Conceptual Projects and Student Thesis Work

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PLAIN also looks to engage a broad discussion on issues that affect architecture in the midwest. These projects will be selected from pertinent sources (CoA Student Thesis program, publications and speculative work)  that add to the discourse of PLAIN and help shape  themes for further consideration. While these projects are not considered design-build projects per se, they are presented as potential influences for future projects.

These projects are selected from students enrolled ARCH 613 / 614: Design Thesis, student research work for DR studio ARCH 510/610 511/611 and academic research and speculative projects by, or advised by Associate Professor Jason Griffiths.




Psychology and Architectural Ruins




Zebulun Lund April 4th, 2016



I on the Streets – MAS Context  (pub pending)

Jason Griffiths


“I on the Streets” documents every windowless street façade in Lincoln Nebraska. It is the antithesis to Jane Jacobs’ maxim on inclusive and socially coherent urbanism and on first sight an abject architecture in its most characterless form.

However the anonymity of a sightless facade defers to a minority of architectural photographers who reveal something more problematic about the relationship between photography and architectural character. Despite its better intentions the notion of objective photography is quite often and quite quickly subsumed by a more broad cultural commentary (William Garnett/construction science, Bernd & Hilla Becher / postindustrial typologies and so on) that leads to refined aesthetic informant of architectural design. This appreciation lies in an inadvertent allure of the solitary spaces and the sublime pleasure of “ordinary” environments.


In truth so much significant architecture draws upon this allure (MVRDV / Andreas Gursky, Venturi/ Ed Ruscha, Caruso St John/Demand, John Hejduk / Bernd & Hilla Becher, Diller Scofidio / Joel Sternfeld and so on). However this contemplation and aesthetic consideration is only possible from a position of extreme anonymity. The kind of anonymity that allows the photographer to work unobserved (in this case by windowless facades) in an environment that would be unavailable in the socially vibrant urbanism of “Eyes on the Street”.


Naturally great architecture must be socially coherent but its breadth is equally inclusive of an ambiguous relationship to objectivity and perhaps the more problematic allure of characterless “ordinary” architecture.