Saturday, January 24, 2009

Midterm Critique

I bungled my midterm. It was poorly explained and defended -- maybe I was tired? I inadvertently emphasized only the functionality of the boat-building shop, skimming through the theory and poetics of the project, thinking the critics (same ones from colloquium) remembered the ideas of the project from the last crit. And so the question came up "If we are really going to talk about functionality, then why did you place your building away from water, on the top of a ridge, inside a fort?". Traditionally, boat construction takes place at the water's edge; I hadn't discussed or drawn the justification for its placement away from the water. Also, the use of spoils seemed to the critics to have been lost along the way which frightened me the most, despite several efforts at conveying spoils integrated into the building. I skimmed this part in my explanation too, ugh! The critics suggested to flip leftover boats upside down and use them for the roof of my building.

That said, I've revisited some of the main ideas and tried to rework them. To better "stitch" the boat shop into the fort (and manifest the idea of amorous attraction I proposed earlier), I'm introducing the concept of the compagnonnage, or the "journeyman", the apprenticeship of tradespersons to become master craftspersons. Five trades related to boat and fort building (wood-working, metal, fabric/weaving, glazing, and cooking) will be placed at the five bastions of the fort. In the medieval tradition, to become a master craftsperson, the journeyman must complete a masterpiece of his trade. I'm proposing that each bastion is a place to build and/or display these masterpieces, and that in concert, these trades exchange techniques and knowledge, generating hybrid solutions to their craft. The collaboration of these as a "trades centre" better justifies its placement. But tying it all back to spoils...? Maybe this is diverging too much.

"Les Compagnons" is a modern organized version of the same task the journeymen executed in the past. It is a program for youth to travel (in this case, across France) and study the built work of their predecessors. The program helps young tradespersons specify their trade and gain a mastery of their work.

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