One of CUSD’s missions is to develop research and innovation at Cornell and beyond. The Schoolhouse: South Africa project is no different than the projects incubating in the hundreds of laboratories and research institutes on campus.
In recent years, there is a growing discourse and incessant productions of “social architecture”. The actors ranged from Samuel Mockbee’s Rural Studio, Cameron Sinclair’s Architecture for Humanity, Education Africa’s Social Architecture Program to Brad Pitt‘s Make It Right and his crew of high-design, yet temporarily and strategically conscious, set of architectural entourage; namely Frank Gehry, MVRDV, Morphosis and so on. Similarly, this cover story architect-to-the-rescue is also pervading many intellectual inquiries amongst younger architects still within academia.
We see that this is an opportunity to remove ourselves from the glitz and glamor of the architect-turn-saint, and critically understand our responsibility to contribute and make the world a better place. As students that are still tied to our academic roots, we have to realize that being in school and not being able to work on “real things” is not a tragedy, but an opportunity to ferment and develop something that has never been done before. The paradigm of critical or intellectual activism is key to furthering the attempts of increasing the social agency of design, engineering and more!
Through our research, we hope to contribute to something that is beyond a beautiful structure. But something that can create a long-lasting impact and most importantly, generate more inquiries for the generations to come.