Have you seen Archinect’s Thesis Review section? It is a segment devoted to architects in academia and every article focuses on a different topic or view on the current state of architecture and what the future holds for this practice. In this section you will find a collection of conversations and inquiries which all revolve around the challenges which architects face. Which we recommend that you take a look at, because these are young architects (student or young professional) that talk about similar challenges that you may be facing or encounter at some point during your professional career. It is good to see what other people within your profession are doing and it is also important to understand the questions which are being raised. On that note, we thought we’d present to you some of the points that were made by Beatriz Santos -University of Miami alumni- in her thesis titled “Garden Cosmologies: Curated Nature in the Contemporary City.” In her thesis, Santos shares her relationship with architecture and human experience. She does so by explaining the curiosity which stems from the interactions that us humans have with the environment that was built and how garden typologies play a role in that factor.
In her thesis, she focuses on three different types of garden cosmologies: Cave, Agricultural, and Paradise. In the cave cosmology she states that caves were a spatial construct with the intent of communicating instructions and knowledge for the future population. Serving as a medium to satisfy the human mind which can be dissected into 3 categories: rustication, iconography, and water. Then we have Agricultural Cosmology, which is essentially one of the most fundamental types of cosmologies, as it gave the foundation for what a modern society would look like. Finally, the other cosmology which Santos talks about is Paradise Cosmology, which refers to one’s mission to create a place that harmonizes one’s soul in a pleasant construct. These three different types of cosmologies are fundamental in understanding the origin and meaning of the constructs that were and are around us. That one can have a better understanding of the meaning behind these spatial constructs only by going back and looking at the traces of evidence that were left behind by these foundations.
What is interesting about Santos’ thesis, is the research that went behind it and the exploration she did throughout the whole process. At times, she was heavily discouraged and felt that her project had no real connection to the pieces that she was finding. However, through this exploration and review of the information that she had found, she was able to find an area of interest within her profession. Much like it may have been or will be to you, Santos says that this paper was the culmination of her experience as a student. It provided her with a tone for her work and allowed her to find the connection between the human psyche and architecture. By traveling to different places and studying why certain areas where developed the way they were and why some other had become deindustrialized, she was able to reflect on the importance of the decisions that we make as architects and urban planners. A valuable lesson that she will take on academically and professionally.
So, if you are currently writing your thesis, or you simply want to learn more about what other architects are doing, make sure that you take a look at the thesis section of Archinect. Many of the architects presented in this section also have helpful tips for students that are currently in the process of writing their thesis.