From the Interim Dean
Urs Peter "Upe" Flueckiger
The 360-degree horizon of the Llano Estacado, 80% sky and 20% ground, continue to define and inspire me, as well as our students, faculty, and staff.
As an educator, I believe we can foster an optimistic culture of student-centered education for future architects and designers through the investigation of architectural issues arising from the students' individual concerns, design processes, and design potentials in relation to the development of architectural design exercises and problems.
Today's architectural education faces an array of technological innovations which define what and how we teach anew. This encompasses the architectural design process, representation, and the making of architectural fabrication. I embrace this challenge and believe that architectural education today must strive for a balance between digital and haptic components in an architect's education, along with an ecologically built environment.
I believe no single design philosophy answers the design needs of today's ever-shifting realm. Every design project starts with its own constraints. There are design problems for which new design technologies, such as digital fabrication processes, are suitable, and there are design problems for which traditional technologies are a better fit. The choice is not “either/or” but rather “both/and”. With every new design problem, we must assess anew. Linear and dogmatic design approaches can easily lead us down one-way streets, resulting in shortsighted results. What seems relevant today can change in an instant tomorrow.
Over the last 23 years, I've continued to be inspired by my experience in West Texas, and much of my work springs from conditions particular to the culture in West Texas. I'm certain that international recognition can be achieved from this place and by our students, alumni, and faculty.
At the College of Architecture, we offer our undergraduate and graduate students the educational environment in which design excellence can grow, be nurtured, and flourish through the exceptional faculty and staff who disseminate their collective knowledge to our students in order to help them become the best critical thinkers, future architects, and design professionals they can be.
It's a privilege and a honor to serve as your Interim Dean