Message From the Chair of Architecture

In a sense, architecture is a fundamentally optimistic discipline. Every building proposal, urban design vision, or material innovation imagines a better world in its own image; a world as it might be. The past two year have presented a challenging context for optimism. A global pandemic, racial injustice, war, political unrest, and the increasingly existential threat of climate change – to name just a few phenomena – has shaken even the most steadfast optimist among us. Where has this left architecture, as a discipline? It might be too soon to say, but here at Taubman College, I have been encouraged to see the events of the past two years spark renewed focus on architecture’s capacities as an agent of progress. Our students and faculty have come together to debate and act on topics ranging from how the pandemic will change the future of urbanism, to spatial injustice, to architecture’s role in upholding cultural institutions amidst rampant institutional collapse. This hasn’t always been easy, but it builds on our ethos.

Here at Taubman, we understand that architecture is a cultural product that always negotiates a complex multitude of voices and ideas, and myriad social, political, and aesthetic concerns. Through the intellectual diversity of our internationally recognized faculty, and through the experimental spirit within our studios, we seek to model that plurality. At a time when our discipline is increasingly confronted by changing social, technological, and environmental contexts, we pride ourselves in cultivating a dynamic educational environment where assumptions are challenged, ideas are debated, and emergent design methods are forged. Our graduates enter their careers charged with design tools and techniques, an understanding of architecture’s histories and potential futures, and an aptitude for critical thinking that makes them agents of progress for a better, more just and beautiful built environment.

We look forward to extending our mission in an even more dedicated and focused way in the year to come, for a world that seems to need our help more than ever. I hope you will join us in this work as  a student at Taubman College next year!

Best regards,

McLain Clutter
Architecture Program Chair, Associate Professor