The conceptual ideas that students at the USC School of Architecture have been developing in their minds over the last semester is coming to life in a massive display of science, art and innovation — with a bit of blue painter’s tape thrown into the mix.
For two days this week, the interior and exterior of Watt Hall will be covered wall-to-wall with student drawings, models and installations as part of Blue Tape, the School of Architecture’s end-of-semester design reviews and public exhibition.
“The vision of Blue Tape has been to illuminate the rich cornucopia of young talents and emerging ideas converging in the USC School of Architecture in a manner of flowing and splashing,” said Dean Qingyun Ma. “Through temporary installation and diverse interaction, students are provoked and challenged to be responsive and responsible — a stance of ‘real time.’ ”
Grand in scale and ambition, the sixth installment of Blue Tape includes work from all year levels and all degree programs, including undergraduate and graduate architecture studios, landscape architecture, building science, heritage conservation and PhD programs.
Over the course of two days, hundreds of students present their projects to faculty members and invited guest critics. The event is comprised of simultaneous design reviews and project presentations that allow visitors to hear ideas get tested, designs critiqued and processes discussed.
“Architecture is a process-driven discipline that embraces exploration and innovative ways of looking at the built environment,” said Valery Augustin, adjunct assistant professor at the school since 2002 and Blue Tape organizer. “Final reviews are an opportunity for students to get feedback and engage in a dialogue about their process and ideas.”
Third-year student Roberto Arroyo said the event is the most exciting time for students to gather inspiration, see their peers’ works and improve in time for the next exhibition.
“What I like about Blue Tape is that it’s open to everyone,” said Arroyo, whose project is a large-scale model of an urban charter high school. “There’s interaction and people from the outside can see what we’re doing.”
Blue Tape was spawned from the desire to identify threads of continuity, dominant themes and the diversity inherent in a school of 700-plus students and more than 100 faculty members.
“It began with the simple idea of establishing connections and trying to gain an understanding of what USC architecture was all about,” Augustin said. “The physical constraints of the school meant that many students weren’t aware of what type of work was happening elsewhere within the school. How do we create greater dialogue among students, faculty and the larger architectural community?
“There’s an incredible energy surrounding the event,” Augustin added. “It’s a place where the Los Angeles architecture community comes together.”
Reviews will be ongoing from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on May 13 and May 14. It will close with a public reception from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.