Sunday, August 30, 2009

Thesis is Stupid ( At least at AUB )

Thesis is near, and in order to avoid quasi-suicidal stress and desperation next June, our advisors this year decided to get us started early on, and submit a preliminary and interim proposal in July and August.
Here is what the first feedback was :

Dear all:

Thanks for sending your preliminary proposals. Professor S, Professor S and myself have reviewed your submissions and discussed them thoroughly. Aside from the specific comments that each of you will receive from the committee individually, we are sending here a short directive/ general comment to the entire class to remind you that the second –and final- iteration of your proposal needs to necessarily follow the structure that was presented in the community meeting (see attachment). By this, we mean that all proposals should begin with a short paragraph that states the following:

- A thesis title, necessarily related to your main interest in the thesis.
I am investigating [topic/ architectural issue].
The main question I will ask is: ……
In order to answer my question, I will be doing the following: ….
My hypothesis is that….
I imagine my final intervention to be …..

If you need to elaborate further, you can do so after writing these five sentences but make sure you develop your proposal along these entry points.

We would like at this stage to remind you that thesis is not a problem solving exercise. It is an open ended exploration, necessarily related to architecture, space, design, etc. that will eventually offer good/well grounded directions towards an architectural intervention that seeks to demonstrate a particular position.

Am I the only one who thinks they suffer schizophrenia? How can thesis be an open ended exploration if they expect us to "imagine" before hand what the final intervention will be ?

To me this is a problem, because I am refusing to let go of my only shot at finding myself.

I have been trying for four years to figure out what architecture is, and what It does to the world, what does it add, what is it supposed to give. At this point in my training, I have realized that I do not want to produce any more architecture until I have understood what I am supposed to be producing. I do not want to design anything anymore until I have reflected upon what I have been designing and figured out if that is the way to do it. My instinct tells me, no. I think there is more to architecture than what we’ve been doing, at least if architecture is everything we’ve been claiming it is. Or does.

I feel like I would like to think about architecture right now, rather than do it, and I know this is what thesis is about. Yet how can I be expected to formulate what I will find before I’ve begun to think about it? How can I be expected to predict a position, a thesis, before I’ve even begun my investigation?

I do not want to pick a subject of investigation that is specific yet, that is insignificant. I don’t want to investigate how architecture can create anything else. I want to create my own individual understanding of architecture so I can become my own architect. I want to read what other architects have thought, I want to see how other disciplines have crossed with the field of architecture, I want to finally figure out if architecture can really do what it claims it does. Then I can know what I want it to do for me.
But first I need to know if it can.

How can I tell them that?


Anonymous said...

So... Found yourself yet?

Yasmina said...


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