This Thesis and Design Research Studio, Material Ecologies: Unbuilding, Composting, and Regenerating the Modern World, focuses on the material flows of design and construction – their entangled labour, extraction, assembly, disassembly, and disposal – and their role in contemporary global social and ecological crises. Construction materials are the physical units of building, selected and specified for installation; they are the tangible, tactile, familiar elements of built spaces spaces. But looking at materials outside of their temporal residence in a building reveals much about the global economy of urbanization and development: of their connection to and extraction from land, at the people who live with them and transform them, at their disposal and transformation of other landscapes. All students in this studio will be developing independent thesis proposals but as a group with shared interests in the ecology of construction and how architecture is “more than itself”, we’ll share frameworks for researching, reading, writing, collaboration, and designing. Over the term we’ll explore a few recurring concepts: Unbuilding refers to the literal deconstruction of buildings, but it also refers to examining how the material flows of the last few centuries, how colonization, global capitalism, ecocide and urban growth are bound together. Composting refers to the literal processes of decay and ferment, but also to the metaphorical act of stewing, iterating, and reflecting required to develop research anew and in relation with others. And regenerating refers to the potential of material and ecological practices that support many forms of life and ways of being. By cycling through these concepts the group will engage in iterative design, research, and writing projects that ultimately lead to a thesis proposal at the end of term.