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Pre-Design, 2007 Edition by Paul Spreiregen
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Pre-Design, 2007 Edition

by Paul Spreiregen

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Yes – four stars. The Kaplan offering for Pre-Design actually prepared me for this exam, contrary to what – per the other volumes – I suspected to be their aim (in all fairness, the Construction Documents also correlated well to the test). Others on the ARE Forum had a different opinion of the validity of the Kaplan prep, so perhaps I benefited from the easiest version. Far be it from me, however, to not provide my typical flippant-critical evaluation lest I disappoint all zero of you who read my crap. So here goes:

This 350 page adventure includes everything the layperson needs to know about how architects might approach a design commission. I say “might” because what they outline as a comprehensive Pre-Design process doesn’t seem to correlate with any real-world experience I’m familiar with. But, then again, I’ve never done large hospital facilities and that seems to be the nonpareil building type of much of the exam criteria (refer to my review of Materials and Methods). Nonetheless, this exam covers the whole spectrum, from quotes by major players such as “Richard A.M. Stern” [p. 106:], to informing us about the perils of “erosion caused by extremely raped runoff…” [p. 335:] that certainly none of us would wish upon vulnerable sites. Upon concluding this beast, I felt as if I’d been kicked in the head. Not a swift, steel-toed boot outside of Billy Bobs in Ft. Worth mind you, but more like 1000 pops from fuzzy house slippers at a retirement home. This is because 350 double-columned pages of dry text doesn’t go down easily. Admittedly well written overall, it was also quite pedestrian in places – as if written for my Great Aunt, or one of those Whopper Virgins in Greenland. I would normally be offended that I even need to read this crap, but the fact that I kept flunking the damn lesson quizzes – at least at the beginning – gave me a moment of pause. I hope this doesn’t reflect on my abilities as an architect! More likely, it’s a forced quantification of elementary concepts that nobody really talks about after the first semester of school. To offer a rather stupid analogy, made up on the spot, this is sort of like declaring the apple as the only red fruit because, of the three top fruits, it’s the only one that comes in red – despite the fact that other red fruits do indeed exist. Well here, this is a good example from the very first lesson quiz:

2. Which one of the following is a function of architecture?

A. Facilitates human activities
B. Establishes a hierarchy of parts
C. Establishes a relationship between interior and exterior spaces
D. Expresses the purpose it serves
E. Utilizes available technologies ingeniously


Anyone? Apparently A is the only function of architecture if I read this correctly. That should make my low paying job a hell of a lot easier. Whatever. At the very least this volume managed to prepare me for the particular exam the Gods-of-useless-inanity over at Ncarb Central bestowed upon me. ( )
  mjgrogan | Jun 3, 2009 |
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