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Speculative Practice in Architectural Education

Architecture is the quintessential generalist pursuit, requiring practical knowledge of geometry, technology, politics, history, culture, and economics, as well as an understanding how these disparate pieces fit together within the context of architectural practice. In short, an architect’s expertise lies in big picture constructs, or totalization.

The latest in the Architecture at Rice series, Totalization shows the Rice School of Architecture’s Totalization Studios at the forefront of teaching students to leverage the breadth of architectural practice toward in-depth speculative design work. Can a building’s exterior be made of plastic? What is the twenty-first-century equivalent of the nineteenth-century steel frame? Can taking parts from a building for use elsewhere extend the building’s useful life? Exploring these and other questions in cooperation with four studios—three in Houston, one in Paris—the work collected here challenges conventions around structures; facades; materials; and the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing aspects of building design and construction. The ultimate aim of the Totalization Studios is to eliminate the distinction between speculation and practice in students’ final projects.

The Totalization Studios represents one of the most innovative and robust architectural programs—a source of inspiration for many other programs worldwide—and the book offers welcome insights into its teaching methods through featured projects complemented by essays, conversations with faculty members, and copious illustrations.

364 pages | 240 color plates, 80 halftones | 6 1/2 x 9 1/2 | © 2018

Architecture at Rice


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