The Master in Architecture thesis at the GSD is the capstone project and the culmination of the MArch experience. The thesis is a synthesis of issues that have preoccupied our students throughout their education, and the focus of a yearlong project of research and design. More importantly, thesis topics have proven to be not the endpoint, but rather a springboard, often foreshadowing a “project” that many of our students will continue to pursue throughout their careers.

In many cases, we see the choice of thesis topics represent the anxieties and aspirations of a class—what Bruno Latour might call “matters of concern.” As such, it is an indicator of a set of generational interests, and a mapping of the contemporary moment. As you will see, the range of topics covered by this year’s class is broad with theses engaging in questions of representation and technique, the legacy of the modern movement, cultural identities, the role of monuments, the historic city, material reuse, and social questions of accessibility and aging.

In the last year, we have continued to teach and design through online sharing platforms like Zoom and Miro. Some of these platforms have afforded us new modes of collaboration as well as different kinds of visibility across the class, the topics being engaged, and the resonance between projects. Through these digital platforms, we were able to see relationships between topics and clusters of shared issues and aspirations. We may continue to learn from and utilize some of these platforms as we come back to in-person education.

The MArch thesis is a way to take the temperature of the age, and as a group, it offers a unique perspective on the contemporary state of architecture, politics, and culture.

Eric Höweler
Thesis Director Department of Architecture