Inspired by an ongoing conversation among Lobby members who teach—that we are employed by institutions that we don’t wholly endorse and wished we could start the ideal school addressing architecture’s role in labor and capitalism—The Architecture Lobby initiated an Academic Working Group in 2020 to address the origin of architectural precariousness and social irrelevance.
At the first virtual meeting, it was decided to break up into three different groups, each addressing a different scale of remedy. The first would be hacking into existing architecture programs by sharing courses across different schools, offering course that taught about labor, capitalism, and collectivity, and critiquing the standard professional practice courses.
The second was initiating a summer school that would supplement the standard curriculum by offering the courses on labor, etc that were missing from an academic education.
The third was setting up the new school we all wanted to teach at. When it became clear that there was not enough person-power to do all three, members of the working group coalesced around the summer school, hoping that it could be both the supplement it was intended to be and, perhaps, a model for a full-blown school. The result was the first ABC school of 2021 and subsequently, 2022 and 2023.
In the 2021 session, we worked to understand the terrain in which we are operating, the contemporary ecological and social crises and of architecture’s roles and responsibilities within. In the 2022 session, we homed in on the architecture studio as the locus of architecture culture, the scale at which first differences might be made.
In 2023, we seek to stitch the daunting and huge with the nuts and bolts of the immediate and comprehensible. We hope to be open about our insecurities in working in this space, embrace our naivety, accept that we can’t solve all problems, but that we can try, together, to imagine what Future Belonging might mean.
ABC’23, which is no longer called a school and which is no longer in the summer, indicates the need to evaluate where the AWG should put its energy. The building of the Repository that is the goal of ABC’23 points to a new direction that emphasizes collaboration with other activists to radically revise the standard architectural curriculum to address our current global environmental and spatial crises.