knowledge who are dually capable of reorienting the student.

      Also, there are a few efforts and award programs we have in play that help bring together the different areas of study under our roof. To mention just a few, we host an annual competition called Witter's that aims to spur interaction between the different sects. We are also preparing a submission to the Solar Decathlon, and the team members come from various backgrounds within DCP.

      I don't know anything specific about the dual degree program you are interested in but I would be happy to ask about it and post what I find out here.

      The website is terrible, with out-dated information and an ancient interface. I wish they would do something about that.

      Feb 9, 10 9:18 am

      good to see a UF school blogger!

      MRP = Masters Research Project

      Feb 9, 10 1:51 pm

      Thanks. I am happy to do the task. It is nice to get a chance to put into words the experience and education here; I think this will help me understand a bit more explicitly in what I am apart of.

      Feb 9, 10 1:58 pm

      thanks architphil

      Feb 9, 10 4:31 pm

      Wow. Now reading the first comment again I realize I gave a long-winded answer to a questioned that wasn't asked.

      Sorry about that.

      Feb 9, 10 4:55 pm

      yes long, but no you did answer it.....

      Feb 9, 10 7:24 pm

      OK. I found out a bit of the story with the landscape architecture and planning discipline joining forces.

      It seems that in moving toward the end goal of creating a hybrid of the two programs, some accomplishments have been made, but it has been a long and slow process that really started more than 5 years ago.

      Recently, they have been able to locate one administrative body for the two but still have many complexities to iron out over how the program might work together. Landscape Arch has been at UF for over 40 years, and Planning has been for about 30 years. Both, having developed in this time separate from one another, have many core principles that they wish to keep. It is not that the combination of the two will displace any of these values but (from what I have been able to gather) the value of these values will become diluted. Both programs are not very excited about this prospect, which may account for the feet dragging.

      So yes and no.

      Feb 12, 10 10:30 am

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