How do architects get big egos? They endure one of the many rights of passage in architecture school: surviving reviews.
Architecture students learn how to design by taking semester-long studios where they're given complex design projects to develop with the help of their professor. During this process, faculty provide feedback on their progress through one-on-one in-class critiques called DESK CRITS but, several times a semester, they must also present their work to the class as a whole and be judged by a jury of experts, typically other faculty or professional architects. These more formal reviews, called mid-reviews or final reviews depending on when they occur, are attended by other students, faculty, and even the general public. Students in one studio hang or project their work in a designated area; then, over many hours, each student presents to the panel who asks questions and gives immediate feedback on the process, outcome, and implications of the work.
And, as anyone who has been through this process can tell you, jurors are not shy! They commonly give intense criticism or glowing praise. Most juries make their comments constructive so that students learn how to improve their design skills; in the best cases, jurors may not actually refer to the quality of the work, but instead just discuss what it means. Still, this is a hard process for many beginning students because, after working really hard in preparation, they often take disappointing comments personally. After participating in reviews over many years — often 10 to 20 times before graduating — students learn how to better present their work, answer questions, think on their feet, and remain calm in the face of tough feedback. It is not uncommon to have sleepy or bumbling students in attendance after weeks of late nights finishing their work and argumentative or emotional students not yet adapted to taking criticism in a professional way.
This process is important in preparing students for similar experiences in practice, where they'll be presenting their work to clients, peers, neighborhood groups, or public commissions. Learning how to listen and respond is as important as how to speak. And if all else fails, in those tired, stressed-out moments, it might not hurt to make sure the jury is well fed and full of coffee...