Pedagogies 2020

The School of Architecture embarked on a strategic planning process, titled Pedagogies 2020, to review its mission, values and programs and to develop an actionable vision that can address some of the significant challenges facing architecture and the built environment in the 21st century.

The school has an established reputation in the productive role that technology plays in the art and design of architecture. Our pioneering work in sustainability, building science and computation has distinguished our school from our peers. Likewise, our seminal work in participatory and community engaged design has laid the foundations for the values we ascribe to architecture: that, above all, it must be in the public interest and accessible to all. These legacies put the school in a unique position to address some of the daunting challenges we face as a society that require imagination, innovation and empathy.

Pedagogy is reductively understood as the methods of teaching; the techniques employed in lectures, seminars and studios to impart knowledge and skills to a student. In our formulation we take the term to mean the broader context within which learning takes place. This includes not only the methods of teaching but also the physical, political, social and cultural context within which it occurs. Pedagogies 2020 takes direction from J. Dewey’s understanding of pedagogy as a vehicle for self-realization and also the work of critical pedagogy (P. Freire, E. Said, b. hooks) that education, research and creative practice is always in direct dialogue with society’s evolving concerns and must critically examine its prevailing paradigms.

Pedagogies 2020 was critical, speculative and provocative; grounded in science and evidence but also the projective capacity of the architectural imaginary. Our faculty, students and staff must represent the global society we aim to design for and our educational and research facilities must be able to support the innovative design and research we plan to do. Most significantly our pedagogy must address the imminent challenges facing society:   

  • Climate change and its impending environmental and social problems and how architecture can support living in the Anthropocene

  • Artificial intelligence and its challenge to human agency and what it means to live in a posthuman society

  • Social justice and the need for greater equity and inclusion of race, gender and intersectionality in our politics and communities

To address these challenges, Pedagogies 2020 was divided into three unique but interrelated pedagogies: Fundamentals, Design Research, and Race & Inclusion. Each was tasked with using the Fall 2020 semester for “stocktaking”; to engage faculty, staff and students in conversations and information gathering. In Spring 2021, we translated these efforts into actionable items that will better align our mission, programs, personnel, facilities and resources to address the challenges we have laid out for ourselves. 

Fundamentals addresses the following questions:

  • What is the argument for architecture in the 21st century?

  • How does the school position and address the great challenges of our time?

  • What are the fundamental competencies that an architect must have to design in this context? 

  • What tools, skills and intellectual traditions are vital for the architect?

  • What are the ethical challenges facing architecture?

Design Research addresses the following questions:

  • What is the future of architectural practice?

  • How can research support innovation in architecture?

  • What is the role of design in contributing to interdisciplinary research at Carnegie Mellon? 

  • What is the role of interdisciplinary research within architectural design?

  • How can community partnerships and industry engagement open opportunities for collaborative research? 

Race & Inclusion addresses the following questions:

  • How are matters of race and inclusion woven into the world’s great challenges, and how can we best respond to them? 

  • What is the argument for diversity, collective action, radical inclusiveness and community-building in today’s increasingly fragmented world? 

  • What is the agency of the architect in shaping the built environment to serve everyone, including those without a voice?

  • How can ethics, justice, equity and values play a more dominant role in shaping architectural education in order to better prepare our students for the increasingly agonistic future?

  • What are unique strengths and challenges that are specific to CMU SoA with regard to race and inclusion?

  • How can we increase the representation and support of Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) and underrepresented minorities (URM) in our school and in the profession?



Associate Studio Professor & Associate Head for Design Fundamentals

Associate Professor & Associate Head for Design Research

Associate Professor & MSSD Track Chair

Associate Professor, MAAD Track Chair & dFAB Lab Director

Associate Professor & Associate Head for Design Ethics

Professor & Head

Special Faculty