1. Know Your Audience
If possible, establish exactly who will be present for your review, as it may well alter your approach when presenting. If the panel is made up of university professors who are already familiar with your project, you can look to explain how you have built upon previous iterations of your design, and in what ways you have responded to comments made in earlier crits.
2. You Are The Expert
Although spending endless studio hours slaving over every minute detail of your design can feel as exhausting, it gives you a distinct advantage come review day – by the time your crit arrives, you will possess an intimate knowledge of every last column, beam and rafter of your proposal, and this fact will shine through during your presentation.
3. Practice Makes Perfect
As your deadline approaches, you may find it to sacrifice valuable drawing time in order to practice your presentation – but you will be glad you did. Find anyone who is willing to listen – housemates, family members, or fellow students – and giv it a whirl in a low-pressure environment.
Depending on your expected audience (see point one), it may be wise to practice in front of people who know nothing at all about your scheme – this way, they can point out any aspect of the project that you left unclear, and flag up potential ambiguities within your explanations that could prove confusing panel.
4. Models Make The Difference
Past experience has shown me that good presentation material – clear drawings, rich perspectives, and fly-through videos – can provide you with a perfect foil for your verbal account of the project. Detailed section drawings in particular can provide visual cues to help you as you guide the panel through the spaces within your proposal. Which is the best medium of all? It has to be the scale model.
5. Don’t Be Intimated
How do you make your audience seem less intimidating? Other guides around the web have advocated everything from imagining you are presenting to your grandma, to picturing your audience with no clothes on! Personally, I would find the latter approach more distracting than anything else, and it helps not to things here: simply keep in mind that your tutors were once in your position, and they are (generally speaking!) not out to trip you up.
They are also there for the same overriding reason as you – they have a passion for creative architecture. Therefore, if you can summarize your project narrative succinctly and paint a vivid picture of your proposal, they are sure to respond with enthusiasm.
6. Keep Hold Of The Positives
One trap I frequently fell into during my fledgling years in architecture school was to agonize over comments during my review, often blowing them out of proportion in my mind after the event. , it is also crucial that you pick out the positive aspects from your review – these can help you pinpoint the most successful elements of your scheme, which can then be developed and expanded to great effect in the future.
7. Keep Perspective
The crit is a chance to bring your proposal alive for the panel, and communicate your enthusiasm and passion for the scheme in a bid to persuade them of its architectural merit. However, if you endure a review with feedback, just try to learn everything you can from the experience and keep it in mind as you move forward into professional practice … your presentation skills will be called upon many more times in your career, so there is always another chance to improve.
Good luck everyone!