Aryan Khalighy

MArch I

Liquid Pedagogy 

Advised by Mohsen Mostafavi

“Liquid Pedagogy” is a critical reflection on pedagogy and the discipline of architecture, which historically is shaped by, but also has shaped, the learning spaces in architecture schools. The thesis is materialized in a design project: a new graduate school of architecture in a dense urban fabric in Baltimore, Maryland. 

Zygmunt Bauman, in Liquid Modernity, characterizes the transformations of today’s global societies from hard modernity to liquid modernity, where we believe there is no certainty and stability in the world, and everything is in constant flux. Consequently, the discipline of architecture is in turmoil. On the one hand, the sheer plurality of design trends fueled by technological developments has contributed to what we call today “disciplinary dilemma.” On the other hand, design pedagogy as an institutional affair is resistant to rapid transformations, and it has lost control. In such circumstances, and in order to gain their agency back, architecture schools need to deinstitutionalize pedagogy. 

The thesis attempts to develop a model for the future of the design pedagogy by proposing a decentralized curriculum as intellectual support, reflected in an open and adaptive architecture. As a critique of the contemporary model of architecture schools as big-box production factories disconnected and isolated from society, the school becomes more amalgamated and connected to the city, offering public resources to Baltimore residents as a part of its deinstitutionalization. “Liquid Pedagogy” is exploring a new model that sponsors the transformation of social relations, where the environment is constantly reinvented through community engagement and the potentials of architectural imagination. 

Blue and brown digital drawing of building exterior

Rendering of a courtyard showing people walking and cycling on the ground level, and walking on a balcony at roof level.
The main question of the thesis is: how can we improve trust between people and architecture school as an institution? A possible answer could be to transcend the school’s boundaries to connect with the broader region, to amalgamate with the existing fabric and to adaptive reuse the existing buildings by binding the life of the school to the local community and everyday life activities in the neighborhood. The school fragments that are woven to the residential fabric, and by dispersal of its functions, the school is merging into the city.

Rendering of a large interior room set up with chairs, tables, and technical equipment.
This image shows an interior setting for small hybrid and collaborative studio space, equipped with video projection that is live streaming the design events in different parts of the world. This connects the local studio to a global network virtually and keeps them up to date with the live feed, just like real-time stock market screens.

Outdoor courtyard scene showing people gathering at tables and doing various recreational activites.
The school spaces are not limited to the interior: the spaces open up to the adjacent urban courtyards to engage with the local community and public events like a parade, or family activities like a barbecue picnic. This image shows the makerspace courtyard, where the craft activities can be extended to the urban courtyard and mixed with outdoor games and sports.

Cutaway section of a five-level structure, showing construction materials.
This is a wall section of an infill fragment, referencing the American construction culture of masonry podium and stacked timber boxes on top. The tectonic language of the project is my interpretation of adhocism or the notion of make-do: Using multiple layers of materials, from solid to light and transparent, shown in this detail of an infill fragment.

Rendering of a facade of a multi-story building with diagonal lines across it’s front and people walking on the sidewalk.
The diagonal stripes on the façade are indexing an architectural drawing convention, projected to mark the school spaces and to unify the old and new. The new additions are trying to fit in on the array of rowhouses by following the common proportions, height, and aperture on the street front, while offering a new approach to materiality and contemporary tectonic culture.