How to mentally paralyze an architecture student.


The first of a long forum about what happens to Architecture students. 

All students of architecture started architecture school because they wanted to make cool things; and initially they do, informed by nothing other than raw talent and personal vision. But, after the first disastrous crit, the student is faced with A) There must be rules to design, how else could it be judged good or bad? B) Somehow there must be a way of obtaining these rules and methods to inform design as this lecturer must obviously be a master of them. C) His personal vision and talent is not good enough and therefore the rules must be followed.
This puts in motion a fatal downward spiral. Trying to obtain and understand these rules just gets him nowhere faster as inquiries into the matter is usually greeted with more empty confusion. The answers that can be distilled are normally from other disciplines such as geometry, science and physics, but nothing that would inform the thematics of design. (or at least nothing that could be applied to change a – this is crap, to this is great project) Confidence is bruised and self doubt sets in as the problem just get bigger and bigger with every project resulting in les and less interest and vigor from our student.
Ultimately our student has two choices, A) Accept that he is useless and crap and drop out, B) Accept that he is useless and crap but pushes through school with the hope that practice would be better, but by that time his confidence will be so bruised that he will indeed be crap and useless, C) Realize that there are no such rules and keep on making cool things, which is what he set out to do in the first place, i.e. impresive BS.
The point is that unlike science and other disciplines, no hard and fast rules can be distilled as architecture is objective and supposedly creative. Unlike math 1+1=2, now and the next time, always, in architecture 1+1=2, once but 1+1=2, twice is old news! And that, my friends, is how you break a passionate, bright, rational student of architecture.


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