Thesis Project Topic


Hi everyone,

I'm doing my thesis project this semester, and I've been having trouble narrowing down my topic. I decided I wanted to work with youth employment, since it is one of the biggest problems faced nowadays. And most youths face unemployment because they lack the education and resources needed to find a job. But, most youths don't have the interest for education, hence training them to gain the skills they need to join the work force is a potential solution.

Mar 17, 19 11:48 am
Non Sequitur

how can you solve this with architecture?

Mar 17, 19 12:31 pm

By providing a space for the youth to gain the skills they require. Like a vocational school, maybe.

Mar 17, 19 12:53 pm
Non Sequitur

So, just a box then. Good idea.


Another prime example of how irrelevant architecture school is to professional practice. 

Mar 17, 19 1:06 pm

Okay, thanks for your "help"

Mar 17, 19 1:06 pm
Non Sequitur

There is more help in these replies than in most arch programs. You’re very welcomed.


You're actually right. I'm having a hard time figuring out how to get to fix the problem with architecture. I should probably change the topic.

Non Sequitur

Yes, or rephrase it in a way that can be solved by design.


This sounds like a thesis for a masters in social work, not architecture. 

What does the architecture of an apprenticeship program look like? What could it look like? What urban planning or spatial layouts could communities implement to support local commerce, and associated jobs across skill ranges? These are issues architects can and should investigate.

Mar 17, 19 3:15 pm

The project needs more focus.  A vocational school for construction could be a good way to merge the topic with an architectural solution, or maybe a hands on sublimental architecture program where arch students can build stuff...see taliesin West....Why not create a sort of scaffolding where experimentation can happen within.  Where...Your project is the framework that allows for experimental works within its organizational structure/constraints a microcosm of Manhattanism....the scale can be park-like or even smaller...big-box store like...a series of raised paths and platforms...with the spaces/plots between  being open for small architectural experiments...or something...

Mar 17, 19 3:53 pm

Landscape version...Think of a park that contains a grid of 100 20x20 plots...each plot being a different enclosed garden that people can to public....but experimental and always changing....there is a huge lack of experimental space for us weirdo designers.


This reminds me of the fire research institutes/academies like the one on Governors Island. https://www.reu... 


"I wanted to work with youth employment, since it is one of the biggest problems faced nowadays."

Is it, really?

Mar 18, 19 3:43 am

There seems to be a few misconceptions in your proposed thesis project. In my research one of the biggest barriers to youth employment is a permanent address for job applications and opening a bank account. Not disinterested attitudes. 

The population of at-risk-youth is rising, because some youth do not have a stable living environment for various reasons. I would encourage you to talk to a social worker, visit a youth shelter such as Covenant House and reach out to someone at the Schultz Family Foundation for a more solid thesis proposal.

Mar 18, 19 10:52 pm

and extrapolate

edit: also stop with the sweeping generalizations about the problems of youth. Find the site, learn about your age group of interest, and then you will be able to make decisions and not cast judgements.

Mar 19, 19 9:51 pm

I would suggest thinking about the typical classroom and it’s weaknesses, especially with an increasingly popular “project-based” learning, and how this could incorporate a vocational curriculum. Vocational schools already exist, even at the high school level, so I would push that idea further. Is it something you address with massing or programming? 

I think you’re hung up on the idea of unemployment which is not an problem we can directly address with architectural design, and you are making a huge generalization that youth are unemployed because students are uninterested in education. Maybe the typical classroom is outdated and you can introduce an new type of classroom that is compatible in the internet, smartphones, social media etc - things that didn’t exist 50 years ago.

I think the idea of a “new classroom” has been played out a lot, but maybe you can approach it through vocational schools? Just move away from the unemployment issue, it’s a loaded topic that feels like a stretch when you say you can solve it through architecture.

Mar 19, 19 11:42 pm


Mar 20, 19 5:50 am

I ran into this issue a lot in grad school, and later as a juror for grad studios. In programs that push socially conscious projects / thesis, you can sort the projects into two categories:

1) Projects that use architecture to solve a problem.

2) Projects that use architecture to create a space where other people solve the problem.

Not everyone agrees, but I would argue if your project falls into #2, it's not a valid thesis.

Mar 26, 19 3:27 pm

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