PLAN 90: Article
Building Discourse

An Exhibit of Nearly Fifty Projects by Architecture Faculty

A collection of nearly fifty faculty members’ research and design projects were on display in SA+P’s Wolk Gallery this winter, bringing into full view the extraordinary range of work that contributes to the ongoing discourse in the architecture department.

On view from February 5th - April 17, Building Discourse presented the work of faculty in all five discipline groups – Architectural Design; Art, Culture and Technology; History, Theory and Criticism; Building Technology; and Computation – each professor represented by just one project.  The exhibit featured a remarkably diverse collection of artifacts including books, pamphlets, models, objects, drawings, diagrams and photographs. 

The design work ranged from a museum in Helsinki and a ferry terminal in New York to a cultural center in Taichung and homes in France and Falmouth, Maine.

Research into programmable materials and cured surface inflatables shared space with studies on the future of the library, urban resource consumption in Africa and efforts to improve thermal performance of buildings in slum development.

The exhibit featured studies of architecture and civil society in Cuba, and the role of migrant workers as transmitters of cultural influences, alongside studies of the urban heat island effect in cities around the world, the work of Uruguayan structural innovator Eladio Dieste and geographies of trash.

New developments included a computational tool for architectural design, evacuation systems for Haiti and even a new approach to monographs featuring comic book narrative and traditional Chinese brush drawing.

Building Discourse was curated by Associate Professor William O’Brien Jr.; John David Todd and Karine Szekeres, designers at O’Brien’s firm WOJR: Organization for Architecture; and Irina Chernyakova, Director of Publications and Exhibitions for the department.  Fabrication and Installation was done by rukamathu.smith with Amanda Lee and Peter Durrant; and Christopher Dewart, MIT Architecture Shops.

Special thanks went to J. Meejin Yoon, Head of the Department of Architecture; Gary Van Zante, Curator, and Ulrike Heine, Curatorial Assistant, Architecture and Design at the MIT Museum; Jim Harrington, SA+P Facilities Manager; Justin Lavallee, Director, and Christopher Dewart, Manager, MIT Architecture Shops; Duncan Kincaid and the CRON Staff; Nicole Ashurian and Ching Ying Ngan, MIT Architecture.