Today was it, folks. The Final Review. After weeks of preparation and angst, the students got about 15 minutes to present their URBANbuild designs to a panel of professionals, not to mention their fidgety, nervous classmates. The anticipation in the final hour before the Review was palpable:

I’ll be honest: A few people got ripped apart. It was a rough day for some, and a victory for others.

Those with good models definitely benefited from solid proof that they had designed a livable space. Reed Kroloff, co-founder of the URBANbuild program, and former Dean of the Tulane School of Architecture, publicly challenged students in ways I suspect they’d never been challenged before, which we all know is almost always a good thing, because it builds confidence and character in those who will soon be heading out into the big, bad world of architecture. They need to be armed with the reality of what it means to stand up and deliver a clear design concept to a client.

At times, it was hard to watch, I mean really watch the Review, without distraction. But filming an event like this – staying on top of presentations, getting your coverage, logging moments big and small, switching out full tapes, etc. – keeps you hyper-focused on the job at hand. You become an objective storyteller, and it’s not until dinnertime, over much-needed Abita Ambers [www.abita.com], that a hungry crew can really process the day’s major event.

Here, Dan, who spent seven hours downloading P2 cards (digital HD media storage cards), started threatening to eat our media. Luckily we made it to dinner before we lost our footage to Dan’s digestive system. And yeah, we were taking bets on who would win!

I hope we were successful in our job as storytellers. It was a long, challenging day, but well worth the effort for everyone involved. Now…. on to the vote!

Rachel Clift