Oculus - Fall 2012 - (Page 34)
footprints on a city map, but critical actors in urban systems. It needs to define and generate new values and knowledge and become a catalyst in the making of creative civil society. Architects have never worked in isolation, but we need to get better at what we do by understanding these interconnections more deeply. The School of Constructed Environments at Parsons brings together programs in architecture, interior design, lighting design, and product design, while explicitly utilizing resources from the larger art and design school and the entire university. Students interact with fine artists, interactive designers, service designers, urban policy analysts, community organizers, anthropologists, performing artists, and many other specialists. The educational challenge is to find ways to capture the information generated through interaction, and translate it into new knowledge that will improve our capacity to solve future complex design problems. In the coming years, Parsons will be rolling out new curricular enhancements that will reflect this philosophy. New thematics will bring together a number of disciplines to tackle complex problems like sustainability, bringing to light the many facets of the issue, from data-driven science to the impact of human behavior. We are seeking to train architects to become social entrepreneurs and to design building systems that have a larger impact on communities.
©Courtesy The New School
Expanding Architecture Beyond Form and Function
How Parsons The New School for Design is redesigning its curriculum and practices to prepare students for complex design challenges of the future
BY W I L L I A M R . M O R R I S H
limate change, sustainability, global recession, high-speed communication, urbanization, digital technology, and social responsibility are just a few of the issues facing architects today. Preparing students to become active and engaged “citizen designers” is a common challenge for architecture schools around the world, and Parsons and its university, The New School, are no exception. We are redesigning our institutional structure, research agenda, and curriculum to focus on educating students who can produce the new knowledge necessary to shape our global urban future. Architecture practice today is a complex set of challenges. We have a unique role to play in bringing about change in communities, and at the heart of this change is an emerging realization that the traditional design axiom of form and function has been radically altered by new social and ecological demands. Architecture needs to be not just figured
(above) Students from Parsons, the Milano School for International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy at The New School, and Stevens Institute of Technology constructed Empowerhouse on the National Mall for the 2011 Solar Decathlon.
One of our most successful recent examples of this interplay was the Parsons entry for the 2011 Solar Decathlon. Parsons partnered with its sister school, the Milano School for International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy at The New School, and Stevens Institute of Technology, to create a new model for sustainable, affordable housing. From the outset, we determined that the house we designed for the competition would not only be an exhibition model displayed on the National Mall in Washington, DC, but real housing for urban communities that could be replicable and scalable. (See Oculus, Spring 2011: “It Takes More Than a Village.”) Our goals were embraced by the Washington, DC, government and the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity. We won the affordability award at the competition, and the house is now home for two families in Washington. It is the first Passive House in the district, set to change environmental policies on the local and, we hope, national level. This spring we will begin another sustainability
Oculus Fall 2012
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Oculus - Fall 2012
Letter from the President: The Future: Here and Now
Of Ladybugs and Learning
Manhattanville Shuffl e: A no-real-community-here might just become one
Opener: The New Learning Landscape
Oh, the Places We’ll Go!
One Firm, Two Schools of Thought
Schools Made to Order
Expanding Architecture Beyond Form and Function
New Kids on the Boards
Real Solutions at Harlem’s Edge
The Future of Architecture Since 1889
Aalto and America
The Mythic Modern: Architectural Expeditions into the Spirit of Place
Schlepping Through Ambivalence: Essays on an American Architectural Condition
The Harlem Edge | Cultivating Connections 2012 Biennial Ideas Competition
A pioneering example of Modernism in New York is the 1931 New School for Social Research building by Joseph Urban
The Young and the Edgeless
Alphabetical and Categorical Index
Oculus - Fall 2012
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