Our thoughts on architecture

Rough Draft

Summary: Bartos Architecture is a School of Architecture. We learn here. We teach here. It just so happens that our specialty is educational facilities. But we are an educational facility...

I saw a photo of “Falling Water” in fourth grade. Frank Lloyd Wright designed buildings as a job? That's really a job? I asked my fourth grade teacher Mr. Mathieson. Yes he said. I decided that's what I want to do. My father was strict and expected that I work through high school. "if you are in a sport after school you don't have to work. on the times you aren't in a sport, or summers and winter breaks, i expect you to have a job" . So about 1978 i walked in to the only Architecture firm in town. Went to the middle aged men in ties and asked if i could work there. I'll do anything you need, even just making coffee, answering the phone, whatever, just so iIcan learn what its like. (minimum wage at the time was 2.65 per hour..but i offered to work for free): they said "NO. We don't do that. We can't take anybody on." : i was pretty disappointed. But it didn't kill my dream to become an Architect. As i have progressed through these 35+ years in the Building Arts profession i have never forgotten that day. Various firms i have worked in were never interested in my entreaties to get young people in to the office to give them opportunities to learn. Finally i established Bartos Architecture, Inc. Since our founding in 2008 we have had many interns. Interns with no architecture education experience whatsoever. We have had summer intern programs which evolved in to an overall "hey come on in to hang out and learn" whenever intern program. This comes to fruition now in a more clear vision for the Bartos Education Studio Atelier.

The problem with the Education of an Architect in today's environment is the over emphasis of the teaching the fundamentals of various computer program tools used in practice. These tools are evolving: AutoCad, Revit, Sketchup, Rhino, Adobe suite (photoshop/InDesign/illustrator) and now "virtual reality" : years from now these tools will either be obsolete or completely evolved. The young person in today's world is able to learn the basics of almost any computer based tool very quickly: either independently, with collaboration from friends/colleagues, online courses, continuing education seminars, or inside the architectural office. These are not foundational skills that will stay with the student for a career.

The Architecture student needs to learn how to think like a designer. How to solve problems in an iterative way. Architects are unique thinkers and creators in the sense that we must deal with various physical, economic realities, client/User/occupant needs while injecting quasi objective creative (subjective) aesthetics. Architects must learn that all design can continuously be improved. But working for a client means that we must address those real needs in order to be ARCHITECTURE rather than simply "Art". Architecture is of the real physical world. It is the world of building, or making things.

Thus I suggest that students should be given basic tools of understanding the real tangible basics of how buildings are made while in school. Students should be made familiar with the overall process of design: programming, schematic design, documentation, biddnig, and construction. Students should be made familiar with the basic vehicles / media by which an architect practices their craft/profession. Drawings (Plans, elevations, sections, renderings), specifications, and other more day to day tools such as contracts. Students should have a firm grounding in the History of Architecture such that they will be able to understand the thought process of those who came before, and to understand their future place in making the future built environment. The Architecture student should be taught the basics of common building methodologies, without de-emphasizing innovation in building science. Students should understand that Architects more than other more specialized professions, must conduct/direct the work of Structural Engineers, Mechanical Engineers, Electrical Engineers, Civil Engineers, Landscape Architects, Acoustical Engineers, Surveyors, Geotechnical Engineers, and a variety of other professionals. Students should understand the Architect's role in guiding the builders/contractors who will one day be building the Architect's ideas.

Unfortunately, the Education of future Architects has devolved in to the development of individuals who can make pretty renderings with the latest computer program. But don't get me wrong as they say. These are valuable skills in an Architecture office. These are skills that are put to good use by practitioners. The issue is that knowing only these tools can lead the hopeful young professional to be pidgin-holed. The young professional can spend all day making pictures of buildings for their employer, without really learning how those things are made in reality. The focus on the "picture" moves the young professional in to the world of pure Art and away from the real nuts and bolts of ARCHITECTURE.

Thus the BA Education Studio Atelier

The Education Studio is a two pronged approach. We focus on Educational Facilities. We run an Education Atelier with young professionals. This atelier provides students a place to fill in the gaps of their education in academia. Academia is great. We love it. That's why we design schools. Our Atelier is a partnership (informal and not organized) with educational institutions. We welcome any and all students from middle school onward in to our atelier.

Bartos Architecture as an Educational Facility Design firm is a committed Atelier for future Architects. Our work in Educational Facilities has expanded to other civic work for Cities and Counties. We also provide private focused services for the public GOOD. And of course the occasional residential project for special clients. As it is our calling to be invested in the importance of education and exploration  we provide a place for young future creators to find a launching pad for a career in "making the world".  This may be a future Architect or a future Engineer or Artist , Graphic designer or other future innovator. Our work is less about our "portfolio" of images, and mainly about the world of people we are helping. We always aim as a minimum to to reduce the suffering of others. But as our reach should exceed our grasp, we hope to bring to reality the dreams of our clients. But even more important to us is to help our youth achieve their full potential in this one life. We connect our educational design services with our hs/jc/uni intern Atelier.

We invite high school, community/junior college and university students in to our studio. We provide a latter day "attiler" with the opportunity to learn abut our profession and craft. Our primary focus in the firm has been Public K12 Educational facilities, and as we expand in to more Civic/public sectors.