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, often with a technological emphasis, can come at the expense of teaching and research that explores the sociocultural and geopolitical 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 issuing, 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—especially as it intersects with calls for environmental and racial justice—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 in the midst of a global pandemic as it continues to grapple with the intertwined causes and effects of climate change.
This prize was begun as part of a Buell Center project entitled “Power: Infrastructure in America,” which sought critically to understand the intersections of climate, infrastructure, and architecture. It is being continued in conversation with ongoing research on “Architecture and Land in and out of the Americas.” This plural, Americas, helps decenter the concept of “American Architecture” in two ways: by connecting building practices across the Western Hemisphere, and by recognizing that there are several Americas within the United States. 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 the Americas today.
One proposal will be selected by the jury for ten thousand dollars ($10,000) in cash prize. To receive the cash prize, the winner must sign an agreement indicating their commitment to demonstrate viability for the course at their host institution within two (2) years of the prize’s distribution. Additionally, winners will submit their final syllabi for publication on both the ACSA website and the Buell Center websites.
Submissions will be accepted through an online interface beginning July 2023 & must be received through the online submission site by October 25, 2023.
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. Proposed courses must be new, or significantly reconfigured if already taught. Please make proposed revisions clear, if the latter.
Faculty bio—If multiple faculty are involved, include all (entire bio 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 (8.5” x 11”) pages total.
The prize is open to faculty at all ACSA member schools in good standing (i.e., meeting the criteria set forth in one of the three bullet points that follow this paragraph). Faculty from Columbia University are not eligible.
Full membership in ACSA, which requires NAAB accreditation or the equivalent from the Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB). ACSA currently counts 100% of NAAB and CACB accredited schools as Full members.
Schools actively seeking accreditation that are Candidate members of ACSA may participate.
Other architecture programs both in North America and abroad that are offered affiliate membership.
A jury drawn from the Buell Center’s Advisory Board will review the submissions and determine the winning proposal. The Buell Center has final say in the appointment of the jurors.
Founded in 1912 by 10 charter members, ACSA is an international association of architecture schools preparing future architects, designers, and change agents. Our membership includes all of the accredited professional degree programs in the United States and Canada, as well as international schools and 2- and 4-year programs. Together ACSA schools represent some 7,000 faculty educating more than 40,000 students.
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