A New Generation of Designers Speaks Up

Event: Archiculture Trailer Premiere Benefit
Location: Center for Architecture, 09.02.09
Speakers: Ted Landsmark, Assoc. AIA, Ph.D. — President, Boston Architectural College; Bill Moorish — Dean, School of Constructed Environments, Parsons The New School for Design; Gregg Pasquarelli, AIA — Co-founder, SHoP Architects; Billie Tsien, AIA — Co-Founder, Todd Williams Billie Tsien Architects; Giancarlo Tramontozzi — Architectural Professional, Profiled in Archiculture; Dionysios Neofitidis — Architectural Professional, Profiled in Archiculture
Moderator: Ian Harris, Co-Director, Archiculture
Organizers: Archiculture
Sponsors: HOK; Studios GO; Battle Tank Design Studio; MKI Realtors; Anyline; Brooklyn Brewery


Archiculture Drafter.

Courtesy www.archiculturefilm.com

As the design industry continues to be transformed by technology and a demographic of young professionals enter the work force, Archiculture — a documentary directed by David Krantz and Ian Harris — presents a provocative view of the architectural profession and its impact on the lives of practitioners and the general public. Exposing the intense reality of matriculating through an architecture program, the film, currently in post-production, follows five students through the trajectory of their senior thesis projects.

During the trailer premiere at the Center for Architecture, Krantz and Harris fueled a conversation among academics and seasoned and young professionals to explore a growing disconnect between architectural education and professional practice. “Architecture schools are failing to prepare our graduates to be architects,” claimed Ted Landsmark, Assoc. AIA, Ph.D., president of Boston Architectural College. With a growing sense that architecture is a concept hinged on the virtual world of design, Landsmark inquired, “Can one be an architect without making anything?” The theoretical practice of design led many graduates of prior generations to pursue academia over the studio. With a majority of now tenured faculty espousing a limited view of a multi-faceted field, concern is rising about the ability of architecture curriculums to equip students with professional practice skills. Gregg Pasquarelli, AIA, principal of SHoP Architects, believes in engaging technology, production, and culture, and encouraging students to possess a greater understanding of finance and development to broaden their design freedom.

Krantz and Harris have tapped into a rising coup among architecture students, as the consensus calls for a syllabus emphasizing greater accountability to the general public and the environment. Architectural training needs to stress scale, according to Billie Tsein, AIA, of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects; understanding the relationship between the built environment and human beings is crucial to creating space. Landsmark encouraged architects to be more political and avoid working in isolation, stating, “Every time we design a public space we are engaging in a political act that affects people we don’t know — we can’t divorce ourselves from that.” Scheduled to premiere in 2010, Archiculture is a call for change, intrepidly exposing the shortcomings of architectural education today, and motivating design’s leaders to make their language more accessible to the public.