Student Roundup

June 12, 2006 · by DesignIntelligence

After years of submitting to relentless faculty critiques and punitive grading policies, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Architecture and Urban Planning decided to turn the tables on themselves by asking their most recent graduates to provide some thoughtful critique about their personal take-away from the their tenure with Architecture higher education.

After years of submitting to relentless faculty critiques and punitive grading policies, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Architecture and Urban Planning decided to turn the tables on themselves by asking their most recent graduates to provide some thoughtful critique about their personal take-away from the their tenure with Architecture higher education. We offered up five categories: innovation, professionalism, design thinking, confidence, and risk-taking and here's what they had to say:

Ryan Chester, Masters in Architecture, Spring 2005
The Rockwell Group, New York

An important lesson learned in the School of Architecture and Urban Planning (SARUP) is the idea that design is an evolutionary process and it requires a lot of commitment and flexibility. My ability to communicate this fact was critical to my getting a job so quickly. It wasn't something that showed up in my portfolio, but something that was ingrained into my thinking.

I value the communication skills I developed in school. I realize now that the ability to communicate my ideas is just as important as my ability to design them. The program at SARUP drove this point home.

James Gutierrez, Bachelors in Architecture, Fall 2005
Perkins + Will/Eva Maddox Branded Environments, Chicago

The diversity within the school is the key to creative design thinking. The studio culture supported the idea of intense discussion and hearing opposing points of view. It's these opposing views that helped me build a process that is relevant in today's work environment.

It's the program's demand for excellence that elevated my confidence when starting my career at Perkins + Will. It's not something that was directly taught, but embedded into the philosophy of the program. I knew from the start that I wanted to work with a firm that had similar core values.

Aaron May, Masters in Architecture, Spring 2005
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Chicago

Having the experience of juried studio critiques at professional offices during my tenure at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) was great in building my confidence for the real thing. This really raised the amplitude of the critique by having to present "cold" to these uninitiated professionals.

As a risk-taker by nature, the faculty didn't try to encourage or discourage my natural tendencies but, encouraged my ability to communicate the intent of the work. Through my ability to defend the work, I learned so much more and feel more confident in my design ability.

Kevin Neal, Masters in Architecture, Spring 2005
NBBJ, Seattle

Innovation plays a key role in the design environment at UWM. Students are encouraged to push the envelope in studio classes and this was reinforced by the work presented to us through our Friday Lecture series where professionals were brought in from all over the world to present their work. I learned an important lesson about the essential role of innovation in design. It's this lesson that helped me land my position here at NBBJ.

Brian Pittman, Masters in Architecture, Spring 2005
Gensler, Chicago

UWM helped frame my ability to think like a designer. We moved beyond the stereotypical idea that design is somehow related to problem solving. What the architecture program taught me is that design is much more; it's about identifying the problems first by engaging the client in goal setting strategies.

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