Architecture will forever rely on a varied and vast set of allied disciplines. In the broadest sense, it cannot exist in the absence of art’s aesthetic eye, engineering’s structural expertise, or psychology’s grasp of the human experience. The architect is charged to be well-versed in a variety of arts and sciences—a burden that was perhaps first placed on him first by Vitrivius, who begun his The Ten Books on Architecture with this very sentiment. “Let him be educated, skillful with the pencil, instructed in geometry, know much history, have followed the philosophers with attention, understand music, have some knowledge of medicine, know the opinions of jurists, and be acquainted with astronomy and the theory of the heavens,” he writes.
Now, the modern architect is presented with an infinite mass of information and resources to inform his practice. He is not limited by geography or generation, but is able to wholly engage in an autodidactic study of any art, science, philosophy, or history of his choice. The possibilities for his intellectual expansion and practice extend far beyond the Vitrivius’ imagination. Yet with this opportunity comes the expectation that he will develop new ways to incorporate new disciplines, and information into his work: in doing so, he has the obligation to create a more comprehensive architecture, with the potential of reimagining the discipline altogether.
Current students of architecture hold the potential to do this labor. Our architecture is malleable; as children of an unforeseen, rapidly evolving future, our architecture has the potential to be individual, expressive of our own passions and visions for tomorrow.
As the Rotating Editor for the April issue of 3NTA, I’ve chosen to center the selected projects and interviews around the interdisciplinary nature of architecture. To be interdisciplinary means to relate to more than one branch of knowledge. Architecture has always had to do this: Children of New York, Creators of New Architecture aims to explore the ways in which architecture is inherently interdisciplinary while featuring students whose work reflects the opportunity to incorporate more and more unlikely disciplines into their study of architecture and design. These students have used their external interests to both inform their work in studio, but also to liberate themselves from the confines of a single field; here lies the beauty of architecture’s welcoming of distinct disciplines.
I also hope this issue will serve as a reflection of the the city I represent. New York City has forever been an epicenter of interdisciplinary discourse and innovation. It puts every willing person, idea, concept to the same test, judging each only on the quality of its work. I hope this sentiment will continue to permeate the practice and study of architecture, accepting any new discipline the designer feels inclined to engage with, assessing it solely on its ability to nuance the field itself.
The students selected for inclusion in this issue are capturing their city’s heart, drive, and opportunity, coupled with their generation’s access to media and information, and bringing it all back to studio.