Thursday, March 5, 2020
Events available via livestream are denoted with an “*.”
SESSION: Decolonizing Architectural Pedagogies
Thursday, March 5, 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art Auditorium
"Indigenous Lessons of Continuity and Connectivity Within the Design Studio" (David Fortin, Laurentian University)
There has always been an uncomfortable relationship between Indigenous peoples and the idea of boundary. Not only was/is the boundary a spatial tool for their control during the colonial exercise, but it also fundamentally opposes many Indigenous perceptions of continuity and connectivity. The design studio has mostly had similar boundaries – temporally and spatially. It follows the rigidity of the academic calendar in order to meet deadlines and degree requirements, as well as methods of assessment. Topics are most often rigidly linked to individual faculty members and their research interests. Thus, the studio is often defined, and contained, by the pedagogical aims of one or a few individuals at a time within the confines of institutional scheduling.
As Canada’s newest professional program, the McEwen School of Architecture (est. 2013) emerged from Laurentian University’s existing tri-cultural mandate (Anglophone, Francophone, and Indigenous). The entire curriculum was thus structured around exploring how Indigenous knowledge could guide a different kind of pedagogy for architectural learning. Now in its seventh year, some of these lessons are becoming clearer. The paper will expand on how Indigenous knowledge and community-based initiatives have impacted studio teaching at the school by highlighting the ways in which student and faculty efforts transgress the traditional boundaries of the studio. Examples include working with indigenous Elders and Knowledge Carriers within the studio, building traditional artifacts and working with regional communities. Such projects aim to fulfill the conventional requirements for architectural exploration, but with an emphasis on building relationships over time. These projects offer a different sense of the studio as not something that contains ideas, but rather expands the student experience into the world and positions them as contributors towards much larger narratives. Values related to the interconnectedness of all things become central to the studio experience in potentially transformative ways.
"Repositioning Center: Methods for Shifting the Diversity Discussion to Action" (Kiwana T. McClung, University of Louisiana at Lafayette)
In her book, When Ivory Towers Were Black, Sharon Egretta Sutton outlines how in the late 1960s the Columbia University School of Architecture and Division of Planning and Preservation changed its recruiting methods and curriculum, responding to the heightened social climate of the time. During this period, the school experienced a spike in ethnic minority numbers, producing practitioners and scholars who have today become leaders in their respective areas. The change lasted less than a decade, however, with several power shifts and transitions in leadership causing a reversion to the old, traditional architectural educational model. It would be facile to posit that what happened at the Columbia University GSAPP was just an anomaly; I assert, however, that this brief revolution revealed what architectural education could be and will have to eventually become if the profession is to evolve for our ever-changing and diversifying society. Engaging in discussions about diversity in architecture while continuing to center architectural education in traditional methods of consideration and delimited perspective is tautological; it must be acknowledged that the profession’s representational disparities are intrinsically linked to how the profession is branded, the way aspiring designers are recruited, the methods by which students in schools of architecture are retained, and how pedagogies dispose students to serve the public. Creating a more inclusive profession requires the retention of minority students. Retention should be addressed by building a culture of inclusion and empathy within studios, championing the efforts of student organizations, and altering pedagogical approaches to allow for divergent perspectives. Considering how certain studio projects can be charged with unintentional religious or racial animus and addressing these social deviations could likewise help in retaining students of color. This paper will explore the layered and multifarious approaches taken to attract, retain, and prepare students to practice in an ever-diversifying world.
"Decolonizing Practice: Teaching Design Justice as Self-Determination" (R. Chris Daemmrich, JAWS*2)
In “Black Vernacular: Architecture as Cultural Practice,” Bell Hooks writes that, “Narratives of resistance struggle from slavery to the present share an obsession with the politics of space; indeed, Black folks equated freedom with the passage into a life where they would have the right to exercise control over space on their own behalf, where they would imagine, design, and create spaces that would respond to the needs of their lives, their communities, their families.”
Today many within the fields of architecture, design, and planning challenge the hegemonic Whiteness, and sometimes the maleness and cisheteronormativity, of these disciplines. Practitioners and theorists seek “design justice” as a response to the systematic exclusion of those without White, male, cisheteronormative, and class power and privilege from these fields, and a means of democratizing practice to create the condition of self-determination and freedom of which hooks writes.
As the Black freedom movement in the 1950s and 60s was motivated by the murders of Emmitt Till, four little girls in Birmingham, and others, contemporary movements are shaped by the murders of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland and others. Students and practitioners motivated to organize by White supremacist and misogynistic violence are continuing a tradition that has sustained visions of survival, intervention and liberation going back to the eras of enslavement and Jim Crow.
This paper will consider histories of design for racial justice in America through postcolonial and intersectional lenses, incorporating design justice theory, Friereian freedom pedagogy, critical race theory, and feminist critical race theory. Interventions like NOMA, Black in Design, Spaces and Places, the Design Justice Network, Equity by Design and Women in Architecture will be considered as manifestations of social movements responding to neocolonialist, White supremacist and misogynist violence, some more and some less successful at creating necessary “spaces of freedom.”
"Indeterminate Territories: Latin American Informal Urbanism as Provocation and Pedagogical Turn" (Gregory Marinic, University of Cincinnati, and Pablo Meninato, Temple University)
The term ‘formal’ identifies the city ordained according to master plans, its ordering is expressed in urban and architectural form, and in turn, is manifested as a normative political, cultural, economic, and social construct. The notion of ‘informal,’ on the other hand, is understood as the opposite: the improvised, disordered, chaotic, and kinetic, as an urban fabric with socio-economic flows in a continual state of emergency and change. In recent years, informal urbanism has gained greater interest from architects, designers, planners, educators, and theorists as an area of community advocacy and critical practices. This discourse has become increasingly relevant in Latin America, where the percentage of the population living in slums increases every year.
Theory can, and should, inform design inquiries, and yet architectural discourse is often divided between those who concentrate on ‘theory’ and those who dedicate themselves to ‘practice.’ Conventional biases assume that theorists do not affect architectural practice, while at the same time, practitioners are perceived to lack the ability to articulate substantive theoretical thoughts. While the split between theory and practice largely defines the discourse of contemporary architecture, in the incipient field of informal urbanism, several Latin American architects are developing an alternative posture. The works of Teddy Cruz, Fonna Forman, Alejandro Echeverri, Douglas Dreher, Jorge Jáuregui, and Flavio Janches are nurtured through community engagement, writings, workshops, and academic design studios that shape an expanded field where theory and practice are inevitably intertwined.
This proposal casts its lens on informal urbanism as a theoretical proposition and pedagogical opportunity from the dual perspectives of practitioners and educators. Using case studies, it asserts that design practice and teaching pedagogies must be “reexamined” or “decolonized” within a global context shaped by increasing socio-political instability, resource depletion, environmental abuse, and climate change. A critical approach to practice and teaching implies reconfiguring the dominant paradigms in architecture and urbanism, whereby designers embrace multidisciplinary theories and challenge the hegemonic autonomy of technology or the visual seduction of uncritical form-making. Furthermore, this proposal will demonstrate how a US-based graduate architecture-urban design studio expanded its world view through cross-cultural engagement with the Global South. Here, informal urbanism de-territorialized normative expectations to reveal transnational and intersectional perspectives on metropolitan futures.
SESSION: Do Not Try to Remember: Pedagogy in Transition
Thursday, March 5, 10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art Auditorium
"Becoming Cosmopolitan Citizens Architects: A Report From the Deans of the Schools of Architecture of the Nordic Baltic Academy of Architecture (NBAA)" (Massimo Santanicchia, University of Iceland & Iceland University of the Arts)
This paper answers the question of: what should 21st-century architecture programs include to address professional education and practice? This question is explored in the context of the sixteen schools of architecture that form the Nordic Baltic Academy of Architecture. In particular, it is based on twelve in-depth conversations conducted with the deans of KADK Copenhagen, Chalmers Gothenburg, AHO Oslo, BAS Bergen, VGTU Vilnius, VDA Vilnius, RTU Riga, EKA Tallinn, Aalto in Helsinki, NTNU in Trondheim, and Oulu, and Tuni Tampere school of architecture.
The twelve schools were visited for at least three days period. During the visit, three extensive interviews were conducted with the deans, educators, and students. In total forty-six direct open-ended interviews took place between October 2018 and January 2019. This paper focuses on reporting the deans’ voices across northern Europe. Four questions ignited the dialogues:
- What is the first thing that we should teach a student in architecture?
- What skills should students have after studying architecture?
- How should these skills be taught?
- How can the education of an architect be of special importance to our society?
The interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed through the work of Kathy Charmaz: Abbreviated Constructing Grounded Theory. This paper documents both the wide variety in which architecture education is manifested across the schools of the NBAA network and the current deans’ understanding and intentions on architectural education.
By analyzing these interviews, a consequent theory has been sketched. The theory suggests that architectural education should support developing confidence, competence, and communication, by inciting students to become political figures, agents of spatial change, public intellectuals, and storytellers. I call this theory cosmopolitan citizenship in architecture.
Cosmopolitan is defined as a person whose primary allegiance is towards the entire world (Nussbaum, 1994) while citizenship education is intended as a critical tool to develop social awareness and action (Giroux, 1980).
"A Template for a Speculative Pedagogy" (Ellen Donnelly, University of Nebraksa—Lincoln, and Marc Maxey, University of Nebraska—Lincoln)
This paper will synthesize the outcomes of a curriculum charrette, organized by paper co-authors, and presented at this fall’s ACSA Less Talk More Action conference. Entitled “The New SPC,” the Speculative Pedagogical Charrette will propose an institutionally unencumbered new school of architecture. Unlike recent experiments in design education including the Free School of Architecture or the University of the Underground, this paper will put forward a curriculum for an architectural program that is not post-professional but professionally inclined. Here, “professionally inclined” actively reconsiders what it means to practice architecture and seeks to position the academic and the professional on a friendly spectrum of practice.
The paper will introduce a brief history unpacking the institutional tightening of architecture practice and architectural education, including the various evolutions of the AIA, ACSA, NCARB, and NAAB. Similarly, a selection of 20th century experimental pedagogies/institutions including Escuela e Instituto de Arquitectura PUCV (Valparaiso, Chile) and SCI-Arc, and experimental studios like Venturi and Scott-Brown’s Learning from Las Vegas (which encapsulated an entire semester’s credit hours into the studio structure) will provide precedent and inspiration.
The curriculum charrette and paper will ask the following questions, and more: if architectural pedagogy is temporarily liberated from the degree requirements of universities, the onerous requirements of NAAB, and the expectations of the AIA, what do we prioritize in architectural education? Moreover, how do we structure teaching to convey these priorities? What should be taught in terms of skill and technique? How do we prioritize design over the design of a narrative? Should architectural education be more (or less) integrated between the studio and supporting courses? What should the duration of an architectural education be?
The charrette and paper seek to change the status quo, to question our institutions, our relationship to and with them. The charrette seeks participants who recognize that true change cannot happen within our current institutions of higher learning and desire a dialogue fostering diversity of voices, multiplicity of perspectives, and the celebration of individual thought to create a more collaborative and cooperative way towards pedagogical change.
"Computational Literacy: A Pedagogical Framework for 21st Century Making and Thinking" (Nick Senske, Iowa State University)
A fundamental skill missing from 21st-century architectural pedagogy is computational literacy: the set of skills and knowledge that a person needs in order to leverage the potential of the computer as a design medium. As an objective, literacy is different than how computing tends to be taught because it entails not only using technology (reading = operating tools and software) but also creating technology (writing = modifying and programming). This paper applies cross-disciplinary research from educational psychology and computer science to situate computational literacy within existing discourses on learning and proposes a reconsideration of design curricula in response.
What this paper aims to debunk is an underlying assumption in architectural education that computing does not need to be taught as anything more than a technical skill. The myth of students as “digital natives” along with the proliferation of online tutorials has fostered a culture of negligent autodidactism and resulted in a cut-and-paste software-driven aesthetic in schools. An outcome of this implicit pedagogy is that architecture students see the computer as a mere tool. They rigidly pursue inefficient and ineffective workflows with little understanding of what their programs are doing. Instead, computational literacy posits that the computer is a powerful vehicle for thinking and that there are explicit pedagogical strategies for helping students develop both craft and understanding.
The concept of literacy argues that knowledge of computation is fundamental, not exceptional. Within this framework, teaching computational literacy is a method of increasing access and equity in architectural education. It can make one a more mindful and effective use of technology today, and it will be critical in the future as computational design is further integrated into architecture through big data, artificial intelligence, robotics, and technologies yet to be invented.
"Architecture Revisits Math & Science – Computation in a Visual Thinking Pedagogy" (Robert Brackett, Pratt Institute)
This paper aims to make a case for the greater integration of computational logic and principles in core architectural pedagogies through a curriculum of visual thinking. The mathematics of geometry and computation present abstract problems often not well suited for students attracted to the profession of architecture. However, architecture students typically are strong visual thinkers, and this is where we should focus on pedagogical interfaces. Reflecting upon the work of Christopher Alexander in his Pattern Language and Notes on The Synthesis of Form, we can develop a curriculum that is highly visual and social with an integration layer of computational systems. Human brains have great processing and synthesizing capabilities, and they can be trained with difficult problems incorporating multiple ways of thinking. Curriculums should introduce students to concepts of vector-based math, geometry, calculus, matrices and data sets, visual programming, and scripting to build students’ computer literacy through visual problem-solving. These mathematical concepts have practical applications to the industry through computer science, data management, and most importantly, large scale systems thinking.
Computation and mathematics are the foundations of architecture’s primary mediums of thinking and communicating ideas, drawing, modeling, rendering, analyzing, and constructing buildings. The further we distance ourselves from the fundamental operations of mathematics and now computation, the more we risk becoming obsolete in the process. Computer programs can model buildings based on context, select and specify parts and systems from catalogs, and produce drawings and assembly instructions from these models. This is all programmed by computer engineers from outside the discipline. For now, that leaves the architect in a narrow domain of design and visual aesthetics, that too will quickly be subsumed into the highly trained machine algorithms programmed and deployed at massive scales. These machine constructions operate at the social/cultural scale, a place suited for the critical position and service of architects. The education of an architect should provide students with critical knowledge and skills that position them to define the parameters of automation, and challenge the computer programmers with radical ideas, communicated in shared language mathematics, one visual, the other abstract.
SESSION: Engaging Design-Build Pedagogy
Thursday, March 5, 2:45 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art Auditorium
"Beyond the Build" (Christopher Trumble, University of Arizona)
Educational Design Build is the pedagogical art and science of negotiating reality through creativity, making, and performance. It has a broad spectrum and takes many diverse forms including the studio-based practice model, elective-based experimental installations, artistic performance, and building technology pedagogies. Common to all these interpretations is the dimension of reality, arguably its most unique and valuable contribution to the architectural academy. Reality introduces conditions, constraints, and opportunities comprised of people, materials, fabrication processes, environmental conditions, gravity and use (Design-Build Gone South, Gjertson + Trumble). EDB is a wellspring of opportunities and challenges that are in marked contrast to the hypothetical paradigm of the conventional architectural design studio.
This paper presents a case study of the pedagogical delivery of “The Sonoran Pentapus,” a design-build project comprised of a steel gridshell pavilion and an integrated landscape, entirely designed and constructed by students in serial studios. This project was facilitated and delivered through the Thinking While Doing grant, a 2.49m (CAD) international multi-university collaboration charged to research best practices in Educational Design Build.
The Pedagogy is defined in four dimensions: 1) Educere; the Latin root of the word education meaning “to draw out” 2) Pragmatism; in the philosophical sense, consequence 3) Collaboration; the construction of consensus through individual contributions and 4) Practice Laboratory; an opportunity for students to experience and question procedures, rationales and organizational structures. The pedagogy employs qualitative performance criteria, large format communication boards, preliminary planning and post reflection sessions for construction events and collaborative meetings, and bi-weekly anonymous evaluations of each studio member and faculty by every other.
"Theory and Design-Build" (Ted Cavanagh, Dalhousie University)
Architects have long been interested how buildings can incorporate social change and technological innovation. Design-build teaches students about the processes of social change and technical innovation by constructing actual buildings. However, most of the work, despite laudable social and technical aspirations, is ill-defined and rarely analyzed either socially, technologically, or architecturally. In other words, live-project education is under-theorized. The field of technology studies is ideally suited to contribute to theory. Both the design studio and the building site are a locus of technology, socially constructed. Here, social groups engage in the socio-technical processes of designing, building, and learning. Actor Network Theory (ANT) sees design as a process of recollecting, reinterpreting, and reassembling the social; sees construction as a process of reorganizing the material world through social agreement; and sees learning as the interaction between the social world of teaching and the material world of tacit engagement.
While ANT scholarship is just starting to analyze architecture in a typical essay, a detail of theory is developed and expounded, then supported by a just single case study. Design-build frequently models itself on architectural practice, which has little interest in advancing theory or generalizing from the particular building project. This paper searches across this theory/practice divide for multiple connections to ANT theory from the point of view of design-build. It surveys theory that relates ANT to buildings and design, highlighting relevant aspects. It draws on well-established theoretical discussions such as those about participatory design, laboratory design, and prototyping in order to advance design-build practice and theory. It explores emerging areas with theory-building potential, such as controversy mapping. And, it investigates knowledge transfer (learning) in design and construction during a controlled experiment involving five similar buildings designed and built with students from different schools of architecture. It concludes by summarizing how ANT can be an effective way of critically evaluating design-build work.
"From Project to Project: The Opportunities and Challenges of Place-Based Research" (Mackenzie Stagg, Auburn University)
Harnessing applied student research developed through design-building projects at Auburn University Rural Studio, the Front Porch Initiative aims to develop a scalable, sustainable, and resilient process for delivering homes in underserved rural communities. Student research forms the basis for the Initiative’s work, which extends the reach and impact of the work through collaboration with housing providers and builders.
A unique process of prototype home development and refinement/versioning of the homes engages students in the research of home affordability at different points in their architectural education. Undergraduate students in their fifth year of study undertake a comprehensive project: designing, developing, and ultimately building a prototype home for a local client in Rural Studio’s West Alabama service area. Third-year undergraduate students then utilize those prototypes for in-depth study and development of a specific topic related to contemporary issues in housing, such as accessibility, energy performance, material research, or emerging building technologies. Faculty working on the Front Porch Initiative are able to synthesize that information and deliver it as products to housing providers outside of Rural Studio’s service area.
Currently, student research is driven by the particular demands of creating housing in the rural communities of West Alabama. This provides students the opportunity to deeply investigate and respond to local conditions, a key component of Auburn Rural Studio’s teaching philosophy. However, as the Front Porch Initiative continues to expand the geographic, climactic, and socio-cultural footprint of the housing research, we face new and different challenges and opportunities presented by other localities. As we move forward, we work to better understand how the local and particular can inform a broader conversation on rural housing, while educating the next generation of citizen architects.
"Agency in the Education of an Architect: Models of Engagement Toward Empowering Students" (Michelle Pannone, Marywood University)
The disparity between education and practice has dominated academic discourse for the better half of a century, however, what is oftentimes forgotten is the impact that agency plays in architectural education, and in turn, a student’s presence and contributions within the future of the built environment. Integrating haptic, tangible and easily recognizable social implications alongside traditional didactic models in architectural education will engender a sense of empowerment and obligation to a larger social authority. Implemented as an experimental design-build course, the intention is to enable students to apply their understanding of the design thinking process and knowledge of architectural principles in their community. Leveraging the next generation of thinkers by empowering them to apply their skills for the betterment of society is critical to the future. To achieve this, we must challenge traditional didactic models in architectural education.
A lecture on socially responsible architecture is a great start but falls short of the same rigor the components of a masonry wall section are evaluated in the context of architectural education. Arguably, agency is equally essential to young designers. Therefore not only addressing but actively pursuing engagement in the context of their education transforms their academic experience from a passive learner to an active participant. Therefore as an educator, pedagogical approaches to address this skill set and thought process into a college curriculum is essential to ensure that the future change-makers are well equipped to handle pressing problems in public space. To develop this methodology, research is drawn from environmental psychology and participatory planning to further pursue the opportunities for public space to be a better reflection of the complex relationship between people and the built environment.
The specific course that is the case study of this talk engages students across a variety of levels, pushes them outside their comfort zone to collaborate with other departments and administrators and stakeholders to truly understand the inner workings at the scale of a community. Alongside technical skills, how can we address the methods to develop students’ skills set working with and through local and political actors? The outcomes, presented through a case study of an experimental course further exemplifies how architecture students employ the concepts of environmental psychology and participatory planning in action, within the context of a semester-long design-build, to create a more integrated user-driven approach to architectural education.
SESSION: Participatory Design and Community Engagement
Thursday, March 5, 4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art Auditorium
"Igniting Community Through Engaged Teaching" (Nils Gore, University of Kansas, and Shannon Criss, University of Kansas)
Much of what we consider to be traditional teaching practices have been formed within the limits of a classroom setting, buried within a disciplinary focus. Yet, our students face great societal, economic, and environmental challenges. We must ask what are we educating our students for? Do traditional models prepare our undergraduate and graduate students for a dynamic and changing world? Service-learning gets students involved in thinking creatively in the context of real-world issues for how to address pressing community needs in partnership with community organizations. In this paper, community-engaged teaching and service-learning will be illuminated by highlighting four diverse pedagogical approaches. This paper will provide new considerations of how to integrate or advance service-learning through courses: 1) learn by designing and making; 2) learn by cross-disciplinary engagement; 3) learn by engaging in other fields and cultures; 4) learn by serving in the pipeline. The proposed paper presentation will provide an opportunity for interactive dialogue and reflection with session participants to consider how to integrate or advance service-learning through their courses.
"In Order to Understand People, First Pretend to be a Hammer: The Utility of Improvisational Theatre and Non-Human Design Scholarship to Overcome Bias in Undergraduate Studio Exercises" (Trudy Watt, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee)
Community-engaged design keeps falling short of achieving its goal: regular, healthy alliances between designers and communities, resulting in high-integrity realized design no matter the demographics of the neighborhood. There is more often than not, however, a painful gap between what architects want to build and what the community wants to see built.
As designers and educators, we have to do a great deal of work to overcome the training that instructs us not to see the value in the aesthetics of the marginalized communities we seek to engage. This paper addresses the ways that design pedagogy rooted in improvisational theater and scholarship around non-human entities can serve to sensitize students (tomorrow’s practitioners and educators) to architecture’s European bias. To achieve equitable community-engaged design practice, students need oblique strategies to overcome near-inescapable design culture and human point-of-view biases.
Scholarship around non-human entities makes space in the discipline for exercises like this in which students invest in exploring the point-of-view of a non-human entity. Scholarship around non-human entities is also instructive in the ways that many humans are treated as less than or not fully human in practice
References to improv theatre provide levity and medium unfamiliarity that dilutes student instincts to seek the right answers. References to theatre, in general, amplify the understanding that we are playing a role – and the performance of one role (non-human entity in the neighborhood) momentarily eclipses the performance of another role (pre-professional Architect).
In this way, the inescapability of our human point-of-view is simultaneously acknowledged and explicitly set aside for the duration of the site-analysis exercise.
Early experiments with this pedagogical approach showed promise in a 5th-year undergraduate capstone studio at Jefferson University focused on how architects (a largely privileged population) can form alliances with communities experiencing gentrification (a largely marginalized population).
"Putting Participation into Practice: Strategies for Evolving Architecture" (Jodi Dubyoski, FORM Coalition)
For decades, schools of architecture have included hands-on education in their curriculums in the form of design-build studios; often, these studio experiences are guided by a social mission and employ participatory methods. In other cases, university community design centers provide opportunities for students to engage with community members on real-world projects. My own academic experience (which was far from unusual) involved the former, beginning with a summer studio focused on asset-based community development and participatory engagement framed within a design-build experience that launched me on a career-long path.
Being confronted with a profession that conducts business as usual while academia is grooming a generation of socially responsible architects is jarring for new graduates. Today’s professionals approaching mid-career are unsatisfied with outdated business models that do not address contemporary concerns about social impact. Barriers to participatory engagement in practice include hourly billing that discourages clients from commissioning non-mandatory stakeholder engagement, as well as a culture of pro-bono work that ultimately accelerates burnout and devalues professional services. New ways of thinking require new ways of doing business.
Today’s practitioners are seeking more sustainable methods of integrating the participatory strategies they employed in academia into contemporary practice. Drawing on extensive research conducted on the history of community design during my Master of Architecture and using illustrations from my path—a student during the post-Katrina era to owning a community design practice—I’ll propose strategies for challenging current models of practice. Specifically, I’ll demonstrate how my current work with private landowners and non-profit economic development groups incorporates participatory methods learned during my academic experience, borrowing from an interdisciplinary range of sources including anthropology, sociology, and planning, as well as others who are disrupting the status quo of delivering creative services.
"The Hidden Ground: Pawnee Natives Uncovering the Ecology of Their Ancestral Wisdom to Augment the Design Process" (Awilda Rodriguez Carrion, Oklahoma State University)
In the last two decades, there has been a trend in the design community to promote social equity and emphasize the ethical responsibility of design. Community participation, programming, and post-occupancy evaluations have given voice and cemented a more democratic design process where users, clients, and community thru a process called participatory design affect the final architecture product. This modus operandi becomes more vital when dealing with sub-cultures that historically have felt marginalized from the main dominant culture. In the United States, there is great diversity among Native Americans, but our mainstream culture tends to see them as a homogeneous group focusing on their commonalities rather than discovering and understanding individual tribal values. With the blind acceptance of generalizations about any sub-culture, we may miss the critical details that shape the opportunity to showcase their uniqueness and celebrate their differences.
Within the studio context, what learning modalities are best to implement participatory and constructivist learning experiences? Traditionally, studio teaching with project-based design focuses on students learning formal considerations of design such as theory, environmental/structural performance, and implementation of regulatory measures. The Participatory Design Model (PDM) differs in its approach by focusing on a modus operandi that emerges from all players. It does not dictate design but creates an environment that allows it to emerge through the process and interactions. The PDM process prioritizes collective synergy and creativity using participation techniques to allow for alternatives solutions.
In response to an inquiry by the Pawnee Native American Tribe that invited us to investigate a proper approach to conduct design propositions within their land, this paper will report the lessons learned from the process and will exhibit alternate ways of implementing design ideas, methodologies that expand the boundaries of academia while reaching out to native communities.
SESSION: Poster Session (Reception-style)
Thursday, March 5, 6:15 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Gould Hall Buskuhl Gallery
"Anotherness in Design Education: Studying Across Cultures" (Sarah A. Ra, Oklahoma State University)
The roots of modern social problems emerge from a lack of a qualitative understanding of other cultures and the willingness to truly engage other perspectives. The current social and political climate confirms this. In order to decolonize architectural pedagogies, we must begin and end with student perspective. While we can provide immersive cultural experiences through study abroad and exchange programs, how can we bring anotherness (1) into the classroom? Anthropologist Laura Nader, in her surprisingly prescient 1972 manifesto on perspectives, called for “studying up” (2). She postulated that western researchers must not look at other cultures as stand-alone subjects, but also at ourselves; to place effort in studying the colonizer as much as the colonized. For fruitful social progress, we must investigate all aspects in order to remove the limitations of otherness.
In his book “Japan-ness in Architecture,” architect Arata Isozaki takes a circular reference approach to understanding what makes the architecture of Japan essentially Japanese (3). By taking a non-linear path to studying Japanese architecture and western influence, he is able to unravel reciprocal influences and to express a truly Japanese viewpoint. This paper will investigate anotherness; shifting how we consider other cultures through a current study abroad course to Asia, as well as in the classroom via a theory course on East Asian Architecture. By taking a cross-cultural approach, both of these courses attempt to develop broad student perspectives through fostering anotherness, giving agency, visibility, and voice in an equitable manner.
- Mikhail Bakhtin, Toward a Philosophy of the Act, trans. Vadim Liapunov (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1993). 1-77.
- Laura Nader, “Up the Anthropologist – Perspectives Gained from Studying Up,” Reinventing Anthropology, ed. Dell Hymes (New York: Pantheon, 1972), 284-311.
- Arata Isozaki, Japan-ness in Architecture, trans. Sabu Kohso (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2011), 3-21.
"campARCH: Building Blocks" (James Michael Tate, Texas A&M University)
Building Blocks is a week-long workshop introducing high school students from Texas to architectural concepts and ways of working.
Collaboration, part-to-whole relationships, and drawing conventions are the focus. An interactive installation is a centerpiece. The forty blocks range from classic platonic solids to irregular faceted prisms and encourage open-ended assemblies. After an introductory lecture each day, campers reconfigure the blocks as:
– Primitive Huts and Vernacular Shelters
– Linear / Axis
– Centralized / Radial
– Grid Ordering Logics
– Compact Blocks with Figural Voids
– Typological Forms
The bigness of the blocks engages the scale of the human body; they’re larger than typical architectural models yet when assembled, they are miniature spatial constructions. Their size provokes students to consider architecture’s relationship to lived experience and objectified representational vantage points. Building Blocks emphasizes the set of exchanges that happen in architecture between knowledge, representation, built form, and reflection. In each act of translation, students mine the potential for architecture as a collective endeavor. They are introduced to ways architects use parts to imagine, strategize, and craft whole spatial constructs. We unpack the hierarchies and meanings embedded in different approaches to composing and organizing architecture.
"Comics: A Visual Format for Co-Teaching Design and Writing" (Sacha Frey, Pratt Institute, and Robert Brackett, Pratt Institute)
A fundamental tension exists between the visual communication of architectural drawing and the literary communication of writing. Drawings are non-linear, open to exploration, guided by contrast and hierarchy and inherently visual. Written text is read in a specific order based on the conventions of the language; it builds the image sequentially, relying on the concepts and biases of the reader. An architectural drawing conveys a singular image of an idea while each word in a text brings layers of meaning and generative potential. How then do we develop models of teaching that can bridge these two conflicting ways of conveying ideas, the images of drawing and language? This paper explores the co-teaching relationship between architecture design faculty and humanities writing faculty at Pratt Institute to integrate visual and linguistic thinking in a studio environment through the medium of the Comic.
Over fifteen semesters of paired teaching with Professor Sacha Frey in the first-year architecture studio sequence, we have explored and developed many strategies for integrating writing, both generative and descriptive, with design work. Our most successful format for connecting the two disparate mediums has been adopting strategies from Comic design. The Comic provides a semi-sequential, but not necessarily linear, framework of windows into a project at multiple scales. Primary influence developed from the work of Chris Ware’s Building Stories and Scott McCloud’s Time Frames – Understanding Comics. By adopting a medium that is a text-graphic hybrid from outside either discipline, we decolonize both specializations and provide greater access to participation for all our Students, native and nonnative English-speakers. Traditional and experimental architectural drawings can operate together on a single page due to the ability to isolate local content. Text can operate at multiple scales to notate specific conditions of form and program within the frame and negotiate the space between frames with local narratives connecting non-linear moments within a project. Students can build writing into their design process by creating iterations of comic sequences. The visual format operates similarly to traditional architecture drawing sets with the text refocusing the content on telling multiple simultaneous stories within a project.
"Design Thinking Circularity Between Analog and Digital" (Otto (Adulsak) Chanyakorn, Kansas State University)
This research focuses on the circularity of design thinking between analog and digital modes of visual communication and representation. In academia, there is a distinct barrier between analog and digital modes in architectural visual communication as vehicles for design thinking. Proponents of the analog method view sketching or physical model-making as the best way to initiate design thinking for beginner students, while others see more benefit in using digital tools such as three-dimensional modeling to initiate the design process. In actual practice, being able to utilize both methods in the design thinking process is necessary. The ability to circulate back and forth between both methods will strengthen architectural design abilities. Yet, just as critical is the ability to evaluate each tool for each stage of the design process in order to enhance workflow. Sketching ability as a conventional method of design thinking is a crucial skill for designers as a way to bring thought into form. As Pallasmaa (2009) mentioned in his book, The Thinking Hand, “When sketching an imagined space, or an object designed, the hand is a direct and delicate collaboration and interplay with mental imagery.” In contrast to the benefits of sketching, digital software has the ability to fuse a seamless transition between thinking and making. It facilitates a production mode of design and a collaborative work environment. Understanding a workflow between these two forms of design thinking and representation is vital. Using student work examples from studio courses, this paper explores an integration methodology between thinking and making through these two modes of visual communication in a contemporary teaching and learning environment.
"Love Stack: Engaging Design-Build Pedagogy" (Jason Scroggin, University of Kentucky)
The graduate-level design and fabrication elective entitled Fabricating Play: Tectonics, Typology, and Distribution taught in Spring 2019 explores the use of the systematic processes of digital design and fabrication directed towards the development of large-scale interactive objects or a “micro-architecture.” The constructed objects consider the relationship to human scale and proportion, materiality, and method of fabrication and assembly. The project evolves through research, discussion, and fabrication over the course of 14 weeks.
The course begins with a set of material experiments that bring together two inherently different materials (e.g., soft and hard). The students take agency over the design investigation from the start by selecting the materials, setting up the procedures, and documenting the results to discover concepts, qualities, and rigor of implementation through intuitive making. Each student develops their own project for the first half of the semester working back and forth between concept, fabrication, analysis, and evaluation seeking an efficient and economical means of production and deployment. Through an evolutionary process of selection and synthesis of the students’ proposals, a final design emerged, the Love Stack, a social kiosk comprised of 160 layers of CNC milled OSB contours vertically stacked and assembled on-site by the student team.
"Pulp goes Oklahoma" (Roger William Connah, University of Texas at Arlington, and J.P. Maruszczak, University of Texas at Arlington)
The Pulp Studios set out to disrupt, deschool, and devitalize existing curricula, decolonizing pedagogy certainly. Between 2001-2006 a series of radical pedagogies of resistance emerged at the University of Texas in Arlington. The Pulp Architecture (graduate) Studios were Hotel Architecture, Here Comes the Night, The Meme Machine (Involuntary Architecture), The Urgent Studio (Knowtopia) and Call out Arlington (I am Architecture). Embedded in the studio set-up were disruptive and resistant operations developed after the Brendan Gill Lecture (Yale School of Architecture) entitled Pulp Architecture Goes to Yale. At Yale, the notion of architectures of partial destiny, architectural projects or ideas falling short of required and known solutions resonated significantly with students. Knowing where prejudice, ideologies and dogma hailed from, meant a serious re-thinking in education. Disruptive in terms of both content and process, students were as much part of the pedagogy as the instructors, Frank Heron and Jan Mazy. Modes of Writing, briefs, programs, drawing, films, games and mappings were all re-structured as alternative methodologies. At no stage was this stable nor was it a re-construction of a lost canon or a restored canon. Pulp Architecture went much further in its disruption as it imagined architectural curriculum-beyond-the-campus. A school within a school emerged beyond accreditation and grade fetish. Where can and should architecture be taught and/or its knowledge situated? Who should be involved in its (co)production – and how? The students grasped the shift from a responsive to a responsible position in their learning. Using drawings, diagrams, physical models, digital models and community action models, this far-from-comprehensive range of techniques included processing, mapping, digital prototyping, gaming, filming and trans-programming. Constantly switching codes, the pedagogies were snapshots in a future Architectural Album – vivid, delightfully informal, immature sometimes, where students could cast a sharp eye and a new dream light on the uncaptured moments of architectural experience.
"The Kindergarten Hypothesis" (Connor Evan Hopper, University of Oklahoma)
It is a well-known fact in the psychology world that our minds are extraordinarily pliable and receptive to seemingly limitless amounts of information when we are young; however, their incredibly short attention spans and general lack of adult-level knowledge means unlocking their minds involves techniques more similar to training rather than to teaching. That said, I have noticed the American School curriculum revolves around the same idea that an educator can train their students to unlock their creative potentials. To put it simply, my hypothesis builds on the thought that these early childhood practices could inspire educational methods used to train students in the College of Architecture. Sitting on this poster are six concepts taught to Kindergarten-age children that overlap with concepts and principles already a part of the general architecture curriculum. All of these concepts currently find their way into studio classrooms and have the potential to manifest themselves in a variety of supporting subjects. Perhaps in our continuous search for new ways to teach, we should not always look at a student as an adult, but instead as a collection of minds from infancy to where they are now.
"Urban Cogeneration Pedagogy for Architecture Curriculum" (Samia Kirchner, Morgan State University)
Urban Cogeneration pedagogy allows diverse students’ perspectives to coalesce with community residents’ concern and cogenerate environmental change for Baltimore’s “blighted” neighborhoods (no, we do not use the city as a “laboratory” but as an integrated environment with social indicators). The Urban Cogeneration studio aligns architectural education to Carnegie Foundation’s definition of Service Learning: “collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in the context of partnership and reciprocity” (Campus Compact, 2016). It is inspired by Dr. Sylvester James Gates’ challenge to Chief Justice Roberts (biased!) question in the Supreme Court case A. Fisher v. the University of Texas: “What unique perspective does a minority student bring to a physics class?” (“Einstein v. Roberts”, in Science, 2016 Mar 25;351(6280):1371). Even if students are not able (or lacked the confidence) to disclose their authentic selves, studio instructors need to take knowing their perspectives on the topic at hand far more seriously, creating collaborative opportunities through group work, while engaging issues of relevance to students. Faculty learning from diverse and “urban” students’ perspectives is vital for building relevance in architectural education.
The Urban Cogeneration studio introduces architecture students to field research methods in the disciplines of Social Work, Architecture and Planning, and Public Health. It provides an introduction to data collection techniques, psychometrics questionnaire development to demonstrate good reliability and validity in stakeholder issues analyses, and collaborative skills to tackle issues hampering urban public wellbeing across disciplines. The proposed poster will contain student work from Spring & Fall 2019 on studio work pursued through a collaborative partnership between Morgan and Park Heights Renaissance (PHR), a non-profit 501 c-3 corporation in northwest Baltimore. PHR represents residents, businesses, religious institutions, schools, agencies, and other stakeholders committed to shaping a better future for Park Heights. The PHR-Morgan Partnership is particularly significant because of its timing in the resurgence of investment in Baltimore following the 2015 uprising and potential to serve as a prototype after which to model a comprehensive system for civic and community engagement at Morgan.
"What Stylus Should We Draw? Notes and Prospects for Digital Tablet-Based Design Drawing" (Grant Alford, Kansas State University)
Three episodes (Process, Range, Medium) from a semester-long exploration illustrate the potential for making architectural design drawings on a digital tablet computer and the role it might play in design education. The top row of images (A1, B1, C1) drawn from the author’s current and past teaching experience each indicate the starting points for a line of investigation. Following down in three columns (A2-4, B2-4, C2-4), the author’s speculative drawings served as a pretext for exploring the various potentials offered by this compelling and increasingly common representational tool. Original drawings were made on an Apple iPad Pro using an Apple Pencil 2 and the raster graphics app Procreate during the spring semester of 2019. The results suggest that digital tablet-based drawing has much to offer, especially in the realm of speculative or design drawing. The return to physically draw-ing a stylus across a surface brings qualities like character of line, productive ambiguity and diverse mediums to the digital image-making process while integrating state-of-the-art computational graphic tools. The result seems to be an expanded field of drawing potential where analog and digital processes combine into a third way between the traditional hand-versus-computer opposition.
SESSION: Do Not Try to Remember: Pedagogy in Transition
Friday, March 6, 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. (concurrent)
Gould Hall Library, Rm. 115
"Architecture in the Anthropocene: Towards and Ecological Pedagogy of Parts and Relationships" (Oswald Jenewein, University of Texas at Arlington)
The current impact of human activity on the global climate has started to cause physical repercussions that form, transform, and inform the natural and built environment. These repercussions have been materializing in a variety of ways, from sea-level rise, to wildfires, pollution, and contamination of air, soil, and water. Architectural education must tackle ecological topics as the built environment is embedded in the changing logistical landscapes within and between cities.
This paper uses three design studio and research projects to demonstrate how architectural education may be able to address ecological issues through a typological approach. This methodological approach is strongly connected to a pedagogy based on flat hierarchies, personal engagement, and collective awareness of the individuals within a studio environment. The content-based pedagogy around environmental topics becomes a guide for studio culture. The aim is to provide students with an understanding of how the formal relationship between the (geometric) parts of space are an integral part of the emerging systems within the changing environment. The paper also highlights the importance of travel components in contemporary architectural curricula, promoting a global-campus concept which is based on international academic and professional partnerships. Concrete examples on interdisciplinary collaborations, expanded to become cross-university collaborations, are provided to connect teaching components, to research projects, focusing on specific ecological territories.
Lastly, the paper concludes with relating design projects to research endeavors, while linking travel components to studio pedagogy.
"Design Research Methods—Applied Theory and Studio Practice?" (Ole W Fischer, University of Utah)
Architecture is not a science, but a cultural practice. Yet, there are certain scientific approaches to architectural questions and issues, which ask for a methodological understanding within the discipline. Traditionally, these have been grouped into two general categories: humanities and natural sciences. Design (studio) is conventionally considered to be the arena where the diverge sub-fields converge, overlap, interchange, and integrate into a creative process – both in education as well as in the professional field.
This presentation will discuss a different approach to architectural pedagogy: design research methods. This hybrid format crosses between a scientific method to design itself since it catalogs, analyzes and theorizes different design approaches comparatively. That is, it tries to gather general knowledge of the discipline by systematic research into the design process itself. Furthermore, it is applied science, since it introduces these design methods back into the studio, puts them to the test (for a specific design problem) and asks students as well as instructors to comparatively discuss their “performance” for a specific situation.
Since the establishment of institutes within schools of architecture in the late 1960s and 70s, there have been concerns about the separation of the sub-fields of architecture from design (studio), creating academic silos, which result from the institutionalization, specialization, and autonomization of these academic formats (such as specific Ph.D. programs).
Today, the difference between knowledge (or “understanding,” in the language of NAAB) and application (or “ability”) is one of the biggest obstacles for design education. Students, as well as society at large, ask for a rapprochement between the diverse subfields (“integrated architectural solutions,” according to NAAB). Design research methods, and this is a hypothesis, could provide an opportunity for convergence and integration of diverse sets of knowledge into action.
"Doing the Right Thing" (Seung Ra, Oklahoma State University)
In John Tabita’s essay, “Doing Things Right Versus Doing the Right Thing,” he discusses two different approaches in the business management world: tactical thinking and strategic thinking. This creates an interesting debate between creating the vision and implanting the vision. He describes a fair argument between both approaches. They are beneficial to tackling a problem and necessary fundamentals of success in business, yet there is a critical tension between a tactical thinker who tends to ‘do things right’ and a strategic thinker who is inclined to ‘do the right things.’
“If you do something ‘right,’ but it’s the wrong thing to do, your efforts will be futile. Conversely, if you do the ‘right thing,’ but you do it wrong, you’ll also fail miserably” (Tabita). How can we apply this inquiry to Architectural pedagogy? The current model of architectural program curricula is based on the tactical approach, predominantly skill-based design education. Therefore, the measure of success in Architectural pedagogy of NAAB accredited programs tends to be in solutions for tackling a design problem. While the tactical thinking process is needed and important, how can we implement the strategic thinking process into our current architecture program curricula in order to promote the idea of “Doing the Right Thing”?
The research paper is rooted in an upper-division special topics course, Data-driven Research Methods. The paper will showcase two projects: Spatial Network Analysis for Oklahoma City Streetcar is focused on the infrastructure of the streetcar and its effects on the urban environment. Interactive Podium uses embedded computing technology to create a visual platform for interaction between users. By developing diverse perspectives of the research process, the architecture program curricula can nurture an effective decision-making process and proactively seek the ‘right thing.’
John Tabita, “Doing Things Right vs. Doing the Right Things,” Sitepoint.com, accessed July 28, 2019. https://www.sitepoint.com/doing-things-right-vs-doing-the-right-things/
SESSION: Engaging Design-Build Pedagogy (concurrent)
Friday, March 6, 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. (concurrent)
Gould Hall Classroom, Rm. B10
"Design-Build as a Scholarship (Three Case Studies)" (Aaron Jones, Lawrence Technological University)
I derive my academic expertise through an expansive and experimental design-build practice. This practice is disseminated and reviewed through a variety of contemporary formats which ultimately comes to bear upon the development and deployment of a variety curriculum within my college. The practice, the critical review, and the academic application form a productive cycle that can respond to your conference inquiry regarding applied research and new pedagogies through critical design-build practice. My proposal will discuss these linkages specifically (practice, review, curriculum) with a perspective on how “design-build work” can apply itself in curricular areas beyond “design-build studios.” Additionally, I will discuss how design-build practice and its localized nature can develop sophisticated spatial phenomena that counter certain anti-contextual tendencies in contemporary design.
Consider the analogy of computational program to building program as an actual convergence. An online classroom, for example. In both systems, the provisional nature of “programming” frames a critical evaluation of its infrastructure with regard to time. The accelerating nature of these digital or mixed reality programs (office, classroom, theater, etc.) can be misconstrued as the program itself and result in physical architectures that are indiscriminate and ineffectual. This practice of generalization is a referendum that pits the slowness of architecture against the uncertainty of technological speed. Ultimately, the process adversely marks buildings through its erosion of context in lieu of rapid and superficial content consumption. “We live in a world where there is more and more information and less and less meaning.”
The work that follows studies rapidly evolving architectural programs, often digitally derived, through prototypical physical infrastructures. The physical consequence of these infrastructures looks to structural and material research for opportunities to conspire or collaborate with “programming” in a localized, grounded way. The resulting oscillation between object and subject becomes the objective for these infrastructures as they both facilitate and influence use by virtue of being a distinct place.
Jean Baudrillard, “The Implosion of Meaning in the Media,” in Simulacra and Simulation, trans. Sheila Faria Glaser (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1994), p.79
"Developing Intent and Application Through Virtual Design-Build" (David Beach, Drury University)
The process of design-build links intention and application within a curriculum that is difficult to replicate in a traditional educational studio. While most effective in the analog world, design-build can be simulated within a classroom leveraging virtual reality as a curriculum connecting client, spatial immersion, precedent study, construction, fabrication, and a digital design toolset. This paper and presentation will outline an evolving compulsory curriculum for second-year design students leveraging the pedagogy of design-build within a virtual process. The assignment connects specific intent for our client by crafting spatial experiences for The Chill Zone, a pediatric care unit of Montefiore Medical Center in Brooklyn that brings technology to their patients. Leveraging tools like AR, VR and 3d fabrication, kids in the Chill Zone are moved virtually beyond the confines of rooms when their medical limitations often reduce their opportunities for exploration. Approaching the process in a parallel modality to a design-build curriculum, student application happens through the construction of virtual versions of a precedent design study: Including site, phasing, construction methods, details, and basic communication of the spatial concepts for their clients (kids from 12-18 in a pediatric care unit). The process happens within the immersive qualities of virtual reality, creating a narrative about the architectural design that each student must communicate. Each project is resolved by finalizing a VR “docummersion” film including the precedent study and specific spatial elements of their design. This process is directly generating new understandings of the design-build process. It is developing considerations of architecture and design thinking including spatial exploration as a form of rehabilitation and health care, architectural design intended solely for use in virtual reality, and the connection of virtual reality and cognitive spatial awareness for design education.
"CLOUDS OF WOOD: A Columbian Design-Build Experience" (Felipe Mesa, Arizona State University)
The idea of complexity in the teaching and practice of architectural design is linked to formal processes or their programmatic features, leaving aside relevant aspects of the complete cycle of an emergent building: the relationships with the communities involved, management of financial and material resources, technical designs, environmental qualities, construction, and performance. In this way, too much relevance is given to the production of architectural drawings and representations and the individual work of the student, in detriment of the real impact that the students’ activities may have on our society. In the Clouds of Wood Design-build Studio (UPB, Colombia: 2014-2018), complexity was understood as the passage of a team of two Professors and 30 students through the stages of design and construction of small-format buildings (160-260 sq. feet), made in association with rural communities near Medellin, and a local company specialized in building with immunized wood. Constructions with a light program, low cost and high impact on the daily life of the communities involved were agreed between parts. Excessive production of drawings, models and simulations was avoided, and collaboration between students, teachers, community leaders, representatives of municipal governments and construction instructors was encouraged. The result was the creation of a family of permeable buildings that are resistant and adapted to the tropical climate, with minimal geometric, structural and tectonic variations, and which made use of the constructive advantages of immunized wood. In addition, the consolidation of a group of students committed to the particular problems of communities, that can propose necessary, relevant and unexpected buildings, raised the question about what is relevant or even radical, today, in the education of architectural design: a) the exploration of worlds (not yet seen) through images and models or b) the incorporation into the (already existing) complex and restrictive dynamics through a built architecture project?
SESSION: Participatory Design and Community Engagement (concurrent)
Friday, March 6, 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. (concurrent)
Gould Hall Classroom, Rm. 345
"EDIT [Engage, Design, Implement, Transform]: Lessons Learned During Ten Years of Participatory Design and Community Engagement" (Milagros Zingoni, Arizona State University)
The EDIT studios are a symbiotic collaboration between design students and local partners working together as communities of learners. The acronym EDIT corresponds to the four stages the studio is conducted around: (1) ENGAGE: community engagement as the first stage of the design process; (2) DESIGN: collaborative design; (3) IMPLEMENT: implementation, often through a design-build component or through partnerships with local firms and; (4) TRANSFORM: the transformation the project achieves for the community.
A typical EDIT Studio has an underserved community partner and focuses on empowering the community by elevating the voices of those who are often overlooked, such as those of the children. These studios seek to expose the general public to design and simultaneously create an environment for design students to be more socially embedded and see first-hand how design can be leveraged as an essential force for social justice. EDIT studios emphasize problem-solving and collaboration that create and empower communities of learners. The end goal is to cultivate an environment that fosters innumerable interpersonal connections that accrue into an overall sense of community. Its success lies in the dynamic approaches to design and its focus on people, usually referred to as “active design.” The end goal is for students to develop both mind and body, as well as establish a sense of place and community. As we continue to teach design studios to be awarded and recognized by other architects, it is easy for students to forget that they are designing for people. EDIT studios become a laboratory to do applied research, where students apply divergent thinking and develop empathy through their responses.
Every EDIT studio is a design exercise, in which I take the lessons learned from collaboration and improve the methodology for the next iteration of participatory design and community engagement. Throughout the ten years of applying EDIT to undergraduate and graduate students, the lessons are many.
"Contested Territories: Evaluating the Limits and Liberties of Design (and Designers) in Public Space" (Benjamin Peterson, Boston Architectural College, and Kyle Warren, Boston Architectural College & Bridge Over Troubled Waters)
This paper examines the pedagogies of applied learning in practice, in design education committed to social justice and equity, and driven by a mission of expanded access to the design professions to those historically excluded from its canons through a case study situated within the BAC’s Gateway Initiative. When curricular agendas privilege the integrated and interdisciplinary development of both professional and intuitive skills, emerging designers may be equipped to become not only meta-cognitive problem-solvers or reflexive practitioners, but also more engaged and delighted participants in the processes that transform the places in which we live, work, and play.
Through direct engagement with community members as both clients and partners, students immediately understand the responsibilities and the rewards embedded in the design process. Successful Gateway projects not only satisfy the needs outlined by a particular client, but also often exceed these expectations- presenting complex information through new lenses, uncovering further opportunities for design, and advocating for the role of designers and design thinking in the resolution of messy problems. A recent research-driven Gateway project (summarized below) exemplifies the capacity for design as a tool for addressing complex problems and the imperative of civic engagement, listening, and compassion as the requisite vehicles to arrive at more meaningful educational experiences and more accountable design applications.
Recent, well-documented accounts highlight increasingly visible tensions amongst individuals experiencing homelessness, individuals seeking treatment for recovery from addiction, service providers, advocates, neighborhood residents, and business owners in the geographies colloquially referred to as “Mass and Cass” (Or, the less palatable, “Methadone Mile.”). The dynamic frictions of lived experience unfold in public space entangled in a milieu of social, political, economic, and spatial conditions.
Over the course of several semesters, working with a constellation of collaborators, students were encouraged to consider a range of difficult questions. What is the nature of public space? To whom does public space in the city belong? How does design participate in or alleviate the experiences of ‘retraumatization’ in public space? What is the utility of design? What is the role of the civically engaged designer in the messy intersections of contested territory?
Students carefully examined and contextualized a series of events in Boston, from the closure of the Long Island Shelter to the current and on-going “Operation Clean Sweep.” Using the tools of spatial designers and allied disciplines (mapping, drawing, ethnographic research), students worked to uncover and understand the agents, actors, and forces at play and to identify moments where design or designers have, may have, or could intervene to mediate competing interests.
"Design with People: Adapting Interdisciplinary Surrogate Models of Participatory Design" (Matthew Kleinman, University of Kansas)
Public interest designers widely regard whitney M. Young Jr.’s famous 1968 National AIA critique of the architectural profession as a call to action. The year prior, Martin Luther King Jr. used his 1967 Three Evils of Society speech to call for America to “respond creatively to the challenge to banish racism.” The systemic disinvestment seen in American communities in the 1960s has only increased in low-income and minority neighborhoods, where the average life expectancy is better defined by zip codes than by one’s own DNA. To address this imbalance of power and access to design resources, various models of participatory design have emerged in a variety of disciplines. Dotte Agency, an architecture school community design extension operating out of the University of Kansas, has leveraged those interdisciplinary examples to work directly with people in Wyandotte County, Kansas, a county that is consistently ranked the least healthy in the state of Kansas. Dotte Agency’s efforts build community power through methods of participatory design in pursuit of health equity. Throughout the last five years, this collaborative design approach has adapted models of participation from fields such as urban planning, applied behavioral health, social work, public health, and business. Projects highlighted include a community film screening, a mobile market community council, a community-led sidewalk audit process, a neighborhood grocery co-operative, and a youth architecture camp designed to increase diversity in the profession of architecture. By designing with people, participation in architectural design can strengthen community relationships, make solutions to wicked problems tangible, and build healthier communities. It is through participatory design that the next generation of public interest designers can creatively respond to the challenges society faces.
SESSION: Decolonizing Architectural Pedagogies
Friday, March 6, 10:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. (concurrent)
Gould Hall Dean's Suite, Rm. 180
"Coalition Building as a Pedagogical Strategy" (Olivier Vallerand, Arizona State University)
Diverse design teams make for more inclusive, but also more innovative, design solutions (Page, 2007). This diversity comes from both diverse professional backgrounds and diverse gender, race, ethnicity, class, dis/abled, and sexual identities. This paper reflects on such insights that can be used in developing pedagogical approaches that use coalition building and knowledge translation between disciplines to foreground implicit biases impacting architectural practice and education. Based on analyses of courses in two universities and interviews with educators in architecture, interior design, and planning, I discuss how bringing together students from diverse disciplines can help them acknowledge the biases present in each discipline by highlighting how such biases often manifest themselves in different ways between disciplines. Such discussions allow students to understand the impact of biases, but also to think about tools to acknowledge and challenge inequity in the design of the built environment and in the design professions themselves.
Furthermore, in addition to students working together and preparing for more collaborative and inclusive practices, the cross-disciplinary collaboration between teachers can also create opportunities for coalition building, particularly in contexts where a limited number of faculty are explicitly discussing race, gender, disability, class, sexuality, or ethnicity in their teaching. Faculty members with diverse individual self-identifications can multiply their impact by working together to tackle the intersecting ways in which minoritized experiences are pushed aside from mainstream architecture discourses and education. They can also foreground their combined experiences as positive role models to create a constructive learning environment to address these issues. The examples discussed will highlight the disruptive and subversive potential of cross-disciplinary practices in architecture, challenging the generalist and universalizing discourses that still sustain much of architectural education.
"In Post-Novis All the Students are the Teacher" (Cruz Garcia, Carnegie Mellon University, and Natalie Frankowski, Carnegie Mellon University)
The only purpose of education is to make new worlds collectively. This requires the practice of curiosity as a daily habit and the exercise of dignified and purposeful rebelliousness. Other worlds are possible.
In 1919, the year the Bauhaus was founded, a laboratory to blur with architecture the line between art and life was formed inside the People’s Art School in Vitebsk. Responding to the invitation of Vera Ermolaeva, anarchist artist Kazimir Malevich founded with Lazar Khidekel, El Lissitzky, Ilia Chasnik, and Nina Kogan, UNOVIS (Champions of New Art) developing an alternative form of architectural pedagogy. That same year in the US colony of Puerto Rico, a group of tobacco workers, organized in anarchist syndicates, created an alternative practice of education that grew international networks over the map of the Americas, from San Juan to New York, to La Habana. The practice that gave birth to what some historians call the most enlightened proletariat force in the continent consisted of hired workers who will read aloud during the entire workday. While tobacco workers engaged in the alienating labor of rolling cigars, the lectors (loud-readers) will become traveling performers with an international audience, creating networks of solidarity all around the Caribbean as well as a massive, shared, and open-access oral library to workers who were denied any other form of formal education. The tobacco workers, then, turned the mind-numbing quality of their repetitive manual work of rolling cigars into an advantage, using the same space and tools of their capitalist exploitation to create an anti-capitalist underground culture.
“In Post-Novis All the Students are the Teacher” explores a series of Post-Colonial, feminist, and queer pedagogical experiments realized by WAI Think Tank in collaboration with students, authors and designers in Puerto Rico, China and the United States in the anniversary of Unovis, the Bauhaus and the lectors.
"The Stranger as Decolonizing User of the City, Class, and Discipline" (Jared Macken, Oklahoma State University)
This paper presents the project “Two Strangers Meet in a Parking Lot” and associated research studios as a case study of decolonized architecture pedagogy. The project conceptualizes the Stranger as an alternative architectural user, creating a dialectical conversation with the users and architectural visions from architectural history. This dialogue encourages new pedagogical research methodologies related to the topic of city design. The case study uses these methodologies to recuperate lost cultural histories of Tennessee Town, an overlooked neighborhood in Topeka, KS, with an important connection to the Harlem Renaissance.
According to Kwame Anthony Appiah, Strangers transgress and challenge cultural boundaries by creating conversations at the edges of these borders, yet Strangers counterintuitively utilize the environments in the city that are initially foreign to them in order to produce alternative cultural knowledge. This interaction between Stranger and entities in the city provides a model for how disciplines can communicate across their boundaries. The Strangers’ conversation, when transferred to the architectural studio setting, becomes what Mark Linder calls “transdisciplinary” discourse, which occurs at the borders of adjacent disciplines. The resulting knowledge intentionally highlights overlooked and misinterpreted cultural moments in the city while creating an alternative to traditional interdisciplinary modes of working, which philosopher Homi Bhabha says is essential if disciplinary fields are to progress with the global city.
The “Two Strangers” case study consists of built structures that were designed first to transform people into Strangers and then instigate conversations between them. As a result, Strangers become acquaintances and exchange new knowledge. The architectural studio course explored this idea further by bringing students outside the classroom where they engaged with the community through conversations with city archivists, community leaders, city councilpersons, urban planners, and museum directors.
"Entangled Architectures: Pedagogies of Displacement and Refuge" (Huda Tayob, University of Johannesburg)
Entanglement is the condition of being entwined or twisted together; it speaks of a spatial intimacy across vast geographies. However, following Edouard Glissant, there is a recognition that while some mobility is a choice, at other times, the ensnaring and overlapping of worlds might be resisted, resistant, ignored, uninvited and unchosen. In thinking with Glissant, feminist and de-colonial theory, this paper discusses the development of three curricula in relation to a series of associated events. The first is an elective seminar series I taught from 2017 to 2019 at the Bartlett School of Architecture (UCL), the second is an open-access curriculum on “Race, Space and Architecture” (developed with Suzanne Hall), and the third is an emerging course titled Methods, Fields and Archives at the Graduate School of Architecture, University of Johannesburg. These courses argue for an architectural understanding which recognizes how our spatial thinking is informed by multiplicities of displacements –of people, places, ideas and temporalities. This paper will reflect on the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of these courses, which begin with the premise that decolonization is not a metaphor (Tuck & Yang 2012). Instead, it is profoundly unsettling. In these curricula, the texts, discussions and representational material (drawings, films, graphic novels) act to disrupt and actively unsettle the seemingly stable spatial typologies and categorizations of architecture through multiple forms and modes of engagement across diverse geographies. This “unsettling” includes a displacement of the curriculum building process from an individual practice into a series of workshops, public engagement events, exhibitions, conferences and ‘conversation rooms.’ These associated events included students, academics and activists. These events and curricula challenge disciplinary boundaries between history, theory, and design teaching. In reflecting on these three courses and the entangled worlds they evoke, this paper suggests three possible tactics for disrupting the “western” architectural field.
SESSION: Do Not Try to Remember: Pedagogy in Transition (concurrent)
Friday, March 6, 10:15 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. (concurrent)
Gould Hall Library, Rm. 115
"Pedagogy in the Wild: A Field Guide to Contemporary Architectural Education" (Bradley Horn, The City College of New York)
Over the past two decades, architectural education has been the focus of considerable scholarly research. Whether through historical accounts of professional and academic development such as Joan Ockman’s Architecture School: Three Centuries of Educating Architects in North America, or an exclusive focus on moments of rupture, such as Beatriz Colomina’s Radical Pedagogies, these and other projects have attempted to provide critical context for a rapidly changing discipline that the educational complex is struggling to grasp. The competition among schools and the ubiquity of technological resources have fostered an educational marketplace, which has shifted the focus of innovation over the past three decades from the institution to the level of the individual design studio. In this context, each critic has become their own brand in a dynamic arena of individual faculty pursuits. Less about rejection or refusal, new pedagogies now seem to accumulate and coexist in what has become a kind of educational bazaar across much of North America and Europe. Here, it is no longer a question of identifying the radical but one of interrogating what constitutes architectural pedagogy in this more expanded field. Does this fragmented educational landscape somehow coalesce to create a broader vision for the student? Or more cynically, are we in an era of “architecture games,” in which irreconcilable worldviews, interests, and approaches leave students in a state of prolonged cognitive dissonance? This paper seeks to present research from an ongoing book project focusing on the taxonomy of pedagogical approaches today – as a critical reflection on the state of contemporary architectural education and its genealogies.
"Reviewing Digital / A Critique of the Static Crit" (Jonathan Scelsa, Pratt Institute)
Within design education, one of the more common aphorisms relayed to the beginning design student during reviews is “you put all this work into your digital model, and it doesn’t show up on these drawings,” wherein the educator is lamenting the amount of action spent in a medium that did not see the light of day in a public forum. A corollary statement that might be heard earlier in the semester would be, “You need to get your design out of that digital model out onto paper and pin it to the wall so that we can discuss it.”
From the faculty’s point of view, these statements are usually supported by the outdated discussion point revolving around the 20th-century practice, wherein the printed 2d realm was the medium of action as construction and client communication happened over a series of physical and static documents. This argument has, over the past ten years, been proven antiquated as we have witnessed a large portion of the construction industry move towards building directly from digital information models as well as progressive design practices that have moved into VR technology for client and civic presentation. This new paradigm suggests a direct real-time relationship between the ideated content and the receiver for a more meaningful and impactful discussion.
From the student’s point of view, particularly the 21st-century digital native, one could imagine that the above types of criticisms and anecdotes will be accepted due to their novice status but also raise a level of frustration, anxiety, and incredulity. Imagine the economic message the academy is sending first-year architecture students, to require the financially taxing purchase of a high-end computer capable of displaying and editing 3d video information, and then insist that the content generated therein also needs to be consistently printed and plotted on expensive paper. Further, recent advances in hardware performance such as real-time rendering, coupled with the lowering costs of digital displays, VR headsets, + phone based applications for exchanging third-dimensional information, stir the inquiry that maybe it is our review format with students that truly needs to be revisited.
Perhaps we should stop saying, “don’t show me your rhino model,” and instead be focusing on new ways of using digital information in the action-oriented review setting for pedagogical discussion. This paper and workshop will focus on the new methods of digital design practice that allow a student to both design and output quickly a digitally interactive version of their model for impactful and low fi means of collaboration by faculty of all ages and students as well.
SESSION: Engaging Design-Build Pedagogy
Friday, March 6, 10:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. (concurrent)
Gould Hall Classroom, Rm. B10
"Design-Build Studio: Empowerment to Confront Stereotypes" (Derya Uzal, MEF University - Istanbul, and Ahmet Sezgin, MEF University - Istanbul)
The prospect of a student in the architecture department is closely related to envisaging. Academia and students can be blindfolded by sexism, prejudices of the profession, etc. Design-Build offers a grey zone to venture into the complexity of the construction process with eased prejudices. In our paper, we investigate how to conceive design-build to open space for agencies that are suppressed by the dominant narratives in architectural practice. The paper begins with at many times unrecognized diversity of architecture students and the stereotype roles assigned to the personalities, ethnicities, and sexes. Based on our four-year design-build experience, the paper defines design-build studio as a fertile ground to question these stereotypes. It aims to address two interlocking questions: How to organize design-build as a platform to empower students? Can design-build be a stepping-stone for constructing the self-image of the architect? Drawing on qualitative analysis of interviews with students and graduates, it responds to these key questions by scrutinizing the negotiation of the sharp boundaries of architect versus craftsman and advisor versus student. It particularly focuses on how the blurred roles in design-build reassure students interested in alternative architectural practices and empower female students to redefine the profession. Interaction with stakeholders and recognition of limits and authenticity of labor will be dissected as transformative experiences of a prospective actor in socially conscious architecture. A comparative perspective of sites, diverging processes, and genders of multiple design-build studios will reveal female students’ means to circumvent and challenge the machismo of the construction site. We reflect on how design-build studio is in a position to confront the male-dominated political-economic networks of urban real estate speculations in the developing world. The paper concludes with key questions in the design-build literature to discuss hierarchies within the architectural practice. Thus, it offers a global perspective into the outcomes of local design-build practice.
"Design-Build’s Intangible Learning Outcomes: Developing Soft Skills" (Milagros Zingoni, Arizona State University, and Magnus Feil, Arizona State University)
Design-build studios propose the opportunity for praxis, where theory and practice intersects and they also provide an opportunity to develop soft skills. Recent studies in the United States and Europe recognized the need to expose college students to the development of soft skills regardless of their field of study (Davidson, 2017). In general, there is a consensus that soft skills such as reliability, risk-taking, ability to work under pressure, ability to plan and think strategically, collaboration, communication, creativity and self-confidence, time-management skills; and willingness to learn and accept responsibility are equally important compared to the hard skills (McLarty, 1998; Tucker, et al., 2000; Nabi 2003; Elias & Purcell, 2004). In design-build projects with community engagement or participatory design component, the development of empathy and social responsibility contributes to the list of soft skills.
Although design-build curriculums have developed for over fifty years in Architecture programs in North America, within interior design, interior architecture, and industrial design programs, the pedagogical opportunities for design-build curriculum are at the early stages. They are often referred as fabrication, or installations and they often lack community engagement during the design process. This paper presents Cumulus, a process inspired collaboration done in Fall 2018 with ten graduate students in interior architecture, 34 undergraduate students in industrial design and 120 kids from a local Title I school. It describes the contexts and development of a participatory-design-build funded studio done in a Research I university in the southwest of the United States exploring the collaborations with multiple audiences, youth, undergraduate and graduate design students and across disciplines. And it presents the learning outcomes, the result of the participatory-design-build collaboration.
"Empowerment, Access, and Equity: Lessons from a Required Foundation Design-Build Studio" (Nick Senske, Iowa State University)
Should design-build projects be required early in an architecture curriculum? There are many substantial outcomes of design-build pedagogy, such as community outreach, client involvement, and construction experience that can help to develop critical skills and shape students’ understanding of the profession. However, expanding the ambit of design-build as a requirement in architectural education has the potential to do more. In firm leadership positions and especially on construction sites, under-representation and inequities of gender, race, and class remain. By increasing access and providing relevant experiences, required foundation design-build projects have the potential to engage groups of students who might normally self-select away from such opportunities and before they have made up their minds about their possible role in the architectural process.
This paper is a case study of three design-build projects, offered over consecutive years as part of a required second-year design studio, and the evolution of the studio in response to student feedback and other outcomes. These projects engaged the entire 75-80 person studio in the design and construction of a single space. While the studios encountered many of the challenges one would expect in a design-build project–coordination, clients, budget, etc.–these are not the focus of the paper. Instead, the case study examines the issues that can arise when engaging design-build pedagogy as required experience with a large group of diverse students. How can a design-build curriculum offer successful learning outcomes for all students, regardless of background or interest? How can instructors empower students’ independence while maintaining collaboration and preventing bias? And, finally: what lessons are possible and desirable to learn at this stage and what is the potential of inclusive design-build in early design education to impact the remainder of the curriculum?
SESSION: Participatory Design and Community Engagement
Friday, March 6, 10:15 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. (concurrent)
Gould Hall Classroom, R. 345
"Community Engagement and Service-Learning Reciprocity" (Shawn Shaefer, University of Oklahoma)
As part of the University of Oklahoma’s Gibbs College of Architecture, the Urban Design Studio prepares graduate students from diverse backgrounds in our Master of Urban Design program to practice as urban design professionals. The studio uses a reciprocal community engagement approach that benefits cities in Oklahoma and provides students with meaningful educational experiences. This session will dissect three projects representing the studio’s work. Each case study will explain how the project was initiated, what pedagogic and community engagement techniques were used, how students participated, and discuss the outcomes of the effort. Three types of projects will be examined: creative urban design practice, community-based participatory research, and real-life, real-time placemaking. Each project involved over 100 participants, representing multiple disciplines and community constituents.
The studio regularly collaborates with communities on urban design studies and interventions. One such project focused on the revitalization of a three-mile stretch of Route 66 running through the heart of Tulsa. Urban design students conducted engagement efforts that led to a framework and brief for a design competition. Seven teams of architecture and landscape architecture students produced design schemes, which were presented to the community at an exhibit. The studio also hosted a Complete Streets workshop for city officials and engineers rehabilitating the street.
Community-based participatory like Tulsa Photovoice is an example of how studio faculty and students collaborate to discover knowledge with communities. Fifty-three residents took photographs of their neighborhoods and were interviewed on one evening as part of a mass collaboration event at the School of Community Medicine Summer Institute.
Finally, the studio works through placemaking activities like the one for the Chapman Green. A team of studio students assisted the Urban Core Art Project to organize and construct two public art pieces. They also authored a successful grant to bring programming and activities to the park.
"Engagement as Theory: Architecture, Planning, and Placemaking in the Twenty-First Century City" (Michael Carriere, Milwaukee School of Engineering, and David Schalliol, St. Olaf College)
Our upcoming book, The City Creative: The Rise of Placemaking in Urban America (University of Chicago Press), details how participatory design and community engagement can lead to democratically planned, inclusive urban communities. After visiting more than 200 projects in more than 40 cities, we have come to understand that planning, policy, and architectural design should be oriented by local communities and deep engagement with intervention sites. Of course, we are not the first to reach such a conclusion. In many ways, our work builds off of contributions made by individuals, including Jane Jacobs, Kevin Lynch, and Christopher Alexander, and such movements as Team X and the advocacy architecture movement of the 1960s. Nevertheless, we need to broaden this significant conversation.
Importantly, our classroom work has allowed us to better understand how histories often left out of such discussions can inform a new approach. To that end, we have developed community-student partnerships in under-served neighborhoods in cities like Milwaukee and Detroit. Through these connections and their related design-build projects, we have seen how the civil rights movement, immigration narratives, hip-hop culture, and alternative redevelopment histories, such as in urban agriculture, can inform the theory and practice of design. We want to bring these perspectives into dialogue with the mainstream approach to development and design.
How does this look and work? Using a case study from the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) Honors Program curriculum, we will highlight the redevelopment of Milwaukee’s Fondy Park, an effort to create community-centered spaces and programming in an under-served African American community. Lessons include those essential for pedagogy and education, as well as for how these issues are theorized and professionally practiced, with implications for institutions, programs, and individuals, alike.
SESSION: Lightning Talks
LIGHTNING TALK TRACK 1: Rethinking Curricula
Friday, March 6, 2:45 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. (concurrent)
Fred Jones Museum of Art, R. B80
"From the Ground Up: Creating a Culture to Steer Pedagogy at a Large School" (James Michael Tate, Texas A&M University, and Andrew Tripp, Texas A&M University)
With nearly six-hundred students currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Environmental Design (BED) and Master of Architecture (MArch) programs, and tens-of-thousands of living alumni, the Department of Architecture at Texas A&M is one of the largest and most extensive architecture programs in the country. This size, along with its historic roots in Postwar scientific, architectural research, is a challenge to program-level initiatives that promote design teaching and researching. Recently, however, new emphasis has been given to the undergraduate foundation’s curriculum to create a culture of design. This new emphasis has led to organizational and pedagogical structures that are new to Texas A&M.
This lightning talk, co-presented by the newly appointed Directors of First and Second Year of the BED Program, reports on a new and ongoing effort to create—from the ground up—a coherent, coordinated, and consistent culture of design in the foundational architecture studios at Texas A&M. This talk explains a faculty-created vision of the first two years of an architect’s education, along with the organizational strategies established to support diversity and liberty in teaching and learning across a large program.
"Meta-Context: A Multi-Scalar Contextual Pedagogy for Teaching Design Fundamentals in Architecture" (Elena Rocchi, Arizona State University, and Kristian Kelley, Arizona State University)
Scale is an impetus for understanding context, and context is an impetus for understanding design. Of the traditional design elements, scale provides the most appropriate framework for students to investigate spaces as contexts. They have a number of design elements that make one space distinct from another — such as color, texture, and form — but in shifting the scale, space is influenced by varying contextual factors: at a personal scale, it relates more to social contexts than space at a public scale would. This paper is an opportunity to share the results of a pedagogical investigation as data of the first-year design sequence developed over the past three years at ASU The Design School. It concerns students interested in pursuing an education related to architecture interfaced with interior design, and landscape architecture. The three related environmental design professions taught at many schools of design as separated disciplines have at their root the interest of designing space. Our course is an experiment in ways to integrally teach them under the framework of the importance of context, revealed as we move from scale to scale. Our approach to design pedagogy includes a focus on the designer’s meta-context as the naturalized design skills react to a contextual factor. Over the course of two semesters, students in the design sequence transition from the scale of the Self-Context to the scale of the Universe-Context, aware of the evolving contexts that influence their design responses as learned design skills. As they investigate a scale and its associated context, an emphasis is placed on creative expression derived from the contextual exploration.
"“Radicantcy” in Architecture—On the Utility of Applied History of Contemporary Architecture in Architectural Design" (Elena Rocchi, Arizona State University)
As part of contemporary culture’s dominant figures, architects and students of architecture move in relational contexts together with immigrants, tourists, and wanderers. Always somewhere else, they are “exotic” rather than “national,” as plants that “advance in all directions on whatever surfaces present themselves” (N. Bourriaud, The Radicant 2009: 51): “radicant” identities with roots in motion over a globalized context. “Nomadism” is the emerging category instigating pedagogic change within architectural education — the paradigm teachers should use to explore the present and future teaching of architecture concerning broader pedagogical contexts. How do we teach architecture in motion and the transportability of ideas? How do we capture, categorize, and catalog the history of contemporary architecture while in motion? Can we teach architecture students taking into account the awareness of their “radicantcy”?
The movie-paper—an experimental form of presentation format—exemplifies a new form of knowledge production. It is a tested model for decolonizing pedagogy to reimagine the teaching of the history of contemporary architecture involving the nomadic condition of architects and students in general. To decolonize a methodology of quizzes can help to resonate with architecture across a range of other disciplines. By offering an alternative methodology to critique, the paper discusses how to re-propose modes of architectural writing and recognition learning from the past while showing a pedagogic tactic to embed participants’ “nature” in the history/design assignments. On the one hand, the paper discusses about the main course goal to have students getting familiar not only to study Contemporary Architecture but to observe in detail a generation of architects which cultural identity and architecture rooted in movement; on the other, it shows how changes imposed by globalization on local and traditional cultures lead toward their new professional opportunities to help them to imagine architectural knowledge not only beyond-the-campus but beyond one’s country because architecture knowledge is situated everywhere.
"Thermal Delight and the Anthropocene" (Alex Timmer, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee)
The myopic view of thermal experience in architectural education, reinforced through various sustainability initiatives and codified through devices such as the psychrometric chart, has restricted the exploration of thermal experience to architectural technology and systems courses. This pedagogy frames issues of thermal comfort as apriori knowledge. This approach assumes that students are not capable of developing their sensibilities about a nonvisual experience in architecture. While studio and history courses provide ample time and structure for students to practice and develop their own visual and formal sensibilities, a sensory design skillset is not given the same curricular focus. Architects and educators have brought attention to experiential aspects of space making, but after these moments in architectural history, pedagogy reverts to a representational or formal default. With the acknowledgment that architecture is one of the primary producers of carbon and consumer of energy, thermal comfort curriculum has been subsumed into the essential coursework on efficient buildings. Unfortunately, with this objectification of subjective experience, the architectural curriculum does not provide students with the ability to engage in space making that is anything other than formal. If the current pedagogical tools are burdened with architecture’s formalist past, what is the new tool kit?
"The City as a Board Game: Notes on Working with a Virtual Dimension in the Design Studio" (Kim Helmersen, ETH Zurich)
Bruno Latour and Albena Yaneva have argued that the architect distinguishing between subjective and objective colonizes not only the people affected by his or her design, but also –and even more importantly– he colonizes the design(object) itself by making it static. They point this critique of the subject-object divide to phenomenology stating:‘[…] if phenomenology may be praised for resisting the temptation to reduce humans to objects, it should be firmly condemned for not resisting the much stronger and much more damning temptation to reduce materiality to objectivity (Latour & Yaneva 2008:84)’.
Despite this development, architecture curricula are often still subject to a pedagogical bias, building on a mind/matter dualism tracing back to the renaissance. Arguing for a shift in epistemology, the present paper presents early findings from a comparative STS-inspired research study of design teaching at different architecture schools in varying national contexts. In an urban design studio at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture, the rules of the traditional design studio were played with, as students in negotiation with the design teachers framed their given site as a board game bringing the factor of chance into play.
Substituting the individual design proposal with a number of heterogeneous ‘actants’ negotiating urban form, the board game approach breaks with the concept of the ‘mastermind’ in urban design, shifting the focus from the designer to the design, which becomes something more than the sum of individual intentionalities. Bridging the gap between the actual and virtual, the board game approach presents early steps towards an urban design methodology with the potentials for further investigation and development.
"The Value of the Novice: Applied Research Through Design-Build" (Emily R. Baker, University of Arkansas)
Is prototyping as a pedagogical evolution of design/build education a viable means of applied research in design and construction systems? As toolsets, both digital and fabrication-based, continually expand their capacities, and as emerging mixed-reality fabrication processes begin to be explored both in academia and industry, how might a new type of client for academic design/build studios, the industrial partner, promote a renewed agency for architects—one in which they gain control (and potentially financial interest) over the means of producing the buildings they design? This lightning talk will examine examples from practice and from academic prototyping studios where intellectual property issues were blurred as architects moved beyond their traditional bounds to engage in means and methods of construction. The talk will pose questions about academic/industry partnerships as a means of producing new knowledge and as promoting agency in future architects. Novices approach old problems unencumbered by past experiences and thus may possess the very quality that can bring about innovation. Mixing students, academics and staid industry partners in design/build prototyping studios is an emerging model for full-scale construction as pedagogy, so what are the implications for intellectual property, financial interest and the development of the profession?
"Provocation: Architectural Research as a Dialectic Discussion" (Liz Martin-Malikian, Kennesaw State University)
The Thesis is the last major step toward graduation with a first professional degree, or Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.), which traditionally prepares students for practice. As a threshold between directed studios and independent thought, the Thesis provides an opportunity for the student to systematically explore a coherent line of investigation of issues relevant to the field of architecture. The Thesis is an intellectual position laid down or to be advanced. It is the first stage of the dialectic–discussion, that is, discussion and reasoning by dialogue as a method of intellectual investigation. An architectural thesis demands that a student take a position and have something to say that is relevant to the discursive field that it inhabits and/or its wider cultural context.
In the field of architecture, such intellectual positions have implications that result from a critique and re-examination of the role of architecture as a critical participant in the conditioning of public and private space. Thus, while an undergraduate architectural thesis originates in a determinate intellectual position, it culminates in a designed artifact, but rarely the artifact itself.
This paper takes a step in characterizing architectural research, where the interaction of Theorem and Practicum is used not only as a guiding principle in the critical thinking process but also as a springboard for constructive practices in the built realm. This particular reading is an inquiry into the importance and influence of interaction between Theorem and Practicum, as well as, the importance of which is observed through different modes of cross-pollination occurring in various aspects of architectural discourse and practice. Within the notion of interaction, this investigation is explored in four frames, labeled ‘about,’ ‘within,’ ‘explore,’ and ‘expand’ and are categorized according to their relationship to the investigation of Theorem and Practicum. Furthermore, these four attributes permeate and connect the diverse areas of research explored, which in combination provides an argument that rather than questioning: “is doing architecture doing research” as articulated by Jeremy Till, instead asks: “is doing research doing architecture.” We aim to expand the pedagogical field where the interaction of Theorem and Practicum is not an isolated act, but one of making.
"Snapshot: Is Doing Architecture, Doing Research?" (Liz Martin-Malikian, Kennesaw State University, and Elizabeth Martin, Kennesaw State University)
By using the new ACSA White Paper “Assessing the Quality of Architectural Research and Scholarship”, this lightning session will critique and provide feedback on this working document from a variety of viewpoints. The intent is to not only engage with research paradigms, forms of investigation, modes of dissemination, and peer-review but also to question first and foremost: What is architectural research?
LIGHTNING TALK TRACK 2: Rethinking the Classroom
Friday, March 6, 2:45 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. (concurrent)
Fred Jones Museum of Art, Orientation Theater, Rm. 185
"Groundforms: Architectural Constructions of Ground After the Digital" (Zachary Tate Porter, University of Nebraska-Lincoln)
Slabs, negatives, piles, rocks, and platforms are among the typologies of ground that frequently appear in contemporary design practice. In contrast to the topological continuity of fields, networks, and folds, which prevailed during the first digital turn, these emerging groundforms are figural, discrete, and often intentionally simplistic. Undergirding these rudimentary groundforms is a subtle–perhaps even subconscious–critique of contemporary design culture. In a challenge to the hybridization of building and ground proposed by recent movements like Landscape Urbanism and Landform Building, these new groundforms celebrate a separation between architecture and the shared ground of the city. At the same time, the overt simplicity of these groundforms should not be understood as a rejection of digital tools, but instead, as a critical response to digital virtuosity as an end in itself. A closer consideration of the software commands, texture maps, and gravity simulators used to generate these groundforms–not to mention the social media algorithms used to disseminate them–proves that they are fundamentally shaped by the logic of digital production. This talk highlights the outcomes of a recent seminar that explored the formal character and conceptual underpinnings of these new ground typologies through a series of lectures, reading discussions, and model-making workshops.
"IMAGE FATIGUE" (Keith Peiffer, Oklahoma State University)
I am tired of architectural images. Images of architecture (renderings, drawings, photographs) are everywhere: easy, immediate, incomplete, deceptive, manipulative, contrived, concealing, and biased. Images perpetuate ocular centrism, function as phantasmagorias, and supplant architecture’s physical manifestations. Despite our best efforts and awareness of these pitfalls, as architectural educators, we are often seduced and distracted by a compelling image while reviewing and assessing student work. Images are the currency of architectural production. This talk aims to spark productive dialogue around the architectural image and problematize our representational assumptions by discussing the following questions: What are the unspoken value systems that underpin architectural representation? How can we assess the quality and value of work in the studio without resorting to primarily judging the quality of the graphic output of that work? What other mediums hold potential for conveying design (both as an act and an outcome), and why do they not hold the same disciplinary weight as the image? What new strategies might we use in the studio to move the emphasis from the production of images to the production of architecture, even while this distinction continues to blur?
"INTERIOR TOPOGRAPHIES: Towards a New Typology of Spatial Occupancy" (Rana Abudayyeh, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville)
Interiority today is an exponentially evolving condition that requires invention to rethink the spatial environments in which we dwell. This condition necessitates looking outside conventional design workflows for spatial production. It is no longer sufficient to think about a mere visual connection between interior and exterior. Interior design concepts are to initiate an exterior/interior continuum, and position interior occupancy at the core of human ecologies. Interior space is not autonomous; interiority thrives within the narratives it fosters and amidst the milieus it occupies.
With this understanding in mind, this talk will introduce the concept of interior topographies as a pedagogical strategy. Interior topographies define a conceptual design framework, establishing an analogous link between interior and exterior while encouraging a unique receptiveness to occupancy. Here, inside and outside designations degrade, and a fertile elasticity between interior and exterior forms. Activated through sectional explorations of space, such understanding of interiority hinges on new provocations and different pursuits. It aims to find a new agency for interiority that extends beyond interior and exterior allocations. Now more than ever, such an approach is requisite in an era ubiquitous with the flatness of virtual imagery and an overall contextual banality.
"Local Knowledge: Learning from Landscape Architecture and Deliberative Democracy" (Katie Kingery-Page, Kansas State University)
Like architecture and other allied disciplines, the profession of landscape architecture has a complex history that includes both interacting with, and at times, disregarding marginalized communities during professional projects. The profession’s focus on outdoor, urban green space made it a natural testing ground for concerns about local knowledge, community involvement, and/or exclusion from design processes (Halprin, 1969; Hester, 1975; Merriman, 2010). Randolph Hester, educator and pioneer in participatory design, defined the need for meaningful participation: “Since wealthy special interests often determine the public good, …[participation] simply allows less powerful minority interests to be represented in the decision-making discussions” (1975, p. 180).
And yet the quest for more inclusive, participatory design is not always answered by focus groups or charrettes. The questions of “who participates?” and “who is empowered to participate?” remain difficult ones requiring attention to the deliberative process. Deliberative dialogue, a subset of communication studies, offers methods designers should consider. “Enclave” deliberation is defined as facilitated dialogue in a small group of people with similar interests (Himmelroos, Rapeli, & Grönlund, 2016). Enclave-level dialogue can be used to develop marginalized persons’ interests and agency, then bring their agendas to the larger democratic process (Abdullah, Karpowitz, & Raphael, 2016).
This talk examines the relevance of enclave deliberation to participatory design using examples of community-based, urban design, and landscape architecture projects led by faculty and students at Kansas State University.
Abdullah, C., Karpowitz, C. F., & Raphael, C. (2016). Affinity groups, enclave deliberation, and equity. Journal of Public Deliberation, 12(2), article 6. Retrieved from https://www.publicdeliberation.net/jpd/vol12/iss2/art6/
Halprin, L. (1969). The RSVP Cycles: Creative processes in the human environment. New York, NY: George Braziller
Hester, R. T. (1975). Neighborhood space. Stroudsburg, PA: Dowden, Hutchinson, and Ross.
Himmelroos, S., Rapeli, L., & Grönlund, K. (2016). Talking with like-minded people—Equality and efficacy in enclave deliberation. Social Science Journal, 54(2), 148–158.
"Landscape as Political Access to Architecture" (Dragana Zoric, Pratt Institute)
If traditionally architects and planners have looked at the city through buildings, infrastructure, and landmarks, what is known as “urban fabric,” this pedagogical thinking is a call for a shift in thinking to a focus on land, landscape and the “unbuilt” (here understood to be both natural systems and the human-constructed landscape) in the design of our cities. In so doing, design thinking not only needs to expand to account for both the topographic and ecological rigors of the site but must also encompass complex issues of the social milieu within which it exists.
The premise of this proposal is that landscape can be a political entry into the design of architecture is far more nimble way than architecture (the design of a singular object) itself can, and as such, landscape could be the vehicle of social equity, justice and change. The Lightning Talk will: expound on select examples showing a range of formal and political performances, evaluate them, testing methods of inhabiting vs. surveying and being inside vs. on the periphery. Going beyond the architecture/landscape dichotomy, and acknowledging the fallacy of their simultaneity, the Talk can address what happens at extremes of each discipline, when it confronts the other.
"Naturally Brutal: Landscape as Icon" (Dragana Zoric, Pratt Institute)
This pedagogical approach is a probe into the current social, political, and formal robustness of architecture (and its education) by critical inquiry from the related disciplinary standpoint of landscape.
Conventionally, architecture is understood to be static, primarily focused on separating and delineating (outside from inside), with expertise in organizational logics, formal robustness, and spatial complexity. The deftness of landscape, however, lies in its expert ability to organize and regulate dynamic systems, fluctuation, temporality, change, and the management of simultaneous systems of performance, a conflation of the ecological and economic.
Going beyond the architecture/landscape dichotomy, and acknowledging the fallacy of their simultaneity, this architectural pedagogy (intended design studio instruction), proposes to deal with extremes of each when confronted with the other. What is the urban and architectural response to “nature” (or vice versa), and the degree to which it can be primary (a driver), merely function as an accessory to architecture (or nature), or some model in between? As an example, can an urban forest be the de-facto literal and contextual fabric for a new urban event and model? Historical dialectics of natural and man-made, technological and pastoral, exterior and interior have the potential to create re-invented states where architecture and landscape are renegotiated on all fronts.
Lastly, what is the extent that the two systems and disciplines can define one another, be concurrent, infiltrate, dominate, subsume? Or, are these terms inaccurate, and a new paradigm should be put forth? Through precisely targeted research, the methodology moves to consider alternate hosting strategies and to invent novel hierarchies between that, which is sealed, and that which is porous and dynamic. A stitching of host and hosted mandates that the stitch (as a minimum) be public and civic in nature while residing in programs educational and cultural.
"Off the Wall: The Legacy of Architecture Exhibitions" (Ellen Donnelly, University of Nebraska-Lincoln)
Architectural exhibitions have proliferated during the 20th century and are becoming the primary driver of architectural discourse. As the essay “Just What is it that Makes Today’s Architectural Exhibitions So Different, So Appealing?”  Sylvia Lavin explains the recent “shift in focus from the image of the architect as recipient of work [buildings] to the image of the architect as giver of opportunity to show work (in the form of access to gallery space) reflects the degree to which exhibition culture is not only increasingly central to architecture but is an increasingly pivotal force in defining architecture itself.” This talk will expand upon Lavin’s claim and will explore our current exhibitionary moment as a crucial pedagogical moment in architectural education. The talk will explore past and present exhibitionary moments that have shaped pedagogy to speculate on how exhibition culture can serve as a vehicle to reconsider how and with whom we communicate and teach.
Using Boyarksy’s AA and our current moment as two distinct starting points, this talk will position architectural exhibitions which enable their creators (curators, designers, teachers) to rethink both pedagogy and audience. As such, exhibition production will be considered as a pedagogical design tool that fosters craft and speculation, skill and imagination, criticality and creativity, resulting in an active reconsideration of architectural education.
1 Sylvia Lavin. “Just What is it that Makes Today’s Architectural Exhibitions So Different, So Appealing?” in As seen: exhibitions that made architecture and design history by Zoe Ryan (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2017).
2 Irene Sunwoo. “We fight the battle with the drawings on the walls: Exhibiting Architecture at the Architectural Association,” in Exhibiting Architecture: A Paradox?, eds. Eeva-Liisa Pelkonen, Carson Chan and David Tasman (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015).
"Resourcefulness of Constraints" (Paolo Sanza, Oklahoma State University)
In recent years, pre-digital fabrication design-build programs in the like of Auburn University Rural Studio have paralleled several focused programs such as the AA Design & Make or TU Berlin Mexiko Praktikum Seminar to name a couple. Though ambitious, these programs have found the right supportive environment within their institutions to prompt research, build for communities in need, and immerse their graduate students to the art of design and construction utilizing the latest in digital means. On the other side of the spectrum, is a vast landscape of architecture schools that quietly work with the notion of digital fabrication while balancing limited resources and budgets, short time frames, a large number of undergraduate students and administrators not entirely sold on the design-build wave. Faced with these very challenges in my current institution, not the least provide meaningful hands-on experience to 30 plus 3rd-year students within a handful of weeks, I steered the studio towards the notion of tectonics and addressed small-scale projects, half of which were accomplished for real clients. Focusing on the small, rather than the habitable, and stressing the importance of how elements connect and their aesthetic truth, has proved to be a valuable pedagogical model. “God is in the details,” proclaimed Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, expressing in the dictum that an ingenious concept is not enough on its own, and hinting, in the words of Jim Eyre of London’s Wilkinson Eyre Architects, “that working out details require great application – something akin to religious fervor.”
If the journey has been rewarding and topped in 2017 when the NAAB accreditation team recognized the studio for its rigor and development depth, it has not been without struggles. This paper exhibits the pedagogical strategy, workflow, and framework of a design-build concept aimed at exploiting beauty in the small.
"Sapientia" (Paolo Sanza, Oklahoma State University)
“There is a floating city that never stops moving, a city with high masts and shiny white sails. It is said to be lived by nomads of young age that reside a short time and a few elders, holders of a time that never passes. One day it appears over the flat horizon, and then is gone. When it emerges, it is to embark on wisdom. It is said that in it, magic happens, that the youngsters are infused with mysterious forces, which allow them to see things that common beings cannot; to talk in thousands of tongues and like the best orators can only dream of; to write as they were composing paintings of a thousand interpretations, but clear to the soul, and to paint as if they were writing sonnets; to play instruments of a time lost so to learn that beauty is timeless; to summon questions that invoke no immediate answer, but rather absorbed pondering and research; to cultivate their body so to feed their minds, and to conceive unconceivable buildings and structures. It is also said that in that city, the sun never sets, or the night never ends.
Great-hearted Kublai, I have only heard about the floating city, but I lived it.”
In a changing world, something never changes. Infused in Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities parody above, as in the original Calvino’s text, is the expression of a powerful human uniqueness: imagination. Embedded in the parody, and in the spirit of the session’s theme, is the proposition of an alternative site for knowledge production, one not anchored to soil strata nor to archaic practices of transferring and creating knowledge.
Narrated as it were of Calvino’s 1972 masterpiece, this paper exhibits the learning environment found in the imaginary (and invisible) floating city, which I should name Sapientia.
LIGHTNING TALK TRACK 3: Rethinking Media and Methods
Friday, March 6, 2:45 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. (concurrent)
Fred Jones Museum of Art, Library, Rm. 148
"3rd Generation 3D Modeling: The Influence of Highly Curated Interfaces on Design" (Damon Leverett, University of Arizona)
From 1975 to 1990 the primary use of computer modeling was limited to large mainframes often operated with desk size interfaces. Architecture and education embraced the new tools, beginning a long relationship with computer-assisted drafting. The primary types of rendering representation were expressed in basic shading algorithms such as cosine, Gouraud and Phong as well as shadow mapping.
The second generation of computer modeling expanded rendering techniques from 1990 to 2005, giving architects and learners the ability to explore artificial realism with the refined techniques of transparency, raytracing, and radiosity. Amazing pseudo-realism has been achieved in the film industry using special effects such as particles (explosions, fire, clouds), flowing hair and the use of motion tracking.
A new generation of rendering packages are emerging that focus on usability and the incorporation of superior user interfaces. This approach utilizes the same science developed for game design that streamlines processes within the computer (saving precious time) and deploys the most appropriate tools needed to achieve a visual representation that meets the design objectives. 3rd Generation 3D Modeling is ideal for students who are in the learning process and essential for instructors who wish to prioritize learning delivery over technology management.
"Revising Form: On a New Definition of Form in Architecture" (Grant Alford, Kansas State University)
The topic of ‘form’ is defined too narrowly in architecture practice and education. It has long been understood predominantly as complex geometry, as investigated by relatively few practices in the architectural avant-garde. More people and more kinds of work should be involved in the conversation about form for its diversity of ideas and to ensure architecture is valued in the future. Why?
Because architects must be able to describe the value the discipline brings to a building through properly creative invention, at least as precisely as it describes the practical value of its services as a profession. Without a rigorous language for articulating the ‘artistic’ element of architecture, it will be increasingly devalued in the marketplace of ideas where data and metrics increasingly and incompletely determine worth. Architecture exists exactly in the synthesis of the practical and speculative. Both must be valued for it to endure. Form can help.
As it is discussed in philosophy, form suggests a precise category within which to articulate the creative role of the architect. This is especially and crucially true in the context of architecture’s unique place at the hinge of abstract ideas and contingent material reality.
This paper describes a revised definition of form in architecture that is both more precise and more inclusive — drawing on form’s roots in Plato and Aristotle for an apophatic definition as simply the non-contingent elements of a design. That is, form understood as any element or aspect of a building not necessarily determined by the specific contingencies of a project (philosophical “accidents”) such as site, cost, program or performance. This deceptively simple rubric maintains a rigorous and coherent discourse for making judgments about form while including design opportunities as modest as paint color and drywall reveals or as elaborate as parametric glass canopies.
"Digital Pedagogy for Architectural History" (Jeffrey Lieber, Texas State University)
I am a late convert to the benefits of digital architectural history. I came up with old school methods: sitting in a darkened lecture hall with the professor spinning a story while showing comparisons on slides. When I started teaching, I still made my own slides and avoided PowerPoint.
Flash forward: Three out of four of my courses per year are now online. Not only am I continually challenged to rethink how I teach, but it has also opened up endless opportunities for creative expression.
In my lightning talk, I want to share the method I developed on the TRACS platform (Teaching, Research, And Collaboration System) at Texas State University. I forgo videos: I do not attempt to recreate a lecture course online. Instead, I divide my courses into four 3-week thematic units. In each unit, students have one week each for reading, discussion, and competition of a project. I plan to highlight two things I especially love about online teaching:
- My ability to introduce readings in short hypertext essays with links to other sources.
- My ability to assign creative projects rather than traditional essays. Students curate and design both large and small-scale virtual exhibitions; practice descriptive writing on Instagram; film and edit 2-3 minute videos using the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s The Artist Project as a model; work with digital archives in museum collections around the world; and more.
In sum, I argue that digital architectural history offers positive prospects for new forms of instruction.
"OPEN Platforms: Changes in Architectural Education" (Yoonjee Koh, Boston Architectural College)
The eleventh edition of Harvard Graduate School of Design’s academic journal, Platform, radically shifted its editorship in November of 2018. Since its first edition in 2008, the School’s journal has been edited solely by its faculty. The eleventh edition, “Setting the Table,” however, is compiled by a group of current student editors – the first in the School’s history to let go of faculty editorship. The change of editorship, dialogue, and display is not a new phenomenon. In fact, many architectural schools, including Harvard GSD, are not only handing its students more authority to represent their respective institutions but also opening up academic dialogue beyond the classroom.
With the recent rise of social media platforms and the current predilection for more open frames for display and discussion, Architectural institutions in the United States are also undergoing a radical shift. From podcasts, Instagram posts, live YouTube videos, to online courses, architectural education adapts within and partakes in the digital current. This talk will explore the effects of a rising social, digital landscape through a closer look at a number of initiatives across architectural institutions today.
"Preparing for the Online Architectural Practice" (Mark Rukamathu, Boston Architectural College)
Today’s architecture profession exists in the digital realm. The design process of sketching, drafting, even physical models, almost always starts directly in a digital environment. Digital tools in architecture are not novel. Programs like AutoCAD have been around since the 1980s, and most architects are now expected to be fluent in a range of digital instruments — 3d modeling, CAD, BIM, image/graphic software, 3d printing, etc. The next generation of architects will be digital natives, and architectural education has adapted to this technological and cultural shift.
Another set of non-design digital tools are also changing the practice of architecture. Communication is by email, text messaging, or on platforms like Slack and Asana, while management platforms like Deltek and BQE Core maintain the business component of a firm. Meetings are hosted online through platforms such as WebEx, GoToMeeting, Zoom, etc. Design collaboration happens simultaneously through files on cloud share platforms like Dropbox, Google Drive, and 3d model communication tools like Modelo. A single Revit file can have multiple parties working simultaneously. While physical collaboration still occurs, much of these activities have transitioned to digital space. If the profession requires that architects not only design but also manage, communicated, and collaborate, with an ever-growing repertoire of online, cloud-based tools, how is architecture education evolving to meet this new paradigm?
Education, in general, is also undergoing a significant transformation through online learning. Many higher education institutions offer learning certificates and full degrees via online programs. Given the architectural practice’s heavy lean into the online, cloud-based, collaborative workspaces, is it possible that aspects of online education could better prepare students for the current and future model of practice? This abstract proposes to explore how architectural education, architecture practice, and online education can provide a new structure for training the next generation of architects.
"Student Perspective: Understanding and Utilizing the Methodology Behind Building Information Modeling in Academia" (Donovan Linsey, University of Oklahoma)
From first-hand experience as an architecture student, I watch as my colleagues attempt to master different tools of design that we get exposed to throughout our design education in architecture school. Whether it is hand sketching or utilizing digital fabrication machinery, students first must go through the process of design and implement the appropriate tool, which helps them reach the goals that they set forth as a designer. When students get introduced to the tool of Building Information Modeling, a large percentage of them struggle to understand what exactly it is capable of handling. At this time, they are also reaching the point in their studies that require them to inject building systems into their projects and most students are only comfortable with using 3D modeling software that they learned in beginning design studios. The issue the students face is that these 3D modeling software programs are useful in only certain design applications. From my observations, I find that students must understand the methodology behind BIM in order to truly succeed in using it as a successful design tool. To learn “what certain icons do” does not address the entire realm that BIM encompasses. Students should be utilizing BIM’s application in not only their studio courses but also in classes that examine building systems as well, so they can see the scope that information modeling offers throughout the design process. This lightning talk would spark a conversation as to what role BIM has in architecture education as well as sharing best practices for introducing BIM software to students.
"Critical Cinematic Communications: A Mode of Urban Observation" (Seung Ra, Oklahoma State University, and Sarah Ra, Oklahoma State University)
How do we study the cultural impact on urban environments in the digital age? In Charles Renfro’s discussion of the influence of film in his work, he notes that, “any film with an edit has a point of view. It cannot simply be an index of a place” (Cimino). The tools that we use to capture impressions, whether of culture or space, put their own unique filter on the message and provide students with a unique medium for expressing themselves.
For our study abroad course, students traveled to contemporary Asian cities. With their dynamic juxtapositions of ancient and modern, these cities provide an astounding array of influences to explore. Students unfolded these cultural influences by exploring and analyzing urban spaces and their relationship with the societies in which they exist, using primarily digital media. With the proliferation of digital tools and social media, the study of culture reflects the interactive nature of these expressions.
Utilizing digital analysis tools such as film, photography, and sound recordings, students captured their experiences and observations, ranging from interviews, religious ceremonies, and cultural performances, to the movement of transit systems. Students not only had a platform to share their work, but the immediacy in information sharing of film, images, and social media provided a better capacity for communication and collaboration.
Cimino, Steve. “The Production of Life: Traversing the Intersection of Real and Cinematic.” AIA Architect, Oct. 2016, p. 61.
"Fun Palace Realized" (Michael Su, Pratt Institute)
We present the recent completion of a project directly inspired by Cedric Price and Joan Littlewood’s 1964 Fun Palace. Called “The Pop Up on Katipunan,” this 60,000 sqft project in Manila, The Philippines, consists of a covered shed superstructure, over 200 heavily modified intermodal shipping containers, and an embedded track system for rapidly moving and reconfiguring these containers. Since its opening in early 2019, the project now houses a changing roster of over 40 retailers, service providers, and collaborative workspaces, while also hosting weekly events of over 3000 visitors each. As such, it has become the de facto community center for both local residents and students from the three neighboring universities. Crucially, although the project brief called for an enclosed, multi-level, and fully parceled shopping mall typical of local norms, the project’s development diverged from the brief by pursuing alternatives explicitly capable of rapid deployment, program adaptability, usage responsivity, and ultimately, sustainability. Further, the projects’ material designs deviated from common practice by effacing virtually all traces of the materials’ industrial origins. The result is an open-air plaza framed by two levels of airy glass volumes to form its perimeter, and then populated within by dozens of similar volumes, which are individually, universally programmable, yet collectively reconfigurable, i.e. the Fun Palace realized.
"Rapid, Responsive Design: SITREP.at Design Studio" (Michael Su, Pratt Institute, and Carla Leitao, Pratt Institute)
We present our organization and operation of a series of short term, on-site design studios titled SITREP.at. Named after the military term in reference to the assessment and resolution of volatile situations, SITREP.at was founded by Michael Su, Carla Leitao, and Philippe Baumann in 2013. In our inaugural year, we organized a studio in New York City, which was followed by a studio in Lisbon in 2015, then two studios operated simultaneously in Lisbon and Manila in 2017. These 2 to 4 week-long studios consisted of daily lecture and studio sessions, regular conferences conducted on-site by local experts, and public presentations to stakeholders. More pointedly, following the derivation of term SITREP.at, these studios aimed to develop – and convey to local experts and stakeholders – specific design skills and research techniques capable of accounting for changing and changeable datasets, such as those of time-dependent architectural programs, top-down urban manifests with integrated bottom-up resistance, and patterns of discrete and collective behaviors and preferences. Accordingly, our model for the SITREP.at design studios is that of an emergency response team deployed on-site to rapidly produce tangible, generally alternative architectural responses to emerging or exigent situations. In our view, architecture can never wait for capital or politics. Rather, communities, municipalities, or NGOs should be able to call upon a team of designers to conceive of immediate solutions for urgent problems or posit alternatives to extant proposals. For instance, we conceived our NYC studio (and founded SITREP.at), as a direct, design-based response to Hurricane Sandy’s devastation just a few months earlier. Similarly, our Lisbon studios aimed to create proposals for a “civic forum” at one of Lisbon’s most public, yet most derelict, plazas not merely in response to the commercial projects being proposed, but also in response to the prevailing political climate of disaffection and disavowment.
LIGHTNING TALK TRACK 4: Rethinking Boundaries
Friday, March 6, 2:45 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. (concurrent)
Fred Jones Museum of Art, Edwin A. and Fay Davis Deupree Gallery
"Teaching Color Now" (Erik Herrmann, Ohio State University)
Perhaps no topic exposes dogmas of architectural studies more than color. In early design studies, color is often stripped away in the name of more serious matters like “form.” Today, however, advances in digital projection, printing and a growing interest in the “image” (1) in architecture have rapidly saturated the field.
Perhaps now is the time to reconsider the perplexing scaffold of myths, tropes, cliches, and conventions dictating the use of color in architecture. Trivial debates for and against saturation have been blocks to deeper and more nuanced inquiries into cultural and aesthetic attitudes towards color. The notion that color is a mere indicator of difference has always been insufficient, and research into architecture’s past reveals a problematic history with color, particularly in Johann Winckelmann’s false binary between color and form (2). Of course, as recent scholarship has suggested this phenomenon is not a historical curiosity, but a set of deeply ingrained cultural biases that continue to unfold around us. Pioneering artists like painter Tomashi Jackson are working to uncover reciprocities between interpretations of color and race (3).
This lightning talk will introduce a pressing set of concerns and new approaches that might alter exactly we teach color now.
"The Academy as a Facilitator in Re-Making Architectural Knowledge" (Karen Cordes Spence, Drury University)
Knowledge of architecture in the U.S. has been defined and upheld by schools and firms, yet these institutions are still preoccupied with the dramatic economic fluctuations of the past decade. Simultaneously, problems of resiliency, the quality of urban environments, pollution, and other issues have grown to be more pressing than ever. All these forces have culminated with the introduction of a new generation of designers who value work-life balance, diversity and community. As those who are inheriting the profession come to grips with its present state, they are also speaking up to re-imagine it. Discussions among this cohort have begun to translate into action, which produces innovative understandings of practice. This discussion examines the changes occurring in this knowledge of practice, specifically focusing on how the schools shift from being only holders of knowledge to also serving as facilitators, assisting the young designers by guiding the operations that produce a new, different and improved profession.
This situation is witnessed in our community through recent pursuits, including a review of the profile of our local profession and an outreach effort regarding the improvement of public space. Organized by one young designer, a task force addressing equity and work-life balance issues has benefitted from school support, contacts and organizational aid. Similarly, another recent architecture graduate is exploring public space, engaging a group of city planners, realtors, graphic designers, and other interested parties, with the school providing continuous guidance, encouragement and connections. Rather than being isolated instances of community engagement, these endeavors are shaping a knowledge that is advancing the profession, both internally and externally. While the school is unable to provide content or answers, it helps shape processes that facilitate efforts to change architectural practice as directed by a new generation of designers.
"Developing Resources for Design Students" (Karen Cordes Spence, Drury University)
In regard to teaching design, I am always struck by how quickly we trust that individual studio experiences accumulate to provide a thorough understanding of design. Professors of beginning design studios go to great lengths in crafting thoughtful introductions, and succeeding studios are carefully constructed to engage informative endeavors. Yet within this, it is easy to see how the possibilities for understanding design processes and elements may be inadvertently limited. This is especially true in the absence of dominant paradigms. While broad reviews of the activities and pieces that constitute design are usually relegated to lecture courses, making this material highly accessible to early design studios enables students to increase their knowledge of design. In turn, their exploration will introduce new advancements.
This foundation can be established by gathering processes that range from Hillier’s conjecture-analysis models to Alexander’s pattern languages, and elements that include everything from Ching’s spatial organizations to analogies and typologies. Assembled on Instagram, Pinterest, and similar platforms, students will have a breadth of design resources at their fingertips. The collection may be continually developed and edited, helping to increase design knowledge and serving as a supplement for deeper instruction in design studios.
"Student as Site: Inclusive Design Pedagogy" (Emily Wettstein, Harvard University )
Design education is ripe for a radical reimagining. The lack of diverse perspectives and approaches needed to adequately address the pressing challenges of our constructed environment demands a continued critical interrogation of design education that aims at inclusion. This paper proposes applying the core concepts and methodologies of the design disciplines onto their own pedagogical practices in order to generate a more genuinely inclusive design pedagogy.
Exemplifying this approach, the paper argues that landscape architecture’s unique relationship to site and sitedness offers a rich epistemological lens for this radical reimagining. Drawing together intersectional critical analyses with landscape frameworks and methodologies, the paper proposes approaching students as sites, with attention to situation, position, and identity, engaging them as generative of their own specific potentialities, in rejection of a tabula rasa approach. By constructing an inclusive design pedagogy out of the discipline’s foundational concepts and methods, we enrich our understanding of the student and, in turn, challenge and advance those disciplinary foundations. A deeper, mutually reinforcing, conception of both students and sites can promote a richer, more authentic, and diverse field of designers across multiple design disciplines.
"Five Points of Informality" (Ashley Bigham, Ohio State University)
Informal architecture, by its very name, categorizes all architecture by its supposed level of formality. While seemingly harmless in concept, in practice, it is important that the term ‘informal’ is most often used to describe non-Western cultures, peoples, and spatial practices. There are two reasons architects have misused the term ‘informal’: 1) We have too often conflated economic definitions of informality to definitions of architectural form, and 2) we have focused only on the global organization of the built environment, not on the individual unit formations and their collective relationships. Through an ongoing study of open-air markets and bazaars in Ukraine, this talk will propose new pedagogical and analytical methods we can use to identify specific attributes, characteristics, or descriptors that might exist in any—formal or informal—architecture.
As troublesome as the term ‘informal architecture’ may be, it would be equally problematic to replace this term with another singular term, which would inevitably flatten our understanding of an architecture that produces variety, difference, and transformation across global contexts. Rather, this presentation will offer new terminology for discussion and ask the important question: How can we instrumentalize lessons learned from architecture labeled ‘informal’ in the same way we learn from canonical precedents?
"Dialogic Pedagogy: Talking Ourselves Out of Paternalist Structures" (Suzannah Grasel, Architects Lewis + Whitlock)
The decolonization of architectural pedagogy is an issue of both structure and content. Structure, arguably, plays a larger role in the effective and generational colonization of the student class. Through an institution’s structure, content is circulated and affirmed. Moreover, through the structure, the singular interest of an individual or individual group systemically overrides the interest of another individual or individual group. How can institutional restructuring shift architectural pedagogy away from its hierarchical paternalism, i.e. a colonialist narrative? How can restructure counter paternal self-interest and established authority? To colonize a pedagogy, the role of the teacher inflates the status of an educator to provider and protector while simultaneously pacifying the autonomy of the student. Only by democratizing the role of the teacher can pedagogy be decolonized.
Democratizing pedagogy through dialogue begins with the student. A student, or any participant without established ethos, should have an explicit platform to contribute and the space to be heard routinely. The dialogic model leverages structure on behalf of the pupil’s autonomy and rejects the notion of a singular established content administrator. A student’s growth neither hinges from the initial and incorrectly assumed status of the tabula rasa vessel to be fulfilled via infill, nor is their projected path subject only to the educator’s measure. The ethical underpinning of dialogic pedagogy is to platform dialogue not only from but between subordinate groups (students) which empowers their ability to act and think autonomously. This restructuring diversifies discourse from alternate sources beyond the paternal scope. By intentionally cultivating student dialogue within the same platform of the educator, the pedagogical structure can be democratized.
"REDEFINING BOUNDARIES: #ThisIsNotAWall" (Ane Gonzalez Lara, Pratt Institute)
Boundaries and borders have generated lots of attention these last years in the political realm of our country. Those of us living and teaching in the borderland region could see the direct implication that the proposed heavily militarized border wall infrastructure, the intent to end the DACA program, and a president making racist remarks about Mexicans had on our diverse body of students.
As addressing those topics became more relevant than teaching students about aesthetics, technics, or representation, the students enrolled in the Borders Studio researched the construct of borders, dealt with politics, and discussed agency that architects have in such conflicts. Students also had lively debates about the consequences and responses that the wall generated amongst architects and designers, and the role of architects in the definition of geopolitical boundaries.
#ThisIsNotAWall reflects the students’ designs to create alternatives to the proposed wall. While some of the students’ projects were a direct answer to the wall, others aimed to redefine the border itself. In addition to the designs, the projects were accompanied by a letter to President Trump describing the proposal and the advantages of the design compared to the proposed wall.
Following the outcome of the studio and examining other proposals, this paper analyzes the work, conversations, and outcomes of the Borders Studio taught at the University of New Mexico in Spring 2017 and 2018.
"Field" (Ane Gonzalez Lara, Pratt Institute, Mrinalini Aggarwal, Pratt Institute, and Swati Piparsania, Pratt Institute)
Proposed as a series of workshops through Fall 2019 and Spring 2020, Field is an arena for encounters, discussions, and debates that develop contemporary discourse around the Expanded Fields of art, architecture, and design. Drawing upon the critical essay authored by Rosalind Krauss in 1979, ‘Sculpture in the Expanded Field,’ and the subsequent symposium held at the School of Architecture, Princeton University in 2007, ‘Retracing the Expanded Field,’ the workshops will host research seminars and prototyping studios within the DeKalb Gallery at Pratt Institute. Field breaks away from the context of classroom and studio as a site for making. Through the revised multi/sites of the gallery, the institute and the city, we will re-contextualize materials, forms and methods for making. Over the course of the workshops, the gallery will be transformed into a research space for documents, models and prototypes, and a living site for architecture and landscape-based interventions. Some of the workshops in the Fall will be tied into the Fine Arts courses – ‘Site Ideas’ and ‘Drawing in the Expanded Field,’ while others will promote collaborations between students and faculty across the Schools of Fine Arts, Architecture, Design and Writing. This paper will analyze the outcomes of this series of workshops taught in Fall 2019, that experiment with teaching interdisciplinarily outside traditional classroom spaces, through the perspectives of the co-hosts of the workshops: three faculty members from the Fine Arts, Architecture and Design departments at Pratt Institute.
"Political Turns: From Spaces of Detention to Spaces of Consumption in Montevideo, Uruguay" (Federico Garcia Lammers, South Dakota State University)
South America is on the eve of another significant political turn. Right-wing populism has returned to the foreground of political life in this part of the world. Traditional architectural history has addressed such turns by studying buildings associated with regimes that are emblematic of specific political eras or the cult of personality of leaders. Instead of fetishizing architecture that symbolizes right-wing populism, this pedagogical proposal connects the urban effects of contemporary politics with the historical transformations of two quotidian buildings and their respective sites in Montevideo, Uruguay:
Site 1. From
the tuberculosis colony and site of the Fermin Ferreira Hospital to the Montevideo Shopping Center. The first shopping center in the history of Uruguay.
Site 2. From prison and site of the largest national prison escape to the Punta Carretas Shopping Center. The second shopping center in the history of Uruguay.
Pairing an architecture/urban history seminar with a study abroad opportunity in South America is the pedagogical intent of Political Turns. The initial stages of the proposal aim to reveal the physical consequences of an invisible, non-linear political history, and the enduring effects of the violence associated with overlooked places of ubiquitous consumption and forgotten detention.