Building ‘Common Ground’ among architectural fields

Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Seeking a way to better disseminate research across disciplines and among faculty and students, Cyrus Dahmubed created a symbiotic colloquium series and publication.

Common Ground, the name for both the speaker series and the publication, is a platform for students and faculty in the School of Architecture to connect with those in related fields, such as engineering, visual art, and photography, among others.

“This is connecting students with schools of ideas that they might not have originally thought were related to architecture,” says Dahmubed, who is a student in the Master of Architecture program. “It’s informing their research in new ways.”

The biannually-published print journal, the inaugural edition of which came out in the fall, features research, photo stories, and contributed essays meant to inspire a critical exchange of ideas and foster new research. The colloquium series the journal complements is intended to do the same, and they’re already working.

Dahmubed offers as an example students who changed the focus of their graduate research after listening to a discussion on Boston’s waterfront among associate professor Dan Adams and Marie Law Adams, lecturer of urban design at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“Students are becoming more flexible and more engaged in all the different aspects of this field,” Dahmubed says. “A lot of people think of architecture as this concrete, siloed thing, when it’s not at all. This discourse is allowing students to see that, and to be more successful in more varied jobs.”