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.
Posts tagged with "Joan Ockman":
We know you love the gossip. AN aims to satisfy that itch in print, online, East Coast, West Coast, whatever, wherever, whenever. So here comes Eavesdrop to our blog so you can get it faster, feistier, anywhere you are. Plus, we will be posting Sara Hart’s online-only EAVESDROP ALERTs. But the real fun begins in the comments section, where you can lay on your own gossipy tidbits. And Sara will be sure to respond. For Whom the Buell Tolls There are some whispers coming from the Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture at Columbia University’s GSAPP. Our ears immediately perked up, because we never hear anything much from that stone corner of the academic groves. Founded in 1982, the center’s first director was Robert A.M. Stern, who was followed by Gwendolyn Wright, Richard Buford, Joan Ockman (who stepped down about a year ago), and Reinhold Martin, who currently holds the post. The whispers have it that Professor Martin is changing the center’s mild mission to a more politically left-leaning agenda. Some female members of the 12-person board of advisers are also miffed that he’s held boys-only dinners, like a recent bash with board members Peter Eisenman, Stern, and GSAPP Dean Mark Wigley. Could another Penguin Club be in the making? Furniture Fanfare? So, was this year’s ICFF a bust? It depends on whom you ask. One exhibitor told Eavesdrop that traffic to his high-profile booth was off 50 percent from last year, and noted a dearth of posses from the architectural giants. Not so, said PR maven Beth Dickstein. Her math suggests that while some huge manufacturers bowed out this year, there were more smaller exhibitors, and overall the quality of the goods was better. As sales and marketing consultant to the show’s producer, George Little Management, she admits that overall attendance was down about 12 percent. But, she cites numbers from major exhibitors—including Pablo, Chilewich, and Trove—who claim to have written big orders from big firms with big projects. And Make Ours a Double Here’s a twist on surviving the recession. Gensler associate Judy Cheung brought a new client called Flex Mussels to the firm. Her reward was getting laid off. Now she’s a bartender at the Gensler-designed Upper East Side eatery that specializes in the aforementioned bivalve. Her current gig sounds more gratifying. And more tough breaks: A loss on the left coast could be an opportunity for an enterprising museum in the East. Brooke Hodge, the much-admired curator of architecture and design at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, was laid off along with several other staffers, with senior curators taking a 5% pay cut. Another casualty of the institution’s weak finances was Hodge’s long-planned show on Morphosis, now cancelled. Eli Broad, not surprisingly, is also involved. To get his $30 million bailout, the museum has to make good on spending cuts while redirecting its focus to the permanent collection. Send frites and oyster shooters to email@example.com [This originally appeared in AN 10_06.03.2009 (NY)]