Last week I had the pleasure of my first experience as an invited architect at a design crit at my alma mater, Pratt Institute, in Brooklyn New York. They are not called 'crits' anymore, design review is the term. Pratt's School of Architecture is located off the main campus in the former Aldelphi University building now called Higgins Hall. In my day, it was a worn but sturdy romanesque structure with creaky wood floors, harsh florescent lighting, a bad but convenient coffee shop and mix 'n match furnishings. Thanks to a nasty fire in the early 90's, it was renovated and transformed, by Steven Holl and Rogers Marvel Architects, into a spectacular architecture school. The floors, however, still creak which was strangely comforting.
Richard Scherr's second year class of undergraduates were a wonderfully diverse group of 20 year olds, and their project was a small kindergarten building on Staten Island. My other peers included Theo David and Adam Kushner. It was interesting to see how strong a role computers play in students presentations, not always for the best. The same for models- they all use laser machines now- most in wood but one in plexiglass. I guess the days of foam core and chip board are over. I was, however, impressed by the quality of their efforts. And it was wonderful to see how many women there are now at school. I think the profession will be in good hands in the future.