Frameworks of Practice

How should we practice today?

The discipline, the profession, and the practice of architecture are invented and designed things. And the roles, relationships, protocols, and expertise that define architecture’s overarching frameworks are neither ancient nor fixed, even if buildings and the people who design them have existed for millennia. That said, for much of the twentieth century, the pace of change in the discipline, profession, and practice of architecture—and how one navigates these in the course of building a career—has been but gradual.

Crisis, however, is a powerful accelerant. Since the turn of the century, a series of interrelated economic, social, climate, and health crises have not just challenged architectural practices and practitioners, but are necessitating a wholesale reconsideration of the underlying frameworks of practice inherited from the twentieth century. While many architects will struggle to adapt, some are discovering and inventing new frameworks with which to confront not only specific crises, but to take a more proactive role in addressing the needs of society.

In Frameworks of Practice this fall, we will critically examine the challenges and opportunities created by crisis, and seek to understand how architects have designed new ways of practicing in direct response to crises ranging from economic collapse to structural racism to natural disaster to global pandemic. Acknowledging that the discipline, the profession, and the practice of architecture are invented, designed concepts, our ultimate aim is to uncover and imagine new ways of practicing in an increasingly upended world.

Course Format: Lectures by course instructor and guests; full-class and small group workshops and tutorials; discussions and team exercises; collaborative and individual projects.

Requirements: Consistent class attendance and engagement; satisfactory participation in and completion of collaborative and individual projects.

Prerequisites: The course is open to all degree programs at the GSD and certain cross-registration students from MIT. M.Arch I candidates must have completed the core professional practice course (PRO-07212) in order to enroll in PRO-07408. Prior work experience is beneficial but not required.