In the Scheme of Things: Alternative Thinking on the Practice of Architecture

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U of Minnesota Press, 2000 - Architecture - 155 pages
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At the dawn of the twenty-first century, architecture is in a state of crisis. Numbed by an ugly and shoddily constructed built environment and outraged by the cost of high-profile design projects, the public has become disinterested in and contemptuous of architecture as both a profession and an art. At the same time, some of our most creative designers have isolated themselves from the tastes and needs of mainstream society, reflecting a similar malaise found in design and architecture schools around the country. In this troubling climate, Thomas R. Fisher -- who challenged architects as editorial director of Progressive Architecture, becoming recognized as one of the field's most original thinkers -- contends that the purpose and prospects of architectural practice must be reconsidered and reenergized. In the Scheme of Things looks at architecture's need to respond creatively and meaningfully to the extraordinary changes affecting the profession now, changes that include the global economy, the advent of computer-aided design, and the growing disconnection between design schools, architectural practice, and the public.

In each of the twelve essays that comprise this timely volume, Fisher addresses issues of vital concern to architects and students, offering hard-hitting criticism and proposing innovative and practical ideas for reform at the level of both the individual practitioner and the profession as a whole. Through his thoughtful and nuanced consideration of architecture's ideological foundations and its relationship to ecology, politics, and technology, as well as his subtle understanding of the architect's interior life, Fisher challenges the demoralized design community torecapture its historical role as steward and visionary of the public realm.

 

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In the scheme of things: alternative thinking on the practice of architecture

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The former editor of Progressive Architecture, now dean of the University of Minnesota College of Architecture, muses on the troubled state of contemporary architectural practice. In 12 loosely ... Read full review

Contents

Design in a World of Flows
1
Monocultures and Multiculturalism
13
The Value and Values of Architecture
27
The Architect as a Social Hieroglyphic
39
The Fictions of Architecture
51
Critiquing the Design Culture
67
Architectural Fables
79
The Redesign of Practice
91
Babel Revisited
103
Bridging Education and Practice
115
Architecture and Pragmatism
123
A Conversation about Ethics
133
Index
151
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About the author (2000)

Thomas R. Fisher is dean of the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of Minnesota.

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