Beyond Patronage

One could argue that the profession of architecture has traditionally been characterized by patronage. Throughout the twentieth century, private clients have enabled architects to develop and realize their most significant work. Relationships between Edgar Kaufmann and Frank Lloyd Wright, Pierre Savoye and Le Corbusier, and František Müller and Adolf Loos are only a few of the many examples.

Today, the landscape of patronage is shifting. While the role of private clients is still central to the survival of the profession, an increasing number of architects and design practitioners are actively cultivating partnerships with not‐for‐profits, granting agencies, educational institutions, and other public organizations. How are these broader relationships redefining the role of patronage in architecture? Have our current economic, ecological, and political climates provoked architecture to confront its own priorities and assumptions? If so, how are architects rethinking models of practice? How can the practice of architecture be shaped not only through relationships of power, but also through strategies of empowerment?

To explore these questions, architects, designers and scholars will discuss their work as it relates to notions of “patronage.” Speakers will focus on: 1) practices and design agendas that have been shaped or enabled by emerging forms of sponsorship; 2) new forms of connectivity ‐‐ technological or social ‐‐ that produce innovative modes of collaboration; 3) strategies for cultivating relationships with sponsors that allow us to rethink typical hierarchies between those in power and those in service; and 4) how emerging practitioners today are grappling with issues of inclusion and exclusion in the field.


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