Monday, November 12, 2012

Teaching is Fun and Energizing!

I enter each month with an intention, (like it or leave it) it has been a regular practice for the past two years.  Witnessing many positive changes in my daily strides, I continue with an uplifting mantra that "teaching is fun and energizing" for the month of November.  Getting settled into my new home and job; I've transitioned from West to East, from professional practice to academic, and from a developed leading nation to a developing island.  This move requires a lot of patience and some undoing of old habits and patterns.  There have been moments where I have been concerned and questioned this undertaking, but at the end of the day, I see so many round, smiling faces happy to greet me, which eliminates any anxiety and doubt that may have been lingering in the periphery. Particularly, the first studio review that was conducted last Friday, assured me that teaching here was something worth venturing.

The students had two weeks to design and model their first studio assignment.  The assignment was a hypothetical corridor connecting two buildings set in a hypothetical industrial site.  The premise is to evaluate the student's current understanding of formal design elements: such as hierarchy, proportion, scale, rhythm etc., all derived from the bible of Frank Ching's Form, Space, and Order (and no other!)  This assignment also determines the student's capabilities regarding craftsmanship and time management, so as the semester progresses, more complex programs may be adjusted to meet realistic expectations.

It was fun to revisit the corridor assignment, for it was an inaugural studio project during my undergrad days at Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Thank goodness I kept my old studio programs, course syllabi, and readers throughout undergrad and graduate school.  These have been priceless! and it as been fun to relearn the programs through a teacher's lens.

As typical architectural studios go, the students showed me three examples of their design concepts and reworked them for the next week until they finalized a constructed model and sketch drawings of a plan, section, and elevation denoting Ching's formal design elements.  When Friday came around, I had invited three colleagues to review the student works.  Two were Filipino, male architects and the other, a German female art instructor.  It was a fantastic discussion!  I was quite impressed by the art instructor's comments.  Even though her formal training had not been in architecture, she was very explicit and thorough about each student's project.  It was energizing to have a lively discussion with colleagues, which benefited each student's assessment of their own work.    I was even more pleased when one of my students spoke with me after the reviews to share her enjoyment while listening to the contrasting comments between the Filipino architects and the German artist.  A great ending to the week!

Above: Two examples of student models that were constructed for the Friday review. Very Creative!

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