2023 AAO Virtual Conference: Encounters with Architecture

December 13, 2023
10:00am to 1:00pm Central Time

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Program Overview

If architecture is to matter in the world, then we need clear information and many more outlets to learn about architecture and design. We need life-shaping experiences and conversations to reach young people.

In partnership with the Chicago Architecture Biennial, please join us for this virtual symposium sharing recently completed and still emerging education projects with the power to change our field.
This FREE, 3-hour program includes projects and perspectives contributed by architects, artists, educators, and writers imagining and making new forms of design education.

Encounters with Architecture is part of the Association of Architecture Organizations' broader efforts to connect, support, and advocate for organizations and individuals around the world devoted to advancing the role of architecture, planning, and design in service to society.


Who Should Attend?

Design Educators (MS, HS, College) / School Teachers / School Administrators / Out-of-School Time Educators and Program Facilitators / Curators / Architecture Organization Staff / Grantmakers and Program Officers / Design Professionals / Program Volunteers / Individuals curious about the subject


What Will You Learn?

The case studies explored in this session range from student build projects to civic conversations to issues of pipeline development and diversity within architecture and allied fields. This content is geared to those seeking program inspiration, as well as an overriding interest in the strategy, argumentation, and learning to be found in new forms of practice.




Program Partner I Chicago Architecture Biennial


Event Sponsor | National Endowment for the Arts


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Session Descriptions

Maya Bird-Murphy | Mobile Makers and the Chicago Architecture Biennial Youth Council

In connection with this year’s fifth edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, entitled This is a Rehearsal, Mobile Makers is serving as the event's official Education Partner and as design facilitators for the CAB Youth Council, a teen cohort from all sides of Chicago who spent three months exploring design and public space together. Their resulting installation, “One Bench, One Love,” is a response to the lack of youth-specific third spaces and policing of teens across Chicago. The Youth Council members collaboratively designed an ongoing “bench” that promotes a range of programmed activities including hanging out, learning, and performing. Their design includes flexibility to emphasize the fact that visitors to the Biennial exhibition at the Chicago Cultural Center may want to create their own unique experiences within the space. The group’s social interactions outside of school and home served as an inspiration for “One Bench, One Love,” and, as a result, the project itself delivers a safe third space for those interactions to continue and to be cultivated.


Frédéric Chartier | School Building as Pedagogy

The School of Science and Biodiversity in Boulogne-Billancourt (designed by Paris-based ChartierDalix, 2015) is both a place of learning and an entirely recreated natural space. The challenge was to reproduce an ecosystem on the roof that extends into the walls of an inhabited construction—a piece of extruded territory where an indigenous nature could develop freely.
More than for any other facility, the construction of a school is an opportunity to rethink the concepts that connect poetry, education, and nature. The omnipresence of vegetation increases the quality of life here on an everyday basis; it helps with learning and in aiding the children to find their way around easily. The school is every inch an educational tool.


Joaquim Moreno | Classroom: Architecture of Adolescence

Classroom is an architectural exhibition that focuses on the learning environments of young people. The exhibition takes the classroom as its starting point and explores its influence on the development of adolescents. The pandemic served as a significant source of inspiration for the exhibition, as it emphasized that where and how one learns plays a significant role during the transition from child to adult. In this presentation, learn about the derivation of this research project that has now become a travelling exhibition and soon a print publication. The exhibit examines five seminal high school designs across Europe (all Post-WWII) as well as more modern case studies made in their likeness, plus extensive video footage of current high school students reflecting on their communities past and present.


Amanda Williams | Redefining Redlining
Sarah Hanson will present Redefining Redlining by Amanda Williams

In fall 2022, visual artist (and trained architect) Amanda Williams, in collaboration with Emerald South Economic Development Collaborative, created a living art installation of 100,000 red tulips in Chicago’s Washington Park neighborhood. The purpose of the installation, entitled Redefining Redlining, is to replicate the original footprint of the almost two dozen houses and apartment buildings that once occupied the now vacant site. The installation makes visible the detrimental impact of redlining while simultaneously inspiring ideas about who and what can reinfuse joy, beauty, and value into Black neighborhoods, particularly those on the South and West Sides of Chicago. 
Beginning in August 2023, Williams has begun expanding the project by co-developing an educational curriculum in partnership with the Chicago Architecture Center (CAC) and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) with the aim to engage students on a semester-long visioning session that introduces them to every facet of residential redlining. The goal of the program is to encourage students to imagine how they can actualize the “tulip footprints” into built structures by unpacking the question: “What would it take to purchase this land and build a house?”  
The pilot phase of the program is being delivered to students at Dyett High School in the Washington Park neighborhood.


Sanjive Vaidya | The Case for a Public Design Education

The chair of City Tech’s Department of Architectural Technology, Sanjive Vaidya has been an effective messenger in demonstrating how public education coupled with direct personal experience is essential to us achieving equitable urban development. His thoughts are plentiful, with some words for elite institutions, but more so for a widening in our sense of what is possible. Topics range from the cost and complexity of higher education, to sputtering municipal management, to employment for designers, and even a call to us all to improve our moral imagination for design’s place in our world.

Speaker Bios

MAYA BIRD-MURPHY has been a designer at several award-winning Chicago architecture firms. While working full-time and completing her master’s, she founded Mobile Makers, a non-profit bringing design focused skill-building workshops to underrepresented communities. Maya is a former Design+Diversity Fellow and a past recipient of AIA National’s Jason Pettigrew Memorial ARE Scholarship recognizing significant contributions from emerging professionals in the field.

FRÉDÉRIC CHARTIER is a principal and co-founder of the studio ChartierDalix, which was established in 2008 with Pascale Dalix. Recognized in several international competitions, their Paris-based firm has been awarded numerous prizes, including the prestigious Equerre d'argent in 2022 for the Public Hospitals headquarters in Paris. In 2017, the Academy of Architecture attributed the firm le Soufaché, in recognition of its collective body of work. In 2020, ChartierDalix authored a study for the La Défense district entitled “Making a System.” It outlines some of the tools and visions for its evolution, making verticality attractive in an open-air experience of the city. This fall, the French public institution for Architecture, La Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine, is supporting Pascale and Frédéric’s Villa Albertine research fellowship in Chicago, culminating with a contributing exhibition to the 2023 Chicago Architecture Biennial.



JOAQUIM MORENO is a professor at Universidade do Porto Faculdade de Arquitectura, Portugal. He was a curator, with José Gil, of the Portuguese representation at the 2008 Venice Biennial of Architecture and recently was a curator, with Paula Pinto, of the exhibition Carlo Scarpa - Tomb Brion - Guido Guidi, in the South Garage of the Cultural Center of Belém. Edited with Paula Pinto and Pedro Bandeira the magazine InSi(s)tu and was the editor of the Architects Journal. He also collaborates regularly with national and international publications.



AMANDA WILLIAMS is a visual artist who trained as an architect. Her creative practice employs color as an operative means for drawing attention to the complex ways race informs how we assign value to the spaces we occupy. Williams's installations, sculptures, paintings, and works on paper seek to inspire new ways of looking at the familiar and, in the process, raise questions about the inequitable state of urban space and ownership in America. Her breakthrough series Color(ed) Theory, a set of condemned South Side of Chicago houses, painted in a monochrome palette derived from racially and culturally codified color associations, has been named by the New York Times one of the 25 most significant works of postwar architecture in the world. Her ongoing series, What Black Is This You Say?, is a multi-platform project that explores the wide range of meanings and conceptual colors that connote Blackness. Using her Instagram account as an initial platform to challenge the 2020 rush to celebrate Black lives, the work has evolved into paintings, soundworks, and a multi-year public installation in New York. Amanda has exhibited at the Venice Architecture Biennale, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Hammer Museum to name a few. She serves as a board member for the Terra Foundation, the Graham Foundation, the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, and the Garfield Park Conservatory. She is a founding member of the Black Reconstruction Collective. Her work is in several permanent collections including the MoMA, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Smithsonian. Williams has been widely recognized, most recently being named a 2022 MacArthur Fellow. She lives and works in Chicago.

SARAH HANSON serves as a project manager in the studio of Amanda Williams. A trained landscape architect, she also works on the design team at Omni Ecosystems, where she assists with design schemes, visualization and spatialization. She is adept at managing projects and has worked across the fields of video production, affordable housing, visual arts, and teaching landscape architecture at the collegiate level. Sarah earned a Master of Landscape Architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology and has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fiber from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore.


SANJIVE VAIDYA is an actively practicing architect with 25 years of professional and field experience, working for Pei Cobb Freed & Partners and then Davis Brody Bond Architects. His work under J. Max Bond included research institutes, performing arts centers, and master planning projects for the Department of State Overseas Building Operations. Sanjive’s studio, established in 2005 in Brooklyn, is engaged in residential and commercial architecture and interiors. He currently serves on the Board of Directors at the Architectural League of New York.

Sanjive’s role as an educator and department chair at New York City College of Technology (City Tech) has evolved into an inquiry of how a design student’s good intentions are supplanted by economic forces that bend their will and erode optimistic agendas. This process sacrifices a designer’s most radical potential. Public design programs function as incubators for positive action on behalf of the displaced and underserved. Cultivating a designer’s agency must be the singular goal of design education.


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