Through a Practitioner's Eyes
Dan Bailey - Practitioner, Baltimore, MD
Morgan State University
Dan Bailey, AIA, an Iowa State University Architecture graduate, is the president of Penza Bailey Architects, Inc. a Baltimore Business Journal Top-25 Area Architecture Firm. For the last four years, he has been working with students at Morgan State University as part of the course that was developed as a result of funding the program received in 2008.
How did you first become involved with Morgan State University’s NCARB Award initiative?
I have been actively involved with Morgan State University’s School of Architecture and Planning (SA+P) for 30 years. The award’s requirement of practitioner involvement is a continuance of our commitment to architecture education.
Furthermore, both my firm and I feel that it is important to advance the practical connection of the SA+P program through direct hands‐on participation. Architecture programs must maintain a holistic approach to the built environment at a time when our industry has much to learn through the advancement of technologies and sustainability.
How did students respond to working with a non‐faculty architect?
Positively. The program has been in place for four years, and I have been most excited by the growing initiative of the students to take the reference projects and transform them using practical innovation and creativity. The work has improved tremendously.
Initially, it was a challenge to learn how we as practitioners must work with the student to engage them in the process of critical thinking and to exercise their mind’s ability to construct and dissect three‐dimensionally. This required building our own confidence so that the students could develop theirs.
It has been most gratifying to see the growth—both in the practitioners and the students. In particular, students have recognized the importance of thorough and meaningful research and analysis, and this is evident in their work.
Furthermore, the students have realized the side benefit of improved employment expectations, portfolio development, presentation, and networking.
Have you received any recognition from your peers or colleagues regarding your work with the school?
In part, yes. This year (2012), I received the AIABaltimore Chapter President’s Award for Community Architect of the Year for “making architectural education accessible and relevant.” A key part of the service I provided to the architectural education community was related to my work with Morgan State University and the Architectural Technology VI, Arch 541, Production Techniques, “The Integrated Intelligent Detail.”
What do you think was unique or innovative about this collaboration between students, faculty, and non‐faculty practitioners?
I believe that the course has become unique, not because it started with an innovative approach, but that it has developed and evolved. The involvement of each year’s firms and practitioners transformed the collaborative experience. It can be seen in the excitement of the discussions and creative approaches to the “intelligent details.”
What sort of benefits do you think other architects could experience by participating in an NCARB Award project?
Simply put, the practitioner, through his engagement with students and faculty, is benefited by the power of their insight and the power of their spirit to move the built environment to a greater sense of place and sustainability.
The practitioner should be prepared to make an investment of time. However, that investment will have a benefit to both you and the students.
Ultimately, our involvement will prepare emerging professionals to be aware of the professional world around them and become involved critical thinkers. This, more than anything, will benefit the future of our industry. As Samuel Mockbee advocated: social responsibility, sustainability, sound constructability, and inspired built environment.