CMU SoA EX-Change Catalogue

Pittsburgh, PA
Sarah Rafson
Summer 2019

In collaboration with Cassandra Howard

Editors Note

The crux of nesting the School of Architecture within a prestigious College of Fine Arts—itself operating inside a high-powered research university—is that on any given day, there is too wide a range of production for any one person to take stock of it all. From deep and profound studio projects, to insightful essays, delicate building details and awe-inspiring interactive media installations, at the Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) School of Architecture (SoA) it is a recurring challenge for students, faculty and staff to see more than a slice of the fearless invention and speculation happening simultaneously.

In May 2019, the third iteration of the EX-CHANGE year-end show was another attempt to aggregate and present the breadth and depth of work produced over the past year. As a new tradition at the SoA, the exhibition and publication are still works in progress, changing and evolving every year. This year, the curatorial team took a two-pronged approach to the predicament. The faculty-led team produced a highly curated exhibit to draw people in, which they coupled with a more extensive student-produced publication. In tandem, these initiatives have sought to reveal as much of the inventive work bubbling out of our school to as wide an audience as possible.

In this third EX-CHANGE publication we have more than doubled the page count of the previous edition, and even so we have only been able to include a fraction of what we would have liked. The painstaking process of selecting work fell largely on the shoulders of faculty, and we are extremely grateful for their care and attention. We are proud of the collective effort the publication brings to light.

This is the first time the responsibility of editing EX-CHANGE has been entrusted to students. The two of us have just finished our sixth semester and, inspired by the efforts of our peers, we are excited to head into the Advanced Synthesis Option Studios (ASOS) curriculum this fall. We are extremely grateful to the school for the opportunity, quite anxious about navigating through uncharted territory and particularly excited to pave the way for others to follow.

Giving students the agency to promote their own institution is vital to an authentic result. We’ve quickly been learning all the accoutrements of editing a publication, and growing our appreciation for all our fellow students have accomplished throughout the year. Despite the many changes underway, we hope this issue of EX-CHANGE marks the start of a mutually beneficial tradition, fostering a discourse and interchange between the student body, faculty and staff.

The 2018-19 school year also marks the onset of a period of great change at the SoA. We are excited to welcome the influx of new minds and talents, saddened by the departure of seasoned and experienced faculty and on the edge of our seats as the search for a new Head of School churns into motion. These reminiscences, conversations and writings have been a joy for us to collect—we hope you glean just as much from reading them. We envision this publication as a means to reflect on what was, and as a springboard to speculate about what can be. It is meant to encapsulate both the production of the school this year and articulate its driving ethos in one cohesive package. This publication has the capacity to inspire both members of the SoA community and any casual reader flipping through its pages. We hope you take some meaningful reflection away, or at least spend
a while looking at the pretty pictures.

Print copies are available at the Carnegie Mellon School of Architecture Main Office
View an online version of the book here.