My university had a cruel architecture program. They would admit a mess of kids and then flunk 70% of the in the first semester. The process involved lots of amazingly hard design problems; like “Create a small unmarked uniform box which the instructor will place on table right side up on his first attempt, no text is allowed. Due tomorrow.” Did I mention the art supply store was closed?
Watching people work on these made me much more aware of design, and its curious perversities, and that some instructors are sadists.
I was reminded of that today glancing at my screen with my glasses off. There was a wonderfully ambiguous icon on the screen. It was either a triangle pointing to the left; or it was a volume control showing a speaker facing to the right. I’d not noticed this before. A cone is ambiguous about which way it is facing.
Do tell about some of the solutions the students came up with… 🙂
I came to believe that the way to solve most of these assignments was to cheat. So the successful entrants would be slightly nonuniform along a number of dimensions until in total the effect created was a cube with orientation. Shaded, weighted, marked. One trick that helps in these example is to make it so fragile that if you fail to take the hints it’s giving your afraid you’l break it. It seemed to me that these assignments were training the architects to push their client’s specifications as far as they could get away with and hence they were part of a attitude about architecture that was prevalent at the time; i.e. we are artists and you, client, you are a barbarian and really you know you should count yourself lucky I even let you live in my creation.
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