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Design Agency by Engaging Industry

Neeraj Bhatia will be chairing a panel on a Design Agency by Engaging Industry in the 103rd ACSA Annual Meeting, The Expanding Periphery and the Migrating Center hosted in Toronto.

About the session:

In recent years, it has been well documented that Architecture is migrating towards an expanded practice to address the complex systems ecological, economic, social, political, amongst others which architecture must exist within and ideally contribute towards. At the core of this expansion is the search for architecture relevance to critically, precisely, and innovatively engage issues outside of the building footprint, through that very same footprint. To move from institution to implementation, it has become increasingly necessary for the academy to collaborate with private industries that have specialized knowledge in these expanded fields. While working with consultants is not new to the discipline, as the range of consultants has increased, it has foregrounded the delicate balance required between specific knowledge within peripheral disciplines and general knowledge across peripheral disciplines for designers to have maximum agency to act on these systems.

This panel will be focused on what has been termed the structure of design-research a lateral expansion across the flange of the T, with focused depth, or the stem of the T, in areas where architecture has agency over its expanded field. Investigating how the generalist nature of the architectural discipline interfaces with specific private industries, the panel will examine how private industries can productively interface with our institutions and students. Papers in this session should examine the intellectual interface between industry and the institution and /or the balance between specific and general knowledge in the face of these challenges. How can private industry enter the institution without interfering with the academic integrity? How can the generalist nature of the discipline manifest specific proposals across the expanded field and the industries which will implement these proposals? How do institutions engage in real world conversations while also moving forward a disciplinary dialogue? What are the ideal proportions of the T to retain the core of the discipline and its tools, while acting across several divergent and often conflicting spheres? How does the institution foster a space for experimentation and exploration while also engaging in real world implementation? How do we effectively use research as a tool for agency in design?

As the discipline grapples with requiring a breadth and depth of knowledge, the T framework coupled with a relationship to private industry is critical to producing designers who are able to theoretically and conceptually frame their work while also understanding how to implement and interface with private industry. Introducing the framework to interact with private industries into the institution allows for an architectural education that can have direct agency over the expanded spheres with the disciplinary criticality that naturally transpires within the academy.


Matt Burgermaster, NJIT
Curt Gambetta, Princeton University
Rob Holmes, University of Florida
Karen Lewis, Ohio State University


Session Chair and Moderator:

Neeraj Bhatia, CCA


More info on the event:A�

Earlier Event: March 12
Later Event: March 23