Unit G: The Last Tutorial! Thursday 14th May, online, 10am

Memory Museum (Section), Wilcox Road, Vauxhall, London, Libby Frobisher, Unit G

Dear Unit G,

I hope you are all managing to stay well, stay focused, and are making good progress as we head towards tomorrow’s last tutorial of the year, and the final submissions next week.

We will start the final portfolio tutorials online at 10am as usual, and since 2nd years submit first, I will see Yr2 in the morning, followed by Yr3 in the afternoon; please see the attached tutorial list.

And at lunchtime we will be answering questions about the submission and briefly talking about plans for an online exhibition, and maybe publishing a “Unit Book” after the submissions to bring the year to a conclusion.

Tomorrow we will need to turn every page (that exists!) of every project in your portfolio, arranged in the right order, in the right portfolio files (10no. max), at the right resolution (2560×1440 x96/150dpi for portfolio sheets x300dpi for drawings), in the right format (pdf/mp4/mov), at the right size (less than 100MB per file) with the right file names (in the right order), uploaded to the PORTFOLIO folder of your SUBMISSION shared drive, presented as you plan to submit next week.  This is a chance to iron out the errors, and make sure next week’s submission goes smoothly.

I am also keen to see all the model images you plan to include, to talk through your final drawings, your 1:20 technology drawings and structural models, AND to see the (impossible) list of all the things you plan to do between tomorrow and the submission next week: preferably with a sketch of each image/drawing/model/movie.
We have also noticed not many people have collated their “rough process work” for each project (yet).  This work is essential, and must be included in your uploaded portfolio files, so we can see the full range of the things you have done, and the way you have been working this year, to support your projects.

Ideally you could ask someone at home (do you have time?) to photograph/scan all the rough work for you, and to photograph/scan every page of your sketchbook(s) too, and to turn this into a single “Digital sketchbook” pdf.  This work is an important part of the “3d Creative Process” being marked next week.

The check-list of essential drawings (each to capture the story/narrative/activity/spatial experience/organisation):

  • 2d Site Location Plan 1:1000 (with building roof plan or model + context)
  • 2d Site Plan 1:500/1:200 (with building roof plan or model + landscaping and context)
  • 2d Site Sections 1:500/200 (re-use larger scale section at a smaller scale with wider context or model)
  • 2d Plans 1:50/1:100 (one for each level; context at all levels; ground plan with landscape especially near entrances)
  • 2d Sections 1:50/1:100 (Long-section(s) and Cross-Section(s); with ground/water/context/landscape)
  • 3d External perspectives (at least 2no.; 4no. better, Must have context; can be freehand/photomontage/model photos/CAD model images)
  • 3d Internal perspectives (at least 2no.; 4no. better, can be freehand/photomontage/model photos/CAD model images)
  • Yr3: 3d 1:20 detail with construction/structure/environment
  • Yr3: Structural model images with annotation

Optional extra drawings:

  • Axonometric
  • Exploded axonometric
  • Perspective Sections
  • Section or Plan oblique
  • Cut-away drawings of the above projections
  • Hybrid plan/section/3d drawings
  • Spatial storyboard
  • Other!
  • 2d Elevations (only if they help)

Checklist as you work through your drawings:

  • Context (in plan and in section, even if it is only an outline)
  • People/Furniture/OccupationClearly cut components  
  • Internal elevations (lighter) in the background of sections, and for floor/spaces below plans
  • Structure (Columns, beams, secondary structure, other)  
  • Doors (with very light swing lines)
  • Glazing/windows (with some indication of frame or opening if appropriate, dotted rooflights above)
  • Stairs/Landings/Ramps (with hand-rails and arrows (up) or some other indication of the direction)
  • Lifts (with inner doors to car, and outer doors to space)
  • Dotted lines showing things above/below or that continue or move
  • Scale bar
  • North point
  • Section cut marks/locations
  • Title including the scale and level
  • Annotation of spaces and key
  • Avoid putting a cross through void spaces, and other dodgy symbols and hatching…

Obviously since this is the last tutorial session before next week’s submissions, this is an essential final conversation, and so it would be good to see everyone tomorrow, no matter where your work is at, or how confident you feel about it.

No doubt it will be a busy final day, and could well run late (sorry), especially if people don’t join the Google Meet on time: so please don’t wait to be told to join, or for the previous conversation to finish.  Instead join the session, listen to other people’s conversations, see each other’s work, and make the most of the final day!

Good luck with the work, and I look forward to seeing you all tomorrow.

Kind Regards

Toby (Mike and Justin)

Unit G

Unit G: Online Portfolio Tutorials, Monday 11th May, 10am

Olympic Archery Range, Plan, Barcelona, Enric Miralles and Carme Pinos, 1991

Dear Unit G,

I hope you are all well, and despite all the lockdown easing rumours, you are managing to stay focused on your portfolios and Northern:Nights projects, as the end is in sight!

Tomorrow, for our penultimate unit G session of the year, we will have speedy online portfolio tutorials starting at 10am as usual, seeing you in pairs for around 15mins per person.

In addition Justin is planning a last round of technology feedback, based on the portfolio work in your SUBMISSION drive tomorrow, so please make sure ALL your latest technology drawings, structural model images, and final plans/sections are included in your updated draft portfolio files uploaded to the drive.

At lunchtime there is a tutor’s meeting, so no lunchtime talk tomorrow.  

With just over a week to go to the final portfolio submissions, tomorrow I am looking forward to an update on your portfolio progress, while concentrating on looking in detail at your (in-progress) final drawings, especially the critical 2d plans and sections.  Of course I’m also keen to see other in progress work too, but the final plans and sections in whatever state they are currently in are the priority; looking at how the drawings are coordinated, the detail of the design and occupation, how the critical ideas of the project are embedded in the drawings, the construction and technology, and the graphic techniques and communication.

In addition a quick flick through the SUBMISSION drives this afternoon shows that many of you are still to upload draft digital portfolio files to the drive, and I must ask everyone to make sure that at least a draft version of each portfolio file is in the SUBMISSION drive before tomorrow’s tutorial (and everything else is removed to the Remote Tutorial Work folder).  This TOP PRIORITY, as it means if anything goes wrong between now and the submissions there is a fall-back position… and this is as important for people with Exceptional Circumstances as anyone else.

And of course with just tomorrow and Thursday’s tutorials to go before the submission, it is essential everyone turns up for their tutorial, even if there is no new work to see, but also it means it is quite likely that the sessions will run late, for which I must apologise in advance!

Look forward to seeing you all online tomorrow.

Kind Regards

Toby (Mike and Justin)

Unit G

Unit G: Online Portfolio Tutorials, Thursday 7th May, 10am

Expo 95, Composite Plan, Section, Projection, Morphosis

Dear Unit G,

I hope you are all well, and making good progress on your portfolio and Northern:Nights project.

Tomorrow Mike and I will see half the unit each, yr2 in the morning yr3 in the afternoon, for full length individual portfolio tutorials, starting online at 10am; please see the attached tutorial list. You will all receive an invitation to both online sessions, so you can drop in and out, and listen to and contribute to each other’s tutorials.

And at lunchtime, we will have a brief discussion about “Other” drawings, the ones you do once you have a beautiful set of final plans and sections in order to celebrate your project and ideas, and bring the narrative and the design together in a single image, and end the portfolio on a high.

As discussed on Monday, and in the emails on Tuesday, tomorrow Mike and I are keen to see your whole in-progress portfolios (all 4 projects) coming together in the format and file structure you are planning for the final submission, using the correct file naming, and uploaded to your PORTFOLIO folder in your SUBMISSION shared drive.

We are also keen to see the latest version of your final drawings and models, and to discuss each of the final drawings, models, images, diagrams, movies etc. that  you are planning to complete in the next 2 weeks to the final submission; so we are hoping you will be able to show us at least a sketch of everything you are planning if not the an in-progress version.

It is important you are clear about how you are going to use these last few weeks, that you are ambitious but also realistic about what you can achieve, and that you are not planning to leave high-priority work to the last minute.

And while we are in this strange lockdown limbo, it is still critical to keep working consistently every day; working hard, but at a pace you can maintain through to the end.  Which means eating at normal times, sleeping at normal times, working at normal times, and NOT doing an all-nighter until the very last night before the submission – you can’t afford the time you will lose recovering, nor putting right the mistakes you will make.

Look forward to seeing you all online tomorrow.

Kind Regards

Toby (Mike and Justin)

Unit G

Unit G: Online Portfolio Tutorials, Monday 4th May 10am online

Elderly Spa, Oxford, “Hand-made” Portfolio Page, Lesley Sjafei, Unit G

Dear Unit G,

Please accept my apologies for the lateness of this posting, but I hope you are all well and making good progress with your Northern:Nights projects following Thursday’s successful Online Review, and with your portfolios ahead of tomorrow’s tutorials, despite the endless drag of lockdown! 

As outlined in the feedback email yesterday, tomorrow will be the first of our online Portfolio tutorials in the run up to the final submission in just over 2 weeks time, and I will be hoping to see each of you online with your current portfolio of all four projects this year for around 15mins each, starting at 10am online; please see the attached tutorial list.

And at lunchtime we will be discussing the detail of how the final portfolio submission will work, how to structure and format your portfolio files for submission, and any other questions you may have about the process.

While I am keen to see the work you have done on your Northern:Nights projects in response to last weeks review, tomorrow we will need to focus most of our time on discussing your portfolio page layouts, font sizes, integration of process work, how to best communicate the story of each project in the portfolio, your plan of final drawings, models, diagrams and images for the final few weeks, and where to prioritise your time.

Sadly these sessions can be quite difficult to keep to time, although I will do what I can, but please bear with me and I will make sure everyone gets seen.

Look forward to seeing you all online tomorrow.

Kind Regards

Toby (Mike and Justin)

Unit G

Unit G: Northern:Nights Online Review, Thursday 30th April, 10am

Intitute of Clean Air, Brixton, Hannah Anderson, Unit G

Dear Unit G,

I hope you are all well, and making good progress through the lockdown on your Northern:Nights projects ahead of Thursday’s (experimental) Online Review, starting at 10am via Google Hangouts Meet; please see the attached Review List.

On Thursday we are incredibly lucky to be joined by our guest critics Hannah Durham (Partner at Cullinan Studios and teaching in MArch at the Brookes) and Maria Faraone (Director of the RIBA Studio and also teaching in MArch), who will be providing a fresh pairs of eyes and a fresh perspective on your Northern:Nights projects, to help you bring the projects to a really successful conclusion in just under three weeks time.

As discussed, the format of the review will be your 7min pre-recorded presentation of your final Northern:Nights project (possibly supported by your Narrative:Section), followed by 15mins live online feedback and comments from the critics, and you will also receive written feedback using the familiar Feedback Sheets and Marking Grid, as you would in face-to-face Cross-Crits.  You will also want to nominate someone in advance to take notes for you, so you can focus on the discussion, and so copies of the usual yr2 and yr3 Assessment and Reflection sheets are attached below for you to fill in, email to each other, and forward to me.

The “Online Review” folder and named sub-folders have now been set up on the Unit G Shared Drive, so please upload to your folder by 12pm on Wednesday night:

  • A single Northern:Nights Project pdf file containing all the drawings/images/views/sketches/pages of the presentation of your project
  • A pre-recorded presentation of your introducing and talking through your Northern:Nights Project pdf in .mov or .mp4 format, with a maximum length of 7mins.  (It could simply be taken from your phone, looking at your laptop screen, as you talk and turn the pages of the pdf…it could of course be more sophisticated, but it’s not necessary)

The focus of the review is how to put the Northern:Nights project to bed in the portfolio in the most successful way: the way to best communicate your ideas; the final models you might make; the final drawings; the final images, views and diagrams; the final detail(s), structural model and technology work, and of course how to make the final design as well resolved as possible.

So your presentation needs to focus on explaining your ideas and where the project comes from quickly and clearly, so you can focus most of the presentation on your latest design and latest drawings, images, models and diagrams. To do this you are recommended to state what your final proposal is FIRST, and to show something of the final design, followed by explaining the relationship to the site, the project narrative/brief and participants, and then the current design.  Use your iterative design work, and precedents to support the explanation of why the final proposals are as they are.  Of course there are other ways to structure your presentation, but remember you’ve only got 7mins, the latest work is the most important, and you need to be clear, so your critics can give you the most helpful feedback.

Please also remember that Justin will be looking at your technology work on Thursday, and providing feedback, although he won’t be able to join us for the online discussions.  And if 3rd yrs would like further written feedback on their structures, please make sure your structures models/drawings are uploaded to a new “Structure” folder, in your named folder on the Remote Tutorial work Drive before Thursday, so Matthew can have a last look.

Normally we would ask everyone to be in the review all day (and this would be great if you can), but since Thurday’s review is online, we will only expect you to be online for at least half the day: All Morning, or All Afternoon, to support each other, listen and participate in the feedback, get a feel of where other people are at, and learn from each other; this is the point of a review.

But as usual it is important you do not do an all nighter on Wednesday night, so you are able to to fully engage in the discussion of your work, but also because there are only 3 weeks left to the submission: so you need to be able to work at full capacity every day…

Good luck putting everything together for the review, and we look forward to seeing you all online on Thursday.  If you have any queries, or technical problems please let us know as soon as possible.

Kind Regards

Toby (Mike and Justin)

Unit G

Unit G: Northern:Nights online tutorials, Monday 27th April

Wilcox Road Taxi Shelter, Structural Model, Adam West, Unit G

Dear Unit G,

I hope you are all well, and managing to stay sane and focussed on your Northern:Nights projects and portfolios despite the distractions of lockdown!

Tomorrow we will have online Northern:Nights design tutorials again in small groups of 2 or 3 people for around an hour per group, and a lunchtime discussion about the critical skill of photographing models, as well as a brief chat about the format and critics of Thursday’s experimental Online Review; please see the attached tutorial list

To prepare for the tutorials please upload your latest work to the Shared Drive as before, remembering to save drawings and images as pdf or jpg files, and not trying to show live 3d CAD models or InDesign files which can’t be read from the Google Drive…

Of course tomorrow we are hoping to see your latest drawings, models, images, sketches, views and diagrams as your projects and stories develop and come together ahead of Thursday’s review. 

On the basis of the work currently on the Drive we have agreed with Justin that he should wait until Thursday to give further technology feedback by email, so that he is commenting on the same work that will be reviewed by our guest critics AND so that the technology work embedded into scale plans and sections, as well as 3d details and structural models, is more complete and a better reflection of your projects.

3rd Yrs please note, if you would like further written feedback by email from Matthew Bolton regarding your structural models, testing and proposals, please create another folder titled “Structure” in your named folder of the Remote Tutorial Work shared drive, with ONLY your latest structural work, and a brief word document explaining what you have done, and how you think it works.  If this is available by Thursday this week Matthew has kindly offered to return some further brief comments on your latest structural proposals;  this is a one-off offer that you are highly recommended not to miss!

And lastly, please feel free to listen in to any/all of the tutorials tomorrow, so you get a sense of what other people are up to.  Try and make sure you are online on time for your tutorial, but even if you miss your slot, because online tutorials never seem to run on so long, there is always time to catch up later in the day…but whatever you do, and wherever your project is at, please do try to join us.

Look forward to seeing you all online tomorrow.

Kind Regards

Toby (Mike and Justin)

Unit G

Unit G: Northern:Nights Online Tutorials, Thursday 23rd April, 10am

Manhattan Expressway Project, Paul Rudolph, 1972

Dear Unit G,

I hope you are all well, and letting your projects distract you from lockdown isolation!

As discussed on Monday, tomorrow we will have online tutorials instead of the proposed review, which has been postponed to Thursday next week.  So “as (the new) normal” we will be starting online at 10am through Google Hangouts Meet with Mike and I seeing half the units each: 2nd yrs in the morning and 3rd yrs in the afternoon, so there will be plenty of time for an in-depth conversation about your latest work, and how to start to bring the projects to a conclusion, ready for next week’s Review and the last push to the final submissions in May.  Please see the attached tutorial list (also posted on the unitgblog).

Please note everyone is invited to both online meetings as we are keen for you to drop in and listen/contribute to other peoples tutorials, so you get a sense of where each other are at, and stay in touch with each other.

And at lunchtime, we will have a brief discussion about the final submissions following Jane’s email today, to make sure everyone is clear how it will work.  But more interestingly (hopefully!) we would also like to talk about “Great” architectural drawings – looking in detail at a few examples, what makes them so good, and how you can use these to develop your own “great drawings” for your own projects.

No doubt the list of work in-progress included on Sunday’s email scared the life out of you all, which is why Matthew and I saw so few people on Monday, combined with 2nd yrs focussing on the iminent History and Theory submission on Friday… (yes we understand this will be getting in the way of your design work…).

But in this strange (Brave?) new world we find ourselves, it is even more important to participate in whatever teaching sessions we can offer: so you stay in touch with each other, get a sense of everyone working to the same deadlines, for a common purpose, and retain a sense that you really still are in a School of Architecture at University, even if it doesn’t quite feel like that much of the time.

This also means if you miss your tutorial slot, or tutorials are running behind, please join the online discussion whenever you can, even if this is only to arrange to come back online later in the day, as it is so important Mike and I see everyone.

Often at this time of year we operate a “double-tutorial” strategy, seeing people quickly first thing, and then again later in the day once the work has progressed, because everyone should be working consistently throughout the tutorial day (and everyday between now and the submission).  So if you would like a double-session along these lines please let us know, as the whole point of tutorials is to help the development of your projects and your learning, so it is important the tutorials work with what you are doing…

And lastly please upload all your latest work to your named folder in the Remote Tutorial shared drive, so we can look through it even if your connection is shaky.  But please note there is no point uploading an Autocad, Rhino or Sketchup files to the drive as we will not be able to view these directly from the drive.  But just as you would for a face-to-face tutorial, it is important you come with the equivalent of printed drawings/views/images/sketches etc. so we can easily review, discuss and sketch over them.

Look forward to seeing you all online tomorrow.

Kind Regards

Toby (Mike and Justin)

Unit G

Unit G: Northern:Nights Online Tutorials, Monday 20th April 10am

Winery Model, Oxford, Paul Avery, Unit G

Dear Unit G,

I hope you are all safe and well, and have had a good (productive) Easter break.

Tomorrow online teaching re-commences with individual structures tutorials for Yr3 with our Structural Engineer, Matthew Bolton, while I will simultaneously be seeing everyone for small group design tutorials, starting as usual at 10am, via Google Hangout Meet; please see the attached tutorial list.

And at lunchtime we will have a discussion about the format, critics and expectations for Thursday’s, online Review, and also show a couple of portfolios to remind you of what you should all be aiming for in 5 weeks time.

For the Structures tutorials, Matthew will be keen to see your structural models, as well as your latest design models, plans and sections, and maybe a brief summary of the project so that he can best understand what you are working on and advise how to develop your structural proposals.

Please note tomorrow is the last opportunity to discuss your project and structural proposals with Matthew, so it is vital everyone participates…even if you don’t think you have very much – it is better to participate, and get some feedback.

For Design, I’m looking forward to discussing everything you’ve been working on over Easter: models (structure and design), drawings (plan/sections/other), experiments, sketches, photomontages, 3d 1:20 details, etc; to hear how your portfolio work is going; and how you plan to approach the Review on Thursday.

I apologise in advance for the list below, but just so you know…. in an ideal world what we would like to see on Thursday is:

  • Images/drawings/diagrams to communicate the project narrative/ story/ performance
  • Spatial Brief with a well defined programme of activities, participants, quantities, scale, timescales etc.
  • In-progress site exploration/analysis that informs your proposals – identifying the location of the project, where it can be seen from; access to the site etc.
  • Narrative:Section (both Oxford and Trondheim sites) – should be nearly complete
  • Physical model (1:100?) preferably on site (probably not the final one…), ideally it should be possible to see inside
  • An in-progress digital model (if you plan to make one…)
  • Detailed scale plans/sections (1:100/1:50), with context; exploring the techniques you want to use in the final drawings
  • Detailed site-plans/site-sections (1:200/1:500)
  • Images of the project on site, in context (Drawing/photomontage of digital or physical model)
  • Images exploring the internal spatial experience  (Drawing/photomontage of digital or physical model)
  • Sketches for the drawings/images/diagrams/movies/models you plan to make to celebrate and communicate the story of the project (Sectional perspectives/ exploded axo etc.)
  • Negotiated Section and further exploration of technology (materials/construction)
  • Draft Structural Model
  • Draft 3d 1:20 detail

Sorry it’s quite a list – but don’t panic if you haven’t got this far yet, it just means the tutorials tomorrow are even more important: So we look forward to seeing you all online then!

Kind Regards

Toby (Mike and Justin)

Unit G

Unit G: Northern:Nights Online Tutorials, Thursday 2nd April 10am

Drive-in Opera, Avebury, Joe Giddings, Unit G

Dear Unit G,

I hope you are all well, staying healthy, and managing to keep making progress on your Northern:Nights projects and portfolios despite the onset of “cabin fever”!

And so the new normal continues tomorrow, with our final online tutorials before the break for Easter, with Mike and I seeing half the unit each, in small groups of twos and threes for around an hour per group starting at 10am; please see the attached tutorial and you should also be received as an email invitation shortly

Please remember to upload your latest work to a new folder with tomorrow’s date in your named folder on the Shared Drive asap so you are all ready for your tutorial tomorrow.

And at lunchtime it would be good to have a brief whole unit conversation at 1:30pm about what is expected of you over Easter, the run in to the new revised submission dates of 19th and 20th May, the process of applying for the 2-week “grace period”, and how to adjust your plans for your portfolio to take advantage of the extension and the digital final submission. 

So tomorrow Mike and I are keen to see all your latest work, and everything you have been doing towards the list I suggested in last week’s email, and also the work you are planning to do over Easter, so we can help you plan.

And of course with tomorrows tutorial the last until after Easter, it is important that we see everyone, no matter how much or how little you have managed to achieve.

Look forward to seeing you all online tomorrow.

Kind Regards

Toby (Mike and Justin)

Unit G

Unit G: Northern:Nights Online Tutorials, Monday 30th March, 10am

Canne Grande drawings, Castelvecchio, Verona Carlo Scarpa

Dear Unit G,

I hope you are all well and surviving the enforced isolation of Covid-19 by making good progress with your Northern:Nights projects.

Tomorrow our unit activities continue with another busy day online including: group design tutorials (yr2 in the morning, yr3 in the afternoon), group structures tutorials for yr3 in the morning with our structural engineer Matthew Bolton, and a lunchtime talk for everyone at 1:30pm, dicussing Site Strategy; please see the attached tutorial list

Structures conversions for 3rd yrs will start with a 30min introduction with Matthew Bolton and Justin at 10am, followed by 30min tutorials in pairs.

Hopefully you will also have received email invitations to the structures and design tutorials online sessions via the Google Calendar.

In advance of all the sessions tomorrow, please upload your latest work to your named folder in the “Remote Tutorial Work” shared drive, making a new folder with tomorrow’s date.

For the structures tutorials, Matthew will be keen to see your latest models, latest plans and sections, your Negotiated Section, and a brief summary of your programme in the form of your Spatial Brief.

As next week is our last teaching week before Easter, it is critical to continue to establish the Northern:Nights project so that by the end of this week everyone has a complete version of the proposal on site with a model, plans, sections etc, including all of the narrative/spatial/programmatic ingredients of the project.  This will allow Mike, Justin and myself to give you clear feedback so the way forward over Easter is clear, and so you can be ready to present your work in an Online Review of the project on Thursday 23rd April after Easter.

Yr3 also need to be working hard at developing their technology work over Easter, especially the structure in response to Matthew and Justin’s feedback tomorrow, so you are ready for a second in-depth conversation with Matthew on Monday 20th April, and so you have a draft of your 3d 1:20 detail and a Structural model to present at the Online Review on the 20th April.

In addition everyone now needs to return to working on your portfolios for at least a couple of hours each day, so that by the end of Easter all your semester 1 work is complete and resolved in the portfolio, and the majority of the pages telling the story of the Northern:Nights project have been set up and worked out, which will allow you to focus on developing the Northern:Nights design in the run-in to the final submission, and only needing to chip-away at the final touches on the portfolio.  To help the process Mike and I will be holding portfolio tutorials after Easter.

So there is plenty to do, and to keep you busy in these strange times…Good Luck!

Look forward to seeing you all online tomorrow.

Kind Regards

Toby (Mike and Justin)

Unit G