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Master of Architecture Theses 2011 and 2012: Enriching Infrastructure through Cultural and Technological Interventions
Master of Architecture Theses 2011 and 2012: Enriching Infrastructure through Cultural and Technological Interventions

A major component of the Master of Architecture degree at Portland State University is the design thesis, which takes place in the final year of this program. The aim of our design thesis program is not to rest simply in proposing another building. As the culmination of a graduate architectural education, the design thesis is a singular opportunity for an individual to proclaim a position, state a case, articulate what matters and communicate this through the language of architecture. 

Through a combination of rigorous research and creative exploration of a polemical issue framed as a question, our thesis students discover their passion for the contribution architecture can make to the transformation of culture. The response to this question is developed and shared in the form of hand and digital drawings, material studies, scale models, artifacts, and writing, which are presented by the student to a panel of resident and visiting faculty and professionals in an hour-long oral defense. Every student also compiles their thesis research and design process in a professionally printed book. 

Below are selected images taken from outstanding theses from the 2011 and 2012 Master of Architecture class. 

 

Kyle Norman: Standards, Patterns, Performance: Eco-Logic Solutions for Integrated Urban Gardens, 2011

 How can vertical gardens be integrated into eco-districts as an enhancement to under performing street trees, while providing habitat corridors, storm water management and empowering pollinators?

 

Erika Warhus: Literacy on the Light Rail, 2012

This is an investigation into the role that design can play in improving literacy by means of public transit infrastructure. This existing framework can encourage and sustain literacy through casually engaging commuters in a parallel path that is imbued with language, creating moments of learning, expression and shared public experiences.