UDM School of Architecture

On the Radio

March 23rd, 2011 · No Comments

Designing is difficult business, it requires the right combination of atmosphere, motivation, energy, and of course music. When I am designing it is the one time that I can, or even like to work with music, but just any music won’t do. It seems like each persons design process is aided by different music. Once you get a room of eight to twelve people all needing different types, styles, and volumes of music it can get a bit tense.

Of course everyone should just be listening through headphones, however you can only do that for so long before it becomes uncomfortable. Then your ears hurt and you just want some space between the music and you. Even scarier than the space between, is when you are wielding and exacto blade and you are tired wearing headphones, I am certain some day I will cut the cord. I haven’t done it yet in my five years but there is still six weeks. Inevitably everyone wants their music and doesn’t want to wear headphones.

Solutions to the great musical debate are a vast as the types of music you will hear in the architecture building. Some studios resort to a time sharing plan, where each person listens to their music for an hour and the ‘dj’ rotates. Other studios don’t care who plays the music, and instead opts for a broad framework of styles that are acceptable, like anything but country. The benefits of these approaches is in allowing everyone to still be able to talk and the exposure to different types of music, which can be great for expanding your library. Others, however, do not use such peaceful approaches and instead individuals try to out volume each other for music dominance, this is the one realm where owning a Mac will put you behind. Yet others just break down and all confine themselves to headphones, which is the saddest state of all, simply for the loss of communication created.

Music is a beautiful things, that seems to greatly influence everyone’s design process. However, your studio chooses to resolve the great music debate, do it peacefully.

Tags: Academics

The Importance of Critque

February 21st, 2011 · No Comments

Part of the educational process that makes architecture different from many other areas of study is the nature of critique and the possibility for students and faculty to engage in a discourse about their work. This discussion and presentation has some very impressive effects for students and the way they think.

The first benefit of this process is the building on confidence and comfort in public speaking. The format of the critique, a presentation to your peers, professors, and guests from varied fields, many of whom possess weighty credentials, teaches one to be comfortable presenting their work and what they have a deep knowledge of.

In addition, the process of design and critique, or problem solving and discuss, furthers ones ability to think critically. This is a huge skill to have for the future. The benefit of this is that it drives one to question what they think is the right answer, and see the multitude of other possible correct answers. Because in life there is hardly ever one single correct answer, instead there is a wide variety of possibilities.

Finally, the process of critique is a chance to learn from ones own experience, but also to learn from the experience of others as well. The ability to watch and see how ones classmates have approached the same situation may spark a thought that would have never happened if left to think alone.

All of this combined is why critiques are a critical element of the architecture experience, as well as why an architectural experience sets individuals apart from others.

Tags: Academics · Architecture

Media Roundup

November 7th, 2010 · No Comments

Due to my recent habit of swamping you with events I thought today I might provide you with some fun ready, fantastical images, and other goodies to eat up some precious time.

To kick off we are going into the world of urban agriculture, not your typical Detroit kind, mind you. Instead, Charles Waldheim, brings you into the history of agrarian urbanism. The article profiles three interesting conceptual projects of the type, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Broadacre City, Ludwig Hilberseimer’s New City, and Andrea Branzi’s Agronica. All of which left a rather suburban taste in my mouth, what do you think? I certainly hope this isn’t the face of urban agriculture.


Our second piece and an article that accompanies it is a set of fantastical images of London, and the effects of climate change on the city. The images are dramatic and rather stunning, however the accompanying article points out that the images in many ways present a pure science fiction vision of what the effects climate change may have on London, and also points to how such images can fuel existing prejudices.  Check out both!



Finally, a bit closer to home, Model D interviews Mitchell Silver, the president-elect of the American Planning Association. Read his thoughts on the role of planning and whether Detroit is on the right track.


Until next time happy reading!

Tags: Media

Halloween and Architecture, Match Made in Hevean?

October 30th, 2010 · No Comments

If there is any holiday that is an architect’s holiday, it is Halloween.

Halloween allows individuals to alter their perceived form through visual manipulation (i.e. costumes, props, and sets). This means fun projects! There are few things that architecture students like more than the ability to get fun and crafty. The possibilities are limitless, only hampered by your ability to construct your costume. You can even converge your architecture and Halloween skills to become a building.

A perfect example of the architecture-Halloween relationship is the University of Detroit Mercy Safety Street, conceived by architecture students 21-years ago. Each Halloween students from various student organizations make facades and sets, that local school and neighborhood kids can trick-or-treat from in a safe environment. This years Safety Street was yesterday and of course the school of Architecture always has the most elaborate facades, what else would you expect. Case in point the photo below:

Safety Street

In, closing get out there and celebrate the architect’s holiday!

Tags: Architecture · Detroit