New Option 3 Graduate Program: Present Future

 

The Rice School of Architecture announces an intensive new, three-semester research-based program of advanced architectural studies: PRESENT FUTURE. The program’s aim is to re-conceptualize the role of the architect from within the network of relations that engulfs us today. We are interested in how the architect constructs new possibilities from never before seen political, economic and cultural reverberations — by shaping new institutions and publics, by forming new cities and buildings, and by asserting new ambitions and optimisms. PRESENT FUTURE is a forum through which we can rethink the nature of the architect’s social contract.


PRESENT FUTURE is a concentrated undertaking culminating in a Master of Arts in Architecture degree. The program is structured around a three-semester-long exploration of a topic led by a Rice School of Architecture faculty member. A select group of students forms the core: a collective intelligence responsible for developing a discourse that synthesizes theoretical, historical, and design ambitions. Subjects will be of contemporary importance and will be framed by a pro-seminar the first term, collective thesis in the second term, and documentation/exhibition in the third term. In addition to free electives, each semester will include additional required credits that are appropriate to the selected topic. The program’s student body will include those with backgrounds in architecture as well as other fields: individuals with B.A., B.S., equivalent, or more advanced degrees in architecture or other disciplines are invited to apply. Coursework will include offerings from the School of Architecture and other departments across Rice University.


PRESENT FUTURE is decidedly proposition-oriented. To that end, each three-semester sequence will culminate in a book, exhibition, or symposium. The program is intended to be at once intensely internal and enthusiastically extroverted. PRESENT FUTURE is equal parts education, research, think tank, and soapbox. From urbanization, to media, globalization, the environment, technology, demographics, to name just a few of the issues that press in on us as never before, architecture can, and will, play a role in the most urgent questions facing us today. PRESENT FUTURE’s intentions are not innocent: our aim is to conduct expeditions into the shimmering possibilities that fill the now with the expectation of catalyzing a better next

 

PresentFuture-Dip

Photos by Stefan Bleihauer

WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR THE PROGRAM?

The new program is “post-graduate” as well as “post-professional.” The RSA does not require a professional (B.Arch.) design degree to enroll in the program, though those with a B.Arch. are welcome to apply, as well as students with a B.A., B.S., and their equivalents. 

 

HOW LONG IS THE PROGRAM?

This program spans three semesters.

 

WHAT DEGREE WILL I RECEIVE AFTER PROGRAM COMPLETION?

A nonprofessional degree of Master of Arts in Architecture. 

 

HOW IS THE PROGRAM FORMATTED?

The program is not based on a fixed or overarching architectural or urban issue, agenda or “stream;” nor will it be a platform for independent student work. In place of these more common formats, we propose a continually shifting curriculum that changes with each entering cohort. More like a year-long symposium than a traditional curriculum, the new program is topic based. New topics will be announced each year and advertised in advance of the admissions season.

 

WHAT KIND OF CLASSES WILL I TAKE?

The curriculum of the new program has a core component of one course per semester that is required for the students in the program. This required course will be taught by the program director. It will be a seminar course the first semester and a studio course the second and third semesters. All other courses will be electives chosen under the advisement of the program director. The majority of these will come from School of Architecture offerings, with the remaining from the university at large.

 

WITH WHOM WILL I BE WORKING?

For each entering cohort, a unique curriculum will be defined by a rotating faculty member. This faculty member will be assigned to mentor each cohort of students for the three semester duration of the program. The class will work collectively on the deliverable, but each student will have an individualized schedule of classes.

 

WHAT IS MY EXPECTED OUTPUT/THESIS?

Each cohort will have an explicit deliverable in the form of a book, exhibition, website, or any combination of the three as defined by the topic. 

 

I'M IN! HOW DO I APPLY?

To apply for Fall 2017 of Present Future, please visit the Graduate Admission page.