Pratt Institute will be the setting for a documentary film currently shooting called Archiculture. Filmmakers Ian Harris and David Krantz filled me in on the project a few weeks ago before the semester began... If you've ever known an architecture student, you'll have seen him or her practically living in the studio day and night for five years straight. You've probably wondered why on earth someone would subject himself to such an insane academic program. I know I have! The original title of the project was "Architorture" -- a term well-known to architecture students and professionals describing the rigors of the program and the stress of completing the final thesis project before graduation. Worried about the negative connotation of the term to outsiders, Harris and Krantz changed the title to reflect the passion felt by these driven students, as well as the "self-inflicted" nature of choosing the curriculum and sticking with it.
Architecture programs, unlike many other undergraduate majors, place students into small groups in which they remain for the next five years. For kids coming out of high school, these small groups produce intense group dynamics in which roles begin to form -- class superstar, faculty politics, etc.
Harris and Krantz are hoping to do justice to the story of the undergraduate architecture student, and looked high and low for the right setting. The duo narrowed down their options to 20 institutions and chose Pratt based on the diversity of its student population, the support of the program to their project and the ease of bringing a camera crew on campus. The documentary will follow a select group of students as they prepare to present their final thesis projects before graduation.
Harris and Krantz have assured me that Clinton Hill and its surrounding neighborhoods will play a role in the finished product. As Harris explained, "The story is very much one of coming-of-age. The neighborhood is the context -- Where do they live? Where are they walking to school?"