How good is the Crit as a means of educating Architects dead?

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How good is the Crit as a means of educating Architects dead?

Postby ze lemon » Fri Nov 05, 2004 12:38 am

Recently when I presented my ideas on the use of langauge in schools of architecture (a thesis topic) & used the crit scenario as a case study however the Professors at my school claimed that the crit as a means of educating Architects is dead. They did not offer an alternative but claimed that it lacks a pedgagocial structure & is undermined by certain critics (those who play the audience with foul language & those who think students will hold anything they say as valuable & feel they can ignore the context of the discussion ie. by not reading the brief)

However I as student feel the crit helps me to focus my efforts & the scenario itself helps me to develop my communication & presentation skills particularly my verbal skills. I cant see any other format being as successful as the crit with these aims in mind.

What I'd like to know is what do people think of the crit as a learning tool & can anyone think of any alternatives to the crit?
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Re: How good is the Crit as a means of educating Architects dead?

Postby xequalszero » Sun Nov 07, 2004 6:08 pm

my own experience of crits have been that they dont offer any useful insights into the design procedure.
my tutors never seem to differ on opinion during the crit, especially if there is a guest then everything that he/she says is merrily backed up by the tutors who will then in a week or so to ignore all that advice and following what he wants you to
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Re: How good is the Crit as a means of educating Architects dead?

Postby L1 » Fri Nov 12, 2004 9:18 pm

Seems to me that crits are about architecture rather than learning. When I was in college students whose projects were competent but uninspiring perhaps, were often passed over. In the sense that being part of the culture of architecture, debating it etc. helps students, then it is beneficial, but as a learning tool I think the studio is more the focus.
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Re: How good is the Crit as a means of educating Architects dead?

Postby allan_atlee » Thu Dec 09, 2004 5:17 am

While the crit remains one of the true mysteries for students of architecture it represents at its best the embodiment of enlightened and liberal education.
Your professors no doubt are feeling the pressures of the professionalisation of teaching and therefore struggle to measure the pedagogical value of the crit.
Similarly our individualistic and consumerist contemporary obsessions lead students to expect the crit to respond solely to the project they have spent months working on.
However the crit is a (perhaps artificial) way of generating a general discussion about architecture and its potential role in society. In effect the specific project on display is only a vehicle for discussing more general themes and general ways of describing the value of architecture.
From my experience as a student and teacher of architecture the crit is rarely seen as the primary means to assess the individual student. Good schools understand that the autonomy and freedom of intellectual debate is increasingly threatened by the 'measure monkeys' who would have us believe that good architectural investigation can be quantified or multiple choiced into submission.
Of course none of this makes the stresses and strains placed upon students striving to achieve a degree any easier to cope with. However its worth remebering that first class students rarely make first class architects. Is it not better to pursue an agenda of 'serious play' (still the best definition of architectural study and investigation I know) and forget about satisfying the conservative and reactionaly orthodoxy of the greybeards who occupy too many seats on university crit panels?
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Re: How good is the Crit as a means of educating Architects dead?

Postby Bingo Bango » Mon Dec 13, 2004 3:33 pm

Quite agree, allan - death to the measure monkeys!

serious play is a great term for what architecture schools should be doing - we operate on a studio based system of learning for the most part and this is where we should be assessed - in our natural habitat!

the crit seems out of place as a means of examining students in a way completely foreign to how they have been taught - rarely does any really useful information pass to the student at the actual crit or in feedback instead critters, and guest critters i believe often use the crit simply as a forum for getting their own views across and to hell with the student they happen to be talking about.

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