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    Exit Reviews and the Final MArch Semester

    By RMartz
    Apr 18, '14 1:09 PM EST

    Welcome back everyone. Here at Knowlton the culmination of Master of Architecture program is the Exit Review, seems intimidating right? Well yes, but also incredibly useful. Materially the Exit Review is a 30-45 minute public presentation about a topic of our choosing. What makes the process unique and also incredibly useful is its focus as a Launchpad vs an ending; ‘starting review’ might perhaps be more appropriate. And yes it is unique, Harry Cobb said so himself this week during the five finalist presentations. To quote from Stephen Turk, the Graduate Studies Chair and Exit Review Coordinator…

    “Whereas the majority of Architecture programs have some version of a design thesis as the culminating event of their MArch sequence, the KSA has the Exit Review system. Compared to a design thesis, which typically centers on a student’s ability to synthesize their acquired design and technical abilities into a ‘comprehensive’ design solution, the Exit Review is a public presentation of a scholarly paper given during the last semester of a student’s time in the program. The process of the exit review diverges from the conventions of thesis in that each student is asked to pause from studio design production in order to both situate their work and more importantly their architectural ideas within the context of the larger flows of cultural history. They are asked to critically examine their own design agenda and to position it relative to larger disciplinary transformations occurring due to the evolving position of the Architect in society. The institutional goal is thus to have each student directly engage the problem of the status of the Architect within contemporary society and to position themselves within the evolving landscape of the discipline…The best of these talks suggest a self-reflective awareness of the external forces affecting Architecture, thus allowing the student to entertain the possibility of becoming an active agent in the evolution of what it means to be an architect today.” –Stephen Turk

    Above: Calendar of exit talks

    The talks took/take place over three days, with finalist presentations the following week. Immediately following each talk the students meet with their jury for an oral examination. The topics range over a variety of topics and issues depending on interests. This year to name but a few we looked at the relationship of architecture and Broadway, Voids as a form of memory, vernacular architecture as strategies for design, interiority (aptly named “Interiority Complex”), and participatory architecture/architects ownership over a design. Being one of the students partaking it has been more than another academic exercise; on a broad level it has helped me to realize, to quote Herman Hertzberger, “Why Architecture?”, a question that every student (and probably professionals) will ask themselves multiple times with varying certainty.

    Above: Finalist presentations

    “The talks are more about the establishment of beginnings rather than simply an examination of things being left behind. The Exit Review is really not about exiting at all but rather about entering; entering the profession and entering the greater community of cultural practitioners.”-Stephen Turk

    Above: Talk in-progress

    That would’ve made for a great conclusion, but there’s another bit to touch on, the bigger picture of the talks. The talks began concurrently with a competition project of our choosing, which was an opportunity for us to start investigating our interests, whether running by intuition or a concrete formulation. We finished that project and then focused our on our talks. Immediately following the talks we then completed a week-long (or slightly less) sketch-project you could say. The premise, to both further investigate and physically manifest our idea(s) that we are working through. Photos of some of the projects below.

    Above: Competition boards

    Above: Exit projects

    Happy Friday!

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About this Blog

This blog will be a feeder for recent news, events and student work occurring at the Knowlton School at The Ohio State University. Posts will typically center around updates from the school's lecture series, exciting projects from recent student reviews and updates from other school events.

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