Friday, 9 April 2010
Module 7 is an exhibition held by Kuwait Architecture Students Association [KASA] for the year 2010. I used to be in the team organizers of 4 annual exhibitions back when I was in school, and since I graduated I long to see how the idea is evolving. The idea of an annual exhibition came from the drive to spread awareness about architecture as a profession and to engage ourselves as architects with the society to communicate, educate and display the production of the department of architecture. Since it is hard to explain the whole aspects and fields of architecture, we tried to have a yearly approach -not theme-. The name selected for the exhibition is the side of architecture in which we need to explore and demonstrate to the society and which our selection and evaluation of the students work depends on.
From the year 2008 till now the approach started to change. In "Module 7 -2010", "Strata-2009" and "Architectural Catwalk-2008" it was mostly viewed as follows: a name of an architectural concept or theme, an installation that represents it and then a unified scale of best designs from all the studios production.
I love how the latter approach made the exhibition able to be held in malls and active places, and I must say that they're so well organized and well managed. But the role of the exhibition is to really reach the society with a particular concept at a time, and should be delivered through the KASA members selection of work. When I first read "Module 7" I thought I will see a selection of students work investigating and experimenting with modules, Thus I thought of summarizing the points I had taken into three basic points: 1.work selection criteria, 2.scale, 3.models.
Firstly, I saw an installation relevant to the name of the exhibition and design work displayed according to the design year and irrelevant to "Module" as a general concept. The installation shouldn't overcome the design work of the students, and the name should represent the work of the students, not the installation. the main purpose of the installation is to provide a space to host the work, it definitely could engage with the qualities of the work displayed but shouldn't overact , so we visit to appreciate the work of the students not the installation made for it, and if there is no selection criteria, you can call it by a more general name, number or symbol.
Secondly, the scale of the design work displayed. I noticed -also through teaching design 3 last course- that students have a very law sense of scale and I bet it is because of the "no scale" design programs, therefore students print according to the scale required and have less decision manner in such critical point. Each project has a scale that should be shown with, and when the instructor asks for a particular scale that means certain information are needed in this design course, while 1:200 or 1:500 are good scales for urban design projects, 1:20 is highly recommended for structural objective projects like a house. Drawings' scale is the key to read the design, it decides how can we read and it is the point of vision set to view the work. the only time instructors ask the student to define which scale to design with is when the students are asked to choose the size of their projects -when the size of the project is not unified-. It might be fair to give equal space in the exhibition to every student when the organizers chose to unify the scales, but it is not fair for the projects themselves as they were not appreciated in the scale they were put in.
Thirdly, model making during study years is different than model making in real estate companies. The students aren't asked to produce a birds eye view of a what looks like their buildings, but rather use model making to produce the spaces, phenomena, tectonics, and the scale qualities aspired in their projects. I see no life in any of the projects, models are not produced from laser machines, it is a product of our own senses. It doesn't have to literally represent the drawings but explore another angle using the new dimensional context. What I saw is very similar to reading an English-Arabic translation through google translate.
Finally, I have to say that the "annual exhibition project" was perfectly managed, and one of the most important architectural skills is project management. And based on my knowledge on how vibrant and willing the students are I can say with confident: "the best is yet to come!"
While I'm writing this, Barrak Al-Babtain posted a review about the exhibition on his re:kuwait. He has different takes on the subject in which I also have different opinions on, here is the link.