[Good](,)By[e,] Default



Like most technical endeavors, architecture avails itself of accepted defaults. These may be dimensional, material, financial, spatial, even cultural, and are frequently motivated by efficiencies of resources (time, money, space, effort...), which in turn allow the discipline and practice of architecture to progress without time wasted on the continual reinvention of acceptable standards. But architecture’s creatively critical side demands that we intervene when such defaults take the form of mindless indifference.

As an example, from the Vitruvian Man’s influence on the Classical orders, to Le Corbusier’s Modulor system, architecture has historically had difficulty shedding its indoctrination to the virtues of designing from and for a “standard” and “optimal” human form as a default approach to the question of people (thereby marginalizing any deviations therefrom). But also, distracted by an array of competing agendas that weaken the will to push back against the path-of-least-resistance models offered by developers and builders to a diffident audience, architecture often allows itself to be forced into a bespoke prec(oc)iousness.

The [Good](,) By[e,] Default thesis seminar and studio takes up this challenge as a formal project. Focusing on clues from both within and beyond the discipline to establish architecture’s present and future stake in standardization, universality, difference and indifference, this work springs from the specifics of the present moment to prompt an alternative future history for architecture and its accepted defaults.

We are invoking active design, playfulness, humor and optimism to interrogate designed situations that have resulted by default; to re-examine those to which we might say goodbye; and to put forward radically fresh new standards that are simply good, by default.
Faculty Advisor:
Julia McMorrough