Architecture as Catalyst is an annual week-long event, bringing new ideas, conversations, and expertise to the school by inviting guests from around the world to run experimental workshops with graduate students and give public lectures on their work. Each year, the week before spring break, first and second year graduate architecture students engage with the guests and host faculty in intensive five-day workshops, each focused around a unique set of ideas and techniques.
The primary goal of Catalyst is to raise the level of discourse about design and to provoke leaps in perception of what design can be. The workshops serve as intense, rigorous, transformative and creative sparks within the spring semester, and participants then re-engage their peer groups able to share new ways of thinking, communicating and making.
Catalyst guests have ranged from experienced educators to practitioners to artists, both within and outside the discipline of architecture. Workshops span a wide field of topics, such as parametric modeling, digital fabrication, smart materials, sensory objects, food science, filmmaking, sound recording, book arts, stereotomy and photogrammetry.