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There was no specific brief. Rather, the seminar and studio members established and constructed the scope for their work—topics, positions, approaches, working methods, techniques and deliverables. They augmented accepted norms, challenging default assumptions for producing work. It mattered less what was worked on and more on how intensely it was worked on. The conceptual range, quality of engagement and density of the work was palpable, infectious.
Architectural education should open eyes and minds to what is philosophically, conceptually, technologically, materially and representationally possible—yours, mine and theirs. In ‘Speculative Scenarios’, the students speculated about multiple thesis trajectories. ‘Entourage’ constructed the context for their interests, and the ‘Mechanics of Engagement’ staked out the key variables in the thesis construction—their respective roles and relations, tactically over and through time. They produced a ‘Studio Brief’ that established the stakes, claims, relevance of the questions, roles of players, design methods (14 were identified and drawn upon), representation techniques, possible deliverables and the leave, or what might happen beyond the work itself. Three pieces of work titled Proto-Speciation v.01, v.02 + v.03 foregrounded manual, analog, digital), composite), and hybrid techniques for working. Finally, the design work, hinged to an ‘Operating Manual’, and chased in the winter term, wiggled, squirmed and stood tall.
While there are often overlapping topographies of interest, each thesis is unique. Across the board the work demonstrated a richness of ideation, a range of articulation and depth seldom seen in schools of architecture. Amongst other things the work tickled: generative histories; narratives; split geographies and temporalities; varied design practices; translation; and speculative work. The students bred new breeds, alternative specimens for considering the most pressing issues of our time. The students have not left the studio culture. Rather they are empowered to go into the world as agents of change, leveraging new practices, constructing the discipline of architecture.