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Roundtable with Phil Bernstein

October 6, 2021 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Join us for a special event with Phil Bernstein – an architect, technologist, and educator at Yale School of Architecture. In collaboration with the U-M Law School, Professor Bernstein is co-teaching a course this fall that confronts the understanding that architecture is not value-neutral, and that racism intersects with urban planning, land use, and environmental problems. While he is in Ann Arbor next week, Professor Bernstein has graciously offered to join us at Taubman College to share some of his work, and participate in a casual roundtable conversation with our students to discuss issues of equity, civil rights, and worker exploitation as we rethink memorialization and memory in the design process.

Phil Bernstein and U-M Law Professor Luis deBaca will give a brief presentation, then open it up to a conversation and Q&A with students. We encourage you to come prepared with questions or topics of interest. 

Register here

Phil Bernstein was formerly a Vice President at Autodesk where he was responsible for setting the company’s future vision and strategy for BIM technology as well as cultivating and sustaining the firm’s relationships with strategic industry leaders and associations. Prior to Autodesk Phil was a principal at Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects where he managed many of the firm’s most complex commissions. He is the author of Architecture | Design | Data – Practice Competency in the Era of Computation (2018) and co-editor of Building (In) The Future: Recasting Labor in Architecture (2010 with Peggy Deamer), and consults, speaks and writes extensively on technology, practice, and project delivery. He is a Senior Fellow of the Design Futures Council and former Chair of the AIA National Contract Documents Committee.

Course Brief
The built environment bears the stamp of historic slavery, supported by new forms of forced labor. Starting with an understanding that architecture is not value-neutral and that racism intersects with urban planning, land use, and environmental problems, this class will confront such issues through a partnership between the University of Michigan Law School’s Problem Solving Initiative and a joint project of the Yale School of Architecture, Yale Law School, and the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition, with the support of the Niarchos Foundation.

Students will create a framework for a National Slavery Memorial in Washington, D.C., as multidisciplinary teams from architecture, law, planning, history, public health, and other fields learn problem solving skills, conduct research, and approach the politics, ethics, and mechanics of design and construction holistically. The Framework will support the Spring 2022 YSoA Advanced Studio taught by Professor Rodney Leon, architect of the United Nations’ Ark of Return and the U.S. African Burial Ground National Monument.


October 6, 2021
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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