UC Berkeley (Nick)



Aug '08 - Jun '10

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    Nick Sowers
    Mar 1, '10 5:23 PM EST

    There's a guest here on the 9th floor of Wurster, a University of Michigan grad student named Dan who is visiting his buddy here at Berkeley. It's spring break for Michigan, though he has tons of work to do. So he's occupying a desk in the middle of Thesislandia, laptop open and cranking away in Rhino. Dan's been wandering around seeing what us thesis students are up to (investigating light, ice, sewage systems, and under-the-bridge-space among other things) and likewise we're hovering over his computer to have a look at his thesis project on a reclaimed landfill site between Detroit and Chicago.

    I got the idea, while I was asking him questions about his project, that his being an intruder should be standard practice. Architecture students should have a small travel budget to go to another University and set up a mini-studio for a week. A UCLA student infiltrates Cornell. A University of Florida student taps into the University of Washington. Why stop with the US? There are traveling studios, sure, but why not just individual traveling students, and for just a week at a time? A sort-of guest-worker program, with quotas etc etc.

    Even this Glacier/Island/Storm thing that just wrapped up last week with Geoff Manuagh's Columbia GSAPP studio --- it was as though I was a visiting student, taking my thesis ideas from Berkeley and assaulting Columbia, and perhaps beyond. Heck, who cares what school you're in, or if you're in school at all. These ideas need to get out of this tower. There's too much good stuff locked up in here. This is an invitation to come and steal some.


    • mccloskm

      that makes a lot of sense to me, because at the heart of architectural education we are all exploring the same ideas. I bet there are very similar themes driving studios around the world. This blog is a great way to be a digital infiltrator of other programs. it really is interesting to me to read about what is going inside all these schools.

      Mar 1, 10 5:32 pm  · 


      Mar 1, 10 7:35 pm  · 

      so what were your impressions regarding the UM thesis proposition and subsequent work?

      Mar 1, 10 7:40 pm  · 

      someone on twitter just RT'd this post and knows the infiltrator, hah! so blogging, tweeting and all that stuff is great, but nothing compares to just sitting in the atmosphere of a foreign studio and even involving yourself in the conversations going on there. Props to Dan, he even went downstairs and raised some questions in the thesis midreview crit going on right now.

      the UM proposition is about using grasshopper to organize the flows in and out of the landfill/trash organizing facility. my favorite thing about his project is that he's designing the forms around the presence of stench. how to naturally ventilate smelly air, etc.

      Mar 1, 10 8:20 pm  · 

      Sure Dan's thesis is shaping up nicely, but why isn't he using the 7-axis robotic arm??

      Mar 1, 10 10:51 pm  · 

      His buildings are great, but I want to know what happened to Dan's archigram garbage harvester. Whenever I look a his buildings, all I see are giant weirdo robots. . . I wonder if that is still legible in the work. . .

      This inter-institution thesis stuff makes sense, but we miss out on the early ideas that burned so brightly, fizzled and died. Maybe that is a good thing.

      Mar 2, 10 2:01 pm  · 

      Great call. Love it: cross pollinate.

      I would love to get back to our nomadic roots. The peripatetic architecture student, and why not. With laptops and wi-fi, we are rendered unfettered and untethered.

      "It has been so long since I have been home that I don't know if that is what it is anymore... The road is my home now, and strangers are my close friends."

      Mar 3, 10 6:29 am  · 

      Great meeting you last week. here's my site:

      comments welcome!

      Mar 14, 10 9:02 pm  · 

      Dan, nice drawing set! pretty substantial for a midreview.

      I dig the snow-mobiles on the trash pile... which suddenly made me wonder, while I was looking at all your sweet infographics, if there could be more of that--the narrative of human habitation/reclamation. otherwise, it leans a little too much toward a techno-industrial nostalgia.

      how did the midreview go?

      Mar 16, 10 3:29 am  · 

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