That was the view from the final evening of BTES 2017, the biannual meeting of the Building Technology Educators’ Society. Des Moines hosted it, the first time it’s been in ‘flyover country,’ and I enjoyed the chance to co-chair it with rock star colleagues Rob Whitehead and Shelby Doyle. Over 70 faculty and students trekked to Iowa, and we heard papers ranging from studio and design-build pedagogy to solar analysis of historic buildings and more speculative thoughts on how Poetics and Pragmatism, the themes of the conference, relate to one another.
BNIM Des Moines principal Rod Kruse and ARUP principal Fiona Cousins both gave excellent keynotes on their practices and how they relate to these ideas, and I was honored to join them to give the introductory keynote. Given the theme, and the fact that we had a large group who had, in the usual way, either just flown over or driven through my adopted state, I thought it was worth giving a bit of an overview of the state’s history and architecture, but also to probe a bit more deeply into what it means to work here, and how the unique history of the place has given us both traditions and writers who offer provocative perspectives on how the physical world and our lives within it interact. This isn’t the sort of thing that has a natural outlet for publication, so for the record (and since I’ve been working on it for the last month instead of posting…), I thought it would go nicely on architecturefarm. It follows in two parts [here and here] in the next two posts.