In an effort to streamline the thesis process starting in Sept, I wanted to take all of my remaining elective courses this summer. I was supposed to do a design build but it unfortunately fell through, so I decided to take a class I had heard good things about from some other architecture students, a class on modern Chinese history, not architecture or art history, a full history course. It was nice to take a class and not have the pressure of other architecture students, critiques, or any of that performance anxiety that comes with design school; I could just take a class and try to enjoy it.
Taking this class outside of architecture made me think of the relationship design students have to architecture school. Some love it to bits, some hate it to its core, many are indifferent to it and simply “want to finish” at any one time you can feel all three of these or any kind of mixture. There are such highs and lows but I have always wondered, is it the architecture or the education that drives students so mad? You can take the architecture student out of school, but can you take the school out of the architecture student?
During the class, I would continually compare lessons and ideas learned in the class to contemporary architecture, my mind would just drift into that direction, and think about how I can apply this knowledge, or just the architectural side of it. I guess that means that architecture students do love education, beyond simply just architecture. We are always thinking about the applications of what we have learned, it is never enough to simply research or discover something; how it will be perceived and integrated are far more important questions we ask. In that regard I did really enjoy the class because it gave me a new breadth of learning in an unfamiliar topic. I really want to visit China as I learned to have a respect of its history and for what the Chinese people have done and what they have had done to them.
Anonymous asked: Hello， I am a new student to UBC SALA MArch program,May I ask you questions about the school? Is it theoretical or practical or technical? are there a lot of writing and reading? is there any design-build labs? Is it easy to find a job after graduation? And what do you think of UBC compared to UToronto MArch(Since I am also accepted by Toronto) Thank you very much for you patience.
Congrats on the acceptances! Sure I can answer some questions you have.
UBC SALA takes incoming students from any undergrad degree, and therefore the curriculum casts a wide net, but like any architecture degree you can focus in on whatever you would like to. I would say the school does not have one specific direction, but why can’t theory be practical or technical, or technology to be theorized or practical.
There is a lot of work, reading, writing, researching, drawing, prototyping, modelling. Every history and theory class requires an essay, and GP I is a semester of research before GP II; the application of the research through an architectural thesis.
There was two design builds classes this summer, there was suppose to be three, but one fell through at the last moment, but it should be up next summer, and the other two will be happening again next summer as well.
I think Vancouver is a tougher market compared to other cities to find work. A lot of grads find work but many in other cities, but there are some great firms here as well.
I came out here from Ontario because I studied at Ryerson and OCAD and I needed to study somewhere other than where I was from. One of the most important things about grad school is studying somewhere you have never lived before.
My mom taught me if you dont have anything nice to say about UofT, then don’t say anything at all. But seriously, I know a lot of people who went there, and they have mixed feelings about it.
No worries, fire away if you have any more questions.
Anonymous asked: Hi Ryan, Thanks for the reply. To begin with, Vancouver is the greatest city on earth, and I have done some traveling to be able to vouch for it. Also, The canucks are bound to win some time soon and I want to be there for it. Seriously, the school first appealed to me because of how well written the website is. Their high regard for mastery of grammar and language comes through in your writing. Id love to stay in touch as I begin the application, email? Thanks!
I agree, it is a great city to live and study in.
That’s interesting about the schools website, I will pay attention to that next time I am on it.
Anonymous asked: Hi Ryan, I find your "musings" both interesting and inspiring. I am a Studio Art major applying to M. Arch after four years of working in nearly every trade I could get my hands on. I am American, but UBC is the only school I want to go to. I have recently been accepted into Kansas State 5 year program, and will be with them for only 1 semester in a Studio and History class to build my portfolio and gain references. Any advice? Do i need to take the GRE? Cheers! Eric
Thanks for the kind words, I just try to capture my experiences as best I can on here. That’s great to hear that UBC is on the radar for american students. I just checked the website about the GRE, it says it is not required but if would like to submit your scores they will look at them. I would not submit unless they are quite high.
You want to show a breadth of capabilities and thought processes in your portfolio, so all the trades you have engaged in, absolutely show key projects from all of those, if they are spatial (3d) all the better. Another aspect is setting yourself apart, make sure you as an individual comes across in your application. If have you done any travelling, mention how that has affected your work.
Good luck with the application Eric, and let me know if you have any more questions.
Also what about UBC really makes you want to attend? Just wondering.
My architecture education will conclude next year with the completion of my master’s thesis. I have mentioned it once or twice before how things are organized compared to my previous undergrad thesis, and another aspect which sets it apart is the submission of something akin to an abstract submitted close to the end of the summer. From my point of view this submission has two functions, the first being administrative, so every student entering GP 1 is accounted for with an appropriate mentor, and the second being that when the semester officially starts, it is possible to hit the ground running rather than squander the first few weeks humming and hawing, although this tends to happen anyway with topic research and knowledge expansion.
This leaves work to be done over the summer on the developing the germ of an idea that is to blossom into a thesis. Even now in late June with lots of time to actually do this work, am I feeling the weight and pressure of developing a thesis.
How does one even decide on a thesis? With the centuries of architectural history, innumerable theories and concepts, literally an entire world of built work to draw on, how can a thesis be developed to break new ground? I do understand that a thesis does not have to be something new, such as simply smashing two or three programs together, that is hardly a thesis or new, or attempting to create new ways of developing or visualizing form. However some aspect of the research must strive to attain some kind importance in a architectural world, otherwise what is the point of the whole thing?
Perhaps it is not a question of what it is about, but what I want to get out of it. Which is scarier. I have to forgo the thesis and imagine the kind of architect I want to be… There is something to be said that a thesis, a school project, is not going to determine your career and life ambition, but right now I have this as a gift to make it anything I choose. A wonderful horrible gift.