Joshua Fowler here,
I would like to speak just to the general notion of my experiences in graduate school thus far. It has been such a long road it seems, albeit has only been two semesters. I am ultimately glad I made the decision to stay here at Southern Illinois University for graduate school. Although I had the choice between the University of Michigan's Taubman College and here, ultimately it came down to finances. While Michigan wears a prestigious crown in regards of architecture graduate schools and has incredible resources, Southern Illinois University provides a very similar education for a fraction of the price. I can justify this logic now based on the notion that during graduate school I have discovered that my education should be in my own hands, my thesis regards my interests and at this point it almost seems as though the schooling is a formality to the work I am doing. It is because of this I chose to stay a Southern Illinois University, because I see my education in my own hands, and I am lucky enough to have enough faculty here that support what I want to do.
The only critiques I could possibly give about Southern's graduate architecture school is the limited resources (however I see this as a part of the design process challenge) and that while the program is only about 1.5 years, this quick transition has left little time, in my mind, to fully and completely understand what I wanted to do as a thesis. I do wish I had more time to research what I really wanted to do, but regardless I am happy with the way that my thesis is headed. It has basically transitioned from focusing on computational design as an end and realized it needs to be the means to the end, and the end is to create a fully functioning responsive skin/wall that responds to parameters being established currently. Ultimately I contemplate a new divergence of building wall systems that could and would take in weather data from weather stations, seismic data from seismic data centers, etc pertaining to a variety of environmental conditions, and based on the input data of these national weather stations, the skin/wall would adapt itself for protection primarily in the instance of oncoming natural disasters. For example the skin/wall from a structural standpoint could respond to the earthquake conditions by adjusting its fluidity thereby absorbing the energy and dissipating it. Or in the issue of a Tornado, the skin/wall could respond by adjusting apertures to allow for better interior and exterior pressures as well as adjust itself to mitigate destruction from flying debris. A different skin/wall system could be developed in accordance with the common natural disasters that occur in a given region. These systems could have the potential to also be retrofitted to a pre-existing structure, implemented as a hybrid system with more traditional construction techniques, or function as new stand-alone system. Much like how humans sometimes flinch in order to protect themselves, our structures and built environment could begin to protect itself and therefore the lives of the people within.