A&AA has organized a yearlong set of special events, lectures, symposia, and exhibitions to mark the milestone. Fittingly, the school scheduled the kickoff on Homecoming, which is next weekend, October 17-18. It all begins on Friday, October 17 at 1:00 with a 100th Birthday party, complete with a birthday cake, an open house to visit galleries and studios, and an all-school photo shoot. The school wants everyone who’s been a part of A&AA’s history to attend and enjoy the festivities. It’s urging all alumni and friends, current and emeritus faculty members, staff, and students to join in the festivities. I’m certainly planning to be at Lawrence Hall for the commemoration.
The history of A&AA is richly fascinating. The website My School of Architecture features an excellent accounting of the school’s early beginnings, particularly the Department of Architecture:
When W. R. B. Willcox became the architecture curriculum head in 1922, he developed a program that became a prototype and eventually led a reformation in American architectural training. Willcox believed that architecture, along with other arts, is an expression of the values, aspirations and character of the society that produces it. Therefore it is incumbent upon the architect to have a broad understanding of culture and society, and, beyond this, to be an influence in forging those values, aspirations and character.
The department still sees its educational mission as rooted in Willcox’s visionary realm of ‘freedom and responsibility.’ The curriculum is design-centered. Comprehensiveness is available through introductory coursework in the subject areas and substantial breadth and depth in the advanced courses. The integration of subjects is aided by the design process skills’ courses and practiced in studio. The faculty has substantial freedom with respect to curricular innovation and research. Faculty are expected to maintain their area of expertise and share in the collective responsibility toward maintaining an integrative and comprehensive design program. This duality, perhaps only a contemporary version of the Willcox legacy, is often cited as the department’s greatest strength and key to excellence.
The Department of Architecture faculty embodies the pluralistic intent of the School’s founders. No single background or philosophy dominates. Faculty are encouraged to maintain a professional practice and/or make regular scholarly or research contributions to knowledge in the field. Of the regular faculty members, most are registered architects or engineers; many are members of AIA and are NCARB certified. The interior architecture faculty are, likewise, members of ASID, IIDA and/or IDEC.
As part of its centennial commemoration, A&AA collected 100 Alumni Stories about alumni from all the decades of the school’s history and posted them online. Each story is unique and demonstrates the important contributions of alumni who worked or currently work with the built and natural environments, the arts and culture, and in public leadership and service. The inspiring stories showcase the accomplishments of individual graduates and convey the values rooted in Ellis Lawrence’s unique approach to design education.
Be part of the historic moment and join the party. Visit aaa.uoregon.edu/centennial to see special events, news, and the 100 Alumni Stories---all part of the yearlong anniversary activities.
What: A&AA's 100th Birthday Party
When: Friday, October 17, 1:00 p.m.
Where: South entrance, Lawrence Hall,