Sep. 05, 2019

Totalization (Rice Architecture and Park Books AG), a new book edited by Rice Architecture Associate Professor Troy Schaum, offers a comprehensive and richly illustrated insight into Rice Architecture’s Totalization Studios—one of the most innovative architectural teaching programs worldwide. The book is slated for release September 15 on Amazon, with a public reception to be held September 23 in New York.

In close collaboration with renowned consultants, four studios in the Totalization Program challenge conventions around structures, facades, materials, and the mechanical aspects of building design and construction. Through featured projects complemented by essays and conversations with Rice Architecture faculty members and consultants, Totalization explores these studios and interrogates how practitioners can leverage the breadth of architectural practice toward in-depth speculative design work.

“In this book and in the program, we talk extensively about the relationship between speculation and practice. What speculation means as part of the ambition of Totalization is that students, and by extension professionals, should be speculating broadly about what the impacts and effects of their work could be, in questions of the social, of the economic, of the political. And, especially, that there should be an understanding of the limits of what those effects could be and what the limits of our expertise might be as well,” said Schaum, in an excerpt from the book. “‘As architects, what are the specific tools and expertise we have to offer to these questions?’ is a disciplinary argument that underpins much of what the school has been engaged in. Rice has a specific position on this, in that we think there are architectural tools but that there’s no limit as to how we can apply those tools.”

Schaum, who directs the Totalization Program and teaches studios within it, formulated and founded Totalization in 2011, under the leadership of Dean Emerita Sarah Whiting.

Since that time, the program, its students, and faculty have earned multiple accolades and honors including The Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) Creative Achievement Award (Schaum, 2016); the National Architecture Accrediting Board’s highest recognition for various components of the studios (Totalization, 2016); and numerous American Institute of Architects (AIA) awards for student projects. 

“This book and the totalization program is an attempt to confront the vast diversity of expertise that architects must collaborate with to propel their projects. It is a reflection on both the production of the studios at Rice and the state of the profession more broadly,” said Schaum.

In addition to Rice Architecture faculty, nationally-recognized consultants are embedded in the studios, advising students on facades, structure, MEP, and other factors. Totalization’s unique organization, which coordinates and synthesizes its multiple studios and multiple consultants, means that the specific research topic in question is developed within architecture’s broader scope.

“The success of Totalization is rooted in the shear breadth of the students that participate year to year, the unique prompts within each studio and, at this point, the overall number of students who have participated. The universe that has evolved over the past eight years enables the student and teacher alike to understand just how difficult success is, to celebrate failure (through which we all learn at a deeper level), and to truly inhabit the reality of integration,” Said Nat Oppenheimer, executive vice president of Silman and a consultant for the Totalization program.

To mark the book’s launch, a September 23 reception will be held in New York, featuring a conversation with Schaum and the book’s contributors. John J. Casbarian, interim dean of Rice Architecture and the Harry K. and Albert K. Smith Professor of Architecture, and Silman Structural Engineers are hosting the event. (Space is limited, please RSVP to:

“Totalization innovates by speculating on a focused set of technical issues outside the limits of convention, aided by the concerted input of internationally recognized, cutting-edge consultants, to produce cohesive solutions that go beyond current practices. Its significance as an educational model cannot be overstated, and this stunningly beautiful book, is a selection from a decade of student work, directed by our dedicated and collaborative faculty. Troy deserves a great deal of credit for not only the coordination of Totalization, but also, for editing the work in such an illuminating way,” said Casbarian.
Totalization is available for purchase September 15 on Amazon and at Learn more about Rice Architecture’s Totalization Program at

About the Editor
Troy Schaum is an Associate Professor at the Rice School of Architecture, where he was the 2008-2010 Wortham Fellow. He is also a partner in SCHAUM/SHIEH, where his design and research interests focus on new possibilities for form, representation, and politics in the post-megalopolitan city. Troy has extensive experience building at a range of scales; prior to his position at Rice and the founding of SCHAUM/SHIEH, he was a project architect at OMA New York responsible for the design of Cornell’s Paul Milstein Hall and has also worked at LTL Architects and Studio Daniel Libeskind, both in New York, and Jim Jennings Architect in San Francisco. Troy holds a Master of Architecture from Princeton and a Bachelor of Architecture from Virginia Tech, where he was the Donald and Joanna Sunshine Alumni Travel Fellow.




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