Two Leading Architects To Discuss Divergent Public Policy Views

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By Texas A&M University College of Architecture Staff

Two of the world’s leading architects, Mark Foster Gage and Patrik Schumacher, will discuss their sharply divergent views about built environment public policy 5-7 p.m., Friday, April 21 in Rudder Theatre on the Texas A&M campus. The event is open to the public, but tickets, available at the Rudder box office website, are required.

These renowned architects are coming to College Station to participate in Interface, a daylong series of Department of Architecture events, including an exhibit of studio work and an architectural review led by Gage and Schumacher prior to their Rudder Theatre appearance. The event is supported by the department’s Thomas A. Bullock Endowed Chair in Leadership and Innovation.

For the main event, the dueling architects will champion opposite sides of a spirited public land use discussion sparked by controversial notions Schumacher introduced in his keynote address at the 2016 World Architecture Festival in Berlin. A proponent of market-based urban policies and the sole partner at Zaha Hadid Architects, one of the world’s most acclaimed firms, Schumacher called for the elimination of government-issued land use policies, public and affordable housing programs and he favored the privatization of public spaces such as parks and streets.

“All top-down, bureaucratic attempts to order the built environment via land use plans are pragmatically and intellectually bankrupt,” he said, adding that laws, practices, and regulations associated with land use plans stifle development and architectural creativity.

In reply, Gage, a pioneer in technology-based design who heads a New York-based firm and serves as assistant dean and associate professor at the Yale School of Architecture, said “I disagree with almost everything [Schumacher] says, but discussions should ensue and he shouldn’t be so quickly personally villianized.”

Gage was also referring to salvos from a chorus of critics including Phineas Harper, deputy director of the Architecture Foundation and former deputy director of the Architectural Review.

“Schumacher is not a valuable provocateur,” said Harper. “He is not a refreshing new voice. His proposals lack anything approaching a thoughtful interrogation of the real world. They are like the views of an extremist blinded by ideology but given credence by a fawning architectural press.”

Gage and Schumacher’s discussion, moderated by Gabriel Esquivel, associate professor of architecture, will allow the audience to see the power of rational, reasoned arguments and compelling evidence, said Robert Warden, interim head of the Department of Architecture. “Their dialogue has been incredibly provocative, and we want to extend and promote that exciting discussion,” he said.

Interface gets underway at 9 a.m. on the fourth floor of Langford A with an exhibit showcasing work from six undergraduate design studios, at 1 p.m. Gage and Schumacher will review selected works in the fourth floor review space, and a reception will follow the review at 3 p.m. in the Wright Gallery.

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This story was originally posted on ArchOne.


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