Final Architectural Review is in 12 DAYS – Yikes!!!

Posted On: December 5, 2010
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Why are great ideas so often, NOT realized?  There are numerous common factors that I have seen as an Architecture Design professor, and all will find their way into my Blog at some point.  As we approach the ending of the semester, which of course includes the completion of my student’s final projects, the battle rages on between the student and the IDEA and the finite amount of time they have left to develop it.

Concept Graphic Board

My Design IV Students(the last Studio before applying to Upper Division) are in the final countdown to their Review before Winter Break. During our last Studio class I jokingly called it the “12 days of MUMMAW“. This is the name my young grasshoppers call me. It got me thinking about their struggles with PROCESS and maintaining a logical disciplined action plan for completing their Projects in order to validate the IDEA they have been working on for about 6 weeks.

This is not a stylized design process, but a generic action plan to take on their creative minds and manifest their ideas into solutions so their idea can be presented to the Architectural Jury and of course me for their final grade.

Design IV - Pier Museum

I thought this subject was timely and offer it to all architectural students who, in universities across the globe, are facing the same thing.

12 Days from Pin-Up – PROCESS

  • Know your objectives. Minimum Work required by the Professor. Things that must be finished and included in your presentation – What you will be graded on.

Pin-Up Table

  • Plan your schedule. Break the project into parts, schedule it on specific days & times, especially if you are working and have outside school commitments.
  • Make progress all of your objectives together at the same time. Block out your plans, sections  3d graphics to scale. This will give you all measurements for your model(and allow you to identify model “parts”) and also a visual look at the graphics you must compose on your Pin-Up.
  • Build the primary elements of your model. Structure, Major enclosing planes & Volumes.
  • Continue a back and forth sequence of working in graphic mode then model building so they both develop together. This will ensure everything that is required is complete. Don’t over develop one part at the sacrifice of another part. That hurts the overall grade:(
  • Set your deadline 2 Days before the Review so you  can use the last 2 days to compose your Pin-Up Boards and practice your presentation and allows you to sleep:) . Confucius(or MUMMAW) says “Strong work and a weak presentation makes for a challenging Review”.

    Student Presenting his Project

I encourage all students to work with intensity in the beginning of this Countdown period. This early momentum jump-starts the Work and immediately gives the student confidence in knowing they are making progress.

Don’t keep designing because it is more fun than production. I call this being “seduced” by your project. Design Development is always more enticing than drawing boring plans & elevations but you must be disciplined. We NEVER STOP DESIGNING, we just run out of time. This is a life-long challenge especially in professional practice. Let the orginal IDEA shine and take the left over ideas with you to the next project.

It continues to be a challenge communicating these principles to even the most motivated students. I am fortunate to teach motivated, passionate young men & women with natural “gifts. They all gravitate towards their natural strengths and avoid the challenging aspects of their educational development. The ones who identify and then embrace this PROCESS blossom right in front of us:)

What do students think are the toughest challenges in the Final Project Development stages?

“Mummaw” -Adjunct Professor of Architecture – Palm Beach State College