SUSTAINABILITY AND ARCHITECTURAL EDUCATION:
TRANSFORMING THE CULTURE OF ARCHITECTURAL
EDUCATION IN THE UNITED STATES
Amanda S. Woodward
B.S. Chemical Engineering, University of Colorado at Boulder, 1988
Master of Architecture, University of Colorado at Denver, 1997
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Design and Planning
Hus thesu for the Doctor of Philosophy
Amaad* S Woodward
hat been approved
Woodward, Amanda S. (Doctor of Philosophy, Design and Planning)
Sustainability and Architecture Education:
Transforming the Culture of Architectural Education in the United State
Thesis directed by Dr. Mark Gelemter
Concepts of sustainability have emerged since the last major reform initiative in
architectural education. These concepts have powerfully reshaped discussions within
many disciplines, yet they have had little impact on the pedagogy, curriculum, and
espoused values of architectural education across the United States. This dissertation
examines efforts to implement sustainability initiatives in architectural education through a
case study of Ball State Universitys Architecture Program. The period of study is from
the early 1990s, when transformative activities occurred there, through 2005.
By examining this richly complex case, I clarify ways in which efforts around
sustainability are understood and advanced. I also identify resistance and constraints that
these efforts encounter. I focus on cultural factors as a level of analysis and build an
argument emphasizing the importance of culture for explaining change, and resistance to
change, in architectural education. Data have been collected from interviews, artifacts, and
Barriers to sustainability initiatives include a poor fit of mutual values, unresolved
ambiguity around defining sustainability principles, and inattention by all but the most
invested faculty and students. Efforts often lack linkage to one another, indicate different
conceptualizations of sustainability and exemplify an individual mindset prevalent in the
culture of architectural education. Successful advancement of sustainability initiatives
were the result of individual efforts, collaboration with faculty from allied disciplines,
mentoring, and support from related centers.
This dissertation challenges the notion that initial efforts to implement
sustainability should be directed to curriculum reform. Early efforts to produce
sustainability curriculum for architectural education have borrowed heavily from other
disciplines a situation that architecture faculty have resisted in the past. Without coming
from within a discipline and resulting from internalized conceptions, this strategy lacks
legitimacy and is likely to face continued resistance.
Opportunities to further advance initiatives have been identified in changing
conditions within the academy and profession. These include the need to replace
numerous retiring faculty members, financial constraints at public universities that
increasingly mandate fundable research agendas for faculty, and increasing demand within
society and the profession for people who can address issues of sustainability.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I recommend its
There are many who contributed to this work, and to whom I will always be
grateful. Mark Gelernters enthusiasm and gentle guidance greatly influenced this work.
Meetings with Mark served always to bolster my enthusiasm for my topic and stretch my
thinking. For this, I am extremely grateful. Alan Davis provided valuable methodological
advice, as well as an educational perspective that greatly helped frame and guide this
research. I immensely enjoyed meeting with Alan over coffee to discuss my research,
education issues and current events. I thank Michael Holleran for his unyielding example
of academic rigor and integrity. Conversations with Peter Schneider stimulated thought-
provoking discussions and insights, and led me to diverse resources in the formative phase
of my research. Rodney was very helpful in contextualizing my work and providing
valuable feedback on the text. I thank each of my committee members for their expertise,
time, and collegiality.
I am grateful to faculty, administration, and students at Ball State Universitys
College of Architecture and Planning for providing access to events, ideas, and thoughts
around issues of sustainability. Each person I interviewed was generous with time and
thoughtful with comments. Everyone I encountered was gracious and helpful.
I have also had the support of many colleagues in the College of Architecture and
Planning. I am grateful to my fellow colleagues for continued intellectual exchange and
emotional support throughout this long process. My horizons are forever broadened by the
diverse views, interests and backgrounds of this amazing group of scholars. My pallet is
forever grateful for the amazing international cuisine shared at many a pot-luck.
On a more personal note, I have family and close friends to thank for continued
support during this lengthy and sometimes tumultuous process. My mother, Roxane,
provided constant encouragement as well as substantial editing. Rosana, with her many
literary gifts, was invaluable in encouraging and editing my writing in the final stage. The
rest of my family including my sisters Lori and Lisa, and my extended family Kathy, Bill,
Ethan, Nicole, Luke, Mike and Todd have provided continued support for my work. Most
of all, I thank my husband, John. Without his love, support and patience, I would never
have completed this dissertation. I am so grateful for his gentle prodding and technical
assistance when I needed it, and for his loving encouragement always.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Environment of Architectural Education.......................
The Challenges of Sustainability.................................
Overview of Study................................................
2. THE HISTORY AND CULTURE OF ARCHITECTURAL EDUCATION
IN THE UNITED STATES.................................................
Architectural education in the United States Values and
Contradictions Developed through Three Movements.................
The Beaux-Arts, the Design Studio, and the
Image of the Architect.........................................
Design and Architectural Education..........................
American Industrialization and the Concentration of Capital.
The Expansion of Schools....................................
Values of the Beaux-Arts....................................
The Bauhaus, Modernism and the Role of Architecture............
Values of Bauhaus Modernism.................................
Environmental Design and the Scientification of Design Education...
Architecture as a social Project..........................32
Values of Env ironmental Design...........................33
Contemporary Conditions-The Melding of Three Movements.........34
3. THEORY BASE AND DEVELOPMENT OF
Education Innovation and Reform................................37
Research in Education........................................37
Innovation, Reform, and Organizational Culture...............39
Three Perspectives on Culture: Integration, Differentiation,
Theories of Organizational Change..............................42
4. RESEARCH DESIGN...................................................46
Culture as a Framework of Analysis...........................46
Cultural Change in an Institutional Context..................48
Organizational Culture as a Conceptual Framework...............49
Ball State University as a Case Study..........................52
Selection of Case............................................55
5. INTEGRATION PERSPECTIVE-SUSTAINABILITY AND THE
CULTURE OF ARCHITECTURAL EDUCATION.............................65
Values and Norms of Contemporary Architectural Education.......65
Design Studio as the Center of Architectural Education.......65
Values of the Design Studio...............................66
The Architect as Individualistic Creative Genius..........67
Individualism and Architecture-as-Art.....................68
Reinforcing Values and Norms..............................70
Values of Architectural Education and Principles
Principles of Sustainability from the Environmental Movement.73
Sustainability beyond the Environmental Framing...........76
6. SUSTAINABILITY AND THE ARCHITECTURE
PROGRAM AT BALL STATE UNIVERSITY...............................80
Support for Sustainability at Ball State University............81
Greening of the Campus and the Talloires
Declaration on Sustainability....................................82
CERES-Center for Energy Research, Education, and Service.........84
Institutional Strengths of Ball State............................86
Personal Commitment to Issues of Sustainability..................87
Sustainability and the Architecture Program........................87
Elements of Sustainability in the Architecture Program...........87
Exemplary Program-Level Initiatives..............................90
Building to Save the Earth: A Symposium on
Environmentally Conscious Architecture........................90
EASE-Educating Architects for a Sustainable Environment.......92
ASAP-A Sustainable Architecture Program Student Group.........93
7. CASE STUDY RESULTS: ANALYSIS...............................................96
The Differentiation perspective and the Design/Technical Divide....97
Evidence of Divide...............................................97
Implications for Sustainability Initiatives......................99
The Fragmentation Perspective and Areas of Uncertainty............101
Program Change from B Arch to M Arch............................101
Institutionalization Versus Individual Champions................106
Sustainability and the Curriculum...............................106
Beyond the Core Curriculum......................................110
8. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS.................................116
A. Summary of Interviews...............................121
This research examines efforts to implement sustainability initiatives through a
case study of Ball State Universitys Architecture Program. The period of study is from
the early 1990s, when transformative activities occurred there, through 2005. By
examining this richly complex case, I aim to clarify our understanding of ways in which
efforts around sustainability are understood and advanced and of the environment in which
they are forwarded, as well as the resistance and constraints they encounter. 1 focus on
cultural factors as a level of analysis and build an argument emphasizing the importance of
organizational culture for explaining change and resistance in architectural education.
Through this analysis, I shed light on the efforts and events that took place at Ball State,
and on the resilience of those efforts in the face of setbacks.
Concepts of sustainability have emerged since the last major reform initiative in
architectural education. These concepts have powerfully reshaped discussions within
many communities, including those that surround architectural education. Sustainability
initiatives are now actively being enacted within higher education, on college campuses,
and in the architecture profession. However, they have had little impact on the pedagogy
and curriculum of architectural education across the United States (Kellogg, 2004).
Consequently, there is a growing disconnect between entering architecture students
and hiring professionals on the one hand, and the majority of architectural educators on the
other, concerning the importance of environmental and related social issues within the
academy. Entering students increasingly expect that environmental and related
social issues will be addressed within their education. The profession is increasingly
looking for expertise in these areas as client demand increases. Yet, architectural educators
have been slow to incorporate meaningfully these issues.
This research seeks to reveal how concepts of sustainability are presented,
advanced, understood and resisted in reform initiatives within the context of deeply
entrenched ideals of traditional architecture education. Though calls for reforming
architectural education are diverse and frequent, pedagogy and curriculum have changed
little since the 1960s and continue to be based on principles founded at the turn of the last
century (Fisher, 2000). Concepts of sustainability evoke consideration and
acknowledgment of limited resources, environmental degradation, and related social and
economic issues. These concerns are echoed in calls for reform in architectural education,
yet few successful examples of this type of reform are evident in United States schools of
architecture (Anthony, 1991; Boyer & Mitgang, 1996; Dutton & Mann, 1996). Through
this research, I uncover cultural barriers to concepts of sustainability within architectural
The Environment of Architectural Education
The environment in which architectural education occurs is changing rapidly.
Limited state funding, increasing demand for funded research, accountability for student
learning, and a student base increasing in ethnic and socioeconomic diversity are factors
contributing to this changing environment (Stevens, 1998). In this climate, colleges and
programs are increasingly challenged to respond to new demands.
The practice of architecture into which graduates enter is also changing rapidly.
Marked advances in technology and materials, changing market demands, the need for
increased specialization, pressure from other disciplines and the globalization of
architectural design require constant adaptation to remain competitive.
The image of the architect and his work is also diversifying. The architect as artist,
star designer, concerned with design as style-making, and in service to the wealthy and
cultured remains dominant. This architect produces jewels of a consumer culture, which
are meant to establish the prominence of the client, reinforce power structures, and attract
consumption through the commodification of design. Emerging in contrast is the architect
as global citizen, concerned with design as a venue for social change, a conduit for
improving health, increasing equality, and bettering civic life (Dutton & Mann, 1996). The
idealized architect as the leader of great projects remains privileged over the world-citizen
architect as team-member with special expertise.
Even with these tremendous changes surrounding architectural thinking and
practice, the ideology and delivery of architectural education in the United States has
remained surprisingly constant. The profession has outgrown the small niche of traditional
elite architecture, yet most students continue to be educated toward that niche (Gutman as
cited in Stevens, 1998). One-on-one critique, individual projects, hand drafting, form-
making and a focus on a largely internal aesthetic dialogue continues to dominate the
delivery of architectural education. Specialization, the strategic incorporation of new
technologies, cross-disciplinary work to address complex issues, and a social and ethical
context remain marginalized.
Reform agent calls for actions range from increasing ecological consideration
(Steele, 1997) to reviving a social agenda (Boyer & Mitgang, 1996; Dutton & Mann, 1996)
to including more voices in the discipline of architecture (Anthony, 1991; Vytlacil, 1989;
Ward, 1991). Ideas of ethics of the built environment are challenging aesthetics as an
important basis for architectural design (Fox, 2002). The breadth and duration of these
calls for reform suggest that traditional content, methods and values of architectural
education are tenaciously defended and slow to change.
The Challenges of Sustainability
The state of the earths environment has emerged as an important global issue, and
more and more is being linked to economic and social concerns. Environmental, economic
and social problems are increasingly being considered together, from both much larger and
much smaller scales than ever before. Sustainability, a term meant to provide an umbrella
for these concerns, has become a ubiquitous topic as issues around global climate change,
environmental toxins, and social inequity escalate in scale and severity. Because of the
complexity of these issues and the widely different points of reference from which they are
viewed, the term sustainability has become politically charged and remains intellectually
ambiguous. Through different ways of viewing and framing the relationship between
humans, capital and nature, different concepts of sustainability have emerged (Brulle,
1996; Mol & Sonnenfeld, 2000; Sachs, 1997). The natural environment is conceptualized
in many ways today, and doing so leads to diverse interpretations of the term sustainability.
A definition achieving widespread agreement has proven difficult to establish.
However, even with the intense debates and disagreement, there appears to be
something important in the framing of the broad concept.
Concepts of sustainability are now discussed and debated in most academic fields.
Concepts of sustainability are developing within architectural discourse and practice, just
as they are within development discourse (Guy & Farmer, 2001; Steele, 1997) where the
term originated. Sustainability issues are at least as salient for architecture as for any other
discipline or profession, as architects claim to deal in all of these realms, and indeed stake
their unique worth on bridging the physical and social.
Attempts have been made to delineate different constructs of sustainability in
architecture, and to link them back to environmental and sociological foundations.
Different conceptions of sustainability within architectural discourse lead to different
framing of problems and possibilities, which in turn generate diverse built forms (Guy &
Farmer, 2001). Different framing of sustainability empower certain ideas, groups and
individuals. These different beginning points lead to vastly different results in the built
environment. So, the debate and its outcomes could have a lasting and profound impact on
the direction of the profession, the form of the built environment, and the effects of those
forms on energy consumption, longevity, and human interaction.
Overview of Study
To explore the challenges of incorporating sustainability into architectural
education, the research is structured into two parts. First, a broad literature review is
undertaken to examine the tenets of traditional architectural education, sustainability,
organizational change, and cultural change. With this background, a case study is
undertaken to investigate an architectural program that has made considerable effort to
incorporate sustainability and has been recognized nationally for these efforts.
The study identifies historical, cultural factors that influence how concepts of
sustainability are enacted to reform architectural education. The research provides insight
into the nature and challenge of education reform within an arena that has proven difficult
to change. Deep assumptions that underlay the practices and principles that support
traditional architectural education pedagogy and curriculum are revealed.
Theories of the basis of contemporary architectural education, educational
innovation and reform, organizational change, and issues of organizational culture are
identified as important foci in understanding the dynamics of change within architectural
education. Literature from these areas is synthesized and applied to the realm of
architectural education innovation.
Both the content and context of professional education are significant, because
they impact how students entering the profession are prepared to contend with the pressing
issues of contemporary society. How each student takes part in forming the built
environment will have a lasting impact on the discipline of architecture and the built
The built environment accounts for significant use of natural resources in its
production but it also produces considerable waste. The built environment mediates our
human activity, impacting how we interact. The making of the built environment is shaped
by, and in turn shapes, human ideals. As architects contribute to the making of the built
environment, they have a role in addressing these issues. Although the nature of the role is
disputed, the role is rarely denied.
The content and context impact not only how the built environment is formed, but
also who participates in its making. The architectural profession is traditionally gender and
socio-economicaily stratified, and the content and context of education has served to
reinforce this stratification (Stevens, 1998).
Despite the frequent calls for reform, there exists little research on how
contemporary reform initiatives are enacted and how they succeed or fail. Critiques of
architectural education generally identify problems perceived by disenfranchised persons.
Some dissidents speculate on why change has not occurred. Less often are any solutions
prescribed. Rarely, if ever, are change phenomena analyzed.
My research addresses this inattention by analyzing a reform initiative in
contemporary architectural education. This study identifies substantive cultural issues that
are barriers to change in contemporary architectural education. It also explores how issues
of sustainability are being discussed, advanced and resisted within this context.
The built environment, all who interact within it and those who participate in its
creation, will benefit from an academic preparation for architects that better addresses
pressing issues of the 21st century and acknowledges a broader image of the architect.
I propose that most important in explaining resistance to reform are cultural factors
tied to the enculturation process of architectural education. The nature of these cultural
implications further impact organizational factors that also serve to suppress reform
initiatives. These factors, in concert, make it difficult to implement innovation in
architectural education. For meaningful change to occur, these cultural factors must be
By drawing on appropriate theory from disparate fields of study, we can better
understand issues that surround reform of architectural education. The research does not
seek causal relationships between events, beliefs and outcomes. Instead, through the case
study, the work is intended to shed light on the phenomenon of change in a single situation.
This work will be of interest to architectural professionals, students, faculty and
administrators of architectural education. It will inform reform agents inside and outside
the academy who have an interest in advancing concepts of sustainability. It will be useful
for those interested in environmental, social and economic issues as they relate to the
forming of the built environment.
In Chapter 2 of this dissertation, I analyze major elements, and embedded values
and contradictions, of architectural education in the United States by following the history
and influences of three distinct movements. This chapter makes the case that architectural
education has a distinct and enduring culture, and that practices and values adopted over
one hundred years ago continue to thrive today in schools of architecture. I highlight
values that seem to be out of sync with contemporary conditions inside and outside the
In Chapter 3,1 draw together a series of insights from fields of study that help
frame why these conditions endure and how they might be changed. These areas include
educational innovation and reform, organizational change, and organizational culture. A
theoretical framework is developed through this analysis, based on theories of
organizational change, which identifies three perspectives that help unravel the hows and
whys of organizational change. In Chapter 4,1 build on these insights and the conceptual
framework to delineate the research design for this study. I build a case for using a case
study methodology and for selecting Ball State Universitys Architecture Program for that
study. In Chapter 5,1 develop the first of the three perspectives of the theoretical
framework. This integration perspective of organizational culture draws on the literature
review in Chapter 2 as well as recent conceptualizations of the culture of architectural
education, to present a shared culture of architectural education and how' this culture
appears to be a poor fit for principles of sustainability.
The analysis that follows is divided into two chapters. The first, Chapter 6,
focuses on a brief history of events and conditions at Ball State University that have
contributed to the reputation of the university and of the program, as a leader in
sustainability/green initiatives and that provide a foundation for current activities. Chapter
7 presents an analysis and findings of the case study framed with each of the final two
perspectives of organizational culture. Through a differentiation perspective, the duality of
the artist versus scientist that permeates the culture of architecture is explored through the
case study. I examine how the apparent dichotomy between art and science impacts how
concepts of sustainability are embraced or rejected. Then, I present analysis of the case
study using the fragmentation perspective. Here, I look at areas of conflict and ambiguity
among faculty, administrators and students. Within these areas, I unearth interesting
perspectives on sustainability that further shed light on barriers and opportunities for
sustainability initiatives. Conclusions, discussion, limitations, and implications are
summarized in Chapter 8.
THE HISTORY AND CULTURE OF ARCHITECTURAL
EDUCATION IN THE UNITED STATES
This chapter frames current cultural elements of architectural education in the
United States by highlighting its history. The culture of architectural education in the
United States has been both lauded and condemned. Whatever the view, many agree that
architectural education has a culture distinct from the profession, distinct from other
professional schools, and is distinct from allied fields, whether planning or graphic art
(Anthony, 1991). This chapter highlights major elements, and contradictions, of
architectural education in the United States by following the history and influences of three
Each section of Chapter 2 builds a foundation to understand values and barriers to
change in architectural education in the United States by recognizing deeply entrenched
ideals. Each section analyzes successive historical movements of architectural education,
and highlights the imprint that each has made on practices and values. To understand why
it has proven to be difficult to implement sustainability initiatives within architectural
education, it is essential to understand the strong culture, and the values this culture
promotes, which has dominated architectural education for the past eight decades.
Architectural Education in the United States Values and
Contradictions Developed through Three Movements
Three major successive movements in architecture have had significant impact on
architectural education. The pedagogy, practices and culture of architectural education
today are an ineffectual meshing of these three profoundly different lineages. The first
major influence on architectural education in the United States was the Beaux-Arts method
of teaching brought to the US by American students trained in Paris and by the importation
of design educators from the Academy. The second major influence was the Bauhaus, the
development of modernism, and the exodus of Bauhaus founders from Germany to the US
to eventually head major architecture schools. The third influence on architectural
education came not from other countries but from other disciplines. The sciences applied
ideas of the scientification of the design process. Advocates sought to change the
foundation of design instruction through the science of design. The specific impacts of
each of these influences on the structure, culture and delivery of architectural education are
discussed in the sections that follow.
The Beaux-Arts, the Design Studio, and the Image of the Architect
Several factors contributed to the rapid acceptance of Beaux-Arts practices and
principles in the United States, including the energetic efforts by the first American
students returning from the academy in France. Another factor included favorable timing
with a rapid increase in collegiate schools and the land grant university system while the
Beaux Arts was the preeminent architectural school in Europe. A third factor was the
changing power structures of industrialization that was well aligned with the grandiose
ideals of the Beaux Arts.
Richard Morris Hunt was the first American architect to study at the Ecole des
Beaux-Arts in Paris (1845-1851). Upon returning to the US, he established an atelier in
1857, which was separate from his practice. This lineage led directly to the founding of
the first school of architecture in the United States. The architecture program at MIT was
founded in 1865 by one of Hunts atelier students, William R. Ware (Cuff, 1991). Ware
himself had established an atelier with partners before his appointment as the head of
MITs school of architecture. In 1881 Ware would move to Columbia University to start
the architecture program there, further spreading the Beaux Arts tradition experienced in
Wares atelier (Oliver, 1981).
The Beaux-Arts Society of Architects, founded in 1894 by Americans who had
been trained at the French Beaux-Arts, served as a second means of influence and made
very powerful inroads for the Beaux-Arts system in the United States. Its purpose was
clearly stated: to cultivate and perpetuate the associations and principles of the Ecole des
Beaux-Arts of Paris (Bosworth, 1932, p.7). It did not educate per se, but issued programs,
then judged and exhibited the finalists of these competitions. It also opened an atelier in
New York where young architects working as draftsmen in offices could work on problems
with practicing architects as critics.
The society had enormous influence on schools of architecture in several
interesting ways. The programs provided convenient and ready lessons for students in
new, fledgling programs where resources were slim and qualified educators rare. It also
instilled strong competition among students, between groups of students, and among
students of different schools. By the 1930s, many schools used the beaux-arts programs
(Bosworth, 1932). Some programs based their entire courses on the problems and
judgments issued by the society. Others sometimes utilized the programs, and they may or
may not have submitted them forjudging. There were a few notable exceptions. Oregon
remained strongly opposed to competition and the Beaux Arts programs. Other notable
exceptions are discussed later. Bosworth estimates that by 1929, 35% of all architecture
students were participating in program competitions of the Beaux-Arts.
Within the philosophy brought with Ecole practices was the notion of the architect
being elite. Architects educated abroad propagated this notion and set themselves above
others who were educated in apprenticeships at home. The Ecole des Beaux-Arts was an
elite institution, and the only place for French designers to go if they aspired to a
governmental position. In France at the time, anyone could call himself an architect, but
only those educated at the Academy could qualify for government appointments. This
reasonably shaped the curriculum to focus on large-scale interventions. This was a new
focus for returning Americans, as the scale and intention of such projects were uncommon
in the US. However, elitism and a penchant for grandiose scale would well serve these
French-trained Americans and the burgeoning industrialists that they would serve in the
United States (Gelemter, 1999).
Design and Architectural Education
When American schools imported French ideas, methods and critics, the influence
was largely seen in design courses. Prior to the 1880s, design was considered one of the
many topics to be covered in architectural education. In a sample curriculum presented by
Bosworth (1932) dating to 1893, design was introduced near the end of the fourth year of
study. This dramatically changed with the beaux-arts influence. As the problem method
of design education advanced, propagated by the beaux-arts competition programs, design
began to take on more importance and was given much more time in the curriculum than
before. For example, when Ware took the founding position at Columbia in 1880, he
inherited an sample curriculum that focused heavily on sanitary engineering. Indeed, one
primary objective for founding the Architecture program had been to address unsanitary
conditions in New York City. Ware demanded complete control of the school, and
proceeded to reform the focus toward Beaux Arts principles (Oliver, 1981).
The content and delivery of other courses were largely unchanged during this time.
They remained in the lecture format and were rarely taught by those associated with the
French Academy. Bosworth notes that construction, drawing, and history developed
indigenously and out of our own existing educational system(p. 180).
This increasing focus on design did not go unchecked. Several institutions resisted
the changing tide and maintained a more evenly balanced curriculum, or continued to focus
heavily on more technical aspects of architecture. This led to design school and technical
schools. Critics of the beaux-arts system indicted this new emphasis as lacking realism,
and providing a narrow view of the function of the architects role in society (Bosworth,
Though the overall subject matter of architectural curriculum had changed little,
the relative importance of the various subjects has changed significantly. The beaux-arts
influence brought a large swing of the pendulum toward design with subjugation of other
topics. In contrast to the practicality of the previous generation, architecture students
steeped in the Beaux Arts tradition had swung far in the other direction. A lack of
realism, an impatience with actuality, a narrow view of what the function of the architect in
society is or might be, are commonly cited characteristic according to Bosworth (1932,
p.40). The intense focus on design, and the view that design is more important to other
subjects, remains today.
Where schools of architecture were originally placed with engineering schools in
universities in the United States, the Beaux-Arts influence led to shifting alliances with
fine-arts programs. In 1930, there were seven autonomous schools, fifteen aligned with
fine arts, three aligned with liberal arts and thirty-three remained aligned with engineering.
In thirty years, nearly half of the architecture programs in the United States had moved
outside of engineering schools. But whatever the alliance, the fit between the programs
influenced by Beaux-Arts and the University structure was not comfortable.
As the problem method of the Beaux Arts became institutionalized in architectural
education, strain developed between schools of architecture and universities. The problem
method of design did not align well with seat hours and semesters. Grading was
problematic, as was quantitative measure of a students work. The culture of the Beaux
Arts Academy, with an emphasis on only the end product and on student freedom rather
than regiment completely upsets the machinery of mark, semester, and quantitative
measures where these are applied with machine-like rigidity to masses of undergraduates
(Bosworth, 1932, p.129).
Further strains came with a lack of funding. Funding for programs was scarce,
except in rare cases of endowments. Poor funding led to low faculty compensation, and
many faculty members looked to an outside practice to supplement their salary. Additional
strains surfaced when programs continued to increase enrollment. These together had the
effect of reducing quality according to the Bosworth study.
American Industrialization and the Concentration of Capital
It is not coincidence that the founding of the first school of architecture should
coincide with the end of the American Civil War. Industrial supremacy of the North was
reinforced by the war victory. Colonies that had been relatively independent and isolated
underwent great change as the country began to rapidly industrialize. The expansion of
railroad and electricity infrastructures, a cheap labor force, and inventions such as the
telephone allowed for the creation of large trusts such as the Standard Oil Company,
General Electric and Morgan Trust (Gelemter, 1999). By the turn of the Century, these
monopolies became so powerful they were able to destroy most of their smaller industrial
competition. They successfully concentrated power and wealth, which gave them the
ability to orchestrate large projects that required significant expertise (Frampton, 1980).
The expansive and unrestrained thinking which accompanied this economic
consolidation transferred to the image of architecture. From there, it spread to the
consciousness of the architect and the styles he was willing to put forward. Tradition, scale
and size were no longer considered constraints, and competition led to more and more
outrageous expressions of individualism (Gelemter, 1999). Design education in
architectural schools fostered this individualism and deployed graduates with monumental
sensibilities toward architecture.
The expertise required for such a grand scale of building imagined by the powerful
trusts included architects and builders. As artisans were replaced by labor unions, new and
more standardized building practices were developing. Steel and reinforced concrete, the
new materials of the industrial age, allowed for larger and more complex structures. The
need for more and better-qualified architects to deal with these changes led to the need for
more training schools.
The Expansion of Schools
Most of the expansion of architectural schools followed the concentration of
population, wealth and cultural aspirations (Bosworth, 1932). By the early 1930s,
architectural schools, concentrated in the East, the Midwest, and on the West Coast, were
in concert with population and wealth. MIT was founded in 1865, and the opening of
several other schools soon followed. These included the University of Illinois in 1868,
Cornell University in 1871, Syracuse University in 1873, and Columbia University in
1881. At the turn of the Century, eight more schools were established for a total number of
thirteen. There was rapid growth in the number of programs after the turn of the century.
By 1930, there were fifty-two architecture programs at the collegiate level in the United
States (Bosworth, 1932).
However, not all new schools followed a logical expansion. The Morrill Act of
1862 allowed state-supported land grant colleges to develop across the Western States.
These schools, supported by state land grants, could start up architecture programs without
the standard economic concentration and population support. This manifested in what the
Bosworth study found to be a duplication of schools in four Western states, Kansas,
Oklahoma, Texas, Washington, where population and wealth would not support the
number of students and graduates. University pride was thought to influence more schools
in these areas than was necessary or supportable.
Industrialization of America explains the need for more and better-trained
architects, but does not address the nature of education that continued to develop thereafter.
That is, industrialization explains the propagation of schools, but not necessarily their
focus. If building expertise and standardization were the only requirements, then schools
of architecture would have remained under the umbrella of engineering education. We
have seen that this was not the case. In fact, the trend was quite the opposite.
Though timing was indeed a factor in the importation of the Ecole Des Beaux-Arts
to United States schools of architecture, there were other likely factors. There is some
disconnect between the grandiose public focus of the Beaux-Arts with its refined historical
reference, and the pragmatic needs of burgeoning industrialization. The next section looks
to cultural implications as one of those factors that helps explain this disconnect.
Values of the Beaux-Arts
Elements of the Beaux-arts system persist today in architectural education in the
United States. Architecture as art, the architect as a purveyor of taste, and fierce
competition are hallmarks of this system that remain entrenched in the culture of
architectural education today. Current practices will be further developed in chapter 5.
Competition was central to the Beaux-Arts teaching program. When the training
of an architect began to move from the apprentice system and into the Ecole des Beaux
Arts, the jury was the method for evaluating student work. Folklore and fact account for
this time in history, when students were assigned a project at the beginning of the term, and
then asked to return at the end of the term with their architectural solution. Great stories
are passed down from student to student in todays schools about the charrette, French for
wheelbarrow, being pushed through the streets of Paris to collect these finished products
for delivery to the academy. The story continues that the final pass of the charrette often
carried not only the project but also the frantic student, putting the finishing touches on the
work as it was delivered to the great hall for review by the Masters. Student projects were
evaluated behind closed doors by a jury of design faculty, who would decide whether the
students passed or failed. At the end of the jury, the student would receive a mark, and
little or nothing else. This process elevated the end product and competition among
students, whose works were evaluated side by side.
Todays design juries descend from this era, and continue to reinforce a culture of
competition (Anthony, 1991). The format of the design jury is very consistent across the
country: students post their drawings on a vertical surface, their models on a horizontal
surface, and one-by-one present the completed design to a group of faculty, visiting critics,
and fellow students. The faculty and visiting critics, collectively referred to as jurors, then
critique the project, and the student is called upon to defend their work. A fascinating
aspect of juries is what Chris Argyris (1981) refers to as the mastery-mystery
phenomenon. The critic has presumably mastered the art of design, but the student has no
clear idea of the process by which it has been mastered. Thus begins his search to figure
out the process. A student receives virtually no preparation for this high-stress, high-
stakes experience, and often enters into it with little or no sleep, and without the benefit of
proper nutrition. Faculty receive no formal training in how to conduct juries, and critics
receive no training in good critiquing. Most participants are left to rely on techniques
that they have personally experienced in their own previous design education. Anthony
contends that teaching methods exist that are more productive for students than high
stakes, end-of-semester jury defense of their work. However, the practice remains a strong
tradition in architecture schools today (Anthony, 1991).
The Ecole des Beaux-Arts stood for architecture as art, architecture by the elite,
and architecture for those with discerning taste. It was the discerning taste of the master
that was transferred to students in the ateliers of the academy. In Chapter 5,1 will show
that these ideals continue to be propagated in schools of architecture today, even if shown
to be in sharp contract to current conditions.
The Bauhans, Modernism and the Role of Architecture
The acceptance of modernism in schools of architecture in the US was initially
based almost entirely on aesthetics and form. By the 1920s, many architecture students
were enticed by new, modern forms that required no reference to the past. There had
always been some differences between the profession and the schools, with students of this
period pushing for radical modern forms under great resistance from their Beaux-Arts
trained faculty. In accounts of Harvard, Columbia and MIT, students were intrigued by the
new style and began pushing for change. As magazines and competition results began to
favor the modernism of Europe, students took up the charge and began producing work
with the modern aesthetic, often in defiance to design teachers.
Hitchcock and Johnson had a major impact on how the new style would be
introduced and propagated in the United States. Johnson curated the hallmark 1932
Museum of Modern Art exhibit The International Style: Architecture since 1922. He and
Henry-Russel Hitchcock created a publication of the same name that would present the
new style developing in Europe in only aesthetic terms. They explicitly shed the European
examples of the social context in which they were developed. Gelernter suggests that this
is at least partly due to the Red scare and political conservatism in the United States during
the 1930s (Gelernter, 1999). This social context will be discussed later in this chapter.
Johnson and Hitchcock developed principles of modern design derived from observations
of the physical works, in effect promoting a kit-of-parts for contemporary architecture.
American educators picked up on this kit of parts approach that could be used in
the design process. At Berkeley, educators accepted modernism for they believed that the
styles look could be easily incorporated into the Beaux Arts approach (Littmann, 2000,
p. 160). Students began entering the traditional beaux-arts inspired competitions with
modem designs. By the 1930s, several prizes for the outstanding student design were
awarded to such entries.
However, for some, the aesthetics of Modernism were directly associated with a
social and political agenda. The new aesthetic was explicitly tied to a modernist agenda by
its European founders. Modernism, and especially Bauhaus Modernism, was associated
with the social and political struggles of Europe. As early as 1919, forces outside of
architecture were coalescing around the needs of a growing number of poor living in slum
conditions in the US. Though the 1920s brought economic success for many, it was clear
that many more were being left out. Surveys of housing conditions in rural and urban areas
concluded that millions of Americans were living in sub-par housing. Shantytowns
developed in large cities during this time of rapid urbanization. In 1919, economist Edith
Elmer Wood published The Housing of the Unskilled Wage Earner in which she argued
that reliance on private philanthropy to deal with the plight of the poor was falling far
behind an urgent need for mass housing. (Kentgens-Craig, 1999) The newly formed
Regional Planning Association of America echoed the problem. A 1935 report for the
Housing Division of the Pubic Works Administration stated that one-third of the
population in the US lived in housing that didnt meet minimum standards of human
These housing issues didnt attract attention from top American architects, as they
did in Europe. So, as conditions in the US worsened, advocates looked to Europe for
solutions. Though the housing patterns in Europe were quite different from those in the
US, the examples were nevertheless identified as solutions to the problems. American
leaders of the housing movement became aware of Bauhaus modernism through these
inquiries and welcomed their solutions in the void of American interest.
As architecture students saw the problems of poverty all around them, many were
attracted to the political content and new building types of the modern movement,
specifically for public housing. They saw in the movement a hope that they, as architects,
could play a significant role in rebuilding the nation after the Great Depression (Littmann,
2000, p. 163).
Beyond the social imperative, the outlook for architecture jobs was changing.
Jobs were scarce during the depression years and architects were expanding their services
for the growing needs of society. Beaux-Arts education, with a continued focus on grand
buildings in a historically referential style, was increasingly considered outdated. Many
felt it was no longer suitable to prepare students for a modern world through Beaux-Arts
Though internal reformers in architectural education were numerous, they were
matched by those who were equally and passionately entrenched in the Beaux-arts system
of education. Hudnut was influential at Columbia and Harvard in setting up new
educational methodology. However, Beaux-Arts thinking at Columbia was thoroughly
entrenched and slow to reform. This new curriculum was abandoned several years after
implementation. Reform at Harvard was more successful, more sweeping, and occurred
quite rapidly. Several important factors contributed to this sweeping reform, including
university administration seeking change, a practiced effort on Hudnuts part, and Bauhaus
educators brought in to implement the changes.
Gropius was hired by Harvard to implement a curriculum based on his work at the
Bauhaus, tempered by US conditions. His reforms included discontinuing the Beaux-Arts
inspired competition, and evaluating students on their semesters work instead of the final
product only. Other changes involved new class offerings. Instead of offering classes like
shade-and-shadow, drafting classes were substituted. Course offerings were also expanded
to include urbanism, critical writing, business law and economics (Oliver, 1981).
Gropius had relied on John Deweys pragmatism in the development of his
educational philosophy. Indeed, studios at the Bauhaus might easily have represented a
continuation of Deweys laboratory school, which housed shop work, cooking work and
work in textiles. These elements were touted by Dewey as providing a setting for actively
educating young people who had been removed from their agrarian sensibilities by the
industrialized world (Boyd, 1950).
By employing this model, Gropius and other reformers envisioned the architect in
a way very different from that of the Beaux-Arts. Instead of the grand creator, Gropius
came to see the architect as the ultimate coordinator, whose task was to unify social,
technical, economic, and formal issues that developed around building (Frampton, 1980).
In line with Deweys pragmatism, Gropius wanted to bring together knowledge and
experience. With these changes, students were increasingly being educated for a job market
controlled by industry. Promoters advanced the ideals of a new architecture for these new
modem conditions (Kentgens-Craig, 1999).
It was, perhaps, too large a leap to make from the Beaux-Arts worldview of the
architect as elite creator of grand places. Though Gropius preached teamwork in his
teaching at Harvard, this did not catch on with his early students. After graduation, most of
his first class set up offices run like ateliers with themselves as masters. The view of the
architect as the elite creator would continue to permeate architectural education. In some
circles, the team concept would be integrated by seeing the architect as the artistic genius
and team leader of the many aspects of building. Architects would consider teamwork, as
long as they were leading the team and could maintain free artistic license.
If it did not topple the view of the architect as elite creator, Modernism did
eventually overthrow the Beaux-Arts focus on forms based in the Classics. Instead, forms
void of historical reference were created based on Euclidean geometry. Though the styles
led to drastically different appearances of built work, the basis of design remained a
reliance on pureness of math and geometry. One set of rules of interpreting these laws
was replaced by another. In this light, the look of the architectural forms produced were
very different, but the underlying rules continued to be based on geometry, and the basic
The focus on competition was also challenged by Modern reformers. During his
time at Harvard, Gropius became concerned with the lot of the young architect in a
growing profession (Frampton, 1980). He saw specialization as an easy way for young
architects to get stuck in back rooms of firms doing the same job day after day. His
remedy for this was to stress collaboration and communication. He implemented
collaborative design projects, and tried to broaden the realm of knowledge of the architect
by requiring courses in city planning.
Emphasis on the spirit of competition instilled by the beaux-arts model and
programs was consciously reduced. His idea was that if young architects focused on a
bigger picture, and were able to communicate and collaborate, then they would more likely
be integrated more quickly into the higher workings of the architectural office (Frampton,
1980). His education mantra became one focused on the problems of society and included
incorporation of city' planning and housing. He proclaimed a growing necessity' for
architectural education to be more responsive to the realities of society.
There has been considerable discussion of the role of social consciousness in
Bauhaus thinking. Some scholars argue that Bauhaus modernism came with a social
imperative. Indeed, a renaissance of educational ideals emerged from a German
Nationalistic upsurge at the end of the 18th Century. Major thinkers at the time were
invested in reconceptualizing education. This included a focus on moral education over
intellectual education, as well as education for all, including the under classes (Boyd,
1950). However, the seriousness of this social imperative to Bauhaus thinking is unclear.
The authenticity of this alignment of Gropius and the Bauhaus movement to social issues
has been seriously questioned (Franciscono, 1971). The connection is alternately seen as
an opportunistic focus for advancing a small group of artists stylistic desires. The focus
on the social housing was merely an opportunity that presented itself in Europe at the time.
The celebrated social imperative was merely a tactic of the movement founders to gain
notice. The founders continued to talk of the masses, a group totally separate from
In this light, the failure of the advancement of the architect as team player and
social arbiter is more predictable. Whether or not the social imperatives touted by the
founders did penetrate design education at the Bauhaus, they did not weather the migration
to US schools of architecture. Accounts of reform at several schools of architecture
suggest a separating of modem forms from any social imperative (Littmann, 2000; Oliver,
Bauhaus modernism had significant influence on American architecture education
well beyond Harvard and the direct influence of Bauhaus teachers. Harvard was only one
of several schools directly influenced by Bauhaus teaching. Mies Van der Rohe went to
Illinois Institute of Technology and developed a program more aligned with engineering
and the modern expression of corporate power, the skyscraper. Laszio Moholy-Nagy and
Josef Albers started a Bauhaus at Black Mountain College in North Carolina. Moholy-
Nagy later founded the New Bauhaus in Chicago in 1937. Other programs made efforts to
adopt the style and form of the new education. However, most also ignored the larger
social issues attached to modernism and Gropiuss stated visions of the architect as lead
coordinator and team player. Forms assimilated from Modernism into Beaux-Arts
teaching, mostly without the social agenda that students sought. A movement that started
in opposition to the ruling classes of Europe advanced in catering to the ruling class of
industrialists across the globe.
Values of Bauhaus Modernism
Modernism, and the influx to the United States of Educators from the Bauhaus,
would have a considerable impact on architectural education. Gone were the outdated
styles of the past. Now, geometry and proportion led to new forms. They were forms
stripped of ornamentation and reference to the past. The grand narrative that modernism
propagated extended to building. The new building forms were suitable for export, to any
location, for any purpose. Along with any reference to the past, gone were references to
local culture, location, climate, and topography.
What would remain in architectural education was the architect as artist and the
studio as paramount in teaching. The Bauhaus was a movement of artists, and the image of
the architect as a creative genius would remain. Artistic mastery continued to be elevated.
The studio at the Bauhaus was seen as a laboratory, and this would reinforce the
importance of studio in United States schools of architecture. Likewise, the tradition and
power of artists teaching design studio in schools of architecture would transition from a
focus on Beaux-Arts forms to the forms of Modernism. This focus on art and the artist
would continue to preclude any legitimate consideration for social aspects of building.
Whether sincere or opportunistic within the Bauhaus movement, social issues would not
find a foothold with modern forms w ithin most schools of architecture in the United States.
Environmental Design and the Scientification of Design Education
Science has always been part of architectural education, but in the 1960s attempts
w ere made to make it part of the design process. Previously, science had been the realm of
support classes, including structures, materials, and building systems. Bringing science to
what had traditionally been the realm of artists was a rash departure.
In the 1960s, advocates for social reform attacked the persistent and almost myopic
focus on aesthetic in design education. The social and behavioral sciences were
developing an interest in the physical environment as a backdrop of human interaction.
They began to see ill effects of modern design, and asserted that some built environments
were healthy for people and their interactions with each other and that some were
destructive. Additionally, feminists attacked built space as gendered, empowering men
over women. Concern for aesthetic did not address these pressing social and behavioral
The atmosphere in the United States at the time supported this trend. With his
election in 1960, President Kennedy called for a return to idealism in America and
President Johnson was able to forward his Great Society through the enactment of social
programs and agencies (Gelernter, 1999). There was a growing concern for social welfare.
There was also a great belief in science and its ability to solve the problems of the modern
Advocates of the social and behavioral sciences pushed for realigning architectural
education away from art and toward science. Environmental Design was conceived as a
way to apply rigor to the creation of these important social spaces. This was an attempt to
rationalize the design process and to teach explicit models of designing. With this model,
all of the wealth of the social and behavioral sciences could inform the creation of space
The structure for this new model required experts from all areas of the social and
behavioral sciences to team with architects and planners to find the solutions to the
problems presented in contemporary society. Sociologists, psychologists and systems
experts joined the faculty of a number of colleges housing architecture programs.
Though the impetus was strong for this reform from outside of architectural
education, few architectural design educators trained with a focus on aesthetics aligned
themselves with this new program. These new theories of science-based design had no
relation to historical practices of teaching and learning design, where design had taken on a
very narrow focus on aesthetics and form-making.
There were attempts to reconcile the teaching practices that developed from these
new theories of architectural design (Schon, 1988). Schon argued that if the process of
science research was the focus, rather than the endless technical and behavioral facts, then
the two systems could find common ground. This would promote the organizing of
thinking rather than the focus on facts and the results they secure. However, the design
scientists touted was, in essence, problem solving (Simon, 1976). Applied to architecture,
this design required the collecting of all pertinent factssocial, physical, ecological,
economicand collecting appropriate experts to assess these facts. This, done properly,
would lead to the answer for the problem.
In contrast, Schon characterizes design as a reflective conversation with the
material of a situation where designers juggle variables, reconcile conflicting values, and
maneuver around constraints (Schon, 1988). This process has no right answer and
focuses on experience and more intuitive processes. In the same vein and in contrast to the
scientific method, Norberg-Schulz defines an approach, phenomenology in architecture,
with a concern for holistic, qualitative, descriptive and interpretive values (Norberg-
Schulz, 1979). These interpretations of design are substantively different from the
scientific process of design advanced by scientists, which attempts to exclude personal bias
and focus on rational decision-making.
This paradox in defining design remains today in schools of architecture. So do
the contradictory processes of teaching design that they foster. Instead of reforming
architectural education, this movement seemed to splinter it. Today, faculty who align
themselves with environmental design have their own societies, publications, and
conferences. These publications are generally peer reviewed, and often aligned with
sociology or planning. For example, EDRA, the Environmental Design Research
Association, cites such publications as Environment and Behavior, Journal of
Architectural and Planning Research and The Journal of Environmental Planning and
Management as being of interest to their members. In contrast, most design faculty
subscribe to markedly different journals, and target such journals as Journal of
Architectural Education, thresholds and Architecture, for what is most likely to be
creative/practice work. There are often two distinct faculty groups within most schools of
architecture who operate in different professional and research realms. Students are left to
navigate from one instructor to another, each of whom may have drastically different ways
of understanding, interpreting, and teaching design.
Architecture as a Social Project
This infusion of the social sciences into architectural education did have the effect
of providing a structure to carry out a social mandate. In fact, Clarke (1994) argues that at
this time architectural education came the closest to having a social vision and a plan for
achieving it. Architecture schools employing the environmental design model began to
reach out with community design centers to provide design services in support of the
disadvantaged, especially in the downtown areas of major cities.
However, this oversimplifies and groups too many divergent interests into the
practice of educating architects. Though the social and behavioral scientists teaching
within schools of architecture promoted this social mandate, few traditional architectural
educators participated. What resulted are distinct groups with differing ideologies in
architectural education: one encouraging the problem solving approach through scientific
and pseudo-scientific training supported by a body of knowledge and facts related to the
built environment, the other supporting intuition and reflection applied to imaginative
interpretation (Proudfoot, 2000).
Values of Environmental Design
With the environmental design movement, scientists attempted to rationalize
architectural education and the design process and to shift the focus of the design studio
from artistic creation to concerns of human habitation. There is also a shift away from a
focus on architecture-as-art, on competition, and on the architect as elite.
Bringing social sciences to the center of architectural education turned the focus in
these design studios from architecture-as-art to architecture as a backdrop of human
activity. Understanding and incorporating research on how people respond to different
environments became an important focus of design. Design studio was directed toward
improving the built environment to maximize human potential, minimize unwanted
behavior, enable desired actions, and empower disadvantaged persons. This focus was a
major departure from the cultural refinement that previous movements promoted.
In environmental design, teamwork was valued more than in previous movements
in architectural education. As a team of experts takes on design problems, each contributes
to the understanding and solution of the problem. It is recognized that one person cannot
adequately solve the complex problems of the built environment. Additionally, as the
movement embraced community design outreach, students worked on the same project
together. The teamwork concept was often extended to clients, patrons and users.
The movement was broad and a number of schools were set up or reorganized
around the environmental design template. However, it did not replace the artistic culture
that had now permeated architectural education in the United States for several decades.
Instead, an uneasy co-mingling of traditional artistic design faculty and the new
environmental design faculty developed. This uneasy co-mingling continues today.
Contemporary ConditionsThe Melding of Three Movements
The ideals of the grandiose and refined Beaux-Arts mixed with the grand narrative
and burgeoning industrialization of Modernism continue to be propagated in schools of
architecture today. The Beaux-Arts influence brought a large swing of the pendulum
toward design with subjugation of other topics. This focus on design is supported and
reinforced by Bauhaus ideology. This intense focus on artistic design, and the view that
design is more important to other subjects, remains today. In most curriculum today,
design studio is required nearly every semester and remains the center of design education.
Design studio remains largely the domain of the architecture-as-art ideology, as will be
further developed in Chapter 5.
The vision of the architect as cultured elite continues to permeate faculty, students,
and the stories told about architectural education. Within the aforementioned emphasis on
design, there is a strong focus on aesthetics as the most important element of a student's
work. Students of architecture continue to be schooled in the art of good taste, often at the
expense of other architectural training. This view thrives in juxtaposition to the
rationalism of the scientific process and a conflicting focus on habitation and social
conditions, often within the same program.
This chapter demonstrates that current practices and values in architectural
education are from long tradition, sometimes contradictory, but very entrenched. Future
chapters will draw on these values and their contradictions in trying to understand change
in contemporary architectural education in relation to sustainability.
These entrenched practices and values of contemporary architectural education in
the United States are said to be in conflict with values and practices necessary to address
concepts of sustainability in the creation of the built environment. How the values of
architectural education and principles of sustainability could ever align becomes a serious
question. Yet, many within and outside the profession and the academy see the
consequences if this alignment does not happen as profound and worrisome.
To help explain these contradictions, and help understand how change occurs,
resources from outside architecture are useful. The next chapter identifies theories from
several areas, including organizational change, organizational culture and education
reform, which can be employed to understand current conditions and potential change
within architectural education.
THEORY BASE AND DEVELOPMENT OF
In this chapter, 1 present theoretical ideas from related fields of study to illuminate
issues of culture, reform, and resistance to change raised in Chapter 2. As reformers
attempt to bring concepts of sustainability to architectural education, issues of culture,
organizational change, and education reform surface. Theories from these areas are useful
in helping to understand current conditions and potential change within architectural
Each section of Chapter 3 draws on theory outside the discipline of architecture to
help inform our understanding of the change process. The first section introduces issues
around education innovation and reform. The second section identifies aspects of
organizational culture. The next section highlights general theories of organizational
change, and specifically focuses on higher education institutions as a subset of these
Education Innovation and Reform
Research in Education
Kneller identifies a number of general educational theories that have alternately
dominated Western education (Kneller, 1971). These diverse theories of education
historically ebb and flow as one group of advocates gains power, and existing theories lose
the ability to describe events in educational settings. Individuals are swept into new
practices as new theories gain strength, even if the individual holds strongly to other
theories of education.
Education research aims to understand the value and impact of initiatives brought
about by these theories, as well as the processes of change each entice. Researchers
acknowledge impacts on both the organizations of education and the individuals within
these organizations. The following sections outline the general focus of research in
education, as well as research on reform, while moving from content and delivery
supported by one theory to content and/or delivery supported by another.
Education research often focuses either on the individual learner or the group
within which they participate (Olson, 2003). Similarly, theory applied to education varies
from cause-effect models of the social sciences to rational-intentional modes of advanced
cognitive sciences. Rational-intentional models are generally applied to the individual.
Cause-effect models, where they are still used in education research, are more traditionally
applied to groups. Olson advocates for research that acknowledges both the rights and
responsibilities of the individual and of the organization.
Over time, there have been shifts in focus in education research between the
individual and the group-based on philosophical outlook. After the second World War, the
focus shifted from the individual to the group. Olson (2003) holds that pre-World War II
thinking, based on the Enlightenment view', imagined that education could lead to the
perfectibility of human kind. With atrocities of the war often being committed by educated
and socially elite individuals, this view gave way in the US to expecting perfectibility from
institutions instead of individuals (Hisrhman, 1970). "Whereas individuals may prefer
personal gain to social justice, institutions can be created that, it is believed, ensure that
justice triumphs over greed" (Olson, 2003).
Bruner conceives educational institutions as 'conflictual spaces', where individuals
and institutions negotiate goals. He describes these spaces in terms of three dichotomies:
individuals versus cultures, local versus universal, and talent-centered versus skill-centered
(Bruner, 1996). Tradeoffs are required in each when reconciliation cannot be achieved.
This study will employ this conception of conflictual spaces in the context of
contemporary architectural education. This demands the consideration of interplay
between the institution with its culture, and the willful individual in understanding reform
initiatives and resistance to them.
Innovation, Reform, and Organizational Culture
We are now confronting the uncomfortable possibility that human beings
are not very easily changed after all. (Etzioni, 1972, p.45)
Though calls for reforming education are frequent, successful reform efforts are
rare. Though most innovators pursue change for valid reasons (Smith, 1987), most reforms
fail to achieve stated goals (Goodlad, 1984).
Individual resistance and strong organizational culture are two factors that impact
reform initiatives. Reform initiatives often ignore important aspects of human behavior.
In institutional settings, adults often pretend reform is taking place, while not vesting
ownership in the change process. This is especially true when there are implicit sanctions
against change (Rossman, 1998).
Many reform initiatives do not propose serious innovation. Instead, they propose
simple adjustments to the current way of doing things (Presseisen, 1985), which Moller
(1993) defines as first-order changes.
In contrast, changes that affect the basic structure of an organization require a
paradigm shift in the culture of the organization (Moller, 1993). These are conceived as
second-order changes. This indicates a strong connection between the success of reform
and the success in changing organizational culture.
"If anything in an organization is stable, it's the culture the values, symbols, and
rituals of the work place... Culture acts as a counterbalance to keep people, goals, and
roles from changing too fast" (Baldridch 1983, p. 2). However, where culture is weak or
where a premium is placed on innovation, its stabilizing force is lost.
Three Perspectives on Culture: Integration,
Differentiation, and Fragmentation
Cultural studies focus on symbolic meanings such as rituals and physical
arrangements (Schultz, 1995) and the stories people tell to explain the way things are.
From this perspective, culture is a metaphor for organizational life.
A useful definition of organizational culture is offered by Leets (1998),
Organizational culture refers to the relatively stable norms, rituals, discourse patterns, and
other artifacts developed gradually over time within an organization (p.l 7). Schein
(1992) offers a similar perspective of the culture of a group as A pattern of shared basic
assumptions that the group learned as it solved its problems of external adaptation and
internal integration, that has worked well enough to be considered valid and, therefore, to
be taught to new members as the correct way to perceive, think, and feel in relation to
those problems (p.22). Both definitions are useful to this study. The former is useful in
providing terms to describe culture and its relatively stable nature. The latter is insightful
in capturing the heuristic nature of culture that, when faced with new internal or external
issues, can adapt over time. This time element may be insightful in the case of
architectural education, as adaptation of norms and rituals may not immediately follow the
recognition of new internal and external issues.
To understand the culture of an organization is to understand how people interpret
meaning and how these interpretations form patterns of clarity, inconsistency, and
ambiguity (Martin, 2002; Nufrio, 2001). These are widely considered the three basic
dimensions relating to culture.
Theory has been developed to help understand the norms, rituals and discourse
patterns of an organizations culture, as well what should and shouldnt be considered as
part of a culture. Three theories that have dominated organizational culture research
including integration, differentiation, and fragmentation perspectives. Each considers these
three basic dimensions differently. An integration perspective focuses on what is shared.
From this perspective, only what is shared is considered culture. Studies focus on events
and understandings that members share which have mutually consistent interpretations.
Ambiguity is excluded, as culture is seen as a solid monolith that is viewed similarly by
A differentiation perspective focuses on finding and defining subcultures. In this
perspective there is consensus among groups of a culture, but not universally. These
subcultures may exist in conflict or harmony with each. While there can be ambiguity
within a differentiation perspective for the whole, here there is no ambiguity within the
subculture. They are islands of clarity within a sea of ambiguity (Martin, 2002).
In contrast, ambiguity is the center of the fragmentation perspective. In this
perspective ambiguity, not clarity, is at the core of culture. Ambiguity is viewed as an
important and inescapable part of organizational functioning. Paradoxes and
contradictions are the focus of study. Additionally, it is not assumed that every individual
is equally engaged in each event or issue of a culture. Instead, individuals are drawn to
events and issues important to them.
For the successful study of culture, Martin advocates three-perspective studies of
culture that draw on each of these perspectives. This three-perspective model will be
developed in the next section as a guiding framework for this research.
Theories of organizational change
It is important to delineate institutions of higher education from organizations in
general when addressing theories of organizational change. Early thinking about higher
education generally parallels the field of organizational theory and favors a rational
decision-making model. People are seen as rational actors, and there are logical
connections between various parts of an organization. Behavior is guided by what is best
for the collective welfare, and actors at the top of the organizational chart have control over
setting directions and achieving goals (Deal, 1975).
These assumptions have been called into question in general, as gaps between
theory and organizational facts continue to emerge. In organizational research as early as
the 1960s, people and organizations were found not to be inherently rational. Additionally,
in the academic setting, unrest of the late 1960s and early 1970s challenged the university
structure as being too rigid and impersonal (J. V. a. D. Baldridge, Terrance, 1983), further
stressing the need for new models for conceptualizing and structuring higher education
A model of competing forces emerged that rejected rationalistic notions. Here,
theories acknowledge competing forces among groups inside and outside the academic
institutions (Cameron, 1999). These groups negotiate and resolve conflict through political
tradeoffs and negotiation. Instead of organizational decisions being based on rational
assessment, they are instead based on the relative power and skill of competing factions (J.
V. Baldridge, 1971).
Throughout the 1970s, models with greater complexity emerged that presented
universities as 'organized anarchies', with even less predictability than competing forces
models would suggest (Cohen, 1997). This unpredictability arises because of a random yet
politicized nature of diverse stakeholders (Simsek 1994). Here, organizational decisions
are seen as much more chaotic and universities are not directly controllable.
Ecological models and open systems theory emerged in the 1980s, stressing that
universities were subject to inputs from many sources over which insiders had little control
(Cohen, 1997). In addition, the importance of institutional culture was stressed and these
ecological models meshed with cultural models. Both models assume that institutional
choice is limited.
Current theory on organization within higher education is diverse, building on
these historic positions. For example, multiple frames assume that different perspectives
apply in different settings. Most all models share agreement that universities are complex
and have multiple competing interests.
Over the last several decades, ideas of rationality and control emphasized in
previous views of organizational change have been replaced by an emphasis on politics,
symbolism, and behavior that is not necessarily rational. Interplay exists between rational,
political and symbolic needs of an organization. This framework will be employed in this
study to understand how reform is implemented in architectural education.
Understanding the context in which reform is initiated is important. As reformers
attempt to bring concepts of sustainability to architectural education, issues of culture,
organizational change, and education reform surface. The theories discussed in these
sections help to frame the issues faced by faculty in schools of architecture as they
undertake change in an institutional setting while contending with strong cultural norms.
These theories provide guidance for understanding change, and resistance to change, in
Analysis in future chapters will draw on these frameworks. The next chapter
outlines the research strategy and research design used for this study. I focus on the tri
perspective theory of organizational culture as a useful framework for this study. I outline
how I will use the framework to inform and organize the analysis of a case study of Ball
State Universitys Architecture Program, as an exemplar of program engaged in
implementing sustainability initiatives.
In this chapter, I describe the research strategy that I have used to study the impact
of sustainability initiatives on the architecture program at Ball State University. Building
on the paradoxes identified in Chapter 2 and explanatory theory in Chapter 3,1 present a
more detailed consideration of the tri-perspective theory of organizational culture as a
framework for this research. In addition, I consider Ball State as a case study, in terms of
its strengths and limitations as an exemplar. The majority of the chapter focuses on the
research design: a qualitative case study of the architecture program at Ball State
Culture as a Framework of Analysis
As with any consideration of education reform, change in architectural education is
situated in multiple contexts. I give primary consideration to the cultural context of
architectural education in the United States. This context is important for several reasons.
First, Chapter 2 highlights ambiguities that remain unresolved in the context of a strong
and enduring culture. The organizational culture literature addresses the issues of paradox
and ambiguity as hallmarks of strong culture forces that resist change even in the face of
Second, critics of contemporary architectural education point to cultural influences
as important in the propagation of long enduring but increasingly undesirable practices.
They cite cultural practices and rituals that serve to isolate architecture students (Boyer,
1996; Cuff, 1991), maintain and glorify outdated and sometimes draconian education
delivery (Anthony, 1991), and instill an individualist mentality (Cuff, 1991). Critics assert
that long-stand practices and values are at odds with current conditions.
There have been poignant times when the endurance of the culture of architectural
education collided with contemporary conditions. For example, Littmann described the
Architecture faculty at Berkeley in the 1930s as steeped in the Beaux Arts tradition
reveling in elite culture, and engaging students around a hearth to discuss high-minded
architectural ideals in a refined setting. While faculty endeavored to replicate the social
dynamics and lifestyle of the Parisian Ecole (Littmann, 2000, p. 163) in the Architecture
Program through the 1940s, students were constantly faced with real images of poverty and
despair on the streets of Berkeley and had begun to believe that architecture should address
some of these issues. A changing student body, composed of middle class and returning
veterans, became intolerant of the authoritarian methods and fanciful programs of the
Ecole system, leading to clashes between faculty and students, demands for reform, and
eventually the wholesale change of faculty and program focus.
Architectural educators generally rely on personal experience and historical
practices. Professional training is seen more as a tradition to be passed down than a
contemporary educational experience. As such, most discussions around reforming
curriculum are internalized dialogues that draw on personal experience rather than broader
exploration which would include education experts. In this scenario, historic practices are
always given preference over contemporary or exploratory methods of delivery. Indeed,
when discussing education delivery in architectural education, most educators cite only
Schons reflective practice work in the 1980s that generally reinforced traditional delivery
practices (Schon, 1985, 1987). Both personal experience and historical practices serve to
perpetuate current practices, even if they are revealed to be discrepant.
Cultural Change in an Institutional Context
While keeping the primary focus on cultural issues, there are processes of the
institution in which architectural education resides that require consideration. This
includes the broader dynamics of change within the university, the relationship of
architecture faculty and students to broader collations, and the context and actions of
faculty as members of the institution.
For example, the tension between many architecture programs and academic
institutions are well documented over issues of research/practice (Cuff, 1991), constraints
of semesters and seat hours, and a unique focus stemming from a history of an apprentice
system joined to academic rigor. Fisher attributes much of this tension to the historic roots
of architectural education as a craft guild, followed by rocky grounding of professional
schools in contemporary university settings (Fisher, 2000). Nevertheless, any architecture
program is part of a larger culture of architectural education, just as the faculty and
students are part of the university culture.
An example pertinent to this study is the location of Ball State University in
Muncie, Indiana, a location nearly 100 miles from an urban center. The University focuses
on distinction rather than local amenities as a way to attract faculty and students to their
programs. This viewpoint is reiterated by CAP administration and faculty as a reason for a
strong focus on travel programs. I demonstrate later how this viewpoint has impacted
sustainability initiatives in part as an image-seeking strategy at both the university and
The importance of culture and the relevance of institutional context both lead to
the need for depth rather than breadth of study. Therefore, the research I present here
includes university-level and program-level initiatives, stories, and values that I contend
are important in understanding what is transpiring regarding sustainability within the
Architecture Program. With this in mind, I next articulate the framework that was used to
undertake this study.
Organizational Culture as a Conceptual Framework
I have employed a three-perspective theory of culture as a framework for
conceptualizing and organizing this research. Studies of culture have traditionally begun
by defining culture as those things that a group shares, most often the stories and rituals
that are passed on generation to generation. While a good starting point, contemporary
analysis has shown that this definition leaves many important observations outside the
scope of study. As I introduced in Chapter 3, scholars have diverged from this starting
point to form three major views of culture. Along with an integration perspective, a
differentiation perspective and a fragmentation perspective are considered viable and
The three-perspective theory of culture includes each of these perspectives and
allows a study to include not only what is shared in organization-wide consensus but also
the patterns of meanings that link these manifestations together, sometimes, in harmony,
sometimes in bitter conflicts between groups, and sometimes in webs of ambiguity,
paradox, and contradiction (Martin, 2002).
Good agreement exists in the literature of a traditional culture of architectural
education that endures today. In the humanities tradition, I focus on this literature to
compile an integration perspective of this culture of contemporary' architectural education
in the United States. I draw on two events initiated by the American Institute of
Architecture Students. The first is The Redesign of Studio Culture, the results of a studio
culture task-force convened by the AIAS in 2000. The second is the report of the Studio
Culture Summit, held October 8-10, 2004, hosted by the University of Minnesota and
attended by fifty students, educators, practioners and regulators from across the United
States. I also draw on characterizations of critics of architectural education, who define
this culture in opposition to the solutions they prescribe. These sources include some from
the feminist literature, as well as sociological perspectives on architectural education.
(Anthony, 1991; T. A. a. L. H. M. e. Dutton, 1996; Ghirardo, 1989; Stevens, 1998; Ward,
1991) With this perspective, I discuss how this strong cohesive culture collides with
contemporary concepts of sustainability.
This second set of sources also serves to point investigation toward the
differentiation perspective. The focus of a differentiation perspective is to identify
subcultures within a culture and try to understand how members of these subcultures work
sometimes together and sometimes against one another. The dichotomy between art and
science has long been referenced in the architectural education literature. Sometimes the
dichotomy is represented with the subtlety that the two elements complement one another,
but more often the representation is one of polarization or a lack of mutual respect. I
investigate this dichotomy in terms of two subcultures w ithin architectural education for
this study. I look for evidence of these subcultures at Ball State, and for meaningful
insight that we can draw from such characterizations in regard to sustainability initiatives.
Finally, I engage a fragmentation perspective to look at the data with fresh eyes,
allowing issues to surface heuristically from interviews, observation, and artifacts. As
stated in the previous chapter, ambiguity is the basis of the fragmentation perspective.
Here, I try to make sense of topics that surface during the study that are under negotiation
among the faculty, administration and students in the Architecture Program. I attempt to
uncover insights that help make sense of sustainability initiative advancement and
resistance within the program.
Cultural studies can focus on one or two elements of a culture, or can look at a
broad range of elements. For this study, I lean more toward breadth, including informal
practices, rituals, organizational stories, and the physical environs as elements of interest.
This precludes a depth of study in any one of these elements, but allows for a better overall
picture. For example, Anthonys study of the design jury as a ritual of architectural
education provides more depth of that element of architectural education. Likewise, a
study of only the stories people tell about design studio would provide important insight
into that aspect of architectural education. This study would certainly benefit from future
in-depth studies of this sort, and hopefully lead others in the direction of such work.
Ball State as a Case Study
In this section, I discuss the logic of a case study methodology, how the case was
selected, and review the major questions that I will focus on in this investigation. There
are no contemporary studies of this sort in architectural education on which to build.
Therefore, this study is necessarily exploratory. I hope to accomplish two things with this
research: 1) reveal important issues around how concepts of sustainability are understood,
presented, advanced and resisted among faculty, administrators and students in Ball States
Architecture Program and 2) test a potentially useful framework that could be helpful in
future research in architectural education.
It has been my interest from the beginning of my research to find a method of
inquiry that is a middle ground within the extremes of the bulk of research within the
discipline of architecture. At one end of the methodology continuum is the polemic and at
the other is the scientific. Research on materials, structure and construction are generally
quantitative and highly empirical. At the other end is a cluster of research around design
ideas. Here, research is commonly articulated through polemics, using qualitative research
methods. Polemics rely on audience acceptance of a convincing argument. In this
tradition, an argument refuting or attaching a doctrine is evaluated for its relevance,
internal coherence and often the prominence of the scholar. Successful research of this
type resonates for the audience (Groat, 2002). In this perspective, reality is not singular
and knowable, but can be seen as a projection of the human imagination, or as a discourse
where humans are the social actors. Reality, then, is pluralistic and constructed.
Methodological debate in architectural research has found little middle ground.
While I situate myself firmly in this pluralistic and constructed perspective, I nevertheless
hope for scholarship in architecture to go beyond personal manifesto. From the outset of
my work, I have envisioned some joining of the polemic with qualitative data gathering
and analysis. With the tri-perspective theory of organizational culture as a conceptual
framework joined with a case study methodology, I hope that I have moved more toward
the middle of the research continuum.
I have selected an exploratory case study methodology because a case study is
useful in explaining the complex nature of change and describing the context of that
change (Merriam, 1988). As I have explained in the previous section, both the nature of
change and the context of change are important to this investigation. Many dimensions of
change can only be seen through an in-depth study. A great advantage of the case study is
that by focusing on a single case, the case can be intensively examined.
Explanatory questions of how and why require tracing links over time. When
events to be studied are contemporary and persons relevant to the research are available,
the case study method is well suited. Alternately, histories are preferred when no such
people remain that could report, even retrospectively, on what occurred (Yin, 1984). The
case study allows direct observation and systematic interviewing, two sources not
generally available to the historian.
There are several potential drawbacks to a case study. Immersion in a case study
can lead to a loss of objectivity as the researcher inevitably forms opinions and conceptions
during analysis. These are often unintended and unnoticed. Also, exceptional events that
occur during a study can skew results. Finally, case studies, by themselves, do not provide
clear guidance for generalization to other cases.
Though the findings of a single case study are not transferable and shouldnt be
generalized, findings of theoretical adherence can be generalized (Yin 1984). My research
goals are two-fold. The first is to shed light on issues of sustainability in architectural
education. For others interested in this topic, I hope my research serves as a springboard
for future topics of analysis. The second is to examine a potentially useful theory as a
Finally, I do not approach this case study as a social scientist, with the intent of
defining and testing dependent and independent variables. This research does not seek
causal relationships between events, beliefs and outcomes. Instead, the work is intended to
shed light on the phenomenon in a single context. The next section outlines the focus of
the case study.
The following issues are given primary consideration through the case study.
1. Early events that shaped sustainability initiatives in the architecture program
2. Continuity or change in efforts over time
3. Changing set of participants
4. External connections links to college, university and regional events
5. How sustainability is conceptualized
6. Motivations image seeking and enlightened self-interest
7. Outcomes including curriculum, culture, and pedagogy
Selection of Case
I have selected Ball State because it represents an exemplary case of efforts toward
sustainability within an Architecture program in the United States. It was not chosen for
certain success as a leader in sustainability, but as a location where efforts clearly had been
made toward implementing concepts of sustainability in architectural education. Indeed,
no program in the United States has yet distinguished itself as an exemplary example of
integrating sustainability (Gould, 2006). However, Ball State and those associated with the
Architecture Program have made significant efforts and notable progress. Since the early
1990s, faculty, administrators, and students have initiated efforts toward sustainability at
several levels and times. Additionally, faculty and students reached out during this time to
the larger academic community to initiated more far-reaching initiatives. Faculty members
were drawn to the program as a result of these efforts. These events are discussed in more
detail in the next chapter. Ball State is well suited for the study of the challenges in
implementing concepts of sustainability within an architecture program.
Another factor added to the appeal of Ball States Architecture Program as a
subject of study. Ball State is a state-funded university, located in Middle America, and
therefore faces challenges and opportunities not unlike many public-university architecture
programs in the United States. The College of Architecture and Planning at Ball State
Univeristy was founded in 1965, and currently offers the only public-university degrees in
architecture in Indiana. It is located in Muncie, Indiana, a town of 70,000 people. Nearly
22,000 students add to this population when classes are in session. Muncie was considered
a typical Middle-American community by researches in the 1920s when it was dubbed
Middletown. Successive sets of researchers have engaged residents in sociological studies
spanning fifty years. This Middletown designation complimened the select Ball State's
Architecture Program for the case study, since Ball State is far from an Urban Center and
away from the coasts. It is said that style and fashion eminate on the coasts and work their
way to middle America. This holds true for Architecture programs, where the most
renowed cutting-edge design schools are found on the East and West coasts. Programs
away from the style centers are left to either emulate these schools or find their own
distinctions. Ball State faculty echoed this need to develop distinction as a way to draw
prospective faculty to a location that might have less cultural or aesthetic draws than other
Though results of this single case study are not intended to be extrapolated to other
cases, it was my interest to select a case with would share a number of characteristics with
other programs in the United States. In another sense, the Ball State case was all the more
intriguing because Muncie, Indiana, and the Midwest are not considered centers of
green/environmental advocacy. I felt that this would suggest that impetus for actions
relating to sustainability were coming from within the university rather than strongly
impacted from external efforts, as they might be in locations on the west coast, for
example, where regional environmental efforts and sensibilities are well documented. As
my plans did not include extensive research beyond the university, this was a desirable
I utilized a mixture of data sources for the case study, including informant
interviews, artifact collection, and limited observation. These sources and collection
techniques are described in the next section.
The research for this study was derived from three major sources: 1) Informant
interviews; 2) collected artifacts, including promotional literature of Ball State, published
research, event proceeding, published articles; and 3) limited observation. Each is
described below, highlighting the strengths and limitations of each.
By far, the most valuable source of data for this study were informant interviews. I
conduced open-ended interviews with key informants. My methodological approach was
to do in-depth interviews with key informants, then fact and context checking interviews
with subsequent interviews. To determine key informants, I began with current
administrators and faculty whose names were associated with sustainability efforts on the
Ball State website. With these initial interviews, I used a snowball approach to find others
who were considered to have valuable insight into the happenings around sustainability.
By requesting referrals from each initial interview, names of people who were widely seen
as knowledgeable of efforts, rationale, and barriers around sustainability were added to the
A uniform interview protocol was used to provide comparable information. Topics
covered in the open-ended interviews included personal background, personal experience
with sustainability initiatives, observations of sustainability efforts, and drivers and barriers
to initiatives at Ball State. However, I tailored the interview to the experience and position
of the interviewee.
In all, I interviewed sixteen people for the case study. Early interviews with
primary stakeholders were in-depth, and served to get a broad perspective of important
issues, events and figures. Subsequent interview s focused on fleshing out these stories,
looking for alternative and supporting perspectives, and identifying new themes. I
interviewed nine current faculty and administrators, as well as faculty and administrators
present at important milestone events of the College. I interviewed four current and past
students who participated in events or had knowledge of present activities. I also
interviewed three people who had no affiliation with Ball State, but who were present or
involved with milestone events of the program.
Using interviews to establish a history of events results in a number of potential
problems. The most important is the limitation of memory over an expanded time frame.
Like all forms of data, interviews are strengthened when they are scrutinized in relation to
other forms of data. For example, prior to conducting the interviews, a preliminary profile
and history was established for each person based on other data collection methods. If a
respondent discussed an event that I did not already have documentation on, I worked to
collect other forms of data on that event to search for independent confirmation and further
documentation on the event.
The most important limitation of informant interviews is the accuracy of memory
over time. Recall and memory generally diminish with time and are not perfect
representations of events. Other limitations include the ability to interview all major
players and capture the breadth of viewpoints. Due to retirements and death, some desired
interviews were not obtainable. Concerning breadth, a broad range of informants were
interviewed, including people who had and had not been part of green and sustainability
efforts, long-term as well as new faculty, design faculty, technical faculty, faculty from
related disciplines, students and administrators. 1 am confident that the data represents a
broad range of perspectives. However, it can always be argued that important perspectives
were missed. Though any missed perspective would have further enriched this work, such
an omission does not invalidate the study of issues that were brought into focus. A
summary of the interviews conducted can be found in Appendix A.
As with all forms of data, interviews are strengthened when they are scrutinized in
relation to other forms of data. In this case, collected artifacts and the literature were used
to triangulate interview data. Each of these techniques is explained below.
Artifact collection commenced before the site visit and continued through the
study period. Early document collection included promotional literature, research
published by faculty, articles concerning events and activities of faculty or students, and
biographical information available on key faculty and administrators. This was done
through standard periodical searches, as well as published citations available on Ball
States website. This literature proved invaluable in preparing for interviews, determining
important initial contacts, and conducting the first interviews. During interviews, other
documents were collected that were deemed important by interviewees. Additionally,
when a topic or event was discussed that was new to me, I requested available
Artifacts collected were invaluable in documenting dates, events, and perspectives
over the period of study. They were used to triangulate informant interviews, serving as a
second form of data. I collected artifacts that documented sustainability efforts from the
campus level to individuals with the program. At the campus level, these included
Greening the Campus conference summaries, technical papers concerning greening efforts
at Ball State, and literature on the creation cross-disciplinary' minors. At the program level,
artifacts included results of the EASE curriculum, published research, news and magazine
coverage of program activities, student publications and award notices.
Proceedings of faculty meetings, or other written evidence of resistance was not
obtainable. Therefore, the collection of artifacts pertained primarily to efforts toward
sustainability initiatives, and not efforts against initiatives.
I visited Ball State for one week in May of 2005. I flew into Indianapolis, rented a
car, and drove to Muncie. During the site visit, I interviewed faculty and administration,
explored the Ball State campus, and became familiar with the facilities, proximity and
surrounds of the campus. I explored the Architecture building, its layout, postings, and
relationship with other buildings. I explored the campus and used the opportunity to
understand the physical setting and relationship of the CAP building to the campus.
During my time in Muncie, I walked and drove different parts of the city to get a feel for
the place. These observations were useful in getting a better feel" for the environment in
which the human interactions and events that are described in interviews occurred. After
this week of interviews and exploration, I conduced subsequent interviews over the phone
and in person where proximity allowed.
Observations of the architecture building were particularly useful. They gave first-
hand understand of interpretations that would surface in several interviews regarding the
space. There is a horizontal delineation between the main CAP facility and the CERES
facilities and offices. Additionally, there were vertical delineations with administrative and
public functions on the main floor with an aire of professionalism, exhibit space, postings
limited to bulletin boards, and glassed offices. Upper floors were, in general, messier, the
walls more graphic and temporal. One interview took place on an upper floor in a shared
office space filled with student work and desks for several instructors. One interviewee
commented that the upper floors, used for upper level studios, did not have womens
bathrooms until recently. This comment brought the importance of the setting to the fore.
The importance of setting also appeared in two other instances. The first is in regard to the
respect of the CAP program on campus and its associated prominent physical location on
campus. The other concerned the proximity and connectedness of the CERES facilities to
the CAP facilities.
The CAP building was similar to many schools of architecture, having the
traditional exhibit space in prominent locations filled with elaborate basswood models.
Another observation included formal presentation of semester-end models and presentation
boards on the main floor. Most references to activities relating to sustainability were seen
on professors doors.
For data collection and analysis, I used an iterative process of collection, reduction,
conclusion drawing and verification as suggested by Huberman and Miles (1994). 1 began
with general questions to be answered and by collecting artifacts, including articles,
references and promotional literature about and by the program to help inform interview
questions. This also set the basis for the selection of initial key informants. These
interviews were digitally recorded and later transcribed.
During the site visit, I took notes on events, impressions, and emerging themes. It
was through these initial interviews and notes that I first attempted reduction. Subsequent
interviews were tuned to verify emerging issues. Based on these interviews, I made the
decision to bound the study with the 1992 conference hosted by the College of
Architecture and Planning and continuing through interviews in early 2006.
Subsequent attempts were made at reduction and conclusion drawing. These
included sorting exercise, the creation of matrices and bubble diagrams. Further
verification was attempted through feedback from previous interviewees as well as
interviewing additional informants.
A conceptual framework also emerged through iteration. Early fit suggested an
organizational culture framing, and the use of the three perspectives developed through
iterative conclusion drawing. In the end, I approached the data with two perspectives. The
first was to investigate how faculty, administration and students at Ball State viewed
sustainability and the art/science dichotomy as I proposed these to be important in adoption
of sustainability initiatives. In the case of views on sustainability, I looked for agreement
and disagreement on its meaning, as well as evidence of widespread discussion or debate
on its definition. In regard to the art/science debate, I looked for evidence of both bridging
and separation in views. In both cases, I considered the origin of the view, be it
administrator, student or faculty.
The second approach I used was to broadly read over the interviews and artifacts
of the notes and allow topics to surface. Here I tried to put aside preconceptions and be
open to emerging issues or topics. My intention was to allow insights to surface from the
data that could not have been predicted from the outset.
This chapter began with a discussion of the methodological challenges of studying
sustainability efforts in architecture programs. I propose an exploratory case study strategy
for studying sustainability efforts in order to uncover relevant issues. I propose a
conceptual framework, the tri-perspective theory of organizational culture, that will take
analysis beyond the conjecture that has dominated critique of these issues.
The next chapter engages the integration perspective of organizational culture to
look at the dominant cultural values of contemporary architectural education in the United
States, dominant conceptions of sustainability, and fit between them. I argue that looking
at architectural education as a homogeneous group with like values leaves few options for
fit with current concepts of sustainability. However, by both expanding concepts of
sustainability and looking at a greater diversity of values within architectural education,
greater fit can be forged.
INTEGRATION PERSPECTIVE SUSTAINABILITY AND THE
CULTURE OF ARCHITECTURAL EDUCATION
In this section, I discuss dominant cultural elements of contemporary architectural
education as revealed through the literature. Using the integration perspective of
organizational culture, I highlight what is commonly believed to be the values and norms
of contemporary architectural education in the United States by expanding on ideas
presented in Chapter 2. This culture centers around, and is reproduced by, an intense focus
on the design studio. The first section draws on the historical lineage from Chapter 2 as
well as contemporary criticism to clarify the values and habits that are propagated through
this setting, the ideals that are elevated, and the outcomes that result. The second section
contrasts these values and norms with principles considered necessary for sustainability
Values and Norms of Contemporary Architectural Education
Design Studio as the Center of Architectural Education
The design studio is routinely referred to as the center of contemporary
architectural education and is intended to uniquely prepare students for the challenges of
professional practice. The historical lineage of the design studio in architectural education
was discussed in Chapter 2 and demonstrates an enduring preference for this format. One
third to one half of the hours required for an architecture student to graduate is allocated to
studio courses (Cuff, 1991). Additionally, students spend proportionally more time
working on studio projects than other courses for the credit hours given.
Because of the centrality of design studio to architectural curriculum, it is not only
where students learn the skills of the profession, it is where students traditionally spend
most of their time, have the most contact with faculty, develop friendships and support, and
consciously or unconsciously take on the rites of passage, values and habits that are
ubiquitous in contemporary architectural education in the United States.
Values of the design studio
Scholars identity a hidden curriculum of contemporary studio education which
includes unstated values, attitudes and norms that are perpetuated in schools of architecture
(Anthony, 1991; T. A. Dutton, 1991). I will highlight several of these values and attitudes
that have received considerable attention in recent years. Values fostered in design
education include the elevation of an individualistic creative genius. Still other values
emanate from this mindset, including the championing of architecture-as-art and the
architect as tastemaker. Individualism and competition are perpetuated through the
structure of the design studio and the design juries in which they culminate. All of this
elevates aesthetic design as the most important element of architectural education.
Accordingly, studio faculty members leverage considerable power over the educational
setting and content. Other topics and values are subjugated. These values are reinforced
by a strong fraternal element in the culture of architectural education that demands
personal sacrifice and supports isolation.
The architect as individualistic creative genius
The artist driven by individual creativity is the image most students develop when
enculturated into the studio setting (Anthony, 1991). This image was identified by the
AIAS Studio Culture taskforce (Koch, 2002) when they identified a prevalent myth that
the creation of architecture should be a solo, artistic struggle (p.5). Ayn Rands
objectivist philosophy, propagated in her book The Fountainhead romanticizes this notion
through her main character who is an aspiring architect. Peikoff (1991) elaborates on this
philosophy. In every field, from philosophy to music to science to invention, there have
been a few giants whose ideas were the great turning pointsfollowed by many lesser men
who elaborated some details of the giants discoveries (p.201). With this framing, most
students opt to aspire to be the giant, while often fearing they will end up the lesser.
The format of design studio elevates the individual and a creative genius. Each
student is given a drawing board, at which the student spends most of his waking hours
during the semester. Individual desk critiques with the studio instructor generally occur at
this drawing board. It is here that Schons reflection-in-action takes place between
master and student. Cuff (1991) notes that this setting upholds the primacy of the
autonomous designer by focusing all its attention on the students experience as an
individual (p. 81). Her research demonstrates that the core belief in individualism over
collaboration is bred in the studio. (p.251)
The design studio and its emphasis on creative genius puts personal expression
above other factors that could influence design, including client wishes. As Ghirado
(1989) elaborates, Only in the rarest of studios is the client perceived as anything but an
obstruction to be firmly removed: and certainly not as a collaborator: at best the client is a
vague abstraction to whom all manner of emotions and poor thinking can safely be
attributed (p.47). This ideology places the architect as expert, necessarily freed from
client demands to express artistic freedom.
Because the design studio is the focus of architectural education, other courses are
given less credit and less emphasis in the current structure of architectural education
(Anthony, 1991). This reinforces to the student that what they are learning in design studio
is the most important thing they are learning in school, and projects that it is therefore also
the most important skill or gift for the profession.
The elevation of the individual creative genius marginalizes collaboration. A myth
identified by the Studio Culture taskforce (Koch, 2002) is that collaboration with other
students means giving up the best ideas (p.5). While individuality creativity is elevated,
collaboration is not. Collective aspects of designing receive virtually no pedagogic
attention and generate little reflection... (Cuff, 1996, p.251)
Individualism and architecture-as-art
Practices in the design studio have led to a very narrow meaning of design among
studio teachers and students. Thought there is much variation in studios, the fundamental
structure is constant: the instructor poses a problem that includes a site and program and
then works individually with students to develop their solutions (Cuff, 1991, p.63). As
discussed earlier, there is rarely a real client, and almost never a client that can actually be
spoken to. Constraints of structures, budget, and safety are not generally considered. A
paradox has developed over time where the design process is isolated so that it may be
focused on, but in the process important elements of good design are eliminated (Gelemter,
1999). Thus, over time, design in the studio has come to represent primarily aesthetic
At virtually all schools, design is quite rightly considered the heart of the
curriculum. Still, the term design, as commonly used by architects and
architecture educators, has taken on limited connotations, focusing more on the
aesthetic and theoretical dimensions of design than on the integrative nature of
the process itself (Boyer, 1996, p. 73).
Focusing primarily on aesthetic considerations brings contemporary architectural
education to focus on, and value architecture-as-art. When architecture is viewed as art, it
must be critiqued based on taste. Taste must be cultivated, and cultivated taste is the
domain of the elite (Dutton, 1996). From this perspective, the creation and critiquing of
architecture as an art object, then, are limited to individual acts of expression evaluated by
those with cultivated taste.
By valuing architecture-as-art, star designers and the elite tastemakers are glorified
in the educational process (Anthony, 1991; Ghirardo, 1989). The practice of having star
designers teach design studio is pervasive in American architectural schools. Students
aspire to be like these stars. With the star system, students are given a glimpse of the gift
of these stars who are the avant-guard. Stevens points out that very few aspiring students
will ever fill the ranks of these stars, leading to unmet expectations once students begin
work in the profession (Stevens, 1998).
Several scholars critique the primacy in architectural education today in producing
cultivated individuals with taste who will perpetuate the power of the wealthy (Stevens,
1998; Ward, 1991) Ward suggests that it is the work of the socially and politically elite to
make architecture-as-art dominant over a social architecture. If the critique of architecture
is relegated to aesthetics, then there is no room to challenge how architecture perpetuates
and supports class stratification and other social ills (Dutton & Mann, 1996).
Reinforcing values and norms
There are rites of passage and costs for membership within the culture of
architectural education. There is the fraternity aspect of architecture, where the pressure
on students and interns, in particular, becomes a kind of rite of passage or, less generously,
a weeding out of those unfit for membership in the club. (Fisher, 1991 :p.2) This strong
fraternal element of architectural education, while supporting the creative genius, actually
demands compliance and adherence to certain norms. For example, one observer at
Columbia Universitys school of architecture notes, By students' third year here, for men
and women both, adherence is near total to a lookturtlenecks, blazers, leather, all blacks
and greys, all terribly Left Bank, 70's (Monaghan, 2001, Section 2, f 5). Complete
wardrobes in blacks and greys, bow ties, and black eyeglass frames are all hallmarks of the
contemporary architect. The Studio Task Force identified several myths around earned
membership and sacrifice. These myths include a belief that personal and physical sacrifice
are required, great ideas come in the middle of the night under intense pressure, and that
the best designers are those that spend the most time in studio (Koch, 2002). These myths
pass from instructor to student and among students during the long hours they spend
together in studio.
Isolation is part of the culture, and also serves to perpetuate the culture of
architectural education. Observers note that architectural students tend to become isolated
among their peers as late nights turn to all-nighters during the semester. With intense
workloads, students often lose touch with outside friends and family. According to the
1996 Building Community report (Boyer, 1996), 73% of students surveyed agreed that
they often feel isolated from others outside the architecture school (p. 92). The image of
the tortured genius alone at his drawing table day and night trying to produce a masterpiece
is part of the mythology that passes from student to student. As architecture students spend
more time alongside one another and less time with other students on campus, family and
friends, the behaviors and attitudes of peers take on more importance. This isolation
allows for effective enculturation and the transfer of habits and values from teacher to
student and from student to student.
Another cost of membership is the need for the individual to suppress their own
interests and beliefs each semester in deference to those of the instructor. In his 1981 study
of architectural education, Argyris found that learning design was considered successful
only to the extent that students understood and accepted their professors language and
frames of reference. This reinforced a student dependency on teachers, where students
tried to make connections between their issues and the teachers expectations. It also
creates a teacher-centered environment where teachers control the studio environment and
can exert power over students.
Argyris found that this relationship led to teachers and students rarely questioned
the assumptions and values underlying their theoretical frameworks. Rarely did teachers
help the students recognize the ideas and theories that were embedded in their work or
make explicit their own ideas, or reflect about their work and thinking in a way that would
help the students understand the discovery-invention-production processes (Argyris as
cited in Dutton, p. 170).
The values and norms discussed in this section continue to be propagated in
schools of architecture today. There have been identified by internal and external critics,
by independent studies, and by students who are part of the culture. Individualism is given
preference over collaboration. Design focuses narrowly on aesthetics. This aesthetic focus
privileges avant-guard perspectives and leads to a view of architecture-as-art. Viewing
their work as art, students and educators lead the education experience toward taste-making
rather than the myriad of other ends that are possible. Design faculty exert considerable
power in perpetuating these values through studio interactions and their influence on
content and delivery.
Values of Architectural Education and
Principles of Sustainability
In this section, I demonstrate that the values and norms presented here are at odds
with most concepts of sustainability. Even with considerable debate about definitions and
actions around sustainability, few would be able to align concepts of sustainability with
these values of architectural education. However, I point to useful debate that could
forward concepts of sustainability within architectural education.
I briefly elaborate this point by drawing on concepts of sustainability used within
the profession and the academy of architecture. Though ample sources are available, these
references will adequately serve to illustrate the gap between enculturated values of
architectural education, principles of sustainability, and potential for next steps in the
Principles of Sustainability from the Environmental Movement
The term sustainability is today most often described using the three-legged stool
analogy. Environment, economy and social equity make up the three legs. A balanced
focus on each is required to keep the stool from falling over. Thought this metaphor is
commonly cited, it is rarely adhered to. In the United States and architectural education,
there is considerably more focus on environmental issues, and in practice these issues are
framed generally framed in terms of their economic value.
This framing comes from one of the earliest global debates about sustainability,
emerging from the Brundtland Commission, who is cited as raising the international debate
about the mediation between development and the environment (Steele, 1997) Perhaps the
most quoted definitions of sustainability comes from this debate: Those paths of social
economic and political progress that meet the needs of the present without compromising
the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (Brundtland, 1987). The aim was
to maintain a satisfactory natural framework that could perpetually satisfy human needs.
They claimed that economic development and environmental protection were able to move
Since then, sustainability has evolved with a changing understanding and
perception of the environment and developing perspectives from diverse fields of study.
The emphasis and balance of concerns has shifted over time to include social equity and
more ecologically centered views of the environment.
Different conceptions of sustainability within architectural discourse lead to
different framing of problems and possibilities, which in turn generate diverse built forms
(Guy, 2001). How sustainability is conceptualized gives strong implications to how and
what actions are performed in its interest (Brulle, 1996; Guy, 2001; Mertig, 2002). In the
United States, concepts have generally centered around environmental issues. They focus
on either reducing greenhouse gas emissions or reducing the ecological footprint of
buildings. As examples, I highlight two framings that are part of architectural discourse
The first is Guy and Farmers (2001) eco-technic logic, which parallels
ecological modernization. This logic is premised on the problems of global climate
change and the fact that buildings consume a lot of resources and produce a lot of waste.
Estimates are that half of all electricity produced in the United States go to buildings,
and one-quarter of all carbon dioxide emissions are expended into the atmosphere to
produce that electricity. Dr. Donald W. Aitken of the Union of Concerned Scientists
contends that we can have our greatest impact for the least cost in the shortest time in
mitigating climate change if we start with the built environment, both the existing built
environment and those buildings were designing and which have not yet been built (in
Gardner, 2000, 3).
Followers of this logic believe that current institutions can make changes
incrementally with the help of science, technology and good management without leaving
the path of modernization (Spaargaren, 1992). The whole-building design promoted by
architectural institutions reflects this viewpoint. The role of the architect is to find ways to
integrate new technologies into building design that reduces dependence on non-renewable
energy and materials. Renewable energy technology such as photovoltaic panels and fuel
cells to power buildings, and solar panels and geothermal heat pumps to replace traditional
heating and cooling apparatus are good examples. Glass and solar shading, double-skin
walls, passive solar design and day-lighting, and sophisticated energy management also
inform this logic (Guy 2001). Processes to create building materials made of renewable
raw goods are also part of this ideology.
This framing of sustainability relies on technological expertise, and implies
alliance with building technology and engineering specialties. Thought these specialties are
available w'ithin schools of architecture, they are not part of the dominant culture. Often,
these activities take place in disciplines outside of architectural education. When they are
addressed in architectural education, then often are housed in centers or institutes outside
of the daily experience of the students.
Ecocentrism marks a shift from human-centered to ecology-centered thinking. The
focus of ecology demands a view beyond the anthropocentric, and sees humans as part of
nature (Mitchell 1989 in Mertig 2002). This conception calls for radical change in the way
we view and treat the natural world and the built environment, as natural systems are not
able to keep up with human activities. There is a resulting toll to those systems and to
human health, quality of life and social systems. No longer is the environment a
commodity to be managed, but a community of which humans are a part (Brulle 1996). In
ecocentrism, the concept of sustainability focuses on the delicate balance of ecosystems
and includes all life on earth (Thiele 1999 as cited in Mertig 2002). The American Institute
of Architecture (AIA) Committee on the Environment (COTE) generally followed this
framing in their recent Report on sustainability efforts in schools of architecture in the
United States. The COTE (Gould, 2006) has developed its own criteria for defining
sustainable design, which it describes as an approach that holistically and creatively
addresses land use, site ecology, community design and connections, water use, energy
performance, energy security, materials and construction, light and air, bioclimatic design,
and issues of long life and loose fit(p.6). Indeed, these are often the very things that are
removed from consideration in a contemporary design studio so that aesthetic design can
be focused on. In either case, the values nurtured in schools of architecture are not well
aligned with either of these concepts of sustainability.
Sustainability beyond the Environmental Framing
Supporters of the avant-guard in architecture find fault both with the focus on
environmental issues and on the connections to Capital. The avant-guard in architecture
imagines the pursuit of pure authenticity in creation to be free of capitalistic constraints.
Sustainability, they argue, brings capitalistic concerns to the fore (Jarzombek, 2000).
When it becomes a mandate within architecture, the avant-guard is sacrificed.
Guy and Farmer do identify an ideology of sustainable architecture that relates to
aesthetic concerns. Their eco-aesthetic logic identifies a focus on sustainable architecture
as an iconic expression of societal values that should act to inspire and convey an
increasing identification with nature (2001, p.143). Here architects employ their
individual creativity and genius to interpret a vision of global consciousness. Star, avant-
guard architects, such as Frank Ghery, are cited as representing this ideology. Though it
remains unclear if this is a widely held ideology, it may hold insight to one path of
bridging conceptions of sustainability to dominant values of architectural education.
Jarzombek (2000) also aligns sustainability with the recreation of a grand narrative
that suggests what is best for all of the globe. He connects the infiltration of sustainable
design in architectural education with a possible utopian revision of academe... linking
Western-styled technological innovation with third-world cultural politics, the likes of
which have not been seen since the days of the International Style (Jarzombek, 2000).
Other theorists are looking for bridges between sustainability and architectural
education. Gardner (2000) presents the following limited quotation by Bateson, which
may identify a place for the artist in advancing new concepts of sustainability:
But there are bridges between the one sort of thought and the other, and it seems
to me that the artists and poets are specifically concerned with these bridges.... art
is concerned with the relation between the levels of mental process.... Artistic
skill is the combining of many levels of mind ... to make a statement of their
combination. ... It is when we recognize the operations of... (patterns, forms)...
in the external world that we are aware of beauty or ugliness(p.2).
Bateson (1972) here is discussing connectivity between two distinct faces of ecology, one
focused on energy and material and the other focused on forms and patters. Gardner
advocates for developing conceptions that extend beyond those derived from the natural
sciences. Until we do, she claims, there will always be this seeming split between
sustainable design and the usual issues of design that are believed to include proportion,
beauty, and the intellectual ideas around them (Gardner, 2000).
In this chapter, I have engaged an integration perspective of culture to look at
dominant values of the culture of architectural education. I have compared these values to
principles of sustainability and shown them to be a poor fit. In architectural education,
individualism is given preference over collaboration. Design focuses narrowly on
aesthetics. This aesthetic focus is a narrow interpretation of design, and leads to a view of
architecture-as-art. Viewing their work as art, students and educators lead the education
experience toward taste making rather than the myriad of other ends that are possible.
These values and norms are at odds with dominant concepts of sustainability developing
largely in the natural sciences, which highlight a need for integration, cross-disciplinary
collaboration, and a concept of design that includes consideration of many of the very
things that are removed from consideration in a contemporary design studio in order to
focus on aesthetics.
It is likely that concepts of sustainability borrowed from other disciplines will not
find widespread support within a culture focused on its unique issues with practices and
values that have developed indigenously over many years. Instead, much more critique,
dialogue and internalized thinking on the topic is warranted.
The remaining chapters look at these issues through the case study of the
Architecture Program at Ball State University. Chapter 5 introduces the major actions,
events and conditions surrounding issues of sustainability within the Architecture Program
at Ball State. As was demonstrated in this section, dominant concepts of sustainability
derive from a natural science perspective, and this is true of most initiatives at Ball State.
Attention is paid to the university context, environmental issues, and actions of faculty,
administration and students
Chapter 6 reframes the culture of architecture as including two subculturesone
the artist with values described in this section and the second the scientist, whose approach
to architecture may be more aligned with dominant concepts of sustainability. As the next
chapter shows, looking at the culture of architecture education beyond one homogeneous
set of values will open possibilities for finding common ground between architectural
education and concepts of sustainability.
SUSTAINABILITY AND THE ARCHITECTURE
PROGRAM AT BALL STATE UNIVERSITY
The architecture program at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, has risen in
prominence as a model for promoting environmentally sustainable and socially responsible
design. This section draws together potential University-level influences and support for
this focus and success, and then identifies defining events around issues of sustainability
within the Architecture Program.
There are several influences that would appear to support a focus on sustainability
in the Architecture Program at Ball State. The first is the climate created by a long-term
environmental commitment within the University. The second is the relationship with, and
expertise of and guidance from, the Center for Energy Research, Education and Service
(CERES) and the related influence of faculty and students who are part of it. The third is
strong institutional support for innovation, collaboration, and integration that has led to a
tradition of educational innovation within the College. Finally, there has been a personal
commitment to sustainability by key faculty members, some of whom are faculty of the
College of Architecture and Planning (CAP) and Architecture Program. These potential
University-level influences are elaborated in the following section.
Support for Sustainability at Ball State University
Greening the Campus and the Talloires Declaration on Sustainability
The advancement of sustainability initiatives within the architecture program
occurred in the context of campus-level initiatives to green the campus. These greening
efforts began in 1991, advanced in 1999 with efforts to adopt and apply a commitment to
sustainability, and continue today. In 1991, Ball State's Provost established a Green
Committee to raise environmental consciousness in our student body, foster conviction in
students regarding these issues, and empower them with understanding of how they might
channel their awareness effectively to shape the future(Elfm, 2001). Twenty
recommendations put forward by this committee were executed, including an annual
competition to fund faculty initiatives for external grants for environmental projects, and
an annual faculty development workshop to encourage environmental literacy in all
departments of the University. A Greening the Campus conference, which would become
a bi-annual event for the University, also resulted from the committee efforts. Ball State
became internationally recognized through these efforts, with conferences including
participation by such organizations as Campus Ecology, Second Nature, and University
Leaders for a Sustainable Future (Koester, 1996).
Architecture faculty member Koester elaborates on the recommendations of this
first green committee during a 2005 interview:
So, the recommendations covered everything: creating a course in philosophy that
deals with ethics of environmental dimensions; dedicating the next year's Provost
lecture series to environmental matters; bringing in selected persons that could talk
on the topics maybe a conference of some kind that would bring other universities
here as well, so we could learn from them. That was the seed of the first Greening of
the Campus conference. So, those were all, to a large measure, low cost/no cost sorts
of things that could be done right away -- that summer or the next academic year.
Longer-term suggestions involved some kind of land-based educational opportunities,
a kind of field station, where students could get outdoors and get their hands dirty
messing with the immediate world to learn from it. This could include better
management of the six university properties that are off-campus; various farms that
have been given to the institution over the years. And then there were real long-term
items, like maybe creating a center for the environment, basically an idea to build a
facility with associated capital costs.
As a result of these recommendations, the Provost hosted a roster of environmental
speakers the following year in his Provost Lecture Series, the philosophy course
was established, the Greening of the Campus Conference was planned, and a
faculty training and incentive program was established called Green for Green.
The original Greening of the Campus Conference was held in April of 1996. The
conference included technical papers on campus greening efforts, environmental justice,
sustainability curriculum, and bioregional stewardship. Presenters brought perspective
from the United Kingdom and Australia (Koester, 1996). Due to the success of the first
Greening of the Campus, the conference continues to be hosted every other year at Ball
State. The sixth such conference took place in September of 2005.
Spurred by success of the green committee recommendations, and encouraged by
participants of the campus greening efforts, the university president signed the Talloires
Declaration on sustainability in 1999. The concepts of the Talloires Declaration provided
an organizing principle that led to the reframing of the greening efforts to implement the
commitments within the Declaration. A second planning committee, composed of nearly
one hundred faculty, students, staff, administrators and members of the Muncie
community, was charged with developing the mission and structure for these new efforts.
The structure followed the Talloires Declaration, which calls for raising public awareness
and awareness among other universities around issues of sustainability, establishing
programs to develop faculty and student environmental expertise, encouraging funding to
support interdisciplinary research, education and policy formation in environmentally
sustainable development, and the development of outreach assistance to find solutions to
environmental problems. Nine sub-committees formed around these initiatives in 2001,
and developed ten major action items for the university. Each item described rationale for
the action as well as guidelines for seeking funding. In response, the Provost introduced
three initiatives to support these actions, including summer funding to develop proposals to
meet action items, staff support for the greening effort, and the Council on the
Environment (COTE) to serve as a clearinghouse for sustainability initiatives.
Notable results of these efforts include the development of an award-winning
Clustered Minors in Environmentally Sustainable Practices, the continuation of the
Greening the Campus Conference every other year, and the intent to incorporate
sustainability within the core curriculum for undergraduates. These initiatives have the
potential to impact students in the pre-professional program of CAP. Additionally, efforts
to develop faculty expertise, focus research on sustainability issues, and develop campus-
wide resources for sustainability potentially impact all students and faculty of the CAP.
In addition to these efforts toward programming and funding, faculty members see
benefits in the network that has developed across the institution and between faculty
members from different departments. Said one CAP faculty member, at a previous
university I struggled with ... the critical mass of sustainable people, the day to day
people surrounding me. Here, there is that critical mass... I have current proposals with
sustainability focused people in natural resources, architecture, across the spectrum.
Greening the Campus efforts at Ball State University have drawn together and
expanded faculty interested in environmental and related social and economic issues.
Faculty education, cross-disciplinary minors for students, and the continued development
of a knowledge base are notable outcomes of these efforts.
CERES Center for Energy Research, Education and Service
The Center for Energy Research, Education and Service (CERES) has been a focus
for greening the campus efforts, as well as a resource for CAP students. As the campus
greening efforts began, those active with the Energy Research Center, which had been
operating since 1982, ...were learning, roughly ten years later, that it wasnt just an
energy question that it was an environmental question and an economic question,
according to Koester.
The center opened in 1982 in a new building attached to the College of
Architecture and Planning. Though the center is administratively distinct from the CAP,
CAP faculty members operate the Center. The physical association, along with the overlap
in faculty, has provided the College with rich resources relating to energy and the
environment. For example, the center has a lighting lab helidon that is available to
students for sun modeling their designs. Another example is collaboration on a faculty
development workshop for CAP faculty focused on sustainability issues for which the
Center recommended and engaged the presenter and advertised the event.
Institutional Strengths of Ball State
As illustrated by the Greening the Campus efforts and outcomes, there exists a
strong tradition of educational innovation and an integrated outlook at Ball State that is
supported and nurtured by the University. One faculty member related,
the things that I always associated Ball State with.. .one is the commitment to
teaching, the absolute preoccupation with teaching and that sort of generosity of
spirit that creates with the faculty, and the other is outreach; the idea.. .that
theres a scholarship of application... knowledge in the academy doesnt stay in
the ivory tower, but is applied to societys needs and aspirations...and the third,
that very much interested me, was the history of the program in terms of
The Institution is seen by several faculty interviewed as being healthy and well
integrated. This is also evidenced by collaborative faculty initiatives, the broad range of
outcomes of the Green Initiatives, as well as the scope of the Clustered Minors program.
When contemplating a position at Ball State, one CAP faculty member noted advice that he
had been given: of all the universities [this expert] had spoken at, the system of the
institution, they get it at Ball State more than any other institution. He added of his own
experience, I discovered that its as interconnected a university as Ive had the opportunity
A focus on teaching and educational innovation is seen to extend to the CAP and
the Architecture Program. As one administrator noted, the architecture program
was winning a fair number of awards from the AIA for innovative and
transferable teaching... They did this program called Lunch Line that
was.. .amazing to people who were on the outside... it was hard to get
leading practitioners to come here to spend, you know, a day traveling here
and a day traveling home... they got on the phone and did conference calls
with them and had students prepare ahead of time. So they won an award
for that. They have historically had English teachers in the college
teaching architecture students how to write... so theyve got a rich history
of innovative curriculum design and development here.
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, three A1A Education Honor Awards were awarded
to the department. Sustainability would become a focus of this commitment to innovation
for members of the College of Architecture and Planning during the 1990s.
Personal Commitment to Issues of Sustainability
Finally, there is a personal commitment to sustainability by key faculty and
administration. A gathering interest in environmental issues among faculty was a
significant driver for the initial Green Committee, and CAP faculty were among these early
participants. Trends and the climate of discovery around environmental questions spurred
a small group of faculty to approach university administration with the idea that the
University should take a leadership role in addressing some of these pressing
environmental problems. This group of interested faculty approached the assistant Provost
and later the Provost, who both were supportive of the idea. The faculty suggested the
Provost create a green committee, and that the committee be charged to address
environmental questions. One faculty member elaborated, We wrote our own charge and
he in turn signed off on it. We recommended the appointees, so it was really a faculty
level initiative sanctioned by the Provost.
From the early 1990s and into the new millennium, the Provost supported and
championed green issues. This high-level support was seen as important to success, and
one faculty member involved commented, Having a Provost as your sustainability
champion is very important to the university. You can do good things when you have
support at that level.
This personal commitment to issues of sustainability percolated within the College
of Architecture and Planning through the 1990s and led to several initiatives. The
following section highlights activities within the Architecture Program relating to
sustainability during that time.
Sustainability and the Architecture Program
This section highlights the reputation the Architecture Program has built around
issues of sustainability, the potential influence of University level initiatives, and initiatives
led by faculty and students of the Architecture Program. There are, no doubt, complex
relationships between these three elements that this section does not attempt to address;
instead each is documented here as a first step in examining the complex nature of change
around issues of sustainability.
Elements of Sustainability in the Architecture Program
The Architecture Program at Ball State has recently appeared in top rankings of
accredited architectural programs, and has received publicity in its efforts to establish a
curriculum around issues of sustainability. Faculty members have won several teaching
awards, and students have gained recognition for efforts to create unique student
organizations supporting sustainability. The program's promotional literature stresses a
commitment to design beyond visually appealing buildings, to include the development
of spaces "that are environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable -- healthy,
affordable, and enriching places for people to live, work and play" (Bilello, 2005). Further
supporting a sustainability ideology, the Architecture Program has a post-professional
degree (M Arch II) that advances a global citizen-architect model, drawing faculty and
students from around the world to focus on issues such as globalization, environmental
degradation, and informal settlement housing. Architecture students participate in the
work of several centers and projects, including the Building Futures Institute, the Healthy
Homes initiative and the Center for Energy Research, Education and Service. They can
also elect to participate in one of the CAP travel courses to destinations that include
Europe, Asia, Mexico, South America, and Australia.
The Architecture Program at Ball State University appears to support principles of
sustainability. There is evidence of focus beyond the contemporary focus of architectural
education, as evidenced in the mission, course offerings, related institutes and programs,
and faculty research. A faculty search currently underway at the time of interviewing
suggests that the faculty seek to strengthen this focus through external hiring.
The real story of sustainability and the Architecture program is, as one faculty
member put it in a 2005 interview, "thorny, complicated and involved". The successes of
the campus-level efforts, though shepherded by several CAP faculty members, have not
directly translated to a strong integration of sustainability within the architecture program.
However, several important initiatives have been forwarded. The following section
highlights potential influences toward sustainability within the Architecture Program, and
several exemplary programs initiated by Architecture Program faculty. The next chapter
analyzes these influences and programs and the impact they have had within the
Architecture Program, as faculty and students have worked to address issues of
Koester identifies several factors that have influenced the adoption of sustainability
within the architecture program including individual interest and initiative, making
resources available to educators, and leveraging the Universitys green reputation to attract
funding for new projects.
Architecture Faculty, along with other campus faculty, involved in the early stages
of the campus greening activities participated because of a personal commitment to
environmental issues. These faculty members have richly contributed to these campus level
activities. Through this personal commitment, combined with a comfort level for the
issues and bolstered by a sense of support within this community, these faculty members
have incorporated environmental issues into studio and lecture teaching.
As discussed in the previous section, the Center for Energy Research, Education
and Service (CERES) shares a building with CAP. Robert Koester, an Architecture
Faculty member heads the Center, and other Architecture faculty work with the center.
CERES continues to influence and support greening activities within CAP and the
Programs, including the Architecture Program, are potentially impacted by the fact
that the University has endorsed and embraced sustainability. A faculty member involved
said in a 2005 interview,