National association honors ISU architecture professor for creative achievement

AMES, Iowa --The Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) awarded a top honor to an Iowa State University associate professor of architecture. Mitchell Squire was recognized with a 2008-09 Creative Achievement Award.

The award honors a specific creative achievement in teaching, design, scholarship, research or service that advances architectural education. It will be presented at the 97th ACSA Annual Meeting, March 26-29, 2009, in Portland, Ore.

ACSA cited Squire for his "positive and stimulating influence" upon students at Iowa State University through the semester-long course he created, Craft and Crafty Action: On the Relationship between Creativity and Mischief.

"The course challenges students with the difficult task of navigating a broader definition of craft than they are accustomed and helps them develop new perspectives on creative practice," Squire said.

"Students are introduced to a set of characteristics emerging from a culturally diverse range of mythological protagonists, then asked to use them as a framework for viewing both fact and legend surrounding the life and work of an equally diverse range of architectural icons from Filippo Brunelleschi to Daniel Burnham, testing for evidence of parallel forms of crafty action," he said.

"Yes, this seminar is a bit offbeat compared to most architectural courses," Squire said. "But by mixing storytelling and mythology with historical narrative, and finishing it all off with a dash of creative fabulation, my hope is that students will enter into the kind of critical thinking and deep curiosity that is portable across disciplines and beneficial for a lifetime."

Squire received the bachelor and master of architecture degrees from Iowa State. He joined the faculty in 2001, after serving as Cass Gilbert Visiting Professor of Architecture at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. In 2005, he received the ACSA/AIAS (American Institute of Architecture Students) New Faculty Teaching Award.

ACSA is a nonprofit, membership association founded in 1912 to advance the quality of architectural education. More than 225 schools are members.