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Weekend retreat

This past weekend, Mr. F and I celebrated our anniversary AND participated in AIA | Michigan's annual retreat in the northwestern woods of Michigan's lower peninsula. 

There were about 150 participants, 60 were students.

It was an interesting gathering. Good to be with a diverse group of Michigan architects, though the retreat's format is staid.

The bulk of the retreat is made up of firms giving 16 "show-and-tell" sessions featuring their current best and/or award-winning project. Participants spend time listening to the presenter and viewing his (all of them were men) slideshow.

The best part of the retreat was Saturday night, when everyone gathered in a circle and the students were encouraged to talk about what it's like to be a student of architecture with the prospect of employment looming. This topic proved fruitful for all. Like many students today, they are heavily encouraged to learn a long list of computer programs, which can hamper their concentration on developing strong drawing and design skills. In the end, these students were encouraged to focus on their drawing and design skills, yet have basic knowledge of how to navigate some of the software that's currently used out in the working world. Hopefully, once they get a job, their employers will grant these students the ability to learn the software on the job, while showing their strengths on the board.

There's no doubt I fully appreciate the opportunity Mr F and I had to attend this retreat. Mr F is an architect/designer within his bones. I just can't help comparing this retreat with the myriad of workshops and retreats I've attended within the newspaper design community over a 25-year career. That crew works hard to make the weekend or day as interactive/participatory and fun as possibly.

It's a crazy time we're living in with all these demands for software knowledge, which is constantly changing.

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December 2011