Architect as Advocate: New Frameworks for Practice

Joyce Hwang

Excerpt from Beyond Patronage: Reconsidering Models Of Practice by Joyce Hwang, Martha Bohm and Gabrielle Printz, published by Actar Publishers.

To be an advocate—to defend the cause of another or to support the interests of another—is a form of practice that we tend to associate with the realms of politics, law, and social activism. Debates surrounding human rights, civil rights, women’s rights, disability rights, and even animal rights might be the issues that first come to mind when reflecting upon notions of advocacy, but how might an architect operate as an advocate? How might we consider an architectural project as a form of advocacy?

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[1] Architecture for Humanity, http://architectureforhumanity.org/about/what-we-do
[2] This description (or a slight variation of it) is listed in several websites that describe Architecture for Humanity’s mission, including:
Archinect, http://archinect.com/architecture-for-humanity (accessed June 7, 2014);
Indiegogo, http://www.indiegogo.com/partners/arch (accessed June 7, 2014);
Clinton Bush Haiti Fund: http://www.clintonbushhaitifund.org/programs/entry/architecture-for-humanity/ (accessed June 7, 2014).
[3] The 1% Program of Public Architecture, http://www.theonepercent.org/About/Overview.htm (accessed June 7, 2014).
[4] Public Architecture, http://publicarchitecture.org/the_1/ (accessed June 7, 2014).
[5] Cannon Design Open Hand Studio, http://www.cannondesign.com/practice/community/open-hand-studio/ (accessed June 8, 2014).
[6] Cannon Design is a large firm that generated $202,260,000 in revenues worldwide, notably ranking 3rd in revenue-generation in a list of U.S. firms, only after HKS, Inc. and RTKL Associates Inc. Design Intelligence Almanac of Architecture and Design 2014, http://www.di.net/almanac/firms/?firm_revenue_world=100000000-300000000 (accessed June 9, 2014).
[7] Look, for example, at the amount of time that is pledged by firms in the 1% for Public Architecture Program. A few examples among firms of various sizes include Beyer Blinder Belle Architects and Planners LLC with a staff of 155 who have pledged 20 hours annually (7.75 hours per person per year), and Gensler with a staff of 2000 who have pledged 43680 hours annually (21.84 hours per person per year). Public Architecture, http://www.theonepercent.org/About/Participants.htm (accessed June 7, 2014).
[8] See the checklist of “Service Offerings” that are provided to non-profit organizations to identify. They include: Facilities Needs Assessment, Capital Campaign Materials, Building & Space Identification, Interior Design & Brand Integration, Accessibility & Code Compliance, Healthy & Sustainable Environments, Facilities Renovation. Public Architecture, http://www.theonepercent.org/Nonprofit/Service_Offerings.htm (accessed June 8, 2014).
[9] “Destroying Makoko: Nigeria’s commercial capital,” The Economist, August 18, 2012, 46, http://www.economist.com/node/21560615 (accessed June 7, 2014).
[10] Michael Kimmelman, “School at Sea,” New York Times Magazine, May 24 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/05/26/magazine/26look-lagos.html?_r=0 (accessed June 8, 2014).
[11] Ben Schiller, “A Floating School that Won’t Flood,” Fast Company, February 8, 2013, http://www.fastcoexist.com/1681346/a-floating-school-that-wont-flood (accessed June 8, 2014).
[12] Richard W. Hayes, The Yale Building Project: The First 40 Years (New Haven: Yale School of Architecture and Yale University Press, 2007).
[13] Rural Studio, Auburn University, http://www.ruralstudio.org/about/purpose-history (accessed June 12, 2014).
[14] W. Geoff Gjertson, “A House Divided: Challenges for Design/Build Programs in Architecture Schools,” Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), Februrary 10, 2012, http://www.acsa-arch.org/acsa-news/read/read-more/acsa-news/2012/02/10/a-house-divided-challenges-for-design-build-programs-in-architecture-schools (accessed June 8, 2014).
[15] Amanda Kolson Hurley, “Schools That Excel in Design/Build,” Architect Magazine, December 2009, posted online April 8, 2010, http://www.architectmagazine.com/education/design-build.aspx (accessed June 8, 2014).
[16] Studio 804, http://studio804.com/about%20us/mission/studio/studio.html (accessed June 8, 2014).
[17] URBANbuild: a program of the Tulane School of Architecture, http://www.tulaneurbanbuild.com/index2.php#/rtext_2/2/ (accessed June 8, 2014).
[18] Look, for example, at the United States’ national representation at the 13th International Venice Architecture Biennale in 2012. Titled “Spontaneous Interventions: design actions for the common good,” the exhibition in the U.S. Pavilion featured 182 tactical urban ‘interventions.’ The project description states: “In recent years, there has been a nascent movement of designers acting on their own initiative to solve problematic urban situations, creating new opportunities and amenities for the public. Provisional, improvisational, guerrilla, unsolicited, tactical, temporary, informal, DIY, unplanned, participatory, opensource—these are just a few of the words that have been used to describe this growing body of work.” Spontaneous Interventions, http://www.spontaneousinterventions.org/about (accessed June 8, 2014).
[19] In the design world, the The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) has canonized a number of these projects in its 2010 exhibition “Small Scale Big Change: New Architectures of Social Engagement.” Museum of Modern Art, http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2010/smallscalebigchange/ (accessed June 1, 2014).
[20] Museum of Modern Art, “Primary School” in “Small Scale Big Change: New Architectures of Social Engagement,” http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2010/smallscalebigchange/projects/primary_school (accessed June 8, 2014).
[21] Museum of Modern Art, “METI—Handmade School” in “Small Scale Big Change: New Architectures of Social Engagement,” http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2010/smallscalebigchange/projects/meti_handmade_school (accessed June 8, 2014).
[22] Museum of Modern Art, “Inner-City Arts” in “Small Scale Big Change: New Architectures of Social Engagement,” http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2010/ smallscalebigchange/projects/inner_city_arts (accessed June 8, 2014).
[21] The United Nations Economic and Social Council develops a list of the world’s “Least Developed Countries” every three years based on three primary criteria: 1) Per capita income,</br>2) human assets, and</br>3) economic vulnerability.</br>In 2012, Bangladesh and Burkina Faso are both included on its list. United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, “The Least Developed Countries Report 2012,” http://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/ldc2012_en.pdf (accessed June 8, 2014).
[22] Spencer S. Hsu, “FEMA’s sale of Katrina trailers sparks criticism,” The Washington Post, March 13, 2010, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/ article/2010/03/12/AR2010031202213.html?sid=ST2010031700841 (accessed June 8, 2014).
[23] Jenna McKnight, “Bringing It All Back Home,” Architectural Record, June 2014, http://archrecord.construction.com/features/2014/1406-Bringing-It-All-Back-Home.asp (accessed June 13, 2014).
[24] Jenna McKnight, “Bringing It All Back Home,” Architectural Record, June 2014, http://archrecord.construction.com/features/2014/1406-Bringing-It-All-Back-Home.asp (accessed June 13, 2014).
[25] This description (or a slight variation of it) is listed in several websites that describe MASS Design Group’s mission, including: IDEO, http://www.ideo.org/fellows/marika-shioiri-clark (accessed June 8, 2014), Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, Kent State University, http://www.cudc.kent.edu/blog/lecture-marika-shioiri-clark-on-dignifying-design/ (accessed June 8, 2014).
[26] Marika Shiori-Clark, “Empathic Architecture” (lecture, TEDxStellenbosch, Stellenbosch, South Africa, July 29, 2011), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTXqJ2fZ0gA and http://www.tedxstellenbosch.org/videos/ (accessed June 8, 2014).
[27] Marika Shiori-Clark, “Empathic Architecture” (lecture, TEDxStellenbosch, Stellenbosch, South Africa, July 29, 2011), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTXqJ2fZ0gA and http://www.tedxstellenbosch.org/videos/ (accessed June 8, 2014).