Many architecture students have just wrapped up their final studios and exams, and what an interesting semester it has been. Social distancing has forced the closure of schools, sending design education fleeing from studio halls to online portals like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. The translation—or, indeed, migration—has posed serious questions to inherited models of architectural pedagogy, particularly studio instruction. For instance, can Twitch really reproduce the same social fecundity of the studio? How to get everyone—not least the international students who returned home to different times zones after campuses were locked down—on the same schedule? Did your instructor ever figure out how to unmute themselves on that jury? (Tuition refund, anyone?)
But what of the work itself? Does it betray the stress and volatility that are characteristic of a time disrupted by pandemic? Judge for yourself. Below, we pull together a baker’s dozen of virtual year-end exhibitions.
Carnegie Mellon University School of Architecture
Earlier this month, CMU’s school of architecture launched the “System Reboot?” microsite, which collects thesis projects spanning undergraduate and graduate programs.
Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation
A fixture of the New York architecture scene, GSAPP’s student exhibition makes the jump online with a stirring statement from Dean Amale Andraos, for whom the site represents a “singular moment” in the school’s history. To the broad collection of work on view she ascribes a “deeply empathetic and with a revised global outlook.”
Cooper Union Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture
Like its uptown counterpart, The Cooper Union’s end-of-year show was always a calendar event for the city’s architectural community. On June 17, the school will unveil a virtual edition of this year’s exhibition.
UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design
This so-called “virtual yearbook” foregrounds the 2020 commencement speech, which was delivered by professor Walter J. Hood. You could be forgiven for overlooking the actual student work, which is tucked away in a PDF called Circus.
Harvard Graduate School of Design
GSD’s end-of-year exhibition will make its online transition on May 27, one day before the school’s first-ever virtual commencement. Conceived by the GSD’s digital and exhibitions teams, the web gallery will be viewable in perpetuity.
IIT College of Architecture
There is no replacing Mies van der Rohe’s Crown Hall as a venue. Be that as it may, IIT adapted to the current moment, producing Strata, a virtual open house that offers up a slice of student work across multiple programs and levels.
Pratt Institute School of Architecture
The recently launched Pratt Shows Portfolio Project aims to promote the best student work across the school’s different design degrees, preserving them online indefinitely.
Princeton University School of Architecture
Princeton’s UnBuilding Building is part web gallery, part manifesto. Dedicated to post-professional M.Arch thesis projects, the site makes a case for unburdening architecture of its claims to physical permanence.
As with all things, SCI-Arc adopted a maximalist approach to what can otherwise be a routine affair. A couple of weeks ago, the school broadcast its final studio juries over Twitch (30 streams in all), which can be viewed through May 31. It has also launched a more conventional website for hosting undergraduate thesis projects.
UIC School of Architecture
Earlier this month, UIC kicked off its annual student exhibition with a cocktail hour-cum-variety show, which it aired live on Zoom. For the curious, the feed is preserved on Youtube.
University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning
It’s no surprise that Taubman College, a hotbed of digital thinking and research, would easily make the transition from physical to virtual formats for its annual student show. The site features select work from nine studios, as well as projects from its MSDMT program.
University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design
UPenn’s YES 2020 virtual exhibition plays things straight—no exuberant frills or cross-platform tie-ins. Instead, the tastefully designed site reproduces student work in big, bold images.
Yale School of Architecture
“Year End (of the World)” is a sensational title for what is another tasteful rendition of the cumulative student exhibition. Tip: The site is best experienced visually, so you might want to start with the directory.