A team of researchers from the OU Gibbs College of Architecture recently presented The American School to over 100 attendees during the AIA National Conference in Las Vegas. They led an interactive seminar that was designed to help today’s practitioners grapple with mind-numbing standardization, tricky sustainability issues, and increasing pressure to stand out in the Instagram era.

Dean Hans E. Butzer provided an overview of the American School approach to design, which emphasized resourcefulness, experimentation and contexutalism. Dr. Stephanie Pilat presented the work of students of the American School in comparison to those trained at Bauhaus inspired institutions. Professor Lee Fithian shared the historic preservation work of students in a course led by Ron Frantz dedicated to preserving a Goff home. Finally, Yetunde Obasade, an engineer and recent graduate of the Master of Sciences in Architecture program shared her climate, wind and site analysis documenting how the Bavinger house design and orientation facilitated natural heating and cooling.

In small group discussions, the audience then considered and shared ways in which the American School approach might inspire their own practices.