Tuesday 11:00am-1:00pm, Wednesday 10:00am-12:00pm. Please make an appointment through Tabitha Penton.
Research and Teaching Interests:
Advanced Architectural Practices, Architecture and Aesthetics, Institutions and Pedagogy
Ben Smith is a scholar, designer, and educator whose work locates advanced practices for architecture. His recent scholarship, which has been featured nationally and internationally, has centered on the disciplinary evolution of architecture through institutional and pedagogical developments in education. Smith’s dissertation on this subject, “With and Without Walls: The Southern California Institute of Architecture and a New School of Los Angeles Architects in the 1970s and 1980s,” examined the history of the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) and the architects who taught there amid a postmodern climate. Fundamental to his teaching approach is his encouragement of students’ confidence to do, to act, to make—to help young designers learn how their work contributes to discourse, whether that is through ideas or forms. Smith’s view on architectural production negotiates design techniques and aesthetic sensibilities with the belief that architecture should engage the discipline with a rigorous theoretical conversation that influences present concerns. Observing that design instigates vision, that analysis provides critique, and that the synthesis of vision and critique establishes domains of value that architecture addresses, he works to reveal architecture’s results through its effects. Prior to joining Tulane University, Smith taught at SCI-Arc and University of Michigan. Prior to establishing his practice, ooffcie DESIGN, he worked for internationally recognized firms such as Morphosis Architects and George Yu Architects in Los Angeles, California. His degrees include a Ph.D. from University of Michigan, an M.Arch from SCI-Arc, and a B.A. from St. Olaf College.