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Practice : Spring 2012
verbal content into another yet language s ha red by the participants. The entire day was framed by awareness that many of the basic a s sumptions of architectural practice as it developed over the pa st 150 years have cha nged: the economy, technology, global c ommunication, a nd sustainability. Other known issues have e xpanded and become more intractable: poverty, global conflict, natural disasters, a nd the need to reuse existing environments and structures. In this context, the conventional forms of design practice are struggling. L arge firms must become even larger in order to flourish in the global marketplace. The typical small firm seems to be limited and marginalized, less able to compete and sur vive at all. Within these continually cha nging circum- stances, where c an the young designer and the student of design find a footing? And what is the respon sibility of design educ ators and educational institutions? The following six themes were identif ied as key areas for further exploration: What is “ design thinking”? What is its unique value in the world and how is it learned? Design as a way of approaching the world was a centra l value in the entire day’s discussions. The c ontinuing importanc e of studio a s a learning environment wa s invoked by numerous spe akers, a s wel l a s the idea that project-ba s ed le arning should e xtend throughout the entire lifelong education al endeavor. The value s of both craft and technology were highlighted, a nd some suggested that c ommunity resourc es be brought into the learning process from the b eginning. What are the respon sibilities of the design profe ssions and to whom are they accountable? Participants pondered what types of issues are really design issues and asked themselves how design adds value to solving today’s problems. If people are star ving or suffering from natural disasters, is that really some- thing that design can address? Another theme was the sea rch for an ethics of design, a s en se of responsibility to ba sic is sues that would ground all of the design profe ssions. Micha ele Pride, Profes sor, University of New Mexico, spoke eloquently of the need to identif y “c ore competencies that will also allow graduates to be nimble enough to respond to the crisis or the opportunity of the moment.” Some suggested that society may need a built environment but may not need the design professions as they are practiced today. Others sugge sted greater focus on applied research on design a nd human health and on how the buildings we have de signed already are performing. Fred Noyes, Frederick Noyes Arc hitects and Peter Kuttner, President C7A Deni se Dea , BAC Faculty, Payette PRACTICE 45 FEATURE ] CHANGE ORDER