From the Eyes of an Architecture Student: Studio Workspace Experience

Hi Everyone!

I’m back again to discuss this week’s topic: Studio Workplace Experience.
You’re probably going back to the title, re-reading it, and scratching your head in confusion, like what the heck is she talking about?!
Well, to clarify, this week I will be sharing with you my experience and observance of how my classmates and I work on projects (and sometimes a plethora of other assignments and activities)in our work spaces within studio or our other favorite lounges or nooks within the Art and Architecture Building.
So, in case I have not mentioned in my previous posts, our studio space is located on the third floor of the architecture side of the building, and extends across the common space of the new wing, into the new, secluded studios. “Studio space” simply refers to the literal rows of desks that we do all of our project crafting in. Often, whenever you walk by, it’s quite easy to tell when a review (presentation) is coming up, because that is when most (or all) our desks are junked up with piles and piles of papers of various sizes (there’s blueprint sized papers, and then there’s nicer expensive print-outs on poster-sized papers, and then there’s just ordinary print papers too), piles of models and sometimes even residue of the craft (scraps of material, crumbs, knives, trash bags, you name it).
Personally, I really love my studio desk. Why? Well, it’s my personal space. I store whatever I want there conveniently, I decorate it however I wish, there’s plenty of USB and electrical outlet plugs right at my desk, and I’m a bit of a clean freak so it’s often impossible for me to efficiently work elsewhere because I’d spend too much time pickily searching for the “perfect desk” where it’s non-shaky, it’s clean, and spacious, with easy access to electrical outlets. Also, it’s considered my property (at least for the time being until I switch to a new desk next semester) so even if there is someone borrowing my desk, I can kick them out back to their own desk or some other space. Elsewhere, I own no property, and it’s often packed with people, so I waste my time looking for the space, and it does not even guarantee that I will get a spot.
And I even have a key to the drawers that I store my materials in. Oftentimes people leave them unlocked because of the natural “sharing culture” we have within studio, but I wouldn’t recommend doing that because:
 1) you’ve already paid $20 deposit for your drawer key. Might as well use it, right?
2) materials are expensive!! Often, I developed favorites amongst my supplies, and if it’s missing it literally feels like someone stole my child. Not to mention, sometimes things are hard to obtain another duplicate of because it’s very commonplace that the company of that object no longer produces that exact version OR they produced other versions that you aren’t fond of due to unfamiliarity or pricing.
3) Our media center (where we buy food and materials) is not always open, so if someone sees material on your desk, it’s pretty much fair game to them, and it’s often awkward and difficult to hunt down your thief due to the sharing culture of studio, along with the fact that people will take free materials whenever possible!
Anyway, all of those above reasons are likely reasons why nearly most of the people who attend our college are usually around all the time, even if we don’t have something assigned for studio. Sometimes people just hang here out of convenience. Legit, people will have meals together at their desks, and sometimes have hours’ worth of The Office watch party (using their monitors or one of the moveable campus monitors) for leisure. Or, I’ve often found myself doing non-studio work at my desk as well because of the sort of factory-like, productive nature of our studio space, along with the fact that people are constantly moving in this space, and they can and will see whatever I do and they may or may not judge my actions. I often find difficulties focusing sometimes, so this productive environment really helps keep me motivated and productive! Many of my friends feel the same way, so they do the same.
As for workplace habits, I’d say I see most people having headphones in, either listening to music or podcasts or Netflix white-noise, or even talking on the phone/video-calling. I’m one of those people who really enjoy working alongside music, and feel less motivated without the audio stimulation, especially for model-making. Other classmates I’ve seen, and definitely been sort of admirable but also confused about how they can still craft meticulously alongside watching a show. Like, come on, are you not worried you’ll slice your finger, when you’re holding one side of the material down as you slice, but your eyes aren’t the material you’re cutting?! Trust me, I’ve seen countless accidents occur simply from fatigue at 2am where the knife slips and you slice off a part of your hand- which isn’t very fun! Or, other people who are able to craft while eating a  multiple-pieced snack, like wow, are you not worried your fingerprints are gonna make an appearance on that perfect model? Or, you feel indifferent about having a sticky project? Or even a project that smells like vinegar? Anyway, who am I to judge? I just find some of my peers’ habits interesting, and accept that we are all different in our habits and values.
Well, that is all for today!
I’d love to hear your views on my insights!
As usual, if you’re interested in seeing more of my photography and studio work, give me a follow on Instagram: @themichiganarchitect !
Ciao for now 🙂

From the Eyes of an Architecture Student: Methods to Become A Better Designer

Hi everyone!

I’m back again, to discuss this week’s topic: methods to become a better designer.

Honestly, I was a bit hesitant on how to title this week’s discussion topic… mainly because I wasn’t sure if there was an actual, formal title for  it, other than just “practice” in preparation for architecture as a professional discipline in the real world.

Precisely, unlike medical students, who have cadavers to poke and cut into, or computer science students who have actual coding websites to get some very realistic, representative practice, we architecture students don’t have such a staple medium to “practice” being designers with.

In a way, yes, assignments and projects can be considered “practice” since we are expected to use our designing minds to create our own unique creations out of each given prompt, but they’re more of the education aspect of design school. We design things, get critiqued, and keep coming back to produce our own hypothetical solutions to design problems. However, I oftentimes this is more educational, because this process seems to be more about meshing our minds in a certain way as designers. Design school is meant to shape our thinking process (which I find leads to more aesthetics than technicality in problem solving in design, rather than shaping how we should be critically thinking as designers. However, this seems to be the case in most design schools now, as there seems to be a sort of identity crisis within architecture; almost like an argument about what power we do or should have as architects, and our place in the world.

Aesthetics is the way to the eyes of the consumers of buildings, which I often find is the way to build initial intrigue about the building; it’s essentially the same with people. Take Tinder for instance, you swipe left on either seemingly boring people, or unattractive people, and you swipe right for those you find as a match for your values, or physically attractive- it is our eyes that decide the initial interest. I find that this is the same reason why designers seem more concerned about the aesthetics in design. In design, aesthetics of your proposal representation not only softens critics’ hearts, but also serves quite effectively in capturing the interests of those outside of design who say, “I don’t know what that is or what it means, but it looks cool!” Our representation not only serves as the communication mechanism between us and our critics, or clients, it also serves as our method of marketing ourselves as a brand in the real world (in terms of applications to jobs, internships, and graduate schools). Perhaps it seems this way because of my limited experience as an undergraduate. From the glimpses of graduate students’ work, it seems more technicality comes in graduate level education, but even then, I find it should still be necessary to have a cohesive educational experience in terms of always being thoughtful about our designs and staying true to what real-world consequences they would have in the real world. Perhaps our undergraduate experience is suppose to serve as just an introduction to the mechanics behind being a designer, and its purpose is just to market ourselves to get jobs in either firms, or appear as attractive candidates in graduate school applications.

I have always thought about this topic, but only gotten more critical in views after my current experience of  “rodeo reviews” in class, where everyone in our third semester studio had to pin-up for presentations, and we we basically split into halves and rotated around so we could have the experience as the presenter, but also critics of each other’s work. Sounds kind of fun and casual, right? You get to show your friends your cool work, and even speak with other sections’ professors… which isn’t an incorrect description of what it was. I just spoke with classmates and gauged two types of mindsets about this whole presentation method: critical (not finding it that useful), versus positive (thought it was a nice new, different experience). Of course, there is the factor that it really depends on your luck and what students you had as your critics, or maybe even what region you were assigned to pin-up in. But, generally, it seemed that the issue was that we were just sprung onto this unfamiliar role of being forced to give specific people feedback- the selections were completely random, so most people found that they were reviewing the works of students they never really got to know, and just being put on the spot to say useful things to help others improve their work.

It was then that it struck me that being a designer is not just about being good at communicating your own ideas to the world, or making your own work look cool. It also includes the ability to understand unfamiliar work from just reading their drawings, or listening to their one presentation and asking them a few questions. What’s its relevance? Well, I’m sure at one point you’ll be forced to reflect on a colleague’s work, and it’s not too great if you just blankly stare at them or their work. Or, say you’re working with someone new and they’re not able to be there to tell you about their work and just left you to read their work temporarily. It’s good to be independent and have the ability to understand other’s work, and have a view that you can offer. I find that this ability often coincides with our own abilities to understand our own work and be able to concisely portray it in a compelling manner.

Oftentimes, I’ve found difficulties in reading others’ work from their drawings, or maybe even an uncompleted model that they have. And, it’s still something I need to work on, even though I recognized my own (ever-improving) growth in my own project’s proposal representation. But this rodeo review really opened up my eyes to that observation, and the way that I was really glad that my improvements in my own representation seems to have opened my mind to this newfound ability to understand others’ work and what they have drawn or modeled, and draw upon my own experiences to give them helpful feedback to improve the way they can further portray their ideas more effectively and clearly. I used to find reviewing other people’s work a bit boring, and super irrelevant to my own work, but now I am grateful to say I can finally understand why our education is designed in such a way to allow for this sort of learning to occur.

It also occurs to me that this isn’t the only way to become a better designer. I can continue learning and applying these skills to real firm’s proposals, and perhaps offering memorable and helpful insight to firms during interviews or the actual internship. And it would circle back to helping me step back from my own work, and be able to see flaws in my representation rather than having always been so dependent upon my professors’ feedback to help me decide on what views to produce for my proposals.


Well, that’s all for this week!

So excited to write again next week!

Ciao 🙂

From the Eyes of an Architecture Student: Has being in Architecture School Brought on Odd Habits?

Hi everyone!

I’m back again this week to write about this week’s topic: Odd Habits (acquired from Architecture School?).

So, “odd habits,” what does she mean? you must be thinking.

Well, I say “odd habits” in reference to habits that you may call bad or just downright strange, or maybe they’re just neutrally necessary habits. They’re really just small, amusing things that I realize I notice on a daily basis, or I “step back” to see the big picture and realize they’re things I pretty much only see within my studio setting, or even just the art and architecture building (aka AAB) in general.

  1. Whenever there’s (free) food present at an event, we tend to bud in, or even just walk near the region to see if we can snag some, even if we did not RSVP etc… #brokedesignstudents #spendentirewalletonprojects
  2. We really wish free printing (of all sizes and media honestly) was a thing. Like, c’mon, we pay for all our supplies and materials for ourselves (yes, even desk lamps and mini heaters as necessary), yet, whenever we need to print something, either the nearest printer(s) are down or printing to them ends up being a rip-off because we’ve worked SO hard to produce the best images in their best resolution quality and then the printer is just jacked-up and has stripes of pink (yes, randomly) per page… just 🙁 is my reaction, along with the feeling that my wallet has an unfix-able hole in it
  3. There’s only one media center store in this whole facility… and unfortunately, not the most accessible in all of its destinations. So we’ll often find ourselves in awkward situations where we either have to carry large materials (along with food sometimes if we’re extra lazy and refuse to make an extra trip down to the store) long distance, and if we’re lucky, we’ll be able to safely transport that material all the way back to our desks without running into anyone we know or getting any scuffs or marks and fingerprints on the materials we just emptied our wallets over.
  4. We get used to overpriced everything, really. Materials are claimed as “discounted” but honestly, it’s just a dollar or two cheaper. The food there isn’t unaffordable, but it’s also not a good deal… they have both unhealthy and healthy selections to cater to both preferences, but prices are still (mostly) more expensive than what you could find on a regular basis at U-Go’s or Mujo’s at the Dude. The main reason why people still constantly buy food there is mostly out of convenience, willingness to pay that extra two dollars to keep from having to do a twenty minute run to the Dude.
  5. Seeing people fall asleep in class(es) or Studio in general is no shocker. Honestly, everyone here has different lifestyles. Some people pretty much don’t sleep and somehow still look alive. Others barely scrape by with three hours. Others are even as lucky to get five hours of sleep daily on average, and then we all pass out on the weekends (figure of speech).
  6. We don’t got time for #basic scissors. We’ve become accustomed to the perfection and definitive cut via Olfa knives. Need to cut some paper? Olfa. Need to chop some wood strips? Olfa. Struggling to open that bag of gummy worms? Olfa. We will do this anywhere and everywhere. (Yes, I have a collection of Olfa’s.)
  7. We become natural hoarders and scavengers. We agree with the statement, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” even if we don’t explicitly say so. We regularly check-out the dumps for extra materials, and proudly take them back to our desks to incorporate them into our projects, or even preserve for other future projects. I tend to find myself reluctant to dispose of past material scraps “just in case” I’ll need it again. I think we’ve all experienced that moment in the past when we’ve discarded scraps and then realized a while later that we needed that material again, but not too much of it, and end up totally regretting the fact that we ever discarded anything. Legit, all of us have these boxes under our desks filled with materials of all shapes, sizes, and textures.
  8. Everyone here dresses stylishly. Maybe not STAMPS level, but there’s definitely the “designer look” going around. Whether it’s all-black apparel ensembles, or high-waisted, perfect-fitting pants, I’m not sure what it is but everyone here has no problem expressing their uniqueness through both their work and appearances.
  9. The lingo we use to describe our work, I often find also is the same manner in which we see the world and talk with others even to those who are not also in design school. It’s a mindset I guess. Or maybe it’s just still something we all need to learn as designers, to be able to effectively communicate between disciplines using the appropriate language.
  10. The professors often expect much more from us, but also are very understanding and diplomatic with deadlines if we all unite and discuss things with them beforehand, After all, this whole school is dependent on shared spaces, and that often is reflected to classes’ professors being aware of each others’ topics and assignment deadlines.


Honestly, the list could go on, but I must get back to grappling with my current project now.

Anyhow, I hope ya’ll found these as amusing as I did! Or maybe you might even learned a thing or two about the harsh reality of design students and their (likely) odd lifestyles. Let me know what you think 🙂

Ciao for now 🙂

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.


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.


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

From the Eyes of an Architecture Student: Classwork Loads



Hi Everyone! I know it’s kind of late, but bear with me! I’m suffering too :'(

I’m back again this week, with this week’s topic: Classwork Load!

A little off topic, but I caught myself reminiscing about my days back in grade school and high school, when I was practically praying I’d end up going to college here! It was a sort of bittersweet, unexpected flashback, and I can’t really remember what brought me back into those memories, but I think it was just me feeling really overwhelmed and pessimistic about all of the assignments and projects being thrown at me every single week! I had these flashbacks of me studying as hard as I could for my AP exams, and the awful ACT, and feeling like it would be the end of the world if I didn’t end up going to school for architecture here at Michigan. And now, here I am, begging the workload for mercy, and cursing myself for having chosen such an expensive, draining discipline. It’s just the awful truth, for me at least (honestly, it really depends on who you ask in the program). Architecture for me here has always had its ups and downs. I call it my love-hate relationship with architecture.

Many non-design people would ask me, “so what’s the workload like?” and after hearing me say something like “It’s quite heavy, I’m lucky if I get to work from home, but most of the time I practically live at my studio desk,” they’d say “wow, that sounds like so much fun, it’s arts and crafts in college!”

Yeah, yes but no to that statement.^

Do I enjoy architecture here at Michigan? Yes, BUT I also have moments when I’d say no. Usually, those moments are during the execution of my ideas (ideas, being the “yes” part of why I enjoy this discipline). I say yes for the brainstorming, imaginary fantasy moments of a project- where I’ve developed or am developing a proposal for the prompt’s concepts. Then no, for the execution parts- the actual virtual modeling of my sketches, making sure it’s physically possible and feasible to construct, or sometimes even I get designers’ block (like writer’s block) where I can’t think of any novel ideas!! But all of that was mostly about the studio work (which is a pretty big deal because these are the courses where you can grow as  a creative designer getting feedback from amazing faculty, and the fact that these courses cost your GPA 5 credit hours). The rest of the workload comes from the technical classes that compliment studio work (such as design theory courses, experimental courses, historical courses, etc), which honestly, despite knowing it’s knowledge essential to being a great architect one day, feels more like busy work compared to studio work. Often, I find I focus mostly on studio work, and that gets most of my free hours, and then, (thank goodness for planners) when I finally remember something is due soon or the next day, I’d hurriedly do those other assignments. In other words, to summarize, studio work, no matter who you ask, will tell you it is a heavy workload, and everything gets second priority (much like how you’d probably find your vegetables being pushed to the side during your dinner: vegetables- necessary and healthy essential nutrients, BUT getting ourselves to eat it raw is like pulling teeth).

“So how do you deal with all of this?’ you’re probably asking. Or maybe you’re an Mgineer and think “pssssh this ain’t nothing compared to what I have to do for my classes.”

Well, as I imagine several other students (of all disciplines) do, I definitely invest a great deal of my sanity and faith in my planner- yes, a physical, paper planner.

I don’t know about you, but I greatly appreciate physical editions of books and planners for the like- it’s like I feel more assured knowing I’m clutching the exact item which holds every possible thing that I need to do in a day (or the week), and I love physically crossing things the items on my list off as I complete them- it’s this feeling of a satisfying sort of crisp validation to cross it off and to see the item(s) crossed off. And it operates that way too, since I often find that when I check back with my planner to make sure I got everything done, or a reminder for what’s to come, if I find something isn’t crossed out, I feel guilty and pressured to get it complete! So, for me, a planner serves as a highly necessary device that keeps my tasks in engraved in the grains of its pages, it motivates me to get things done or even prioritize tasks, and helps me to prepare my life for the near future (especially helpful when booking appointments because then I’d just open up my planner and my planner tells me when I am free!).

The second part to my coping mechanism for this workload is to breathe. Yes, as simple as that. I really find it helps me relax a bit, and literally take some weight off my shoulders from the virtual burdens of life that I’ve created for myself. I inhale, exhale, as many times as needed (you can think of it as a sort of meditative ritual) until I feel better again and ready to take on life and classes again. Or if all else fails, I take a nap, since I find it isn’t unusual for me to get a headache or heavy eye strain by the end of my day. A warm cup of tea can help too, I especially love chamomile, black, and green teas! They smell so good, just inhaling the scent, beside a candle really makes me feel relaxed as though everything’s going to be totally okay, even if I have a project due tomorrow and I’m just halfway done as I am right now.

So, what do you think? Did my insight shock you? Enlighten you? And what coping mechanisms do you employ to help you get through life? Drop me a comment, I love hearing from you all! And I’m always willing for you all to pick each week’s blog subject- I want to know what you wanna know!!

And, another shameless plug, if you’re interested in seeing the work I do, or what kinda life I live, give me a follow on instagram at themichiganarchitect !

I look forward to hearing from you all! I love writing for you guys 🙂

Alrighty, I’ll write again next week, goodnight everyone! And hope ya’ll stay healthy cuz GOSH the weather here is driving me insane!!

Architecture and its Inspirations: from the Eyes of an Architecture Student

Hi Everyone!

I’m back again this week’s topic: Design Inspirations!

So, I’m curious, what things or what places would you guess we as aspiring designers get our ideas (please don’t say “your mind” or anything of the like)?

Take a moment, think THINK, give a guess?

Well, I’m going to give an educated guess about your guess, and say that you most likely said something along the lines of something on this known universe!! Like, famous precedents of the past, or perhaps a current proposal from a starchitect? Or even mundane, everyday objects? Experiences from our own memories? Or maybe even something that happened to us, almost as though in parallel to Newton being hit in the head by an apple?

So, this is gonna sound lame, but I’d consider all of the above as listed, as a partially right answer. I mean, we’re still humans, and we draw our ideas from live experiences from our human minds, so yes, all of the above could serve as points of inspiration, since they are all valid sources of Earthly experiences that can feed into our designs.

But, I say partially, because, all of those things are just the factors that serve more like kick-offs to further ideas into our designs. In other words, they’re like the lighter to firecrackers- they serve their single purpose to ignite the flame, and the rest of the party happens a few moments later, after having had time to absorb and chemically react to the ignition.


As a design student, we are often given a relatively detailed yet open-ended prompt to give us some context and general guidelines for the proposal that we are to make. Usually, I read it over a few times and look into any words I find confusingly used or I’m unfamiliar with, then try to interpret the prompt as concisely as I can in my own way, as I often find this to be the best way for me to understand what is expected of me and narrows down my scope of research for inspiration for my proposal!

In my current studio, we are doing a partnered project and our prompt is to make a facility to allow for the storage and display of artwork/artifacts primarily, but we are free to add any additional programs as we see fit.

My partner and I came to a compromise and agreed that our proposal is to make a facility that primarily functions as storage for artwork and artifacts of any medium and size (with just the limit that it must be able to fit within our site, and estimated square footage), and it would be able to accommodate for pop-up exhibitions through proactively interactive elements from the infrastructure of our facility.

From this, our first assignment (under this overarching project) is to (as best) clarify and demonstrate our first-pass ideas to actually build such a facility. We call this phase another research process, where we gather what other information we need, and create concept drawings (usually quick sketches) to communicate our thoughts in how we imagine as “answering” this “question” of how to make a storage facility that can also have interactive elements that change the building’s function from storage to pop-up exhibition. And these concept drawings then lead to concept models, also known as sketch models, which are usually pretty ratchet, and serve as a first attempt for us to literally get our hands on our ideas, and it shows us what does or doesn’t work, and usually also functions as yet another source of inspiration for more of ideas, which then lead to an ongoing cycle of creating other concept drawings and concept models.

Usually, what happens after this is, we present our ideas through talking with our studio professor about the idea, showing him our concept sketches along with that, showing him our concept model(s) and then explaining what elements of our ideas worked/didn’t work from those first-pass models. The professor would then usually reword the purpose of your proposal, to verify that we are on the same page of what ideas we are trying to portray. Then, he will critique what you’ve just showed to him, and when things can be done differently to be more effective, he will suggest his own ideas and even insight on how to make such amendments to our initial ideas. Sometimes, this can be pretty frustrating and end up in tears and torn up models and drawings, and you end up pursuing a whole new idea. Other times, we get the “okay” and continue to build upon it, revising drawings to make them ultra-clear to read, and building further models if necessary to clarify or experiment on a specific topic from those previous models.


So, my partner and I each decided to make our own study models over this weekend (since we agreed that we may each come up with interesting elements that we can then combine to create a perfectly partnered proposal afterwards).

I chose to tackle our proposal by brainstorming three potential methods for the storage infrastructure to become pop-up exhibitions. I asked myself, how can I create something that can assume both identities as storage and interactive exhibition spaces? Naturally, I went on Pinterest, and got hooked on images of origami til parametric architecture; essentially the idea of folding elements to create a new object and or space- I was envisioning elements that could be folded to save space, but also add elements of surprise to the space, especially if they could be reconfigured, or we play with different colors, textures, or  materials.

And I came up with these three ideas, initially concept drawings, where I attempted to sketch what I was imagining, and then going back, scrutinizing that chicken scratch of a sketch, and writing down possible logistics on what would help it to function, and what would keep it from functioning well. In the image below, you can see I attempted to give each idea a sort of summary title (which helps to keep me focused on what the sketch should be and what purpose and elements it should have).

Then, I proceeded to look upon my leftover materials, and made decisions on how the heck I would construct a rough model to display these ideas best.

This is my first model (see below), which corresponds to idea #3 from my sketchbook, and I chose to just use Bristol- kind of like a fancier cardstock. I chose this because I like the clean look of white paper, but also it is a relatively easy-to-cut material that’s cheap, and that was really all I needed because I was just looking for a way to convey my ideas in the most affordable and decent-looking way possible! It’s a bit gnarly, but it serves its purpose (and ironically, it’s sometimes the ugliest of models that inspire the critics most haha).

The second model (see image below), which is meant to display concept sketch idea #2, I decided to construct from a mix of thinly sliced4-ply museum board, a hot-pink post note I found chilling around my desk, masking tape, regular tape, some white sewing thread, and scraps of trace paper. I was shooting for different materials that could suggest different materialities, and it was also just me trying to get a handle on how to best create these forms while attempting to maintain overall stability of the standing model.

Lastly, the third model (see below), corresponds to idea #1 of my sketches, and I decided to use a mix of scrap pieces of 3-ply cardboard, 4-ply museum board, and some bristol scraps. I was simply aiming for stable materials that wouldn’t be too much of a pain to cut and scour for folds, and they would be able to stand alone when re-positioned or refolded during demonstrations.

As you may have noticed, I took as best photos as I could of these ratchet models, not just for my own enjoyment as a photographer, but also since they serve as documentation for future mentions in portfolios,  and I’ve learned the hard way that anything (drawings, sketches, mental mindset, etc) you bring to a critique can be drawn over or torn up for the interests of pursuing another idea off of your initial ideas!


I’m a little nervous and excited to present these to my partner, classmates, and professor in class tomorrow, but I’ve sort of gotten used to this feeling, as these kinds of assignments happen all the time for class.

But thanks again, to all of you, who took the time to read all the way to this exact line!! I hope you enjoyed my insights! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to respond to this post, and I’ll be so excited to read it! And if you’re interested in seeing more of my work, in and out of the studio, give me a follow on instagram: @themichiganarchitect!

Ciao 🙂