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Present Future is equal parts education, research, think tank, and soapbox. From urbanization, to media, globalization, the environment, technology, to name just a few of the issues that press in on us as never before, architecture can, and will, play a role in the most urgent questions facing us today.

Rice Architecture offers an intensive, three-semester research-based program of advanced architectural studies: Present Future. The program’s aim is to re-conceptualize the role of the architect from within the complex sets of relationships in which we live today. We are interested in how the discipline constructs new possibilities from never before seen political, economic, and environmental circumstances—by shaping new publics in support of new institutions, by forming new architectural and urban models, and by asserting new ambitions and optimisms. In short, Present Future is a forum through which we can rethink the nature of the architect’s social contract. 

Present Future is a concentrated undertaking culminating in a Master of Arts in Architecture degree. The program is structured around a three-semester-long exploration of a topic led by a Rice Architecture faculty member and advertised in advance of the application process. A select group of students forms the core: a collective intelligence responsible for developing a discourse that synthesizes theoretical, historical, and design ambitions. Subjects will be of contemporary importance and will be framed by a three-credit seminar in the first and last term and a twelve-credit collective thesis in the second term. In addition to free electives, each semester will include additional required credits that are deemed appropriate to the research topic. 

Present Future Studio, Semihcan Gosku & Ningxin Cheng

The program’s student body will include those with backgrounds in architecture as well as other fields; individuals with B.A., B.S., equivalent, or more advanced degrees in architecture or other disciplines are invited to apply. 

Present Future is decidedly proposition-oriented. To that end, each three-semester sequence will culminate in a book, exhibition, or symposium. The program is intended to be at once intensely focused and enthusiastically extroverted.

The Present Future research project for 2018–2019 will begin a new phase of work on the problem of contemporary urban form in our newly defined epoch called the Anthropocene.
The project builds upon the results of previous Present Future research that develops and tests specific urban models in response the multiple environmental crises that we face today. Supplemented by extensive field work in Houston, we will refine these models in regards a specific urban environment.
 
For the 2018–2019 program, circumstances have delivered a potent site against which to test our speculation. In the final days of August 2017, Hurricane Harvey dumped a historically unprecedented 50" of rain on Houston in the space of three and a half days. In that brief period of time, the hurricane rewrote the specifications of the city's infrastructure that must now be capable of capturing 27 trillion gallons of water over a 72 hour period and safely distribute it amongst the complex routines of a rapidly growing population. As the costliest "natural" disaster in the history of the United States, the challenge is enormous, as is the opportunity it presents. It provides the occasion to not only address the short-term issues of solving the city's flooding problem but also an occasion to address the longer term vision of building a city that is responsive to the demands presented by climate change.
 
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Photo by Alex McClean

Nike Field NFL Dri Shirt FIT On T Legend Titans Men's Ranging in scope from the conceptual to the practical—from the definition of “hyperobjects" to the detailing of cross laminated timber—the 2018–2019 Present Future research project will extract a viable urban future out of the chaotic, onerous, and challenging circumstances that define our present. Working with consultants from the natural sciences, social sciences and the humanities within the university, and a base of constituents within the community at large, we will project a series of concrete proposals for the future development of the city.

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