The field has expanded so much, and there are many ways to be an architect. Architecture can open up countless new territories. We just launched the GSAPP (Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation) Incubator at NEW INC with the New Museum, where our alumni are doing all kinds of experiments and are starting different types of practices. How we build and how we reshape the relationship with what we call the environment today, and the question of climate change, is really important and urgent. I want the double question of climate change and the global condition to have a radical impact on how we teach, what we teach, and how we design across the disciplines. It needs to be more than just a part of the peripheral conversations, it must literally transform the curriculum. It’s not so much how we change the tech sequence, it’s how you teach the history of modernization when a large number of our students are not coming from a Western tradition. That’s not directly connected to climate change, and yet climate change reaches across cultures and poses a universal question of ourselves as a species. These fundamental questions and their impact on the disciplines are the reason why so many of our students are interested in entrepreneurship — because they feel like they can have ownership over shaping their future. Yes, you can go and work at a great design firm. Most of our graduates do. Or you can create an app that transforms how cities operate. I think the challenge is to open up more possibilities. So I’m very — optimistic is the wrong word — but I’m very excited by the possibilities.
Interview by Felix Burrichter. Portraits by Bela Borsodi.
Taken from PIN–UP No. 21, Fall Winter 2016/17.