Classes are finished, and while there is still plenty of grading to do, going through the piles of student work has me thinking over the frankly incredible exploratory opportunities this first semester at the Barnard + Columbia undergraduate architecture department has afforded me. Case in point are the projects in the photo above, which stretch across 125th Street but are sited/situated somewhere in the intersection of relational aesthetics and relational databases. All three of my courses (design studio, special topics seminar, and a GIS methods course) have been chock full of student interests and expertise I could not have anticipated, the kind of interdisciplinary and lateral questioning that really only happens in a liberal arts context, the sort of discussion that keeps me on my toes and allows us to engage how the discipline of architecture reaches into and calls upon the work in so many other fields, from math and the hard sciences to history and anthropology, to an extent not normally pragmatic in professional schools. When it comes to interdisciplinary teaching, I realize I have a bit of an unfair advantage in architecture: the methods (of inquiry, representation, and intervention) are architectural and spatial; but everything that happens happens somewhere, so the topics and questions can come from anywhere. In a nutshell, working through the grading has compiled all of the curiosity into a sort of diverse density too great to not reflect upon for a moment.
In other news, this fall has brought about new (surprise?!) interdisciplinary and collaborative research as well as a couple new professional opportunities, which will kick in with the new year and a slightly lighter spring course load. Onward.