The Minimum Maximum
There are 24 days until final thesis reviews here at Berkeley. This fact has many of us letting out prolonged sighs. The pressure to produce something which culminates our time here is mounting. To make things worse, the pressure is coming from yourself. We all fumble half-blindly for the release valve.
As architecture students we are used to lists of Minimum Requirements. From the 1st design studio onward, we are instructed to produce a certain number of drawings and models at specific scales. We pin these up in neat orderly grids on clean layouts. This regulation of representation is useful for many reasons, perhaps most importantly to see your work in the context of a studio and learn about how your decision making and formal process compares to that of others.
Thesis is a different animal.
We know this because there isn't someone handing you a sheet of paper that reads something like:
For your thesis you must produce at least
- Three 1/8"=1'-0" sections
- One exploded axonometric
- Four perspectives describing the entry sequence
- Site model at 1/16"=1'0" (a.k.a. the token model that no one pays attention to)
- et cetera
One of the values of doing an independent thesis is that you are running your own show. So you come up with your own final requirements. What I want to see is not a list of requirements but a single Maximum Requirement
. Try this one out:
For your thesis you cannot produce more than
- A ninety-second animation.
There will be
No glossy renderings,
and nothing else to be mounted on the wall except the screen which your animation will project on.
Of course this won't get you to the finish line faster. But, I wonder, is the "Maximum Requirement" a useful way for thesis students to think about the jury presentation? What is the least
amount of stuff that I must produce in order to communicate my thesis? It could be a gorgeous set of three perspectives 8 ft square, and nothing else. A single sectional model. A short story that you read. A set of surround-sound speakers you built, with your building projected as the sound.
The discussion I want to hear is one about architectural media, not about whether or not the design is appropriate for the site, etc. These things cannot be judged by the jury. The jury is about the jury, not the project. So let's let that be so, and not worry that the project must be fully and extensively documented. Do that for yourself, to be sure, but be bold in your thesis presentation. Go out on a treacherous limb because falling off would at least be more interesting than sitting in a pile of thesis mud.