/Critical Practice 
/CoAD
Purva Chawla
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About Critical Practice

The Critical Practice Studio is a charrette-style studio that balances between generative creative work, workshop instruction, and intensive feedback sessions. The course stresses critical thinking, research application, and alternative practice models. Tasks and assignments are focused on understanding design responses in regards to depth of information retrieval, evidence of intimate understanding and rigorous application of research, and the exploration for alternatives.

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In addition to the design instruction, the studio is focused on developing each individual student’s ability to work in a complex professional team. Students research, generate, and represent design ideas in a collaborative team format and work process, reflective of contemporary studio practice in the design professions. In contrast to individual work, collaboration via team-based work is pursued in Critical Practice as a cooperative learning environment. This is reflective of the practice of architecture — a team-driven profession wherein the ability to learn how to work in a team environment is considered an essential tool for anyone in the profession.

CAD (computer-aided design) and CAM (computer-aided manufacturing) technologies are also transforming traditional professional boundaries and forcing architects to reconsider their roles in the construction industry. Traditionally architects design, and then the design is translated for others to build. In a post-Fordist, 4th Industrial Revolution paradigm these translations can be carried out by people, machines, or robots. File-to-factory stands to undermine the need for construction documents (the largest labor category in the design process). Given these tools, Critical Practice asks students to consider the role of architectural speculation when the gap between conception and physical translation becomes instantaneous — given a ile-to-factory potential. Critical Practice explores what the architecture profession stands to win and lose given this operational framework.

The studio culminates in an inhabitable, exterior structure in the CoAD courtyard, which is built by participating students in one week. These ambitious circumstances of scale, logistics, and labor pressurize the studio interests and kept the focus. The studio explores design and construction while not suffering the fate of design-build studios that conclude with pointing to a thing and saying simply, “There it is.” Instead, the requirement of the built work of the studio is to be discursive, projective, and exist as a proof of concept, suggestive of other opportunities that are broader than the specific, applicable circumstances of the CritPrax Pavilion.

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Faculty

Karl Daubmann, Dean and Professor
Scott Shall, Associate Dean and Associate Professor
Jim Stevens, Chair and Associate Professor
Kristen Smith, Adjunct Faculty, Architecture

Students

Mai Abdel Khaliq
Riham Alsarout
Jo Alter
Danielle Bohannon
Christopher Boucher
Andrew Donlin
Cara Folkert
Christopher Garcia
Roberto Gonzalez
Arthur Harris
Steven Holub
Rawan Ita
Leah Klynstra
Fiorela Lesaj
Sam Luong
Richard Lupas
Rena Makki
Adriana Mantke
Anthony Marrocco
David McGrath
Maciej Michalak
Mylene Noel
Lauren Pedigo
Austin Pelfrey
Bobby Penn
Matthew Pierzchala
Priscilla Pliml
Brenna Quinn
Jason Robinson
Leah Scabilloni
Trent Schmitz
Paul Schreiber
Alec Seaman
Sophia Simone
Ellexis Szymoniak
Kayla Tear
Matthew Unternahrer
Brian Velocci
Liliana Welliver
Christopher Westerlund
Matthew Zix

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