Class Dismissed

At the LA book launch of Molly Hunker and Kyle Miller’s Building Practice (Applied Research & Design), demographic distinctions were pronounced, as Xennial academics with design offices on the side yukked it up for the benefit of their student moderators and the cuspers in the audience. The discussion proceeded along generation-defining moments ranging from the 2008 financial crisis to the pandemic and the urban uprisings that followed. In moments, feelings of mutual admiration—“What is remarkable about your generation is that you guys are engaging in questions of practice from the very beginning,” said one panelist, addressing the room—curdled into defensive posturing, as when Kutan Ayata, vice chair of UCLA Architecture and Urban Design and one half of the ever-emerging practice Young & Ayata, bristled at a query about the relation between aesthetics and politics: “This question, in some ways, has a bit of an undertone of purity in how one engages the world. I find that to be an impossible position to be productive.” Young attendees seemed put off by the absence of…

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