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  ACSA sent out a draft of the proposed new accreditation criteria today, and Comprehensive Design has been replaced by a whole new realm called “Integrated Architectural Solutions,” which stipulates that students must show…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

One thought on “new naab conditions…

  1. That is good to hear. With all the NAAB stuff going on last year, it was easy to see the checklist mentality when projects were getting posted to make sure we had all our bases covered.

    I recently watched a lecture by Robert Somol warning against the “metricization” of architectural education, reducing it down to a list of -ity’s (sustainability, accessibility, buildability, etc) to be checked off while ignoring the aesthetic, social, and theoretical side of architecture. He also argues against the use of BIM as it creates a kit of parts with a defined function, as opposed to the pure, representational geometry of the drawing.

    Maybe that’s something to be tackled before comprehensive studio, but it would be interesting to try and tackle some of the concepts of more contemporary architects/theorists (Eisenman, Koolhaas, Tschumi, Hejduk) with a good chunk of architecture school under your belt.


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