MADAboutMADA S1 05
Diba Behshad, Alyssa Grover and Inuri Liyanage conducted this interview as part of their Bachelor of Architectural Design 3rd year elective, MADAboutMADA. In the elective, students are introduced to digital media and how it can be relevant to the architecture, design and art professions.
Introduction Music [0:00:00-0:02:06]
Welcome to the MAD About MADA Podcast. A podcast by students from the Monash University art design and architecture Faculty. This podcast is called “Just Architecture Things” and we are your hosts: Alyssa, Inuri and Diba. And we are just going to talk about the struggles and things that an architecture student goes through and their experience at Monash.
Let’s start with third year. How was it like for you guys? For me it was really relaxed. My Tutor was the sweetest guy. We didn't stand up and present once the entire semester. It was really, really relaxed. Oh wow! So you had no presentations? Nope. That's really different, I feel from a lot of other classes. Didn’t you always have to stand up and present stuff? Yeah. Straight away. We definitely did have to do that. I wasn’t even, I mean I hate speaking. Oh, that's so true, I think people that just when you're done from high school and if you didn't of a lot of the presentations. Yeah. And you just get pushed into this presentation every Monday Thursday, kind of like it was a shock. Do I want to do this? (laughter) It changes the culture. In high school you’re standing up doing an oral presentation, you’re freaking out. Your hands are moving. All nervous and now it’s just kind of, this is normal. I’ll get up, I’ll talk for however long I need to. It helps which is a good skill. A very good skill. What else happened in first year? That cardboard, I don’t know what that was. Oh! That was stressful! I don’t know what the hell that was. So we are talking about the cardboard model for the end of year. Yeah. They don’t do that anymore. It was a class model. They don’t? Yeah, they stopped. When did they do that? I had two friends who spent the night there, that was due, they spent over night, they didn't sleep! They clean their teeth in the toilet the morning! Ohhhh. I was like “What are you doing?” For first year? For first year! Yeah for that cardboard model. Well that doesn’t seem. I remember I came late for that presentation. I slept in. I came an hour late. It wasn’t a very stressful that time. An hour? I feel like first year was so stressful compared to third year. Because we just started. Didn’t know what to expect. That’s so true! (laughter) It was kind of good having like a whole class project. Yeah. You could all help out and stuff. And it was 7 people. No it was 18, girl.(laughter) yeah 18. But you did them as pairs. Yeah. You did your first one as pairs and then you did your second one as pairs. Yeah. And everyone spent way longer on the first one. Yeah true. Yeah. That was good. You support each other and stuff. I think first year is when we really got to know everyone, and that’s a good task to have, to get to know everyone because in Architecture it’s a lot of group work. Yeah. Cause I remember me and my friend, we had to get into a dumpster to look for materials but that was in first year, that was pretty whack! It’s still pretty, you wouldn’t expect to do that for university. Definitely not! I don’t think any business students are getting into dumpsters. And when we had to find materials we had to look far and wide. Because we had a different material each week. We had wood and then metal, plastic. Yeah. Why were you in a dumpster? (laughter) I have no idea! I think my tutor sent me. She was like “go!” That’s where you belong. J.k j.k (laughter) stop.
And then second semester we had this whole new structuring and it was a lot more kind of relaxed but also stressful. They kind of made you rely on yourself a bit more. I feel like you feel everything is relaxed. (laughter) It was all a bit. How was yours so relaxing? The end of it was stressful, and the first week they said go to your site in Balaclava. Oh true! I had Footscray. Yeah. Yeah, we did. (laughter) It was just like random. Week one. That was a lot of anxiety. So much petrol. You know I had no sleep, definitely no sleep in second semester. Yeah. A lot of model making and stuff like that. It’s just really different from first semester. Did any of you guys feel so out of place when all your friends doing non-architecture courses were just like not stressed at all in first year and we were completely. But they always bring up “you don’t have exams” You’re doing you’re so fine. Yeah. No, it’s still hard. The folio culture is so different. They study and get enough sleep to do well. We just. Do the work. We just don’t care about ourselves. The deadlines. And then show up with our folio, not showered, really tired, and just be like here’s my life. Yeah. Please don’t break me. Folio you can’t just do it last minute. You have to actually put a week aside to do it. Because studying I feel you can cram it in but. Yeah. That’s the thing with other courses, they start getting stressed two weeks before their exams whereas our stress lasts the whole semester. Yeah. It doesn’t end. Yes. After first week. Oh my god. (laughter)
Transition Music [0:06:42-0:06:44]
Okay so our first topic was first year. Yeah. And now we are going to move on to our second. Second year first semester. So, all three of us had the pleasure of doing the same studio. It was interesting. Yes. Yes. A lot of hard work had to go into it. 82 models, cast. Gosh. I think I had about 70. Okay! 82 was what she wanted. Oh she wanted 82? Oh, damn it. I think she cut that down after. Really? She realised we weren’t going to do that. Oh, why’d I do 82. Oh, okay. (laughter) You did 82, what the hell? I feel like I just did 20. (laughter) So, how was the state of your homes after all that casting. Oh my gosh, no. It was horrible, I kept getting told off for leaving candle wax in all the pots in the house. Yeah. And couldn’t get it off. The amount of time my fire alarm went off. Wow, that was so bad. Oh my god, no. That was so bad. Second semester. I actually liked second semester. Me too. Oh, I am jealous. I feel like second. Mine didn’t really. Oh, you would. Mine, I don’t know, it was a lot of computer stuff. So, I didn’t really have to make a lot of things. It was less hard in a way. Yeah. Do you think it was refreshing, because your first semester was so hands-on? Yeah it was so different. Did you have to use a program? Oh yeah. It was Rhino. Oh, okay. So, our whole studio had to use Rhino. It was really focused on renders. So, we would have to do 15 renders every week or something to try to make it really well. By the end we would be really good at doing renders. I don’t know when I'm going to use casting. (laughter) Funnily though, it’s ingraved into my head now. Casting? When someone says make a model, I always think the cast it. Yeah. Yeah. That’s true. I guess that helps with like developing ideas. That's true. Are you casting? She helped us and we didn’t even know. (laughter) Yeah what was so tough though. You did a travelling studio, right?
Yes. So the travelling studio was great for the first 3 weeks and then we went to Hobart and it was really incredible, however, the amount of work she expected in the time we were at Hobart, was ridiculous. Your normal days worth of work but you also somewhere else hotel room trying to do all this work. Yeah true! You didn’t have all your stuff. Yeah. It was really difficult. I remember thinking when I saw people posting about being in Hobart. Oh, I’m so jealous, I wish I did a travelling studio. They are on a holiday. No, it’s non-stop work. I was really bad because once the travel bit was done, when we got back there wasn't any break, just kind of all the tasks were due in Hobart. They were done and we moved on straight away and you didn't have time. On the plane I was trying to finish off tasks and then the workload just like picked up from there. This ever growing exponential amount of work. Oh. And if you missed one class or fell behind it all you were just behind forever. That’s so stressful. It was really hard. Yeah. That’s not good.
In my second year I had a studio where the entire time the tutor was telling me that are failing when I really did not. That’s not encouraging. Yeah. The entire time I felt like I was behind. I was going to see her to get extra work, she assigned me 50 extra drawings in a week than everyone else and she kind of made it out, that if I didn’t do those 50 drawings I get a definite fail. Which wasn't at all fair and I was getting ready to fight the tutor if that had’ve happened. I was fully ready to fight. Because I had done all the work at a high-level. It got to the point where the tutor had sent me an email saying “hey you should go see a counsellor, I think you need it”. What? Yeah. What? It was really. A counsellor? They usually send that email. “You’re at risk of failing”. I didn’t get one of those. Oh my gosh. Because she couldn’t prove it. Oh. That was the problem. I did the 50 drawings, I’d done all the work, I presented well. All the external crits were giving me really good feedback. They had to in forms to give feedback because that was the way studio was set up, yet always my tutors feedback was so different and I had all proof of all of that. So that's why I was ready to fight for it. It got to the end of the semester and I decided to just let her mark me and see what she gives me. If she gives me a fail that's when I try to get her fired. (laughter) Not even joking. You will not lose. Yeah exactly. If I have to repeat the semester, she’s getting fired. (laughter) Very good. Yeah. It turns out she obviously had to pass me and I ended up getting a credit. A surprise. Yeah. Cause I thought I was doing horribly. Yeah. But it’s the fact that you went through so much stress and anxiety. Yeah. It has completely changed my architecture course. I feel like a lot of the time, design is really subjective. Yes. She probably just didn’t like your style. Or me? Yeah. Maybe that as well. No, no, no! I don’t think so. You’d be surprised. I read, yeah no, go on. Oh no. Don’t worry. Do you have a story similar? But like, my tutor actually didn’t really hint that I was failing. Did you receive the warning. I didn’t even receive the warning. Oh. That’s not fair. Wait a minute. That’s unacceptable. Yeah. By Mid-Semester I was doing pretty well, at Mid-Semester to be honest. Yeah. I can say that. Do you think you went down a little bit after that. I feel, I didn’t after that. But after that, I kind of, he wasn’t really giving any hints, so I thought I was doing fine. The pace I was going a, but he wasn’t really saying, oh you need to work a bit harder, or anything like that. Oh, okay. Then I eventually failed. By a couple of marks. And that was a real big shock, right? Yeah. Cause you had no warning, what so ever. I didn’t think I was going to fail at all. Usually, if I thought I was doing bad, some other semesters I thought I was doing bad throughout it. It gives you a chance. I was like okay, I might fail. It gives you the chance to kind of pick yourself up, or do more. Prepare for it. Yeah. Yeah. But this one, I didn’t even think I was going to fail. I actually, I worked really hard, I had everything, I had all the drawings and like all that and then like when I got the marks, I was like, what, I failed? I was so shocked and then like I like applied for like a re-mark and stuff. But they were like the only way you can get a re-mark is if you have like, if it's like a reason like it was something wrong with the date or like something a technical reason, not like you think you did better, like you think you deserve a better mark. Folio is one hundred percent. Yeah. But it’s clearly not. Yeah. It’s horrible because you compare to say, math or science where there is a right and a wrong answer and you have, you know, an answers sheet, and theres only one answer. Architecuture is so different to that because it's so subjective, the tutor can say “I don't like this” so you get less marks. Yeah. Because I asked for like feedback and then the they sent he sent me saying like I like it was because like throughout the semester you submitted some things late. And I was like but isn't folio the thing that's the only thing that's assessed.
And I think he meant like weekly tasks like sometimes I'll be a bit behind in them but like they're not like actually marked so I didn't think they would actually matter. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t say anything about that in the handbook. I thought by, if in the end, like I had everything in my folio, then if the folio is one hundred percent then that's all that matters, but apparently, they have like a hidden agenda as well. (laughter) of like you have to be showing everything every week. Well why don’t they just say it, like are they out to fail people then. Like what’s going on? I feel like it will be better if they just kind of like write in the handbook, or whatever, like this is also considered, the weekly tasks. I mean exactly, isn’t that what a handbook is for? It just legit just says folio in it. Great! Folio is one hundred percent. Yeah. Which we know is untrue, now. Yes. Because past studios, I’ve just, sometimes I don’t have stuff every week. But I have it all in the folio, and that was fine. So, I assumed it was the same format, if it was like that every other year. But apparently it is not. So, I don’t know. I feel like everyone has those weeks where they fall behind. And they have to. It’s hard to keep up. Yeah. Yeah definitely. Cause like you do have stuff come up, social stuff. I guess. And family stuff. And everything. You can’t. You have a personal life you have to attend to. Yeah you can’t just disregard your whole life just to focus on studies and stuff. Completely. There are benefits though, to failing? Yeah. Yeah. Talk about them. Yeah, the benefits of failing, is that like I feel like because I have another year before I graduate. So, I can do studio next year so I am basically not doing studio this semester. So, it’s kind of, like it’s, a bit less stressful cause I can focus on my other two subjects instead of focusing on two subjects and studio. So, I have more time to like put towards my personal life as well. So, like it’s yeah. It’s way less stressful, than it would’ve been. Yeah underloading. Yeah. Yeah underloading. Yeah. And like next year, I’ll only have studio for a whole year. Yeah. You will get HD honey. Yeah. I’ve heard a lot of people who have got that whole set up, where they have taken off half their load or if they have also failed a unit. It’s so much more relaxed, the course is actually enjoyable when you don’t have three units to juggle. Yeah. I know some people that didn’t even fail and they just decide to underload because they realise it was too stressful. I feel everyone is, they can make different levels of loads and stuff. It is beneficial in the fact that I can just focus on one subject for the whole year, next year. That’s a key point. Your other life, social life. What is a social life? (laughter) Yeah exactly! I feel like a lot of architecture students don’t really have that, because they have to put so much effort into actually keeping up with all the work. It’s actually scary with how much architecture takes your time. Because I remember one of my tutors, if you want to have a social life and an architecture life you’re not going to get any sleep. She straight up said that she had insomnia like she was dealing with insomnia. You can’t afford to have a late night unless it's one where you are studying. You feel guilty. Yeah. You regret it. Oh, I wish, now I’m behind on this task. Yeah. Should’ve stayed up till 2 studying instead of. Going out. I think one of the things I like about architecture is that it is kind of interesting. Me, for my second semester, we had to study nightclubs. Which is kind of interesting. Obviously when you go to a nightclub on a regular day, on a regular night you don’t look at the architecture. But at this level we did, it was kind of interesting to see how we did that. And now when I got to clubs, I’m just like “oh”, I see what you did there! (laughter) You know all about clubs now. Yeah. Expert. It kind of changes your view of architecture. Even for people who study something like film, they can’t just watch a film, they fully analyse it. Yeah. And slowly we are getting to the point where we are just going to, every building we walk in we think “oh they used that, for this reason, and that”. Yeah. Just walking down places, I was in Collingwood the other day, and I was just looking at the old buildings. I was like oh yeah. Those details and stuff, it’s from that era and stuff like that. From that era? (laughter) So interesting. I feel like when I tell people I’m with, that aren’t doing architecture, I’m like “oh yeah, look at that” they are like “okay”. Oh, it’s so true! They are just kind of like “It’s alright, what are you saying to me?” (laughter) But I guess that shows how passionate you are. (laughter)
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I think my first semester in third year was actually, the best I’ve ever done. Just because it was a “Study Abroad” one. Do you want to tell the story? (laughter) Okay, so, I think this is the first time Monash has offered this studio. And it was in China. And it was once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. No, it really was. Yeah. Cool, yeah. Incredible. It was actually incredible. Of course, we went to the major cities: Beijing and Shanghai but then we were given this picturesque village to stay in and live in the moment. It was so wild. And it was so, not stressful. Of course, we had to do work, but it was more about exploring the city. Yeah. Which I thought was really nicely done, the way they carried that out. So, it was really different to your traveling experience? Definitely. China was half, half. Half the time we were in rooms drawing or doing something, university work. The other half of the time we were set off to explore the Yellow Mountains or the Great Wall of China. Yeah. Something crazy. That was good. Yeah, that looked so cool. I wish I was in China! You should do it next year. Yeah. Yeah. If they offer it. No dead out. If they, I legit would. I would actually do a travelling studio, because I haven’t done any. I feel like I kind of want to do one before I graduate, because you can’t really do anything like that after you graduate. So, I’d do that obviously. True. It’s a good way to get cheap travel too. Yeah. And you’ll get that grant. Yes. Yeah. Do you? Yeah you get a grant. It ended up costing us just the flights, that was all we had pay for. I mean, not me, cause I’m international, but whatever! (laughter) Okay. For some of us. I get it, I get it. All good. No, it was really such a good experience. So that’s definitely something I think Monash should encourage more, if they were giving, especially I know it’s a really expensive thing as well but if they gave these grants, it wouldn’t be so. It’s such a useful life experience, I feel like a lot of people only know about the PRATO travelling studio. I didn’t see the studio anywhere. Yeah, it’s an intensive. Yeah, that’s the only overseas thing that they really know about in architecture. I didn’t even know that was, you go to China, until you guys actually went to China. Yeah. Then I was like “Oh alright, that’s cool.” Not many people had heard of it. They asked “What is it? Is it over the Summer?” Like no one was interested because they didn’t know about it. I guess, because it was the first time they did it, so, it makes sense. It is true though when we went to China we missed out on the other two classes that we had to do. Yes. That was slightly stressful, but again, if I had to, I’d do it all over again. Yeah same. Worth it. They should encourage more of it in bachelors, rather than masters because I know they have a couple in masters. Yeah. Ones to other places in Australia. If you’re getting behind. Yeah. On other master subjects I feel that would be worse than being behind on subjects in bachelors. It’s still pretty bad but like I feel like it is more stressful in masters to be behind. That’s true! Masters is a big deal. The last year hopefully. But for some people but. As in third year, one more year and that’s it. Yeah. And we are done with the bachelor degree, yes. Both semesters I enrolled in electives that didn’t run. Oh. Oh. Which I don’t even know how that worked but I tried to do the Revit one. Oh right. Last semester but they had two of them and they put me in B, rather than A, and B just didn’t run. And so, I didn’t have that elective. What? What do you mean B just didn’t run? I don’t know. They just didn’t let me know though. So, I swapped electives and did a communication design elective. How was that? I loved it. It was “Creative Coding”. Oh. And it was a really, really good class. It was really relaxed to. The tutor was you know, lenient with deadlines which was really good for China. Oh yeah. He just kind of said, “Oh ignore all your work, just go to China and come back and I’ll catch you up”. That’s very nice. Yeah. It was really good. Even this semester, I was enrolled in the Revit unit code which was really weird. The Revit unit code? Yeah I was emailing for like a month. They just didn’t really have a class. I ended up talking to the head of MADA. Yeah so. So, did they just organise, yeah. She was lovely. She sort of just called me on the weekend and she said “I’m so sorry all this happened, there is only three people in the class. We didn’t even realise this was the case. We are going to fix it up and then enrol people”. Oh yeah, cause we enrolled at the end, didn’t we? Yeah, we were pretty last minute. Yeah. I feel like most people were still deciding what to do, probably, so that’s why they hadn’t organised anything. Because only three people. Yeah well there was originally 24 or something enrolled in it but then everyone swapped because they didn’t hear anything. Oh yeah. A few of the tutors just weren’t, they couldn’t give me any information. “Oh we will email you back next week” or they just didn’t reply and I started worrying: what’s going to on? I think that is the funny thing about having electives as architecture students. Because the first two years we were literally given the subjects and then all of a sudden they were like “choose something”. Yes. Then they said to choose something kind of related to your field. Which is so limited. You didn’t have to pick something that was related. You didn’t have to. But it kind of helps to pick something relevant. Yeah. I mean Revit really helped me, it really helped me. But I know a girl who did Korean or something and one of the studio tutors was like “why?”. (laughter) Was like “why are you doing that?” Does sound like it. That was a bit like my Creative Coding, it was not architecture, but it was kind of nice. But it’s still design. Come on. Yeah. I suppose, I suppose. It’s creative. Yeah. It was good though to have some choice. I feel like you could kind of pick your own timetable, in a way as well. Instead of having that day that you couldn't change, no matter what. I think with architecture, it’s really kind of like that building, I know it’s such a weird building, but it kind of feels like home now, you know? Cause we've been there for so long, in the same kind of environment. The no roof. No roofs, just like, ah, yeah. The ceiling is decaying, but that’s how it’s meant to be. Just a representation. That’s my style. (laughter) A place to call home. (laughter) Home away from home! It's so bad.
Thank you for listening to Just Architecture Things, I hope this has given you an insight into what it is like being an architecture student. This was brought to you by Alyssa, Inuri and Diba. Bye.
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Concluding Music [0:23:53-0:26:02]