AN AGENDA FOR BCS

As a newcomer faculty to Texas in the Fall of 2018, I decided to dedicate most of my architecture studios—junior, senior, and graduate, to learn about the cities of Bryan and College Station (BCS), their logic, motivations, and potential pitfalls. These studios were a new endeavor to many. The thinking of architecture as a cultural product in dialogue with territorial complexities has been the driving force to these research-based studios. We carefully considered, investigated, pondered, and visualized the multiplicity of factors that we understood are shaping the cities. We did this primarily through mapping. There are tens of information and analysis maps made through publicly available data. In addition, we proposed a series of urban scale projects in dialogue with those findings. An Agenda for BCS is a digital book that documents that effort to expand the scope and possibilities for how we imagine this territory.

Digital Book with tens of maps and 20 projects shaping the agenda can be found at BCSAGENDA

QUESTIONS FOR DOWNTOWN BRYAN, TX

QUESTIONS FOR DOWNTOWN BRYAN, TX is a collaboration with MILM2 long-standing Proyecto Pregunta (or Question Project) for their latest book of urgent questions. For this occasion I asked WHAT HISTORY MEETS COMMUNITY? in response to the city’s revitalization slogan Where history meets community; and WHY THE CITY IS STILL SEGREGATED? to acknowledge the historical and continuing divide of the “historic” downtown with the African American communities in the North portion of also “historical” part of town. Project in collaboration with Tyrene Calvesbert.

BRIDGING THE BINATIONAL CITIES OF LAREDO AND NUEVO LAREDO

ARCHITECTURE MATTERS: BRIDGING THE BI-NATIONAL CITIES OF LAREDO AND NUEVO LAREDO 

The studio explores questions of political boundaries and their spatial implications in the bi-national cities of Laredo (US) and Nuevo Laredo (MX). The studio research and considers the existing conditions as they relate to questions of ecology, trade, migration, culture, among others. The last few weeks students were asked to propose strategies as a design response, this is, how to construct forms of engagement with the sites and questions—at regional, urban or small scale design interventions. More than fully resolved projects, the studio focuses on conceptualizing the responses and the beginning of their strategies as projects. 

Research by Jacob Leavengood.

Studio highlights by Jacob Leavengood, John Willis, and Karla Padilla.

TEXAS MINI POLEIS

Everything is bigger in Texas, or not. The saying indeed reflect the vast geography of its political boundaries, yet its territory—like many others in the country’s extension, is also comprised of much smaller groupings that reflect other forms of assembly. Some of these groupings are, even in Texas, significantly small, or mini. TEXAS MINI-POLEIS is a fourth year undergraduate research-and-design architecture studio investigating Texas’ five smallest-population yet fully-incorporated cities. Although these groupings are formalized under legal statutes and incorporated as cities, their formulations reveal—and this is one of the main interests for this project, the motivations to assemble a political territory and boundaries and their spatial and formal outputs. In an effort to reconsider the heavily studied and complex web of cities and dense urban scenarios, this studio aims to examine some of those definitions on locations that easily escape their common understanding, yet are defined by the same legal protocols and politics. The studio was compiled and transformed into a 430 pages book.

Studio members: Ashley Baughman, Bryson Bounds, Daniel Eynon, Carolina Fernandez, Mitzy González, Christopher Loofs, Stephanie Maddamma, Jordan Marshall, Samantha Offutt and Maclane Regan.

ARCHITECTURE META-MATTERS

ARCHITECTURE META-MATTER(S) is a first year M.Arch studio focusing on introducing why architecture matters and what is the matter of architecture. As an initial course in the graduate program, the course will look at multi-scalar conditions and will find the role, opportunity, and limits of architecture. ARCHITECTURE META-MATTER(S) will research the territorial conditions in our immediate context of Bryan and College Station, TX including technology, bodies, and natural/built environments, to help find clues to reimagine our living environment. The analysis of mobility, communications, energy, ecology and built-objects will set the framework for the proposal of a new meta-matter for architecture. The design projects will be based out of a dialogue with the findings and will be developed as the design of systems, as ENVIRONMENT-EXTENSIONS.  

John Scott - Resourceful Waste

John Scott, Resourceful Waste

Resourceful Waste engages with productive, wasteful and educational landscapes by appropriating a capped landfill. The project proposes transforming it to a farming space and educational facility benefitting from the landscape gases to produce energy, virtual reality experience to be immersed in the waste-to-produce transformation, and would serve as beacon on the newest suburban extension.

Britteny Martinez - Hard Edge Ecology

Brittany Martinez, Hard Edge Ecology

Hard Edge Ecology rethinks the regional scale with ecology-centered design. The projects proposes a closed greenbelt around the existing build structures in the cities of Bryan/College Station, and also creates a mediating park/green reserve inside the city limits; an oval bridge-structure mediates the experience of been close-to but not in-nature. 

Sugey Zavala - Circular Infrastructure

Sugey Zavala, Circular Infrastructure

Circular Infrastructure proposes a contained environment creating the space for a resource-based ecology minded project. The project first design a natural wetlands strategy for the creeks flooding and defines its perimeter with housing and terraced support programming.

I WOULD RATHER BE___________ DREAMING SUMMER DESIRES

I WOULD RATHER BE                          DREAMING SUMMER DESIRES (DSD) is a project about collective imagination in a context of social and spatial dispersion. DSD departs from the premise that the city of College Station TX, is a clear evidence of the abstracted territories produced by local economies and global  exploitative finance. DSD understands that bodies–humans have a subjugated role in the formal and spatial configuration of the city, designed primarily as a network of systems intending to sustain economies of extraction, profit, and multi-scale infrastructures. DSD see the city as an apparatus for dispersion, physical, social, and economic dispersion. Intensive 5-week Summer Studio taught in collaboration with Tyrene Calvesbert.

compressed axon updated Keira Sammi

Keira Elkins and Sami Simmons

EXPLODED AXON Erica Shelby

Erika Barrios and Shelby Roach

INFRASTRUCTURE, THE COMMONS AND THE RIGHT TO THE CITY

A continuation of Public Assemblies and Infrastructures from the Fall 2018, INFRASTRUCTURES, THE COMMONS, AND THE RIGHT TO THE CITY is a third year architecture studio (Spring 2019) that will consider what, how and by whom are the collective title shaped Bryan, Texas, and how their identification and critical analysis can inform the production of a program and a project for architecture in the form of a (public) infrastructure, building, public space, or a public assembly. The studio will have a strong research agenda investigating subjects, communities, legal frameworks, technology, and contemporary forms of defining the infrastructure and the commons that are informed by or resist the neoliberal logic of economical performance metrics.

Jordan Chris FINAL POSTER

Christopher Loofs and Jordan Marshall

Mitzy Poster_Final

Mitzy  González

PUBLIC ASSEMBLIES AND INFRASTRUCTURES

PUBLIC(S) ASSEMBLIES AND INFRASTRUCTURES is a third year architecture studio (Fall 2018) that will consider what and who constitutes the publics (in plural) of the cities of College Station and Bryan, in Texas, and how their identification and critical analysis can inform the production of a program and a project for architecture in the form of a public infrastructure or a public assembly. The studio will have a strong research agenda investigating subjects, communities, legal frameworks, technology, and contemporary forms of work and leisure that are informed by or resist the neoliberal logic of economical performance metrics.

Finn_Final Poster lo res

Finn Rotana

Final Presentation_Maclane Lo-Res

Maclane Regan

SUBJECT

SUBJECT, 2019 

Commercial exhibition banner, printed (36 x 168 in.)

SUBJECT appeals to the use of language as a form of engagement, communication, and instruction. It also inquires, by been not-prescriptive but open-ended, text and word’s capacity to communicate apparent ideas or ideologies in the visual and psychological dialogue with the body that is confronted with it. Out of any context except this gallery, the SUBJECT banner relies on the observer-its body, for it to be read, interpreted, and contextualized. Confronted with a vast blankness and simple traces of existing objects, the work push us to fill the voids with our own subjectivity, or subjection, making the participant, the subject, the main actor.

This art-work project elaborates on my research on the intersection of visual imaginaries associated with architectural elements and biopolitics. It was conceived for Texas A&M’s College of Architecture Faculty Biennial in the Stark Galleries of the MSC building. The banner, by replicating the ones naming the university core values in the building’s entrance hall, aims to create and active dialogue with all engaging bodies by interrogating who is the subject-person, subject-matter, subject-subjected to words and language in the context of an academic institution and the active production of knowledge. 

 

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