Graduating architecture students will put their hard work on display this weekend at the seventh annual Fifth Year Architecture Thesis Show in Chumash Auditorium.
The show begins with an opening reception at 5 p.m. on Friday and continues Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Each of the 157 students will have their own design station with displays of drawings, 3D models and rendered images they created in the studio during their Senior Architecture Design Thesis class. The three-quarter long course is required for all architecture seniors and is the first time the graduating students could create their own design projects.
“Students would identify a problem in architecture, find the full complexities and create a thesis statement on how to fix it,” said architecture professor and event coordinator Barry Williams.
The thesis project is the capstone project of the students’ experience at Cal Poly and the center pieces of a portfolio, Tracee de Hahn, Assistant Director of Advancement, said. The thesis project lets students figure out if they have picked a problem too big to solve or if they need to expand an idea, she said.
“Any studio project is learning by doing,” she said. “The thesis project is the students’ own approach to a problem. It teaches them how to start projects they will pursue in the future.”
The thesis project has constantly been in the back of architecture students’ minds since freshman or sophomore year, architecture senior Susan Lam said.
“I started to think about my project before fall quarter but my ideas changed once I started the class,” she said. “I’ve created a project that incorporates art in all aspects of life: living, working and playing.”
The event is open to the public. In the past, most attendees have been parents of architecture students, architecture firms and Cal Poly architecture alumni, Williams said. A lot of people outside the department come to enjoy the model drawings and the creativity, he said.
“A universal thought of the parents after they see the work is, ‘Now I understand why my son or daughter never came home and why they were asking for so much money,’” he said.
The show is also a place where students have been hired in the past, Williams said. Architects from firms such as Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) and BAR Architects are usually hiring and come to the event to talk to students, he said.
“Quite often in the past professionals will come to the show and look at a project,” he said. “There have been several instances where professionals have put business cards on projects asking students to contact them.”
Architecture students will be available to talk to about projects; monitors from each studio will help explain projects to interested people.
The entire show, which costs about $10,000 to host, is self-supported, Williams said.
There will also be a Fifth Year Landscape Architecture Thesis Show June 4 and 5 on Higuera Street.