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University of Minnesota School of Architecture

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The University of Minnesota School of Architecture is invested in design grounded in critical representation (materials and media literacy, or drawing and making as a way of thinking) and social engagement (ethically motivated work that strives to make the world a better place). These grow from the strong reputation of the school as a place where students learn how to beautifully draw and build, and from the state of Minnesota’s history of social progressiveness and humanitarianism. They reflect both what we have been and what, in 21st century terms, we aspire to be. Above all, design is the elemental competency uniting our diverse research agendas, approaches to teaching, and visions for the future. Design process is intrinsically bound to ethical decision-making, and this intersection is what clearly defines the brand of education our students receive. We are aware of the interconnectedness of our choices and understand that our choices have consequences for the people and communities we serve and the environments within which we design. These perspectives and commitments shape the identity of the school and position it uniquely and competitively. Our mission is to educate professional architects and to advance architectural knowledge and creative practice through design-centered teaching and research. In support of this mission, the school aims to prepare students for leadership in the rapidly changing field of architecture. We value inquisitive, curious, and adaptable thinkers, those who engage the fundamental disciplinary provisions of architectural practice while challenging its boundaries. Our students learn to square the deep knowledge specific to the discipline with the broad, trans-disciplinary application of that knowledge.

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To produce such a student, we emphasize a design education grounded in three related orientations: 1) design with regard to materials and media literacy (making and drawing as a disciplinarily unique type of non-verbal thinking), 2) design with regard to stewardship of (an empathic care for) the built and natural environments, and 3) design with regard to urban-scale/systemic thinking, a synthetic understanding of how architecture contributes to urban, suburban, and rural landscapes. Supporting these orientations are three essential qualities that provide students with the ethical and critical judgment to become the future leaders of the profession. These three qualities run through all of our work, whether academic-, research-, or service-oriented. First, we value inquiry — critical and holistic thinking, exercised through drawing, making, writing, and speaking. Second, we value engagement — work that connects with an array of cultural, community, and disciplinary contexts. Third, we value architectural meaning, as understood through the discipline’s historical, theoretical, and cultural context.

nd Judgemen Ethics a t

Inquiry: Critical and Holistic Thinking

Materials + Media Literacy

Stewardship of Built and Natural Environment

Engagement: Cultural, Community, and Disciplinary

What guides us

Urban-scale & Systemic Thinking

Three Essential Qualities

Architectural Meaning: Historical, Theoretical, and Cultural

Three Orientations

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The University of Minnesota School of Architecture’s unique approach to building design represents the elemental core of what we do in our undergraduate and graduate degree programs, whether through the wide, overlapping practices between architecture and other disciplines in our Bachelor of Design in Architecture program, the technical and conceptual exploration of spatial and material practices in our pre-professional Bachelor of Science and professional Master of Architecture programs, or the deeply researched, disciplinarily specific practices in our four masters of science degree programs: Sustainable Design, Heritage Conservation and Preservation, Metropolitan Design, and Research Practices. Included here is a diagram of the qualities and orientations guiding our school. Throughout this booklet, you will see exemplary Master of Architecture Final Projects. At the introduction to each project, you will see a small tri-partite version of that diagram indicating the project’s degree of emphasis in one of the School’s three orientations: materials and media literacy, stewardship of the built and natural environments, and urban-scale/ systemic thinking. Each student project can be loosely defined through its emphasis in one or more of these orientations.

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Materials and media literacy

Stewardship of Built and Natural Environment

Urban-scale / Systemic thinking

Projects with a diagram like this primarily focus on urban-scale/systemic thinking.

Materials and Media Literacy

Stewardship of Built and Natural Environment

Urban-scale / Systemic Thinking

Projects with a diagram like this primarily focus on materials and media literacy.

Materials and Media Literacy

Stewardship of Built and Natural Environment

Urban-scale / Systemic Thinking

Projects with a diagram like this primarily focus on stewardship of the built and/or natural environment

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Reactive Architecture Justin Berken

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U

When comparing the history of architecture to the history of human evolution it represents only a sliver along a vast timeline. Since the arrival of architecture, our species has become increasingly isolated from the reactive environment in which we evolved. We have an instinctual urge to be within reactive environments; they bring us com-fort and joy. This project explores the potential of reactive architecture through digital sensory kinetic wall systems. Sharon Roe, critic

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Bright Lights, No City William Adams John Greene Daniel Raznick

Williston, North Dakota, is a boom town. At the time of the last census in 2010, its population was about 14,000. Today, the population is estimated at somewhere between 35,000 to 50,000 people. This massive growth over the last four years is the result of one of the biggest oil booms in American history. The town is driven entirely by the operations associated with natural resource extraction. Lifestyle and the built environment are similarly dominated by industry. This project proposes a metabolic infrastructure in the form of a multi-functional transit line powered by natural gas  — more than $1 million of which currently burns off each day

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because the oil industry did not build infrastructure for capturing it. The town lost its original organization around its historic core, which was built around a main street. Thus, the multi-functional transit line will act as new organizing armature. There are three main components of the line: 1) a new architectural recycling industry, 2) a system that organizes the material flows of the oil industry between the regional freight network on the southern tip of the line to the truck bypass at the northernmost edge of the city, 3) a streetcar that supports and organizes civic activity. These three components mutually benefit from the architecture and infrastructure they share, and in turn generate new reasons for activity to unfold in Williston. Blaine Brownell and Andrea Johnson, critics


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Addressing the Loss of the Palais National d’Haiti Kirk Mazzeo

The collapse of the Haitian National Palace in the 2010 earthquake has become a symbol of a broken country. From birth, Haiti has suffered at the hands of tragedy, repeatedly thwarted at every opportunity for change. With four previous incarnations of the palace, each destroyed in fantastic style, the architectural symbol of Haitian democracy is once again at a crossroads. Drawing on its historical trove and contemporary trajectory, this student aimed to establish a unity of active political and phenomenal experience for the people of Haiti. The student critically evaluated the master plan proposed by Great Britain’s Prince’s Foundation, and interrogated the collapse and remains of the Haitian

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National Palace as a constructed artifact with its own logic and history. In so doing, this student revealed the complexities of this place and the issues of national identity embodied in its proposed reconstruction. The new proposal calls for a new 36 x 42 foot structural grid overlaid with the old grid to create new misalignments. This student developed an in-depth, active process of hand drawing and rendering intended to unearth qualities and instances for critique, using the old and the new as a means to superimpose architectural process and public discourse. Sharon Roe, critic


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Motion Lapse Laurie McGinley

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Motion Lapse was born of this student’s curiosity about the intersection between photography and architecture. Using a motion-sensing camera with a fish-eye lens suspended 18 feet above the center of Rapson Hall courtyard, this student collected more than 160,000 photographs over a six-month period. From this vast archive, a select series of photographs were edited and compiled to create multi-frame photographs. The blended photographs compress time  —  showing how movement, activities, and light patterns in the courtyard change over time  —  and revealing patterns that were previously unknown and invisible.

photographs; and, third, beginning to use the tool as part of an active contributor to design process. Having learned the strengths (and weaknesses) of this new tool, the student, along with her classmates as collaborators, began operating in the courtyard in intentional and improvisational ways. What emerged from this process-oriented investigation was a method of modeling ideas about how people interact with, and move through forms in space, at full scale and with the possibility to rapidly iterate on these modeling ideas. The motion-sensing camera was a means to record what became known as “ephemeral modeling,” and the selection and blending of photographs afforded new insights into the design process. Marc Swackhamer and Sharon Roe, critics

The project had three distinct phases: first, developing, testing and refining the tool; second, collecting, selecting and blending

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I/O Habitat Aaron Frazier

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U

The housing market crash in 2007 left many scars on the American way of life. In addition to leaving millions of people in foreclosure or underwater in financial distress, it left an unprecedented amount of vacant homes and partially developed infrastructure. This project — a speculative, alternative future — explores ways of breaking traditional suburban development by hacking systems of housing and infrastructure. By hacking into these infected systems, which promote degradation and community instability, a new stream of code can be supplanted into these systems to ward off virus. The Phoenix metro area was one of the hardest hit areas in the country due to foreclosures. It epitomizes the effects of the housing crisis.

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This site provides a testing ground to explore scenarios of alternative development models. The investigation is framed with regard to dialogues between site, land use, and the grid. It explores a broad array of three site types (with an emphasis on type X): X: A fully developed community with about a 10 percent vacancy rate. Y: A partially developed subdivision. Infrastructure constructed, including roads and underground public utilities. No houses have been built. Z: Undeveloped land. The alternative development model proposed, which is quite radical by current suburban housing development standards, is guided by three principals: phasing over time, community involvement, and program diversity. Adam Marcus, critic


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Permanent Temporality Jacqueline Miller

M

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U

Exiled from their homes in 1948 and still fighting for the right to return, Palestinians in Gaza City live in a state of permanent dislocation. This project tested the way in which design can exist between the temporary and the permanent; creating architectural experiences that help alleviate desire without surrendering a displaced population’s hopes to one day return home. Concrete walls, barbed-wire fences, and a giant sea of undrinkable water entrap the people of the Gaza City. This project proposes that New Gaza take on the edge condition of the Mediterranean Sea by creating a new adaptable landscape, including a series of small-scale, standalone, solar-powered reverse-osmosis

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desalination facilities surrounded by public event spaces. The desalination facilities take salt water from the Mediterranean Sea and transform it into potable water. The public space consists of places for Gazans to fish and dock boats, swim, and sit in floating gardens with Mangrove trees. Ozayr Saloojee, critic


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Fish. Brew. Minneapolis David Johansson Jenna Johansson

This project proposes an inland salt-water fish farm, a micro-beer brewery, and locally sourced eatery on the edge of the Mississippi River in Northeast Minneapolis, challenging the current separation between production and consumption in industrial processes. Seemingly unrelated, beer brewing and fish farming have potential synergies using heat, waste, and water in their production processes. As an exploration into how architecture mediates two distinct industrial processes in a spatially integrated manner, the project both heightens the experience of production for workers and engages the public from beginning of production through consumption.

The proposed building takes local salt-water fish farm systems and expands on them. Current practice involves packing many fish into small tanks for efficient resource usage. This project proposes a hybrid system between typical fish farming techniques and natural aquatic habitats. By combining viable aquatic farming practices with this more holistic vision, the project strikes a balance between plausibility and innovation. Public perception is paramount to the success of the project. Experiences foregrounded by the design are about a journey that engages both at the large scale of the site and the intimate scale of the human body. Visitors have the opportunity to understand the interconnected industrial processes that are necessary to produce the beer and seafood they enjoy, but sometimes take for granted. Adam Marcus, critic

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Adaptive Filtration Mark La Venture Alison Markowitz Chan

This project was developed from an expanding set of ideas regarding existing urban voids, bringing new value to this set of often underused spaces. The identification of a clear thesis was challenging as a partnership, but emerged as a project focused on a rainwater collection system for urban spaces. The design uses ceramic modules arrayed on a cable-net structural system to collect and filter rainwater from neighboring rooftops. Details of the ceramic material, its modular geometry, and overall form were explored in depth, as was the experimental response of the system during different seasonal or weather events. Blaine Brownell and Marc Swackhamer, critics

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Designing Rules Philip Bussey Sangyong Hahn Hwan Kim

This project proposes an alternative model to traditional superblock apartments by assessing numerical data associated with apartment living. It aims to create an architect’s toolkit to carefully measure the value systems of user groups (owners, community, government, and architects) in the design of locally sensitive projects that responsibly repurpose existing buildings. The site for this project is Dunchon Jugong Apartment Complex in Seoul, Korea. It is a collection of 5,930 units in 143 apartment buildings that was built in 1980. It is currently being considered by the Seoul government for redevelopment, which means that the entire existing set of buildings

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and infrastructure will be razed and newly constructed with much higher density (in this case, triple FAR). The design team argues that this redevelopment will effectively destroy the history and community relationships associated with the site. New options developed parametrically for each building type demonstrate the flexibility of the team’s system, challenging ideas of authorial will and predictable solutions. The project is not intended to be static. Instead, the team envisions a parametric process that behaves like a learning brain. By interfacing with active online groups during the implementation and life of the project instead of just at the beginning, the team’s algorithms accommodate changing relationships in a complex urban system and better anticipate a site’s dynamic future life. John Comazzi, critic


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Duluth Harborfront Baths Kai Salmela

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The Duluth Bayfront is a milelong stretch of post-industrial harborfront located centrally within the linear city. The vast and largely vacant landscape acts as a no-man’s land between the steep granite hillside to the north and the endless expanse of water to the south.

making spaces for otherwise-ordinary water activities. Despite the abstract industrial nature of the site, this project attempts to draw from the specific qualities inherent to this particular post-industrial harbor front in order to root it in the distinct sense of place apparent in the inland port city of Duluth. Jennifer Yoos, critic

This project aims to address how strategic programming and a single architectural intervention, considered within a broader urban vision, can act as a catalyst for reframing a post-industrial landscape as a place for rich human activity and experience. The project attempts to negotiate, via architecture, the gap between the scale of the human and the abstract scalelessness of the constructed harbor landscape, simultaneously celebrating its dramatic qualities while

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Fishing for a Living Kate Robertson

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The inspiration for this project came from two interviews broadcast on CBC radio in 2013. One revealed concerns around the poor returns of salmon in coastal rivers and the risk of a population collapse. The other highlighted issues regarding First Nations rights within Canada. In each case, stewardship was a central issue. In both conversations, frustration grew at the current inability of governmental agencies to manage change while still maintaining a respect for long-held cultural practices. In Canada, fishing is central to First Nations ways of life, but is also a fundamentally important industry for the entire country. This project asks how issues regarding lack of fundamental management and environmental protections have caused difficulties

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in the relationships between new and old ways of fishing, resulting in declining returns of fish. It proposes a model for modern industrial farming that more sensitively accounts for and incorporates the strengths of traditional fishing techniques. Sharon Roe, critic


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Examples of Masters Final Project from past five years.

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