The 601 collaborative studio grows out of a desire to have students work with professionals to challenge societal problems where all parties—student, faculty, professional and client—enter into a space of uncertainty. To undertake such an enterprise requires exceptional professionals and risk-taking clients. It takes confident students who can accept a response of “I don’t know” to their questions from experts. Most of all, it requires a group willing to explore the boundaries of an issue and push to see what new horizons are possible.
In the Spring of 2013, the architecture program at the University of Maryland, found in Clark Realty Capital ,clients who were bold enough and, in Gensler, professionals who reveled in ambiguity. From the very beginning, the participants of the 601 studio knew that the “baby boomer” generation, and those who follow, were not going to live in the same places under the same conditions as their parents’ generation. This point was well documented and easily confirmed by discussions with the students’ grandparents or parents, and even the clients themselves. What was less clear was how this attitude would express itself in built realities. Clark Realty Capital charged the students to design the “iPhone” of housing with the ability to change, as necessary, by the aging. No small order!