teaching


I’ve been a juror/visiting critic/guest for several different sets of final presentations for various architectural projects in the last week or so. That has gotten me thinking some more about architectural presentation boards, particularly after the last set of presentations, which were for a competition.

A lot of what all of the visiting critics were asked to address was the presentation of the information. In a competition, you aren’t there to explain your board(s), so all the information needs to be there and needs to be well organized and readily understandable. Getting into that mindset has gotten me thinking about that whole part of architecture. While it is (at least one hopes) helpful to provide feedback to the students about their projects, it is also good to stretch some of the mental muscles with thinking about things that often don’t get that much consideration in the post-school working world.

I also saw this image in a recent AIArchitect newsletter (about the stalled projects database, which is a topic for another day) which I thought was particularly effective. Instead of just looking at it and hoping that I remember it, I’m saving it here for future reference.

I’ve noticed that architectural presentation (or display) boards (and variants thereof) are one of the big search terms that keeps leading people to this site. I don’t think that I’m a particular source of information on that topic, but maybe it’s something that I can actually be helpful with for others, as well. Architects can always use more visual ideas, and I’ll stay on the lookout for other sites with good images for presentations. I’d appreciate references to other good sites with info about this, as well.

It would be interesting to do a course that was entirely about information presentation, and the project design was secondary (or even a non-factor entirely), not unlike my old materials and Methods class, or other non-studio classes I took where we still tried to incorporate a bit of design in the assignments, but where that wasn’t the focus of the class.

The other class idea I’ve been thinking about is a materials and research class that would focus on developing the skills to search out and evaluate new materials. Again, it would not be a studio class, but would be focused on seeking out new materials, critically considering their claims and benefits, and figuring out how they might best be used in actual practice.

Posting has been slow of late, so this is an update about current projects and activities.

The Corner Brewery addition is under construction, and last week the structure of the premanufactured building finally started coming together. The photo (above) is the first arch of the addition building, with the existing building beyond. The building will be assembled from a number of these sections attached together to make a long, deep-ribbed structure. Before it was raised, this part was lying on the ground, and, since it was a windy day, the loose ends of the metal were being blown around. But, as it is assembled, the whole thing should be strong and self-supporting. Hopefully there will be good weather in the next week or so, and there can be some better progress photography.

On a personal front, I will be teaching a LEED exam prep course for Wayne County Community College this fall. I’ve been a study group facilitator for a few previous LEED-AP and LEED-GA study groups working with USGBC, but this will be more on my own. I have my own syllabus to develop and go through the material in a longer format than the study groups. I’m looking forward to getting back into LEED again. Even when I have mixed feelings about its true effectiveness (LEED is, at its essential core, a marketing program, not a way to build the greenest buildings possible), I recognize that it has done a lot to raise awareness of the importance of building greener buildings and to recognize some buildings that have been leaders in advancing the technology.

A couple of residential projects are at the early stages, but not at a point where there’s much to show. It’s good to have interesting design challenges, even with smaller projects. I suppose if these were simple projects, they would just be talking with a builder. But having to re-configure an old farm house for a more contemporary lifestyle and fitting a 2-car garage into a side-yard only wide enough for a single width driveway are the kinds of things that are interesting to work through.

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