eLanguages.ac.ukUniversity of Southampton

Analysing a design critique

A presenter answering a question from the audience

A question from the floor

Critiquing in the context of architectural design presentations involves an in-depth discussion about the aesthetic and technical bases and the thought processes behind a design concept. Searching questions, comments and expressions of preference all play a part. Critiquing a design presentation effectively is, therefore, a skill. It requires good language control as well as care in the way questions and comments are expressed.

In these activities you will focus on the style of critiquing preferred for architecture and design. You will listen to part of a critique to identify how it is delivered and then analyse some of the language used when critiquing in English.

Activity 1: Noticing how a critique develops

In this activity you are going to listen to an extract from an interaction between a student presenting his design for a park and a member of their audience who critiques the design.



Listen to this extract from an interaction between a presenter and a questioner following the presentation of a design proposal for a park. Notice the style and way in which the critique develops, and as you listen select the statement which best summarises the key point of each part of the discussion. Then read the feedback.

1. The first part of the critique

2. The student presenter's response

3. The second part of the critique

4. The student presenter's response

Here is a transcript of this part of the critique, which you may wish to refer to:
Transcript (pdf, 56KB). You may wish to print this document.

Activity 2: English language use when critiquing

The skill of effective critiquing requires careful and moderated use of language to perform specific functions during an interaction.One way to improve your own skill at critiquing others is by noticing the kind of language used by questioners who are experienced at critiquing. In this activity you are going to...



Study these examples of language used when critiquing in English. Match examples from the left side with the function that they perform in discussion from the right side. Then read the feedback.

© Archi21 Project Consortium: Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture Paris-Malaquais, Open University, University of Ljubljana, Aalborg Universitet, University of Southampton and eLanguages, Modern Languages and Linguistics, University of Southampton, 2012. Image courtesy of Anne Petersen (Flickr).
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