Thursday, December 13, 2018

Dunwoody Architecture - Thesis Final Part 1

Yesterday I had the opportunity to be a guest juror for the end-of-semester review of the Dunwoody Architecture student's final thesis projects. In this post I will share the highlights of that experience.

But, first I want to point out that Dunwoody is a first-of-its-kind school of architecture, whose model will open the doors to a career in architecture for a lot more people. The institution has its 100-year old roots in 2-year technical programs, which includes architectural technology. Until now, any student who invested in a two year degree and then wanted to go on to become an architect would have to throw away that two years of training... meaning those credits almost never transfer to a university.  FYI: I only mean "throw away" in the context of credits transferring... all academic engagement is beneficial in some way to an individual.

Dunwood introduced the nation's first 2+3 architecture program that takes their two year degree (or any two year arch tech degree, hint hint)  where a graduate can sit for the Architect Registration Exam (ARE) in any State in the USA. The program is in the final stages of it accreditation candidacy. The first group of students just graduated this year!

Now, back to the topic at hand...

Before the presentations began, professors John Dwyer and Andrew Blaisdell outlined the program, where the students are and the process for the presentations. They also introduced the jurors which were mostly other professors and architects from local firms. Three of the recent graduates were also there as jurors and offered great comments as they where in those shoes just last year.

Each student had about 15-20 minutes to present the current state of their project and then we, the jurors, had an opportunity to ask questions and offer comments. Below are pictures of each student I saw present and a simple statement about their project (I copied this statement out of an email from the school).

I knew a number of people present as I have presented to Dunwoody students in the past. One student (Ben) currently works at LHB and two others used to (James and Ryan). Plus, John Dwyer and I presented together two years ago at the Minnesota AIA Convention on practical applications of VR in architecture.

Tanisha - Lobo Cooperative Education and Youth Center : A platform to learn, perform and succeed for young Cameroonians

Josiah - Reconciling the Bluff at Bdote: Recognizing architectural relationship to sacred land

James - Breaking Dunwoody Island: A case study in resolving isolated urban sites due to physical barriers

Aaron - Building Back Better: Living, working, thriving in the wake of Maria

Ben - Keystone Bear Center: rehabilitating bears and our connection to nature with unique opportunities to connect

Marcos - Strength to the People: Recreational Center as education and disaster recovery hub

Kyle and Ryan - From Reformation to Resiliency: Revitalizing the Heart of a Rural Jamaican Village

I did not get a chance to see Kyle and Ryan present. There where two other presentations I was not able to see or photograph due to time.

  • Guyon - Explorations on growing personal and community food in Puerto Rico
  • Hannah - Place Made: Sustainable Learning Centers in Response to the Mediterranean Refugee Crisis

 Wrap up

The crit session closed with the entire group gathering and sharing themes seen, words of encouragement and concerns for the students to consider as they head into their final semester and work towards completing their thesis project.

My encouragement was to make sure they all embrace analytical tools to study energy use and daylight. Once massing begins they need to have a EUI goal, develop a pEUI, as well as sDA and ASE metrics as these things should be commonplace metrics/standard of care in our professions.

Good luck to them! The future of architecture is in their hands:)

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