The Summer 2022 Global Urbanism Studio traveled to Thailand to experience and understand the various forms of urbanism along the Chao Phraya River. The Global Urbanism Studio is the capstone semester of the one-year Master of Urban Design program at Washington University in St. Louis. The 2022 studio, taught by Derek Hoeferlin, Jonathan Stitelman, and Kotchakorn Voraakhom, focused on coastal, lowland conditions around Bangkok as well as river control structures and cities up river. The studio extensively explored contemporary public space and infrastructure projects along the river with Dr. Danai Thaitakoo. By boat, van, and train, the studio traveled from the salty marshes at the mouth of the river to the highlands near Chiang Mai.
This immersive experience gave students a perspective of the entire river system and the climate-vulnerable communities who live along its course.
The studio culminated with a collaborative workshop with students from Chulalongkorn University to develop a set of problem statements for designing with care toward ecological, cultural, and political challenges along the course of the river. These experiences laid the foundation for each student’s design proposal.
Special thanks to Pin Udomchareonchaikit, Jane, and Tong.
The summer 2021 studio focused on markets and how they might be used as strategic sites for adaptive response to climate change and other urban challenges. Students began with an in-depth analysis of the architectural/urban typology of markets. Photographers/videographers in Kampala (Uganda) and Zurich (Switzerland) documented the project sites. Students engaged in immersive activities in St. Louis, including visits to the Municipal Port on the Mississippi and to the farm and studio of two Hyde Park market vendors, as well as running a market stand at the Hyde Park market. Students who were participating remotely were able to join these activities and other course meetings via Zoom. Guest lecturers included Fatimah Muhammad, Guy Trangos, and Alex Wall.
The studio was led by senior lecturer Jonathan Stitelman, in collaboration with guest faculty Doreen Adengo, Achilles Ahimbisibwe, and Patrick Gmür, as well as students from Uganda Martyrs University.
Associate professor Derek Hoeferlin, chair of landscape architecture & urban design, re-conceptualized the 2020 Global Urbanism Studio to be run completely remotely. Led by visiting assistant professor Jonathan Stitelman, this summer’s studio worked with an international network of designers across the globe, representing all of the continents plus the oceans, to understand how COVID-19, climate change, and other crises affect their regions. The studio took a multi-scalar view to balance the global interconnectedness of cities with the particularity of each urban context. Working with these guests and Sam Fox School faculty, students designed proactive, site-specific adaptations to the public realm, infrastructure, and building typologies.
“The current pandemic has exposed the interconnectedness of delicate, global networks,” Stitelman said. “In an instant, this has changed how we relate to and negotiate space and the performance criteria of the built environment. This time of uncertainty provides an opportunity to assert a vision for the ‘new-normal’ after the crisis, and to take a critical position about the value of cities and urban design to support urban resilience.”
Our invited international partners joined in instruction, lectures, invited essays, and reviews. This collaboration unveiled the significance of this moment in regions around the globe with expansiveness and particularity. Invited guests for the summer included: