Studio Culture by Sara Marquardt
“I don’t contemplate ever finishing; I’ll work on this all my life. I will just go as far as I can.” ---Michael Heizer
In my first semester of graduate school, my studio professor told our class; “We have cleared the way for you to be here. This is a very special time in your life.” Approaching my sixth and final semester in the grad program, I’ve been reflecting on the truth in those words. For three years, I’ve been able to invest myself quite fully in architectural education. The amount of focus and stamina it has required to be in graduate school has at times been grueling but now in hindsight, even the worst of days bring forth a certain amount of nostalgia for me. The past three years have been truly treasured times for me, and a big part of that has been because of the relationships I’ve been able to form in studio. Throughout all the long hours we put in to explore ideas and produce the work that needs to get done, I have been fortunate to both experience shared laughter and tears in community. It is a special group of people that can be there to turn on standup comedy during modeling marathon nights, as well as come stand around you when the bad days hit. The studio culture at U of M has been the foundation for these special friendships, and therefore, much of my success in graduate school.
This year, we have been fortunate to have all the graduate architecture students together in the third floor studio space. The studio becomes a live-work space, and it has been exciting to work in tandem with so many talented designers. It is a wonderful thing to be able to take a break and walk around the studio, seeeing what others are up to. I believe we have all enjoyed and benefited from the vertical interaction of having all the MArchs on one floor as well: as we see what other years are designing, you are able to share ideas amongst other years and studios. While GD3 may offer concept or technique feedback to GD1, I as a GD3 have benefited from seeing the experimental processes that GD1s have been exploring this past fall. Collective wisdom has been an amazing part of the studio culture at U of M.
Be sure to follow umnarch on Instagram to see updates of studio culture as well as final work. While you’re there, take a look at my Instagram takeover during finals week last semester!