Architects 2Zebras Top 10 Posts for 2011 December 31, 2011Posted by randydeutsch in architect, architect types, BIM, books, career, change, education.
Tags: AIA, architect, architects, architecture, influence, knowledge, Michael Graves, Myers-Briggs, Richard Foqué
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Architects 2Zebras ended 2010 on a down note and readers let me know it, many of whom came to Zebras expecting positive, uplifting posts.
Not walks down reality lane.
You made it clear: there are plenty of reminders of how hard it is out there for architects and no one needed reminding.
You needed encouragement, resources and guidance.
I heard you and responded with a year’s worth of what I hoped would be more helpful posts.
Here are the ones you responded most positively to.
Thank you for sticking around, engaging and helping to make this another great year at Architects 2Zebras!
A response to an article entitled “A Difficult Character” about how, when a leadership consultant reviewed the Myers-Briggs tests of 100 architects, he discovered there really is an “architect type” — and maybe a difficult one.
In Princeton in the ‘80s, I twice lived in – or next to – Michael Graves home and office. Here’s what it was like.
This post received a very strong response, in part because – despite the title – its message was ultimately positive and empowering for architects.
Ask not what our profession (and AIA) can do for us. Ask: What can we do for our profession?
Re-titling it turns out is no longer just for cars. Architects, in an effort to distinguish themselves in a competitive market and work environment, have started to call themselves different things.
Architecture’s Two Cultures (AND a Crucial Third)
In-depth review of Building Knowledge in Architecture is a new book and lifesaver by architect, educator, researcher, scholar and poet, Richard Foqué.
Why Didn’t You Teach Me How to Practice? November 21, 2011Posted by randydeutsch in architect, architect types, career, change, education, employment, IDP, pragmatism.
Tags: architecture education, architecture school, bridging the gap, education, IDP, Intern Development Program, law school, lawyering, training
But can it?
That’s certainly the intention of Intern Development Program (IDP), the comprehensive training program created to ensure that interns in the architecture profession gain the knowledge and skills required for the independent practice of architecture.
Setting aside the validity in today’s economy of an independent – as opposed to integrated – practice of architecture,
Is the office the best place to train to become an architect?
In firms, these days, almost everybody draws.
And everyone is as close to 100% billable as humanly possible.
No more can architects consider themselves “knowledge workers,” unless that knowledge includes working knowledge of such software programs as AutoCAD or Revit.
With many architecture firms pared down to skeleton staffs, training is a luxury few can afford.
And teaching recent grads on a client’s dime is something most clients will no longer tolerate.
Building clients have never warmed to the idea that they are footing the bill for an intern’s education on the job.
As one senior designer said to me over coffee, rather loudly with an emphatic pounding on the table:
“Work is not school! Not school! Not school!!!”
Tell that to any firm that has set-up and administered a corporate university.
Neither academia nor practice, we’re beginning to see emerging entities that are starting to fill-in the gap, gaping hole or (for those attending Cornell) gorge between architectural education and practice.
Hybrid education. Just-in-time education.
Enroll in the equivalent of a four-year lunch-and-learn.
Don’t pass go don’t collect 200 dollars go straight to jail.
At the same time, we’re seeing bridge students who take-up architecture and engineering; or engineering and construction management; or architecture and an MBA, to help segue between academic and real-world pursuits while presumably making themselves more attractive to an employer.
Perhaps it is best that training – whether in continuing education or in practice – stay outside academe’s ivy walls.
Training is still seen by some as parochial, vocational.
In some academic circles “practice” is a dirty word.
Why sully your pristine education with practical consideration?
Some architecture schools won’t have practitioners on their faculty so as not to infect their student body, as though practical considerations were a disease.
This, despite the fact that practical knowledge is a job requirement on the road to becoming a full-fledge professional, every bit as much as residency is for a doctor.
Before building-up $150,000 in student loans, would-be architects – in most states – know that they will have to pass through an apprenticeship prior to sitting for the licensing exam.
Remind me: What exactly did you get for your $150,000 education?
Learning in school vs. learning in the gap vs. learning on the job
Architects like to think that they are alone in many things, not the least of which is their inadequate education and training in the face of a constantly moving picture of practice.
They are of course wrong: they have plenty of company.
This is evident in the many parallels with other areas of study.
Just consider these quotes:
“What they did not get, for all that time and money, was much practical training.”
“Schools have long emphasized the theoretical over the useful”
“Professors are rewarded for chin-stroking scholarship”
“They are (practitioners) in the sense that they have…degrees, but they aren’t ready to be a provider of services.”
First-year associates at one…firm “spend four months getting a primer on corporate (practice.) During this time, they work at a reduced salary and they are neither expected nor allowed to bill a client. It’s good marketing for the firm and a novel experience for the trainees.”
“This has helped to hasten a historic decline in hiring.”
“The essential how-tos of daily practice are a subject that many in the faculty know nothing about — by design.”
“One 2010 study of hiring at top-tier…schools since 2000 found that the median amount of practical experience was one year, and that nearly half of faculty members had never practiced…for a single day.”
“The academy wants people who are not sullied by…practice.”
“Where do these students go?…There are virtually no openings. They can’t hang a shingle and start on their own. Many of them are now asking their schools, ‘Why didn’t you teach me how to practice…?’ ”
These are just a few quotes from the New York Times article, “What They Don’t Teach Law Students: Lawyering.”
They sound remarkably – and uncomfortably – close to what architecture students go through.
What is one thing you wish recent graduates, interns or emerging professionals were taught in architecture school?
- A better understanding of ___________
- Greater familiarity with ____________
- Deeper knowledge of _____________
- Basic skills, like how to perform ______
- A stronger grasp of _______________
Let us know by leaving a comment.
Interdisciplinary Education for the AEC Industry October 3, 2011Posted by randydeutsch in collaboration, education, problem solving.
Tags: Architecture + Construction Alliance (A+CA), California Polytechnic State University, Chicago, crossdisciplinary, Howard Gardner, InSB, integrated school of building, interdisciplinary education, multidisciplinary, transdisciplinary, wicked problems
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We’re about to do something about that.
More on that in a moment.
Interdisciplinary education is essential for would-be professionals to address complex problems in the built environment.
Problems design and construction professionals face are intractable, complex and – as Howard Gardner attests – “wicked.”
Problems that are difficult or impossible to solve because of incomplete, contradictory and changing requirements.
Problems that require the vantage of many players – working openly, sharing information.
Problems that occur in rapid succession, often simultaneously.
An interdisciplinary education helps students to see these problems from multiple perspectives, resulting in quicker and more assured responses.
The goal with interdisciplinary education is to teach the whole architect, engineer and contractor – in the end creating more-complete, well-rounded, T-shaped design and construction professionals.
Coming closer to a Total Design education that considers learner’s needs, interests and abilities vs. fragmented competence in subject matter: the threshold of current thinking and teaching.
Interdisciplinary Multidisciplinary Trans-disciplinary Cross-disciplinary Education
Part of the problem is knowing what to call it when the A, the E and the C work together.
In school – there’s teamwork and collaboration.
In practice – there’s Integrated Project Delivery, Integrative Practice and Integrated Design.
Here’s how I explain the difference in my book, BIM and Integrated Design:
Terminology can admittedly get confusing. There is integrated design, integrative design, integrated buildings, integrated design process, integrated practice (IP) and integrated practice delivery (IPD.) To understand the difference between IPD and integrated design in its simplest terms, one, IPD, is a delivery method; the other, integrated design or ID, a larger concept and process—free of contractual identity—that contains IPD.
Simply put, to integrate means to combine or coordinate separate elements so as to provide a harmonious, interrelated whole, organized or structured so that constituent units function cooperatively.
In school the challenge is that you need to have a base to work from before you can integrate or collaborate effectively.
Undergraduates – certainly in their first two years of schooling – can’t be expected to collaborate well since they have yet to develop a thorough understanding of how their disciplinary specialty fits with others.
A more in-depth look into this topic can be found here.
Architecture + Construction Alliance (A+CA)
7 years ago, deans and department heads of the accredited schools of architecture, degree programs in construction and those containing both programs, began to meet to discuss ways to collaborate, establishing working groups to share perspectives and showcase best practices for collaboration of architecture and construction programs.
It was soon determined that their gatherings were not sufficient to create the closer connections and joint endeavors necessary to sustain such efforts.
Thus, the A+CA was born.
The mission of the A+CA is to foster collaboration among schools that are committed to interdisciplinary educational and research efforts between the fields of architecture and construction, and to engage leading professionals and educators in support of these efforts.
An example of such a program is the PDCI San Luis Obispo, CA USA (the Planning, Design & Construction Institute, College of Architecture & Environmental Design, California Polytechnic State University) offers integrated studios for architects, architectural engineers and construction managers using an integrated project delivery approach. More here Cal Poly Home .. CAED Home .. PDCI Home
As A+CA explains, the professions of architecture and construction are undergoing significant changes as they respond to multiple demands and opportunities to increase collaborative project work.
They are propelled by changed societal and client expectations to more fully coordinate their formerly separate roles and responsibilities for the social, environmental, and financial performance of projects, while Building Information Models (BIM) and other digital technology provide emerging new vehicles for integration.
These changes – in our built environment professions – need to be reflected in the education of future professionals, with a major emphasis on fostering superior interdisciplinary knowledge, and team based skills that support synergy and innovation in the 21st century professional context.
A unique ability to play a leadership role in the industry
Architecture + Construction Alliance is a consortium of US universities that
1. have both architecture and construction programs within the same college, and
2. are prepared to act together to foster the necessary interdisciplinary and collaborative education needed by our professions.
Such an alliance of these universities has a unique ability to play a leadership role in the development, pilot testing, assessment and dissemination of courses and projects through coordination of the faculty, staff, and financial support for this activity.
The Fall 2011 A+CA meeting will be held on November 9th, prior to the ACSA Administrator’s Conference in Hollywood, CA
The Spring 2012 A+CA meeting will be held in April, in conjunction with the CIB Board Meeting in Washington, D.C. This marks the first time in the CIB’s history that the Board meeting will be held in the US. A+CA meeting details forthcoming.
Member Founding Schools
Auburn University, California Polytechnic State University, Clemson University, University of Florida, Georgia Tech, Mississippi State University, University of Nebraska, University of Oklahoma, Prairie View A&M University, Southern Polytechnic State University, Texas A&M University, University of Texas – San Antonio, Washington State University, Wentworth Insitute of Technology & Virginia Tech
Oh, and one more.
(A new kid in town.)
The New Chicago School
Freestanding, not part of a preexisting university or college.
Which means it is less encumbered.
And, like architecture itself, a work in progress.
Integrated School of Building Chicago IL USA http://insb.us/
The Mission of the school is to educate and advance the knowledge of students in architecture, engineering, and construction by means of a collaborative and innovative platform.
Featured here recently at ArchDaily
Areas of concentration include Construction Management, Project Management, Real Estate Development, Dynamic Design & Fabrication, BIM & IPD, BIM & Energy Modeling, Landscape Architecture & Public Space Development, Sustainable Design, Building Commissioning, Building Forensics, Post-Disaster Design & Reconstruction, Social Design & Development and Preservation & Historic Resource Management.
Twitter handle @theInSB http://twitter.com/#!/theinsb
“A better AEC education is not about making better architects, or engineers, or builders. It is about all coming together as one.” @tcpg