Ideas

Reading Rem: An Exclusive Q&A with Koolhaas

In May, two days before the Seattle Central Library’s official opening, the building’s architect, Rem Koolhaas, discussed the structure with Metropolis contributing editor Christopher Hawthorne. The interview took place in a staff conference room on the library’s 11th floor; the room’s floor-to-ceiling interior windows offered an exceptionally good view of the building’s dramatic, open central core, and, through windows on…

What Non-Traditional Design Education Can Teach Us

Institutions of higher learning offer rich opportunities to explore the underlying concepts of design. However, these institutions do not necessarily expose students to ideas outside the mainstream curricula. This lack of innovation is partially due to the physical and administrative structures of large institutions, which inherently limit interdepartmental collaboration. The Ecosa Institute, like many other small, non-traditional educational organizations, offers…

Metropolis Joins Organizations to Support Green Design Education Initiative

The Interior Design Educators Council (IDEC), the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), and Metropolis Magazine joined forces to found the Green Design Education Initiative. With more than 30,000 members, these prominent associations and Metropolis are pooling their resources to gather, share and disseminate information about green/sustainable design via the Internet. In addition to providing…

Ethical Design Education: Confessions of a Sixties Idealist

From the newly published book Citizen Designer: Perspectives on Design Responsibility, edited by Steven Heller and Véronique Vienne. “Sustainability is not my issue,” protests one senior, a student in Parsons’ product design department. She’s presenting her term paper on a designer and maker of lamps. Two others in the class, also product majors, are appalled by this statement; so am…

Understanding and Evaluating Sustainability at Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University’s new course, “Nature, Ecology, and Sustainable Design,” gathers students from all over the university to discuss and critique the definition and the development of sustainability. The undergraduate and graduate students taking the class have backgrounds ranging from design, art, and architecture to engineering, computer science, environmental studies, and anthropology. The class meets twice a week in the…

Superstudio: The Architecture Collective That Influenced a Generation

The conceptual works by Italian avant-garde architecture collective Superstudio influenced a generation of architects, from Zaha Hadid to Rem Koolhaas.

A bearded hippy wearing only his underpants emerges from what appears to be a subterranean concrete bunker. He’s followed by a shaggy man in overalls, a topless woman with long hair, and another, and another, like clowns from a Volkswagen. A voiceover informs us that these people are leaving behind an “indescribably large house…with all the possible comforts, and with…

Design Education

Most articles on the subject start with a simple, almost knee-jerk, premise: education is “in crisis.” We hear about it most when it’s most troubled. Design education is different. It is specialized and diffuse: some programs are cutting-edge, others are struggling; some disciplines are reinventing themselves, others are mired in old ways of thinking. So while we won’t generalize about…