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SSCE, Week 3, Day 10: A Critical Situation

July 12, 2010


If you’ve never had the good fortune to be a part of two three-hour sessions of design presentations and critiques … well, then you aren’t me.  It was Marathon Monday today as we presented completed projects for our Representation and Studio classes, both of which were critiqued by our professors, peers, and even a few invited guests!

So, the morning started off with presentations of our finished AutoCAD plates in our Representation class.  The act of presenting and critiquing draftings is just about as exciting as it sounds, so I will spare you all of the thrilling details; however, I finally figured out that I can upload my files to the blog, so if you click on the link below you can take a look at my finished drafting for yourself!

RFischer – High Line Park AutoCAD Drafting (PDF)

The afternoon, meanwhile, was consumed with presenting our much larger and more comprehensive Studio projects, consisting of a materials study with accompanying construction drawings and a lighting analysis.  This is a photo of my setup, with my lighting analysis on top, construction drawings in the middle, and the physical models below:

And here is a closer look at my finished models (clothespins), with accompanying original materials experiments.

As you can see, the idea behind this presentation was to have a complete, documented project, similar to what I assume will be required for actual critiques as a Parsons grad student.  It looks like a lot of work … because it is!  Presentation days, despite the amount of work they require, are always fun though because you get to see the result of everyone else’s hard work as well.

For the presentations, Eva, our Studio professor, invited some outside guests (mostly practicing architects or professors) to provide some fresh insight into our projects.  The guests were really interested in my first, more organic, “hatch shell” model, which used the clothespin springs to hold together the pieces of wood in a random, but organized and carefully planned, structure (see above, upper left).  They thought it was a good study of the capabilities of the clothespin, and they offered some interesting suggestions on how to improve it in the future, such as focusing more on springs themselves, and creating a much larger, more comprehensive study of all of the possible uses of a clothespin.

That’s one thing I’ve learned about Parsons critiques; they inevitably lead to the conclusion: next time think about it a different way, and do it bigger!

The guests also asked, again and again, about why I made certain design choices that I did.  Luckily, I managed to come up with an answer for all of them, but it really made me realize how even the smallest of decisions can be scrutinized in a design, so I better be prepared to answer for them.  The questioning was much more intense than I am used to in the theatre world, where most people trust you with the small decisions in favor of discussion of the bigger picture.  Lesson learned, though.  This should be good preparation for the fall, too!

Here, again, are copies of my files for you to view, including my lighting study and my construction drawings:

RFischer – Clothespin Structure Draftings (PDF)

RFischer – Clothespin Structure Lighting Study (PDF)

So, after a long day of presentations and critiques the studio was completely emptied out by 8:00PM!  A rarity if ever there was one!  Usually there are people there working furiously until the building closes.  Hopefully everyone went home to get some much needed rest to prepare for the final push when we receive our final Studio projects tomorrow!


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