We have now been at St Edmunds twice and have been able to introduce ourselves to the year 12 students who are working on an architecture module as part of their product design course. The aim of the module is to study and replicate an existing building using physical models. It is clear that the class is very varied but all willing to learn and be helped by us as MArch mentors which makes it slightly easier!
The teacher has given an outline of the basic requirements of the course and what she would like us to help the students with. This includes photoshop skills, perspective drawing (interior and landscape), model making, scaling, presentations/crits, study visits, design and concepts, urban/interior design and 3d digital modelling. Furthermore, we can also set worksheets and deadlines if we feel it will benefit their education, all the while challenging their ideas and improving their design skills and techniques.
The second lesson we were involved in included student presentations of their work which we organised as university style crits (although not nearly as difficult!). This was a good learning experience for the students who hope to go into architecture, giving them confidence to stand in front of an audience and ‘sell’ their ideas to the ‘panel’. This also benefitted me as a mentor as I had to give constructive feedback to help improve the work. This at first was difficult as I had to be positive and lower my expectations/standards when considering that they are in year 12 and have never done anything like this before. The work was generally of a very high standard, with good presentations and understanding of the chosen buildings. The main issues I noticed, which we as mentors will need to help them with over the coming weeks, were model craft and scale.
As we continue as mentors we will be involved in an interiors based project after Christmas which will involve drawing and design skills rather than replication and representation.
Dhanesh, Adchana, John