Incoming Student Survey

Second Year Fold

Volume 1, Issue 05
September 3, 2015

Survey conducted by CAROLINE ACHEATEL (M.Arch ’17), ELAINA BERKOWITZ (M.Arch ’17), FRANCESCA CARNEY (M.Arch ’17), DANIEL GLICK-UNTERMAN (M.Arch ’17), GARRETT HARDEE (M.Arch ’17), ROBERT HON (M.Arch ’17), RASHID MUYDINOV (M.Arch & F.E.S. ’18)

It’s been one year since the first incoming student survey was collected. As the surveyed become the surveyors, we find ourselves to be slightly more critical than exuberant. We have the intent to subtly suggest our own opinions and critiques of the school, by posing our questions in a way that makes students think about how they see their upcoming architectural education. Finally, we seek to probe for the overarching culture of the incoming class, while attaining a sense of the architectural ideologies and aspirations of individuals. These responses represent MArch I Class of 2018.

How do you define ‘good’ architecture?

While somewhat of a cliché, each building truly does tell a story, a manifestation of the innumerable considerations that shape how we as humans organize space.  ‘Good’ architecture is able to synthesize these factors in a way that meets not only certain demands but ultimately does so to improve the experience of people who interact with the building.

Matthew Shaffer, MArch 1, University of Pittsburgh/Universidad de Alcalá de Henares, Lewisburg PA

Good architecture is the beautiful articulation of the efficient. It is the thoughtful convergence of material poetics with daily pragmatics.

– Amanda Iglesias, Wheaton College, Washington DC

What do you think the role of the architect is / should be?

To sew up and mend the ugly wounds of divisive and polarizing conflicts in culture and society through intelligent design. To create an environment that people can feel belonged in and meaningful.

-Dylan Lee, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA

An activist promoting new ideas, future design, future tectonics. Someone who never settles for what has already been created.

-Druce, Texas A&M

To strike a balance among client needs, environmental considerations (both in terms of sustainability and in terms of urbanism), and formal development.

-Larkin, Harvard University

The architect must observe and be patient rather than presuppose an approach or impose an aesthetic. S/he must actively engage the local community to achieve regenerative solutions that educate, empower, and enhance lives. Ideas are effects of social institutions but have reflexively productive realities. Thus, through awareness and conscious effort, I believe the architect has the power to redefine social and environmental paradigms.

-Caitlin Baiada, Cornell University, NYC

_To curate a space in service of a community. To redeem that which would otherwise fall into banality, laxity, thoughtlessness._– Amanda Iglesias, Wheaton College, Washington DC

There is no such thing as an architect who can dictate the architectural design and construction process – just one who can use his or her verbal and visual language to convince others to follow.


What does it mean to produce radical work?

Radical work generally has some misgivings or controversies that go along with it. This is because it challenges people to think or see in a different way in order to understand this work.

– Meghan, University of Michigan, Michigan/Madrid

To create something that does not necessarily conform to the standards that current work is judged upon, but forces the standards to change because of its influence.

-Phineas, Carnegie Mellon„ Los Angeles

For me, radical work these days is work where the architect’s signature is subverted in favor of the problem to be solved.  There are too many sore thumbs and not enough quietly lovely buildings going up.

-Alexandra, Yale, Brooklyn

Work that questions well accepted ideas and practices currently used in the field. Work that shocks, horrifies, and unsettles people.

-Druce, Texas A&M

Radical work challenges the status quo. However, the status quo is variable throughout the world. If it progresses towards some considerable good, I think it is radical.

– Spencer Fried, Claremont McKenna, Los Angeles

Radical work is radically understated. It never compromises contextual cognizance, but rather works towards fusing the narrative of community (past) with the needs of community (present), with the hopes of community (future).

-Amanda Iglesias, Wheaton College, Washington DC

Radical work is to me imbued with artistic intent. It’s pushing boundaries in a conceptual way or using uncommon techniques. Often new technology or new systems of operation are involved as methods using these tend to be less explored.


It means to fully explore ideas that are not canon with current trends.

-Robert Smith Waters, Ohio State, Columbus, Ohio

To produce work that is never published in a flashy architecture magazine.


How do you see the value of critical opposition, collaboration, and competition from your peers in both academia and practice?

I think our peers can sometimes be our greatest teachers. Yale’s collaborative community is part of what makes the school so unique.

– Margaret Marsh, Princeton University, NYC

Invaluable. A body of peers who think the same, work the same, and who do not compete against one another will not move forward in any worthwhile way. I also believe there needs to be a balance between that extreme and an environment of peers who cannot ever understand each other because they do not try, who do not want to work together because they cannot collaborate, and who are constantly competing with complete disregard to their peers’ ideas and advice.  

– Meghan, University of Michigan, Michigan/Madrid

Important and necessary, as is the case with all professions.

-Justin Lai, University of Waterloo, Cambridge, Ontario, Canada

All of these forces are necessary to create meaningful work. Without any of the 3, it would be working in a boring vacuum.

-Phineas, Carnegie Mellon University, Los Angeles

Without it, work could never improve. To bounce ideas off the wall wears a hole in the wall. To bounce ideas off one’s peers can build a new wall.

-Larkin, Harvard, Oklahoma

Without critical opposition we cannot have self awareness and a deeper understanding of our own approaches. Collaboration with both similar and radically different minds is critical- nothing can be achieved in isolation. Diversity enhances our ability to see the world as a whole, resulting in richer and more holistic solutions. I don’t find the word “competition” productive.

-Caitlin Baiada, Cornell University, New York City

It brings new insights into one’s work. Too often, we become self-absorbed by what we do and ultimately detach from what goes on around us. The perimeters become ever sharper and what extends beyond is blurred. Opposition, collaboration, and competition from peers is a wake-up call back to reality for people focused in the process of creation.


What should the role of the instructor be relative to your work?

Someone who guides your ambitions through experience.

-Justin Lai, University of Waterloo, Cambridge, Ontario, Canada

The instructor should be a collaborator. – Spencer Fried M.Arch I

What do you hope to get out of your education at Yale, and what do you hope to bring to it?

I hope to learn the skills and traits that a strong architect needs in order to practice in the field. I hope to bring my energy, ambition, and creativity into a space where I can learn and collaborate with others.

-Phineas, Carnegie Mellon University, Los Angeles

A fuller, deeper, more courageous passion for the world we inhabit. Architecture enables me to engage every scale of reality with conviction and hope; in turn, I hope to bring to Yale my joie de vivre and love for others.

-Amanda Iglesias, Wheaton College, Washington DC

I don’t know.

– Robert Smith Waters, Ohio State, Columbus, OH

I want to learn to make buildings.  I’ll be bringing my conceptual Berkeley background, plus some timber-frame barn building experience.

Timon Covelli, UC Berkeley, Oakland

I hope to be provoked so as to grow beyond what I already know and am capable of doing.

-Spencer Fried, Claremont McKenna College, Los Angeles

I hope to get the best education there is and learning from the renowned team of instructors as well as utilizing the best facilities in the country.


I hope to bring my passion ambition to the school and to try and soak in everything from my professors and colleagues. Hopefully by doing so, I can cultivate my own focus within the profession.

-Justin Lai, University of Waterloo, Cambridge, Ontario, Canada

  1. How did the impending administration change affect your decision to attend Yale?

It didn’t. The culture is just as powerful as the administration. –  Robert Smith Waters, Ohio State, Columbus, OH

What do you hope to see in the new dean?

“I hope to see as much involvement and enthusiasm that Dean Stern has for the school in the new dean. Otherwise, a dean is merely a hovering figure with no presence in the school.”- Anonymous

What faculty are you most interested to work with?

Zara Hadid
Peter Eisenman

Peggy Deamer

Keller Easterling

Lisa Gray

Alan Organschi

Pier Aureli

What do you hope to explore in New Haven?

“I am really excited about being so close the ocean and getting to sail again. Also I’m excited about New Haven’s close proximity to New York.”

– Phineas, Carnegie Mellon University, Los Angeles

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Volume 1, Issue 05
September 3, 2015

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