I had my interim review of my studio work on Friday. This was my first presentation of my design studio of the year. We were asked to prepare three A1 sheets along with a series of models. This presentation in an accumulation of all the work we have completed on our design since the beginning of the year. It is an opportunity for us to formally present our designs and gain critical feed back from our studio tutors and often a guest critic. These reviews are an essential part of our design process.
An interim review is often the first time that I formally draft my project. Prior to this point I had been working by hand. A mix of technical hand drawings and free hand sketches. I find this process freer at an initial design stage. I find that once I transfer my work onto a computer it comes somewhat set in stone and that the digital interface is often difficult to interact with in a from a design perspective.
Taking the time to create a presentation of your project is a very revealing time in the design process. Having to analyse what needs to be conveyed to first time viewer is a challenge and makes you scrutinise your project. Although I attempt to sideline my ‘designing’ to get a presentation pulled together of my work at this point, the more you draw the deeper into your project you delve. The week before review then becomes this creative struggle between design and presentation. As I prepared my presentation I was constantly confronted with new opportunities to refine and edit my project. However, the clock is still ticking on when the presentation needs to be completed. I find that this week is highly challenging and poses the ever pending question of when to stop refining your design and when to solely focus on refining your presentation.
Interim review is also a great time to analyse your project and extract the main focus that has driven your project to this point. The task at hand is to then find a way to represent these through your drawings and models. Having spent the first three years at UCD presenting my design through hand drawings, I often find it difficult the convey the essence of my designs through computer drawings and digital imaging. As an approach I always try to draw on a computer as I draw by hand. Naming line weights 2B, HB, 2H, and 4H as a way of keeping the depth and emphasis of my drawing clear in my mind. This way of drafting is very difficult and often more time-consuming than computer drafting should be. Looking at the end result, I was happy with my style of drawing. I felt the clearly displayed my ideas and design. I also felt that it emulated how I had been working to this point. I am confident that my computer generated drawings reflect my hand designs. However, this was extremely lengthy process and had to executed very carefully.
As my drawings took up so much of my time approaching review, my model got left to the last day before my presentation. At this stage in the week, late nights and high work intensity have started to take their toll. Design decisions are no longer being made and the ability the critically analyse is beginning to waver. As a result my model was not executed to the standard I desired. This was unfortunate as models are a great tool in explaining your design and can often describe projects very efficiently and effectively in a way that drawings, can often, never do. For previous reviews I have begun creating my presentation by making my model. I wish I had done this last week. Starting with the model often informs your last-minute design choices and highlights areas of your design that need to be addressed. I also find that it is extremely difficult to make a model when you are over tired, which was the case last week.
Once again we were subjected to narrowing five weeks work into a three-minute presentation. Difficult. I felt that I managed to convey all the major aspects of my strategy in the time that was given. However, I did not manage to discuss the materiality of my project and how is coupled with my structural system. My design is an extension of two historical buildings, the materiality of my project is vital to the reading of how my building is designed.
In hindsight I know that I was way too tired to properly engage in my critique. I asked one of my friends to take notes on what was said during my presentation, which I found highly useful. It also highlighted parts of my critique that I didn’t pick up on or that didn’t initially sink in. On reflection I found I was misinterpreting parts of the discussion and that I was not picking up on areas of my presentation and design that I may have failed to convey correctly.
Over all I found my review to be very successful and I was happy with the outcome. Many of the issues or topics raised were points that I had been struggling with myself and were areas that I was aware needed to be addressed. Nothing was said that I found shocking or unexpected.
Needless to say I took the weekend off to sleep.