Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania have been at the forefront of the education of American architects since the late 19th century. This past weekend, the University’s School of Design held a two day conference, Architecture Education Goes Outside Itself, on the evolution of architecture education in the past century-and-a-half from the first “school”—a correspondence course created in nearby Scranton, PA.
A group of young scholars selected, and perhaps inspired, by Penn professor Joan Ockman (whose important new book, Architecture Education: Three Centuries of Educating Architects in North America, thoroughly covers the subject) presented papers on America’s always-evolving efforts to initiate and rethink the education of architects.
Once upon a time, being at SCI-Arc meant development was a four-letter word, and developers were akin to the destroyers of cities. Eric Owen Moss, SCI-Arc’s director, played a significant role in changing that perception by working with developer Tom Gilmore, who, since 2001, has also been on SCI-Arc’s board of trustees. Mr. Gilmore, founder of Gilmore Associates, is a former architect, so he has a great appreciation for architecture’s potential, especially in formerly blighted areas of Downtown Los Angeles, where his vision has been unfolding since the early 1990s. This might explain why he recently included SCI-Arc in his estate plans by setting up an endowed chair to the tune of a cool $1 million, the first gift of this magnitude the institution has ever received.
The gift will fund the Gilmore City Chair, a position dedicated to supporting educational initiatives focused on the dynamics of urban development around the world. Moss, in an expression of gratitude quoted Machiavelli, saying, “I believe the greatest good to be done is that which one does to one’s own city.” Further details regarding the scope of the Gilmore City Chair will be forthcoming and may even be revealed by Mr. Gilmore himself when he presents a public lecture at SCI-Arc this Wednesday, February 13 at 7:00 p.m.
Our favorite new naming triumph: SCI-Arc’s “Hispanic Steps.” The new indoor amphitheater, paid for in part by a recent ArtPlace grant and located in the middle of the SCI-Arc building in Los Angeles, is used for lectures, performances, symposia, film series, and community meetings. At a recent meeting to discuss SCI-Arc’s Arts District plans that are also part of the $400,000 ArtPlace grant, officials posed on the newly completed steps for a photo. Included are SCI-Arc’s Chief Advancement Officer, Sarah Sullivan (front center) and Chief Operating Officer, Jamie Bennett (upper right).
The eleven Cooper Union students who barricaded themselves in a classroom in the school’s Foundation Building at Astor Place ended their week-long protest on Monday. The students aimed to draw attention to the school’s decision in April to charge tuition for some of its graduate programs, which, like the schools undergraduate degree programs, have been free to students thanks to an endowment established in 1902. Over the years, this has made Cooper Union one of the most desirable—and as a result, one of the most selective—schools in the country.
Architecture students from the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) are returning to Nosara, Costa Rica to continue work on a recycling center to help alleviate the region’s overlooked municipal solid waste management problem. Led by architect and professor Tobias Holler of HOLLER architecture, the NYIT team began designing and building the recycling center last summer with the help of a Kickstarter campaign that raised over $20,000 in four weeks. To complete the project, the team has launched another Kickstarter campaign and with just 13 days to go before the campaign ends, $5,130 still needs to be raised.
Thinking about getting a masters degree but haven’t found the right field? California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco just made it easier, announcing three new graduate programs beginning in 2013, bringing the total number of post-professional offerings to eleven. The trio of curricula includes: a Master of Architecture in Urban Design and Landscape (MAUDL), a MFA in Comics, and a MFA in Film.
The two-year MAUDL focuses on the future of urbanism and teaches a range of urban design strategies and data-visualization techniques. The three-year MFA in Comics is headed by Eisner-nominated graphic novelist Matt Silady. And CCA’s MFA in Film specializes in multidisciplinary approaches. Classes begin Fall 2013. Applications for all three programs are being accepted now through January 5, 2013 at www.cca.edu.
The Illinois Institute of Technology named Dutch designer Wiel Arets as the new dean of its architecture school Tuesday. Currently a professor at the Berlin University for the Arts, Arets will replace Donna Robertson.
Arets is an acclaimed architect whose firm, WAA, has studios in Amsterdam, Berlin, Maastricht, and Zürich. His current projects include Amsterdam Central Station’s IJhal, Allianz Headquarters in Zürich, and the A’ House in Tokyo.
Mies van der Rohe chaired IIT’s architecture school for 20 years starting in 1938 and designed its main campus on Chicago’s South Side.