Taking Critique with Stride

During this week of spring week, I had the pleasure of taking a three day trip to Waxhaw, NC and meet up with my mentors for my senior project that are based in Charlotte. I am fortunate to have two great mentors helping me – Luis Tochiki, an architect who has his own firm, and Ann Erickson, an interior designer with BB+M Architecture. Luis even went the extra mile to arrange a critique session for me with some architects in the shared office from FWA Group. It was quite the experience having four pairs of experienced eyes stare down at every inch of my 70,000 sq. ft. preliminary space plans for the residence hall. Although they basically challenged every design decision I had made, and left me with a nearly clean slate, I am so appreciative of the feedback I got. Here’s what I kept in mind and took from this experience:

– No, criticizers are not critiquing you as a person. (Sure, there might be some preconceived perceptions of the designer – in this case, me – because of the design.) But it is always best to extract yourself from your project and realize that they are critiquing your work, and not you. They are not trying to tear you down; instead they are trying to build your project up.
– When you do not have a shell that is restricting size, go big. Go home! (Of course, do this with discernment.)
– It is so important to think 3D instead of only 2D. It is also equally important to convey your 3D design because even if you have thought 3-dimensionally, others cannot see it as you do in your mind.
– Learn from their experience. Take it all in. And grow from the criticism.

Here’s to starting all over again with space planning, the next two crazy weeks, and keeping the end result in mind!

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