“Total” education to develop an eye – and an ear – for design.

Each semester, Rice Architecture graduate students undertake an advanced design studio course, called Totalization, in which they address a specific design challenge from a multitude of angles through design, collaboration and travel. Working closely with faculty, meeting with outside experts and designing innovative solutions, students take a 360-degree approach to architectural design.

For master of architecture student Aylin Nazli, this immersive design experience has been at the heart of her Rice education.

In the fall, she took on a challenge of small proportions, physically, at least, exploring the design potential of micro-housing and co-living to alleviate the pressures of density in tightly packed Brooklyn, New York. “Our goal,” says Aylin, “was to propose a solution to this dilemma with a series of flexible units paired with a micro core that could easily multiply to accommodate anyone from single young professionals to growing families.”

Nazli and her project partner worked closely with faculty members on design concepts in the studio and met with consultants from New York-based firms to discuss structural ideas, façade design and mechanical systems. “This has been a great opportunity,” she says, “because it’s the first time I’ve had the chance to approach a design project with a more holistic perspective of all the components that contribute to architectural design.”

She has also spent time developing a new communication skill to bring design and architecture ideas to a broader audience: podcasting.

She is a producer of the student-led “Tête-à-Tête,” a podcast series of architectural conversations with architects and designers at Rice and beyond. The experience has added a new layer to her view of design discourse. “Often in architecture school we are so focused on the visual representation of our work that other modes of representation, such as audio or even video, take a back seat,” she says. “Podcasts have become a staple in people’s everyday lives, and we felt that it was important for us to use this platform to discuss topics that are important to us and to feature some amazing students, alumni and guest lecturers.”

“Graduate students bring a different kind of energy to Rice; an energy that is dedicated, focused and passionate. It is incredibly important to support graduate students for this reason alone.”

Aylin credits Rice supporters for enabling her to take full advantage of such a wide range of opportunities. “I am extremely grateful for the financial support from the university and from its gracious donors,” she says. “This support has significantly reduced any anticipated financial barriers. It’s a relief to be able to focus on my studies at this outstanding institution without additional stress.”

She also believes in supporting graduate students for the unique perspective they bring to campus. “Graduate students at Rice come from all over the world and at various stages in life. I find that graduate students bring a different kind of energy to the campus and to the university,” she says. “An energy that is dedicated, focused and passionate. It is incredibly important to support graduate students for this reason alone.”

As a Rice graduate alum, you can make an impact on graduate students and their research through the Rice Annual Fund. The Annual Fund helps the university to meet the most critical needs of our graduate students, including financial assistance, laboratory and classroom technology and student travel grants. An investment in our graduate scholars is an investment in the university’s entire research ecosystem.


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