It is important that my ex students give input and help my current students with their design thesis. The reason being is threefold.
First, the ex students have been there and done that. Through their experiences they can track back and express what went right and what went wrong. Especially if they did a similar thesis. Cheryl Quan came by just now and met Nurhayati, who is doing a project on Pulau Ketam and Murphy, who’s project is based at Kampung Tanjung Aru Kota Kinabalu, a village on the water’s edge. Nurhayati’s scheme is by the riverside. Cheryl did a Community Based Architectural Project on Kampung Baru Air Panas, last session and she had the best design of the studio, by virtue of output and level of design explored.
Anyway, Cheryl gave a lot of insights which I found to be be beneficial for the two students and some of which is new to me, even though I assisted in supervising her thesis. Community Based Architectural Project’s analysis is very anthropological-like and the analysis is part of the design output. That is why the drawings and presentation have to be evocative of the community’s characteristics. Therefore, Cheryl’s experience and advice was crucial in motivating and directing the two students mentioned.
Second, the ex students success and drive provide motivation and clear indication of possible success. In the case of Zar (Hairul Nizar Tamaddun) who was a student of mine in UTM in 1992. He has improved himself tremendously and set difficult challenges for himself to excel at the international level working on the Meydan Race Course at UAE with TAK consultant. As the design director, he managed to compete at the level he sets himself up and even had the time to come and crit the students. The content of the crit was beneficial, but to me, even more beneficial is his time and patience to share with the students’ his thoughts and experience. Some of these students at 10 years his junior and they could see possibilities of getting to a level to excel. Of course, I said that Zar has natural talent in design when he was 18 years old, but 20 years down the line, he did not let up and settle for small challenges and that is the difference.
Third, ex students provide for the social network to assist with the current students connections to access possibilities, in terms of jobs and employment. One of my ex student from UM, Ch’ng Sao Inn is an important member of Juteras Sdn Bhd and a few of my ex students started working there. He was also formerly of GDP Architects and these ex students, like Nyap Shin and others opened design and architectural companies and develop the graduates further. There is an invisible bond between ex students and new graduates to continue the important work.