Last week at Sasaki, principal Steve Brittan presented a seminar to Harvard Graduate School of Design JTerm students. JTerm, otherwise known as January Term, is a two-week open session in which GSD community members, students, and faculty can hone and learn new skills in courses taught by other GSD members. Steve discussed contemporary challenges facing architecture schools and the need to evolve with the changing profession.
Steve examined the need for multidisciplinary teams to create meaningful, sustainable solutions to problems like climate change and urbanization. He suggested that with interdisciplinary, team-based courses at the core of the curriculum, architecture as a whole would be better equipped for the future.
"Today we are at a point where architecture is fighting to stay relevant, precisely because it has not evolved," wrote Steve in a recent ArchitectureBoston magazine article. "Large firms are trying hard to fight the commoditization of their services, and smaller firms are struggling to maintain their unique design identity."
Steve's JTerm presentation also addressed the importance of client relationships, and ways design firms like Sasaki may differentiate themselves from the competition. Steve reinforced the fact that, ultimately, in today's changing architectural landscape, good designers also need to be good business people in order to provide the highest value to the client—and the profession.