CriticalMASS Graduate Research Symposium

CriticalMASS 2017 will be held April 7. The CriticalMASS 2017 Distinguished Visiting Critic is Jenny Wu of Oyler Wu Collaborative.

Jenny Wu received her Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University before obtaining her Master of Architecture from Harvard Graduate School of Design. Jenny has previously held faculty positions at institutions including Syracuse University and Renssellaer Polytechnic Institute, while she currently holds a position at the Southern California Institute of Architecture and Columbia GSAPP.

Jenny Wu and Dwayne Oyler established Oyler Wu Collaborative in 2004. Based in Los Angeles, Oyler Wu Collaborative is an experimental architecture and design firm with work ranging from installations to large scale institutional buildings. Having received recognition for their excellence in architectural design, research, and fabrication, Oyler Wu Collaborative holds a position as a well established and respected practice. They have collaboratively written two books and continue to lecture across the world in venues such as USC, Texas Tech, Tamkang University, Arizona University, and the Angewandte in Vienna, Austria.

In 2014, in addition to her architectural practice, Jenny founded LACE, a 3D printed jewelry line. Her jewelry has been featured in several well-known publications including Forbes, People, and Elle Magazine. She has also been recognized by Porsche and Dwell Magazine as they showcased her 3D printing work and declared her a design visionary.

History of CriticalMASS

CriticalMass started in 2002. It was the idea of a handful of graduate students wishing to share thesis project work with other graduate schools of architecture from the Southeast Region. At that time, the students were interested in the idea of place and region, and the event sought to bring diverse projects from different institutions together so that the students could share, and perhaps understand, what commonalities might be present in their final project work. The students themselves identified and invited international and national architects and critics to discuss the work and to give an evening presentation. These critics have varied over the past ten years, from those interested in regionalism to those that were launching practices on a more global scale. In all cases, the critics invited reflected the students interests and the work they had been exposed to in the School of Architecture curriculum.

From the efforts of that first handful of students, CriticalMASS has fostered a tradition of collaboration and exploration across schools of architecture. Year after year, the event continues to inspire students to reach across institutional boundaries and come together with shared interests; no other such forum for cross-institution student interaction and learning currently exists. With coordination from a selected student committee and hard work from graduate student volunteers and faculty advisors, each Spring CriticalMASS hosts a series of presentations and discussions from selected students and Distinguished Guests. Each project that is presented responds to a unifying theme, but explores architectural ideas and issues independently through the lenses of technical methods, urban design, and theory.

The yearly success of CriticalMASS is a result of the effort and dedication provided from the current, first-year graduate class and continued support of the students, faculty, and local practitioners. Together we organize and integrate a unique outlet for student work that has become a respected part of the UNC Charlotte School of Architecture and a joint identity of current graduate students.

Past CriticalMASS Distinguished Guests
2002     Anderson + Anderson Architecture
2003     Pugh + Scarpa Architecture
2004     Rick Joy and Brian MacKay-Lyons
2005     Glenn Murcutt
2006     Jose Rafael Moneo
2007     SHoP
2008     Lewis. Tusrumaki.Lewis
2009     Office dA and Kieran Timberlake
2010     Bryan Bell, Marlon Blackwell, and Coleman Coker
2011     David Yocum and James Dallman
2012     Brigitte Shim 
2013     Johnsen Schmaling Architects
2014     Joshua Prince-Ramos
2015     Laurie Hawkinson
2016     Patricia Patkau