ARCH 793AB: Tactical Techniques

Instructor: John Southern

Tactical Techniques: Operative Methods for Speculative Architecture and Conceptual Pragmatism 

In contrast to the discursive conversations prevalent in 20th-century academia, which focused on artistic practices and the global exchanges of post-war modernism, the concept of the citizen architect rejects the traditional service-centric model of architectural practice. While many offices adopting this model may operate at various scales, they share similar operative methods rooted in Tactical Techniques. These approaches, drawing from the ‘boots on the ground’ ethos embraced by both social workers and the military, encompass field exploration, data gathering, exploitation of contextual systems, and engagement within specific temporal and sociological networks. They address not only physical aspects such as sites and structures but also socio-political, psychological, and technological dimensions. By embracing a blend of speculation and conceptual pragmatism, designers employing tactical techniques navigate what writer William H. Gibson terms the ‘future present’ – a reality infused with technological foresight. This understanding keeps designers ahead by fostering situational awareness and anticipation of future developments.

Visual Portfolio, Posts & Image Gallery for WordPress

Yuanqi Cui_MArch 24_Southern_City above Cities_image

City above Cities

Contemporary Asian cities grapple with a pressing issue: insufficient residential spaces in the urban core. Urban stagnation, exacerbated by restrictive zoning, fuels congestion and inflates property prices, rendering existing urban…

Michael Arias_MArch 24_Southern_Archipelago of the Line_Image

Archipelagos of the Line

“Archipelagos of the Line” explores the creative genesis of architecture, starting from the most fundamental utility at the architect’s disposal: the line. This speculative approach attempts to tackle the daunting…

Jerry Ayala_MArch 24_Southern__Divison of the Intangible_image (1)

/Divison of the Intangible

While political agendas and colonial presences have blurred the intangible barriers of sovereignty, the border has transformed into a new spatial element breaking free from its traditional framework of demarcation…

Ekta Shreyakar_MArch24_Southern_Reimaging the Remnants Post Expo


“Reimagining the Remnants: Transformative Strategies for Post-Expo Sites” explores the potential of repurposing expo site remnants to spur architectural innovation, cultural revitalization, and sustainable urban development. This thesis employs a…

Daniela Marentes_MArch 24_Southern_Reassesing the American Dream_image


In the case of Los Angeles, the necessity for future expansion has been curtailed by the prevalence of single-family housing. As the population continues to increase, the question arises: What…

Alexandra Gauthier_MArch 24_Southern_Dream City_image

Dream City: Hijacking the Void 

Dream City recognizes the potential of liminal and underutilized spaces within the contemporary metropolis. It re-imagines the void alley network of DTLA as a threshold to alternate urban possibilities. This…

Alanna Duncan Taylor_MArch 24_Southern_Autoconstruction in the Caribbean_image

Autoconstruction in the Caribbean

The Caribbean house in the context of the inner-city is a product of autoconstruction, where the resident embodies several roles as the architect and builder. This process results in an…