Off to Boston for four days. My day job involves teaching Comprehensive Design studio–a studio that is supposed to wrap up three years of technology, history, and design coursework in a single project. For the past six years, we’ve asked students to design a “Mediatheque,” or a library with a dedicated digital component. We make the program intentionally complex, asking them to integrate cinemas, shelving, public areas, and offices into a single, coherent building.
We try to make the point that just solving the problem isn’t enough, so we have always looked for sites that are also challenging and, we hope, inspiring. Boston has made a good place for this. It’s a completely different context from the midwestern cities our students are used to, and it has enough urban variety to provide plenty of interesting sites.
This year, our students have been working with three sites, all along or near the Big Dig. We head out this morning for a site visit. Seventy-five students changing planes at O’Hare usually goes better than you would think. We have tours of the Boston Public Library and Diller + Scofidio’s ICA scheduled, along with walking tours of Harvard, MIT, and Back Bay. We’ll come back with one site and, hopefully, a lobster or two.