[ISEA2011] Panel: William Joseph Car­pen­ter – Ar­chi­tec­ture as New Media

Panel Statement

Panel: The Media Space: Evolving Media Architecture and Its Legend

Through­out the his­tory of ar­chi­tec­ture, ar­chi­tects have trans­formed ab­stract ideas into tan­gi­ble struc­tures. In these build­ings of the past ex­ists an in­sep­a­ra­ble unity of de­sign and con­struc­tion processes. Today, how­ever, a com­plex and seg­mented process nearly sep­a­rates the ar­chi­tect from the builder; the sig­nif­i­cance of con­struc­tion is mar­gin­al­ized. The build­ing process is com­part­men­tal­ized rather than seen as an in­te­gral way to ex­tend and de­velop de­sign ideas. Ar­chi­tec­tural ed­u­ca­tion, es­pe­cially in North Amer­ica, has mir­rored this seg­mented process of ar­chi­tec­tural prac­tice. It is very rare for ar­chi­tec­ture stu­dents to ac­tu­ally build some­thing they de­sign. But, in some cases, such as at the Dessau Bauhaus, stu­dents were en­cour­aged to build in order to learn and pur­sue de­sign in­ten­tions. In re­cent years, de­sign-build has swept through the in­dus­try as a de­liv­ery method of­fer­ing faster and more cost-ef­fec­tive build­ings. But these pro­grams, for the most part, tend to em­pha­size cost sav­ings and ef­fi­ciency over de­sign process and rigor and there­fore these struc­tures have lost the con­nec­tion to de­sign that once ex­isted in build­ings of the past, rather they. This study is a wake up call to acad­e­mia and in­dus­try to once again see the con­nec­tion be­tween de­sign and work­man­ship in ar­chi­tec­tural ed­u­ca­tion. The re­search in­ves­ti­gates the re­cent de­vel­op­ment of de­sign-build stu­dios (DBS for the pur­pose of this essay) in North Amer­ica. This essay pre­sents two process mod­els and de­scribes the fun­da­men­tal ped­a­gog­i­cal in­ten­tions. This essay iden­ti­fies and crit­i­cally an­a­lyze the in­ter­weav­ing fac­tors of de­sign and con­struc­tion seen against the com­plex back­drop of the stu­dents’ ex­pe­ri­ence and the pro­fes­sors’ in­ten­tions and ob­jec­tives. This re­search rep­re­sents a con­ver­gence of prac­ti­cal, ed­u­ca­tional and philo­soph­i­cal the­o­ries. De­sign, ma­te­ri­als and as­sem­bly are knit­ted into a co­he­sive whole through the fil­ter of ed­u­ca­tion (Boyer and Mit­gang, 1996; Lang, 1986; Pye, 1978). The book ex­am­ines the re­la­tion­ship of de­sign and con­struc­tion through se­lected the­o­ret­i­cal texts and places the re­search into his­tor­i­cal and par­a­dig­matic con­text (Nes­bitt, 1996). It aims to un­earth new knowl­edge through re­search and case stud­ies, fo­cus­ing on the na­ture of con­struc­tion in de­sign and its ef­fect on the de­sign process of the ar­chi­tect.

  • Through­out his ca­reer, Pro­fes­sor Dr. William Joseph Car­pen­ter FAIA, PhD stud­ied under sev­eral promi­nent aca­d­e­mic voices in­clud­ing Samuel Mock­bee, Christo­pher Rischer, and Nor­man Jaffe. Dr. Car­pen­ter is owner and founder of the in­ter­na­tion­ally rec­og­nized de­sign firm Light­room, lo­cated in De­catur, GA, USA. Light­room spe­cial­izes in ar­chi­tec­ture and new media for both com­mer­cial and res­i­den­tial clients. Car­pen­ter uses Light­room as an ex­ten­sive learn­ing op­por­tu­nity for in­terns through in­tern­ships that are avail­able year-round. He was elected as a Fel­low of the AIA in 2000 and to the AIA Na­tional Board of Di­rec­tors as South At­lantic Di­rec­tor in 2010. Most re­cently, Car­pen­ter has been cre­at­ing pub­li­ca­tions that cap­ture the cur­rent, unique en­vi­ron­ment in ar­chi­tec­tural prac­tice and ed­u­ca­tion. In his spare time, he en­joys hang­ing out with his two beau­ti­ful daugh­ters, play­ing the bass, and mak­ing de­li­cious smooth­ies.