The Practice as Project

The role of the architect adjusts as society changes. Inevitably, there will be a continual need for numbers of well rounded, licensed and affiliated architects to provide core professional services. In the meantime, an increasing amount of hybrid practices will apply an architectural skillset – such as the ability to synthesize and orchestrate – in areas as (design and innovation) consultancy, design leadership, technology and other cultural spheres. One will see novel practice-models emerging based on a single agenda or the exploration of a specific field of interest. Ultimately, the power of scale will continue to influence the traditional practice landscape. Entrepreneurship, an understanding of this shifting array of opportunities, and how to navigate within this dynamic field is vital for the young graduate of tomorrow. What are the forces and values one operates within? Finding a meaningful way to apply one’s unique capabilities and believes in pursuit of one\’s own ‘project’ will be a key motivator for professional success. How can we align our passions and convictions with our professional goals and ambitions?

Objectives and Outcomes:
The objective of the course is simple. It prepares students to envision the start of one\’s firm. Since every firm is uniquely characterized by a number of factors, such as the objectives of its founder(s), its location and scale, there is no boilerplate manual. The course aims to help identify personal motivations and how to translate these into a possible practice model. The course helps develop an understanding of an array of strategies for structuring a practice, as well as touching upon practice characteristics such as Mission, Finance, Legal, Marketing etc. The outcome, and final deliverable, of the course is a unique business plans, that touches upon these characteristics and can act as a blueprint towards one\’s practice.

The course is structured around 5 assignments. Each assignment will be organized by an introduction and exercise and a lecture by a guest speaker. The focus will oscillate between the core and the periphery of the profession. Through examining a series of people, practices and projects it will demonstrate ways to structure one’s convictions into a vehicle for professional fulfillment.

1. A visit to a Boston based practice
2. Conversations with outside visitors, including young professionals leading large global design firms, young architects successfully pursuing their own beliefs through practice and individuals leading established design practices.
3. Case studies of architectural projects and their underlying professional structures that brought these to light. Toledo Museum by SANAA, Kukje Gallery and Shrem Museum by SO – IL amongst others.)

Method of Evaluation:
Grades will be established based on student’s participation, quality of response to assignments and the quality of the final project.

Enrollment in first year of MArch-II program (class 2017)

Teaching Assistant: Chris Meyer