How to Start Thinking About Your Design Thesis

This Design Thesis is more defined by you rather than your studio masters. You will be going through a similar process that you went on in earlier projects but it will be more difficult, simply because you have to come up with your own topic. Once you sorted out the difficult part of coming up with your topic, together with the brief and site, it would be a lot easier after that. The last time, we had a brief discussion about what your topic proposals were (see previous post). The next time we meet will be in the First Week of the Semester Khas, where you will propose your topics.

Here are some tips on how you should approach this few weeks leading up to the First Week and a few weeks later:

Brainstorm many ideas and include as many topics as you would like. Do not edit anything yet. Remember when Kevin asked Kokyong, “Anymore topics?”, he was not joking. There is nothing wrong in having many topics even up to 10 in numbers. (Even if the studio masters may complain, you don’t have to react to them because that’s how creative you are. It is a good thing…) That’s because you need to brainstorm as much as you can. Don’t try to eliminate ideas too quickly. You should discuss all your ideas in that First Week Crit. (If not enough during presentation, you can continue for desk crit.)  Based on your ideas, you can build on them and see how many different research projects you can identify. Don’t be pre-conceived with your ideas. Be expansive in your thinking as you won’t be able to do this later on. So be creative and not limit yourself at this stage.

Document your ideas. This means draw, sketch and write down your ideas. This will allow you to revisit an idea later on. Or, you can modify and change an idea. You have eight weeks in Semester Khas, but in actual fact you will only have a few weeks in the beginning to explore your ideas and decide on which topic will be the best one. Every topic will have a site and brief. There are projects that emerge (or inspired) from the site first, but often, the topic is either coincidentally found with the site or the topic precede the site.

Do not be influenced at this time by what you feel others expect from you (your colleagues and studio masters). You have a better chance of selecting a topic that will be really of interest to you if it is your topic. This is one chance in your life where you can do a topic of your own choosing.

However, be realistic in setting your goals. This is a learning experience for you even though it is an academic requirement to obtain your B Arch. The design process should be more important than the product, so be resourceful in spending more time on reading and exploration rather than drawing it up, especially in Semester Khas and Semester One.


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