Design Education Turns Social

Event: Deans Roundtable and Reception, arch schools: r(each)ing out
Location: Center for Architecture, 09.24.07
Speakers: George Ranalli, AIA — Dean of Architecture, The City College of New York; Mark Wigley — Dean, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, Columbia University; Anthony Vidler — Dean of Architecture, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art; Moshen Mostafavi — Dean of Architecture, Cornell University; Urs P. Gauchat — Dean of Architecture, New Jersey Institute of Technology; Judith DiMaio, AIA — Dean of Architecture & Design, New York Institute of Technology; Scott Ageloff, AIA, ASID, IDEC, NYSID — Vice President of Academic Affairs & Dean, New York School of Interior Design; Kent Kleinman — Chair of Architecture, Parsons the New School for Design; Tom Hanrahan, AIA — Dean of Architecture, & Anita Cooney — Chair of Interior Design, Pratt Institute; Stan Allen, AIA — Dean of Architecture, Princeton University; Alan Balfour, Assoc. AIA — Dean of Architecture, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Jane Smith, AIA — Chair of Interior Design, School of Visual Arts; Mark Robbins — Dean of Architecture, Syracuse University; University at Buffalo (SUNY); Gary Hack — Dean, School of Design, University of Pennsylvania; Keith Krumwiede — Assistant Dean & Professor of Architecture, Yale University
Moderator: Marvin Malecha, FAIA — ACSA Distinguished Professor, TOPAZ Laureate, Dean, College of Design, North Carolina State University & 2008 AIA First Vice President/President-Elect
Organizers: AIANY; Center for Architecture Foundation
Sponsors: RMJM Hillier; Kohn Pedersen Fox Architects; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; Supporter: Pei Cobb Freed & Partners; Friends: Beyer Blinder Belle Architects and Planners; Butler Rogers Baskett; Francois de Menil Architects; Gabellini Sheppard Associates; Mancini Duffy; Robert A.M. Stern Architects; Terrence O’Neal Architect; beverages provided by Izze

Arch schools: r(each)ing out

Courtesy AIANY

Based on images and themes captured from the recent popular press, roundtable moderator Marvin Malecha, FAIA, dean of the NC State University College of Design, drilled 16 local deans on questions relating to design and social responsibility. Malecha peppered the panel with questions like “Why should the public trust architects?” and “Do architects really care about the ‘other’ 90% of society?”

Most of the deans conceded that social initiatives should be used to engage students, such as providing social housing and designing to avert sprawl. At the same time, some deans questioned the logic of migrating to a curriculum with an entirely social agenda. Stan Allen, AIA, dean of architecture at Princeton University, said that while high-level design and social agendas could work together, students should not be mandated to focus on social problems. “The world is changing; we cannot teach on a snapshot of the moment.”

Malecha, who will serve as 2009 AIA president, asked the deans how far they see architecture practice and the AIA actually affecting architecture education. According to a number of deans, rigorous business and professional practice classes can add to the architecture curricula, but should not supplant the importance of design teaching in a studio structure. Formal education is just the beginning of a long process, said Anthony Vidler, dean of Cooper Union. “We are nowhere near the end of it when a student graduates.”