Francis Bacon observed that nature reveals truth only after subjecting it to the corrosive effects of experimentation. Yet truth in architecture cannot be courted directly but must be approached obliquely as a turn from the page or in a distracted state of mind. This circuitous route notwithstanding, the demand for solutions has never been more acute given the seemingly insurmountable challenges architects face with climate change, increased natural and manmade disasters, the disparity between rich and poor and the advent of integrated design and fabrication that will literally transform the way we make buildings. Design education is the incubator for new ways of thinking through complex issues. The Roman deity, Janus represents for architects the connectedness between projecting and reflecting that is the common currency of what we do.
At Utah, we immerse our students in the discipline and analytics of evidence based design while encouraging risk taking without constraint. The School of Architecture is housed in a midcentury modern building that was influenced by Le Corbusier's Maisons Jaoul with its traces of craft, expression of material and insistent presence on campus. Like the building our students are serious and yet amazingly each year a new class provides its own sense of purpose by rethinking the building and the educational experience contained therein. Students can and do make a difference here. The cohesive community is born from a small school environment, enabling integrated curriculum and unique collaborations while benefiting from the resources found in a major research institution like the University of Utah with its own resident Nobel Laureate. There is an energy about the place where inspiration is influenced by symposia, visiting instructors, publications, exhibits, research, travel based studios and design build programs in third world situations like the Navajo Indian Reservation and Haiti. Just as Francis Bacon, our students learn to coerce the exceptional from the seeming inconsequential and graduate prepared to bring harmony and indeed a bit of truth to an expectant world.