Education in architecture and urbanism is well positioned creatively and critically to address the exigencies of climate change. However, pedagogical methods that prioritize immediate applicability can come at the expense of teaching and research that explore the sociocultural and ecopolitical dimensions of the crisis. This, in turn, ultimately limits the range of approaches addressing climate change in professional practice. Columbia University’s Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture is therefore launching, together with the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, a competitive call for course proposals on the theme of “Architecture, Climate Change, and Society.”
From history seminars to visual studies and from design studios to building technologies, the wide variety of course offerings at schools of architecture is a testament to the diversity of perspectives, skills, and tools that ultimately comprise quality work in the field. In contrast, the urgency of the unfolding climate crisis can seem to demand a singular focus that is antithetical to humanities-based critical inquiry or to longer-term creative and technical endeavors. We seek the kind of realism, however, that redefines problems and leaves room for the imagination. Successful proposals for this Course Development Prize in Architecture, Climate Change, and Society will include methods and themes that innovate within their institutional setting—asking hard questions of students that are equal in weight to the hard questions being asked of society as it grapples with the intertwined causes and effects of climate change.
This proposal is related to a multi-year Buell Center project entitled "Power: Infrastructure in America," which seeks critically to understand the intersections of climate, infrastructure, and architecture. Objects of intense political, social, and economic contestation, technical infrastructures distribute power in both senses of the word: as energy and as force. Concentrating on the United States but extending internationally, “Power: Infrastructure in America” opens overlapping windows onto how “America” is constructed infrastructurally to exclude neighbors and to divide citizens. But infrastructures can also connect. Organized in a modular fashion as an open access resource for learning, teaching, and acting, the contents of the project website—power.buellcenter.columbia.edu—enable visitors to better understand the complex webs of power shaping our lives and the lives of others. It is in this spirit that the prize aims to contribute to the development of intersectional pedagogy on the theme of “Architecture, Climate Change, and Society” in America today. Change begins with connecting the dots.
UP TO FIVE $10,000 PRIZES
Up to five proposals will be selected by the jury for eight thousand dollars in cash prizes and two thousand dollars in travel support to present the winning course proposals at the ACSA Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA. To receive the cash prize and travel support, winners must demonstrate viability for the course at their host institution within two years of the prize’s distribution via a letter from their program’s head administrator. Developed syllabi of winning proposals will be published on both the ACSA and Buell Center websites.
The Course Development Prize is open to faculty at all ACSA member schools. Faculty from Columbia University are not eligible.
Submissions will be accepted through an online interface beginning June 3, 2019.
The final submission upload must contain the following:
- Course proposal (three pages)—The course proposal should consist of a title, course description, a list of selected readings or other sources, and a work plan for course development and implementation.
- Faculty bio—If multiple faculty are involved, include all (entire submission not to exceed two pages).
- Letter of support from the head administrator of the architecture program (one page).
All materials should be submitted in PDF format, with no more than six pages total.
A jury drawn from the Buell Center Advisory Board will review the submissions and determine award winners. Special consideration will be given to proposals that include methods and themes that innovate within their institutional setting.
June 3, 2019: Online Submission Site Opens
November 20, 2019: Submission Deadline
February 2020: Winners Announced
March 12-14: ACSA108 Annual Meeting in San Diego, Architecture, Climate Change, and Society Course Session
Eric Wayne Ellis
ACSA, Senior Director of Operations & Programs
Buell Center, Assistant Director
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