What’s Next: Design Education
Mark Wigley, dean of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, believes his school has a mission to act as a laboratory for other institutions. And he thinks that task will take on greater significance as universities become increasingly globalized. “At Columbia, we have no interest in the Starbucks model of the branch campus, where you distribute good news from the center to the periphery,” he says. “The world is generating whole new concepts.” Here Wigley discusses experiments now under way that might serve as new models for both design and higher education.
“Last semester, we distributed about twenty flip cameras to students in the architecture school. If they saw some-thing that attracted their interest, they uploaded a three-minute clip blog. It allowed for a more kaleidoscopic, real-time, interactive, and viral self-reflection to occur, organized from the students’ point of view. A year from now, what it takes to zoom in on the ‘real heat’ in the school will become more precise, and our ability to ask questions of architecture will improve as a result of this unregulated channel of communication, leading to an increase in the capacity of the school to think as a networked organism. New thinking about architecture, as well as projects, lectures, laboratories, and, ultimately, innovative programs, will come out of that.” —M.W.
“We’ve set up a series of Studio-X spaces—a proto-laboratory for experimentation for new kinds of conversations and research—in Manhattan, Beijing, and Amman, and we’re now moving into Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Moscow, Mumbai, and Accra, in Africa. It’s called ‘X’ because we don’t know what should happen in those cities; but, net-worked together, you have the first truly global think tank on the future of cities. Out-side the limits of the university, they’re more open, risk taking, and promiscuous in their connections to institutions like museums, galleries, NGOs. If you have half an idea, Studio-X will help create the environment to grow it into a full idea. In five years, that network will be operating at maximum intensity and creativity.” —M.W.
UNIVERSITY WITHOUT WALLS
“In ten years, the university will be a kind of multinodal, parallel-processing, open-source environment. Extraordinary sophistication and visualization protocols will be exchanged very rapidly—a sort of speculative atmosphere in which hypotheses are tested in dynamic ways. Students will learn how to turn their future professional offices into research hubs. It will be about the ex-pansion of the university out into everyday life, approaching the idea of a kind of university without walls, limits, or borders. The main issue now is just to create a global, collaborative environment between the university and the worlds of business, professions, governments, and artists.” —M.W.
What’s Next: The 1-5-10 Issue