GLOBALIZING ARCHITECTURE / Flows and Disruptions
April 10-12, 2014, Miami Beach, FL
Host School: Florida International University
Co-chairs: John Stuart, Florida International University & Mabel Wilson, Columbia University
Fifty years ago communications theorist Marshall McLuhan rendered this prescient observation: “As electronically contracted, the globe is no more than a village. Electric speed at bringing all social and political functions together in a sudden implosion has heightened human awareness of responsibility to an intense degree.” Situated in Miami Beach on the 50th anniversary of the publication of McLuhan’s Understanding Media, the 2014 ACSA Annual Meeting—GLOBALIZING ARCHITECTURE / Flows and Disruptions—will highlight exchanges between architecture and the dynamics of place, power, and social responsibility.
Globalizing Architecture embarks upon a critical examination of the outcomes of McLuhan’s prophetic comments and its impact on the warp and weft architectural education, which may be considered a series of flows and disruptions influenced by the processes of globalization. We characterize global forces as flows because this also allows us to observe those disruptions that slow, impede, or sever connectivity. Today’s architecture curricula engage students in professional studies that are determined by an array of spatial, environmental, technological, media, economic, social, and political factors. Architecture faculty and students are exploring global issues such as sea level change, political unrest, and economic downturns in the studio and out in the field. The globalization of architectural education impacts the profile of our students: where they come from, how we educate them, and where they go with the knowledge and experience gained while matriculating through our institutions. These changes are also mirrored in the profession where architects from large firms to small offices now build and practice in many different regions of the world. New dynamic educational and professional contexts challenge us to take stock of the long held categories of local/global, national/international, and western/non-western. Among the topics to be considered at the Globalizing Architecture conference will be the increased prevalence of travel in design studios, the exploration new pedagogies in global architectural history/theory, expansion in the scope of how sustainable structures and new building technologies are measured, consideration of the impact of digital media technologies and practice, an appraisal of the rapid development of online education, the emergence of new areas of global research and trans-disciplinary practice, and the opening of new spheres of hybrid design practices.