IDEATION OF THE OPEN SHED:
Hi, I am Anna Georas, Ph.D., a freelance architect and active in the academe.
I am a professor of the School of Architecture at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras campus. From 2010 to 2015, I was the coordinator of the school’s Graduate Program, and I am back at the helm now in 2017. In 2010, I realized that as the program’s coordinator, I alone was discovering the amazing gamma of ideas and proposals that are produced by our students. The most exciting part of this job is to read, witness, react, and guide, graduate students through their research and creative design work. So, I decided to create The Open Shed, TOS for short. The idea is to rescue these projects from being put away and forgotten. Although every thesis project is beautifully bound and placed in the school’s library, seldom are they seen. With TOS, what was tossed (TOS) into oblivion, gets tossed (TOS) into the public eye.
My commitment is to share the noetic genius of our academic community. The enticing issues and needs that students and faculty identify within our society, the questions that are formulated, and the solutions that are proposed, all come together in a succinct way. I want you, and every single person who visits this website, to see what I see as the Graduate Program coordinator. The investigations and exciting proposals are summarized for easy access. The brief texts are supported by vital diagrams, drawings, and imagery, for you to see how a research idea is formulated and applied to design.
My hope is that the TOS posts can serve as examples of design-based research in architecture, city-making, and so much more. Also, TOS reiterates our school’s commitment to build a better and brighter Puerto Rico, always. I hope this website will be a useful tool to help new generations lose the fear of producing a graduate research project. May TOS help you get excited about your graduate studies and awaken a deep-set critical curiosity in its viewers.
BUILDING THE WEBSITE:
In 2010, the very first conversation, on how to create this digital register of student work, was held with Norberto Figueroa who graduated from our school. Norberto, after working and getting licensed in New York, decided in 2010 that he rather travel the world! He built his beautiful blog – globotrek.com – in 2010.
That same year, as the NCARB Licensing Advisor of our school, I kicked off the School’s first Professional Experience Internship (iXP in Spanish). As part of the internship, my students compete for jobs with previously identified local firms, foundations, and organizations. For the academic component of the internship, iXP students are required to investigate the investigated, i.e., the thesis projects of our school.
Since, 2010, I personally financed the website, but in 2017 we began the transition to the University of Puerto Rico’s central server. This move will ensure that this valuable digital repository of creative and intelligent work will be guaranteed a place in the Institution’s wide array of information databases.
In our school, I have had two amazing allies, of an unconditional commitment to my dream of a digital archive of our student’s creative research work. They are the Web Development/Content Administrators of TOS and members of the Instructional Technology and Distance Education (TIED in Spanish) center of our School:
- Luis R. Rodríguez Matos, TIED’s Users Technician Support Services Coordinator
- Héctor J. Abreu Abreu, TIED’s Academic Computing Coordinator
They have created this exciting interface to expand and share our student’s knowledge and creative work.
INSIDE THE TABS:
All TOS posts have been written and designed by iXP students, referred to as the “tosers,” they are the ones who toss this knowledge out there: to be seen. Often, other areas of importance to our profession are covered too.
The work is divided into six tabs:
r-Nook | Here you will find graduate-level research projects of our School, i.e., our (r-)nook. Under the umbrella of the master’s thesis, students can choose to develop their investigation through writing and design, or, through critical investigative work applied to design from the get-go. They are so much fun! Here, you get into my shoes as the Graduate Program coordinator. So, sit back and enjoy the ride!
r-Nook+ | Here, on occasions, iXP students will cover design studios and other courses of our school of both the undergraduate and graduate programs.
a-Practice | Here iXP students celebrate both architecture (a-)practice as well as initiatives of alternative (a-)practice. It is an act of recognition that architecture students are taught to extrude knowledge from their context, and out of thin air, create something new, something informed, something that aspires to do good for society. The final product is not necessarily a building. There are many ways to build as an architect.
g-Back | Here, we share a presentation we prepared with the Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC in Spanish) for its 30-year celebration of being in Santurce. Also, we showcase work iXP students have done for others, giving (g-)back to our community. Together, we have collaborated with Habitat for Humanity Puerto Rico since the Spring of 2016 (in progress).
d-Coded | Here, iXP students summarize codes as well as important code-related issues. Given the visual nature of our profession, the information has been graphically presented to make it easily accessible to architecture students. We hope these tools will become your design development allies.
l-Path | Here, there is a collection of presentations that have been prepared since 2009 about the Path to Licensure in Puerto Rico. These posts are meant to keep our academic community up-to-date with the changes to the Path to Licensure.
i-XP | Here, there is information about how the iXP is structured. It was showcased at NCARBs yearly Licensing Advisor Summit in Chicago in August 2017, where we received requests for us to prepare a video explaining how it works. We hope it may inspire other schools to follow suit (in progress).