Steve Barduson / Barduson Architects / Principal / BArch, ASU, 1985 / 04.16.18

Where is design going?

This could be interpreted as Architectural Design or the Architectural Industry. To answer the former, I believe that sustainability will continue its importance, but will infiltrate smaller, more accessible building types instead of be focused on governmental and institutional clients. However, I think we will one day see a true Integrated Project Delivery where BIM is actually integrated with shop drawings (again, on small scale projects), working drawings, and facility management tracking systems.

How can design education be more relevant?

At one time, ASU was one of the most relevant architectural institutions in America. It had a deep history in the area of organic, site-based design, a faculty of prominent practicing Architects, and an emphasis on professional practice training. As a result, graduates came out of ASU ready to contribute to a firm and to quickly start their own firm, as many of us did. Unfortunately, as I have observed the last 14 ASU grads that I have employed, the school has lost its way and edge. As the principal of a premier firm in the Valley told me last week, “Unfortunately, we have found that the best, most well trained graduates we have recently hired have all come from the UofA.” Those are painful, fighting words for a Sun Devil alumnus. I have met with Phil Horton to express these concerns and to pledge my assistance to try to help return ASU to prominence as a practical, yet innovative institution.

What are the future skillsets designers need to learn now?

Designers need more skillsets in the tools of their trade, in order to best implement their ideas. In other words, I believe that they need more training and guidance in Revit/BIM, architectural systems/codes, etc. in order to have their designs be both grounded and innovative. Innovation requires a base skillset of tools in order to have the ability to see the creative, explosive alternatives.

What should a design school do to prepare students for transdisciplinary work?

I believe that ASU has focused diligently on preparing their students for inter- and transdisciplinary collaboration.

What should a design school do to forward equity and inclusion?

I believe that this is another area that ASU has been performing at a commendable level. They have reached into the high schools and communities to make sure that we are encouraging equity and inclusion.

What other thoughts/ideas would you like to share?

I love my ASU. It grieves me to see it fall from where it should be and could be. I want to see the architectural school/ design school be a leader, as the Engineering School has become, with its recognition as “Most Innovative.”

Steve Barduson

Barduson Architects


BArch, ASU, 1985

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