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Taking down people at design reviews

Non-ASD

One cannot deny that it is enjoyable to take on the role of a critic and try to examine the validity of a proposal during a design review. We shall not forget that the criticism is on the work rather than the person, so we are invited to be harsh to provoke good quality discourse and encourage improvement. 

However, where does one draw the line between sharp critique and douchebagerry? 

Be prepared to make your most intimate admissions: do you love trashing students at crits? 

 
Oct 29, 22 2:03 pm

I'll be honest, I'm strongly against the way a lot of jurors tend to view design review critique. Often, student projects are about exploring a theme, program, or some other vague topic, and they usually are required to come up with a logical statement, like "Well, we had to design an artist's studio, so I decided to do that by using ___ as a jumping point" or whatever.

A lot of jurors tend to derail student projects by suggesting that "Oh your project is ACTUALLY about x, not y" or "Well I think that a building like that would be ridiculous in this city".

My opinion is that jurors should be limit-testing the arguments made by students. If a student says "My project is about ABC", then the juror should be looking  to find how the student's actual project compares with the arguments they're making about it.

Ultimately, clients are paying architects to be able to have that kind of logical rigor in a project, and to successfully think through and defend all the choices and variables. That's what student design reviews should be training them for.

Oct 29, 22 2:31 pm  · 
3  · 

I do think it has to become a thing to pay the critics so they can be given a framework for criticism. I go to a lot of reviews and hear the most ridiculous comments going unpunished. On the other hand, I am seeing a lot of students expecting you only "like" their project without anything critical.

Oct 29, 22 3:56 pm  · 
1  · 
kenchiku

>However, where does one draw the line between sharp critique and douchebagerry? 


When the comments become directed at the student and them as a person, and not at the work on the boards.


"Why YOU thought X was a good idea for this project when clearly it makes no sense" vs "It feels they X as an idea doesn't align with the project's goals of Y"...for example. You know, basic human etiquette.

Oct 29, 22 5:16 pm  · 
4  · 
urban_choice

Yes, a lot depends on the personality (and probably psychopathic range) of the teacher. I've had amazing teachers who were able to give useful and inspiring comments without breaking you down as a person, but also narcissistic diva teachers who saw reviews as a chance to let their id go loose on insecure 18-year-olds. 

Needless to say the first type of teacher should be the standard and was so much more useful in growing as a person and designer, as well as keeping morale high in the group. Not every architect is a good fit for teaching.

Oct 31, 22 12:33 pm  · 
1  · 

I would only ever ask the person why the did something.  If they had a good answer I was find with it.  I would of course provide feedback on items I didn't think worked (for various reasons). I would try to make the feedback constructive.  

If you enjoy 'trashing' students work then you're a asshole with self esteem issues.  

Oct 31, 22 10:47 am  · 
2  · 
sameolddoctor's comment has been hidden
sameolddoctor

In our profession this is very true:

(MOST of those) you cant do, they teach - and make their students' lives miserable.

I think that most academics would struggle to get paid $25 an hour in any office....

Oct 31, 22 11:51 am  · 
1  · 

You know some bad teachers then. All but two of my arch processors had 20 plus experience working as architects. Do you make $25 an hour?

Oct 31, 22 12:41 pm  · 
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sameolddoctor

Good for you - the Ivy-ish I went to had professors that have published shit tons but hardly spent time in the profession. What a waste of time.

Oct 31, 22 4:30 pm  · 
2  · 

Sucks to be you then. Should of done some more research into things before . . . .

Oct 31, 22 4:31 pm  · 
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sameolddoctor

Chad, being very .holier than thou, are we?

Nov 1, 22 1:53 am  · 
3  · 
Non-ASD

Never mind the uncouth Chad.

Nov 1, 22 6:52 am  · 
1  · 
archanonymous

@sameolddoctor - I had the same experience. And look at my alma-mater now and just weep for it is filled with "architects" so profoundly inept that I'm not even sure what they are teaching.

Nov 1, 22 7:14 am  · 
3  · 

someolddoctor - I'm just treating you like you treat others. You are the one that keeps railing about how grads don't know anything and that they should of picked a better school.  You don't criticize the school for failing the students.  You instead insult and criticize the student.  

Nov 1, 22 11:33 am  · 
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sameolddoctor

Chad, I am accepting that the school I went to years and years ago is messed up, and hence kids should not waste their time and money going to such places. And yes, this is a "coastal" school in your words. So why the rage?

Nov 1, 22 1:40 pm  · 
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reallynotmyname

To be done well, teaching requires skill sets in listening, explaining things, and guiding students that maybe 30-50% of my design teachers actually possessed. I have never seen any effort made by schools in the USA to impart teaching skills to the people hired to teach the courses. I have also seen that the majority of people teaching US design studios today are people that can't or won't make a go of things in full-time private practice.

Nov 1, 22 1:45 pm  · 
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I think you're confusing me with someone else. A 'costal' school? I don't recall using such terms. I don't think you've you've accepted anything. You're the one that seems to be filled with rage about your attendance to any ivy school (your worlds). I really don't care where someone went to school. You seem to jump on and insult any ivyish student that posts here. I'm simply treating you like you've treat others here. Odd that you don't seem to like it when you're treated how you treat others.

Nov 1, 22 1:46 pm  · 
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sameolddoctor

I would like to see the post where I insulted someone that went to an Ivy...please.

Nov 1, 22 2:40 pm  · 
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When you say that ivy grads are worthless that's an insult.

Nov 1, 22 2:52 pm  · 
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sameolddoctor

You're going around in circles man ... anyways enough of this convo

Nov 2, 22 10:07 am  · 
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Bye.

Nov 2, 22 10:32 am  · 
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tduds

The best reviewers are the ones who ask questions. The worst are the ones who make proclamations. 

Oct 31, 22 12:36 pm  · 
4  · 
Non Sequitur

I've done more than my fair share of reviewers and entrance interviews and I've never taken down any student.  I've given harsh constructive comments where deserved by I always followed up with something positive so that the poor kiddos learn something.  A big part of the reviewer's job is to pry material from the presentation by asking questions to move the student along.

Oct 31, 22 6:41 pm  · 
3  · 
zonker

It's to toughen up the students - just like in the Marines or SEALS. sooner or later it will happen in practice. The PM or PA will dress you down because you dropped the football and caused the client to with-hold payment and issue a whole buttload of revisions.

Oct 31, 22 7:57 pm  · 
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whistler

I think that you have framed the question poorly...

Be prepared to make your most intimate admissions: do you love trashing students at crits?"

No one should love trashing students at crits, ( that's just plain douchbaggery )and just plain mean spirited, even though I can recall many I felt deserved it.

The critique is and should always be about the work presented and explanation of what is being presented.  Being articulate about the goals / objective and the presentation ( CAD / 3D images / model / drawings ) needs to support and communicate the intent and if those goals and objectives align with what is presented that is a great baseline to begin a critique. From there the critic can discuss improvements or alternate means to convey an idea or why they may have an unsuitable idea etc.  

I sat in many crits where John Patkau found small gems to compliment a student on when everyone else saw dogshit but I have also seen him be ruthless with a student who was boasting about his ideas but the product ( drawings in my day ) didn't convey anything close what he was saying. That was really impressive to see and learn how important is was to be articulate about design intent and execution of that intent for better or worse.

Also heard a great story about a student speaking back to a douchbag critic one time and the student dismantled the critic for what she was wearing and how her accessories didn't match the outfit etc.  

Oct 31, 22 8:36 pm  · 
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archanonymous

Worse than being mean/ critical to or of the students is when it becomes a circle jerk of hollow intellectualism aimed at proving to the other critics how intelligent and edgy you are instead of helping the students.

I was on a string of reviews in 2018-19 that were really bad about this and it pisses me off more than when someone is more harsh than deserved with a student - at least then they are directing their comments at the student and giving feedback. 

Nov 1, 22 7:17 am  · 
3  · 
citizen

Oy. Jurors/critics merely puffing and huffing to impress each other (and essentially ignoring the youngsters paying tuition) are the worst. Special favorites = the particularly dour, humorless twits.

Nov 1, 22 7:36 pm  · 
1  · 
reallynotmyname

If a critic sees shitty work, they should turn to the studio teacher and say "You didn't do your job."

Nov 1, 22 1:46 pm  · 
3  · 
tintt

I won’t sit on reviews. I did it a few times and didn’t like it. Don’t let it get to you. It’s a show, not about you. You know what douchbaggery is. 

Nov 8, 22 8:32 am  · 
1  · 
edwardsinger

If you "love trashing students work" you should not be involved in education.  That said, students do need to learn how to separate themselves from their work and take valid criticism, and learn from it.

Nov 21, 22 8:28 am  · 
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