Perhaps nothing is more important, more central to architecture, than an architect’s ability to exploit the double-state of his or her actions, to know that a line is both a tool and the embodiment of an ever present, ever hopeful conclusion. In many ways, architecture’s vitality has everything to do with seeing a first line, along with every subsequent line that we draw, as both a beginning and an end, a means and an ambition inseparably joined to one another.
Why does this matter, and why particularly now, as you begin your first studio at Rice? A line whose promise is at once that of an instrument and a conclusion has parallels everywhere in architecture. ARCH 501 will introduce you to a range of techniques needed for drawing, analyzing, and forming space and matter. And as we discuss these techniques, you will be expected to engage questions and possibilities that frame your work as cultural hypotheses: speculations about how your actions as an architect will make tomorrow better than today. You will draw lots of lines and model lots of things and you will be asked to tell us why what you’ve done matters…as one and the same undertaking. 
ARCH 501 begins, and ends, with the premise that architecture only comes into being when how we do things is joined with an ambitious view onto why we do them:
Architecture = Technique + Hypothesis


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