For the next 14 weeks, The Architect’s Newspaper will publish interviews with emerging architects on the matter of building a practice that engages with the culture and politics of architecture through building. “Building Practice” was a course taught by Professors Molly Hunker and Kyle Miller at the Syracuse University School of Architecture in fall 2019. Students enrolled in “Building Practice” studied the work of 14 architecture offices through discussion, presentation, drawing, and model making, and conducted live interviews with the principals of each office. The interviews will be shared here, in series, leading up to an exhibition in Syracuse in April 2020 that will feature drawings and models of 14 projects—one from each practice.
The list includes:
- Independent Architecture
- New Affiliates
- Only If
- The LADG
- Young & Ayata
“Building Practice” is an interview series that encourages emerging architects to share their experiences linking practical and theoretical forms of knowledge during the beginning stages of building a practice. The objective of this series is to study the manner in which the act of beginning initiates the development of a body of work that seeks to produce new forms of architectural knowledge through building. To evidence this production, the academic course and the interview series both highlight one project from each practice that has been either recently completed or is under construction. The projects range in size from small accessory dwelling units to multi-story housing complexes.
Through questions related to the formation of the practices and development of the projects, the interviews reveal how these architects claim unique conceptual territory regarding form, space, order, materiality, and aesthetics, and convey urgent necessity for design to acquire meaning and value in relation to cultural, environmental, political, and social concerns. In doing so, these practices collectively partition themselves from previous generations of experimentally minded architects, while individually exemplifying their distinctive and inimitable affinities, techniques, sensibilities, and values.
In surveying the ongoing efforts of young architects, “Building Practice” expands the reach of contemporary architectural design by introducing, to a broader audience, designers now more engaged in cultures of building. Pressing questions such as, “What is the responsibility of the architect?” and “What does it mean to practice architecture?” will be posed throughout the interview series. In asking these questions and others, “Building Practice” will uncover how architectural design practices are being constructed today. For a generation of architects more commonly associated with “speculative” or “academic” work, “Building Practice” updates the narrative, repositioning the most talented emerging designers as able and eager to make genuine contributions to the built environment and contemporary culture. “Building Practice” celebrates this new cast of architects actively mending the unnecessary divides between image-making and activism, design and politics, academics and practice.