2021 ACSA Teachers Conference, Curriculum for Climate Agency: Design in Action

Pedagogy of the Fourth Wall

Teachers Proceedings

Author(s): Kevin Marblestone & Emily Whitbeck

Contemporary design pedagogy has failed to produce architects that can operate effectively within today’s time-based global crises. Embedded in (and dependent on) industries where ‘permanence’ is measured in 10-30 year warranties and sustainability is achieved by moving points around a spreadsheet, architecture has internalized many of these misconceptions about the nature of time. The type of architecture produced exists asynchronously to the vast temporal scale and complexity of the global climate crisis. The profession must educate a new generation of practitioners that engage a new critical eye on time and develop tools and methods for exploring its cyclical, recursive nature. This project, Pedagogy of the Fourth Wall, focuses on rethinking the true beginning of the design profession, the moment of inception, the first-year design studio. The project is structured as a fictional studio course founded on a working methodology focused on time and perception, rather than program and form. This new framework around time mandates the use of time-based media at the very beginning of the design process. Students work through video and sound to employ abstract structures of composition through the montage and manipulation of image over time. The studio generates new, productive forms of abstraction that directly engage the underlying temporal principles of environmental exchange and material entropy on multiple scales.


Volume Editors
Jonathan A. Scelsa & Jørgen Johan Tandberg