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Jonathan Rieke

  • Lecturer, Architecture Section
298 Knowlton Hall

Jonathan Rieke is the 2017 Migg Urban Visiting Professor at the Knowlton School. Rieke received his B.S. in architecture from Ohio State where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with Distinction and his M.Arch from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University where he was the recipient of the 2017 James Templeton Kelley Prize. Prior to joining the Knowlton School, Rieke worked as a designer for numerous offices including The Los Angeles Design Group (The LADG), Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), and Morphosis Architects. His work has been exhibited at the A+D Architecture and Design Museum and the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Rieke is a founding member of the design firm mr Studio. 

Recent Work

The “Thing” in Practice: Tchotchkes, Knick-Knacks, and Near-Models

Architects hang on to a lot of stuff. The architecture office is often an ontologically-hybrid space, existing somewhere between a dusty archive and an efficient workplace. Models sit on cluttered work-tables, drawings go from the printer, to pin-up boards, to piles on desks, and myriads of sketches infill the remaining open space. This accumulation of production within the workplace forms a thin crust of physical information that frames the everyday activity of the designer. Apart from the occasional tidying up and reshuffling of the old for the new, the status of this stuff largely goes unquestioned with respect to its impact on the formal practices (management or design) of any given office. As the residue of past processes, these formerly-operational objects work indirectly on the subjectivity of the designer: conveying an attitude rather than contributing to a working-knowledge. In the same way that Aunt Wanda’s tchotchke cabinet engenders a certain atmosphere in her petit-bourgeois sitting room, the amalgamation of architectural Knick-Knacks contributes to a professional mise en scène within the workplace. The specificity of this scenography brackets the formal and conceptual domains of a given practice.

This project attempts to theorize and operationalize the role of architectural Tchotchkes within the space of architectural practice. By inserting the Tchotchke into the design process surrounding an otherwise straightforward office building, this thesis functions as a performance of the recursive effects that this disruptive insertion generates at all scales of design decision making.