This PDF comprises a series of reflections on the Exhibition on Socially Responsible Design which happened in New York and Chicago in 1993. The critique takes the position that the projects celebrated by the exhibition are in danger of promoting the very things they oppose. The point is made through an interrogation of the design by a New Zealand Student, Peter Maher in his studio project where he was asked to reflect (from a design point of view) upon issues of cultural conflict.
The project itself had been originally set up precisely to explore issues of sensitivity in a nation struggling to make sense of itself from a bicultural point of view. A recent “Maori Renaissance” had, in fact brought bicultural issues onto the front burner in post-colonial Aotearoa (New Zealand). The programme objectives had been explicitly to, “explore the differences between indigenous and colonial concepts of public space, to develop culturally based sensitivities and abilities in urban and architectural design expression, and to explore what a contemporary “New Zealand” town or city, if such a thing exists, might be.”
In the evaluation studio process, Maher's designs are criticised for the very principles that he has been asked to explore. This PDF interrogates the value systems of Architectural Education in terms of their Espoused Values in comparison to their Values in Action. (Argyris and Schon) and suggests the need for a radical discourse of architectural education which might demystify these ambiguities.
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