by Wei Xuan Sean Gwee, AA 3rd Year Intermediate Unit 5
15 May 2018 Architectural Association, London  

'Improvisation: A First Resort, Not a Last Resort'


How can the act of design-through-making be achieved through improvisation to create a deliberate aesthetic of “making-do”?


Often improvisation is a deliberate and circumstantial deviation from a set script or plan. As such good improvisation can be understood to be a result of extensive preparation. This preparation is needed so as to best know when and how to deviate. It is about positioning one's self in the best possible frame of mind to be opportunistic, to be able to not just make the most of a situation, but to make the unexpected of a situation.


Over the course of analysing the improvisational acts, the complexity and complications of the process of improvisation have begun to reveal themselves.


Concluding this set of analyses, it seems that the thesis question has to be revised.


Instead of asking how improvisation can enable an aesthetic of making-do, this study now understands improvisation not as just an act or a process, but a skill.


It does not beget a specific aesthetic but instead is a skill that can be improved to enable greater acts.


Thus the new thesis question of this study is:


How can improvisation as a skill be developed and improved through analysis and reflection of design-through-making?

  For more information: Intermediate 5 Unit Brief List of Technical Studies High Pass Recipients 2018 Technical Studies at the AA