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The Design Observer Group


TEDification versus Edification


TEDification versus Edification

"We are living through the era of the TED Talk, much like an earlier generation lived through the era of the World's Fair, wondrous about our new world in the making," writes Simon Sadler. "TEDification endows capitalism and globalization with a credible spiritual and ethical mission, just as the art of the Renaissance lent to the ruthless bankers of the Italian city states an enduring moral sheen." Sadler explores the magical thinking and many contradictions of the TED juggernaut — and the implicit threats to design and education.


A Necessary Incompleteness

“All great public squares have a monument with a statue,” said a man in a Haitian border town. “But whenever we discuss which historical figure should go up on that column, it turns into a fight. So we’ve decided to leave it empty.” Artist and filmmaker Joseph Redwood-Martinez shares photographs and anecdotes from a research project investigating examples of incomplete architecture around the world.


"The moment for something to happen"

In 1967 Peter Eisenman founded the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies, and until it closed in 1985 the Institute — a heady mix of think tank, exhibit space, journal publisher and cocktail party — was one of the centers of American architecture culture. Belmont Freeman describes the new documentary by Diana Agrest, The Making of an Avant-Garde, as a remarkable contribution to the record, and a fascinating glimpse at the early years of many of today's stars: "There is something almost (almost) touching about listening to today’s titans of corporate and haute institutional architecture remind us that once upon a time they were young, idealistic, radical thinkers."


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University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture


The University of Texas at Austin, School of Architecture
The UT Austin School of Architecture melds theory and practice. The faculty include many reflective practitioners who are accomplished in the fields of architecture, planning, landscape architecture, preservation, and interior design. The faculty also advance theory through research, writing and exhibitions, and have a broad range of expertise in architectural history, building systems, technology, sustainability, transportation, Latin American architecture, and urbanism, and the built environment. This scholarship is advanced through the Center for American Architecture and Design, the Center for Sustainable Development, and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. The school has made a conscious effort to reject disciplinary boundaries along departmental lines. This unique organizational structure promotes collaboration and affords students an integrated understanding of the design of meaningful places at all scales, from rooms to cities and regions. The enrollment is approximately 750 students, evenly divided between undergraduate and graduate programs. The school offers undergraduate degrees in architecture and interior design; master’s degrees in architecture, community and regional planning, landscape architecture, historic preservation, architectural history, sustainable design, urban design, and interior design; and doctoral degrees in planning, architectural history, preservation, and sustainability. View a video about the program here.
The John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto

The University of Toronto, John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design
The fields of architecture, landscape architecture and urban design are characterized today by exceptional pressure for change. Globalization and the convergence of new media, materials and building technologies have led to radical change in economic, technical and aesthetic formations in the design fields. The John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design is responding to these shifts. As the largest city in Canada and one of the most dynamic in North America, Toronto is a thriving metropolis, providing exceptional resources for the aspiring architect, landscape architect or urban designer to study the early 21st-century human condition. Daniels has a global orientation in its teaching and research while simultaneously believing in the importance of sensitively addressing local forces. In this context, Daniels strives to harness the potential of Toronto’s distinctive multi-ethnic and multicultural society. The greater Toronto region serves as a dynamic laboratory for critical studies and the imaginative exploration of design alternatives that will be of consequence internationally. Students not only have the city to use as a resource, but also have access to Toronto’s large professional design community, many of whom teach at the school. In addition, the city’s multicultural networks and international connections make Daniels a powerful place to start a career. Daniels’ focus on interdisciplinary training and research will test your limits and challenge you to rethink design for the 21st century.

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