Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Excuses and Ranting . . .

The Doctor has been away the past few days dealing with personal engagements and architectural design reviews at dear Old State . . . . or Penn State for you non-Nittany Lions.

And it pains me to say that I am somewhat disturbed at the quality of work being pursued at the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. I don't know why the quality of work is changing, whether the reason is related to a generational attitude, internal academic politics, the new building, or just a general lack of passion for architecture.

Historically the Third Year studio sequence is a rigorous, inspirational, frustrating, yet academic life-altering two-semester slog. You pushed to execute better work. You drew better. You built models--a lot of models. You worked, scrutinized, and criticized. You began to understand Kahn, Mies, and Corb. You knew architecture and architects--and they served as your precedents for personal design growth. You tried to arrive at the perfect parti and extrapolated from that departure point. You began to generate opinions about the garishness of Michael Graves or the reveal secret admirations for Venturi. You cared about architecture.

I failed to see that same passion in a lot of the work presented the other day. I hope I am wrong and am merely looking back through a lens that distorts my own academic past.

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