Design Juries

I had the privilege of sitting on a design jury for UF school of architecture yesterday. I think every architect should do this at one point or another. Its function is critical and here’s why (in no particular order):

1. It reconnects a practicing architect (no matter how young or old) with the visionary aspects of architecture. Students are naive and hopeful. It comes out in their work and it’s a great thing.

2. It helps architects connect with each other as they jury together. There is a sharing of ideas and architectural values that is unifying, even if there is disagreement among the jury about a particular project or issue.

3. It is a mental exercise for a practicing architect that is refreshing in and of itself. To discourse about design for almost 6 hours is pure insanity. Mental fatigue occurs. But architects are gluttons for punishment, especially of the mental sort.

4. It refreshes your overall understanding of the profession: design, representation, communication, detailing, construction, and so on….

5. It is critical for students to hear from practicioners. They sometimes think their professors are crazy and are pushing them to do irrelevant things. The jury spots these same flaws and reinforces the educational point because architecture and architectural representation are not entirely subjective.

6. Practicing local architects get a good sense, from juries, of how their regional or local architecture school is preparing graduates for the profession.

7. Some architects might find internship candidates through this process.

8. Practicing architects learn new technologies and methods from inventive and economically unrestrained students.

9. Students, especially fourth year (which I juried) discover that architecture is a lifelong process of learning. There is always someone who knows more than you do and can spot weakness in your work.

10. Jurors learn from each other’s comments.

I could go on and on. Discourse is great thing. Architects should employ it more within the professional environment.

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