Review – Daniels Reviews 2014

Writing April 17, 2014

This past week has been the usual whirlwind of final review activity that accompanies mid-April. I particularly enjoyed this year’s reviews for the creative drawings I saw in a few architecture thesis reviews and a few particularly strong landscape thesis projects. I attended around half of the Masters of Landscape Architecture thesis presentations, and a handful of the Architecture ones. The Landscape Architecture reviews were at times impressive and others underwhelming. While thesis is never an easy time to get through, I am sure all of the students experienced an immense amount of growth and discovery in their paths this semester, and I would like to congratulate everyone who is graduating, and also those who just finished their second or third review! Attending reviews is always tough, as everybody has their own ongoing deadlines. But it is always SO worth it. I think I have been subconsciously preparing for my design thesis since I saw my first presentation two years ago. I am very excited to do it next year, after watching all the great presentations and the motion of the well-oiled machine that is a cohort of classmates helping their peers pin up. I would like to add some notes to the Landscape Architecture reviews. Of course there were the usual offering of projects that tended to urban design, urban planning, or extremely small scale study of path widths. Namely, of the presentations I attended, I felt I noticed some interesting recurring themes: Topically:

  • Unique coupling of advantageous productive program with human experience (for example, farming/mining/geothermal)
  • A series of sensitive small scale interventions (walkways, borders, levels) in a strategically chosen and immensely large, beautiful, and almost incomprehensible landscape
  • An interest in systems design, specifically relating to waterfronts (water is of course a common theme, but one project related to an escape plan for 200 islands; another, garbage management for one of the world’s largest cities)

Graphically:

  • A not so shocking lack of models
  • Similar typefaces.. you’ll see..
  • Desaturated and highly detailed vegetative textures
  • The section perspective made a successful appearance. Let’s hope it stays and maintains quality without forgetting it is not a perfect substitute for an eye level rendering.
  • Delicate line drawings in plan that are arguably difficult to read but print nicely
  • Giant context plans………. I hope that when your project starts with a world map that it was worth making that drawing compared to the amount of time you spent on it!

Trend or result of pedagogy? You decide… I wonder what will be in vogue next year! Here are some photos of this week’s thesis reviews.