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STEM is in and Architecture is out

blah

STEM – or Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – is in and Architecture is out.

Has anyone else noticed this?

Or run into this when funding a project?

I have changed many of my strategies accordingly.

Has anyone else?

On the positive side, rigorous displays of knowledge such as being able to work with the psychrometric chart and/or a bioclimatic chart rather than writing parodies of comp lit stuff are being encouraged. Obfuscation is out and building science is in. But the issues of design remain in either case and need grappling with.

What do you think?

 

Cheers,

 

William

 
Apr 15, 12 2:28 pm

what are you talking about architecture is out? in terms of what? I designed a STEM school thats under construction in London and almost finished. Architecture meets STEM? 

Apr 15, 12 2:45 pm  · 
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blah

In terms of college and university interest. STEM has generated HUGE interest and financial backing here in the USA. There's program funding for STEM whereas some Architecture programs are going to close.

What does the school look like?

Apr 15, 12 3:26 pm  · 
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What?! Which architecture programs are going to close?!

Apr 15, 12 5:05 pm  · 
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"The Co-op Guy"

John Maeda, President at RISD, has been trying to address this recently, and gave a pretty interesting talk at MIT that I listened to on the webs. Also I think that the Media Lab is possibly an example of TONS of money flowing into a program that at least has its roots in architecture, even if it is less so today..

http://stemtosteam.org/

Apr 15, 12 5:13 pm  · 
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i r giv up

what is this i don't even

Apr 15, 12 6:26 pm  · 
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Eagle_Dept

The importance of architecture is certainly questionable. Mental engagement is in, passive observation (architecture+traditional art) is out.

For most people, their basic cable service > the beautiful lobby at their office. 

You can put a kid in a white room with fluorescent lights, but give him access to a PSP video game and he doesn't care. 

Apr 15, 12 7:31 pm  · 
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Rusty!

I feel really confused here...

In other news, pressure cookers are in, and rubber boots are out.

Apr 15, 12 9:34 pm  · 
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i r giv up

i like turtles

Apr 15, 12 11:27 pm  · 
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but we need people who understand science, engineering, technology and math. Im currently in Germany where there is a shortage of engineers. The country is welcoming educated immigrants with open arms. We dont need so many architects. Programs should close down. Not because we dont need architects, we just dont need so many. Out of my graduating class of about 40 students for undergrad, maybe 10 of us are working in the architecture field. theres no need to educate so many.

Apr 16, 12 3:34 pm  · 
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gwharton

There are probably two to three times too many architecture schools, so if a bunch of them closed down it would be no great loss.

Apr 16, 12 4:10 pm  · 
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blah

You're right, James. That's where the government funding in the USA is being steered. Women are being encouraged to take up STEM and become engineers, etc.. We have all sorts of money for presentations and seminars in STEM.

 

Apr 16, 12 4:26 pm  · 
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Rusty!

STEM inniciative doesn't cover a whole bunch of fields.  Accounting, medicine (and nursing), law, architecture, business. None of these are being phased out. Christ.

Apr 16, 12 4:43 pm  · 
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Law should be phased out. I'd use a guillotine.

Apr 17, 12 9:26 am  · 
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blah

I'll ignore the non sequiturs.

The new reality in higher ed funding is here. I am wondering aloud on how others are taking advantage of it.

Is anyone finding a strategy that is successful?

 

Apr 17, 12 2:37 pm  · 
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Paradox

Actually the American Bar Association itself issued a warning telling people not to go to law school. Here: http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/aba-telling-college-students-dont-go-to-law-school/
http://www.cnbc.com/id/40863598
Let me repeat! ABA warned about the lawyer surplus!!!! O_0
What is AIA saying about the architect surplus?

Apr 17, 12 3:01 pm  · 
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william - i don't think too many people are following your intent; hence the non sequiturs. 

 

if you're asking about how funding works in higher ed.... it's not exactly a big secret that architecture doesn't pull in the research bling that most of the STEM disciplines do. as noted, neither do any of the liberal arts core courses, nor humanities or social sciences (those freaking leeches! squash them all like little parasites!)

 

so, yeah, schools are looking to all departments to help generate more research revenue. and most schools in the u.s. are (compared to a decade ago). but we're not the core STEM group, to most provosts at least.

 

what were we talking about again? 

Apr 17, 12 3:43 pm  · 
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jitter12

I 2nd "The Co-op Guy".  Maeda has been talking about the shift to STEM, and the fact that the Arts are being left behind, and how that will hurt everyone down the road.  He gave a very similar keynote at the Texas Society of Architects convention last fall.  He is proposing STEAM instead of STEM.  Check it out.

Apr 17, 12 4:01 pm  · 
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Thank you Gregory for divining what this thread was about! I too was confused.

OK, so interestingly the popular latest trend in elementary schools is International Baccalaureate programs, Inquiry programs, and project-based learning.  These all emphasize creative thinking and broad acceptance of differences and cross-collaboration while de-emphasizing rote learning.  Could our kids be getting creative skills early on, when they are better anyway, then molding that creative thinking as they get to college into even better solutions to STEM-type problems?  I think that could happen.

Apr 17, 12 5:41 pm  · 
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blah

In terms of college and university interest. STEM has generated HUGE interest and financial backing here in the USA. There's program funding for STEM programs and events whereas some Architecture programs are going to close.

-I hoped that this clarified things.

I didn't know about Maeda, that's helpful!

I'll check him out.

My division also has technology in it and every department meeting features grant after grant that involves STEM. There's been an explosion of dollars headed to colleges and universities for STEM events and programs. If you can make your Architecture endeavor fit under the STEM umbrella, there's opportunity. My boss has encouraged me to find a spot under the STEM tent. Otherwise, the Arch money is scarce and is getting harder to find. I am interested in what other departments are doing to get a piece of the action.

Apr 17, 12 7:28 pm  · 
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MixmasterFestus

Architects should be better at STEM anyways, from a purely technical standpoint.

That doesn't mean that they shouldn't also be really great at art.  They should think of these systems and methods as they would, say, another material or something.

It's really easy to get caught up in the technical minutia while losing sight of the larger picture; if you can only describe your project in terms of meeting a target region in the psychometric chart (for example), you are probably doing it wrong.

Apr 18, 12 11:16 am  · 
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Rusty!

There appears to be a whole lot of confusion on what STEM is. My take: It's a term coined by U.S. Immigration and Customs for skilled foreigners working high tech. There is an apparent shortage of high skilled techies in the US and there has been a political backlash with "we need Murica to innovate and lead the world hur hur!". And thus programs that are considered as part of STEM are getting all kinds of funding in hopes of producing more higly skilled workers that are 100% US beef.

What architecture has to do with this is beyond me. We don't innovate in a classic sense, but we do imprement technologies developed by others.

perhaps William you can sell yourself as a test driver and get some of the funding you desperately crave.

Apr 18, 12 11:32 am  · 
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blah

Thanks, Rusty, it's unfortunately the reality of funding higher ed. I chair two departments at a college and money is what keeps things going. I am looking to find out what my peers are doing. I gave a talk on P, Q and R series and the golden ratio. That talk got funded because of its relationship to Fibonacci numbers rather than to its use by Corbu in his elevations and sections. That's the difference in a nutshell.

Apr 18, 12 11:54 am  · 
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Rusty!

Where STEM type of research happens in our field is in the Manufacturing side of things. Lots of new products are introduced into the construction industry every year. Some are quite innovative. I would look into material testing side of things for funding. How interesting to architecture students ASTM type tests would be is a completely different matter.

Apr 18, 12 12:05 pm  · 
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helenakeys

they should do what other professional schools do.. like medschool and lawschool (in Canada)... very tight control of SUPPLY, so it matches DEMAND...

there are wayyy too many architects, and not that many good designers... 

I fully support a more STEM approach to architecture where logic trumps emotional discourse.  In the changing face of the profession i think that is the future.

Mar 10, 13 4:27 pm  · 
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vado retro

Christ is being phased out, Rusty.

Mar 10, 13 5:02 pm  · 
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observant

Architecture is considered a STEM major, having seen the wiki or some similar list.

Mar 10, 13 5:30 pm  · 
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caryatid

This is actually right up my ally - coming from an undergrad STEM background (biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, applied math major), I actually got interested in architecture because quantitative techniques and front-line STEM fields are barely implemented in the design process, where they could be making a whole world of difference. A lot of applied math and cs techniques used in behavioral biology, for instance,  is already applied to studying urban systems and traffic flow - so why not architectural design? Data science and statistics too are becoming huge resources that the architectural field isn't taking advantage of at all, in gaining a more concrete (no pun intended) understanding of how humans interact with their built environment, and not just relying on intuition or speculation. 

Mar 10, 13 7:50 pm  · 
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caryatid

So yeah, in no way does architecture and STEM have to be mutually exclusive. Maybe it's the artist's or designer's ego that's getting in the way, or maybe it's the dearth of fundamental education in critical thinking that is generally fostered in STEM fields, but I think it's time to move past the hyper-subjective postmodern movement and look towards a more 'objective' assessment of how effective buildings can be.

Take this with a grain of salt though - using more quantitative methods will make the design process much more transparent, in seeing precisely which assumptions were made, but is in no way deterministic. The architect still plays a significant role in interpreting that data, and formulating the best solution. Hopefully, it'll just force us to be a little more honest about how we're creating our buildings, and add some functional (not just symbolic) significance to them.

Mar 10, 13 7:57 pm  · 
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jojatek

New to Archinect but, as an architect myself who has spent an entire career practicing largely with engineers engaged in both building and materials science, I really appreciate the posts from caryatid and others in this string.  A link to an article that may be of some interest...   http://www.astm.org/standardization-news/perspective/architecture-and-building-science-education-in-north-america-ja14.html

Jul 28, 14 10:24 am  · 
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Anna Li

As an Architecture student in China,I'm confused every time i see that list of STEM degree programs.It seems to have included all branches of Architecture courses but excluded Architecture itself.I just don't understand why.I'm applying for grad school in US and i want to have a long term career there after finishing grad school but if my major is not STEM,i won't have the OPT extension,which means i will not have enough time to find a formal job,which means making my tuition pay back will be a painfully tall order.

A few years ago ,China's building industry was booming but now it has collapsed and this storm has hurt the expectation of having a career as an architect.This has pushed a lot of architecture students who are preparing to study abroad towards STEM disciplines.This may lead to decrease in international application for March programs and cause less funding in arch school.FINANCIAL FACTORS are important not only to management but also to prospective students.

Architecture is never one major,it's a study about how to apply various majors(including computer science, material technology etc.) in one work.We have to make US Immigration and Customs realize that Architecture (as one major or many subsidiaries)value science and technology and we do put a lot of work in them.Management in arch schools have to make a change.But the strategy has to be more than merging with STEM subsidiaries and relegating the importance of artistic intuition and speculation.COME ON ,WE CAN DO BETTER.

Feb 11, 16 9:40 am  · 
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Volunteer

There is no shortage of American STEM graduates to fill STEM job openings. A lot of large IT firms, especially, want to bring in H-1B job seekers so they can pay them very low wages and have them trapped into the job as they have to go back if their job ends. Plan B is to ship the jobs to places like India where the workers can also be paid a very low wage. Several years ago, before the recent collapse in the oil industry, the Dean of Petroleum at Texas A&M sent a letter to all undergraduates warning that all the schools offering PE degrees were on track to graduate roughly twice as many students as the industry had been able to absorb and to perhaps consider other engineering fields. This kind of ethics is not too evident in many other fields.

Feb 11, 16 10:07 am  · 
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geezertect

^  Volunteer:  You are soooooooo right.

That dean at Texas A&M deserves a medal.  I wish we could see that kind of candor from the "leadership" of our dear profession (AIA, are you listening?) but I'm not holding my breath.  They have a perceived vested interest in artificially cheap labor just like the rest of American employers.  The really cruel hoax is the almost universally accepted nostrum that more education is the answer to high unemployment, particularly in the minority communities.  Rarely does anyone add the caveat that you need to pick your major wisely.  Encouraging naive eighteen-year-olds to go into debt getting credentials for jobs that don't exist is criminal.

And they wonder why Sanders and Trump are leading the pack.

Feb 11, 16 11:05 am  · 
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SpontaneousCombustion

I don't see architecture and STEM as mutually exclusive at all - in fact as soon as all the local colleges, vocational and tech schools started creating STEM initiatives they were all clamoring for architects to be on those boards.  Architecture is designated a STEM discipline by  many universities.

That said, STEM has been the big buzzword in higher ed for the past 8 years or so but even as all these schools are in the midst of erecting their new STEM facilities many are moving away from the designation, or morphing their programs (we're hearing a lot more planning toward "STEAM" these days - the A is for Arts, or "STEEM" - the extra E is for Environmental). 

Feb 11, 16 11:43 am  · 
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Anna Li

>Volunteer,

It's true that a lot of big companies have the intention to use H1B for cheaper labor, but US Labor Department is not a fool.One necessary procedure in applying H1b is LCA(Labor Condition Application),it's basic function is to guarantee that international employees' wage is not below average and labor at home is not replaced by cheaper labor from overseas.So i'm not sure if "very low wage" applies to most people.ICC do help some of Indian H1B seekers in IT industry by giving them title and wage below there work,but at least getting H1B means they have a job.I wonder if "not to evident in other fields" is because we can barely find a job so there is no such thing as "H1B for cheaper labor".

Feb 12, 16 12:10 am  · 
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Anna Li

>SpontaneousCombustion

 

Totally agree.But my point is -Does US employers think the same?Cause last time i check ,"Building Science","Architectural Engineering"."CAD Drafting" are on STEM degree list ,Architecture is not. The irony is ,you can not even find a major called "Architectural Engineering" or"CAD Drafting"

Feb 12, 16 12:52 am  · 
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Schoon

Actually AnnaLi, I'm an Architectural Engineering major!  The program at my school is mainly structural / civil engineering courses with a lot of architecture history / studio classes thrown in.  Far more engineering than architecture, but enough to work competently with architects while practicing engineering. 

Feb 12, 16 8:05 am  · 
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Volunteer

Anna Li, Just recently the Walt Disney company fired 25 members of their IT department and made their severance payments dependent on them training their H-1B replacements from India. When it was publicized, it blew up in Disney's face and they had to offer the Americans their jobs back. The kind of thing Disney tried goes on all the time. The large corporations make payments to Congressmen and get their way. The Labor Department is there for window-dressing and rubber-stamping.

Feb 12, 16 8:25 am  · 
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Anna Li

>Schoon 

 

Oh you are?!What is the school's name?Tell me and I will check it out!

Feb 12, 16 9:00 am  · 
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Anna Li

>Volunteer

Oh....Really?These are some serious accusations....

Feb 12, 16 9:02 am  · 
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Volunteer

Anna Li, Just search 'Walt Disney H-1B visa' and take your pick of dozens of stories about the situation.

Feb 12, 16 9:13 am  · 
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Non Sequitur

If my Bank had considered a master's in architecture as part of STEM, then I would have had no hurdles in getting financial aid... but they don't even-though the discipline is part of the engineering department. Wankers.

Volunteer, I've never heard of the Disney thing, sounds very interesting.

Feb 12, 16 9:20 am  · 
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Anna Li

>Volunteer

Thank you.I will. 

Feb 12, 16 9:23 am  · 
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Schoon

AnnaLi, I sent you a PM.

Feb 13, 16 7:40 am  · 
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