RISD Thesis Studio
Rhode Island School of Design

Architecture and our urban environment arise from a long history of development and tradition. Even the Modernists, who dismissed the rules of classical architecture, produced rules that were simply a version of what had been before. Architecture does not exist in a vacuum. It is shaped by history, social contexts, and culture. It is inherently biased and this is not necessarily a bad thing but something to be recognized and acknowledged. In fact, we can learn from what biases and ideologies are revealed by architecture to put forward alternative architectural narratives in the contemporary context. In this sense, society can be understood through its architecture and representations producing new historical and contemporary readings of space that are in some ways more honest than those provided in textbooks.

​Architecture shapes space. It is a tool that creates a virtuality of experience. It manifests an inside and an outside (Deleuze, 1988). We can think of the outside as the socio-political and cultural constructs, and this inside becomes a reflection of that providing a looking glass to understand subjectivities in space. Architecture then becomes an interesting intersection of psychology, philosophy, science, technology, sociology, ecology, and politics.

Architectural design research becomes a world-building exercise that relies on the curation of a particular narrative or narratives that provide a lineage of work that supports the project. It becomes a vehicle of representation for larger questions. It is political. It is ecological. It is social. It is cultural. It is ‘all of the above.’ It does not exist in a vacuum. It is for this reason that architecture and representation can provide a powerful tool to reveal perspectives and perceptions. This thesis section will incorporate history, theory, philosophy, and psychology in order to formulate a provocation that addresses architectural practice, its mediums, representations, and signifiers. Students will develop critical thesis arguments and a design project that represents these.

Academic Year 2022 - 2023

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