The Critique

The critique is one of the most important parts of architecture school and can make or break your success as a student. This form of exam has many layers, but for now, let's concentrate on how it functions as a whole.

The critique is one of the fundamental methods for gaining feedback regarding creative work. Equivalent to this is the exercise of accepting and acknowledging the value of constructive criticism. Master critique takes practice, but it has the ability to hone one’s artistic skills like no other form of examination.

As a freshman, I believed that a critique was a combination of man’s worst fear, public speaking, and a school exam. Over the course of fifteen minutes, your proposal is dissected as reviewers openly chat through their opinions and ultimately declare your design a triumph or a mishap. Despite the bad reputation of critiques among students, this is one of the best methods for developing the skills necessary to be successful in our field.

What seemed like torture at the time was actually helping me develop one of the most necessary skills of an architect. As it turns out, standing in front of your peers – although stress-inducing – will ultimately teach you how to clearly and concisely convey the thought process behind your creative designs. Standing before your classmates and your fields professionals forces you to describe how you turned your ideas into a built form. As you grow as a designer, one of the most significant skills you can learn is how to communicate your goals and how you achieved them. When you are able to do this successfully you can convincingly and confidently promote just about anything. Although this takes practice to master, successful communication of ideas is a skill of great value in any profession.

In addition to learning how to convey one’s thoughts and artistic concepts to a group, the critique teaches us something equally valuable: how to accept constructive criticism. During a critique, you present to a panel of professionals. There is no one better to teach you what will and won’t work in the architectural field than practicing, experienced, architects. As they conduct their critique, they assess your work and advise you about what is successful and what could be improved. Taking constructive criticism and using it to better your craft is key for any artist to learn.

Constructive criticism can be very difficult to hear due to the intrinsically personal nature of art. Revealing personal work naturally makes one nervous, but with any profession, one must take skill assessments seriously to improve. I believe that this is too often overlooked and forgotten in the art world. If you are hoping to improve, there is no better strategy than to have someone of greater skill and knowledge examine your abilities and advise you where there is room for improvement. If you can positively internalize and act on this advice, you are taking the first step towards growing as a designer.

Although public presentation of one’s craft is often intimidating it is truly the best way to develop oneself as an artist and as an architect. Improving vocalization of personal ideas and intentions will ultimately aid one in any professional field. If you are able to act on the critique of your presentation and apply suggestions to your work, you will spend less time mentally rejecting the feedback you receive and more time improving your skillset