The Activist Architecture and Design Studio (formerly Graduate Design Studio: Massive Change) was founded in the fall of 2007, and was part of the sustainable architecture concentration of Lawrence Technological University’s Master of Architecture program. From the fall of 2015 through spring of 2018, the studio was a featured section of the required senior-level course Integrated Design Five. Beginning in the fall of 2018, the Activist Architecture and Design studio moved back into the upper division of LTU’s M. Arch coursework, but the mission remains the same: While issues of ecology and economy are commonly placed at the core of the study of sustainability, the studio was designed to address an often-overlooked component of the ‘triple bottom line’: equity. The class attempts to engage students in a dialogue regarding the social, political, and cultural obligations of the design professional.
Special focus is placed upon cultivating student abilities in critically reading their environment from both the physical and social perspective, as well as upon expanding their definitions of ‘architectural’ interventions. Students are further challenged to propose design solutions to enact change within their local contexts. Notable humanitarian architecture initiatives have commonly been enacted in response to dramatic, highly-visible man-made or natural disasters. In this studio, students instead apply a model of advocacy design in the face of institutionalized contexts of neglect and economic disadvantage.
This blog is authored and maintained by Edward M. Orlowski, SEED; LEED AP; ADPSR. It exists to promote the work of students in the Activist Architecture and Design Studio , and to introduce topics regarding activist design and alternative practice. Views expressed are those of the author alone, and to not reflect those of Lawrence Tech, it’s officers, or administrators.