14 February 2009

Student Works

From the comments in a post on Deezen regarding the posting of a student project.

eeeh..Why are third year students around the world doing the exact same thing? No context, no meaning, no function, scaleless…. it could be anything, it could be a toy or a villa or a museum. No thought of the art. No, it has to be enough now!

There there are many things in the long litany of complaints that I must agree with:

  • Student works should be shared and commented on in public forums like this.
  • Students should be allowed to experiment.
  • It is easy to claim something is derivative because it looks sort of like it falls into one camp or another that critics have typed famous architects into or that architects have claimed as their own. Also note that such claims of derivation seem to be a name dropping game. How many times can we drop the name Zaha Hadid? Perhaps the student was actually inspired by some lesser known work of Jungermann. Or perhaps Hadid is as influenced by her tools as these students are.
  • However, the point of such encouragement is to allow for a broader base of critique.

So ...

  • Buildings have context. Most student projects that get shown off like this are entirely lacking in context. For instance, in the article linked to above, where in Queens could you even put such a thing, and what sort of dialog would it establish with the surrounding architecture? Would it become nothing but a larger version of the Golden Turd?
  • Buildings have function. Judging from the interior shots of this structure, the only function the building serves is to create space. As someone asked already, where would you hang the art?
  • Buildings, certainly public buildings, need to relate to people.
  • Overlooking these factors is not intellectual experimentation, it is intellectual laziness. On the other hand, learning where your weaknesses are and overcoming them is a critical part of learning.

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