During this past year, architecture programs across the United States adopted a wide variety of approaches toward design education in the time of a pandemic. While some universities pushed forward with in-person learning, others pursued hybrid or fully online models. No matter the specific context, this year’s architecture students experienced significant shifts towards the virtual sphere in studios, lectures, and seminar courses. Year-end exhibitions of student work, a staple of most architecture schools in any given academic year, were not exempt from such changes. As at the end of the last academic year, a number of American architecture programs hosted their student showcases online, engaging in a variety of approaches to the new format that reflect the diversity of their students’ ideas. Here are a few examples from across the country:
California College of the Arts
The California College of the Arts has assembled another wide-ranging showcase of work from graduating students in its architecture, design, fine arts, and humanities + sciences divisions. Featuring a total of 265 students, the showcase includes brief bios and extensive imagery from each participant.
Carnegie Mellon University School of Architecture
Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Architecture is once again turning to its dedicated website for virtual thesis displays. Titled Both/And, this year’s exhibition is organized along a series of themes including “Culture and Identity,” “Ecology and Sustainability,” and “Space and Tectonics.”
Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation
Columbia GSAPP’s 2021 End of Year Show (EOYS) displays work from each of the M.Arch program’s core studios, as well as projects from a variety of programs across the school. There are also dedicated pages for the accomplishments of student groups and the large-scale floating pavilion installed behind Avery Hall earlier this year.
Cooper Union Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture
For the second year in a row, the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at New York’s Cooper Union is hosting its End of Year Show (EOYS) online. The exhibition includes a spectrum of student work, from group coursework to studio and thesis projects. Until early June, the virtual show was accompanied by an in-person window display at the school’s iconic Foundation Building.
Harvard Graduate School of Design
The GSD’s second consecutive Virtual Commencement Exhibition will be on view on the school’s website through August 1, 2021. The gallery of digital images displays work from this year’s graduating students across all of the school’s programs, including landscape architecture, urban planning, architecture, and design engineering, among others.
Pratt Institute School of Architecture
Pratt’s relatively new student showcase website, titled Pratt Shows, is hosting the school’s portfolio exhibition again this year. The website includes work from both the architecture school and degree programs in art, design, information, and liberal arts.
Princeton University School of Architecture
This year, Princeton’s post-professional Master of Architecture program organized Strange Bedfellows, an exhibition of thesis work from across the small program. Each featured student adopts a distinct approach to the virtual display, ranging from videography to images of digital models to independent websites.
Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)
RISD’s second consecutive virtual thesis exhibition showcases work from graduate students across its wide variety of art- and design-related degree programs, including architecture. The elaborate website for the show includes work by over 200 students, as well as links to personal websites and social media. There is an accompanying in-person gallery exhibition that is limited to students, faculty, and staff from RISD’s COVID-19 testing pool.
SCI-Arc put on another experimental virtual student show this year, curated by faculty members Natou Fall and Zeina Koreitem. Titled MAKING A SCENE, the exhibition uses videos and ambient soundscapes to recreate SCI-Arc’s physical environment. The public film screening took place on May 22, though archival footage can still be viewed on the show’s webpage.
The School of Architecture
The School of Architecture (TSOA, formerly the Frank Lloyd Wright-founded School of Architecture at Taliesin) has assembled an experimental archive of thesis projects in an online game environment. The browser-accessible space features a soundscape and visuals inspired by the school’s new location at Paolo Soleri’s Arcosanti. While TSOA’s campus in Arizona hosted a physical display of the projects, final reviews and the full end-of-year show took place in the virtual space.
Tulane School of Architecture
After a year of hybrid online instruction, the School of Architecture at Tulane University in New Orleans is hosting a thesis exhibition in the virtual sphere. Using a 3D scan of the exhibition space in Tulane’s Richardson Memorial Hall, the school assembled 27 thesis projects on individual presentation boards. Visitors can either navigate through the dimensionally accurate space using simple keyboard commands or watch a YouTube video that glides through the space and highlights selected projects.
UIC School of Architecture
The University of Illinois at Chicago is staging another online exhibition, which consists of two Miro pages from this year’s final reviews–one for graduate students and one for undergraduate students. Visitors can pan around the virtual whiteboard app independently, zooming in on individual images and accompanying texts.
University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning
The Taubman School of Architecture and Urban Planning is holding another virtual student exhibition this year, featuring a plethora of highly detailed projects from students in various architecture and urban design studios. Both introductory and advanced courses are shown in the exhibition, with each project including both text descriptions and imagery.
University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design
The Stuart Weitzman School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania moved its Year End Show online once again this year, with final projects from the architecture, landscape architecture, fine arts, historic preservation, urban spatial analytics, and planning programs all on display. Highlighting the work that graduating students completed during a year of virtual school, the show includes biographical information for each.
USC School of Architecture
The School of Architecture at the University of Southern California is showcasing student work from Spring 2020 through Spring 2021 on its website. The Spring 2021 gallery includes both undergraduate and graduate final projects, as well as a dedicated page for work completed by the Class of 2021. Each dedicated project display includes both imagery and brief text descriptions mirroring how student shows might be assembled in real space.
Washington University in St. Louis, Sam Fox School of Design
The Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis is hosting a virtual exhibition of both graduate and undergraduate work. The 2021 Year End Show (Y.E.S.) includes single presentation boards for each featured student, most of which contain multiple images or short descriptions.
Yale School of Architecture
The Yale School of Architecture’s end-of-year exhibition, TOGETHER, includes work by several of the school’s graduating students. In addition to descriptive imagery of their projects, each participant was also able to submit a brief parting statement, some of which are displayed alongside the work.