Syracuse School of Architecture>
As architects, we grapple with beauty and making buildings. But there is a more significant corollary regarding the public realm and our role in defining it. Public space is owned by all of us, but isn't just a physical thing. It is an intellectual realm to be shared. I would like to think that our students and faculty have the facility to speak across boundaries--the academic, the professional world, and the community.
As a school of architecture, it is our obligation to educate as broadly as possible in a history of ideas so that when students graduate they design buildings which have profound links to their site and time. The hope is that work is based not on style or a pastiche of history, but grounded in an innovative, inventive understanding of the present reality of culture and society. Architects have the opportunity to move the intellectual discourse through the work that they do and to challenge assumptions about who we are.
It is important for future architects to see the complexity of this undertaking. A city is emblematic of that complexity. It is the place where difference, ambiguity, and new ideas flourish. In this era where our political and commercial rhetoric is simplified to easily received notions of what does and doesn't belong, we can bring a richer dialogue into play.
As a professional school in a research university, our business is to challenge what students know in order to develop intellectual as well as technical agility. If we, as educators and parents, have done our work well, this leap, the risk, won't give any pause at all.