School: October 2005 Archives

Midterm Week


This is the sixth week of the term, and today marked the halfway point to the end of studio, so we had a midterm crit. This means we set up our desks with what we have been working on, and our teacher invites local architects and other teachers to come in and critique our work. For the last few weeks we've been designing a visitor's center and hostel to go at the base of one of the local "mountains" (more of a hill, really).

Here's my desk, waiting to be attacked:

Desk setup

I was pretty nervous about this crit. Not because I didn't have enough work done, but because for some reason I can work on a project for a week and get pretty far along, and then the teacher will tell me to step backwards and go through my generative process so he can see it. When you've been designing stuff for more than a few years, it's really hard to walk through that process, kind of like trying to explain to somebody how your tongue works when you're saying the letter "f." So designing in school has been a lot of painful, excruciatingly slow exercises in explaining how I do things I tend to do without thinking about consciously.

As it was, I got only one piece of really useful criticism, which was that the first architect who looked at my work thought the wall arrangement was too inflexible for a hostel. In between that crit and the next visitor, I redrew the floorplan and fixed that problem and one other one I'd been puzzling over.

But everybody liked how I used tracing paper overlays to show the layers of process in my work. Big hit with the local architect crowd.

First Quarter Class Roundup


So, yeah, school. I'm kind of light this quarter, with only my studio, a few support classes, and construction finance. I'm doing yet more baby engineering for non-engineers: small scale structures this quarter, then large-scale next, then I'm done with the engineering sequence. It's a mere sixteen credits all together this quarter, which feels like basically nothing, although my finance teacher certainly gives us enough homework to keep me working on the stuff just about non-stop.

This year in studio we're supposed to learn more about the site: analyzing it, designing with it in mind. So with that in mind, on Monday we had a field trip.

College Life


The Cal Poly "Greeks" -- frats and sororities -- are all upset this week because Housing distributed a pamphlet to dorm residents that gives national figures for rape among Greeks, and it is not flattering. (What a surprise!)

Rather than make a real effort to a) get actual statistics on Greek-related rapes on Cal Poly's campus, and b) make a real effort to stop the crimes caused by excessive drinking and drug use that are endemic in the system, they got all huffy in the campus paper about how those statistics are stereotyping and cause prejudgement. Because, you know, warning freshman girls that they might be preyed upon by frat boys is somehow oppressing the frat boys. God forbid we should try to help women avoid situations where they are in more danger than they expected.

Who's surprised that there are more rapes as a result of frat parties than other types? Nobody, because that's what happens there. Who's surprised that you don't see many upper classwomen at frat parties, and if you do, they're not drinking much? Nobody, because the older a college woman gets, the more savvy she gets about avoiding situations where she might be preyed upon.

Now, that is a problem the system can solve. By changing the tenor of their parties, by changing the culture of fraternity life from a rehash of Animal House to a real community-oriented club. But they do not care to, and so they will be judged by their actions as a whole.

The president of the campus Greek Council can protest all he wants, but the fact is that Housing had actual facts about the situation, and all the council can come up with is a sort of mock-victimization, as if suddenly it's the frats and not the women who get raped that are the real victims. As far as I can tell, the only argument they have is that the numbers might be different for Cal Poly, although they have no statistics to offer. Forgive me if I find their argument considerably less compelling.

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This page is a archive of entries in the School category from October 2005.

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