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    Taxonomy Project: Thesis Readings

    HS Solie
    Jan 28, '13 12:15 PM EST

    In the course of thinking about ways to avoid working on my thesis, I came up with an idea to launch what I am calling the "Taxonomy Project."  Basically, I am trying to document the life/work/play of a thesis student, using Taubman College as a case study.  

    What I am trying to get at moves past the final product of thesis research that is up on the walls in May or posted on blogs and facebook along the way. Instead I want to look at the process of developing a thesis through the materials, literature and organizational logics with which we chose to surround ourselves.

    Things that really interest me personally are things like sketchbooks, reading materials, work space layout, internet bookmarks...just thinking out loud.  There is a really diverse collection of thesis projects and people here at Taubman College and while this project will almost certainly uncover variety, singularities and peculiarities, it should also reveal areas of homogeneity.  I hope that uncovering these areas of overlap and agreement will provide a greater understanding of the process of a thesis, and not just the final product.


    To that end, let's begin with a collection of images from the bookshelves of 'thesis land'....



    • cwh1


      Remembering back to that experience, I think about the sheer magnitude of literature available and trying to sift through it all to find what was most important to my research. Obviously there's a lot out there to read and the Duderstadt is/was always stocked. Although, I remember moments when I would actually spend my time collecting more books instead of actually reading them (thesis hoarders!) because I was too overwhelmed to focus with so many options (where to start, etc) It's always easier to say this in retrospect, but establish your focus quickly and become as knowledgeable in that one thread as possible. It's very easy to become a thesis student who knows a little about a lot, but not the other way around. Those arguments or positions tend to create a weaker project and final presentation. Some unsolicited food for thought. Good luck! 


      Jan 28, 13 1:09 pm  · 
      Save Western

      Also, start that bibliography for the thesis book now. Whether or not you've used every book, Your professor can throw a 10 page bibliography across the room much farther than a 3 page one. You are going to have better things to do come end of the semester than fill out the Manual of Style.

      Jan 29, 13 5:32 pm  · 

      Hey Chris,

      You hit the nail right on the head.  I have been having the same fears recently, that I am spending more time cultivating research material rather than actually absorbing the work I am collecting.  Thankfully my thesis advisor, Catie Newell, is making sure that we stay on track as much as possible.

      Anyways, thanks for the advice... keep it coming!


      Jan 30, 13 10:03 am  · 

      It's fascinating to see what architecture students are reading nowadays.  This is like a snap shot in time of the state of architectural education today, a historical record.

      You have some great advice above.  The only thing I could add is just start writting and drawing, even if your ideas aren't fully formed.  I've found that clarity comes when one dives into the meat of the problem itself.  If your idea begins to change shape as you proceed, don't fight it, rather let it take you where it goes.  Good luck.

      Feb 1, 13 6:03 am  · 

      my 2-cents....Outline outline outline.  start with a 1-2 sentence thesis statement.  clear and to the point.  outline all the paragraphs and points that you need to touch on.  note in the supporting refs. under those points.  this will help you narrow your research into specific areas.

      it is important that you write first.  then look for supporting refs.

      It will change as you get into the research, but make sure you write something down even if you are not 100% sure about it.

      Feb 1, 13 10:42 am  · 

      also draw draw draw!  start designing your thesis simultaniously as you write it.  Don't be married to any idea, just get something on paper visually! 

      work back and forth....write, sketch, research..........once you have a good amount in each arena, refine it one area at a time.

      Feb 1, 13 10:45 am  · 

      wow, a hejduk book, who even knew you kids knew who hejduk was anymore...

      Feb 3, 13 1:57 am  · 

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About this Blog

I am a graduate student and an entrepreneur at the University of Michigan Taubman College where my studies are focused on leveraging design ideas across multiple scales and platforms. Meeting at the intersection between design, tectonics and fabrication, I am continually exploring how a design idea can navigate complex material and production systems and evolve into fully realized architectural artifacts.

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