This five-week intensive design studio, hosted virtually for the first time during the Summer 2020 semester, presents a comprehensive and intensive experience in architectural design. In the mornings, students are invited to participate in optional lectures and discussions on making, technology, the environment, faculty firms, and portfolio workshops. In the afternoon or evening, students are required to attend the 3-credit design studio—an educational method unique to architecture—where they are given intensive training in the skills and critical thinking involved in architectural design. Students work in small groups directly with one studio instructor, toward studio goals.
In this digital realm, an architect acts as a translator between virtual and physical environments. This negotiation requires the architect to engage standing questions: How do we merge the physical with the virtual, and how are our definitions of those changing? What is the role of making in a non-physical workshop? How do communities emerge around virtual design? And with new emphasis, how does the solitary creative act merge with the need for a collective effort and audience?
In the studio, students engage with the means and methods of architecture that are made possible and essential by dwelling online. Here they will interrogate concepts of placemaking, the production of space, and the creation of community—with a virtual embodiment. They learn about the role of the architect as a facilitator of connections between people, and as interpreter of the spaces both physical and nonphysical.
Design work, teaching, and reviews occur in platforms conducive to live sharing and feedback—some established, some experimental. These forums provide an opportunity for students to receive comments and criticism from invited architects, design professionals, and professors. Together, the studio, workshops, and lectures present an introduction to architecture as a venue for new forms, new places, and new approaches to our contemporary critical culture.