NCARB Award: A Practitioner's Perspective

Archive Design Studio
Detroit, Michigan

Practioner: Moore

Dorian Moore, RA, a University of Michigan architecture graduate, is the Vice President of Archive Design Studio, Inc., a Detroit architecture and urban design practice. Moore was the recipient of the AIA Detroit Young Architect Award in 2002. For the last two years, he has been working with students at Lawrence Technological University (LTU) as part of the “Public Interest Design Practices and Research (PIDPR) Workshop” course that was developed as a result of NCARB Award funding the program received in 2011.

How did you become involved with Lawrence Tech’s NCARB Award initiative?
I was contacted by Professor Joonsub Kim at Lawrence Tech. I have served as a juror for many design studio projects at LTU.

How did students respond to working with a practicing architect?
I believe the students appreciated the insight that a practical perspective could bring. I tried to emphasize the aspect of creating a viable entrepreneurial initiative as a response to PIDP challenges.

How do your peers regard your work with the school?
Many of my colleagues have commented on what a unique and innovative course PIDPR is. One of the elements that I stress is for architects to get involved in areas that are not oriented towards traditional practice.

Did your involvement with this project lead to any additional collaboration with the school and students?
I have subsequently been invited to participate in critiques for non-traditional studios. Being involved in the course has provided me with a fresh perspective on the capabilities of today's students to look at alternative and/or complementary career paths.

What was unique about this collaboration between students, faculty, and non-faculty practitioners?
We encouraged students to think beyond buildings as the only architectural product. We also encouraged them to design and conceptualize systems for solving socially oriented challenges.

What benefits can other architects experience by participating in an NCARB Award-funding project that integrates practice with the academy?
Participation allows architects to expand their definition of "architect." I believe this is critical for the survival of the profession as we enter a new economic and social paradigm after our recent global economic crisis.

What was most memorable about the experience for you?
Observing the process that the students used to develop their initial concepts. Also, seeing one of the student projects actually start to move toward realization based on contact with one of the professionals that I invited to the final presentation.

What did you learn from the experience? Were there aspects of the project that made you rethink your own business practices?
My biggest learning experience was understanding how I could apply the principles of PIDP to my own work and generate realistic commissions. This expands the possibilities of my practice and opens up many new avenues for my career as a whole.


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The NCARB Award recognizes architecture programs that integrate practice and education; raise awareness of the architect’s responsibilities for the public health, safety, and welfare; and bring non-faculty practitioners into the academy.