As you've probably heard, Todd is a very... interesting? strange? person. I'm going to give you some REAL quotes he said during critiques: "the fact that you're using round dowels disturbs me" "in my day, you wouldn't want anyone knowing you were at a club" "this concept really arouses me" Todd: I think [TA's name] and I are really on the same page with this assignment. TA: What He also has a weird obsession with the Helvetica documentary, and he talks about it at any possible opportunity. Even with his Fran Lebowitz hair, he was honestly a pretty good prof, even though the way he holds a pencil is the most chaotic thing ever.
"Less is more" is a phrase from Mies van der Rohe about how minimalist architecture achieves more by stripping away the decoration and flourishes that other styles might use. Well for Miku, "more is more," which basically means you'll end up doing a lot more work than you could have because one day he took a look at your project during a desk crit and said "hmmm... I wonder if it would be interesting if you had BOTH a Rhino model AND a physical model for the final review tomorrow." I mean, what are you supposed to do in that situation?? NOT make both even though he pretty much told you to but not really?? Dude also wears a black sweater every single day, like a TRUE architect.
Ok. Diana loved me, so I got a very good grade in the class, but this did not apply to everyone. She is amazing, but not an easy professor. She will make you learn a lot. Keep in mind that I took this course in the intensive schedule (Fall A/Fall B) so we did twice as much work in half the amount of time. She is a really amazing professor, but you have to be ready to work. If she sees the effort, she will give you a good grade. Mostly graded on improvement and effort (you have to be ready to explain why you designed things a certain way, e.g. just bullshit your way through it), and just make sure you go to class and look like you're trying. A professor worth taking and learning from, very kind and understanding, just doesn't take bullshit.
Todd's class is great for a first studio experience: arch programs are notorious for weeding out students in early classes, but Todd's certainly won't destroy your optimism. His criticism is fair, and he'll respect it if you can (reasonably) counter him. When the projects are completed, he'll remember (most of) these conversations when conducting review and will stand up for your work and your individual process. But, you have to have a certain trust in Todd's process. A lot of people walk into Abstraction studio having very little clue what they are doing. Todd and his projects might compound this confusion: you'll definitely ask - "why are we even doing this"; "what does this have to do with architecture?" By the end, you'll be able to see how the first projects have shaped the way you thought and created the final project. He's been teaching for a long time, he knows what he's doing (even though it might not seem it sometimes). A downside is that neither he nor the TA will teach you how to use technology (Rhino, Illustrator, Indesign) in any depth. Many hours will be spent trying to figure out the simplest tasks. Todd is very old-school, so drafting, construction and materials, physical models will be much more his forte. He's also not flashy or egotistical about his own work as a practicing architect, even though it is super cool (like amazing). ASK HIM ABOUT IT. Good prof and good guy.