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A Message from our Director, Kate Schwennsen, FAIA

Fall 2018: Stretching, Overlapping and Celebrating

The 2017-18 academic year was one in which the members of the newly enlarged, multidisciplinary School of Architecture started to stretch into the opportunities of the school’s increased breadth and depth. We spent time with blue-sky strategic thinking and with “in-the-weeds” tactical planning. Faculty participated in many discussions focused on creating new and improved systems of shared governance and operationalizing shared strategic plans, seeking best practices and maximum inclusivity. Faculty and students increased overlaps and aspirations in research and learning, participating in more multidisciplinary sponsored projects, industry engagement, classes and public service projects.

Throughout our Fluid Campus, but particularly in Lee Hall and the Cigar Factory, it is impossible not to notice the significant and rewarding increase of casual and planned interactions among disciplines. One result of these conversations are ideas about new paths for students through multiple degree programs, either sequentially, overlapping or combined. Look for more about these developments in later news.

As we talked about who we are and where we want to go, it became apparent that if we couldn’t easily and graphically diagram our organization and program relationships and locations, we couldn’t very well explain it to others, and we also might not be able to see the overlaps and gaps. Graphic designer Ryan Sullivan helped us create the following two diagrams. The first, a sort of network diagram, holds the degree programs at its core and clearly illustrates the places and connections of these programs. The second, the “wheels” version, starts with the Fluid Campus locations and lays degree programs on top.

network graph

network graph


In the coming 2018-19 academic year, we will continue to stretch and overlap while celebrating a whole series of anniversaries that began last March when we celebrated the 45th anniversary of the Charles E. Daniel Center for Building Research and Urban Studies in Genoa, Italy. In August we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the graduate program in Architecture + Health. Later in the fall we will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Clemson Architecture Center in Charleston. In the spring we’ll celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Barcelona Architecture Center. These exemplary programs were begun by visionary leaders who came before us, leaders who did their own stretching, looking for opportunities, gaps and overlaps, and then taking big leaps to create transformational opportunities for us, those who came after. These programs continue to attract and retain remarkable people who stretch out their disciplines and practices. We owe it to those who came before, and to those who come after us, to continue to stretch.

Kate Schwennsen

Kate Schwennsen, FAIA
Director + Professor

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