Urban Design Thesis Projects

I have run into projects where I pretty much created things that do not exist, and it causes for a very challenging project, and a good one b/c its a new idea, but the project itself lacks b/c i never seem to have enough time to get into it as i'd like. Leena, The current Burnham Prize competition is for ideas regarding empty lots in North Lawndale, Chicago.I would rather start thesis with at least 2 solid ideas to go with.. I was reading through the material the other day and "gentrification" is definitely a major theme/issue. Here's 5 to start you: Deconstructing Eisenman: Cultural presemantic theory and social realism Discourses of Futility: Expressionism in the works of Archigram Tschumiist hyperreality and subtextual discourse Subdialectic desemanticism and constructivism in the works of El Lissitzsky Subconstructivism and Deobjectivism: Crucifying the cross It's actually kind of fun. well you have to do a written AND a building project correct?

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A thesis can't propose to solve a social problem because its beyond the scope of architecture.

Narrow your topic to issues of architecture and architectural research and you will find it much easier to develop your topic. It must propose a statement of opinion that is not yet proven, but can be proven through the intervention of site and program. Everyday America would be a good read (an essay compilation commenting on cultural landscape studies at the moment) - being political doesn't mean always to be loudmouthed and provocative.

leena, what kinds of books are you reading to fuel any of this? I have not yet gotten into the theory aspect of it, as I was just letting my sources guide me.

While not specifically about any of the topics you mention (although it does touch on those and a lot more) Bruce Mau's Massive Change (not just Bruce Mau) is a quick read. I agree that its probably best let the ideas evolve overtime, but i'm not quite sure i even have a starting point.

Pruitt Igoe did not define the ghetto, but was a symptom of the systematic segregation of the poor to the inner city; a means to an end.

Equally, architecture has never converted someone to Christianity, or any other religiion, or made anyone rich (short of the designer).

Leena, your focus of study is very intriguing to me.

In fact when I was deciding on a thesis, my two choices were a) studying regional identity via improvement of infrastructure with a signature structure or b) studying social justice issues by creating a low-income housing complex with an improved sense of community.

the best thesis anything is consideration of the profession you are working in and often a critique of the working medium.

i would advise that it is best to think of your thesis not in terms of a theoretical topic per se but in terms of understanding space in a different way, or an architect's relationship to the creative process in general.


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