UNSW Built Environment Architectural Studies: Keena Vazquez

10 08 2009

Hey there! My name’s Keena Vazquez and I’ve just finished my very first semester of Architectural Studies. No matter how hectic it got, I have to say that enjoyed my first taste of architecture at UNSW. Apart from Unreal Tournament, one thing I know all of us freshers will associate first session with is the Sydney Opera House.

We were first introduced to the Opera House in BENV1080 (Enabling Skills and Research Practice) when we were asked to make a hand-drawn poster of our personal encounters with the Australian icon. Little did I know that this poster would be the springboard for a series of assignments on the Opera House.

A3 hand-drawn poster

A3 hand-drawn poster

Our session-long affair with the Opera House continued with loads of guest lecturers who spoke about anything and everything to do with the Opera House – Utzon’s design principles, his vision, its renovation, in the context of graphic design etc. Later on we were asked to create two more posters. With each poster, we were expected to refine our ideas, relate them more meaningfully to our layouts and explore different mediums of expression – digital manipulation, manual drawing and modelling.

A2 poster created in Adobe Photoshop and InDesign

A2 poster created in Adobe Photoshop and InDesign

Even if there seemed to be a lot of “physical” work (drawing, modelling and computer manipulation) involved in making our posters, I found that it required me to THINK more than anything else. We weren’t just asked to make something pretty. It actually had to mean something and make sense. We were meant to relate our experience of the Opera House with Utzon’s design principles and an assigned chapter of a book through a section model and piece of text, all rolled into a poster.

It took a lot of trial and error for me, but I knew it was all part of the process. In the beginning I was worried about my lack of computer and modelling skills. Doodling was really more my thing. But half way through the process, I realised that having a solid concept and a clear message were the most important things. Focusing on a key idea simplified things a whole lot. Fortunately it turned out all right. I came out of Enabling Skills with more confidence in my Photoshop skills and a new found interest in modelling. More importantly, all the critical thinking we did in this course left me with a great deal of respect for the ideas behind the Sydney Opera House and the brain power it took to dream them into reality.

A2 and A1 poster with a modelled section of the Sydney Opera House

A2 and A1 poster with a modelled section of the Sydney Opera House

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