Super Jury
Friday, 04/30/21

Thesis Super Jury is a daylong, online event wherein a group of nominated students, recognized as having some of the most accomplished projects from the graduating class, will present to a small panel and compete for the Burton L. Kampner Memorial Award.

Thesis is the final studio in the Master of Architecture degree program at Taubman College. Under the guidance of faculty advisors, students conduct research and create works that engage the ever-changing cultural landscape shaping our discipline. Some studios are more self-directed while others ask students to develop projects under a section-wide thesis, and the option to work individually or in groups varies between studios. This means that frameworks for success can be different across studios, and an “accomplished” project could be defined by a wide range of factors. A project could be nominated because it has a clear position; it pushes the boundaries of representation; it speaks to audiences outside of the academy; it challenges the discipline’s core assumptions; it proposes new ways of working or making; it reaches a high degree of resolution as a building proposal; it opens up possible worlds...or because of other reasons that exceed this list.

There will be ten thesis presentations, one from each of our thesis sections. Students will have around 20–22 minutes for presentation and discussion, and the conversations are open to the public. In addition to determining the Kampner Award-winning project, members of the panel have also been asked to discuss the work in an online symposium at the end of the day.

This year’s panelists are:

Hazel Edwards

Chair and Professor, Howard University

Alessandra Ponte

Professor, Université de Montréal

Jacqueline Shaw

Assistant Professor, Rhode Island School of Design
Taubman College M.Arch ‘11

Lola Sheppard

Professor, University of Waterloo

Geoffrey Thün

Professor and Senior Associate Dean for Research + Creative Practice, Taubman College

Friday, 04/30/21

All times EDT

10:00am–12:30pm – First half of student presentations (5 projects)

10:00–10:10 – Introductions
10:10–10:35 – Laura Lisbona, Silvio Dante’s Inferno
10:35–11:00 – Nicole Rusk, A City of Contrast: Subjective Realities in the Urban Nightscape
11:00–11:25 – Jay Schairbaum, UBIQUITOU.S. Conditions
11:25–11:35 – Break
11:35–12:00 – Waylon Richmond, We Need to Talk: Agents of Thermal and Social Conduction
12:00–12:25 – Torri Smith, Equitable Landscapes

12:30–1:30pm – Lunch / Screen break

1:30–4:00pm – Second half of student presentations (5 projects)

1:30–1:40 – Introductions
1:40–2:05 – Nicholas Di Donato, Huiting Du, Charlotte Fuss, Nicolas Garcia, Jeong Su Han, Yuhao Huang, Hannah Kirkpatrick, Ho Kyung Lee, Meghan Owens, Hana Saifullah, Xingyue Sun, Kaylee Tucker, 2X4: Reciprocal Frame Timber Structure
2:05–2:30 – Yuchun Huang and Yuxin Lin, Anexact Building
2:30–2:55 – Shujian You, NEW AXIS - PBS 2, Tangible Public Broadcast Television Facility
2:55–3:05 – Break
3:05–3:30 – Alan Escareño, Wasted Time: Exploitation and the Life of the Factory
3:30–3:55 – Liyah George, Manufacturing Commons

4:00–6:00pm – Super Jury deliberation / Wallenberg symposium / Screen break

6:00–7:00pm – Symposium and Announcement of Burton L. Kampner Award-winning project

Equitable Landscapes

Torri Smith


Equitable Landscapes prioritizes anti-racist, grassroots environmental justice centered around urban design activism, the strengthening of community and care for local wildlife, setting the stage for global environment change.  The discriminatory practice of redlining has put black and brown bodies directly in the path of environmental harm, residents are subjected to unsafe temperatures due to urban heat island effect and severe air pollution caused by the close proximity to major highways and industrial facilities. In addition, there is a direct correlation between neighborhood wealth and the diversity, health and prosperity of the native plant and animal species.  The work explores the connections between systemic oppression, lack of biodiversity and environmental injustice in majority BIPOC communities, proposing collaborative eco-architectural expressions. 

The site is located in the southernmost neighborhood of Rouge River, Detroit. The neighborhood of Boynton hosts a strong-knit community, yet has been branded “Michigan’s most toxic neighborhood”, surrounded on all sides by industrial complexes, including Marathon Petroleum, USS Steel and the Detroit Sewage and Water complex as the worst pollution offenders.  Residents have voiced their deep concern of the health and wellbeing of their neighborhood.

Equitable Landscapes combines existing environmental, social justice and community networks to envision a series of ‘Bio-follies’, or living landscape/architectural ecosystem habitecture typologies.  These typologies, identified through extensive research, categorization and assessment, will fit each individual species’ needs, overtime growing to become self-sustaining, healing ecosystem kit-of-parts that can be applied to marginalized at-risk communities on a macro scale.  The Bio-follies serve multiple purposes; providing space for native critters and plants to grow and thrive, utilizing native plant species and natural building materials as both pollution mitigation and green buffer, and creating public eco-commons for community members, providing seating, shade and garden planting space.  Equitable landscapes seeks to foster multi-species kinship while healing the environment through equitable co-creation.

Faculty Advisor: Gina Reichert, Maintenance, collective care & meddling

Wasted Time:
Exploitation and the Life of the Factory

Alan Escareño


If architecture is implicated in global waste streams that continue to make the planet uninhabitable, this thesis prompts reflection on consumer habits by harnessing the empathic power of storytelling to transform a building—an anonymous plastics factory—into the narrator of a tale about junk and justice.

In 2030, Earth’s carrying capacity will reach a tipping point due to colossal material extraction and overproduction. As commercial spaceflight offers the one-percent a way out, everyone else must prepare to live with their waste. Instead of accepting culpability for these dire circumstances, humans will blame factories: architectures that have been optimized for capital gain since the Industrial Revolution. A byproduct of logistical management, this building type is a microcosm of the world’s most complicated socio-material relations and a witness to the abusive nature of consumerism. This thesis cultivates new proximities to waste by anthropomorphizing the factory, representing its point of view, and reorienting human beings to their own exploitative systems.

The Factory oversees the production and distribution of plastic consumer objects. The Factory recognizes the unhappiness of its mortal counterparts as they live with trash that belongs to a wealthier class of astro-expats. The Factory, exhausted from human inaction, decides to periodically launch their trash into outer space. The Factory wishes to expose humans to their excessive practices by making explicit shared dependencies on the oil industry. The Factory broadcasts a disorienting animation to handheld devices born from its insides that redescribes the circulation of products and material flows. The Factory will not disclose its location but wants you to know that its reach is expansive.

Faculty Advisor: Cyrus Peñarroyo, 20/20(+10)


Silvio Dante’s Inferno

Laura Lisbona

In the establishment of American domesticity, if the hearth represents the warm and public center of the home, the basement surely represents the opposite—cold, private, and periphery. As a culture we are tantalized by this center of cryptic curiosities. The basement can be a place for concentrated creativity (think Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes), for secret lives (think Tony Soprano in The Sopranos or Geun-sae in Parasite), or for wildly dark plots (think Silence of the Lambs and #pizzagate). Rock stars, delinquent teens, suburban dads, and psychotic killers seem equally adept at making this generic space their own. The basement is a multi-faceted realm ripe for possibilities—a world within another world.

Silvio Dante’s Inferno uses basements as a stage for world building and cultural re-examinations. The thesis shares theoretical territory with work like The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymous Bosch and the Cenotaph for Newton by Etienne-Louis Boullée—both pieces which illuminate conceptual ideas in spatial forms. Through analog, appropriation, and narrative means of framing and working, Silvio Dante’s Inferno explores a series of 7 basements, each representing one of the 7 Deadly Sins. In order to capture a wider audience and the zeitgeist of the Covid pandemic, these basements are carefully constructed through the lens of 7 corresponding basements from popular culture. For example: a reconstruction of Barbra Streisand’s personal basement mall as a stage for examining gluttony.

The thesis surveys contradictions: light & dark, good & evil, above & below, and public & private. It embraces both the darker and more lighthearted possibilities of the spatial realms. Primary interests of the thesis include: re-thinking the positions of the 7 Deadly Sins, audience construction outside of architecture, and the development of an architectural representation that is interactive and contains the possibility of different endings.

Faculty Advisor: Perry Kulper, Pink Flamingos