Posts tagged with "Architecture Schools":

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How can architects build the equitable discipline we deserve?

For those of us in schools of architecture, September is an exciting time animated by the return of students and the arrival of those beginning their journey. Architecture school is a powerful framework for cultivating capacities—a place of exploratory, creative, integrative, and rigorous learning and making. The design studio at the heart of our curriculum powerfully enhances student development as peers work together through face-to-face interaction in a shared space. However, those of us involved in accredited U.S. architecture programs will convene a population of students and faculty skewed toward white, male, and able-bodied people from well-off families. Studies by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) and the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) show that our discipline is marked by gaps in participation and advancement by gender and ethnicity, leading to a profession where these disparities are even more pronounced. As David Gissen has pointed out in these pages, we lack data on other key factors, including ability. As exhilarating as starting an architecture degree can be, it also marks one step in a screening process that yields a demographically skewed profession and academic discipline. Where are the missing cohorts, and what factors are turning them away? How are we inadvertently sidelining women, first-generation college students, people of color, disabled people, and other traditionally underrepresented constituencies? How can we enrich architectural education and practice by expanding access and improving the value proposition? I am passionate about architecture’s intellectual and creative capacities, so I believe that a society that relies on architects to translate its needs and desires into built form deserves better. The underrepresented population turned away by the cost and other challenges of architectural education deserves better. Those of us in the field deserve better. What will make the field more accessible—and more compelling—to a diversity of talent? How can we build the discipline we all deserve? One familiar consideration is people, as more diversity in firm leadership and architecture school faculty will counter explicit and implicit bias by expanding the range of visible role models, mentors, and gatekeepers. A second well-recognized component is content: Presenting a diversity of perspectives and models within research and curriculum will better train our profession to serve society. If the theory syllabus, for instance, covers feminism and multiculturalism only in week 13—after students have chosen their paper topic and checked out to charrette for final reviews—the ways that women, people of color, disabled people, and queers have interpreted and shaped our built world will seem like an afterthought to the achievements and preoccupations of the propertied white men who historically have been recognized as architects. People and content are priority areas for any good diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy. Pipeline and mentoring programs starting with pre-college and continuing through faculty and firm promotion are essential, as are strategies for expanding what counts as core knowledge. Our ability to make substantive change is limited, though, if we don’t also tackle the ways we structure our degree programs and practices. By making high demands in money and time, the formats of education and practice distort the demographics of our field. Consider licensure: NCARB reports that the average time it takes from commencing architectural studies to obtaining licensure is more than 12 years. This is a very long probationary period marked by continuing education, tracking, exams, and diminished earnings. Given that the rigors of licensure may outweigh the rewards, people with fewer resources often pursue other career paths. Nearly half of those pre-licensure years are typically consumed by education. Whether you enter the field through an undergraduate professional degree or through a liberal arts or science degree followed by graduate study, architectural education requires a lot of academic credits. For many students, this also translates into a high debt burden. Many of those credits consist of design studios that meet for three to four hours per credit—rather than the typical one-hour-per-credit standard—while also demanding another three or four times as many hours in evening and weekend work. This curricular burden multiplies with each course or studio. Architecture school culture expects intensive effort disproportionate to the credit achieved. Studio is one of the glories of architectural education, increasingly emulated in other fields from engineering to business. But who can afford to dedicate this much time to schoolwork? Probably not a parent, a caregiver, a student-athlete, a first-generation college student working a job to offset costs, or a person with a disability that magnifies the endurance test of long studio nights and charrettes. This dynamic carries forward into practice. The habit of undercompensated overwork, instilled in studio, primes students for exploitation in the workplace along lines described by the Architecture Lobby. Studies by the American Institute of Architects Equity by Design committee suggest that the heavy time demands placed on many junior and midlevel associates push women out or take them off the top promotion track, because those years coincide with the period when many are starting families. To address these issues, NCARB and other organizations are reducing time-to-licensure by changing the Architecture Experience Program and launching Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure degree options. Faculty should extend this work deeper into the format and culture of architectural education, reviewing our assumptions about learning so that we attract and foster a broader range of talent. In doing so, we can accelerate progress toward building the discipline we deserve. To test these ideas, my colleagues and I at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning are embarking on a human-centered redesign of architectural education. Working in close contact with interaction and experience designers has shown me the value of human-centered design as a way to see interactions from varied user perspectives, and to redesign processes to promote success. By mobilizing this approach in architectural education, we hope to understand how our current students and those missing cohorts perceive and experience both our degree programs and the larger profession. Identifying the factors that turn people away will help us test ways to bring a wider range of people into the intellectual and professional world we cherish. One tool for building the discipline we deserve is pursuing academic innovation by piloting new approaches to teaching and learning, with the goal of improving the value proposition of architectural education. In many fields, institutions are combining online platforms with new business models to offer learning in a wider range of formats beyond the standard multiyear, full-time residency model. Some schools offer courses in self-paced online modes or create microcredentials that allow learners to gain competency. This lets them try out a new field through part-time study, which is compatible with work and other obligations. Architecture schools already deploying academic innovation or testing alternative formats range from IE University and Academy of Art University to the London School of Architecture and Build Academy. Our focus at Taubman is on something we’re calling equity innovation: academic innovation that promotes equitable access to learning and professional opportunity. This spring we launched an Equity Innovation initiative aimed at the human-centered redesign of architecture school. By experimenting with a broader range of ways for students to learn, we believe we can meet the needs and priorities of a more diverse community of future architects. As a first step, we have convened a task force and launched a multiyear competitive incentive funding program to elicit, develop, pilot, and deploy new approaches. Drawing on research by NCARB, ACSA, Equity by Design, the J. Max Bond Center, and other sources, we aim to understand the dynamics of selection and attrition shaping our student population. What are the points at which prospective architects exit the field? What curricular structures and experiences promote success equitably? Does the portfolio requirement unduly weed out promising candidates from impoverished urban school districts? Can more inclusive review practices promote gender equity? Can we lower the cost of education by complementing the high-contact model of the atelier studio with other platforms for design learning? What can we draw from the achievements of historically black colleges and universities, other minority-serving institutions, and past initiatives such as the one described by Sharon Egretta Sutton in When Ivory Towers Were Black? By prototyping—and ultimately deploying—equity innovations across and beyond the curriculum, we aim to remake our field. This work presents challenges, of course. Many faculty, alumni, and students are attached to our current ways of teaching—they worked for us, after all—and are loathe to tinker with cherished institutions like the desk crit, the all-nighter, and the marathon review. Others may fear a loss of status and cultural capital if the field draws less on the canons of Western philosophy and elicits theoretical knowledge from a more diverse range of sources. Finally, not everyone wants to let go of cultural capital built on selectivity and exclusion. I hope that by advancing this conversation within architectural education we can solidify the core strengths of our field, disentangle them from needlessly exclusionary mechanisms, and find common ground in enlisting a broader range of talent to design our world. Building the discipline we deserve is no small task, so we will partner with professional organizations and other schools to promote architectural excellence on more accessible terms. Join us in creating greater opportunities for all.
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UW-Milwaukee elects new urban planning and architecture chairs

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has elected two new leaders for its School of Architecture and Urban Planning (SARUP). Lingqian (Ivy) Hu will serve as chair of the Urban Planning department, with Mo Zell taking over as chair of the architecture department. Zell is currently the associate dean and will be the first woman to chair the department. Hu has served as associate professor at UW-Milwaukee since 2010. Lingqian (Ivy) Hu has written extensively on spatial mismatch both in the United States and China. With a research focus on how transportation policy and planning affects the lives of people in vulnerable communities, Hu’s tenure as chair comes as UW-Milwaukee’s Master of Urban Planning degree program receives accreditation for another seven years. UW-Milwaukee has been offering urban planning courses since 1974, will full accreditation given by the American Planning Association (APA) in 1977. Mo Zell is a member of the leadership team of Woman in Design Milwaukee and a partner at bauenstudio, designers of the Veterans Memorial at Northeastern University and finalists of the 2011 Burnham Prize and the Washington Monument Grounds Ideas Competition. Zell founded the Mobile Design Box for SARUP, connecting community entrepreneurs with UWM designers in a formerly vacant space in Milwaukee’s Concordia neighborhood. The recipient of a $30,000 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Creativity Connects program grant, Zell will assist in connecting a pool of architects, artists and designers in creating commissioned art, with projects constructed in venues across Milwaukee that discuss the city’s socioeconomic diversity and material culture.  Zell has authored books on traditional architectural drawing. According to the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), four out of ten architecture graduates in 2017 were women. The Planning Accreditation Board (PAB) reports that women make up 39% of graduate program faculties in urban planning schools.
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University of Kansas will rename its architecture school, lose “Planning” in its title

In a brief message on its new website, the school of architecture at the University of Kansas (KU) announced the change of its name from the School of Architecture, Design & Planning to the School of Architecture & Design. “On the face of it, it might seem like a simple change,” said Dean Mahesh Daas in the online announcement. “But since we seldom have the opportunity to revisit what we call ourselves, we invested a tremendous amount of time and energy into this decision. The new name just better reflects our vision, which is to be 'the pioneering force for global impact through design.'" The name was culled from over 100 alternatives that were gathered by students, faculty, alumni, and staff at a January brainstorming session. Along with the new name, the school rebranded its website with a new URL (www.arcd.ku.edu) and is referring to itself as Arch/D for short. As Daas pointed out, the name of a school is often meant to express the school’s vision. For instance, The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture recently announced a name change to the School of Architecture at Taliesin. That name change came with the school’s financial break from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.
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UMass Amherst completes cross-laminated timber Design Building for architecture, other programs

Boston-based Leers Weinzapfel Associates recently completed construction of the new Design Building at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the first academic building in the U.S. to use a Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) as its primary structure. (See images of the building under construction here.) Targeted for LEED Gold, the building includes other sustainable architectural features like bio-swales for water runoff filtration, a green-roof which doubles as an outdoor classroom, and the largest installation of wood concrete composites in North America. The building is described by Principal Architect Andrea Leers as “a teaching tool for the design disciplines.” Leers made the case that educational environments, especially those for design school, can serve a pedagogical function in the training of young architects. Leer stated further that:
From my own teaching experience there’s nothing more potent than being able to talk with students about the space around you—in this case, the building’s collaborative configuration, innovative structure, considered material and detailing choices, environmentally-driven site, and synergistic landscape concepts that define the project.
The building is organized around an interior atrium lit during the day by several skylights. This daylighting strategy reduces energy consumption and provides the school with a bright central space for exhibitions, design critiques, lectures, informal gatherings, and other events. The studios and classrooms are arranged around the atrium, visually connected to the commons through window apertures that allow visitors to glimpse the work being done by the students and faculty. The design of the building’s commons also emphasizes the unification of the university’s departments of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, and the Building and Construction Technology program into one singular facility. In addition to its extensive use of wood products, the architects chose to clad the building with copper-finished aluminum panels that protect the highly-efficient envelope. Though the building fills much of the site, the landscape design by Stephen Stimpson Associates strategically uses native plants and local paving materials to connect the building to the larger campus. In the end, the building cost $52 million to construct, a price tag that was partially funded by Massachusetts State Legislature, and adds 87,500-square-feet of additional interior space to the university. Suffolk was the construction manager.
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Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture will change its name

The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture has announced that it will change its name to the School of Architecture at Taliesin. The change comes as the school has worked to restructure and gain financial independence from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. The school’s new visual identity was created by Michael Bierut, a partner at New York–based graphic design firm Pentagram. “Adopting this new name, the School of Architecture at Taliesin, helps us to secure our identity as an experimental, forward-looking architecture program that is deeply rooted in the Taliesin Fellowship,” says Aaron Betsky, dean of the School.  “The process in which we developed our new relationship with the Foundation and our accreditors has been an opportunity to closely examine who we are as a school and how to best position ourselves to advance our mission and create quality educational experiences for our students.” As the school gains its independence from the Foundation, a transition that is expected to be complete in August, the school will also undergo a leadership change. Dean Betsky will become the president of the school, and Chris Lasch, the current director of academic affairs, will take over the role of dean. As the new name would imply, the school will continue to run out of Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin, and Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona. Both properties are owned by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and play an important role for both the school and the foundation. “We look at Taliesin and Taliesin West as living laboratories that continue to advance Wright’s principles,” said Foundation President & CEO Stuart Graff. “Seeing the next generation of great architects working and living in these settings is as important to their preservation as maintaining the walls that hold them up.” As reported by The Architect's Newspaper, the school recently passed an important milestone towards its continued accreditation. The Higher Learning Commission approved the Change of Control application needed for the school to become independent from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, a requirement of accreditation.
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Team led by Vargo Nielsen Palle beats BIG, SANAA to design new Aarhus School of Architecture

This article was originally published on ArchDaily as "Team Led by Emerging Architects Vargo Nielsen Palle Beats Out BIG, SANAA in New Aarhus School of Architecture Competition." Competing against a shortlist of internationally acclaimed architects, the team led by newly established practice Vargo Nielsen Palle (in collaboration with ADEPT and Rolvung & Brøndsted Arkitekter) has been selected as the winners of the NEW AARCH competition, which sought designs for several new buildings for the Aarhus School of Architecture and the development of the surrounding area in Aarhus known as Godsbanearealerne. The restricted competition consisted of three invited practices—BIG, SANAA and Lacaton & Vassal—and the three winners of the earlier open qualifying competition, Vargo Nielsen Palle, Erik Giudice Architects, and ALL (Atelier Lorentzen Langkilde). Vargo Nielsen Palle’s proposal was chosen as the unanimous winner. “It is a powerful project that interweaves with its surroundings, Ådalen, the city and the surrounding neighbors in the area,” said the happy rector of Aarhus School of Architecture, Torben Nielsen. “The new school of architecture will be a cultural hub that encourages interaction and dialogue. An open, pragmatic, flexible structure that allows for continuous change and adaptation to changing needs, and which focuses on the future life and activities inside the building. It will be a factory for architectural experimentation that will set the stage for cooperation with the city, the profession and our neighbours—just as we wanted.” The jury had been given the choice of nominating up to three projects to continue into the negotiation process, but found Vargo Nielsen Palle’s proposal to be so compelling, they declared it the sole winner. “[Vargo Nielsen Palle’s entry] provides the most optimal starting point for constructing a new school for Aarhus School of Architecture in terms of architecture, functionality, and economy,” stated the jury in their concluding report. “In terms of scale, the winning project relates well to Carl Blochs Gade and plans the many uses as a ‘city within the city’, where visual contact between the school’s diversified users encourages cooperation and mutual inspiration. The building structure is stepped down in height towards a central urban space that opens up the school towards the city and the neighboring institutions.”

The winning project was conceived as a result of close interdisciplinary cooperation between Vargo Nielsen Palle, ADEPT, Rolvung & Brøndsted Arkitekter, Tri-Consult and Steensen Varming. The development will replace the Aarhus School of Architecture’s outdated premises in the old merchant’s house at Nørreport; originally intended as a ‘temporary’ home, they have been the primary facilities for the school for more than 50 years.

See the full jury report, including designs from the other competing firms, here. Written by Patrick Lynch Archdaily_Collab_1
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Of prophets and professionals: a response to Peter Zellner

Though I share some of his concerns about the state of contemporary architectural education, I was taken aback by comments from my friend and colleague Peter Zellner in a recent editorial in this paper. In “Architectural Education Is Broken—Here’s How to Fix It,” Peter offers a five-point critique of contemporary education and a matching five-point prescription for a “post-studio and post-digital architectural education.” The criticism, gleaned from twenty-five-year-old comments by John Baldessari about the artist’s development of a “post-studio” course at CalArts nearly 50 years ago, takes aim at hierarchical master-disciple relationships between teachers and students, at the proliferation of academic styles that often result from them, and at the suppression of dissenting opinions such situations often entail. His prescription for change unfolds along a familiar, if vague, trajectory that valorizes shared knowledge, free experimentation, and egalitarian exchange among students and teachers. Some of Peter’s criticisms are justified, if a bit overblown. “Various forms of academic cult worship” indeed exist in architecture schools today, and this “pied-piperism,” to borrow a term from Eric Moss, has led many a promising student into unproductive territory. In my experience, though, most of those lost sheep eventually find their way home, and more often than not they return primed to parlay experience gained in foreign fields into significant contributions within the disciplinary fold. Peter’s complaints about the nefarious forces of digital technology, on the other hand, lack both specificity and substance. He merely states, rather than argues, his contention that digital tools foreclose creativity, and dismisses without comment not only the obvious achievements of several decades of innovative work at schools around the globe but also of his own students. Worse, the statement is not his own, but rather a quote from Peter Eisenman, which adds to an air of older generations kvetching about newfangled habits and, like his invocation of Baldessari, undermines his admonition against undue authority invested in the pronouncements of elder statesmen. However problematic, Peter’s criticisms are for the most part innocuous. I have more serious concerns about his proposals for change. His recipe for post-studio education rests on a specious, if common, elision of art and architecture and a ludicrous, if equally common, contention that architecture “can’t be taught.” Such arguments brush aside significant differences between art and architecture and perpetuate damaging mystifications about the nature of architectural practice and education. I agree with Peter’s assertion that architecture is an art form. But unlike painting, literature, music, and other modes of artistic production, it is also a profession with significant ethical and legal responsibilities, and a discipline with cultural ambitions to advance the public imagination. The latter aspect distinguishes the practice of architecture from the craft of building. The former distinguishes it from the production of fine art. Peter and I share a deep commitment to architecture understood as a cultural practice with professional responsibilities, as opposed to a design profession with cultural ambitions. Nonetheless, I take issue with his proposals, which, in spite of his criticism of a supposedly style-obsessed status quo, continue to portray architecture almost exclusively in aesthetic terms, pay only passing lip service to “technical knowledge,” overemphasize issues of style and individual expression, and disregard questions of professional competence. Any serious proposal about architectural education must take the full gamut of architecture’s professional and disciplinary responsibilities into account. More damaging is Peter’s proposition, also borrowed from Baldessari, that architecture cannot be taught. Apparently, the best we can do is to “set up a situation where [architecture] might happen.” This is a bizarre idea to be put forward by such an intelligent and effective teacher as Peter Zellner. Peter proposes that we can’t teach architecture because he conceives of architecture, as Baldassari apparently conceives of art, as a mystical quality, a transubstantiation of physical matter into some higher form of existence. This is the sort of stuff that routinely pours from the mouths of those academic shamans Peter rails against in his essay. It can be seductive, to be sure, but it is nonsense. Architecture doesn’t just happen. Architecture is made. Architecture can be made, and its methods taught, because “architecture” refers not to a specific object but rather to evidence that an object—usually but not always a building—has been produced in terms of a specific way of working. Just as literature cannot be reduced to books, architecture cannot be reduced to buildings. Neither can it be reduced to drawings, models, or digital animations. Architecture is method all the way down. The Oxford English Dictionary defines architecture not as a kind of building but rather as “the art or science of building.” Another Peter, the historian better known as Reyner Banham, put it better: “What distinguishes architecture is not what is done… but how it is done.” Understanding architecture as having to do with how  rather than what  makes it easier to see that architecture is, like all academic disciplines, a cultural construct. Its techniques and methods, its history and theory, the habits and conventions of those who practice it, can and routinely are taught and learned, as evidenced by the surfeit of students who quickly master the tactics of their teachers that Peter laments in his essay. Of course, those techniques, histories, habits, and conventions also can be developed, transformed, thrown out, and replaced as needed. Such activities rank among the most important work that takes place in architecture schools. Understanding architecture this way also makes it easier to see that the field’s value system, its internal methods for identifying what constitutes good and bad work, is always a work in progress. Architectural quality, like architecture itself, is determined not by the presence or absence of some quasi-spiritual attribute in an object but rather by consensus. Constituencies in support of any architectural work must be constructed long before the project can be built, and even if constructed buildings are not one’s aim, it is an ability to assemble such constituencies, and little else, that transforms individual interests into relevant contributions and, in some cases, canonical achievements. In other words, architecture’s aesthetic ambitions are deeply political. And the disciplinary politics of architectural education, as Peter intimates in his essay, can make for some pretty ugly situations. Luckily, contemporary architecture can and does support a wide range of coexisting genres and associated value systems. In the best schools, a handful of them vie for dominance, motivating proponents of each to hone their political as well as their aesthetic and technical chops as they make their respective cases and build their respective constituencies. In the worst ones, well-meaning but misguided faculty utter empty pronouncements like “you can’t teach architecture.” There are plenty of issues with contemporary architectural education today, and I commend Peter for having put some of them on the table. But at the top of any list of things to fix in architecture schools must surely be the abdication of so many faculty of their responsibility to teach it. Todd Gannon is the Cultural Studies Coordinator at SCI-Arc.
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Architectural education is broken—here’s how to fix it

Todd Gannon, cultural studies coordinator at SCI-Arc, issued a response to the following article that can be found here. In an interview1 by art critic Christopher Knight at John Baldessari's studio in Santa Monica, the seminal Los Angeles artist had much to say about the state of art education in L.A. in the early 1970s and his efforts at the then-nascent CalArts program. At the time, the dominant pedagogical model in most art academies, as in many architecture schools, was founded on the inviolable relationship between master and disciple within the studio environment. This tradition—mostly established in medieval artisan guilds and professionalized in the 19th-century academy—relied on a few well-worn shibboleths:
  1. Creative or technical knowledge can only be passed on through direction supervision.
  1. The hand and eye of the disciple can only be cultivated, monitored, and authenticated by an appointed authority, typically a master or a master’s apprentice.
  1. The authority of the master’s opinion is evidenced by the caerful replication of the academy’s official style(s) and through the copying of known works by the master.
  1. Until sanctioned by the master or the academy itself, the disciple remains a novice and therefore an intellectual and creative subordinate.
  1. Any challenges to this (mostly) patriarchal order are considered heretical. (To wit: The Salon des Refusés of 1863.)
Baldessari and other notable L.A. art educators like Michael Asher upended these traditions by teaching what is now known as post-studio art practice. Post-studio art teaching was conceived of as a model of art-academics that inverted the relationship between what is taught, if it is taught at all, and what is practiced. It leveraged intensive group critiques between students and students, students and faculty, and faculty and faculty to attack what was practiced by artists in an effort to create space for new forms of art to emerge. Baldessari and others at CalArts shifted the onus of responsibility from the teacher to the student, moving art teaching from a master-disciple model to a communal and relational notion of education. This new model of art education was founded around open conversation, relentless critique, and a demand for a radical autonomy put to and assumed by each individual student. Baldessari explains:

Well, the whole idea was to raise the question what do you do in an art school? And you say, "Well, what courses are necessary to teach?" and that is question begging in a way, because you can say, "Well, can art be taught at all?" And, you know, I prefer to say, “No, it can’t. It can’t be taught.” You can set up a situation where art might happen, but I think that’s the closest you get. Then I can jump from there into saying, “Well, if art can’t be taught, maybe it would be a good idea to have people that call themselves artists around. And something, some chemistry, might happen.” And then the third thing would be that to be as non-tradition-bound as possible, and just be very pragmatic, whatever works. You know, and if one thing doesn’t work, try another thing. My idea was always you haven’t taught until you see the light in their eyes. I mean, whatever. Extend your hand, that’s what you do. Otherwise, you’re like a missionary, delivering the gospel and leaving. [laughs]”2

Architectural education today, perhaps not surprisingly, finds itself at a similar juncture some 50 years after institutions such as the IAUS, the Cooper Union, SCI-Arc, and the Architectural Association challenged accepted architectural academic orthodoxies, much like CalArts did in the arts. Many of the very schools of architecture that modeled new and innovative forms of teaching and pedagogy in the 1970s and 1980s now find themselves mired in various forms of academic cult worship: Digital traditionalisms, faux-art fetishisms, silly mannerist dead-ends, philosopher-shaman worship, and other neoconservative returns. The outcomes of this neoliberal and cultish return to a seemingly 19th century Beaux Arts models of architectural education have been devastating: Several generations of students were robbed of their voices and their right to grow potent individual practices; the architecture school falsely made into an imprimatur-machine for its academics, superseding the idea of a school as a space for free conversation, debate and critique; and most worryingly, the importance of the architectural school as an autonomous intellectual and cultural institution has been trolled and traded in, cheaply, for the bad faith business-innovation-two-point-oh-idea of education as an enterprise, student and teacher masquerading as entrepreneur and investor. Freeing architectural education now seems imperative and necessary. If we have reached the end of the current road, perhaps this is a golden opportunity to challenge these tired orthodoxies and to create a space for new forms of education, perhaps in post-studio and post-digital formats. This will require a challenge to these cults, and of them, the cult of the digital must be confronted and interrogated ruthlessly. Technology and its misuse and abuse, in particular, must be wrestled with now. As Peter Eisenman recently noted, “Technology is a cruel tool, because what it does is defer the possibility of the student being creative. The student can take an algorithm, produce 50 alternatives to the same problem… It takes away from you the possibility of value judgment.” Beyond the problem of too much technology, which might have an easy fix—namely turning off the screen once in a while in studio to read and think for an hour or two—one imagines that an inversion of the aforementioned and blindly accepted new academic traditions might produce a post-studio model of architectural education that could be constructed along these lines:
  1. Creative or technical knowledge can be shared through engaged debate, critique, and conversation.
  1. The relatively high value placed on the approved hand and eye of the student as an expression of the notion of individual genius should be challenged.
  1. The fast paced reproduction of official styles and the copying of contemporary professional works should be exchanged for awkward experimentation and slow growth.
  1. The student and the teacher must be seen as intellectual and creative colleagues whose conversations followed shared but not parallel paths.
  1. Intelligent challenges to accepted academic concepts by students and teachers alike should be celebrated and not extinguished.
Without placing more radical expectations on our current models of architectural education, our schools will forfeit their ability to fulfill their cultural and academic missions. Without freeing up a zone for architectural education to explore the space between vocations and ideas, the profession and the discipline will wither. Without a return to the value of an architecture of ideas and not an architecture of marketing concepts then the purpose and need for the very a school of architecture may be on the table. As these are not acceptable outcomes, the new goal of post-studio and post-digital architectural education must be to promote genuine intellectual change through a radical questioning of the very purpose of teaching, of the academy and, by extension, of architecture itself. The question one might ask now of architectural education, after Baldessari, is this: “Can architecture be taught at all?”  And, the answer might be, “No, it can’t. It can’t be taught. You can set up a situation where architecture might happen, but I think that’s the closest you get.” Peter Zellner is a longtime contributor to The Architect's Newspaper and teaches in the Graduate Architecture program at the University of Southern California, School of Architecture. 
1 From an oral history interview with John Baldessari,
conducted by Christopher Knight at the artist’s studio in Santa Monica, California, April 4–5, 1992. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
2 Ibid.
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Sonia Hirt named dean of University of Maryland School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation

The University of Maryland has named Dr. Sonia A. Hirt to be the next dean of its School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. She will take over for David Cronrath, who became dean in July 2010. This marks the first time a woman has been named to lead the school, which is located on the University’s College Park campus, close to Washington, D. C. Hirt will officially assume her role in October 1. “Dr. Hirt’s leadership skills and more than a decade of experience teaching and researching in the fields of architecture and urban planning make her the perfect candidate for this role,” said Mary Ann Rankin, UMD's senior vice president and provost. “I am enthusiastic about the future of the School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation under the leadership of Dr. Hirt.” Hirt will join the University of Maryland from Virginia Tech, where she most recently served as professor and associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. In that role, Dr. Hirt oversaw academic affairs across the College’s four schools, reported on all aspects of the College’s performance, set diversity goals and strategies, and coordinated alignment of the College’s academic programs with university priorities. She previously held positions as chair, director, associate professor and assistant professor of Urban Affairs and Planning in the School of Public and International Affairs.
“I am thoroughly excited and deeply honored to join the Maryland School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation,” she said, “The school’s accomplishments are known nationally and internationally. What I find especially compelling is the unique integration of the school’s four core fields—architecture, urban studies and planning, historic preservation, and real estate development—in a way that is intellectually coherent and thoughtfully centered on the notion of sustainability. The School has the potential to make (and remake) the world, literally speaking, one building, one development, one neighborhood, one community, and one city at a time. It will be an extraordinary privilege to serve a community of faculty, students and staff of such rare and incredible talent.” Before joining Virginia Tech, Hirt was a visiting associate professor at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design in the Department of Urban Planning and Design; an assistant professor at University of Toledo in the College of Languages, Literature and Social Sciences’ Department of Geography and Planning; and an instructor at the University of Michigan’s Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning. In her research, she has explored three main themes: comparative urban form with a focus on Central and Eastern Europe; comparative urban planning and land-use regulation with a focus on Europe and the United States; and urban planning and design theory and history.  Her recent book, Zoned in the USA: The Origins and Implications of American Land Use Regulation, has received several honors. They include being named to Choice Magazine’s Outstanding Academic Titles List in 2016 and Planetizen’s Ten Best Books in Urban Planning, Design, and Development in 2016. It was received the Urban Affairs Association’s Honorable Mention for the Best Book Award in 2015.
An earlier book by Hirt, Iron Curtains: Gates, Suburbs and Privatization of Space in the Post-socialist City, received the Honorable Mention for the Book Prize in Political and Social Studies sponsored by Harvard University’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. Hirt is the Co-editor of the Journal of Planning History and serves on the editorial boards of four other journals: Current Research on Cities, Journal of Urban Cultural Studies, Planning Practice & Research, and Urban Design International.She earned her Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in urban and regional planning from the University of Michigan, and her B.A. from the University of Architecture and Civil Engineering in Sofia, Bulgaria.
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Texas gun laws prompts Fritz Steiner, dean of UT Austin’s architecture school, to decamp for Penn

Shots fired! Fritz Steiner, the University of Texas at Austin's architecture dean, says that he is leaving his post because of the state's new campus carry laws. Under Steiner, the UT-Austin architecture school has ranked among the best in the country. According to The Texas Tribune, Steiner said that "I would have never applied for another job if not for campus carry. I felt that I was going to be responsible for managing a law I didn't believe in." What's Texas's loss is Pennsylvania's gain:  When the University of Pennsylvania School of Design approached him last semester about an opening, Steiner was receptive. On July 1, Steiner will become dean of University of Pennsylvania School of Design. For the past 20 years, it's been perfectly legal to carry concealed guns onto campus, but not into campus buildings. Although new campus carry laws were ratified last year, the laws don't go into effect until the first of August. In a state with some of the nation's most liberal gun laws, it's worth noting that the new law does not allow open carry on campus; students, faculty, staff, or visitors must have a handgun license; and the gun owner must be 21 or older. Public universities are allowed to create some limited "gun-free zones," but those zones can't include classrooms. Students for Concealed Carry, a campus group that supports gun rights, criticized Steiner, stating that, essentially, the only thing to fear is fear [of the law] itself. For his part, Steiner is looking forward to returning to the institution from which he earned three degrees: "Penn is a great institution and I am very happy to go to Penn, but I was approached ... and, if it wouldn't have been for campus carry, I wouldn't have considered it."
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Martha Thorne is the new dean of Madrid’s IE School of Architecture and Design

On September 4th, IE University in Madrid announced Martha Thorne as the new Dean of the IE School of Architecture and Design. School leaders anticipate that her knowledge of the international architecture and design worlds will further IE's mission of training forward-thinking designers and architects. Previously, Thorne served as the Executive Director of the Pritzker Prize. From 1996 to 2005, she acted as the Associate Curator in the Department of Architecture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). Thorne has authored and edited numerous books and articles, including The Pritzker Architecture Prize: The First Twenty Years and Skyscrapers: The New MillenniumThorne received her Master of City Planning at the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in Urban Affairs from SUNY Buffalo.
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NCARB rolls out new program that could allow architecture students to get ahead in their licensure process

As thousands of architecture students prepare to head back to school, August marks yet another step toward an easier path to licensure for aspiring architects. NCARB recently accepted proposals from over a dozen accredited architecture schools implementing a more "integrated path to licensure within academic programs accredited by the NAAB." The so-called Integrated Path Initiative encourages NAAB-accredited programs to suggests approaches that could potentially result in completing Intern Development Program (IDP) requirements and begin taking the Architect Registration Exam (ARE) all before graduation day. Passing all ARE divisions before graduation is not required. The proposals, which were received back in June, were reviewed by the NCARB Licensure Task Force (LTF), composed of interns/recently licensed architects, state licensing board members and executives, academic deans and instructors, and non-architect public members as well as individuals representing the AIA, the AIAS, the ACSA, and the NAAB. Each school will receive feedback from the NCARB on "how their proposal is or could become acceptable before releasing the names of the accepted programs." NCARB also notes that all programs that submitted proposals will be coached towards the next steps including modifications necessary to move forward."With concerns about keeping the pipeline flush with new architects replacing the retiring generation, this initiative assures we are responding to interested students and maintaining our standards," said NCARB president Dennis Ward.