Frameworks of Practice

How should we practice today? 

Since World War II, a series of paradigm shifts have significantly altered the relationships that had been established over the preceding century between the discipline, the profession, and the practice of architecture. Concurrently, the diversity, scope, and scale of work has changed, along with the means by which this work is performed and realized. The declared value of architecture; the various strategies that architects have employed to secure their work, participation, and standing; the knowledge, process, and organizational knowledge needed to successfully practice; and the siting of practice within an increasingly complex constellation of production, value-creation, and societal relevance have all evolved over the last 50 years. Taken together, these factors have spawned frameworks of practice that have shaped careers and offices to this day. 

However, the global economic crisis of 2007–2008 and the political, economic, cultural, and technological changes that followed have upended the prevailing frameworks of practice. Consequently, how one builds a career and practices architecture today is in many ways radically different from the path followed by previous generations of architects and designers. This shift is playing out before us, as evidenced by a host of practices that have emerged since 2008 ranging from small interdisciplinary studios to large-scale global platforms. 

This course will challenge students to: 

1. Understand how we arrived at this moment; 

2. Uncover and identify the diverse ways in which architecture and its allied disciplines/professions are practiced today; and 

3. Map the projective lines of inquiry, demand, and agency that are likely to serve as foundations for practice in the not-so-distant future. 

Course format:

Lecture, discussion, teamed and individual exercises/project. 

Prerequisites: Open to all graduate degree programs at the GSD. Prior work experience is beneficial, but not required. However, MArch I candidates must have completed their respective core professional practice course in order to enroll in PRO 7408.