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Model Fictions

May 5 – May 17, 2021
Across New York City
Research Question

Architectural, urban, and landscape design are practices that physically alter the built environment. Importantly, and historically, they are also platforms for the communication of—and argumentation for/against—possible futures for that built environment. This workshop will allow students to participate in this exercise of narrative-making, both physical and virtual, centered around the development of a collective series of stories and models.

Our model/story assemblage will speculate on the future of several social, ecological, and societal prompts such as climate, energy, density, safety, and togetherness. What is the capacity for physical models to tell a story, beyond their immediate form?


The workshop will include two groups of eight students each. These groups will work on independent components of the project but collaborate and cross-reference daily. The groups are titled “physical” and “virtual” to delineate the team working on physical fabrication, and the team working on narrative, creative direction, and documentation of the workshop, respectively.

The physical team will work in-person on most days, and the virtual team, though welcome to work on campus, will be able to complete the workshop on an entirely remote basis. The teams will meet daily for two weeks and complete a series of exercises, charettes, and guest lectures. Lectures will focus on the relevant and related practices of storytelling, worldbuilding, fiction, data visualization, etc. Specific skill workshops in software and technical equipment will be offered.

The final schedule will be tuned to student availability, but generally each group will meet either with an instructor or a guest lead once a day independently as a group, and once together (these meetings will often bookend a day).

Output and Findings

Physical Team
This group will produce a series of material and technical experiments in physical fabrication, responding to a series of prompts along the way from both instructors and peers in the workshop. Their work will culminate in a large, spatial model or series of models that is tied together ideologically and compositionally with the help of the virtual team.

Virtual Team
This group will produce a series of documentations and digital projects, including a storyboard exercise of the physical models, graphic visualizations of the prompts in question, multimedia components of the physical model, and will be responsible for the direction and curation of how the ultimate physical model is documented and exhibited.

To keep scope under control, emphasis will be placed on the potential for smaller, simpler part-wise individual contributions to the overall project rather than one large, combined deliverable.

Other 2021 workshops

Wang other natures 24
Other Natures
Across New York City
May 17 – May 28, 2021
Screen shot 2021 03 17 at 4.41.07 pm
Envisioning Climate: A Virtual Reality Workshop
May 17 – May 28, 2021
Screen shot 2021 03 18 at 8.21.57 am
Building Biography: A Living Archive of Columbia GSAPP
Across New York City
May 12 – May 26, 2021
Multigenerational Housing for New York City
Across New York City
May 3 – May 17, 2021
Screen shot 2021 03 17 at 4.09.54 pm
Pushing past 2020: Looking for Equitable Solutions to Post Covid New York City
Across New York City
May 3 – May 17, 2021
Screen shot 2021 03 17 at 4.04.17 pm
An Atlas of Dust
Across New York City
May 3 – May 14, 2021
Img 8821
New Paradigms of Residual Space
Across New York City
May 3 – May 14, 2021
Screen shot 2021 03 17 at 5.01.46 pm
Streets for People
Across New York City
May 3 – May 14, 2021