Wednesday, June 06, 2001

Ordeal makes students cringe

By Ben L. Kaufman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[photo] Senior architecture student David Ng (right) listens as critics assess his senior thesis. From left are Dr. Daniel Friedman, assistant professor Michael McInturf and professor David L. Niland.
(Craig Ruttle photos)
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        It's called the “crit,” a recurring ordeal for each of the more than 1,600 students at the University of Cincinnati's College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning.

        “They put us through hell,” one interior design student said, pleading for anonymity.

        “That's fairly accurate,” said assistant professor Michael McInturf. “Some people do use a scare tactic.”

        A critique might be as casual as a professor walking by and saying a project could be better. It also can be as devastating as a client saying students failed to capture his dream and they must start over if they want to keep the job.

        Even when professors are not playing good cop/bad cop, “it is a very intense situation at times,” Mr. McInturf said.

        Fortunately for architecture senior David Ng of Corryville, that wasn't his fate when he presented his final thesis project to Daniel Friedman, director of the school of architecture and interior design, and to professor David Niland and Mr. McInturf.

[photo] Guest critic Greig Rutherford, a senior project architect with Neyer Architects and Engineers, talks to students.
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        It was a model of a hypothetical multimedia museum that Mr. Ng proposed for a San Francisco site.

        His yearlong effort had to embrace everything from keeping the rain out to zoning codes and his passion for a design that reflected what was to happen indoors.

        Short of sleep and anxious, he defended his ideas and their execution Monday.

        “He did well,” Mr. McInturf said.

        “Did he really say that?” Mr. Ng, 26, responded Tuesday. “It's very stressful. I personally haven't gotten used to crits. ... They're an ordeal because of the great amount of work is involved.”

        Mr. Ng's drawings are among those in annual DAAPworks at the convention center. The show is free to the public and runs 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. through Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

        For information, call 556-4933.

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