T : B D  /  _ i R L <


Surrounding us are media objects that sponsor most of our daily decisions and behaviors. From dating to shopping, these networked devices grant access to the entire world with just a few clicks, a couple taps, or a swipe right. Though seemingly ephemeral and remarkably easy to initiate, our digital transactions are enabled by a lot of physical stuff – wires, screens, adapters, routers, antennae, servers, and more – that, together, set the substrate of our milieu. These objects have material properties that help hold our attention, position us in space, and protect our information: a smartphone stacks a shatter-resistant, alkali-aluminosilicate surface atop polycarbonate and aluminum; an extension cord is insulated and sheathed in waterproof rubber for outdoor use; an LCD monitor gets its name from backlit, electronically-modulated liquid crystals compressed between layers of polarized glass...and so on. We regularly convene around these mediating artifacts, likely inattentive to the material possibilities latent in their designs. Furthermore, these objects are enmeshed in labor economies, political regimes, and ecological crises that quickly fade from our consciousness in favor of simple, lighthearted content consumption (more cat pics, plz LOL). If our everyday reality is evermore conditioned by the materialities of media, how might we critically engage and reorient this stuff to suggest other ways of being in the world?

This thesis section seeks projects that articulate alternative futures for architecture and urbanism from a careful examination of our media-saturated present. Media and architecture are alike in their ability to frame collective experience and invigorate public life. We will consider the many ways that our media environments and built environments are complexly intertwined, relying on a multidisciplinary group of theorists and designers to guide our research. What aesthetic regimes arise from the ubiquity of digital technology in the architectural and urban spheres? How can architecture and technology conspire to redesign human bodies and subjects? What exactly is the materiality of data and how is it distinct from the materiality of images? How does ever-changing screen technology mediate reality? How might a closer look at the attributes of interfaces, databases, and drives reformat our understanding of building systems, organization, and program? What does an urbanism motivated by cable management look like? If media infrastructures consist of continually expanding material networks and immaterial exchanges, what’s at stake for an architecture caught in the mix? We will explore these questions and more through five main themes: Body / Profile, Screen / Image, Cable / Data, Drive / Memory, Interface / Platform. These dualisms will prompt conversation and are by no means exhaustive.

This year-long thesis experience is divided into two parts. In the fall seminar, each student will reference critical texts and work through various formats to develop a thesis argument. In the winter studio, students (individually or in groups) will use their discoveries from the fall to propose architectures that engage issues of form, space, context, program, material effect, and/or occupation. To imagine new ways for architecture to appear in the world, this thesis section will use the building as the primary site of speculation.


Christian Austin
Jacqueline Daniel
Valeria de Jongh
Harsheen Kaur
So Young Lee
Delaney McCraney
Reed Miller
Canqi Mu
Adam Schueler
Elizabeth Sinyard
Anika Shah
John Vieweg
Helen Yue Wang


Cyrus Peñarroyo

Check out taubmancollegethesis.com for more work from this year’s graduating class

REVIEW: WEDNESDAY, 04/29/20, 10:00–06:00PM


Note: Must have Zoom account to livestream the review



Jia Yi Gu (Spinagu), Sarah Hearne (UCLA and Cal Poly San Louis Obispos LA Metro), Lydia Kallipoliti (The Cooper Union), Adam Fure, Bryan Boyer, Meredith Miller, Anya Sirota (Taubman College)


10:00–10:10am Introduction

10:10–10:40am John Vieweg, “NETWORK”
10:40–11:20am Harsheen Kaur + Elizabeth Sinyard, “Detroit Commons”

11:20–11:40am Screen Break

11:40–12:20pm Adam Schueler, “Sleek Screens/Dusty Machines”
12:20–01:00pm Delaney McCraney + Reed Miller, “The Gap”


Jia Yi Gu (Spinagu), Sarah Hearne (UCLA and Cal Poly San Louis Obispos LA Metro), Jacqueline Shaw (Rhode Island School of Design), Ellie Abrons, Maria Arquero de Alarcon, Thom Moran (Taubman College)


02:00–02:10pm Introduction

02:10–02:40pm Jacqueline Daniel, “Building Emotion”
02:40–03:10pm Anika Shah, “Screenplay”
03:10–03:40am Valeria de Jongh, “Deschooling through Media”

03:40–03:00pm Screen Break

04:00–04:30pm Christian Austin, “Scroll Up”
04:30–05:00pm So Young Lee, “TABLE/TABLET/DATUM/DATA”
05:00–05:40pm Helen Yue Wang + Canqi Mu, “Chroma”



John Vieweg

NETWORK reconceives a tower as a stack of microclimates by expanding the suite of environmental management technologies typically found in a building to include internet infrastructure. In “A Home is Not a House,” Reyner Banham attributes the comfort of dwelling to mechanical services, not to a building’s physical shell. With technological innovations like air conditioning, architects could produce artificial environments independent of a site’s actual climate. Similarly, today’s internet has the ability to recreate the comfort of home regardless of location – it saves your preferences, connects you with friends and family, and grants access to your favorite streaming content. The router is the new hearth, and it is not by coincidence that climate and WiFi propagation share the heatmap as their primary mode of representation. This thesis demonstrates how spaces of networked efficiency and bodily pleasure need not be separate; instead, their coexistence can be engineered.

The proposal upgrades Intergate.Manhattan, a former telecommunications building that was recently renovated to accommodate offices and a data center on the top and bottom halves, respectively. Microclimates – each defined by a unique calibration of signal strength, thermal energy, hardware, softscape, color signature and volume – are introduced to interrupt and differentiate the stack of generic floorplates. Simply put, internet connectivity and data transmission directly correspond to temperature variations. Saturated in colorized media, the distributed environments playfully adopt tech-related terminology to reconceptualize programming: hotspot, incubator, surf, buffer, and recharge become zones of distraction and leisure within the workplace. The project recomposes raised floors, dropped ceilings, cable trays, and monitors to suggest new ways to gather. Users sweat in the residual heat of servers and bask in the cold glow of televisual light. In NETWORK, technical support extends into the domain of architecture.