Some of you are currently working on your architectural thesis, while others are trying not to think about your nearing final year in school. So we thought we’d mix it up a little today and bring to you a totally different style of approaching your thesis, done by four students from Ball State University College of Architecture and Planning. This collaboration of students proposed a group thesis where they spent a year exploring the world of design fabrication and today’s modern fabrication equipment as a business platform. And now a year out of school their company PROJECTiONE has joined the ranks of emerging architectural fabrications shops like THEVERYMANY and Bram Geenen.
SCHOOL: Ball State University
STUDENTS: Adam Buente, Kyle Perry,Elizabeth Boone, Eric Brockmeyer
COURSE: Thesis We stayed at Ball State knowing that we would have more opportunities and access to equipment than would be offered elsewhere. This was due mainly to our connection with IDF (Institute for Digital Fabrication) and the fact that we were one of very few utilizing the equipment on a daily basis, and we had a number of projects under our belt already.
Our initial goals for grad school were to develop our own interests in architecture and design, completely separate from a curriculum (mainly fabricating whatever we could dream up).Also we were developing a better working relationship with each other (the four of us at the time). This led to a number of projects pre-thesis, including reBarn and our exhibition in Florence Italy.
The thesis was a continually developing concept. We started the summer before making plans to create a 4 person collaborative thesis. The goal of that was to continue the large scale design + fab projects we were pursuing. Having four people allowed us to go larger in scale and complexity and actually gave us some power, I feel like, to go our own way. We had to present the idea to the administration and it was a bit of a battle to get it through. We had some help from supporting profs to make that happen.
The main idea was to start our business in school, get in touch with other similar groups, and learn their strategies for success and any problems encountered while at the same time developing a physical resume of a number of projects to lead towards work outside of school. The projects we did in school, along with a lot of marketing, conferences, and competitions, gave us some pretty decent credentials to start something up immediately.
The first year out of school was a lot of work learning the business side of things (which we are continually doing) and a lot of proposals and networking. We have managed to do some small scale projects and fabrication to sustain ourselves. Just recently we received a contract with Riley Hospital for Children for an installation in their Atrium, which will set us up nicely to get things off the ground. We have since signed on a shop in Muncie for the time being.
We still have a strong connection with the school and are staying local until we make our big move somewhere. Where we are going is unclear at the moment, but the drive and motivation to do what we are doing hasn’t changed since we started the thesis. The two other members of the thesis have gone on to do amazing things as well. Elizabeth is at SOM New York in their digital design group and Eric is finishing up another Masters at CMU.