Architecture 
Thesis
__________ IN TEN STEPS
Speculative architectural proposal for a university campus. Proposal examines how the built academic environment could effect undergraduate learning outcomes. Design focuses on facilitating dialogue across departmental silos.


ROLE: Researcher + Designer 
TYPE: Independent Project 
COURSE: BA Thesis 
INNOVATION: Support inter-disciplinary academic collaboration by breaking the tradition of separating educational departments into separate buildings.
ACADEMIC COLLABORATION

Researchers agree that undergraduate students learn through four primary mechanisms: student-to-content, student-to-student, student-to-faculty, and student-to-technology.[1] 
This project expands on the existing body of literature and speculative theory on these various mechanisms by creating a speculative spatial configuration aimed at affecting undergraduate learning outcomes.


STEP ONE: 


STEP TWO:

Literature on the topic suggests that student-to-student contact on academic topics increases subjective experience of intellectual growth in a topic area, and corresponds to which major a given student declares. Corresponding independent research conducted the year prior to this thesis, indicated students at the college declared majors in the departments corresponding to the building(s) which housed the majority of their course load.​​​​​​​


STEP THREE

After two semesters conducting a Social Network Analysis (SNA) under the supervision of the head of the Social Psychology department and the Computer Science department, mapping of the campus began.
Social (dis)connectivity insights gleaned from the SNA were used to define programming.

STEP FOUR


STEP FIVE


STEP SIX


STEP SEVEN

MAPPING
The research revealed that networked connectivity on campus was aligned by buildings where students had the highest concentration of courses.


STEP EIGHT

As such, the final design is based on mapping the existing campus footprint into one building. Moving all functionalities shared by faculty, students, and staff into one compound is intended to increase contact among individuals and the varying types of work that they produce.



STEP NINE

After a fun though impractical exploration of a skyscraper(s), the final design plots the campus map onto six floors, broken into three sections of two floors each. Spatial programming is distributed by the type of action rather than the academic discipline of the action.

STEP TEN
EXHIBITED
May 2014, Selected BA Art Thesis Exhibition ‘Things Have Changed Between Us,’ Usdan Gallery,VAPA, Bennington College, Bennington,VT
NOTES
[1] Lui, S. (2008). Student Interaction Experiences in Distance Learning Courses: A phenomenological study. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 11(1).
Project inspiration from two seminal architectural speculations: The Fun Palace and The Potteries Thinkbelt by Cedric Price.