The Glue Studio explored architecture’s capacity to sponsor social change. Given the challenge of a world where so many things seem to be changing, including the way we live, eat, move, and communicate, it is a truism that change has emerged as the central rallying cry and coping mechanism du jour. If change points to the instance of something becoming different, it in no way guarantees change for the better or change for the common good. Paradoxically, the contemporary conviction that change is virtuous points to the corollary sentiment that things can’t get much worse. In light of the ascendant disciplinary concern with change and its underlying anxieties, the Glue Studio set out to understand both strategic and less instrumentalized applications of change as a design methodologies. Subsequently, the studio tested novel techniques to assess, predict, represent, and guide change in the urban environment, developing a critical, indeterminate and anticipatory approach to design as a management tool for rapid change and the vulnerabilities that it induces.


Now if things are changing at an unprecedented clip, it should come as no surprise that the disciplinary boundaries of architecture should be changing as well. Appropriately, the Glue Studio, liberating the architect from the role of dogmatic creator, positions design within a complex and contingent network of interested people (consultants, policy-makers, developers, industry specialists, residents, and activists). The resultant approach locates architecture as a possible urban strategy where the architect occupies a myriad of roles (designer, negotiator, manager, organizer, and sleuth). Playing the part of an allegorical “binding agent” between multiple constituents requires significant exploratory overhead as well as a commitment to collaborative processes.


The studio focused on the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France, and the results of the semester’s research were been submitted to the Lille Design for Change 2015 International Competition and Colloquium.


Lille, France, 2015


Faculty: Anya Sirota


Studio: Linnea Cook, Jay Dragon, Youngtack Oh, Andrew Davis, Alina Granville, Carol Nung, Charlie Gaidica, Laura Kiyokane, Martina Stoycheva


Award: Merit Award for Hound me, Fox you: a Guide to Counter Foxiness by Linnea Cook, Youngtack Oh, Andrew Davis



The studio was made possible through the support of Lille Design for Change, the University of Michigan Experiential Learning Fund and Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning.