Diébédo Francis Kéré founded his architecture practice Kéré Architecture, in Berlin, Germany in 2005, after a journey in which he started advocating for the building of quality educational architecture in his home country of Burkina Faso. Deprived of proper classrooms and learning conditions as a child, and having faced the same reality as the majority of children in his country, his first works aimed at bringing tangible solutions to the issues faced by the community.
Yale School of Architecture: The Latest Architecture and News
Edges, whether defining physical space or conceptual territories, provide a charged zone for interaction. The edge—solid or porous, fixed or fluctuating—formalizes difference and shapes relationships between different groups. The articulation of these zones becomes a political act, bringing conditions to public view, creating allegiances or separations, and generating dissonance through heterogeneity.
"False Binaries": Why the Battle Between Art and Business in Architecture Education Doesn't Make Sense
This article was originally published by The Architect's Newspaper as "Phil Bernstein pens inaugural column on technology, value, and architects’ evolving role."
This is the inaugural column “Practice Values,” a new bi-monthly series by architect and technologist Phil Bernstein. The column will focus on the evolving role of the architect at the intersection of design and construction, including subjects such as alternative delivery systems and value generation. Bernstein was formerly vice president at Autodesk and now teaches at the Yale School of Architecture.
This semester, I’m teaching a course called “Exploring New Value Propositions for Practice” that’s based on the premise that the changing role of architects in the building industry requires us to think critically about our value as designers in that system. After studying the structure and dynamics of practice business models, the supply chain, and other examples of innovative design enterprises, they’ll be asked to create a business plan for a “next generation” architectural practice. I’m agnostic as to what this practice does per se, as long as it operates somewhere in the constellation of things that architects can do, but there is one constraint—your proposed firm can’t be paid fixed or hourly rate fees. It has to create value (and profit) through some other strategy.
The exhibit, entitled Oskar Hansen: Open Form, will detail “the evolution of Hansen’s theory of Open Form from its origin in his own architectural projects to its application in a firm, visual games, and other artistic practices.”
The theme for this year’s Venice Biennale is largely an invitation for architects and designers to expand and think beyond architecture’s traditional frontiers and to respond to a wider range of challenges relating to human settlement. With news of political crises continuing to fill the headlines of late, Aravena’s theme challenges architects to respond. One such response comes from Lucas Boyd and Chad Greenlee from the Yale School of Architecture. They believe that:
While [places of worship] do not provide a basic need for an individual’s biological survival, they do represent a fundamental aspect of not only an individual’s life beyond utility, but an identity within the collective, a familiar place of being—and this is something that we consider synonymous with being human—a requirement for the persistence of culture.
The two students came up with proposal designs on churches, synagogues and mosques that can be quickly built as “Pop-Up Places of Worship” in refugee camps. By presenting immediately-recognizable sacred spaces that are transportable and affordable, Boyd and Greenlee highlight spaces for worship as an absolute necessity in any type of human settlement. Through this process, the students also determine what, for them, is “necessary” in a religious structure.
In their semester-long project at Zaha Hadid’s final studio course at the Yale School of Architecture, students Lisa Albaugh, Benjamin Bourgoin, Jamie Edindjiklian, Roberto Jenkins and Justin Oh envisioned a new a high density mixed-use project for London's Bishopsgate Goodsyard, the largest undeveloped piece of land still existing in central London.
Dallas Architecture Forum, a non-profit organization for everyone interested in learning about and improving the architecture, design, landscape and urban fabric of the North Texas region is pleased to continue its 2015-16 Lecture Season with esteemed architect Deborah Berke, FAIA, and founding partner of Deborah Berke Partners, a New York City-based architecture and design firm that has completed projects around the world.
The firm specializes in cosmopolitan art-filled hotels for 21c Museum Hotels, buildings related to the arts, residential developments and private homes.
The J. Irwin Miller Symposium, “A Constructed World,” is convened by Joyce Hsiang and Bimal Mendis in conjunction with the exhibition, “City of 7 Billion,” at the Yale School of Architecture. The philosopher and cultural critic, Peter Sloterdijk, will deliver the keynote address, and Hashim Sarkis, Dean of the School of Architecture and Planning at MIT, will deliver the concluding address.
The world is constructed. It is the product of material realities, philosophical concepts, and imaginary ideals. No part of the world remains unaffected by the cumulative impact of human activity. Through complex processes of exploration, habitation, cultivation, transportation, consumption, and surveillance, the world has become increasingly interconnected. According to ongoing scientific research, the world appears to have crossed the threshold of a new geological epoch: the Anthropocene. Scientists, geologists, and environmentalists acknowledge that humans are transforming the world at an unprecedented scale. This assertion begs the questions: How is the world constructed? What is the role of design?
Deborah Berke of Deborah Berke Partners has been appointed as the new dean of the Yale School of Architecture. Having served as an adjunct professor at Yale since 1987, Berke will be the first woman to lead the school. She will assume her position on July 1, 2016, during the architecture school's 100th anniversary, succeeding Robert A.M. Stern's 18-year term.
Michelle Tianhui Chen, a Master's candidate at the Yale School of Architecture, has won Robert A.M. Stern Architects' $10,000 RAMSA Travel Fellowship. With the award, Chen will travel to India where she will study the architectural shift from a diverse fabric of expressive design languages to a politically and ethnically neutral vocabulary.
In an interview with Core77 Sam Jacob, formerly of FAT and now principal at Sam Jacob Studio, has "always pursued an idea of design practice as a combination of criticism, research and speculation that all feed directly into the design studio." This approach has allowed his ideas to "cross-fertilize, find connections and directions that make the practice stronger, more agile and able to respond intelligently to the problem at hand." Jacob, who is also a Visiting Professor at Yale and the University of Illinois at Chicago whilst simultaneously director of the Night School at London's Architectural Association, recently saw the end of FAT's final project: the curation of the British Pavilion (alongside Dutch architect and academic Wouter Vanstiphout). In the UK, former partner Charles Holland is bringing a collaborative project with artist Grayson Perry to completion in Essex.
Read more and see some of Jacob's drawings after the break.
After serving as dean at the Yale School of Architecture for nearly two decades, Robert A.M. Stern is reportedly stepping down. According to Yale Daily News, faculty and administrative staff members have indicated that Stern will be retiring when his term as dean concludes in Spring 2016. “[Stern] took [the school] from a place where people were not paying attention to it many years ago — he has brought incredible international attention to the school,” Professor Michelle Addington stated in regards to Stern's widespread influence as dean. “He has given me the opportunity to rethink my subject, and that doesn’t happen at too many places.” More information, here.
“Ninety-five percent of the world’s designers focus all of their efforts on developing products and services for the richest 10% of the world’s customers.” - Paul Polak, Design for the 90% 
The vast majority of contemporary architectural practice today is service industry based, where a fee-paying client commissions a firm for a defined scope of services. Master of self-effacing cynicism Philip Johnson wryly accepted this structure, calling architects “high-class whores.” The recent surge of interest in designing for traditionally underserved communities, from groups such as Architecture for Humanity, MASS Design, Project H and Public Architecture challenges the traditional firm model. The Prizker Prize jury’s recognition of Shigeru Ban’s humanitarian designs highlights that high design and a socially conscious practice are not mutually exclusive.
Believing that architecture can alleviate societal ills and improve the quality of life for all people is not a new concept. Two eras, the 1920s and 1960s-70s, brought a social agenda to the forefront of the discourse. Hindsight reveals flaws of each. Modernism’s utopian visions for public housing and urban renewal are blamed for the detrimental impact of Post-WWII urban housing projects; participatory design in the 1960s and 70s is criticized for ceding expertise in the name of consensus, ending with projects that were no better than the status quo. Despite this, there are lessons to be learned from those who emphasized the social and humanitarian role of architecture.
In the mutable world of architecture it's easy to get distracted by the trendy new thing, be it the tallest tower or the "blobbiest" form. Robert A. M. Stern (Dean of the Yale School of Architecture and a practicing architect in his own right), on the other hand, remains purposefully old-fashioned (to the point of becoming obsolete). In an exquisitely written article for the New York Magazine, Justin Davidson reports that, despite the mockery of his colleagues, Stern seems unfazed. If his architecture has the power to inspire, he says, then he's done his job. Read the full must-see article here.
Most architects have to wait years to see their first project realized – but if you’re an architecture student at Yale University, you may just have to get on campus.
The Jim Vlock Project, established in 1967, gives first year graduate architecture students the opportunity to design and build a single family home in New Haven, Connecticut. The most recent iteration of the program, which investigated prefab design and construction, will be dedicated today at Yale University.
More info on this year's Jim Vlock house, after the break...
Every year, students at Yale design and build a single-family home in a low-income neighborhood. Called the Vlock Building Project, it’s one of the longest-standing and most admired public-interest design-build programs in the US. Unfortunately, it’s under threat. A/N reports professor Paul Brouard was assaulted and robbed on-site in Mid-May (he has since recovered). Despite the desires of dept. head Robert A.M. Stern, Yale University demanded the project be abandoned and re-located to an approved neighborhood. Did Yale make the right decision? Let us know what you think after the break.