Four Architecture Graduate Students Named Exit Review Finalists

Four third-year architecture graduate students were selected as finalists in the Master of Architecture Exit Review presentations: Amanda Pierce, Kevin Jones, Jr., Santiago Alvarez, and Jessica Sprankle. After a reading by the four finalists on March 28th, Jessica Sprankle was selected for first place by guest juror, Todd Gannon, an architect and writer who teaches history, theory, and design studio at SCI-Arc.

Compared to a design thesis, the Exit Review is a public presentation of a scholarly paper given during the last semester of a student's time in the program. The Exit Review system is unique among schools of architecture both for the way its asks design students to address the larger cultural milieu in which the discipline operates and for its extended commitment to speculative scholarly research.

Jessica Sprankle examines how color has been disenfranchised from the practice of architecture. She stated, "Color is difficult - it is atmospheric, it is decorative, it is effeminate. Color operates within a different rationality. For some reason, it has become okay to displace color from architecture, and in doing so, the effeminate has become further removed from our discipline." Arguing that color is an architecture medium, she added that it is "a cultural tendency to perpetuate masculinity in the discourse of architecture. Very few of us ever produce or even consider the possibility of color in space because we have not developed the devices to control it. I want to reintroduce it."

In her presentation, Amanda Pierce celebrated the physical presence and affect in architecture, especially in relationship to painting, through the lenses of underpainting/minimalist, glazing, and impasto techniques. She stated, “I used painting and architectural examples at many scales, zooming in and out to show similarities between materials, and argued that the architect should take on the role of the alchemist in working with material, as this has already been theorized in painting. My conclusion was that I want to bring back an intermittent material practice in architecture as my dominant mode of working.”

Kevin Jones, Jr.’s “I Got 99 Problems But A Glitch Aint One” is a critical argument for the significance of the architectural hacktivist, the importance of responding and reacting to and against normalcy, and a necessity to spawn architectural hacktivism. Jones explained, “In order to generate a discussion on my particular understanding of hacking and its role in architecture, an argument is developed that traverses through four sections: The Question of the Normative i.e. An Extraordinarily Short History of Hacking, Past Realities, and Portals to establish scenarios for Possible Realities. Historical and contemporary hackers in video game programming, the hip hop genre, and architecture are unpacked to reveal techniques of utilizing the glitch. A glitch that can be interpreted as a response to the oppressor or normative for which a connection and trajectory can be supported for weaponization within a future normative setting.” 

Santiago Alvarez claims architecture is a discipline generated by the constant division of the ground, both horizontally and vertically. "These divisions have been a way to geographically ascribe social and political power across the ground.  The ground's importance in architecture is due to gravity, architecture's one unshakable rule.  It is my ambition to push back against gravity, by altering individual's perceptions, as a way of breaking from old conventions in architecture by activating traditionally non-occupiable surfaces." Alvarez added, "In doing so, these surfaces will call for a layering of different spaces fueled to promote the inter-connectivity of the individual."