In the Eyes of an Architecture Student: Projects and their Realities

Hi everyone!I’m back again this week to discuss the topic: Projects and their Realities!

No matter what your major is, or whatever your specific task is at your workplace, I’m sure you’ve asked yourself why you’ve been assigned to do such a task, and how it benefits your future in terms of employment or its effects on the world.

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As an architecture student, I often find myself doing the same.
Actually, I often find it TOO difficult to detach myself from what’s assigned in my classes. This may sound normal, but for me, it’s been a bit of an issue sometimes because I’m human and tend to take things a little too seriously and personally sometimes. It’s mostly an issue during presentations and critiques. Projects are often given in prompts detailing certain parameters we can work in, and are often situated within real sites. Oftentimes, we visit these sites and document them, looking deep into the details of their location and questioning why certain buildings or clusters of buildings, are situated as they are, and interpreting why we think they look the way that they do. Projects must have some sort of root within their site, which makes them feel more real, as though my design in the end will be an actual constructed building. In other words, I suppose it is the nature of our work that inevitably makes it feel ultra-personal. I put a lot of thought and sometimes even pull from memories to detail design proposals, and that’s what makes it feel almost embarrassing (probably not the right term)  to present my ideas in front of these award-accredited professors and critics, and when they critique my work in even a bit of a harsher tone, I find myself feeling the blow to my ego.
But, really, the issue was how I framed my mindset about the projects. The presentations are simply supposed to be discussions with guests so we can be provided with fresh, outside perspectives rather than just our own professors’ suggestions. The presentations often become tense experiences because of intimidation about our preconceptions about people and their status and our imagined view of their judgements on us, which then influences us to dress as best as we can (which isn’t always the most comfortable attire) and pull all-nighters so that the images we print out for the pin-up display will be our best representation of our ideas and, in turn, ourselves. The point is, whatever feedback the critics give, they’re all about improving the ideas we’ve presented to them- the feedback is not meant to be a personal attack on ourselves (usually), But yes, the feedback they give also makes the projects feel more real, because it is a discussion on hypothetical scenarios of our design, which is meant to prepare us for future projects that may actually be constructed live!
For the projects themselves, on the other hand, I think it’s safe and completely reasonable to think about them as a real-life setting so we can completely immerse ourselves in the design process and best discover what interests us most, and the logical design features behind those interests.

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Unfortunately I gotta launch back into my assignments again, but I’m so excited to hear your comments and thoughts on this blog!
Ciao 🙂

themichiganarchitect

Fourth Year//UG University of Michigan Taubman School of Architecture+Urban Planning Follow me and my work via Instagram :) @themichiganarchitect

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