Michelle Howard: Are We Architects
The Faculty of Architecture at the Brno University of Technology, in cooperation with the Brno Gallery of Architecture, the Student Organization of the Faculty of Architecture and Prague VI PER gallery, cordially invites you to attend a lecture “The Value of Uselessness in Architectural Education” held by Michelle Howard which is part of the lecture series “Are we architects? On Educational, Architectural Profession and Institutional Critique”. The event will take place on Tuesday 2 April, 2019 at 18:00 in the lecture hall A310 at the Faculty of Architecture, Poříčí 5, Brno. The lecture will be held in English.
MICHELLE HOWARD: THE VALUE OF USELESSNESS IN ARCHITECTURAL EDUCATION
Historians predict that the rise of artificial intelligence will produce a “useless” class that will not only be unemployed, but unemployable. This lecture discusses usefulness and employability in current societal discourse, how these affect the current practice of architecture and proposes alternatives.
Michelle Howard is an architect and educator. She directs a Berlin based practice called constructconcept (COCO) and, since 2008, teaches at the Department of Art and Architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. At the Academy she leads the platform for Construction Materials and Technology (CMT) and uses it to explore a program which is documented in the publication Research-Observe-Make. An Alternative Manual for Architectural Education (Birkhäuser Verlag, 2015). It comprises of five complementary books – introduction and theory, the “elemental”, “spatial” and “material” projects, and documentation of workshops, lectures and experiments. Michelle believes that greater perception of and interaction with the world around us can provide untold levels of inspiration, and indeed propose solutions, if we only looked closely enough. Furthermore, when we create something, it is added to an existing framework, it is an intervention in an existing situation with its own unique qualities. Thus developing methods of research and observation to discover and integrate these qualities is paramount. She proposes acting, not just problem-solving, using research and observation to propose new futures for others and the profession.
ARE WE ARCHITECTS? ON EDUCATIONAL, ARCHITECTURAL PROFESSION AND INSTITUTIONAL CRITIQUE
In the last fifteen years or so the architectural education has seemed to be increasingly under double pressure. One set of criticisms stems from the recalibration of institutional frameworks and is linked to the so-called “research turn” to which architecture schools and other design disciplines reacted with vaguely articulated approach of research by design or design by research. This subterfuge clearly signals epistemological divide between architecture and other methodologically more grounded sciences. Second set of problems seems to orbit around “eternal” wrestle between theory and practice and such criticism is typically pointing at disconnectedness of architectural education (and by extension academic research in architecture) from the “real world problems” and its relevance to the “real life”. Relevance is precisely the sore point that connects all the anxieties arising from the relation between academia and the architectural profession and by extension from the relation between the profession and the “Society”. By this vector of thought the epistemological question becomes an ontological one: How do we, as architects, relate to the world?
The lecture series “Are we architects? On Educational, Architectural Profession and Institutional Critique” is financially supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, the Statutory City of Brno and the AKTION programme.