Minneapolis architect John Dwyer is the latest on a growing list of educators hoping to streamline the path from architecture student to practicing designer—an odyssey of classes, vocational training, and rigorous licensing requirements that can top the time it takes to become a medical specialist. As head of the architecture department at Dunwoody College of Technology in Minneapolis, Dwyer is offering a program designed to qualify architects in five years. The Bachelor of Architecture program is not yet accredited, but already has 55 enrolled students, according to a spokeswoman for Dwyer. (Dunwoody itself is accredited, but the program is a candidate expecting approval for degrees starting 2019.) Dunwoody also offers technical training and associate degrees, including a welding program in Winsted, Minnesota. Their architecture program prioritizes “hands-on, real-world experience” and mentorships with working designers. Students pursue an Associate in Applied Science Degree in the first two years, earning a Bachelor's three years later. The move to fast track architectural education and practice follows similar efforts at larger institutions, including the University of Minnesota. Last year the College of Design at the University of Minnesota announced a new, one-year MS-RP program that aims to help B.Arch or M.Arch graduates achieve licensure within six months of graduation. They cited a study from the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) showing the average time from graduation to completion of the mandatory Intern Development Program (IDP) is 6.4 years, plus another 2 years to complete the exams and actually receive a license to practice.
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The most famous architect in the world agrees that his latest building kind of looks like a crumpled brown paper bag. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, said Frank Gehry, the creator of the very wavy, very paper bag-y Dr. Chau Chak Wing Building at the University of Technology, Sydney. "It is a container, maybe it is a brown paper bag," said the starchitect at the building's recent opening. "But it is flexible on the inside; there is a lot of room for change and movement which I think in the world today is essential." The structure has been so universally compared to the disposable sacks used to carry a child's lunch because of its waving brown brick facade, which certainly looks like crinkled paper—especially from a distance. To allow light into the 11-story bag—sorry, building—there are prominent, rectangular windows punched through the rippling facade. There are also large expanses of glass tucked behind the paper—sorry, brick. Taken altogether, the starchitect’s first completed project in Australia looks like a throwback to some of his early work with its heavy use of masonry. An interior staircase that is sheathed in a warped metallic skin is more in line with Gehry's recent projects. Since Gehry said the design was inspired by a tree house, the paper bag comparison is not ideal. When he was was recently asked if he was happy with the final product, he reportedly replied: "Oh boy, I’m Jewish and I feel guilty about everything." Hey, chin up, Gehry. It's not all bad news, Australia’s Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove said the building looked like “the most beautiful squashed brown paper bag” he had even seen. So, at the very least, it beat the competition. You can watch a timelapse video of the building's construction below.
The search for a new leader of Frank Lloyd Wright's School of Architecture concluded today, as the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation named Aaron Betsky the new dean in charge of Taliesin. Betsky previously served as director of the Cincinnati Art Museum, but stepped down from that position in January 2014. He was previously the director of the Netherlands Architecture Institute, and he directed the 11th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale in 2008. He has authored numerous books on art and architecture and continues to blog for Architect. Split between campuses in Spring Green, Wisconsin and Scottsdale, Arizona, the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture is in the middle of a fundraising campaign that could decide the future of the school's accreditation. Facing new rules from the Higher Learning Commission, officials from the institution said they must raise at least $2 million before the end of 2015, or the school will lose its standing once those new rules take effect in 2017. Betsky will "set the intellectual tone or the School," according to a press release, but he will also have to help tackle the school's financial challenges. "Frank Lloyd Wright's architecture broke the box and opened vistas toward a democratic landscape; he made organic architecture and built with, rather than on, the land before anybody talked about sustainable architecture," Betsky said in a statement. "I look forward to continuing the tradition of experimental architecture he did so much to define." The future of that tradition, however, remains uncertain. In December Sean Malone, president of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, said the school would remain committed to design education even if they are no longer able to award accredited degrees after 2017. With Betsky at the helm that mission appears intact; the Foundation said they will continue to award degrees at their Taliesin East and Taliesin West campuses either way, perhaps in partnership with accredited institutions. "We wanted a bold thinker and a talented leader," Malone said in a statement, "and we found both in Aaron." Betsky, who was born in Montana but grew up in the Netherlands, succeeds Victor Sidy, who returns to his private architectural practice. Betsky assumes the role of dean immediately.
Flint, Michigan kicked off a series of events celebrating education and the arts Friday, unveiling interactive installations cooked up over a year-long after school program local students have dubbed Museum of Public Schools. Produced by the Flint Public Art Project, the ongoing exhibition will culminate in a series of proposals by students to change their school system. Mott Middle College plays host to the ongoing event. “Usually students just experience their own educational opportunity and journeys,” Mott Principal Cheryl Wagonlander said in a press release. “It's rare for them to step out of the role of experiencing and become the seekers of information about how varied educational access and opportunities are in their own community and beyond their own community.” On the corner of South 2nd Street and Saginaw, students installed chalkboards that asked the public, “What is the purpose of education?” Answers varied widely in tone, from sarcastic to self-reflective. The Museum of Public Schools program is just one of several summer events planned as part of the growing Flint Public Art Project’s programming. Upcoming events include a “porch light initiative” to illuminate the city on June 19 to celebrate the day in 1865 when Union soldiers announced the end of the Civil War. More information is at www.flintpublicartproject.com.
Chicago’s top art school announced big changes in its design department this morning. The School of the Art Institute of Chicago Thursday announced their selection of Jonathan Solomon as the new Director of the Department of Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects (AIADO). Solomon, who comes from his position as associate professor and associate dean at the School of Architecture at Syracuse University, assumes the job officially on August 1. In 2010 Solomon, who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies from Columbia University and a Master of Architecture and Certificate in Media and Modernity from Princeton University, helped curate Workshopping: An American Model of Architectural Practice at the Venice Architecture Biennial. He is the co-founder of 306090, a nonprofit arts stewardship organization. He previously taught design at the City College of New York, the University at Buffalo, and the University of Hong Kong, where he led the Department of Architecture as Acting Head from 2009 to 2012. He is a licensed architect in the State of Illinois. Solomon recently spoke on a Chicago Architecture Foundation panel discussing Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin’s series on Chicago designers in China. He is related to Lou Solomon, who helped found Chicago design firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB).
Five years ago, the University of Michigan shelved its plans to expand its Art and Architecture Building. Now, a bit further along on the country’s economic recovery, the University said this week it would build a $28 million addition. University of Michigan's Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning will be the primary tenants of the building, which U-M has tapped Integrated Design Solutions and Preston Scott Cohen to design. Located on U-M’s North Campus, it will also house the Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design. The new wing will be named for Alfred Taubman, the architecture college’s namesake, who donated $12.5 million toward the addition. Plans for a $13 million, 16,300-square-feet addition were originally drawn up in 2007, but administrators scuttled that project after the financial crisis. Now with twice the budget, the design is hotly anticipated on campus.
In crafting a building whose main goal is to make the study of natural resources accessible, architects from HOK and GSG did just that: they brought the outside in. Its purpose is to study what’s buried beneath the earth’s surface, but the University of Wyoming’s Energy Innovation Center isn’t an underground bunker. At the $25.4 million center, 3D visualizations illuminate three walls of a research lab so students can plumb the earth’s subsurface for valuable minerals and fossil fuels. The three-story, 56,941-square-foot EIC contains 12,000 square feet of flexible research lab space. A massive supercomputing system runs the 3D visualization rooms, which include a 1,296-square foot drilling simulator. “Rather than viewing a 3-D screen, the center resembles a cavern with three vertical walls and a floor,” said UW’s School of Energy Resources Director Mark Northam, “that makes researchers feel as if they are physically immersed in the image.” GSG Architecture of Casper, Wyo. is the architect of record. The general contractor was GE Johnson Construction Co. of Jackson, Wyo.
In the wake of the completion of the $111.9 million Bing Concert Hall in January, Stanford University has kicked off construction on a new seven-story hospital as part of the ongoing renewal of its medical center. Designed by New York City–based Rafael Viñoly Architects, the facility features a modular layout that allows for incremental horizontal extensions to the building. This development strategy seamlessly merges with the low-rise campus. "This project represents an unprecedented endeavor in the hospital's successful 50-year history of healing humanity," said the ever-modest Viñoly in a statement. "By reinterpreting and updating the Stanford campus and the original hospital through a modular plan, it is poised to adapt to evolving medical technology while continuing to provide advanced care and treatment—in a healing environment unique to Stanford—to patients from surrounding communities and beyond." One of the largest developments currently underway on the San Francisco Peninsula, the new hospital will be open for patient care by 2018. The design is based around a universal modular building block measuring 120 feet by 120 feet, which was calculated to offer the best possible arrangement for numerous hospital roles, guaranteeing flexibility in adjusting to the constantly shifting needs of medical technology. The new building includes 368 private patient rooms with wall-to-wall windows that provide natural light and sweeping views, high-tech diagnostic and treatment rooms, and a Level 1 Trauma Center that triples the size of the existing Emergency Department. A 1,000-car parking structure and five gardens are part of the modular plan, which integrates open public spaces such as a glass-covered atrium and landscaped drop-off plaza. The hospital will be seismically isolated to protect occupants and the facility from catastrophic earthquakes.
Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania have been at the forefront of the education of American architects since the late 19th century. This past weekend, the University's School of Design held a two day conference, Architecture Education Goes Outside Itself, on the evolution of architecture education in the past century-and-a-half from the first "school"—a correspondence course created in nearby Scranton, PA. A group of young scholars selected, and perhaps inspired, by Penn professor Joan Ockman (whose important new book, Architecture Education: Three Centuries of Educating Architects in North America, thoroughly covers the subject) presented papers on America's always-evolving efforts to initiate and rethink the education of architects. From the debates on the value of aesthetics versus technical requirements and the AIA's desire to direct educational policy, to Lewis Mumford's attempt to open up architects to outside influences and Sigfried Giedion's plans to bring history to Harvard despite Walter Gropius' ambivalent relationship to teaching history, these scholars focused on dozens of important moments of change in architecture schools. In the post-World War II period there were papers on G. Holmes Perkins experiments at Penn, Feminist summer schools and the AA unit system and it's influence in America, travel as a form of knowledge in design studies starting with the Venturi's Yale trip to learn from Las Vegas and teaching at historically black colleges and universities. In all of these sessions the question of the future of design education seemed never to be far from the speakers' and audience's interest and concerns. Penn dean Marilyn Jordan Taylor and professor David Leatherbarrow provided the right amount of levity, insight and passion to keep the symposium focused and on point throughout the two days of talks and discussion. Finally the university's glorious architectural archives were put on view in a special exhibition in their Kroiz Gallery that focused on education topics. A entire series of water damaged boards from Venturi's studio visit to Levittown complimented Beaux Arts renderings and Robert le Ricolais models in the exhibition which is open to the public.
The University of Illinois and the state are pushing a plan to build on Chicago’s growing tech sector, calling for support from major institutions in the area to help support a tech lab in downtown Chicago. Details are hazy now, but Crain's is reporting the $100 million-per-year operation would draw support from Northwestern University, the University of Michigan, and other regional engines of high-tech knowledge, as well as the corporate community, for a facility or campus in the heart of the city. Google and Motorola recently made high-profile decisions to expand operations in Chicago, and the Department of Energy named Argonne National Laboratory its national hub for battery research and technology development. What this means for the local design community is unclear just yet, but as downtown and West Loop construction picks up it is clear that some developers are banking on growing demand.
Edgeless School: Design for Learning Center for Architecture 536 LaGuardia Place Through January 19, 2013 Edgeless School investigates how technology is changing education and how architecture itself is changing as a result. The exhibition takes a look at 19 newly completed schools throughout the country (eight are in New York City and the majority of the rest are in the Pacific Northwest) and sorts them by their degree of “edgelessness.” The Ethical Culture Fieldston Middle School in the Bronx, for example, softens the distinction between the built environment and nature by embracing outdoor space and using a connection with nature as an educational tool. The L.B. Landry High School in New Orleans, LA, on the other hand, blurs conventional distinctions between constituencies by encouraging students, educators, parents, and architects to work together to create a building that is designed to further the school’s pedagogical goals.
The massive development planned at the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA) was unanimously upheld by the New York City Council Land Use Committee on Thursday, and the Lower East Side might be getting a new school. Or not. City officials won’t decide whether to build the project—part the 1.65 million square foot development at SPURA—for at least another five years, claiming initially that the community did not need a new school. According to City Councilwoman Margaret Chin, the city will set aside 15,000 square feet in the new mixed-use buildings in case a school becomes necessary in the future. The city will also reevaluate the funding available to build it and will keep the potential space available until 2023.