Looking forward, looking back

Looking forward, looking back

Across the eras, school celebrates legacy, considers the journey ahead

Publication Year: 2016

There could be no better setting than the bright, day-lit spaces of the new Hayes Hall – its walls covered with the latest work of our faculty and students – for graduates across five decades, friends in the community and professions, and current faculty, staff and students to come together in celebration of the work we do.

A series of events lined the program in honor of the legacy of the ‘School of Architecture and Environmental Design,’ formed our of the tumult of the late 1960s to approach design through systems thinking and in relationship to broad societal dynamics.

Throughout the two-day event, as much as we mingled and reminisced, we projected on questions of persistent relevance to education and practice in architecture and planning. With the diverse gathering of our school community a telling indicator of this potential, we considered what’s possible if we work together – across academia and practice and with new energy and focus – to bring our professions to bear on the pressing problems of our time, from climate change and social justice to the problems of our prevailing metropolitan structure.

Importantly, this was only the start of a conversation. Over the next three years, we will mark a series of three 50th anniversaries: the founding of our school by the State University of New York (1967), the hiring of the school’s first dean and faculty (1968), and the convening of its first class of students (1969). Such milestones in the history of our school are certainly causes for celebration and recollection.

More than anything, however, we’ll be looking forward with you, our colleagues, former students, partners in the community and professions, to mobilize a new agenda for the School of Architecture and Planning. What are the problems we face as a region, nation and planet in which architecture, planning and allied professions have an important role to play? How can new alignments across the school and its public audiences – from alumni and practitioners to community stakeholders – drive change around these issues? What questions – and which constituents and partners – are missing from this conversation?