Hugo Costa’s thougths about his experience working with the Cluj students


„I was asked to talk about my experience in the Cluj’s Scholl of Architecture during “Re: Presentations” workshop, last February.

The main purpose of this workshop I organized with the AStA was a reply to the increasing proliferation of the architecture Competitions as a way to initiate the professional trajectory, pretending to facilitate the knowledge of its methodology and introduce the students in the practice of its graphical elaboration.

I´ve been there only for few days and met not more than thirty students, so maybe my opinion is not representative.

However, trying to respond to AStA Cluj’s demand, I can dare to expose some impressions.

The first one was the energy and desire that students had to learn what I was exposing. They seemed like sponges trying to absorb information, what really motivated me, used to be always trying to raise the interest of the passive and unconcerned UPV (Universidad Politécnica de Valencia) students.

It´s true that I felt some misunderstanding between me and the students at the first corrections I did in the workshop, resulting maybe from an academic, architectural or visual conceptual gap, or maybe cultural? Back then, I felt we talked a different language, thought we all communicated in English. Howsoever, after breaking the ice of first contact, things begun to flow, and the results of the groups that manage to work until the final presentation, were above expectations.

I must admit, though I noticed a general lack of design, and even, visual culture, in their panel’s graphical rendering , when working such concepts as idea representation, the rotundity of the image, the appropriate scale, the composition of the graphical support, in other words,  the misunderstandig that „drawing” must assume other qualities besides the mere technical presentation.

All the cited points are however common to the majority the students I met around Europe

However, the general fluently use of English, allied the referred motivation made the work very easy-going, and results started to flow, as I wrote before, with good results, considering the few work days, far below from other similar competitions I was responsible from.

Far from wanting to criticize the jury, in fact this is an auto-criticism, I must admit I didn´t understand some of the comments done, what proves that a few panels didn´t communicate their inner conceptual message, therefore I assume my fault.

Most of all, great shared experiences, kindness and friendship ruled that week, when sometimes, I felt back in 80´s again, but that’s another story.”

Hugo Rocha E Costa

portuguese architect and professor at the Technical University of Valencia, teaching „Architectural Form Analysis and Representation”


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