On to the crit day. Actually it’s quite interesting. The day of my crit went down like this… I left off with another friend at 9am from her place (because I crashed at her place that night). We were supposed to arrive there by 9am. I checked my messages and exclaimed to my friend that according to my tutors who sent a group message to our unit… no one was there to pin up!! That’s absolutely crazy and as well embarrassing because we were cross critting with another unit. Crit starts at 9:30am officially. I also realised that I had a missed call from my tutor A so I called back and he was asking where I was and I told him I was near the building but need to get some printing done (as they were my final drawings — quite crucial). He let me go and I just printed in 30 minutes (saw a studio mate there) and came back to pin up. They started crit for the other unit. No one from ours pined up (oh gosh!!!). So I started pinning up half way. I stopped mid way because I needed to take notes for a friend. Midway taking notes one of my unit friends came up to me and said tutor B wants her to go first. I asked her should I take down my stuff but at that moment tutor B pulled her outside the room. Later on she and another of my unit mate came in and they both started pinning up. Afterwards they had their crit. During their crit tutor B tried defending them because the external crit tutors were asking questions like why did you design it in that way because it does not respond at all to the site. Tutor B said it is more about experimentation and that’s what they try to promote in the unit and it is what the student wanted to do. The student gave a really weird face and up till now I still don’t know what that meant. Anyway, when they finished critting two of my friends, tutor B had a discussion with the external tutors about what they were basing their marking on. They said how the students apply their research and respond to the conditions of the site and roughly about how the function of the space created would bring to the immediate users and if that is effective is an important part of how they grade. The development is also important.
Then lunch break happened. I came back and it was my turn but tutor B just sat down at someone elses work. I really hope it’s because I was still eating, which is why he decided to do that not because the external tutors changed. So finally it came to my round. I was scared because I knew the quality and quantity of my work was really poor. However I still had confidence because I knew that I had a strong basis for what I was designing. I had reason as to how it could impact certain groups of people and the tutors found an interest. The head of the head of architecture director was there and he was really sweet to me. I think we all came to an unspoken mutual understanding that my work lacked work… but then they were so helpful in directing me and encouraging me and giving me advice.
The next day, was the year 3 crit. At the end of the day we sat down for discussion as a unit. Amongst many things, the thing that I found the weirdest was that tutor B was really and oddly concerned about what was cool and uncool and what was pretty and not. I was thinking… was he not there!? Didn’t he realise that even people with amazing work or seemingly pretty stuff could have been more harsh as well!? Of course it is important to care about the quality but at the end of the day, they cannot fail you if you have a fair basis for your design. I suppose it’s better to strive for higher but I thought the focus was a little too much on what was cool and uncool because what is architecture when it’s for self glory?
Anyway, it’s too early to say anything. We just finished the first project… we still have a final one. Hopefully the students and the tutors can learn together and continue to grow not only in our understanding of architecture but as well as our relationships as a team unit!
Crit – the day where the architecture student pins up their work on a wall and explains their project in front of tutors and critics and their peers. They will receive either advice, approval, disapproval or be left in confusion.
Unit – in second and third year for our uni, we are split into units and we decide which unit we want to get into at the beginning of the year and it is not possible for us to change at any stage after we have been accepted in. Units consist of at least two tutors to three.
Tutors – Are meant to guide the students but not spoon feed them.