Architectural Beginning Design Studio 02



Final Review Preparation and Processing


Thoughts on preparing for, and constructively processing a final review:


-          First and foremost, remember that it is your critique. 

-          Choreograph every aspect of your presentation with great vigor and care.  Introduce each critic to your presentation in a manner most conducive to your design ideas.  Think of your presentation as one composition, with a very specific hierarchy to it.  Be sure all necessary information is there for the critic to engage in proper magnitude, and in the order in which it needs to be engaged.  

-          Each drawing, model, collage, photograph, etc should be incorporated into your verbal presentation.  This serves two main purposes, both involving the building and demonstration of a confident project.  First, it presents a clear, cohesive statement to a critic, immediately putting them in a position to either engage it seriously, or not truly engage it at all.  More importantly though, the material itself can serve as “cue cards” of sorts for you, in case you get stuck or lose your train of thought.

-          Every aspect of the presentation should be taken into consideration.  This can / should include:

o        Your presentation itself should engage, and shape, the space within which its being presented.  The presentation itself is a demonstration of how effective you can be in orchestrating spatial experience.  Utilize the “frame” of the wall(s), lighting conditions, and incorporate any model stand into the presentation as well.

o        Presentation should not read as a series of fragments.  Each piece should be in a clear and meaningful dialogue with all other pieces, once again following the hierarchical flow required for the accurate communication of your process.

o        Visual approach to your work.  What is the first piece seen, and how is it seen?

o        Adjacent conditions (sound, other presentations too close, pedestrian traffic, etc)

-          Do NOT talk about what you don’t have, or what isn’t done as well as you had hoped.  Any good juror can see these issues for themselves, and making excuses / apologies during your crit only works to take the focus away from what you have and where you are in your process.  As we’ve been discussing all quarter, progression is only possible if you are capable and willing to engage each moment as it is, not as you wish it was.

-          Never invite questions from your critics until your well-orchestrated presentation is complete.  There should be no “I’m sorry, I didn’t get enough sleep and am not thinking clearly, so why don’t you just ask me questions to get me started?”. 

-          If a critic brings a dogmatic alternative agenda to your critique, do your best to keep your composure and consider it a great opportunity to clarify your own position.  While it is always prudent to choose your battles carefully, engaging situations of this nature by tactfully reasserting the agenda of the studio and your interpretation of it can be of great benefit to your overall design abilities.  Remember – Any opportunity for you to construct a position is time well spent.

-          Consider this:  Whats worse?  When a critic goes off on how they hate your project, or when a critic has nothing to say at all?  To a great degree, any response is a positive sign – the more vehement the response, the better.  You can only illicit a response when something is in fact being communicated.  If your work doesn’t communicate, you have much bigger problems than a fiery review.

-          As this has very much been a group effort, it would be valid for you to have crit “buddies” nearby to provide a gentle, refocusing nudge if necessary (for you or a renegade juror).

-          While critiques can / should be very valuable, no 20-30 minute crit can ever make or break 10 (or more) weeks of hard work and sincere effort.  Approach the crit simply as a great opportunity to get feedback from fresh eyes.  When the crit is over, weigh the reactions you’ve received, take from it what you will, and move on.  Above all else, enjoy the ride!