CR: You're making all the parameters and you're drawing all the lines and you're, you know, you can define a thesis in such a way that it's completely a product of your whimsy or fantasy or whatever you...and learn a lot from it.


I guess when I'm talking about whimsy and fantasy I'm almost talking about, like a separation - a separation from the rules of reality that govern real architecture. And I think you can also define it in such a way that all those things become very important and you learn a lot from that too.


TH: Even though I was at a school that was working within the structure of classical architecture, that there's a lot of variety within that. And so creativity, I think, in terms of thesis is something that, I think, again stems from the thesis itself like the question or problem statement that you derive. And you can get very creative with the issue that you really want to explore. I think that's where the creativity starts.


I guess it would depend if you're being figurative or literal about it. And there are probably some things or designs like an amusement park where that's literally an aspect of your design. That's something you try to physically manifest in your design. But, I think, if you don't have some passion and whimsy about what you're doing, whether it takes form or not, then it's going to be a long semester or year.


AM: There was a sort of balance between the two. It's between, a sort of, you make a proposition but, you know, the proposition can be the sort of challenge and the fantasy, if you will. But the sort of structure of it and what you're using or what you're going to be critiquing can be very real.


Some degree of no rules, if you will - approaching it in a certain way that will allow you the freedom to explore something that you can't explore outside the university.


JC: There's a certain level of the fantastic that exists that you allow to be there because it allows you to extend your thinking about what things are possible. In other words, it's uninhibited.


Still, however, it has to be believable. You have to make it clear and it has to be...it has to have conviction and in that sense whimsical is great as long as it's convincing and has conviction.


It's really much more a matter of bringing together all the different precedents that exist. And so, while Liz didn't invent furniture, she didn't invent housing, but looking at bringing the two together and creating a synergy between the two, you know, that happens to be an original idea - but that everything that you do still builds on the shoulders of everything else that's been done, so it's not...the basis of it is not necessarily original.


YE: Maybe the, mainly the starting points, I think, will always in a way be whimsical. I think after that, I think the thesis has to be founded and structured so it makes sense.


I don't believe in jumps, in crazy jumps, and things that have no connection to anything else within. Sometimes you have to, I don't know, get mixed up but I think things should be founded.


CR: Originality can be really subtle, I think. It doesn't have to be...I've found a whole new way to do architecture, you know.


DM: But I think some people are really striving for that.


CR: Oh yeah.


DM: And you get some monsters out there and some Frankenstein architecture that's driven by, you know, the desire to be, you know, anomalous.


Following a whim or a fantasy doesn't necessarily lead you to a fantasy. You know, I've always felt the need to have some basis in reality. So I mean I took that fantasy and applied it to a real site. I chose a site that is completely real. You know, someone is designing a building for it right now with the same program and everything. I think that's important to give your project credibility.


MT: Many of us, and this is outside of schools as well, you look at a lot of theoretical work that's kind of exploded over the last ten years or so, and a lot of it is based on self-expression and indulgences, perhaps. But I think really, I don't think there is anything wrong with that. I think the issue should be a certain accountability or answerability to your method or to what you produce.


AM: For me, a definition of being original is something that you just take a slightly different stance on something. And by looking at it in a skewed way, like I said, like from looking at the margin, your approach to it, you know, just by default will be slightly different or original.


LF: If we kind of start out wanting to be original or wanting to kind of operate outside the boundaries of architecture, it's hard to get at that right away. It's best to kind of start simply, start with a single, kind of essential element and through this idea of simultaneous making and thinking, thinking and making we build up a sort of set of understandings about what we're doing that redefine our role.


TS: If the thesis is not a product of fantasy, then I would question its value. I think fantasy is absolutely, absolutely critical, absolutely. In fact, I would argue that an entire project can be a product of pure fantasy. Fantasy causes you to question, to imagine, to...it's everything, it's everything. So fantasy should be...substructure. And whimsy, I would question whether it is a necessary component at all.

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