ARCH 151 – THESIS
Professors Anthony Vidler, Hayley Eber, David Turnbull
In the FALL SEMESTER we thought about how architects research and draw PROCESSES, how they DRAW LIFE, and how in relation to the LIFE of an architectural project the "site" could be interpreted as "milieu," "genius loci," "place," '"space," "environment," "surroundings," "context," or "ecology." Part of the semester was devoted to exploring when and how and in what way these notions emerged, in for example the "biosphere" in the 1920s, ecology in the 50s, and again in the 70s, etc., and how they were represented or "embodied" in architecture, to introduce a way of understanding "green" as more than a pop buzz word and ecologically thinking as obligatory.
The identification and graphic description of ISSUES that Architects can take an active role in addressing provided the starting point–the Goal for the semester was the production of a beautiful BOOK OF ISSUES, illustrating the purpose and the supporting material that defines the student's THESIS PROJECT. With each focus of research, the architectural issue was foregrounded. In other words, in an effort to resist a late translation of concepts into architecture, the student would endeavor to ask inherently architectural questions where possible.
The fundamental principle guiding our thoughts about the structure of the SPRING semester was that by May 13th, the students would have a substantial portfolio of work that is comprehensive and coherently organized. The portfolio will contain: books, folders, sketchbooks, diaries, drawings, diagrams, photomontages, CD-ROMS, DVDs, using any and all modes of description or representation that explain the breadth and richness of the research and the sophistication of the architectural proposition(s).
It was our goal that the FINAL REVIEW and the end of year EXHIBITION of THESIS work would include the presentation of EVERY thought and action that has been necessary to arrive at the student's architectural proposition. The final presentation is designed to communicate the following: architectural drawings of the highest quality shown WITH explanatory text and diagrams integrated into the drawings, photographs, models (digital and physical) on the wall, the floor, the ceiling, on a screen or screens, on paper, in any form that is necessary. We hoped that the last four weeks if THESIS would be used as time for the systematic PROCESSING of the presentation material–the REFINEMENT of the presentation and REHEARSAL of presentation technique.
To reach this goal, the schedule for the spring semester was structured as three phases just like the fall semester, but with increasing urgency and precision.