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Need review on my application essay for Graduate admission in Architecture (Building Technology)

valete 1 / -  
Jan 25, 2018   #1

"Curiosity killed the cat but satisfaction brought it back"

I am applying for a Graduate program at TU Delft in Building Technology Track.
It needs to be reviewed and I'll really appreciate constructive criticism.

I have always been a firm believer of the saying "Curiosity killed the cat but satisfaction brought it back."
Coming from a multilingual and multi-cultural country, I always have had a knack and willingness to learn about and explore different cultures.Architecture was an optimal choice as it is a major representation of cultural history as it adapts and evolves everywhere.

As a child, I movedto a new city every three years due to my father's job. Though it never seemed too obvious, now I know in retrospect that it paved the path to the present interest. When I was five, we shifted from the highlands to the flatlands, and a major change occurred in the dwelling style. In the hills, we had very introverted house, it was a linear space with all the rooms connected one through another. In the plains, the placehad a courtyard right in the middle of the house interconnecting different spaces. Fast forward fifteen years, in architecture school when I was studying about climate and how it affects the design, it all fell into place.

TU Delft has one of the highest rated architecture department in terms of research and academics but what allures me is the vision to offer a course which focuses on both the technical and design aspects of architecture. The definition of Architecture varies for every individualand sometimes, an impersonal, often alienating, practice is perpetuated because emphasis is laid on the aesthetic or building form, not the user or the pragmatics of the functioning of the building. However, for me, it is as much about designing minute facade details as much it is about catering to the socio-economic or topographical needs.

Since I entered architecture school, I have been hearing about the significant differences that occur in the field between the engineer and the architect. There is a constant need to impress upon the other and laying their ultimate claim. For true advancement in technology and innovations this difference must be bridged. And the Building Technology Track efficiently covers all these topics.

A paragraph describing the SWAT studio perfectly sums up what I am hoping to learn here - "The future role of the designer goes beyond an exclusive knowledge of structure, fa├žade or climate......students are expected to develop skills that allow them to be adaptive, communicative and open to other disciplines and human needs."

What really caught my eye regarding this program is the EXTREME design project. Just like under utmost pressure, a diamond forms, I believe that under extreme climatic and functional requirements, I'll be able to come up with an innovative and sustainable solution.

For the last year and a half, I have been working with a small architectural firm where I have to put on many different hats as per the requirement, from researching an old building material like rammed earth to learning parametric designing on Grasshopper, it has been an extremely enriching experience and I think different Bucky Lab Design and Seminar courses will enable me with even more skills.

In order to fulfil the criteria of an architectural thesis along with the personal aim of cultural exploration, an idea developed to interpret the abstract ideas pertaining to a culture in terms of architectural spaces. I picked up "Nayavada - An Interpretation Centre for Jainism" as my undergraduate thesis topic with the aim of generating awareness regarding the goals and principles of Jainism in this contemporary world by effective means of interpretative planning.

Picking up the site for the centre was largely influenced by the proximity to one of most popular Jain temple complex and ease of access and visual appeal for the tourists. The design was approached by considering the vantage points on the site which majorly involved providing views to the beautiful lake by the site.

I tried to interpret Jain Cosmology and the journey involved in reaching 'Siddhashila', i.e. attaining Nirvana. The journey through different galleries ends at the same place as the beginning (cycle of birth/death). Movement in galleries is based on the interpretation of the doctrines of Jainism. However, the transition spaces between the galleries have tried to capture the essence of five basic components of Nature (Fire, Water, Earth, Air and Void). Those who break the life cycle with the guidance of 'Tirthankars' (Enlightenment Gallery) follow the path to liberation which ultimately leads to the attainment of Moksha/Nirvana (skywalk). The skywalk due to its distinguished use of materials and structural integrity becomes a space for a liberated soul.

Archival centre is compared to the most sacred space of a temple and is dissociated with other spaces, vertically, making use of the topography of the site. Other functional spaces like terrace garden, outdoor restaurant seating and lake facing cottages were integrated into the design utilizing the natural beauty that particular site held.

Architectural phenomenology used in designing this project was based on the conclusions drawn from the case studies and literature studies, referencing other thesis and intuitions developed over the course of five years studying different aspects of architecture.

I would like to take this further down the road and get involved in different research being conducted pertaining to "Neuroscience and the Built Environment" as part of my hypothesis project. These researches involve use of modern technology like tracking eye movements to determine what appeals to the human mind, using Virtual Reality to determine the role of light in architecture or designing an installation which translates emotions into beams of light. What once seemed hopelessly nebulous -the importance of aesthetics, the impact of the arts and so on - can now be scientifically proven.

As mentioned by Sarah Williams Goldhagen in her book, "Welcome to your World - How the Built Environment Shapes our Lives", what we see outside the building is as important as what we experience inside the building. The expression "thinking outside the box" gets literal credibility as researchers have determined that if people were made to take a creativity test, the ones sitting outside a 10' x 10' x 10' box score more considerably than the people sitting inside the box.

To perceive any space, auditory, tactile sensory is equally important. You don't necessarily need to touch a surface to activate your tactile sensory perception, only looking at it does the work. You imagine what it feels like. This clearly shows that enriching tactile environment is not only functionally important for visually impaired people but mentally stimulating for every other person.

There are a whole lot of terms in relation to cognitive science and architecture, some of which are quite familiar to every architect like Symmetry, Curvilinearity or Rectilinearity. However, there are many others which require much pondering. For instance, Proprioception which means that out parietal cortex does not determine our sense of place primarily by visual feedback but rather by a combination of tactile information from our skin or Thigmotaxis which deduces that edges and defined spaces put our amygdala, the fear centre of the brain, at ease or even Biophilia which theorizes the notion that subjective connection with nature could be a path to human happiness and environmental sustainability.

In the late 1900s, many famous architects including Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright came up with their concepts of Utopian cities but most of those never saw the light of the day, a few which did, failed miserably. In present times, with the ever looming threat of glacier meltdown due to global warming or the disasters occurring at the hands of the man like the one at Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant at Ukraine which was a catastrophic failure resulting in a nuclear meltdown there is a severe need to touch upon the subject of "Architecture for the Apocalypse"and come up with better concepts of what utopia ought to be and I would like to opt this as an alternative topic for the hypothesis project.Although a few efforts are already being made by constructing buildings like Svalbard Global Seed Vault, I believe there's a lot to explore especially if we stick to our roots and go underground which in itself is a topic that requires much digging.

I think working on the EXTREME design project in the Second Semester will help in further exploring this topic. There are certain important requirements for any Survivalist Architecture including, but not limited to, Energy efficient building envelope, Passive solar orientation, Rain catchment Systems and Wind Turbines. Incorporating these passive systems with the underground structures will be a major challenge both conceptually and structurally.

Conducting researches on the above mentioned projects and combining their results with the preexistent theories will surely lead to the building design which is sustainable to the environment as well as the human mind.

I firmly believe that at TU Delft I'll find all the resources, and then some more, I need, in order to fulfil my aspirations and carry on in the field of architecture with a more developed and all-round knowledge.
Holt  Educational Consultant - / 10,635 3478  
Jan 25, 2018   #2
Swati, What you have here is an essay that suffers from TMI (Too Much Information ) without actually having a purpose. You said that you wrote this essay for your admission to grad school but you failed to indicate what kind of essay you are writing. Are you being asked to write a statement of intent, motivation letter, self-introduction, personal statement, or statement of purpose? The only thing I am sure of is that you are not writing a study plan presentation. You represent almost all of these essay types in your work which is why the essay tends to come across as pointless and lacking in focus.

Unless I know which of the aforementioned essay types you are trying to write, and what prompt you are responding to (if provided), I will unable to advice you regarding improvements in your essay. I hope you have a chance to let me know what type of essay this is supposed to be, provide the prompt you will be responding to (if you have one), and most importantly, make this thread URGENT so that I can come back and give you more appropriate advice.

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