Activating Architecture

Plagued by fear, anger and a widespread empathy deficit, our cultural and political climate thrives on exploiting, rather than exploring, our perceived differences. This exploitation yields fierce opposition worsened by a digital landscape defined by impulse and shame. With difference comes distance. Nothing, no one, feels safe.

In the Activating Architecture workshop, students investigate architecture’s opportunity to reclaim authentic human exchange through the disruption of division. By imagining spaces and places that bridge seemingly divergent communities – criminals and noncriminals, citizens and immigrants, whites and blacks, conservatives and liberals, transgenders and cisgenders – students are given the opportunity to activate architecture anchored in collective purpose while dismissing the distance that accompanies difference

Using the framework of a Kickstarter campaign, students (whether individually or in teams of two) create a toolkit outlining an architectural idea that fosters authentic human exchange amongst seemingly divergent communities. The aim is to situate each project within the context of a Kickstarter platform in order to secure proof-of-concept funding, which would, in turn, mobilize the project into reality.

ARCH 5110: Architecture as Catalyst. Co-taught with Emily Hunt Turner and Roslynn Pedracine. Graduate design workshop (1 credit). University of Minnesota School of Architecture.