guest post: architecture for change (pt 4, final)

15Oct10

Brandy wraps up her thoughts on the conference.

Architecture for change – or at least the seeds of it.
Brandy H. M. Brooks
Director, Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence

4800Const
Photo by Katherine Williams

Each of the four speakers – and many others at the conference I don’t have room to name – presented huge perspective shifts in the way that we could think about development, revitalization, education and practice. Right now, we’re still thinking of these examples as “alternatives” at the fringe of the field. But I like the way Casius Pealer put it: we need to stop talking about “alternative practice,” and start validating and accepting these ideas as part of the mainstream options for the design field. Casius is an architecture graduate who chose to blend design with law, and now uses both in his work on affordable housing; as he points out, no one tells a lawyer that they’re going into “alternative practice” if they choose to work in legal aid or do pro bono through their firm. These options have become part of the norm (and in the case of pro bono service, part of the ABA Code of Ethics requirements) for how lawyers can choose to use their training, and its about time we bring a similar culture into the design professions.

The summit hasn’t changed architecture – yet. But it offered some clear examples of the ways that architecture is beginning to change, and provided an exceptional venue for challenging all of our notions about what designers can do and be.


Check out all of Brandy’s post
Part 1 – Introduction
Part 2 – Speakers: Cruz and Pitera
Part 3 – Speakers: Dutton and Ahrentzen

Did you attend the Architecture for Change conference? What big shifts in your own work are needed?