5icch planning

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That’s the Construction History Society’s fearless leader, Brian Bowen, checking out the Adams Room at the Palmer House, where the 2015 Congress will be held. We’re both in town for the semi-regular meeting of the local organizing committee, and spent the morning going over the Palmer House with a fine toothcomb. Suffice it to say that, in addition to being the oldest continually operated hotel in America. our host venue may be the only hotel on the planet with its own in-house historian. A suitable venue, to say the least…

new naab conditions…

…and something’s missing!  ACSA sent out a draft of the proposed new accreditation criteria today, and Comprehensive Design has been replaced by a whole new realm called “Integrated Architectural Solutions,” which stipulates that students must show…

Ability to produce an architectural solution that demonstrates the ability to make design decisions about a single project while demonstrating broad integration and consideration of environmental stewardship, technical documentation, accessibility, site conditions, life safety, environmental systems, structural systems, and building envelope systems and assemblies.

This replaces the old criteria of “Comprehensive Design,” which called for:

Ability to produce a comprehensive architectural project that demonstrates each student’s capacity to make design decisions across scales while integrating the following SPC:

A.2. Design Thinking Skills

A.4. Technical Documentation

A.5. Investigative Skills

A.8. Ordering Systems

A.9. Historical Traditions and Global Culture

B.2. Accessibility
B.3. Sustainability
B.4. Site Design
B.5. Life Safety
B.8. Environmental Systems

B.9. Structural Systems

That’s quite a change, and for those of us who have struggled to get Comprehensive through accreditation visits in the last twelve years, I think it’s a call for celebration, because it means the focus of the capstone studio can now be on design and not on ticking off boxes like a code official.  Not that we did, anyway, but explaining how we went about what we’ve always called “Integrated” design at ISU never quite fit what accreditors were looking for in “Comprehensive” design.  Our argument has always been that no school project is ever “Comprehensive,” since students don’t have consultants, and also don’t have to build the damned thing.  The new criteria seem much more humane, more pedagogically useful, and a step away from the vocational emphasis that the NAAB criteria had been sliding toward.  Hope this continues through the next round of drafts and comments.