“It seems like architecture is in an in-between place right now. Nobody can really tell you what it is.”

-Thom Mayne (Conversation #1)

In this inaugural issue of Babble, we prompted our peers to submit a single image of a project (process photo, sketch, finished drawing, or something generally provocative) with a statement on its meaning to them. Simultaneously, we reached out to faculty and visiting critics to establish formal conversations that would unpack the diverse fields of interests that make up our school’s pedagogical approach. We wanted to unearth the connective tissue that links the work being done at PennDesign with a broader discourse of architecture. In doing so, we took on the challenge of addressing the identity crisis that exists within our school, as a product of these varied pedagogies. While cohesion with a multiplicity of approaches can be challenging to identify, we have tackled this issue through a multimodal approach that allows the medium to be the message.

The ‘babbling’ of this first issue takes place between students, practitioners, and academics with varying design interests. From talks on contingency within architecture to the relationship between fiction and function, we started to identify commonalities. What is architecture’s role in the field of idiosyncratic thinkers? What opportunities does engaging with abstraction, subversion, and realism open up for young designers? How do we mitigate variation in an excitingly diverse time in architecture? While it is impossible to fully flesh out and remediate issues of identity in a single publication, the intention behind Babble is to understand a multifaceted approach to architecture that relies on and celebrates the constant feedback loop required to progress design. How we identify ourselves within a global design discourse is reliant on our ability to converse, synthesize, and reposition.




Babble Talks

With the profs. Up close, and personal.



First and foremost,

as students, we are engaged in conversation with our peers, and seek to position this publication as an open platform for developing ideas and voices within the field of design. Secondly, as editors, we seek to synthesize the acquired content to freshly position the diverse opinions and ideas from PennDesign on architectural research and practice into an annual publication. How we theorize, design, and engage in constant feedback loop of conversation as an institution, and within the design field, is the core of Babble’s mission.

Founded in 2017,

Babble is a student led and founded publication on architecture from the University of Pennsylvania School Of Design. It serves as a retrospective culmination of the varying pedagogical approaches that our school engages with over the course of the prior academic year; A synthesis of the babbling that exists within our school, distilled and made digestible. Babble provides a look at PennDesign’s diversified approach to architectural making, thinking, and subsequently, practicing, as a broad spectrum of student projects and essays, paired with a focused series of impromptu “babbles” with current critics, faculty, and practitioners.



Ryan Barnette, Keven Bloomfield, Mitchell Chisholm, Caitlin Dashiell, Caleb Ehly, Madison Green, Celia Y. Hao, Elizabeth Heldridge, Nikita Jathan, Ira Kapaj, Megan Khunakridatikarn, Ian Lai, Dani Lands, Andrew Matia, Paul McCoy, Kurt Nelson, Gary Polk, Peik Shelton, and Megan York


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