Fifth-Year Thesis Process 2017-18

IN THIS SECTION

Fifth-Year Design Studio Application Process

  1. Meeting the Requirements
  2. Statement of Purpose
  3. Faculty Studio Prospecti
  4. Studio Preference Form

Fifth-Year Architectural Design Program
Thesis Project Guidelines
Final Fifth-Year Studio Placement Procedures
Questions

Fifth-Year Design Studio Application Process

The fifth-year thesis design studio application process is composed of four elements:

1. Meeting the Requirements

The requirements for entering fifth-year design are:

  1. Submission of the Studio Preference Form and Graphic Statement of Purpose as described below
  2. Meeting all Fifth-Year Prerequisites found in the Advising Policy web page

2. Statement of Purpose

  1. Must be received by Monday, July 31, 2017 at 5:00 PM Pacific Daylight Time
  2. A PDF file must be submitted. The PDF should be formatted to 8.5" x 11" (either vertical or horizontal orientation), 20 page maximum, 5MB maximum (total).
  3. Please name your PDF file as follows: lastname_firstname_statementofpurpose.pdf
  4. Submit PDF file to: Upload your PDF to the PolyLearn Site: ARCH 5th Year Portfolios. This PolyLearn Site will be available for uploads beginning Wednesday, June 28, 2017.
  5. Questions about the submission process should be directed to the Architecture Department: architecture@calpoly.edu

Please give your Statement of Purpose careful consideration and provide:

  • Information about your experience of the last 3 years (prior studios taken, work, travel, other relevant experiences, etc.)
  • Graphic samples of your design work from prior studios is required. You may choose which projects to show, but the sampling must include at least one complete fourth-year project. In addition, you may show collaborative projects, but you must include a description of your role in the project, as well as the names of the other collaborators. Images of collaborative projects must include credit for the authors of those images.
  • Your fifth-year goals and objectives. This may include ideas for your thesis project, areas of research you wish to pursue, methods of working you plan to undertake, and a discussion of the types of educational experiences you desire during your fifth-year.
  • List any minors or joint degree programs you will be attempting
  • Current photo of yourself
  • Your immediate professional goals upon graduation
  • Other graphics or support materials you deem relevant

While you may discuss thesis interests, please do not specify a particular instructor or particular studio preference in the Statement of Purpose.

This Statement of Purpose is strongly considered by the fifth-year faculty during their placement of entering fifth-year students into their respective studios. This process is intended to ensure the best possible fit between the stated thesis goals and educational objectives of each entering fifth-year student and the focus, goals, and objectives of the studios being offered. It is therefore very important that the Statement of Purpose clearly demonstrate your personal educational goals and objectives for fifth-year, and also provide a taste of who you are as an architecture student and the work that you have done.

3. Fifth-Year Studio Prospecti

The fifth-year faculty offer a range of thesis studio options, each with a unique area of focus. This range of studio options is meant to offer a variety of environments within which students can explore a broad spectrum of architectural thesis projects according to their respective goals and interests. In order to describe the unique focus of the various thesis design studios, each studio instructor has prepared a studio prospectus. These prospecti are descriptions of each instructor’s fifth-year studio, its area of focus, and the types of educational experiences it will offer. Please use them to make informed decisions about your fifth-year studio preferences in accordance with your own professional and educational goals. Please read all of the material and study it carefully. If you are on campus during the academic year then please feel free to visit the studios, talk with the current fifth-year students, and review their work. In addition, please do not hesitate to contact fifth-year instructors and discuss any questions you may have about their studios, their objectives, or your ideas for your thesis project.

The updated Fifth-Year Studio Prospecti for 2017-2018 will be posted on the Architecture website Wednesday, August 2, 2017, prior to the due date for the Studio Preference Form.

4. Studio Preference Form

Studio Preference Form due Friday, August 11, 2017 at 5:00 PM Pacific Daylight Time

Once you have reviewed the studio prospecti and determined a studio ranking that reflects their relative fit with your thesis goals, please complete the Thesis Studio Preference Form and submit it electronically. 

The Studio Preference Form will ask you to rank the fifth-year studios in order of preference. It will also ask you to provide a written statement explaining the rationale behind your preferences.

Both your ranking and your rationale will be taken into consideration by the fifth-year faculty in order to place you into the studio that aligns with your stated goals and interests. However, please be advised that there are many factors that need to be considered with respect to studio placement, and thus there is no guarantee that your ultimate studio placement will align with your stated preference.

Fifth-Year Architectural Design Program

The Fifth-Year Design Program consists of Arch 481 Senior Architectural Design Project (5 units) that is taken during Fall, Winter and Spring quarters and Arch 492 Senior Design Thesis (3 units) that is taken during Fall quarter.

The Architecture Department recognizes the difficulty of attempting to predict the future of a rapidly changing profession in a rapidly changing society. In addition, it acknowledges the need for architecture to continually reflect upon its current ideas and modes of practice, and to develop new ideas and directions in accordance with ongoing social, cultural, and technological developments. The Department does not, therefore, promote any single idea about the discipline, any idiosyncratic design method, nor a single design “style.” Instead, it seeks to nurture the development of future leaders of the architectural profession by fostering the development of a plurality of new ideas about the future of the architectural discipline, as well as new approaches and techniques by which to realize that future. The fifth-year thesis therefore combines a critical assessment of architecture’s current values and practices, a proposition for a valuable new idea or direction for architecture, research of existing discourse and precedents in support of this idea, and a demonstration of the value of this idea in the form of a thesis design project. It is a form of architectural inquiry and production that differs from previous design studios in its expectation that the resulting design project embody a critical position about the architectural discipline itself. As such, it is structured to be both a reflective culmination of an initial period of study of the architectural discipline as well as the beginning of a consequential future within the architectural profession. The diversity of design and research pursued during the fifth-year thesis is united by the requirement that each thesis project demonstrate the integration of architectural theory, principles, and practice with creative, organizational and technical abilities in architectural design and design research.

The architectural design studios described in the Fifth-Year Studio Prospecti represent not one but several attitudes toward design and architectural practice. They challenge you to consider:

  • a review of your academic experience to date and speculation about the direction of your academic and professional future
  • an understanding of differences in approach to architectural design, focus of subject matter and instructional methods represented by the studios offered
  • the choice and selection of a studio for one year of rigorous and disciplined architectural study 
  • developing your professional sense of judgment and values in architecture

The fifth-year thesis studios offer quality, rigor, and relevance to the architectural profession across a range of academic and/or professional content. The goal of each is to help you, both professionally and personally, adapt to and work successfully within the discipline of architecture.

Thesis Project Guidelines

Specific and detailed project guidelines and objectives may differ according to the specific focus of each thesis design studio.  These guidelines and objectives are specified in the Faculty Studio Prospecti provided for each fifth-year design studio, and in the course syllabi issued at the beginning of the Fall quarter by each instructor. 

In general the fifth-year architectural thesis project should:

  • Offer a clearly written and graphically illustrated thesis position that critically addresses the current practices and/or future opportunities of the architectural discipline, and which is based on the thorough research and analysis of relevant architectural theories, case studies, precedents, aesthetic assumptions and/or real world scenarios
  • Demonstrate the consequences of this thesis position in the form of a thesis design project
  • Demonstrate a scope and level of complexity consistent with a capstone course, as well as a range of design solution alternatives and opportunities
  • Demonstrate design skill from concept origination through design development levels as interpreted by the studio instructors
  • Consider site and contextual issues and potentials such as landscape and land use, urban form and dynamics, socio-political conditions, legal constraints, regional character, and historic or cultural value
  • Consider patterns of human activity, user and client needs, and user expectations
  • Consider global climatic and local micro-climatic conditions, as well as structural and material necessity

Fifth-Year Studio Placement Procedures

Completion and submission of your Fifth-Year Studio Preference Form and Graphic Statement of Purpose as specified as well as meeting Fifth-Year Prerequisites is required for admission to fifth-year and placement in a fifth-year design studio. If your Studio Preference Form and Graphic Statement of Purpose are not submitted, not complete or not on time, you will be assigned the lowest priority. This means that you may not be placed in a fifth-year studio unless there is space available.

The fifth-year faculty will convene in the month of September in order to review all submissions and to place entering students into their respective fifth-year design studios. The assignment of students to their respective design studios is intended to ensure the best overall possible fit between the stated thesis goals and educational objectives of all entering fifth-year students and the focus, goals, and objectives of the studios being offered.

Accordingly, design studio placement is based on a combination of the following factors:

  • Consideration of each student’s preference
  • The compatibility of each student’s educational preparation and declared objectives with the focus, goals and objectives of the studio, as judged by the fifth-year faculty
  • Even enrollment across the studios

Every effort will be made to provide students with their higher preference, but this cannot be guaranteed.

Placement Notification

Students will be notified by Cal Poly email of their final fifth-year studio assignments as soon as placements are completed along with the instructions on how to register for their Fifth-Year Thesis and Design Project course. Once notified of your studio assignment, you are encouraged to contact your fifth-year instructor to discuss ideas for your thesis proposal and preparations that would be helpful prior to Fall Quarter.

Questions

Questions about the application process or dates should be addressed to architecture@calpoly.edu.

Questions on other aspects of fifth year design are welcome and should be addressed to:

Associate Professor Doug Jackson, Fifth-Year Design Coordinator
E-mail: dojackso@calpoly.edu


Updated 06.27.17

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