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Practice : Spring 2012
Reiter offered that the very largest design firms are trying to become educ ation centers thems elve s, providing yet another model for lifelong design learning. A recurring theme wa s that what have seemed to be previously agreed upon factors such as the functioning of firms, the value of business, the role of a rchitecture in society, a nd the relation ship of architects to clients a nd institutions are no longer in place. If design educ ation is to c ontinue to have value, it has to respond to these changes. Ted Landsmark clos ed the day with a plan to create a manifesto, a set of clear action steps to guide the future process of this visioning endeavor. A plan, he said, that will “make us feel as though what we did today has taken hold and produced positive c ha nge for our students.” Following, a brief review of other themes that wove together throughout the day: Practice-based Education. K ermit Baker a nd Steve Brittan each addressed the difficulty of educating students to work in fields that ser ve the construction indus- tries. These industries are extremely frag- mented, and the amount a nd pace of work expands and contracts enormously a nd rapidly. Interns, who are the first to be hired and the first to be let go, serve as the “balance wheel” that enables firms to function in this fluctuating matrix. These a re the f uture le aders of the de sign profes- sions, and yet they are the ones most tested by the shortcoming of the current model. Susan Szensay asked, “How do you train an a rchitect to sur vive on his or her skills without actually building or drawing a nything? What kind of education do they need in order to survive and get to the next level of their understanding of what a rchitec- ture is and how architecture can be practiced without actually doing architecture some- times?” Duke Reiter suggested that perhaps design educ ation should back away from so much focu s on buildings. Role of Studio. Ted Landsmark pointed out that significant design learning takes place in studio a nd this element of the curriculum must stay in some form. As the principle site of self-formation of the designer, he asked, “what would we need to change in that environment in order to ma ke our students more c omfortable a midst complex- ity?” Studio le arning was prioritized in a nother way by Neri Oxman, who demon- strated the notion of architect a s both Illustr ation (above) : Peter Kutt ner PRACTICE 47 FEATURE ] CHANGE ORDER