I have mixed feelings about this course. Firstly, there is the whole three professors thing. Ralph taught Monday lectures and then the class was split into three sections for Wednesday seminar. The professors rotated the sections as the semester progressed, so you got each one for several weeks. At first, I hated this chaotic organization but I came to appreciate the fact that, unlike most classes with discussion sections, the seminars weren’t in addition to the M/W periods. The workload is fairly heavy and attendance is required. There are approximately 60-80 pages of reading a week and “reading response questions” due every Sunday night at 7PM. The majority of your grade, however, is determined by two short writing assignments and a term paper. The two writing assignments require off-campus visits on your own time (one to an exhibit at the MoMA; the other to the Seagram Building). The term paper is due progressively over the second half of the semester. The first draft represents the first half of your paper; the final draft represents your entire paper. Finally, you are twice required to co-lead the Wednesday seminar along with another student in your section. Each of you must present one of the readings for that week. Arguably the most annoying thing about this course is the due date for written assignments. Hard copies of all written assignments are due Friday mornings by 10AM on the fifth floor of the Diana Center. Submission deadlines at the end of the week take some adjusting to, not to mention that it’s difficult to drag yourself out of bed after staying up until 4 in the morning finishing said assignment. The course also entails two site visits, one to the Lower East Side (led by Todd) and one to New Haven (led by Ralph). Both excursions were incredibly informative and fairly well organized. My only complaint was the unfortunate weather conditions on both occasions. The Lower East Side visit was on a cloudy day in late February, so the cold was to be expected. The New Haven trip occurred in the middle of a late-winter snow storm. It is difficult to appreciate New Haven's architecture with snow blowing in your eyes. The professors themselves each have their own quirks. Ralph is pretty straightforward, always attempting to present as much material as possible in lecture. He is amicable and genuinely interested in the material, wishing to instill this same interest in his students. Leah is a bit more abrasive and will not hesitate to correct you in seminar. That being said, she knows her stuff and truly cares about her students. Todd...well, Todd is Todd (do read his CULPA reviews). He is approachable, light-hearted, and just so sassy. He always wears a smile and rarely speaks without even the slightest comical intent (dry humor to say the least).
If you can avoid having her as a teacher I would highly suggest that move! She is erratic and wacky. Some days she can be helpful in helping you produce a product or model and other days she changes her directions completely making you start your project all over. She can be very rude and blunt in ways that are not productive to your learning. I truly believe she grades based on who she likes and who she doesn't. Her projects do not make you want to pursue architecture any further. However, if you do things inspired by the human body she will love it. Everything is architectonic if it doesn't make sense, but if you think something through and explain it she will not like it. I found this class very hard to enjoy. I started every day with a headache when I had her. I look forward to other architecture professors and not having her again. The class was a waste of time. She can be nice if she wants to be, but mostly it's her complaining about her multiple sicknesses .
I honestly don't know why this class is required for the major. Not a good or fun way to be introduced to the theory/history of architecture. Some of the topics seemed interesting but the lecture and discussion sessions make them extremely boring. To architecture minors and civil engineers: if this class is not required for you, do not take it.
the lectures are ok and some of the articles are interesting, but most of them are boring and not conducive to great discussions. they assume you know something about architecture so dont take this if its your first architecture class. lots of pretentious tools too
overall she is a good teacher. she has a monotone way of speaking, which can get quite boring, but she usually is saying something of worth. she doesn't seem to expect too much from the students, her demonstrations of drafting techniques for example was so slow and easy that she could have been talking to a first grader. i know it must be hard for her to remember what every student's project is about because there are sixteen of us and she runs her own architecture firm, however, sometimes i feel she can do a better job keeping on top of these things. like the reviewer before, i don't think she takes effort into a lot of consideration (or atleast as much as i would like her to). she is approachable and friendly.
Todd certainly puts a lot of time in preparation. However, lectures do get a bit boring, and are condusive for sleep. Each lecture, you walk in and take a slide list, and then the lights go off. What happens when the room is dark? Students naturally want to sleep, of course! Then he starts talking about his slides. What he has to say is certainly interesting and relevant, and perhaps even fascinating. But he has this kind of unenthusiastic way of talking that makes you fall asleep, which is rather unfortunate. The class is structured so you have lecture on Tuesday and discussion section on Thursday (or Mon/Wed), where the class is split into three sections. They're quite boring, since many people don't feel like talking, and the discussion leaders don't seem to be particularly good at leading discussion. You'll have to present readings a few times and lead discussions. It's a great situation if you love to hear your own voice, but don't expect animated feedback. Overall, the class is well-designed and thought out, but the execution is not up to par. Oh, and don't forget, there's a field trip, but unfortunately it doesn't live up to expectations.
Maria is an incredibly encouraging and friendly professor - if you can get into her studio, I definately would. She likes innovation and creativity in your projects and gives you restraints on what you can use, but lets you go freely from there. The class wasn't very structured - pretty much presenting the project, maybe a mini discussion on a packet of reading, and then pretty much desk crits all the way. I just wish she were a little more critical - she would be incredibly positive about your projects during desk crits, but during the final reviews she would bring up criticisms that she hadn't mentioned before... In general, though, a good professor who's more laid-back than most.
he is boring. very. the class is made up of lectures and discussion groups. the lectures are once a week in which todd would just show slides of various architectural buildings/sites/things supposedly relevant to the readings we were supposed to have read for that class. however a lot of the readings are so esoteric and stupid - how is this architecture? he sounds a little nervous and monotonous, and as a discussion group leader - he isn't very much willing to accept opinions not coinciding with his. he is a nice guy, and tries to help you out with assignments and work if you ask... but he definitely didn't spark my interest in architecture.