ACSA Archive design competition held a competition called “The Beauty Pageant.” The project “Morpholuminescence” produced by students Adam Buente, Elizabeth Boone, Eric Brockemeyer and Kyle Perry was a winner. The project was done in “An Inconvenient Studio 2009.”
Jurors for the competition included Mark Foster Gage, Associate Professor and Acting Assistant Dean, Yale University School of Architecture; Emmanuelle Bourlier, co-founder & CEO, Panelite; and Richard Rose, Partner & Creative Director, PopKitchen Co.
The CONVERSATIONS series will present up close and personal dialogs about leadership with prominent leaders from the profession. The conversation will start with a presentation of a brief life sketch of the guest, followed by an open dialog with the guest about his or her life journey, the origins, the development and the ascent to the leadership position. The freewheeling and informal format of the discussion elicits thick and intense perspectives into the life and work of the guest. A broad range of topics will be covered that might include, but not limited to, the guest’s views about the profession, education, changing context of architecture, and emerging trends. The series will offer rare and unique glimpses into the life of leaders in the profession, which would be a source of inspiration for the academic community. After 40 minutes of dialog, the forum will be opened for questions from the audience. The event will be webcast live.
The first of the CONVERSATIONS featured architect Joe Mrak in dialog with Mahesh Daas, Chair of the Department of Architecture, on October 31, 2011.
In collaboration with Classical Guitarist, late Robert Bluestone, and weaver Rebecca Bluestone and Dustin Headley, the ARCH598: Design Thinking and Innovation Methods course students designed and developed an installation that turned the Ball State University’s College of Architecture and Planning building into a musical loom. The Bell Tower of the university with the musical instrument Carillon was incorporated into the event via live television link. Multi-colored yarn was woven into a fabric that is four-stories tall. A thousand paper planes were then released as a climactic event. The planes bore writings of many Ball State Cardinals. The news item could be found here.
“Memos from An Inconvenient Studio” brought together digital fabrication, interactive environments and entrepreneurship with social justice. Emphasizing the need for a change in the direction of architectural education and practice, the talk touched upon the four memos: Base of the Pyramid, Scalability, Reverse Innovation and Extreme Affordability. The talk took place in the new Interdisciplinary Sciences building auditorium on USF campus on October 3, 2011.
Summary: We normally talk about diversity as a social, ethical and cultural issue. Seldom do we put diversity in the same sentence as innovation, let alone equate the two. But if we dig deep enough, we realize that innovation is not possible on a consistent basis without systemic diversity. Innovation is brought about by ‘thiking differently’ and by thinking outside a given box of assumptions. How can we think differently unless there are people with different viewpoints around the table? While it is possible to imagine that people with similar life background, cultural makup, education paths and worldviews can be trained to think differently from each other for sometime, it is difficult to sustain such a dynamic for obvious reasons. In a similar vein, it is possible for people from vastly different cultural backgrounds and life experiences can be taught to think the same way (conform) for sometime, but difficult to prevent them from thinking differently on a sustainable basis. I hope the central premise of my argument is clear enough. Innovation is NOT possible on a consistent basis without true and systemic diversity. Of course, diversity alone does not guarantee innovation, nor is it easy to build systemic diversity without falling into the trap of “prosthetic additions” of few diverse individuals as tokens. The economic, regulatory and political environments define whether innovation is permitted to take root or not. Assuming conditions are comparable, places with diversity outshine places without diversity by any measure of innovation productivity: patents generated, startup companies created, disruptive innovations heralded, value created for stake holders, etc. Emerging research in these areas is intriguing.
Just as many people have argued recently, including Thomas Friedman, innovation is a dire necessity to address the puzzling global challenges of the emerging world. I will add to that urgency by stating that diversity is also a dire necessity from the perspective of innovation. First diversity, then innovation. For more about this lecture, please click the link below and read the report.
Keynote lecture delivered at the Sociedad Iberoamericana de Gráfica Digital (SIGRADI) international conference held in Bogota, Colombia on the topic of At the Intersection of Design, Fabrication and Extreme Affordability. Here is a link to the photos: