Design with Wright's Nature
by Fred A. Stitt
Every year in early June we invite architecture students to study the legacy of Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin West in Arizona. It's an event filled with surprises and revelations.
It's not a history study, but a search for design principles that can be applied to today's most crucial architectural problems: 1) how to make ecological architecture the rule, not the exception, and 2) how to expand human imagination beyond common norms in problem solving and creative design.
Rethinking Design Education
Years ago, when I was teaching at the University of California at Berkeley and planning a new school — the San Francisco Institute of Architecture — I did a national survey of problems in architectural education from the viewpoints of students, faculty, administrators, and alumni.
Not surprisingly, I got a lot of negative feedback about the quality of technical and managerial education, which was almost nonexistent in many schools.
Most surprising were reports about intellectual repression that students were experiencing. Students who wanted to combine studies of architecture and ecology were often turned down. Students who wanted to explore the effects of interior landscaping, solar design, and alternative construction materials were frequently prevented from doing so.
Taliesin West, by Frank Lloyd Wright, at Scottsdale, Arizona.
Great Buildings Photo © Donald Corner and Jenny Young
Student design of an Ecological Study and Conference Center.
Image: San Francisco Institute of Architecture
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