Today's Reviews Include: 

Design IV: Intermediate Simon Atkinson
Design IV: Intermediate Judith Birdsong
Vertical Studio Matt Fajkus
Advanced Studio Nerea Feliz
Advanced Studio  Gina Ford + Maggie Hansen
Advanced Integrative Martin Haettasch
Advanced Studio Benjamin Ibarra-Sevilla
Advanced Studio Daniel Koehler
Vertical Studio Piergianna Mazzocca
Advanced Studio Adam Miller
Architecture MDS Thesis  Jacob Castine + Diego Zubizarreta Otero
Interior Design MDS Thesis Maryam Quraishi

Links to watch the livestream will be added to this page at 10:00 a.m., once the review has begun. Each review will be broken up into three sessions:

  • 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
  • 12:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
  • 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Design IV: Intermediate - Architecture in the City

Instructor: Simon Atkinson

Historic, and more creative cities are frequently comprised of small inner townships, or districts, with a distinctive identity and sense of place. The city of San Antonio could, in part, be defined in this manner, and the city wishes to further this trend with the emerging Southtown and Hemisphere Districts, as well as the North Riverwalk. To the west and north of these attractions is a forlorn mix of car parks, roads, and disaggregated buildings, flanked by IH-35. Student teams identify both positive and negative features of the given area, as well as potential relationships to adjacent areas. Then, they design a new city district, with a rich mix of homes, work places, and amenities, that is also characterized by significant democratic public places, and a “green resilience.” Students role as an architect is to develop an appropriate settlement design, and then produce a more detailed aspect of a significant component of the overall proposal.


Design IV: Intermediate - Disparity

Instructor: Judith Birdsong

Donald Judd was arguably foremost among a group of artists active in the mid-1960s whose work would eventually fall under the stylistic label of ‘minimalism.’ Disparity is a word Donald Judd scholar David Raskin used to describe a kind of experiential disconnect that occurs between the material “fact” of Judd’s works and their ephemeral effect on the viewer. In Marfa, much of the art cannot be considered separate from the architectural space that hosts it. Where (whether?) the line between architecture and art can be drawn is one we explore in readings and in discussion. Whether in his architectural projects Mr. Judd has simply left a compelling aesthetic for us to ponder, or whether they convey some deeper lessons is yet another. Marfa is our laboratory this semester; it is also be our laboratory rat, the site of our final project that explores this cultural collision through the design of a hybrid train station and "meeting house."  



Vertical Studio - Fixed + Fluid: Sustaining Fluid Lives Within Fixed Systems  

Instructor: Matt Fajkus

The physical constraints of cities and buildings are not keeping up with the fluidity of current lifestyles – including how families function, how people socialize, work, and live. This disparity is especially acute with an upcoming generation of young professionals, and it is likely that the population of “digital nomads” will continue to increase by 2030. People are choosing to blend work and life; exploring the world while continuing to work, giving rise to the growing trend of becoming a digital nomad. But this, ‘constantly on the move’ trend has made it difficult for both property owners and digital nomads to acquire and rent-out residency. This studio challenges the relationship between spatial parameters and programmatic conditions in two, three, and four dimensions. How much should we expect cities and buildings to evolve, and/or how much should we expect lifestyles to adapt to physical constraints of cities and environments?



Advanced Studio - Bug Filter

Instructor: Nerea Feliz

This studio aims to bring public attention to the importance of “bugs,” in the face of our impending biodiversity crisis. Insects play a key role in the environment as pollinators, seed dispersers, decomposers, and food sources for other species such as bats, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish. Designers of the built environment have rarely been concerned with animal conservation; it is time to start. Students focus on examining the way ornamentation and pattern can capture the fascinating world of insect vision by designing window filters as a series of lenses that enable us to see as if through the compound eyes of arthropods. Applied research, the translation of knowledge into making by engaging directly with materials and building technologies at real scale drive the designs in this studio. While exploring a disciplinary shift away from traditional anthropocentric views, towards a multispecies conception of the built environment, student findings may lead to new aesthetics, optical effects, and visual pleasures.



Advanced Studio - A Feminist Lens on Franklin Park

Instructor: gina ford + maggie hansen

Recently Boston launched a master plan process for Franklin Park, the largest park in the city and the ‘country park’ within Olmsted’s Emerald Necklace. This studio explores ways to reinvigorate Franklin Park, from the scale of the urban system to the scale of the human body and details of microtopography and planted form. Our study of Franklin Park also forms the basis for considering broader questions in current landscape practice. What does it mean to reimagine an existing designed landscape? What is the value of public space in contemporary life in the city? Alongside these questions, we consider the recent calls for gender parity in our discipline and the design implications of feminism. We explore feminist theories of care and eco-feminism, and how feminist ethics might influence our approach to designing collective spaces.



Advanced Integrative Studio - New Prototypes of Collective Housing 

Instructor: martin haettasch

Austin is a city that faces extreme housing pressures. The problem is framed almost exclusively in terms of quantity, supply, demand, and the related question of affordability. For architects, however, a more productive question is whether this new quantity will produce a new quality of housing. How do we live in the city, how do we create individual and collective identity through architecture, and what are the urban consequences? This studio investigates new urban housing types, located between the apartment block and the detached house in scale and density. Critically assessing existing typologies, we ask the question of how the comforts of the individual house can be reconfigured to form new types of residential urban fabric beyond the entropy of tract housing or the formulaic denominator of "mixed use," The nature of the integrative design studio will allow for the testing of the implications of materials systems and construction techniques as factors that have long had an important economic and ecological impact.

Advanced Studio - Studio Mexico  

Instructor: benjamin ibarra-sevilla 

Studio Mexico focuses on projects located in a rural setting. The studio interrogates how design can play a role in rural settings and how adaptive reuse, building conservation and other design challenges can make an impact in these environments. The studio questions the role of the designer in the rural context and how ingenuity can provide answers in areas where resources are scarce. In order to study these issues, the studio will develop two projects, one in the heart of Texas and one in Puebla, Mexico. By working in modest settings, this studio calls for different set of sensibilities and attitudes towards design; while the design of new buildings in more prosperous areas might engage a position of grandiosity, the modesty necessary to address the issues of a rural environment directs students to think realistically, to embrace the other, and to be more aware of their real needs.



Advanced Studio - The Paperclip Studio: Clip, Clamp, Brace, Stitch & Chain!  

Instructor: daniel koehler

Austin is a fast-growing city and its growth is driven largely by the sheer quantity of unique, peculiar, and distinct places. More than polycentric, Austin is pluralistic with different situations, moments, and ways of negotiating spaces occurring simultaneously. More unintended and much more bottom-up, the city’s characteristics derive from a co-operative and plural production of space. Today, not by coincidence, Austin is attractive to the tech and start-up scene. Mirroring digital media into the physical realm, here too, residents do not consume but reside in the city. Reversing the city as the context from where to embed to what to extract, we aim to condense the city into a new form of a building - plural and peculiar. Building on blockchain technologies, students investigate common building typologies to compose what is shared by distributive means only. Researching by architecture, participants compute co-operative urban forms and architect distributive computation. Built from participatory capacities, individually or in teams, the studio culminates with a particular proposal for a specific site in Austin.


Vertical Studio - Measures of Discomfort

Instructor: piergianna mazzocca

This studio examines how architecture has dealt with the question of comfort and how, in turn, comfort has shaped architectural thinking and practice. Whether through the record of use, function, program, experience, performance, ergonomics or scale, the production of comfort relies on concrete knowledge and latent imagination of how one would live comfortably. But comfort also governs an unknowable universe of everyday experience that remains outside of the designer’s direct control. If a lot of architecture’s meaning is made not in drawings but in the complex world of how architecture is inhabited, consumed, used, lived, or experienced, that world is at once fundamental and strangely under-explored. Under this premise, this studio expands on how comfort can be a critical tool for architectural invention. How do we situate “comfort” within the realms of use, standardization, building technologies, economies of scale, and the human body? Can a study about discomfort, instead of comfort, foster new spatial possibilities? What if design made peace with the strange, the abnormal, the uncomfortable?


Advanced Studio - Dragging Modernity: Between Beautiful and Ugly 

Instructor: adam miller

If the aesthetic goal of Modern architecture is the production and preservation of beauty, and its dogma is that beauty is predominately a masculine one, then we should locate alternate aesthetic expressions which better suit our post-gender world. Beyond positing a recuperation of the ugly, Dragging Modernity tracks the field of possibility in between the major aesthetic categories of beautiful and ugly. Through exploring minor aesthetic terms like cute, awkward, dumpy, whimsical, and more, the studio will arrive at new understandings of masculinity and alternatives to beauty. As means to reconsider Austin’s affinity toward weirdness, students work in pairs to develop aesthetic categories between ugly and beautiful in the context of Austin’s I-35 corridor, an infrastructure which divides the city economically, racially, and aesthetically. Students investigate hybridity utilizing minor aesthetic terms and representational ambiguity to design across various scales, to renegotiate spaces of binary opposition via: the scale of an object, the scale of a furniture, the scale of a building.


Architecture Master's Design Studio Thesis

10:00 a.m. - Jacob Castine

Advisors: Juliana Felkner + Uli Dangel

11:00 a.m. - Diego Zubizarreta Otero

Advisors: Uli Dangel + Fernando Lara


Interior Design Master's Design Studio Thesis 

10:00 a.m. - Maryam Quraishi

Reviewers: Tamie Glass, Clay Odom

*All listed studio descriptions are subject to change