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How to Survive Your Very First Critique in Architecture School


对于刚开始学习建筑学的同学来说,“审查团”、“评审”或“批评”远不是什么感到荣耀的事情,它听起来更像是丧钟,而不是通常的评论。就像Kathryn Anthony在《评审团的审判:设计工作室的复兴(Anthony explores in Design Juries on Trial)》中探究的那样,这个概念可以追溯到20世纪80年代,当时巴黎国立美术学院(Ecole Nationale et Speciale de Beaux-Arts)成为第一所尝试这种形式的艺术和建筑学院,该形式很快就被世界各地的建筑学院采用。尽管一些学校已经采取措施来放宽传统的等级制度,但有些学校仍在继续强化这种制度,这让那些还不习惯接受“考验”的新生感到非常害怕。


For the fresh architecture student, the “jury,” “review,” or “crit” is far from glorious—sounding more like a death knell than a customary critique session. The concept, as Kathryn Anthony explores in Design Juries on Trial: The Renaissance of the Design Studio, goes as far back as the 1980s when the Ecole Nationale et Speciale des Beaux-Arts in Paris became the first art and architecture school to experiment with a format that would soon be adopted by architectural schools across the world. While some schools have taken steps to loosen traditional hierarchies, others continuing to reinforce them, much to the terror of fledgling first-year students who aren’t used to being “tried.”
So what can one really do to ease into this rather uncomfortable aspect of architectural education? Below is a fairly simple list of dos and don’ts that could go a long way in helping you out.


1. 不要把评审员想象成怪物,或是无懈可击的天才


2. 闭眼休息一会


1.Don’t imagine your juror to be some sort of monster, infallible genius, etc.
While you will come across different types of jurors during the course of five years, it’s best to bear in mind that the person critiquing your first-ever work is not necessarily there to point out the flaws in your design, or deem you a failure, but to help you learn. By allowing yourself to detach the jurors from the god-like status usually associated with them, you’re likely to feel less edgy, and hence, more receptive to their advice or criticism.

2.Get some shut-eye
What? While everyone else is slaving away at their models and drawings throughout the night? This might sound like useless advice, but it actually works wonders! Spending the whole night working (unless absolutely necessary) can not only be counterproductive, but also makes you groggy, less sharp, forgetful, and worse, more likely to mess up explaining your work the following morning.


3. 不要担心“完成”,要考虑“完善”


4. 不要追求成绩


5. 请不要使用不必要的建筑术语


3.Don’t worry about “complete,” worry about “thorough”
Quality over quantity always works—that’s a tip that can help you throughout all your years in architecture school. Don’t look at the next-door neighbor in the studio who’s churning out drawings at breakneck speed or littering their table with a dozen study models before the pin-up. Jurors are likely to see through all the vacuous “hard work” and would get to the point quickly. More often than not, even if you present a design which is incomplete but thorough in its process, you will come out stronger. Being honest with your work also gives you the option to build on it later when you get down to completing it for your portfolio.

4.Don’t hanker after grades
The earlier years of architectural education are usually the most fun when you’re allowed, encouraged and often expected to question and experiment. Why waste time being “proper” or “correct,” worrying over what your juror might think, or mulling over whether you’ll be able to get a good grade or not? Juries are never objective anyway, so it’s best to enjoy the work instead of stressing out.

5.No unnecessary architectural jargon, please
While you might be itching to flaunt those new terms you learned this semester, think twice before using wordy explanations and overly drawn-out theories. Focus on being succinct as some jurors may run out of patience or get bored quickly. Or worse, if you use a term that you’re unsure of, it could be embarrassing if you’re asked to explain what you mean by it.


6. 解释、推理、提问——但不要为自己辩解


7. 最后,如果事情进展不顺利,请从容应对!


图片:Andrea Vasquez

6.Explain, reason, question—but don’t get defensive
Crits can be unnerving, and sometimes unfair too. But always remember that clear reasoning works, while defensive behavior only complicates and deflects from the real argument. Also, don't be afraid of asking questions; sometimes, that's the best way to start a productive discussion.

7.And lastly, if it doesn’t go well, just take it in your stride!
No use mulling over the whys and should-haves. Take a moment to reflect on what was discussed, make notes on what you could improve on next time, and congratulate yourself for having made it to the finish line. On to better things in the next project!




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