New school of Architecture in Limerick

New school of Architecture in Limerick

Postby rag » Thu May 26, 2005 8:44 pm

I felt these needed more prominance than the student issues section as the training of student gives us our architects of the tomorrow. Check out the article in today's Irish Times about UL's new school of architecture, headed by Merritt Bucholz, and due to open in September. This is long overdue in a country where over 2500 people apply for 100 places in DIT and UCD.

As a prospective student of architecture myself, it is most welcome. I, like many before me, have been depressed with the current process of entering architecture courses. In UCD, the high points put many people out of reach of the course, while not even assessing a students ability to draw or their motivation towards the career. In DIT, the testing process culls numerous applicants who would make brilliant architects. Is this really the best way to foster the designers of the future?

In contrast to this, I am able to practically walk into a place in the UK. I understand that this is also partly due out different college application systems, but I found the whole process far, far easier while applying to places in the UK. With a UCAS applcation, the colleges get a statement written by the applicant and a reference from their secondary school. From this they either make the applcant an offer or reject them, or if they feel the need, invite them to send in a portfolio of work / attend an interview. There are none of the stresses of one entrance test that decides the fate of so many in one morning.

Which brings me to the new course in Limerick. Will this just be more of the same? It has been my dream to study architecture for several years and now that I have reached the age of leaving school it is nearly within my grasp, it is just a pity that I may be unable to study in my home country.

Would I be mad to enter a such newly established course? I have been impressed by Bucholz's work, such as Limerick County offices. I'm sure there is potential to create a thriving school, but I doubt the first few years will be exceptional as people settle in and get established. The information about the course sounded promising, if a little short on detail. I rang the college earlier and the admissions office didn't have any information on the course, except that there would be 25 places available and that CAO applcants will only be assessed on points. They expected to have more details passed on to them by tomorrow.

What do people think about the current system of training our architects? Personally, I feel that it is letting far too many people who'd make brilliant architects throught the net, and that it is not meeting the needs of the country today. New schools of architecture in Limerick and Waterford cannot come quickly enough. While I think there is a need for some other assessement other than just leaving cert points, the DIT test fails many people. I don't like the way the it is assessed by educational psycologists and not the school of architecture itself. Unfortunately, I feel neither DIT, UCD or UL are doing their best to assist the entrance of their applicants with their chosen methods.

Is the current system actually meeting the needs of the country? I'm sure there are many brilliantly talented people leaving DIT and UCD; its just that they could make things a whole lot easier for the brilliantly talented people leaving school :). I just hope UL will learn from the experiance of these two.
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Re: New school of Architecture in Limerick

Postby garethace » Thu May 26, 2005 9:13 pm

The strangest thing about architectural schools, is on the one hand, it is great to get the brightest, cutting edge, talent to have as your teacher(s) in your course. On the other hand, the really brilliant architects, don't always make the best tutors either - dunno whether this had more to do with the students all clammering for the 'guy/gal with the big name',... and thereby, cancelling out a lot of the good that feature 'named' tutor could do. Or if big named people just don't make the best architectural tutors.

I think a lot of the best creative architects out there, are still just like 'kids' themselves by mid-life even, because they are still so busy turning various ideas around and experimenting with things. The mix of students who experiment, and old wiser people who are still creative at an older age, isn't always a great mix. Because there is a real clash of powers there - young people tend to get used to thinking of themselves as the most ground breaking and creative, and tend to think, they know lots more 'cool stuff' than the average 50-something year old. Except in architecture school, you often find that trend is reversed - the cool, hip, and controversial people are the older guys - the tutors, and the students themselves are often the stodgy, conservative and rigid-thinking individuals in the equation. I know that sounds really odd - but that often is the case, and it is a pretty crushing blow to any early 20-year-old, who thinks they might have something ground breaking to contribute, and then realise that they don't. :-)

I tend to find often that some of the most boring students in the class often 'get along' best, with some of the most creative tutors and visa versa. Anyone care to refute this? But largely I would imagine, that most peoples' brains aren't sufficiently growth prior to 25, to be able to make adequate use of a famous architect as their tutor. Most peoples' personalities prior to 25 would not be developed sufficiently either to stand toe-to-toe with anyone, who holds a reputation - most people under the age of 25 deal poorly at best with any kind of piers and mentors. That is the real trouble in an architecture school situation - that mentor/student thing is strained to breaking point at times. I honestly don't have the answer to this one, but I will listen to this thread with some interest all the same.

My overall feeling on this, is that there is finite and often very limited amounts of fresh air to go around in the architectural school situation. The trouble is that with both tutor and students' egos alike using up huge amounts of that finite supply of air in the building, at the one time - you do tend to reach a suffication point much faster than you normally would in a third level education system. The tutors I think do use up the fresh air at a much faster rate though, on the whole. That leaves a lot of very talented young students, left fighting over the remainder and quite simply, there is never enough to go around. The ideal situation would be, if you were to reduce the intake of fresh air in the architectural school by the tutors - you would thereby, be leaving a lot more room for the young student to breath in.

Brian O' Hanlon.
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Re: New school of Architecture in Limerick

Postby garethace » Sat May 28, 2005 8:37 pm

While I am on the subject, I will attempt to cover your question a little bit better. I think, a useful account of exactly this sort of educational politics came from Michael Lewis's book, called 'Liars Poker'. Liar's Poker is a very funny account of Michael Lewis's efforts to become an investment banker on Wall Street after his leaving business school in the 1980s. I would compare the status of the Architectural student in any University in Ireland, to that of the Japanesse described below. Every college in this country who runs a course on Architecture is very proud of their graduates, and takes comfort from the knowledge that the young people it takes on, will later do them very proud in the big bad world.

To be honest, you cannot blame the colleges for this. But it is something which the Architect just has to bear, in addition to their many other responsibilities. Architects do in large measure go on to become 'flag ship' examples, for the institutions which educated them. It is like an expensive secondary school, extended up to third level education, and futhermore, onto life itself. Maybe it is a bit sad, but that happens to be the reality. I reckon that it is the cause of much of this perceived 'need' to have a thorough 'filtering process', to try and decide who does/doesn't become an Architect. But the truth of the matter is though, with all of the filtering and efforts done by Architectural Schools to find the best young trainees, at the end of the day, architectural schools end up with just about the same spread of results as any other University faculty.

In the real world I have never seen any results, of outstandingly better individuals coming out of architectural courses, than most other courses. But for some reason, it does make university insitutions feel much better about themselves, to think they are doing something special by having a course on architecture. Which is justification enough I think - even though indirectly justified - if you can follow what exactly I mean. In short, I think it is important for the University establishments own perception of its own self-worth - that it create these Everest-like targets in terms of education - for it to try and climb. I mean honestly, even for Bolton Street and UCD colleges of Architecture, with all of their years of experience at providing an architectural education - even those guys are always on the prowl for new approaches, new ideas. Every year, presents them with new challenges, changes in staff rosters and a changing economic, political and social landscape to try and manage their course contents for.

Regards,
Brian O' Hanlon.

Each trainee had to decide for himself. Thus was born the Great Divide. Those who chose to put on a full court grovel from the opening buzzer found seats in the front of the classroom, where they sat through the entire five-month programme (lips puckered). Those who treasured their pride - or perhaps thought it best to remain aloof - feigned cool indifference by sitting in the back row, and hurling paper wads at managing directors.

Of course, there were exceptions to these patterns of behaviour. A handful of people fell between the cracks of the Great Divide. Two or three people cut deals with managing directors at the start of the programme that ensured them the jobs of their choice. They floated unpredictably, like free men among slaves, and were widely thought to be management's spies. A few trainees had back-row hearts, but also wives and children to support. They had no loyalty. They remained aloof from the front row out of disdain and from the back row out of a sense of responsibility.

I considered myself an exception, of course. I was accused by some of being a front-row person because I like to sit next to the man from Harvard School and watch him draw the organisation charts. I wondered if he would succeed (he didn't). Also, I asked too many questions. It was assumed that I did this to ingratiate myself with the speakers, like a front-row person. I lamely compensated for my curiosity by hurling a few paper wads at the important traders. And my stock rose dramatically in the back row when I was thrown out of class for reading the newspaper while a trader spoke. But I was never an intimate of those in the back row.

Of all exceptions, however, the Japanesse were the greatest. The Japanesse undermined any analysis of our classroom culture. All six of them sat in the front row and slept. Their heads rocked back and forth, and on occasion fell over to one side, so that their cheeks ran parallel to the floor. So it was hard to argue that they were just listening with their eyes shut, as Japanesse businessmen are inclinded to do. The most charitable explanation for their apathy was that they could not understand English. Their leader was a man named Yoshi. Each morning and afternoon the back-row boys made bets on how many minutes it would take Yoshi to fall asleep. They like to think that Yoshi was a calculating troublemaker. Yoshi was their hero. A small cheer would go up in the back row when Yoshi crashed, partly because someone had just won a pile of money, but also in appreciation of any man with the balls to fall asleep in the front row.

The Japanesse were a protected species, and I think they knew it. Their homeland, as a result of its trade surpluses, was accumulating an enormous pile of dollars. A great deal of money could be made sheparding these dollars from Toyko back into United States government bonds and other dollar investments. Salomon was trying to expand its office in Toyko by employing experienced locals.
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Re: New school of Architecture in Limerick

Postby PVC King » Sat May 28, 2005 9:01 pm

I am amazed at the lack of reaction to this thread, I think it is fantastic that Dublin's monopoly on architecture education has finally been ended in terms of a degree programme. :)

I hope that the course develops well and I can only question why it has taken so long for a non-Dublin based universtity course has taken so long to emerge.

As someone who has looked at a lot of plans and drawings over the years I have to say that when one sees the RIAI crest on a set of drawings it is an generally a reassuring sign. Will this course be accredited?
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Re: New school of Architecture in Limerick

Postby garethace » Sat May 28, 2005 9:30 pm

It is very obvious to me at least, even if the whole world out there is reluctant to admit to the fact, that the existing two institutions of architectural schooling in the republic - UCD and Bolton Street - 'aim' to encourage 'alternate' values about design in their young graduates. This is just the reality of how it pans out. Bolton Street just sees it slightly differently from UCD, and visa versa. And I think that slight difference, often does count for quite a lot, as far as the practice of architecture is concerned.

I have only very limited exposure to the Belfast institution - having attended just one lecture a year ago, given by one of the main tutors here in Dublin. Some people have gone to the trouble to travel further afield to view 'end of year' exhibitions of student work in Great Britain and Scotland. Others still, have gone and attended years abroad doing architecture at the French, Spanish, German and possibly Italian architectural schools.

I have not done so myself, so I can only speculate. Indeed, some tutors in our colleges have worked and/or studied as far away as America, Asia and elsewhere. So that might indicate, just how diverse and wide the ideas or approaches to Architecture could be.

But I think, the real question is, what slightly different slant will the Limerick institution come up with, that might further enrich the total architectural debate in this country? And that is not to detract anything from the efforts made already by Bolton Street and UCD departments. Who have both worked very carefully over the years to preserve their own individuality in the great debate that will always remain 'Architecture'.

Brian O' Hanlon.
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Re: New school of Architecture in Limerick

Postby dowlingm » Sun May 29, 2005 5:06 pm

How does DIT/UCD's programmes compare to UL's when it comes to Cooperative Education? As an ex-UL student it's the one thing that (with DCU) marks UL out compared to the "Queen's" Universities.
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Re: New school of Architecture in Limerick

Postby garethace » Mon May 30, 2005 8:15 pm

Cooperative work, will be a big feature in any architectural course, regardless of the college. Always has been. I assume Limerick will be not different here. Getting back to some of my own points above, I would just like to add this off-shoot. Given the idea, that perhaps an architectural course, is a really positive goal for any educational establishment, to set for themselves - to see if they can compile a decent course and qualify some architects - that doesn't necessarily play in the students favour. I mean, how many students actually would like to be in a course, which is a display case for an institution? Does the term, gold fish in a shrinking gold fish bowl, seem relevant here?

I think the importance of the RIAI can be very overplayed - the major drivers in the deal, I still believe are the educational institutions themselves. As I have said now, it is a prestige thing, to be able to offer a built environment department at all - with courses such as architecture at the top of that Christmas tree. There are important differences between the UCD and Bolton Street faculties here though. UCD has branched into all kinds of post-graduate directions and offers a taste of faculties of the built environment, which might only otherwise be available abroad, in great urban centres of Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and so on. That is, places with a really long and distinguished urban history and tradition. In terms of a long and distinguished 'urban tradition' I guess the average tutor in an architectural course in Ireland, would need to thread water a little bit, and just 'point' to places abroad where you can visit. I could go on a lot more about the relative merits of BS vs. UCD, but I won't. But, if you were to take all of the above - the educational institution using a course like architecture - as a positive benchmark of it's teaching excellence, tutors in architecture schools do take themselves extremely seriously and on the whole seem like a very responsible bunch. But, if you take it most of the driving force behind an architecture course is the educational establishment itself, rather than some overall governing body or institute of architecture - then you can be damn sure - that educational politics will filter its way into the equation. Meaning, that each university will want to overplay its own strengths and underplay the strengths of competing institutions of architectural scholarship.

This has a deeply significant impact on the individual student attending a course in any school of architecture I believe. As for any given project assignment, you are encouraged to follow the path which will ultimately 'display' or act even as a billboard for the strengths that given architectural school wants to promote. Yeah, the 'Fan-Boy-ism' does exist surely - and is just as off-putting as 'Fan-Boy-ism' in most any walk of life. So what I am saying is that essentially the young architectural student does become a sign board, proclaiming what the school wants to say about itself. So each and every school of architecture is essentially blowing it's own horn. Fortunately for colleges, there are many schools of thought in architecture, many different ways to approach the teaching of architecture, and schools of architecture tend to camp on specific areas and ignore the rest of the territory. But unfortunately for students themselves I suspect, a lot of very good architects get left behind, because they don't fit into what the college perceives 'It wants to say about itself'. Which is both silly and sad, just lets face it. But on the other hand, building your brand has also been a very sucessful strategy for companies like Intel Pentium, Sony PlayStation, Coca Cola, Nike, you name it - so architectural colleges didn't invent that kind of approach to 'doing business'.

Architectural education is strictly territorial - which is unfortunate from the individual students perspective - as by definition, you are shielded away from following certain lines of enquiry, and subtlely but surely encouraged along one direction or another. Its seems to me, that over the years that has set like concrete here in Ireland, with UCD effectively following a formula, out of which one can derive solutions - that you simply cannot get, by attending any other course of architecture in the country. And visa versa, Bolton Street enables the student to evolve in ways, you possibly could not explore anywhere else. Bear in mind, that an architectural course lasts for up to six years or more, including the sabbatical year and possible repeat years. So that this subtle focus of one architectural course or another, becomes all the more pronounced over that period of time. Yeah, sure you are going to produce a few outstanding examples each year, which is put forward as justification for the process. But overall, I think you are losing a lot of very valuable architectural talent, along the way. I would even imagine the same things happen between respective Schools of Art and Design in Ireland - from what I have heard anyway. It is not something I would ever like to subscribe to, as I think, as an artist one aught to test all approaches and find one approach that suits youself best - not that which suits some bunch of tweedy professors notions of what is best for you.

I would liken the situation really, to being confronted with a gigantic peak in the Himalayas. Like say, Mount Everest or K2, where several international teams of climbers establish base camps on different aspects of the mountain, and endeavour to conquer the climb, using very different strategies, very different styles and very different routes. Ultimately there is only one ultimate peak to get to - but there is a certain amount of snobbery attached to how you get to the peak - whether you took the easier or the hard aspect to climb etc. Whether you used the oxygen or not, whether you climbed in a large assault team or went solo, and so forth. But the most important thing to remember here I think, is that one very talented mountaineer because he/she didn't get along with one team, or one type of climbing style - may do very poorly with one team - or do very well with another. Some climbers may work well on any team. Who knows. I see UL course of Architecture as being just like the latest team of climbers to arrive at base camp - bringing with them their own unique styles and kind of leadership. And within these various teams of climbers, every now and again, you will always get one climber who does it in a totally new way, one which noone ever used before, I am sure. But if pushed to taking a rough stab at it - I would tend to believe that Bolton Street graduates like to assault the mountain as a pack - and wear it down, through force of numbers and shear endurance. Unlike UCD, where I suspect the individuals own sense of goals and benchmarking of oneself, is what is emphasised. Dunno, could be very wrong here, but I do have my suspicions.


Brian O' Hanlon.
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Re: New school of Architecture in Limerick

Postby jimg » Mon May 30, 2005 8:57 pm

Don't all academic disciplines naturally suffer somewhat from being territorial, in the sense described? This might be more pronounced in areas where critical analysis is a major component; e.g. it will be more pronounced in areas like literature or philosophy than in subjects like science or engineering. I don't see anything particularly unique about architecture in this regard. It's up to students to develop a sense of perspective and resist being led like sheep.
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Re: New school of Architecture in Limerick

Postby rag » Mon May 30, 2005 10:55 pm

So, I see there is another arcticle about the new school of architecture in Limerick in yesterday's Sunday Times. One interesting thing of particular note that was mentioned was the fact that around 80 Irish student start architecture courses in the UK every year. That's nearly the same number as UCD and DIT put together admit.

They now have a website at http://www.ul.ie/architecture/ . The site states:
" The syllabus is organised over a five-year course with the emphasis on architectural design, taught through the design studio. The design studio is the focus of an architectural education, and is the laboratory through which all other subjects are taught.* Woven into the design studio will be courses of study in structures (structural engineering), environmental science (environmental engineering), history (of architecture, society, technology) philosophy, sociology, law and management (professional practice). The course is designed to equip our students with a broad range of skills fundamental to becoming an architect. These skills include hand drawing, sketching, model-making, wood working, metal fabrication, photography, computer-aided drawing, audiovisual and verbal presentation, as well as core skills including problem solving and working with other people. The study of architecture is rigorous, challenging and requires students firmly committed to the discipline. "

Just as an aside about the architecture profession, I am always amazed at the fact that you almost never see an architect on Irish tv giving their opinion / analysis on any topic. There seems to be much debate within architecture circles about design, the environment, and planning, for example; but when it comes to promoting such opinions to the wider world, there is a great deficit. And their input is greatly needed. You just have to glance across the countryside to see why.
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Re: New school of Architecture in Limerick

Postby dowlingm » Tue May 31, 2005 2:54 am

except for Ruairi Quinn, rag? An architect if I recall correctly.

I tried to see if I could find the architecture course directly from the UL website and found it impossible. I emailed the UL webmaster about it - you can't even find it if you do a general search! It was probably too late for the Prospectus but that's no excuse for the website, but UL's website design expertise seems to have halted when they were in the vanguard, oh about 1997 or so.

I added it to UL's wikipedia entry to generate a little traffic perhaps.
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Re: New school of Architecture in Limerick

Postby GrahamH » Tue May 31, 2005 3:07 am

Roughly what percentage of architecture students in Ireland are female?
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Re: New school of Architecture in Limerick

Postby modular man » Tue May 31, 2005 8:25 am

Around 50% of my class were female but I have no stats other then this!
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Re: New school of Architecture in Limerick

Postby GrahamH » Tue May 31, 2005 8:48 pm

Really? Expected it to be around 20-25%...
So is architecture not considered a male-dominated profession anymore?
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Re: New school of Architecture in Limerick

Postby rag » Wed Jun 01, 2005 6:59 pm

Yes, I think you are correct about Ruairi Quinn, dowlingm. And I think I am correct in saying that Ciaran Cuffe was an architect too. I meant that you never see someone on tv who is giving opinions as ordinary architect, not a politican too.

I understand that the 50/50 gender balance is true.
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Re: New school of Architecture in Limerick

Postby sw101 » Wed Jun 01, 2005 7:29 pm

in my experience you'd normally have one or two more women than men in any given class.
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Re: New school of Architecture in Limerick

Postby GrahamH » Wed Jun 01, 2005 7:42 pm

Again - really? :)

I suppose it reflects a more general trend ; areas traditionally considered male preserves like engineering & surveying etc are also showing similar ratios, if not in favour of women as you describe sw101.

You never know - might spread to Archiseek one day ;)
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Re: New school of Architecture in Limerick

Postby sw101 » Wed Jun 01, 2005 7:54 pm

i'm samantha.
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Re: New school of Architecture in Limerick

Postby sw101 » Wed Jun 01, 2005 7:56 pm

sw101 wrote:i'm samantha.


*vomit* ...........
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Re: New school of Architecture in Limerick

Postby GrahamH » Wed Jun 01, 2005 8:01 pm

A shaggy, vomiting lady - I'm sure I saw you on Eden Quay the other day...
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Re: New school of Architecture in Limerick

Postby PVC King » Wed Jun 01, 2005 8:05 pm

sw101 wrote:i'm samantha.


:D

On a more serious note it is changing right accross the built environment field with the gender balance having been reversed accross a wide spectrum of fileds including Architecture, Planning, Suveying, Auctioneering and I suppose that women tended to dominate interior design and Art/Antiques traditionally anyway.

The only one that hasn't changed is engineering which seems to be firmly male dominated.
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Re: New school of Architecture in Limerick

Postby GrahamH » Wed Jun 01, 2005 8:08 pm

Here's a patronising question.
Do women produce different architecture to men?
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Re: New school of Architecture in Limerick

Postby garethace » Thu Jun 02, 2005 9:54 pm

Just as an aside about the architecture profession, I am always amazed at the fact that you almost never see an architect on Irish tv giving their opinion / analysis on any topic. There seems to be much debate within architecture circles about design, the environment, and planning, for example; but when it comes to promoting such opinions to the wider world, there is a great deficit. And their input is greatly needed. You just have to glance across the countryside to see why.


A poster above asked about perspective.

Well, you tend to receive some perspective long after you leave an architectural school I would say for sure. There is quite a sense of 'togetherness' for the duration of the student's course, I would say that sadly isn't followed through, beyond the college level.

Anyhow, just to underline a lot of what I have said above: It is true that the architectural schools in this country receive a fresh supply of young people each year - around 90 between UCD and BS. But what has always concerned me, was what the schools did to that sample of young people. Very often trying to bend that sample out of the normal shape of statistical distribution - that you would expect to find in terms of skill, perception and capability. In all fairness, once you are finished filtering the entire teenage population of Ireland, down to just a mere 90 students, it gets tough to bend the statistics out of shape I think - people are all so closely matched I think - yet, the efficency, with which the architectural schools manage to produce exaggerated bell-shaped distributions out of a class of 50 individuals, who have been filtered from the entire country's population, is something that has always amazed me personally. I don't think it is fair, and honestly, I don't believe it to be really true either.

In reality, I was always very worried that architectural school tutors, couldn't really grasp how small a sample they are in fact dealing with, and how rare it would be to find students of much higher stature in architectural ability, or much lower stature, within such a small sample - but sadly, that is how they 'see' every new class. In order to produce a kind of exaggeration of extremes - on the one hand, students who grow during the course, to ten feet tall in terms of their architectural stature. This of course are the stuff mounted in the display case as it were. But on the other end, you do have the people reduced to almost 'one foot' in architectural stature, represented way below their actual value, and these are disposed of via the rubbish shoot. Now, I do understand, it is both attractive to the college and to certain students even, to go the 'ten-footer' route, with their education - but I still believe, this lack of eveness has it's price at the end of the day - for all concerned. You are just throwing half your actual 'worth' down the rubbish shoot too, to make the end of year exhibition a little bit more sexy.

It is a bit like going for the fast return, the quick buck, rather than holding out for the real windfall. Just think about political systems even, the best and most productive governments down through the years, are talented majority parties, kept sharp by the mere presence of a decent opposing party. That is how it should happen in the context of Irish Architecture too - you need that opposition party - but sadly, architectural schools here love that old rubbish shoot. So you run the risk of having a large, fat and lazy majority party, which never lives to see it's real potential. I believe the work at Archiseek is even useful in trying to help sustain some form of useful 'opposition', in the absense of anything else. That is just simply, how I feel about these things - quite frankly, I believe in team work - a concept which architects could look a good deal more at. Your quote above, about the lack of presence in the media, by architects, speaks in volumes of their individual lack of confidence in their own voice. Remember, when an individual goes on stage, or on TV and speaks, even though you see the individual - they also represent a collective network. I don't know really what to think, but certainly, if a company CEO was exposed of manipulating the companies statements, to paint a 'Mona Lisa' like picture in their earnings and profit sheets - to boost the share price - they wouldn't be highly respected. I think the same is true of architecture - you have to find a reasonable level for the standard you set for your students - one which approximates your true value as an faculty. Rather than using display cabinets all the time.

Mind you I did enjoy the UCD exhibition this year, I thought there was an honesty about the whole event, throughout the work of all the years on exhibit, which I did appreciate. I haven't made up my mind yet, before I visit the Bolton Street exhibition, being launched tomorrow evening, hopefully it will be good too. I have just tried to underline some of the weakest points about the architectural education system here, as I have seen it. I am sure those concerned in the Irish architectural schools are just as painfully aware of the weaknesses as I have been. But I have not spoken as much in this thread, about the many, many real strengths in Irish architectural education too. (No sniggers at the back please) But I still believe, one has to work on your weakest points most, to see the overall best improvement, that is all. I hope I have managed to get some of that across to you all, here in my posting.

Take care,
Brian O' Hanlon.
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Re: New school of Architecture in Limerick

Postby garethace » Fri Jun 03, 2005 7:04 pm

Sort of a visual representation of the statistical problems here, just to bottom out on some of my points.
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Re: New school of Architecture in Limerick

Postby PTB » Sat Jun 04, 2005 12:37 am

garethace wrote:Sort of a visual representation of the statistical problems here, just to bottom out on some of my points.

Could you explain that in plain english and what it has to do with architechture?

Oh and thanks for all yor writing - very useful and thought provoking.
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Re: New school of Architecture in Limerick

Postby garethace » Mon Jun 06, 2005 9:53 am

Could you explain that in plain english and what it has to do with architechture?


Well very simply, the curve with the very exaggerated peak and big long 'fat tails' as they are called, described events like 100 year storms, events of extremely low probability, or times like wars etc, where situations can become exceptionally volatile.

The normal distribution, in the flatter curve where the tails are much, much shorter and the peak is only moderately expressed. It describes normality basically, if there is such a thing - it is probably an ideal condition created by scientists rather than anything else. But the physical properties and experiments which scientists perform do often follow a bell shaped curve.

The intermediarary state, is the kind of liquid state - the two extremes behind the 'solid condition' which would employ stability and the 'gaseous condition' which would employ extreme volatility. The liquid state has fairly long tails and a very pronounced peak - it carries some of the movement and volatility properties from the gaseous state, but also some of the stability from the solid state.

Most of my writing above, was to do with describing the average 'spread' of students you are lightly to find in an architectural school in Ireland. I don't know, but the range of results that students seem to receive as their end of year scores and marks - would indicate a very gaseous kind of distribution of results. I am just alway curious why that is - is the spread of talent and intelligence so exaggerated in the average class, or is it being exaggerated artificially through the means by which we try to educate our architects?

Brian O' Hanlon.
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